Robert Moffat was for 50 years a missionary in Africa in the 19th century, and his name is still well-remembered in those countries where he worked, as a zealous and effective Christian whose principal claim to fame was the translation of the Bible and the Pilgrim's Progress into Setswana (the local language of what is now called Botswana), and also as David Livingstone's father-in-law. This book contains 'the story of [his] half-century of missionary labours', written by an unnamed author, possibly a friend or colleague, or even, perhaps one of his 10 children.
Robert Moffat (1795–1883) was a Scottish Congregationalist missionary to Africa, father-in-law of David Livingstone, and first translator of the Bible into Setswana. Born in East Lothian, he emigrated to South Africa to work as a missionary in 1816, remaining there until about 1866 when failing health brought him and his wife back to Tunbridge Wells, where she died in 1870. After her death, he devoted his energies to speaking all over England with the aim of promoting interest in missionary work in Africa.
Our copy of the book is in good condition for its age, bound in green cloth with a black illustrated front cover showing (presumably) Robert Moffat talking to an African native in front of a traditional thatched rondavel hut. A gilt panel at the top proclaims this a 'Presentation Copy, London Missionary Society' in green letters; the spine is also decorated with a black illustration of an African native under a palm tree, with a gilt panel containing the title in green letters. The back cover is plainly adorned with a double impressed panel border. There is only moderate shelf wear - slight bumping of corners, and a little wear at top & bottom of the spine. Inside, the binding is holding, and there are no loose pages, but there are one or two points of weakness between gatherings, and a little foxing, mainly towards the end of the book. There is foxing to the outer long page edges, too. The front fep is missing, and the back endpaper is broken to reveal the webbing down the central angle. Apart from the light foxing, the pages are clean and bright with no markings. There are numerous B/W illustrations, only one of which (the frontispiece) appears to be signed (see photo).