Holt, John

, a miscellaneous writer of considerable merit, was born at Mottram in Cheshire in 1742, and educated with a view to the ministry among the dissenters; but this pursuit he very early relinquished, in consequence | of becoming a member of the church of England. He continued, however, to cultivate his mind by every opportunity within his power, although his circumstances in early life were unfavourable to a liberal education. About the year 1761 he removed to Walton in Lancashire, three miles from Liverpool, where he commenced schoolmaster and parish-clerk; the latter he resigned some years before his death. Having married a very sensible and worthy woman, he opened a boarding-school for young ladies, with the assistance of his wife, and carried it on with great reputation. His time was for many years divided between the cares of the school and the study of agriculture, which had always in some measure engaged his mind. For his scholars he compiled several useful manuals, particularly the “Characters of the Kings and Queens of England,1786 1788, 3 vols. 12mo, so judiciously laid down, and illustrated by so many sensible and original remarks, that had Mr. Holt applied himself to history only, it is not improbable he might have produced a work of higher importance in that science. In the course of his agricultural pursuits, he wrote “An Essay on the Curie in Potatoes,'” for which he received the medal from the society of arts, manufactures, and commerce. The many essays and memoirs which he drew up on such subjects having acquired him the character of a minute and skilful observer, the Board of agriculture appointed him surveyor of the county of Lancaster, and the “Report” which he returned, rich in valuable matter, judiciously arranged, was the first that was republished by the Board; and he had various premiums and other testimonies of approbation adjudged to him. It appears to have been his utmost ambition to employ his time in what was useful, and no part of that time was allowed to pass without adding something to his stock of knowledge. He was at last employed in collecting materials for a History of Liverpool, when a bilious disorder carried him off, March 21, 1801, to the very great regret of all who knew his amiable character. A portrait, and some other particulars of his life, may be seen in our authority. 1


Gent. Mag. vol. LXXI.