The Life and Times of Patrick Torry, D.D.,
Bishop of Saint Andrews, Dunkeld, and Dunblane, with an Appendix on the Scottish Liturgy.
Edited by the Rev. J. M Neale, M.A.
London: Joseph Masters, 1856.
On Bishop Torry's death it was felt by his family, and by others, that some record should be attempted of one who was so mixed up with the history of half a century of the Scottish Church. His letters and papers were therefore entrusted to the Rev. Gilbert Rorison, the Incumbent at Peterhead, and to the Rev. J. B Pratt, Incumbent of S. James's, at Cruden, the latter the most intimate and valued of all his personal friends. Circumstances, which need not here be specified, prevented them from carrying on their task; and in the spring of last year I was requested by the Dean of S. Andrew's to become his father's biographer. It was not without some hesitation that I undertook an office which would more naturally have belonged to some Priest of the Scottish Church, especially as I was only acquainted with the deceased Prelate by means of letters. But it seemed doubtful whether, if I did not myself take the work in hand, the biography would not altogether fall to the ground; and though I felt then, as I have felt all along, how much better it could have been performed by others, I preferred doing what I could to honour one for whom I had so sincere a reverence, rather than allow the opportunity to be altogether lost.
It must be borne ill mind that the key-note of this life is,The preservation and perpetuation of the Scottish Communion Office. For that Bishop Torry wrote, spoke, laboured, suffered, and, in the last years of his earthly existence, may be almost said to have lived. While some of his brethren feebly defended it, or gave it up to the first breath of popular fancy, and one (the late Bishop Low) spent a long episcopate in rooting it out of his diocese, (a fact which should have been more explicitly allowed and stated by his biographer,) the Bishop of S. Andrew's, from first to last, never wavered in asserting its superiority to the Office by which it was proposed to supplant it, never flinched from coming forward in its defence, scarcely ever wrote a letter without alluding to it, and almost literally spent his last breath in declaring that with respect to it he remained "firm to the last."
The chapter in the following work which has occasioned me the greatest anxiety and trouble is that on the publication of the Scottish Prayer Book. I sincerely trust that nothing therein stated can wound the feelings of any who took part in that controversy; and I am persuaded that many who condemned the Bishop's conduct in that affair are as anxious for the preservation of the Scottish Office as he himself was. The proofs of the pages which relate the rise and progress of that dispute were submitted to the present Bishop of S. Andrews, in the hope that I might be able to so to state the case as to obtain the concurrence or acquiescence of those who were opposed to Bishop Torrys Prayer Book. His Lordship was so kind as to favour me with an interview on the subject; and several not unimportant alterations were made at his suggestion. But, to my extreme regret, I failed to obtain his agreement to that which I felt bound still to leave. I then endeavoured to induce him to state his own views as an appendix to that chapter, and offered to print it without note or observation; this offer, however, his Lordship (whose great kindness I wish particularly to acknowledge) did not think it right to accept. Much as I was grieved at the disappointment of my hopes, I still felt bound to state what appeared, and does appear, to me to be the truth; and that more especially in defence of one who is now beyond the reach of earthly praise or blame.
The grounds on which that chapter proceeds, is briefly this:
1. Till the year 1849, there was no such thing as a Scottish Prayer Book, authorised or unauthorised.
2. Though the greater part of the Services in the English Prayer Book were adopted by Canon, they were adopted more or less loosely, and in some cases could not be adopted altogether.
3. Neither was the distinctive Communion Office up to that time ever printed at length. The wee bookies, as every one knows, only begin at the Exhortation.
From this I conclude:
4. That any Bishop had (and has) a right to do for his Diocese what ever Presbyter is obliged to do for himself: to make an edition of the Prayer Book which can be used without turning to more than one volume, and without any alteration of words. But I also allow,
5. That it would have been better to submit the book to the Diocesan Synod: and
6. That sincewhether rightly or wronglya National Synod has tolerated the use, under certain restrictions, of the English Liturgy, it had been better to subjoin that Liturgy to the distinctive Scottish form.
I pass from this subject with the expression of an earnest hope that nothing said in this volume will again awaken a controversy now so happily composed, or excite ill feelings in that Diocese which was so fortunate in its late Prelate, and certainly not less so in his successor.
I now have to thank those who have assisted me in the progress of my work. The Dean of S. Andrews, besides supplying me with the far greater part of its materials, was kind enough to read all the proofs till the Prayer Book controversy. To many of his alterations and suggestions I am much indebted, but I have not always followed them; and it would therefore be unjust to hold him responsible for any particular statements or details in the work. I have to express my thanks to the Lord Bishop of Brechin for sending me several letters of Bishop Torrys, and for other kind assistance; and to the Rev. J. B Pratt, Incumbent of Cruden, for a mass of information communicated both by letter, and in more than one pleasant walk and ride in his seagirt parish, by the Buller of Buchan and the Rock of Dunbuy. And I must also acknowledge much kind help from the Hon. G. F. Boyle, the Rev. P. Cheyne, Incumbent of S. Johns, Aberdeen, the Rev. Joseph Haskoll, Rector of East Barkwith and Canon of Perth, the Rev. C. T. Erskine, the Rev. Alexander Lendrum, Incumbent of Crieff, and the Rev. J. C. Chambers.
The Appendix will perhaps not be without its value to those who wish to study the theory and development of the Scottish Liturgy. In this I have to acknowledge the great kindness of the Rev. James Skinner, Senior Curate of S. Barnabas, Pimlico, in lending me, and allowing me to print, Bishop Rattrays variations from the recognised Office. The are entered in a copy of that edition of Lauds Prayer Book, which was reprinted by the Earl of Winton, at Edinburgh, in 1712; and besides these, the Bishop has, with considerable manual labour, brought the book into verbal agreement with the English Prayer Book of the last revision.
If this volume shall tend to keep alive among the Scottish Clergy a reverence for, and a determination to defend against all assaults, that inestimable inheritance which they have received, mediately from the Liturgies of S. James, S. Basil, and S. Clement, but more directly through the hands of those great and good men Gadderar, Archibald Campbell, Rattray, and Hickes, it will be a result which Bishop Torry would have prized dearly, and will be continuing the work in which he very willingly spent and was spent. God grant that it may be so!
Monday in Passion Week, March 10, 1856.