Retiring in 1834 to Belfast, where his firm had linen works, he died at New Lodge on 29 July 1835, aged 55. He was buried in the churchyard of Ballylesson. Sadler's eldest son was Michael Ferrebee Sadler [q. v.] His nephew, Michael Thomas Sadler (1801–1872), a surgeon at Barnsley, was the author of ‘The Bible the People's Charter,’ 1869.
A statue of Sadler, by Park, was erected by public subscription in Leeds parish church. There are two portraits of him—one sitting on the benches of the House of Commons; the other, engraved by T. Lupton from a painting by W. Robinson. He was elected a fellow of the Royal Society in June 1832.
Sadler's brief public life deeply impressed his contemporaries. He was one of those philanthropic statesmen whose inspiration may be traced to the evangelical movement and the necessities of the industrial revolution. He did not believe in any purely political remedy for the discontent caused by the unregulated growth of the factory system, but underrated the need for political reform, and was too sanguine in his belief that the territorial aristocracy would realise the necessity of social readjustments, and force the needed changes on the manufacturing element of the middle class. He met with as much opposition from his own side as from his opponents. Lloyd Jones, who knew him well, bore testimony to his eloquence, marked ability, and ‘modest honesty of purpose plain to the eye of the most careless observer in every look and action of the man.’ And Southey, writing to Lord Ashley on 13 Jan. 1833, said: ‘Sadler is a loss; he might not be popular in the house, or in London society, but his speeches did much good in the country, and he is a singularly able, right-minded, and religious man. Who is there that will take up the question of our white slave-trade with equal feeling?’
Besides the works mentioned above, Sadler published in pamphlet form:
- ‘Speech on the State and Prospects of the Country, delivered at Whitby 15 Sept. 1829.’
- ‘The Factory Girl's Last Day,’ 1830.
- ‘On Poor Laws for Ireland, 3 June 1830, and 29 Aug. 1831.’
- ‘On Ministerial Plan of Reform, 1831.’
- ‘On the Distress of the Agricultural Labourers, 11 Oct. 1831.’
[The Memoir of Michael Thomas Sadler, by Seeley, 1842, is unsatisfactory. Southey offered to write a biography of Sadler, but the family made other arrangements. There is a short life in Taylor's Leeds Worthies, or Biographia Leodiensis. Cf. also History of the Factory Movement by ‘Alfred’ (i.e. Samuel Kydd); Cunningham's Growth of English History and Commerce in Modern Times, pp. 584 and 628; Toynbee's Lectures on the Industrial Revolution, p. 207; Bonar's Malthus and his Work, pp. 377 and 395; Macaulay's Miscellaneous Writings (articles on Sadler's Law of Population, and Sadler's Refutation Refuted); Hodder's Life of the Seventh Earl of Shaftesbury, pp. 143–58; and the Report from the Committee of the House of Commons on the Bill to regulate the Labour of Children in the Mills and Factories of the United Kingdom, with minutes of evidence (8 Aug. 1832). The writer has also had access to family letters and papers.]
SADLER, SADLEIR, or SADLEYER, Sir RALPH (1507–1587), diplomatist, born in 1507 at Hackney, Middlesex, was the eldest son of Henry Sadleir, who held a situation of trust in the household of a nobleman at Cillney, Essex. The son, as is shown by his correspondence, received a good education, and knew Greek as well as Latin. At an early age he was received into the family of Thomas Cromwell, afterwards Earl of Essex, whose increasing favour with Henry VIII proved highly beneficial to his ward's fortunes. It was probably soon after Cromwell's elevation to the peerage, 9 July 1536, that Sadler was named gentleman of the king's privy chamber; for on his tombstone he is stated to have entered the king's service ‘about the twenty-six year of his reign,’ not the tenth, as Sir Walter Scott (Biographical Memoirs, p. iv) erroneously relates. So high an opinion did the king form of his ability and character that in 1537 he sent him to Scotland—during the absence of James in France—to inquire into the complaints of the Queen-dowager Margaret against the Scots and her son, and to discover, if possible, the exact character of the relations of the king of Scots with France. Shortly after his return to England he was also sent to the king of Scots, who was then at Rouen, preparing to return to Scotland with his young French bride. His object was to bring about an understanding between the Scottish king and his mother. He was so far successful that, shortly afterwards, the Queen-dowager Margaret informed her brother that her ‘son had written affectionately to the lords of his council to do her justice with expedition’ (State Papers, Henry VIII, v. 74).
In January 1540 Sadler was again despatched to Scotland on a mission of greater importance. Although his ostensible errand was merely to convey a present of horses to King James, he was specially directed to make use of the opportunity to instil into him distrust of the designs of Cardinal Beaton, and his ambition to arrogate to