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from achieving the highest and most lasting fame. First of all, however, we quote from the “ Memoirs” a few paragraphs, in order to convey an idea not only of the principal stages in his career, but of his early promise and education. With regard to the epochs of his life, we have the following rapid and brief sketch :
He was born at Snelston in Derbyshire, in the year 1780: he continued to reside in that village, and in the neighbouring one of Doveridge, until the year 1800, when he removed to Leeds. In 1813, he entered into partnership with the widow of the late Samuel Fenton, Esq., of that place, whose eldest daughter he married in 1816. In March, 1829, he was returned to Parliament as one of the representatives for the borough of Newark; for which place he was re-elected in July, 1830. In May, 1831, Parliament having been again dissolved, he was returned for the borough of Aldborough in Yorkshire. His connexion with Parliament terminating in December, 1832, he removed about a year afterwards to Belfast, in Ireland, where he continued to reside until his death, which occurred in July, 1835, in the fifty-sixth year of his age.
Next, for his character and progress during his early years :
His faculties seem to have developed themselves at an early age. A taste both for drawing and music manifested itself before he had reached his fifth year. Specimens of early talent in sketching, made about this period of his childhood, have been preserved in the family ever since ; and at the same age he was accustomed to find out a tune on the harpsichord, after having heard it played or sung, with the assistance of the printed notes.
About the sixth year of his age he was placed under the care of Mr. Harrison, a schoolmaster of considerable reputation at Doveridge, and with him he remained till his fourteenth or fifteenth year. Here he acquired a competent knowledge of Latin and Greek, a good acquaintance with French, and the rudiments of Italian and German. But Mr. Harrison's favourite pursuit was that of mathematics, in which he greatly excelled, and to which he naturally directed the ardent mind of his
pupil. By the time young Sadler had completed his eleventh year, he had gone through Saunderson's Algebra, calculated eclipses, found logarithms, and become conversant with the most abstruse probiems in pure and practical geometry.
At this period he became a correspondent of the chief scientific periodical of the day; answering most of the mathematical problems proposed through that channel. Such, indeed, was his proficiency, that at this early age his tutor felt no hesitation in giving him the charge of a pupil of adult years, and who has since gained a distinguished reputation, but who was then passing the college vacation at Doveridge, for the benefit of Mr. Harrison's advice and direction.
At his twelfth year it was his father's intention to have removed him to a public school, with a view to his proceeding from thence to college. But on consulting Mr. Harrison, the tutor's fondness for his pupil caused
him to use such persuasions as induced Mr. Sadler to allow him to remain at Doveridge. Thus the whole plan and prospects of his life became deranged, and after remaining with Mr. Harrison till any longer stay appeared useless, he returned home, without any settled plan as to his further education or course of life.
Left now, for two or three years, very much to his own choice of pursuits, it happened fortunately that his father possessed a large and well-selected library, which had been bequeathed to him by Mrs. Sadler's relative, the Reverend Henry Wrigley, Tutor of St. John's College, Cambridge. This collection contained all the standard English authors, together with the leading Greek and Roman classics; and as Michael had an insatiable thirst for reading, a year or two spent with these companions made him familiar with all the best models both ancient and modern.
Leisure, and such a course of reading, soon produced one very common result in a mind of an imaginative and enthusiastic order.
He began to indulge in a poetic vein to a considerable extent. He versified many of the Psalms, and produced a poem in Spenserian verse descriptive of the scenery of the river Dove. He also threw into heroic verse the account of Darius's feast; given in 1 Esdras, iv. This, with some other pieces, he at one time intended to send to the press; but, discovering that Southey had anticipated him in the subject, he abandoned the intention.
Now, relative to Sadler's natural character, his deficiencies and his peculiarities, the “Memoirs," and indeed all that was before currently known concerning him, enable us first of all to pronounce that he was endowed with real benevolent feeling, with an ardent temperament, with an imaginative turn of mind, and even with considerable poetic powers. He was also master of great fluency, and could enrich his speeches and writings with apt and ready illustrations drawn from a variety of sources. We may add, that he was clever at detecting the fallacies of opponents, the errors of those who were wrong-doers, and popular in his method of declaiming against abuses, or about the sufferings of the poor and the labouring classes. But, on the other hand, his benevolence was not guided by a deep philosophy, or expanded so as to embrace the whole truth,—the entire field which called for sympathy and justice. His eloquence, again, chiefly dealt in common-places, which for want of depth and extension often amounted to fallacies; while his method, as well as capacity for haranguing, pointed him out as a zealous demagogue who had charity for no one that did not think exactly as he himself did. He seems to have indulged an anger against the manufacturers as a class, just as he did against Malthus as an individual, that would have resulted in persecution had he possesed despotic power.
Again, the course of his education, the spheres in which he moved before becoming a parliament man, nay, the very direction of his tastes towards literature, haranguing, and lecturing, for a
series of years, were not calculated to prepare or to prune him for the career of a statesman. Let us here quote from the “ Memoirs,” and introduce, along with some suggestive remarks, Sir James Mackintosh as a critic :
The main drawback to his acceptability and usefulness, was one which arose out of the circumstances in which he had been placed for the first five-and-forty years of his life : it was well indicated by one of the most accurate observers in the old House of Commons, Sir James Mackintosh. In the spring of 1829, when the eclât of Mr. Sadler's first appearance in that assembly brought his name and pretensions into daily discussion in every society, Mr. Zachary Macaulay, happening to meet this veteran critic and orator, immediately put the question, “This Mr. Sadler, whom all men are talking about, what sort of a man is he, Sir James ?—What is your opinion of him ?” “Why," replied Sir James, " there is no doubt that he is a great man; but he appears to me to have been used to a favourable auditory."
Sir James had here, with an intuitive sagacity, both hinted at the defects in Mr. Sadler's mode of address, and had suggested most truly their real cause and origin. Unlike such men as Canning, and Brougham, and Peel, who were brought as youths, upon the noblest arena in the world, and forced to train themselves cautiously and step by step, in the presence of the Nestors of the senate, until all exuberances were pruned away, all weaknesses remedied, and a style formed by practice, exactly suited to the place and the auditory: unlike, we repeat, these happier competitors, Mr. Sadler dwelt and moved, until mature age, amidst the society of men who were, almost universally, his inferiors both in mental powers and acquirements. It was impossible that this circumstance should fail to produce an injurious effect. He became accustomed, as a matter of right and of course, to declaim, to lecture, to expatiate. On every side he grew accustomed to meet the gaze of admiring and delighted auditors; but scarcely ever had he the advantage of grappling with an equal.
It is to us quite clear from what we have quoted from the "Memoirs," or previously read and heard of the man, that Mr. Sadler was not qualified by nature or by acquirements to maintain an ascendancy in the House of Commons. It was all very well to listen to him, once or twice, about the wrongs of the Factory children, or relative to the encroachments made upon the comforts and wonted privileges of the agricultural poor. But these topics would have became stale in his hands, even although the Lower House consisted of a set of men that prefer declamation and vehement utterance of oft-repeated sentiments to practical sense and substantial matter. But there was a greater drawback to Mr. Sadler's enduring fame than the unpruned style or the reiterating to which we have alluded. As we have already stated, his philosophy was straitened, limited, and narrow, and therefore unsound as well as illiberal. He laboured under strong prejudices, as might be ex
pected of one whose religious sentiments were stringent, whose temperament was ardent, and who had not been logically schooled by experience. He, for example, clearly perceived and earnestly described the sufferings of the Factory children, but he never seems to have carried his eye to the remoter causes of the evil, or to have been capable of devising a wholesome and permanent practical cure for it. Neither when he called for acts of Parliament does he seem to have considered how idle it is to grapple with tides in the transitions of society by means of paper and parchment issued by a legislature.
We might extend these general kinds of remark with regard to Mr. Sadler's political career; and enforce them by special references to many of his opinions and exertions. This would, however, cause us to exceed the space which we think is called for by the “Memoirs." We therefore hasten to a conclusion. The paragraphs which we now copy out exhibit him at a most interesting period of his history, while they glance at defects and habits which must have considerably diminished his public influence. The period we allude to was that during which he was contemplating a speedy removal from our world. We are told,
His sole occupation during all this period was of a character suited to his circumstances. The Scriptures were seldom out of his hand : his conversation was filled with the one topic; and earnest and vehement prayer absorbed him day and night. That his petitions were indeed heard and answered, became apparent to his afflicted relatives by several unequivocal signs. Among these we may specify,
1. A perfect calmness and indifference to things which had for many years past almost monopolized his thoughts. As one instance of this may be mentioned, a fresh and very earnest application for permission to use his name as a candidate for a large borough in a midland county of England. The application was not only declined on the instant-which, indeed, was a matter of course, but it was put aside without a single sigh, or so much as a quickening of the pulse.
2. Having always been of an impetuous and irritable temperament, the silent endurance of pain had never been a feature in his character in former years. Now, however, although ease wholly forsook him, and his sufferings were constant and unremitting, his patient endurance was quite remarkable, and his mind seemed swallowed up by a feeling that all his pains were infinitely less than his deservings ; and by an intense desire to realize that interest in the greater and truly availing sufferings of the Saviour which might enable him to exclaim, with the Apostle's exulting confidence, “ Our light affliction, which is but for a moment, worketh out for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory."
3. Another most evident and remarkable change took place in him. When in health, the confidence which he felt in the truth of his own principles, and the vehemence with which he maintained them, constantly led him to speak of his opponents, especially of those who had written "against
the poor," in terms of unsparing severity. It was not any personal feeling which prompted this; he merely adopted too dogmatically the language applied in holy writ to the oppressors of the poor and the needy. But now a total change took place in this respect. The greatest meekness and gentleness displayed itself whenever opposing controversialists were alluded to; and he was quite as ready to find an exculpatory plea or charitable supposition, as he had formerly been to hurl anathemas at “the enemies of
It only remains for us now to say a word about the literary merits of the volume before us. The biographer, it is to be borne in mind, has had to work up memoirs from a life destitute of stirring incident, and consisting of a mere record of opinions and writings. Accordingly we have little more than an account of speeches, with ample extracts from them, and a recapitulation of the extravagant compliments paid by persons whose opinions squared with those of Mr. Sadler. This so far as regards one section of the contents. Then as relates to writings, we have his anti-Malthusian_arguments presented afresh; while his efforts in behalf of the Factory children and in other philanthropic walks are minutely recorded. In doing all this the biographer evinces kindred feeling and principle to what were cherished by the hero of the book, and is naturally eulogistic; exhibiting also a considerable share of the sectarian spirit displayed by Mr. Sadler. But after all the volume is not without valuable and interesting features; for while it lends us a considerable insight into the character of the man, it also affords an instructive type of class thinkers whose intentions are as sincere and humane as their dogmatism is offensive; whose hearts are as warm as their heads are contracted. Mr. Sadler was disgusted at the dry and mathematical enunciations of the political economists; and did not see how their theory could be compatible with truth and with humanity; and therefore with the zeal of a good, although not with the knowledge of a very great man, ceased not to denounce the presumed enormities, and died a real Christian.
ART. III.-1. The Rise and Progress of the Laws of England and Wales.
By Owen FLINTOFF, Esq. Richards and Co. 2. The English Constitution ; a Popular Commentary on the Constitutional
Law of England. By GEORGE Bowyer, M.A. Burns. These publications contemplate kindred although separate branches of a wonderfully broad subject, which, if skilfully treated, must be rendered no less interesting than they are recondite.
6. The Rise and Progress of the Laws of England” necessarily impose upon Mr. Flintoff the task of tracing through many a curious region the origin and the modifications of our national customs and established forms,