Dictionary of National Biography, 1901 supplement/Boyd, Andrew Kennedy Hutchison

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BOYD, ANDREW KENNEDY HUTCHISON (1825–1899), Scottish divine, son of Dr. James Boyd, was born at Auchinleck Manse, Ayrshire, on 3 Nov. 1825. After receiving his elementary education at Ayr, he studied at King's College and the Middle Temple, London, with thoughts, apparently, of being an English barrister. 'I am the only kirk minister,' he once said, 'who is a member of the Middle Temple.' Returning to the university of Glasgow, he qualified for the ministry of the national church, gaining high distinction in philosophy and theology, and securing several prizes for English essays. He graduated B.A. at Glasgow in April 1846, and at the end of 1850 was licensed as a preacher by the presbytery of Ayr. For several months he was assistant in St. George's parish, Edinburgh, and on 18 Sept. 1851 he was ordained parish minister of Newton-on-Ayr, where he succeeded John Caird [q. v.] In 1854 he became minister of Kirkpatrick-Irongray, near Dumfries. Here he remained five years, maturing his pulpit style, and, writing under his initials of 'A. K. H. B.,' steadily gaining reputation in 'Fraser's Magazine' with his 'Recreations of a Country Parson.' Both his excellence as a parish minister and his literary distinction soon attracted attention, and he was sought after for vacant charges. In April 1859 he was appointed to the parish of St. Bernard's, Edinburgh, and found the presbytery much exercised on the question of decorous church service, raised by the practice and advocacy of Dr. Robert Lee [q. v.] Boyd seems to have intermeddled but little in the controversy, but he sympathised with the desire for a devout and graceful form of worship, and he was afterwards a prominent member of the Churcli Service Society. In 1864 the university of Edinburgh conferred on him the honorary degree of D.D.

In 1865 Boyd succeeded Dr. Park as minister of the first charge, St. Andrews, finding in the post the goal of his ecclesiastical ambition. 'Never once, for one moment,' he said, 'have I wished to go elsewhere' (Twenty-five Years of St. Andrews, i. 10). Boyd at St. Andrews was probably better known beyond Scotland than any other presbyterian divine of his day. He had numerous friends among the leaders of the English clergy and eminent men of letters, and, popular as his writings were at home, they were even more widely read in America. Soon after settling in St. Andrews he began to urge the question of an improved ritual in the services of the national church, and in 18G6, on the initiative of his presbytery, a committee was appointed by the general assembly to prepare a collection of hymns. The hymnal compiled by the committee, with Boyd as convener, was published in 1870, and enlarged in 1884. This work brought Boyd prominently forward in the church courts; he amply proved his judgment and discrimination as a critic of sacred song, and his business capacity and unflagging diligence as convener of his committee. St. Andrews University conferred on him the degree of LL.D. in April 1889. In May 1890 he was appointed moderator of the general assembly. He performed his duties assiduously and well, and, as was said at the time, 'with archiepiscopal dignity.' His introductory and closing addresses — notably the latter, on 'Church Life in Scotland: Retrospect and Prospect' (Edinburgh, 1890), with its touching reminiscences — were fine in feeling and graceful in form. In his moderator's year he was much occupied throughout Scotland, reopening churches, introducing organs, and so on, showing everywhere unfailing tact, urbanity, and sincerity. One of his last public services was the reopening, on 11 July 1894, of the renovated church of St. Cuthbert's, Edinburgh — one of the oldest ecclesiastical edifices in Scotland — his address on the occasion being adequately archaiological, and graced with a fine literary flavour. Early in 1895 he was seriously ill, but recovered, only to lose the devoted wife who had nursed him back to health. In the winter of 1898-9 he had a recurrence of ill-health and went to Bournemouth to recruit. Here he resumed work on sermons and essays, but in the evening of 1 March 1899 he died of misadventure, having taken carbolic lotion in mistake for a sleeping-draught. He was interred in the cathedral burying-ground, St. Andrews.

Boyd married, in 1854, Margaret Buchanan, eldest daughter of Captain Kirk (71st regiment) of Carrickfergus, Ireland. She predeceased him in 1895. In 1897 he married, for the second time, Janet Balfour, daughter of Mr. Leslie Meldrum, Devon, Clackmannan, She survived him, with five sons and one daughter of his first wife's family.

Clear, precise, and definite in his habits, Boyd, both professionally and socially, was entirely unconventional and independent. A close and shrewd observer, with quick grasp of character and a humorous sense tinged with cynicism, he was always fresh and attractive — and not seldom brilliant — as preacher, writer, or conversationalist. His sermons were literary and practical rather than dogmatic; his essays, although often commonplace in thought and expression, caught the attention by their common sense, their easy allusiveness, and transparency of style; and his brisk unflagging talk was enriched with endless and apposite anecdotes, although it was not devoid of a certain overbearing element. 'I came to the conclusion,' says Sir Edward Russell, 'that he was almost, if not quite, the greatest raconteur I had ever known' (That reminds Me, p. 13S). His best books resemble his conversation, and his autobiographical reminiscences are exceptionally realistic and outspoken.

Boyd wrote and published much. The following volumes contain his most notable literary and didactic work: 1. 'Recreations of a Country Parson,' three series, 1859-61-78, each running into many editions. 2. 'Graver Thoughts of a Country Parson,' three series, 1802-5-75. 3. 'Leisure Hours in Town,' 1862. 4. 'The Commonplace Philosopher in Town and Country,' 1862-4. 5. 'Counsel and Comfort spoken from a City Pulpit,' 1863. 6. 'Autumn Holidays of a Country Parson,' 1864. 7. 'Critical Essays of a Country Parson,' 1865. 8. 'Sunday Afternoons in the Parish Church of a University City,' 1866. 9. 'Lessons of Middle Age, and some Account of various Cities and Men,' 1868. 10. 'Changed Aspects of Unchanged Truths,' 1869. 11. 'Present-day Thoughts,' 1871. 12. 'Seaside Musings on Sundays and Week-days,' 1872, 13. 'Scotch Communion Sunday,' 1873. 14. 'Landscapes, Churches, and Moralities,' 1874. 15. ' From a Quiet Place,' 1879. 16. 'Our Little Life : Essays Consolatory,' two series, 1882-4. 17. 'Towards the Sunset; Teachings after Thirty Years,' 1882. 18. 'What set him Right; with Chapters to Help,' 1885-8. 19. 'Our Homely Comedy and Tragedy,' 1887. 20. 'The Best Last; with other Papers,' 1888. 21 and 22. 'To meet the Day, and East Coast Days and Memories,' 1889. In 1892 Boyd published, in two volumes, the first instalment of his reminiscences, or transcripts from his minute and faithful diaries, entitled 'Twenty-five Years of St. Andrews.' This was followed in 1894 by a similar work, 'St. Andrews and Elsewhere.' In 1895 appeared a volume of the earlier style, with the characteristically descriptive title, 'Occasional and Immemorial Days.' The record closes in 1896 with the 'Last Years of St. Andrews,' a continuation of the autobiographical series, with its curious personal revelations and frank character sketches.

[Information from Boyd's son, Mr. F. N. Boyd; Scotsman, Dundee Advertiser, and other daily papers of 3 March 1899; St. Andrews Citizen, People's Journal, and other Fife papers of 4 March 1899; Principal Story in Life and Work Magazine for May 1899; Mrs. Oliphant's Memoir of Principal Tulloch, pp. 369, 476; Men of the Reign; Mr. Andrew Lang in Longman's Magazine for May 1899; personal knowledge.]

T. B.