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THOMAS OLIVERS WARWICK
TENTH MINISTER. 1793-1816.
[b. 1771 ; ed. Daventry Academy, 1787, Northampton Academy ; M.D. Edin. 1799 ; min. Rotherham 1793–1816 ; Dukinfield (supply), 19 Oct., 1817,-21 March, 1819 ; resigned ministry 1829 ; m. Mary (d. 28 Dec. 1864), dau. of Ebenezer Aldred, of Wakefield ; issue Rebecca Wyld (d. 1875 aet. 73, m. Henry Ames), Thomas Shirley (b. 1804), Samuel Moult ib. 1807), Mary Aldred (b. 1809), John Alfred (b. 1812), Emma Elizabeth i b. 1815), d. 18 March, 1852, at 5, Abercrombie Terrace, Liverpool, the residence of his daughter, Mrs. Ames.)
R. WARWICK was born in 1771, and was the son of
the Rev. Thomas Warwick, the Methodist preacher,
of whom John Wesley used to say, that “Tom Warwick would bear as much beating as a wool-sack, and get his own way after all.” He was the friend and companion of Charles Wesley rather than of John Wesley. He was educated at Daventry Academy 1787, and afterwards at the Northampton Academy. When a student, and being wishful to economise as much as possible, young Warwick gave up taking beer. After a time, however, he noticed, he never wanted shaving, his hair never wanted cutting, and his finger and toe-nails never grew. He at once considered what could cause these things, and could think of nothing except that he had given up taking beer. He, therefore, began take it again, and then found that his hair and nails grew again as before, and also that across the nails, where they started to grow again, there was a thickened ridge. He decided then, that his glass of beer at mid day and at supper was necessary for his system at least, and continued to take it.
He never smoked, for his father was so confirmed a smoker that the son said he would never be the slave to his pipe, as his father was. He
thoroughly prepared for the Christian ministry, and probably for that of the Wesleyan body, following the example of his father. But the son was evidently from the first of an inquiring and independent mind regarding theological subjects. It is not known when he first directed his attention to Unitarianism, but, judging from the particular direction of his own mind towards science, it would not be hazarding too much to conclude, that the great Dr. Priestley's celebrity, both as a Unitarian theologian and distinguished scientist, may have early attracted the attention of young Warwick. Thomas Olivers Warwick would be about twenty years of age when the infamous riots in Birmingham occurred in 1791. How he was occupied about this period is not recorded, but he must have become at that time, or within a few years after, closely associated with Unitarian professors, as on 19th November, 1800, he married Mary Aldred, the daughter of Rev. Ebenezer Aldred, who became the Unitarian minister of the Derbyshire chapels. Ebenezer Aldred, it will be remembered took to wife one of the two daughters of Samuel Moult, and the latter is considered to have entertained Arian or other unorthodox religious views.
The date is definitely known of his becoming minister of the Rotherham chapel, namely, in 1793. He must have commenced his service there in May of that year, as the account book states, “ 1793, Nov. 12, by half a year's salary due, £30.” The seat-holders of that year were Robt. Wylde Moult, Esq., £5 5s. Od. ; Mr. John Hatfield, £2 2s. ; Mr. William Favell, £1 8s. Od. ; Joseph Ramsbottom, 16s. ; Mr. Elliott, 16s. ; Mr. Swallow, 10s. ; the remainder paying from 4s. to 8s., including the names of Mellor, Smith, Wild, Naylor, Taylor, Arnold, Lockwood, Wilkinson, Downs, John Aldred. The total received for seat-rent during the year amounted to £14 15s. 6d. For several years after, the total was often less than more. The congregation would not be likely at the time to exceed a hundred worshippers of all classes. For the two years, 1797-99, the congregation allowed their minister a most remarkable privilege, namely, to devote that period to medical studies at Edinburgh and the London Hospitals. By his attainments he acquired, from Edinburgh University, the degree of M.D.-Doctor of Medicine-in 1799, and became, of course, henceforth known as Dr. Warwick.
DR. WARWICK—MINISTER AND DOCTOR. He returned to his ministry at Rotherham, and is considered to have undertaken, along with the same, the practice of medicine. The pursuit of chemical investigations greatly engrossed his attention, so that he ultimately became widely celebrated as an eminent chemist. The strain on the minister of a congregation was not then so exacting as at the present day. The numerous ministerial calls were not then looked for ; though at pleasant social evenings, of music, singing, supper and conversation, the minister was always made welcome.
It is to be regretted that nothing remains of Dr.Warwick's sermons and theological notes. It may be, as with so many ministers on retiring from the pulpit, he consigned to oblivion all such productions of his ministerial career. One of his two grand-daughters, Miss Warwick and Miss Rawlins, from whom most of these particulars are derived, states, “ I have no idea at all how and when Dr.Warwick became a Unitarian, nor have I any idea of his exact religious views, but I am sure they were less advanced than those of present-day Unitarians. His wife also was what would now be called an old-fashioned Unitarian, and I have heard my father say that she considered Christ more than the best of men, though, again, I cannot tell how otherwise she looked upon him. I mention this, because I have always understood she and Dr. Warwick were at one in all ways.'
In his medical career, Dr. Warwick was most solicitous to effect the recovery of his patients. In this respect he was before his time, as he did things to help his patients, which other doctors had never thought of doing. He worked many wonderful cures. Still he felt so intensely, whenever he lost a patient by death, that he would bring himself in guilty of manslaughter, thinking that perhaps he might have done more or differently, though he was always so careful ; still