MOFFAT, RonEftr, D.D. (1795-1883), African missionary, was horn at Orrniston, Haddingtonsliire, Scotland, on 21st 1)ecember 1795, of humble parentage. Moffat learned the craft of gardening, but in 1814 offered himself to the London Missionary Society, who, in 1816, sent him out to South Africa. After spending a year in Namaqua Land, with the powerful and dreaded chief Africaner, whom he converted, Moffat returned to Cape Town in 1819, and married Miss Mary Smith, a remarkable woman and most helpful wife. In 1820 Moffat and his wife left the Cape and proceeded to Griqua Town, and ultimately settled at Kuruman, among the Bechuana tribes lying to the west of the Vaal river. Here he worked as a missionary till 1870, when lie reluctantly returned finally to his native land. He made frequent journeys into the neighbouring regions, as far north as the Matabele country, to the south of the Zambesi. The results of these journeys he communicated to the Royal Geographical Society (Jour. R. G. S., xxv. xxviii., and Proc. ii.), and when in England in 1842 lie published his well-known Missionary Labours and Scenes in ,Couth Africa. Single-handed he translated the whole of the Bible into Bechuana. While solicitous to turn the people to Christian belief and practice, Moffat was perhaps the first to take a broad view of the missionary function, and to realize the importance of inducing the savage to adopt the arts of civilization. He himself was builder, carpenter, smith, gardener, farmer, all in one, and by precept and example he succeeded in turning a horde of bloodthirsty savages into a "people appreciating and cultivating the arts and habits of civilized life, with a written language of their own." Now we find more or less Christianized communities extending from Kuruman to near the Zambesi. Moffat met with incredible discouragement and dangers at first, which he overcame by his strong faith, determination, and genial humour. It was largely due to him that the work of Livingstone, his son-in-law, took the direction which it did. On his return to England, Moffat received a testimonial of about £6000. He died at Leigh, near Tunbridge Wells, 9th Aug. 1883.
See Scenes and Services in South Africa, the Story of Moffat's Missionary Labours, London, 1876 ; and publications of the London Missionary and the B. and F. Bible Societies.