Roberts, Lewes (DNB00)

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ROBERTS, LEWES or LEWIS (1596–1640), merchant and economic writer, son of Gabriel Roberts by his wife Ann, daughter of John Howard of Appleton in Yorkshire, was born at Beaumaris, Anglesey, in 1596. Compelled ‘by adverse fortune or cross fate’ to devote himself to commerce, he sought service with the East India Company in 1617. He was employed by that company, of which he afterwards became a director, and by the Levant Company, at Constantinople and other places. He returned to England before 1638, enjoyed the society of Izaak Walton and other literary men, and died in London in March 1640. He was buried in St. Martin's Outwich on 12 March 1640. His wife Anne died on 24 Feb. 1665, and is buried beside him.

Roberts married, on 27 Nov. 1626, at St. Magnus's Church, London, Anne, daughter of Edward Williams or Williomett, mercer, of London, by whom he had issue Gabriel (aged five in 1634), who was sub-governor of the African Company, and was knighted on 14 Jan. 1677–8; William; Delicia, who married John Nelson, a Turkey merchant; and Anne, who married George Hanger of Dryfield. A portrait is prefixed to the first edition of the ‘Merchants Mappe of Commerce.’

Roberts published:

  1. The Merchants Mappe of Commerce; wherein the Vniversall Manner and Matter of Trade is compendiously handled,’ &c., London, 1638, fol. As one of the earliest systematic treatises on its subject in English, this gave Roberts a wide reputation; prefixed are commendatory verses by Izaak Walton; 3rd edit. enlarged, London, 1677, fol. … to which is annexed ‘Advice concerning Bills of Exchange,’ &c. [by T. Marins]; with … Engglands Benefit and Advantage by Foreign Trade, demonstrated by T[homas] Mun;’ 4th edit. London, 1700, fol.
  2. Warre-fare epitomized,’ 1640, 4to.
  3. The Treasure of Traffike, or a Discourse of Forraigne Trade, &c. Dedicated to the High Court of Parliament now assembled,’ London, 1641, 4to; reprinted in M'Culloch's ‘Select Collection of Tracts on Commerce,’ &c., London, 1856, 8vo. Some verses by a ‘Lod. Roberts,’ probably the merchant, are prefixed to Fletcher's ‘Purple Island.’

[Le Neve's Pedigrees of the Knights, pp. 12, 323, 453; Visitation of London, 1634 (Harl. Soc.), p. 202; Hunter's Familiæ Minorum Gentium, i. 4; Hunter's Chorus Vatum (Addit. MS. 24490, f. 106); Lowndes's Bibl. Man. (Bohn), p. 2104; Marriage Licenses issued by the Bishop of London (Harleian Soc.), ii. 180; M'Culloch's Literature of Political Economy, pp. 37, 38; Cal. of Colonial State Papers (East Indies), 1617–21 No. 234, 1630–4 Nos. 288, 492, 536.]

W. A. S. H.