Thomas joined the Congregational Church in his teens. At the age of 19, he is recorded as taking part in a Church service. He attended
the second Assembly of the Congregational Union.
He became involved with issues of religious freedom.
The same issue of the Quarterly
Theological Review in which his marriage was announced, contains the Parliamentary Debates on a
Bill intended to keep the Catholic "menace" under control.
Perhaps the more everyday issue was that all citizens,
included, had to pay a tax for the upkeep of their local parish of the
Church of England.
A Dissenter had to contribute to the outgoings of his own
Church as well. Committees for the abolition of the Church
Rate were formed. Thomas was a joint foundation secretary of
committee formed to co-ordinate societies for religious freedom.
signature appears on a petition to the Home Secretary in
1838, objecting to
the Churchwardens and Bishop disciplining a dissenter for refusing to
Church Rate. The arguments in the Petition were basically the
same as above, with the further objection that the Churchwardens
should not have exercised temporal jurisdiction. The
committee's proceedings were reported in the Baptist
of the time, and other publications. Church Rates were made
voluntary in 1868.
Those who did not pay lost their right to be
consulted about how it was spent.
From 1753 until 1837, only marriages celebrated
Church of England were valid. With no
Government registration of births, marriages and deaths before 1837, it
essential for these to be entered in the parish records of the
Established Church. There was special provision for Quakers
Parish Register records that a newborn son of a Jew was being recorded
there at the request of his father without baptism, to document his
birth only. The Nonconformists set up their own public register,
now searchable at the National Archives Office.
1840, he changed direction and began to study Law. In 1846 he
passed his law exams and was admitted to practice as a solicitor.
In 1851 he was in offices in Chancery Lane, London.
seems to have done a fair bit of bankruptcy work.
son William became articled to him, as was a relative Francis, maybe
his brother Francis, a banker, who according to an anecdote, fell on
hard times in later life. (Francis' son, also Francis, was
too young.) He was appointed Returning Officer
the Parliamentary Borough of Finsbury, a position he held for 6 years.