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THE GOOD MAN SERVING HIS GENERATION.
We have derived much pleasure from the perusal of the following memoir of Thomas Caddiek, Esq. late of Tewkesbury. It forms part of a sermon preached on his decease in the Baptist Chapel at that place, and pourtrays a thoroughly consistent, honest, useful, and benevolent character, who seems in the words of the text to “have served his generation” by leaving the world better and happier than he found it.
One or two points in the history of this good man, merit especially the serious consideration of our young readers.
He was diligent. He had no squeamish dread of being over-worked. He found time for almost every thing, and enjoyed the high merit of doing every thing for which he found time, better than those who had greater abilities and much more leisure. And as a necessary reward of his industry, he had the satisfaction of realizing the good man's guerdon “Whatsoever he doeth shall prosper.”
He was a thorough utilitarian. He was no dreamer-no speculative philosopher-no literary recluse, diving, to use the figure of Johnson, so very deep into things, as to fetch up nothing but mud from the bottom. His education, to be sure, was not of the most liberal kind, and yet it was in his case, the best he could have had—it was practical and philanthropic in its tendencies : and furnishes a brilliant illustration of the fact that colleges and classics are not necessary to make a real man.
He was moderate in his desire for worldly wealth, affording a rate specimen of that very rare class who can follow the injunction of the wise man. “Put a knife to thy throat if thou be a man given to appetile.” In the full tide of business, he could calmly stand still, and say "It is enough.” And yet had his means been thrice as ample he could have found abundant and profitable use for them.
For, he was remarkable for benevolence und generosity. How seldom do we find any individual spending more on strangers, than on his own household; distributing liberally but judiciously to religious, charitable, or educational societies, the larger half of an income by no means excessive? Yet thus did Thumas Caddick. Nor was this extensive benevolence fettered by party scruples. He was not only liberal in his purse, but liberal in his principles.
He was no bigot. The Baptist of Tewkesbury was a Churchman in London. Romaine and Cecil, and the good, warm, zealous, working men in Lady Huntingdon's connection found favor in his eyes and a place in his heart, as well as his own people. And the same feelings were cherished to the last. The London, the Moravian, and the Church Missionary Societies, and Lady Huntingdon's college were each
benefited by ample legacies as will been seen on a perusal of the following memoir which we earnestly recommend to the serious and prayerful perusal of our young charge.
Thomas CADDICK, the subject of the following sketch, was one of a large, though respectable family. He was from childhood trained to habits of industry and frugality; and when very young was appointed by his father, who had an interest in a Staffordshire colliery, regularly to rise at three o'clock in the morning, to relieve the person who during the night had charge of the steam-engine at the mines. This duty he discharged till breakfast time, and then used to walk four miles to school, taking his dinner with him, and returning home again on foot in the evening. How far this early discipline may have induced a love of labour it is impossible to say; but being blessed with strength of body and great energy of mind, he, while in health, usually selected the most laborious post when co-operating with others, and never appeared inore in his element than when employed on matters requiring the exertion of all his powers. His educational advantages were comparatively limited, but amply sufficient, as is well known, to qualify him both to earn, and sustain, a first-rate business reputation. Had his scholastic privileges been greater, and he had thereby acquired a more studious and contemplative taste, it is highly probable much of the time which, in after years, he so steadily devoted to practical objects, would have been spent in literary and theoretical pursuits-not more fraught with happiness to himself in the cultivation, while of infinitely less advantage to his fellow men, than were the philanthropic engagements to which his attention was so constantly given. He may be said to have read men rather than books, and turned the knowledge thus obtained to good account.
Soon after his settlement at Tewkesbury, he was called in rotation to fill the various parochial offices. First, as overseer; and on taking that appointment, he found the rate books of his predecessors, for several years, had neither been audited nor fully collected, but he soon fetched up all arrears, and discharged his own proper duties with a promptitude never since equalled.
In the office of director of the poor, however, under our late local act, his exertions and his services were of far greater importance. On his entering upon it, the parish was overwhelmed with debt, and the House of Industry a scene of confusion ; but under his management matters assumed a new aspect. During the full term of three years his seat at the weekly board was not once vacant; and only once, when on a journey, did he fail in his attendance at the house on Sundays during the said term, to see that the inmates went to their several
places of worship, and properly attended to their other duties of the day—an instance of punctuality unparalleled in the annals of that board. It may be added, that such was the sense the body corporate entertained of his services, that on his retirement they presented him with their highly complimentary acknowledgments, together with the gratuitous freedom of the borough.
Another instance of his public spirit, about the same period, was the establishment of a poor's coal depôt. Fifty years ago, when there was no canal communication between the Staffordshire coal pits and the river Severn, this town and district were dependent on the Shropshire barges for a supply of this essential article. The trade also being in few hands, stocks were usually low, and in times of continued frost, often entirely exhausted ; consequently the poor of that day were at such seasons exposed to great privations. In ordinary times, moreover they had to pay a much higher price for their fuel during the winter months than has been the case since that canal has been opened. To meet this evil, he, in conjunction with a friend or two, either begged or borrowed-by subscriptions of half a guinea or a guinea, or the loan of ten or twenty guineas returnable without interest at the close of each season, –a sufficient sum to form a capital for the purchase of coal during the summer, which was carefully stored away for the exclusive use of the poor during the ensuing winter, when it was sold them at about cost price. Thus they were ever after sure of a supply at a reasonable rate, and it is doubtful whether equal advantage to the industrious classes in this locality has ever resulted from any of the various attempts subsequently made to aid them as was realized by this benevolent scheme. Though nominally under the management of a committee, the work connected with this establishment fell chiefly upon our lamented friend, and of its magnitude few persons can form an adequate conception. During the war then raging, nearly all the money in circulation among the poor was copper, and the labour of counting and disposing of twenty pounds per week and upwards of this coin, was in itself no trilling addition to the labour of the manager. Nevertheless he zealously persevered in conducting this concern for more than twenty years, when having occasion to go from home for a week or two he endeavored to get some one of his colleagues to take charge of it during his absence—but in vain! Being thus deserted, and as the position of the poor was then much improved by increased facilities of ordinary supply, he decided on letting the lease of the premises (which was for twenty-one years, and then just about to expire) run out, without attempting its renewal.
Another department of public service in which he took a lively interest was as a trustee of the turnpike roads. For about forty years he paid the most unremitting attention to every minutiæ connected therewith, and with such happy success, that from a state of depression, with its securities below par—which was the position of the trust when he joined it-he lived to see it raised (mainly by his own vigorous counsel and exertion) to the highest state of prosperity. The annual statements of this respectable body have long held a conspicuous place in the parliamentary returns-showing great improvements effected, a heavy debt totally paid off, and the tax on travellers reduced one half. The introduction of railways has, in a great degree, lessened the interest taken by the public in this sphere of action, but when our departed friend entered upon it, it was highly conducive to the comfort and safety of the community. None but those who are old enough to remember the approaches to our town, in every direction, before his exertions commenced, can fully appreciate his labors. To exposure for many hours daily to the glare of a burning sun, while personally superintending the last of these improvements—the widening of the Long Bridge, he attributed that gradual decay of sight which was ever after one of his sorest trials. As an acknowledgment of these invaluable services, his co-trustees and the inhabitants of the town and neighbourhood presented him with a handsome service of plate.
These proofs of his unwearied industry, and determined perseverance in all he undertook, might be easily multiplied, as hardly any society was established among us during his time, either of a religious, charitable, or patriotic character, of which he was not either a member or a liberal pecuniary supporter.
While in business he, perhaps, devoted more hours to his own private affairs than did his neighbours to their several trades or professions; still was he uniformly the most punctual attendant at the meetings of all societies and committees on which he was enrolled ; and even at this busy period was ever ready to listen to the calls of friendship, which were numerous and varied--as the sagacious adviser, the peacemaking arbitrator, or the faithful executor. In the latter capacity he kindly undertook several harrassing and protracted trusts, and fulfilled them with a discretion that could not be exceeded.
In cases of emergency too he has been called in by bodies with whom he was not officially connected, to overawe, by his dauntless bearing, unmanageable spirits, who would set at defiance all other men. He himself feared not the face of man in the discharge of any public duty ; but, firm in his own integrity, would never shrink from enforcing
the right from others, although his consistent zeal might subject him, as it did in some instances, to the sneer of the haughty or the reproach of the unprincipled.
After thirty years, unremitting assiduity, he exhibited the somewhat rare virtue in a thriving man of knowing when he had realized sufficient, and retired from business. He then also determined not to let his property accumulate from savings, but to spend his full annual income -not in personal gratification or display, but in works of benevolence, and efforts to promote the temporal and spiritual welfare of his countrymen and of the world at large. His expenditnre, on these objects, has for many years by very far exceeded that of his own household. He did not however distribute his store recklessly, but with deliberation and a due regard to the relative claims upon him. Although some branches of his family were placed in circuinstances of greater affluence than himself, there were others needing assistance, and to all such he afforded it readily and steadily, with a bountiful hand. Next in order, he placed Religious and Educational Societies. The widow and fatherless, too, always held a high place in his sympathies; many of this class did he cheerfully assist, and often with the most refined delicacy. The Deaf and Dumb and Blind Asylums, the Infirmary, and the Dispensary, were never forgotten. In fact, want and woe in any shape, and from any quarter, were ever promptly assisted and alleviated to the extent of his ability. He knew nothing of sect or party when a deserving case was set before him. He occasionally met with a return that would have deterred most other men from a repetition of their bounty to the same parties—but neither ingratitude, duplicity, nor insult, could induce him to withhold his hand when such offenders or their families required renewed aid, and it could be indirectly administered.
During his few years' residence in London, he regularly attended those celebrated ministers of the Church of England, the Rev. Messrs. Romaine and Cecil, and to the close of life held those excellent men in high esteem-often referring to the pleasure and advantage he had derived from their ministry. He also, during the same period, attended the chapels in Lady Huntingdon’s connexion, and ever retained and evinced a decided partiality towards that denomination of christians. Nevertheless he has, from his first settlement in Tewkesbury, statedly worshipped with the Baptist congregation, and I scarcely need add has ever been the most munificent supporter of the Sunday schools, Missionary societies, and every other benevolent object connected with it. He was the largest contributor, both of personal exertion and money, when this chapel was built more than forty years ago, and gave