John Ashton Yates

John Ashton Yates (1781 - 1 November 1863) was the Liberal Party Member of Parliament (MP) for County Carlow, Ireland, between 1837-1841. He stood unsuccessfully for the Bolton seat in Lancashire at the 1832 general election and lost his Carlow seat in the 1841 contest. He was a Unitarian and a friend of Thomas Thornley who, like Yates, had been apprenticed with the firm run by the William Rathbone family and became an MP.

Yates' father, John Yates, was a Unitarian minister who served at Kaye Street Chapel, which became Paradise Street Chapel, both in Liverpool; his mother, Elizabeth, was the daughter of a merchant, John Brooks Ashton. Yates was educated by a Unitarian minister, William Shepherd, at Gateacre, Liverpool, before he studied commerce at the Presbyterian-run Manchester Academy. His teachers included Thomas Barnes, the minister of Cross Street Chapel, and John Dalton. He was particularly close to Dalton, who had previously taught his father at the Academy and with whom he went on a walking tour.

Yates retained a connection to the Academy, which became known as Manchester New College, throughout his life and was an official of it. He became a merchant and broker in Liverpool. The firm of Yates and Cox, who were iron merchants and nail manufactures in Liverpool, was a partnership with his brothers, Richard Vaughan Yates, who established Prince's Park, Liverpool, and Pemberton Heywood Yates. Joseph Brooks Yates was another brother.

Yates was elected a Fellow of the Royal Society of Arts in 1820 and wrote several books related to the Corn Laws, and economics. Despite his own involvement in slavery, he also wrote in opposition to it. His interest in old paintings and engravings, which he collected, was influenced by William Roscoe, who was another Unitarian MP from Liverpool. He was also a member of the Liverpool Literary and Philosophical Society from its origin in 1812; their obituary described his art collection as "one of the finest private minor collections in the metropolis".

Probably a member of Renshaw Street Chapel in Liverpool, Yates served as president of the British and Foreign Unitarian Association in 1841 and 1856.

Yates' daughter, Mary Ellen Yates, was the second wife of Robert Needham Philips, another member of parliament, whose first wife had been a cousin to his second, being the daughter of Yates' brother, Joseph. It was at Philips' house in Manchester that he died on 1 November 1863, having suffered from a declining memory for the previous two years.

William James, who was also an MP, was his cousin. Provided by Wikipedia
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