Michael Thomas Sadler

Life
1780-1835; English social reformer; engaged in Methodist movement; importer of Irish linen in Leeds; opposed Catholic Emancipation, 1813; and wrote Ireland, Its Evils and their Remedies (1828); issued Law of Population (1835), with the thesis that the prolificness of humans is inverse to their number, and was attacked by Macauley in Edinburgh Review; introduced bill regulating labour of young people in factories, 1831 Tory MP Newark and Aldborough; FRS, 1832. ODNB

Commentary
Thomas G. Conway, ‘The Approach to an Irish Poor Law, 1828-33’, Éire-Ireland, 6, 1 (Spring 1971), pp.65-81: remarks that ‘Michael Sadler, the archfoe of the Malthusians, presented his own poor relief measure after presenting several petitions from Ireland which requested the introduction of a system of parochial relief similar to that of England. Villiers Stuart, a prominent Irish member, disassociated himself from Sadler and the political economists. He then proceeded to urge that a Poor Law for Ireland was an absolute necessity both as a matter of justice and sound policy.’ (p.68) Conway continues ‘On June 3, 1830, Michael Sadler made a lengthy appeal for his one Poor Law proposal. To this religious man the poor had a reserved claim on the community after the institution of the monopoly rights of property, and he cited an impressive number of legal authorities from Biblical to modern times. More importantly, he referred the parliament to the writings of Richard Woodward, an eighteenth-century Irish bishop on the need for a legal provision for the poor. From the evidence of uninterrupted poverty since Woodward's time, Sadler denied the possibility of the poor helping themselves in the absence of a provision. Self-help was the popular dogma which Sadler assaulted.’ (p.72).

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