From Whos Who ?Appreciation
of the PressLiterary StyleA Unique Book on MissionsDawn
in the Dark Continent.
Half a mans life is too little for
writing a book, the other half too little for correcting it when written.
A good book is the best of friends,
the same to-day and for ever. Tuner.
for 1904 gives the following list of Dr.
Lovedale, Past and
Lovedale Illustrated, 1894.
Livingstonia, its Origin, 1894.
Contributions to Good Words, the
Sunday Magazine, and Royal Geographical Society Magazine.
Kafir Phrase Book and Vocabulary,
Outlines of Kafir Grammar, 1902.
Dawn in the Dark Continent, 1903.
This list, however, does not fully
represent his literary output, which was astonishing in so busy a man. The
most of his writing was done at night or early in the morning when the
house was quiet, and all the other inmates were asleep, and after a days
work that would have exhausted an ordinary man.
The two beautifully illustrated botanical books
mentioned on pages 24 and 25
are not in this list.
Stewart had the instincts of a
journalist, and he established two papers, The Lovedale News and
the Christian Express. The latter had a prominent place in his
thoughts. It was called The Spectator of South Africa. His opinions
were often quoted in the newspapers, and they had great influence with the
leading men in the country. For many years it was the only publication
that discussed missionary and related questions. Stewart edited it for
several years, and wrote probably about three hundred of its leading
articles. These ranged over nearly every subject affecting the weal of
South Africa. Indeed, it has been proposed to print many of them in book
form, as they are a storehouse of facts and ideas about the questions
which occupy, and will continue to occupy, the South African mind. Recent
writers on Ethiopianism acknowledge their obligations to the articles in
the Christian Express. Stewart was an authority, not only on
mission questions, but on native labour and on the government of the
natives. Africa had become to him the native land of his heart, the land
in and for which he lived, in which he expected to die and be buried, and
so nothing pertaining to it could be uninteresting to him.
Even in his student days he wrote
for magazines on practical and semi-scientific subjects. Early in my
life, he wrote to a friend, I got the smell of printers ink, and I have
never got away from it. He believed in the power of the Press, and
employed it during the whole of his public life. From his watch-tower he
steadily surveyed a wide field. He was ever on the alert for every
expression of opinion bearing upon the causes that were dear to him, and
by his articles he did much to imbue a wide circle with his favourite
ideas. It is largely due to him that there is now a growing interest in
South African missions.
In his youth he was a great reader,
and his magnificent memory enabled him to quote his favourite authors
correctly to the end of his life. Now and again he would indulge in apt
poetical quotations, but his ardent practical temperament and want of time
indisposed him for the niceties and curious felicities of finished
For him, the man of action, the
greater part of his library lay out of doors, and earnestly and closely
did he study nature and human nature, finding, with Lord Bacon, that men
are the best books.
There is a French saying, The style
is the man. Stewarts style is in harmony with the man and reveals his
peculiarities. It is as downright and direct as Wellingtons despatches.
It had the two qualities which the poet Cowper liked best: it was plain
and neat. While he had no time for cultivating the niceties of literature,
his statements were usually vigorous and impressive. A hater of all many-syllabled
ambiguities, he keeps his eye full on the subject, never using words
instead of thoughts or words hard to be understood. His sentences resemble
Euclids straight line, being the shortest distance possible between two
points. He always knew what he would be at, and made for it, and nowhere
He revised his articles again and
again, and was never satisfied. His hatred of flimsy work extended to all
the productions of his pen.
In addition to his literary work, he
lectured frequently. A lecture delivered to the Royal Geographical Society
about his pioneering in Central Africa secured for him the honour of
membership in that society.
His heart is revealed in his
writings as in a clear mirror. His two chief books are: Lovedale, Past
and Present, and Dawn in the Dark
is probably unique in the history of missions. In it he
supplies, not missionary opinion, but an immense array of missionary
facts, from which every one can draw his own inferences. Its spirit is
admirable, for it is equally fitted to propitiate those fervent friends of
evangelism who are suspicious of educational missions, and also all
fair-minded critics of missionary work. Pen and picture unite in making a
very effective explanation of the Lovedale Method.
Dawn in the Dark Continent
[To make this volume useful for missionary objects,
I kept down the price, and forfeited my royalty. Dr. Stewart.](now in its second edition) is his greatest
literary effort. A very helpful and excellent book, says a missionary,
that every one should read who puts his hand to the Gospel plough in
Africa. It is a missionary classic, and has been used as the text-book in
many mission circles in Britain and America. It contains the lectures
delivered in 1902 when he held the post of the Duff Missionary
Lectureship, which had been founded by Dr. Duff of Calcutta. In these
lectures he makes the first effort to review all the Protestant missions
in Africa. He gives sketches of all the Missionary Societies in the Dark
Continent, their methods and their fruits. He portrays the struggle in
Africa between Paganism, Mahomedanism, and Christianity. It will, he
thinks, probably be the final struggle. The book reveals wide reading on
the subject, a passion for accuracy, a literary conscience, and a fine
catholicity. He gives a very generous estimate of the endeavours of all
his fellow-workers in Africa.
It is evident that he cherished a
special sympathy with the Moravians, the missionary pioneers in South
This book will be of great service
to the future historians of missions and civilisation.
Dr. Stewarts personality, writes
the Rev. H. T. C. Weatherhead of Uganda, captured me in his books.
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