Dictionary of National Biography, 1885-1900/Sadler, Thomas (1822-1891)

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SADLER, THOMAS (1822–1891), divine, was the son of Thomas Sadler, unitarian minister of Horsham in Sussex, where he was born on 5 July 1822. He was educated at University College, London, studied for some months at Bonn, and proceeded to Erlangen, whence he graduated Ph.D. in 1844. He entered the unitarian ministry at Hackney, but migrated in 1846 to become minister of Rosslyn Hill chapel at Hampstead, which he served for the remaining forty-five years of his life. In 1859 he published ‘Gloria Patri: the Scripture Doctrine of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit,’ in which he defended the unitarian position against the views expressed in the ‘Rock of Ages’ by Edward Henry Bickersteth (afterwards bishop of Exeter). Through his instrumentality the new chapel on Rosslyn Hill was opened on 5 June 1862. Dr. James Martineau preached the opening discourse, which was printed, together with Sadler's sermon on the closing of the old chapel and an appendix on the former ministers of Hampstead. Sadler was specially interested in the history of the older English presbyterianism. His literary tastes and intimacies, together with his knowledge of German university life, led the trustees to confide to him, in 1867, the editing of Crabb Robinson's ‘Diaries.’ The work appeared in 1869, and a third edition was called for in 1872; but only a small portion of the Crabb Robinson papers (now in Dr. Williams's Library) was utilised. In addition to minor devotional works, Sadler was also author of ‘Edwin T. Field: a memorial sketch,’ 1872; ‘The Man of Science and Disciple of Christ’ (a funeral discourse on William Benjamin Carpenter [q. v.]), 1885; and ‘Prayers for Christian Worship,’ 1886. He died at Rosslyn Manse on 11 Sept. 1891, and was buried on the 16th in Highgate cemetery. At the time of his death he was the senior trustee of Dr. Williams's Library and visitor of Manchester New College, where his addresses were highly valued. Sadler married, in 1849, Mary, daughter of Charles Colgate, but left no issue.

[Baines's Records of Hampstead, 1890, p. 97; Inquirer, 19 and 26 Sept. 1891 (memorial sermon by Dr. James Drummond); Times, 18 Sept. 1891; Sadler's Works; J. Freeman Clarke's Autobiogr. 1891, p. 369; private information.]

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