Tait and a lost age
by Archbishop DAVID MATHEW The Victorian Church in Dedine by P. T. Marsh (Routledge & Kegan Paul, 56s.) AS is so often the case, it is
the sub-title of Professor Marsh's book "Archbishop Tait and the Church of England 1868-1882" which describes the marrow of this work. It is an interesting and scholarly account of the fourteen years of the primacy of Archibald Campbell Tait.
The book is balanced and perceptive and leaves a sympathetic impression of the first and perhaps the greatest of the Scottish primates of the Church of England. His interests were very strictly channelled. He was not exacerbataed by the Church of Rome; it was so very far away from him. Professor Marsh remarks that he had a certain friendliness towards those Roman clergy who worked among their flocks around his country house at Addington.
Archbishop Tait was not disturbed at all by events upon the Continent. His whole concern was concentrated on that Established Church entrusted to his guidance. He had a deep sympathy with English Nonconformity. This book makes clear the Archbishop's kind relations with the Queen, who was responsible for his appointment.
Sir Osbert Sitwell, who was rather improbably a relative, has given us some impressions of him. Professor Marsh's judgments inspire confidence; but his style is concentrated and rather heavy. It is sometimes difficult to make out his meaning. "Matthew Arnold," he writes on p.45, "was a selftouted friend whose proposals would kill a supernatural religion." We are left with an impression of the Archbishop's common sense. The frontispiece, a portrait of Dr. Tait, very well conveys his personality.