Bott, Thomas

, an English clergyman of ingenuity and learning, was descended from an ancient family in Staffordshire, and born at Derby in 1688. His grandfather had been a major on the parliament side in the civil wars; his father had diminished a considerable paternal estate by gaming; but his mother, a woman of great | prudence, contrived to give a good education to six children. Thomas the youngest acquired his grammatical learning at Derby; had his education among the dissenters; and was appointed to preach to a presbyterian congregation at Spalding in Lincolnshire. Not liking this mode of life, he removed to London at the end of queen Anne’s reign, with a view of preparing himself for physic; but changing his measures again, he took orders in the church of England, soon after the accession of George I. and was presented to the rectory of Winburg in Norfolk. About 1725 he was presented to the benefice of Reymerston; in 1734, to the rectory of Spixworth; and, in 1747, to the rectory of Edgefield; all in Norfolk. About 1750, his mental powers began to decline; and, at Christmas 1752, he ceased to appear in the pulpit. He died at Norwich, whither he had removed, in 1753, with his family, Sept. 23, 1754, leaving a wife, whom he mafried in 1739; and also a son, Edmund Bott, esq. of Christ church in Hampshire, a fellow of the Antiquarian society, who published, in 1771, A collection of cases relating to the Poor laws. Dr. Kippis, who was his nephew by marriage, has given a prolix article on him, and a minute character, in which, however, there appears to have been little of the amiable, and in his religious opinions he was capricious and unsteady. His works were, 1. “The peace and happiness of this world, the immediate design of Christianity, on Luke ix. 56,” a pamphlet in 8vo, 1724. 2. A second tract in defence of this, 1730, 8vo. 3. “The principal and peculiar notion of a late book, entitled, The religion of nature delineated, considered, and refuted,1725. This was against Wollaston’s notion of moral obligation. 4. A visitation sermon, preached at Norwich, April 30th, 1730. 5. A 30th of January sermon, preached at Norwich, and printed at the request of the mayor, &c. 6. “Remarks upon Butler’s 6th chapter of the Analogy of Religion, &c. concerning Necessity,1730. 7. Answer to the first volume of Warburton’s Divine Legation of Moses.

Among other learned acquaintance of Mr. Bott was Dr. Samuel Clarke, of whom he relates, that he was not only of a cheerful, but of a playful disposition. Once, when Mr. Bott called upon him, he found him swimming upon a table. At another time, when several of them were amusing themselves with diverting tricks, Dr. Clarke, looking out of the window, and seeing a grave blockhead | approaching, called out, “Boys, boys, be wise; here comes a fool.” We have heard the like of Dr. Clarke from other quarters, and are not sure that the “grave blockhead” may not have been the most decorous character. 1


Biog. Brit.