Moffat 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."
In the first place, his pre-eminence is obviously pre-Homeric; for Homer was no preacher or innovator in religion, but gives us some at least of the primary facts of the contemporary religious beliefs prevailing about woo B.C.: and he attests for us the supremacy of Zeus as a belief which was unquestioned by the average Hellene of the time; and appreciating how slow was the process of religious change in the earlier period, we shall believe that the god had won this position long before the Homeric age.
A large population grew up, first at Kimberley, afterwards at Barberton, and finally at Johannesburg - a population modern in its ideas, energetic, educated, cosmopolitan, appreciating all the resources that modern civilization had to offer them, and with a strong partiality for the life of the town or the camp rather than that of the farm and the veld.
In dealing with Plato he was handicapped by this very common sense, which prevented him from appreciating the theory of ideas in its widest relations.
His intimate friend, Governor Letcher, appreciating his gifts, sent him as a colonel of infantry to Harper's Ferry, where the first collision with the Union forces was hourly expected.