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Archer, Thomas (1790–1850)

The Late Thomas Archer, Esq., of Woolmers: —At the last moment on Wednesday, when the form was on the press, the simple announcement of the death of this esteemed colonist was inserted in our obituary. We appreciate the feelings of surviving relatives: they would shrink from the slightest notice of the deceased tinged with adulation. But as journalists we have a duty to perform, and no remonstrance, though it assumed the shape of a command, could prevent the expression of a common sentiment, or suppress a truthful tribute to the memory of Mr. Thomas Archer. He was one of the early colonists, and originally connected with the commissariat department; but he had long relinquished public employment for private pursuits. For many years he was a member of the legislative council of this island, and through life displayed a liberal and patriotic spirit. His mind was active, enquiring, and intelligent: his affections warm and enduring. In public life he was consistent, liberal, and energetic; in its private relations he was equally exemplary as a friend, a husband, and a parent. He possessed a nature that sympathised with suffering, and his bounty was never appealed to in vain. He was forward to promote public objects by his presence and contributions while health remained, and when he became an invalid his interest in the fate of his adopted country remained, while his purse was opened on the demand of pecuniary help. To aid every religious, philanthropic, social, and political movement for the good of his race was a principle that pervaded his mind.

When transportation was abolished in 1839 he was among the first to import free emigrants for his extensive establishment, and the buildings he reared for their reception still stand as evidence of his desire to render them more comfortable than they could have been in England. An affecting incident of recent occurrence tells, in significant language, what he was as a master. At the midland exhibition, held at Longford on 9th instant, two good conduct and length of service prizes were obtained by men in his employment, the one, having been twenty-two and a-half years, the other twenty-two years in Mr. Archer's service.

Although long confined to the chamber of  affliction his immediate removal was not anticipated till within a few days of his decease. His intellect remained unimpaired to the last, and the melancholy event is deprived of nearly all its sadness to the Christian survivors, by the fact that their relative was ready for the change —that he was "safe." It is this knowledge which gilds the tomb of the departed—which lights a beacon beyond the grave—which assures of a reality in religion and a certainty in revelation. "Strangers and sojourners" all are, but there is a place of blissful reunion for believers. Mr. Archer was reserved: he did not make a parade of piety, but he was no stranger to its experience in the latter years of his life, though even those he admitted to closest intimacy were unacquainted with many of the workings of his mind, and never shared his secret joys. He has left a numerous family in affluent circumstances: may they imbibe his virtues, imitate his example in all that is commendable, and may each realize that happiness which nothing but religion can impart in this life, and that preparation for another state which it alone can confer. The death of Mr. Archer is a loss to society at large, and it can only be partially repaired by those he has left behind him stepping into the vacancy, and, in the spirit and temper of their parent, displaying those qualifications which will render them an honor to the name they bear and a blessing to the land they inhabit.

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'Archer, Thomas (1790–1850)', Obituaries Australia, National Centre of Biography, Australian National University, http://oa.anu.edu.au/obituary/archer-thomas-1475/text1476, accessed 23 November 2017.

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