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MEMORIAL NOTICES OF MR. HENRY CARTWRIGHT,
OF ROCHDALE :
BY THE REV. J. E. COULSON, Mr. Henny Cartwright was extensively known in Methodist circles in the neighbourhood of Manchester, His spotless and amiable character, his activity and usefulness, his intelligent and devout piety, his catholic and brotherly spirit, constrained every one who knew him, to take knowledge of him that he had been with Jesus,' and to regard him with affection and confidence. He was born at Toynton-All-Saints, near Spilsby, in September, 1799, and was from boyhood singularly religious and upright. A schoolfellow states that he was regarded by every one as a most exemplary lad, who was ready to reprove sin whenever he observed it. He received an ordinary education, and in his early teens was apprenticed to a draper in Spilsby, where be soon became a member of the Wesleyan-Methodist Society, and was distinguished for goodness and superior business abilities. At this time he was the means of the conversion of both his parents, who became active members of the Society, and after nourishing and promoting the cause of God in the Spilsby Circuit for many years, died happy in the Lord.
In 1823 he removed to Leeds, to occupy a situation of responsibility in the firm of Sadier, Roberts and Sadler, and was greatly valued and esteemed by that distinguished member of the firm, Michael Thomas Sadler, M.P.
To the Methodism of Leeds, Mr. Cartwright ever held himself to be under great obligations : the holy influences which there surrounded him lifted him into a higher state of grace, and prepared him for future usefulness. He there became acquainted with some eminently devoted young men, whose example and conversation led him to an acquaintance with the deep things of God,' and stimulated him to the pursuit of 'things that are excellent.' He had never previously been clear as to his acceptance with God, but soon after going to Leeds he was stirred up to seek the “knowledge of salvation by the remission of sins.' In a diary which he kept for many years, but which he destroyed, with the exception of a few pages accidentally preserved, he made the following record under the date July 28th, 1823 :
'Last Monday will be remembered by me while memory holds her seat, being the day on which I entered fully into liberty. I had been visiting two sick families, and whilst engaged in praying with them I felt unusual power to plead with God, and again after going home in conducting family prayer I felt still more power. I then retired into secret and poured out my soul to God, without, however, expecting anything
extraordinary; but just as I was concluding, it came into my mind to open the Bible, and as I did so, I solemnly promised that if God would direct me to a passage, and by it testify to my heart of my acceptance with Him, I would never doubt again. Immediately on opening the Book I read the words: "Him hath God exalted with His right hand to be a Prince and a Saviour, for to give repentance to Israel, and forgiveness of sins." And from that moment I have not dared to doubt that I am in the liberty of God's dear children.'
Once upon the Rock, he held on firmly amid the assaults of evil. The higher Christian life upon which he entered on that memorable Monday began at once to bring forth fruit. He became more diligent in 'redeeming the time,' that he might have opportunities for secret intercourse with God, for the visitation of the sick, and for the public means of grace. Without infringing upon business hours not his own, he found time for religious duties, which he attended to with earnestness and self-denial, presenting himself 'a living sacrifice to God.' A fragment of his diary shows what manner of man he was at the age of five-and-twenty; and the Methodist people of the present day would do well to note how their predecessors in the early part of this century employed their leisure hours and Sabbaths, and how the energy of their faith made them 'not slothful in business; fervent in spirit; serving the Lord':
'August 2nd, 1825.—Last evening I retired into secret determined to plead with God for the full sanctification of my soul; but I felt shorn of strength, partly, perhaps, from too long abstinence from food; and, O! the distress of soul which I felt. It would have been impossible to live unless relief had come; but, after a dark night, joy came in the morning, and during the greater part of this day I have enjoyed liberty of soul. At the Band-meeting this evening, at which Messrs. Morley and Reece were present, I was enabled to testify to the great deliverance which God had wrought out for me; and the fervent desire of my heart just now is to love God with all my powers.
'Sunday, August 3rd.-I spent some time profitably in my closet in reading the Scriptures and prayer. At six o'clock I went to the Prayer-meeting. At seven o'clock Mr. Speight preached, and God was pleased to pour His consolation into my heart under the sermon. After breakfast I spent about an hour in fervent prayer, and found much power. Several blessed promises were applied to my mind, and I can truly say I realized a present salvation. At half-past ten o'clock I went to Wesley Chapel, and heard Mr. Pinder. In the afternoon I visited five sick families; two of them very distressing In the evening I heard Mr. Morley, and the word was spirit and life to my soul. I concluded the day happy in God and resting upon Christ.'
Mr. Cartwright was an old-fashioned Methodist, trained up amid Bandmeetings, Love-feasts and Class-meetings, and attaching great importance to these means of grace. His Band-mates were devoted young men, who greatly strengthened his hand in God.' Their faithfulness, advanced piety, knowledge and zeal, made their fellowship a great blessing to him, going far to counteract the spirit of the world, and to brace up his spiritual life from time to time.
If the busy Ministers, hard students, over-worked professional men and toilers in commercial life amongst the Methodists of the present day, would secure the help and stimulus of the old private Band-meeting, they would
probably realize much more religious comfort, strength and progress, and the Churches to which they belong would flourish more abundantly.
In 1826, Mr, Cartwright entered into a business partnership in Rochdale, which fixed his connection with Methodism in that town for more than half a century. His accession to the congregation of Union Street Chapel was hailed at the time with thankfulness to God, and he was soon appointed to important offices connected with it. He became Circuit-steward in less than two years, and was re-appointed again and again. His admirable habits and aptitude for business, his exactness, amenity of manners, diligence and faithfulness, inspired confidence and commended him as a Christian worker of the true stamp. Methodism has greatly prospered in Rochdale and its vicinity during the last half century; and, notwithstanding the painful conflicts which have tested its vitality from time to time, it was never stronger or more fruitful than at present, and these results are in a very great degree due, under God, to Mr. Cartwright and a few friends who cooperated with him through good and evil report.
Almost immediately on settling at Rochdale, Mr. Cartwright offered his services to the Sunday-school, and with characteristic energy threw himself into every effort to promote its usefulness. He became one of the superintendents and continued one of its chief managers during half a century. The Union Street Sunday-school is a monument of his zeal for God, as he had mainly to do with its erection, and greatly promoted the high state of discipline and usefulness for which it has been long distinguished. In 1868, when he retired from office in connection with it, he was presented by the teachers with a handsome expression of their affection and gratitude to God for his long and useful labours.
The service which Mr. Cartwright was enabled to render in connection with the management of chapel-property will never be told. He was an able accountant, and very attentive to the smaller details of business. He guarded expenditure and promoted increased income, and nearly all the concerns placed in his hands prospered financially. For many years he was the treasurer of several important chapels in the Circuit, and worked them out of debt, and then promoted the erection of larger and better structures; and their continued prosperity testify to the great and permanent benefits he thus secured to a densely-populated district. And the beautiful spirit in which these labours were maintained greatly enhanced their value. His disinterestedness was always apparent, and he was so forbearing and conciliatory, and knew so well how to attain his objects without in the least depreciating his associates, that it was a pleasure to cooperate with him.
He was for many years a valued and assiduous member of the Connexional Chapel Committee in Manchester. At his death & resolution was forwarded to his family, expressive of the regard in which he was held by its members.
Mr. Cartwright had somewhat severe views as to the use of property, but he was most consistent in carrying them out. He regarded a tithe of increase