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Brought up within a Methodist family, Sadler was educated in Derbyshire until the age of 15, and later entered into partnership with his brother as a linen merchant. He soon became involved in politics, however, running William Wilberforce’s election campaign for Yorkshire in 1807.
Sadler was not especially suited to business and began to take an increasing interest in public affairs, particularly issues related to poverty and population. He published several books on the subject.
In 1829 Sadler entered politics, having been supported by the 4th Duke of Newcastle under Lyne to secure election for Newark, Nottinghamshire. He later moved to represent another of the duke’s constituencies, Aldborough in Yorkshire. His parliamentary interests were social and economic and he became sponsor of the Ten Hours Bill (for factories), ultimately chairing the committee of enquiry on factory reform.
Sadler’s parliamentary career was short-lived. He was deprived of his seat by the 1832 Reform Bill, and never returned to the commons - despite standing for election on a further two occasions.
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