Keymer, John (DNB01)

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KEYMER or KEYMOR, JOHN (fl. 1610–1620), economic writer, is said to have written as early as 1601 his 'Observations upon the Dutch Fishing,' which was first published by Sir Edward Ford in 1664 (London, 4to). Keymer had no practical knowledge of the fisheries, being 'altogether unexperimented in such business' (Gentleman, Way to Win Wealth, 1614, p. 3); he collected his notes from conversation with fishermen like Tobias Gentleman [q. v. Suppl.] and others, with a view to stimulating English fishery, then almost a monopoly of the Dutch. Histract was translated into German, and published in part xii. of the 'Diarium Europæum,' Frankfort, 1666, 4to; it was reissued in English in the 'Phenix' [sic] 1707, vol. i., in 'A Collection of choice Tracts,' 1721, and in 'A small Collection of valuable Tracts relating to the Herring Fishery,' 1761.

Another work by Keymer, addressed to James I, on the importance of encouraging manufactures in England and increasing commerce by reducing customs, is extant in the Record Office (State Papers, Dom. James I, cxviii. 114). The latter suggestion was much in advance of the age, but on 20 Dec. 1622 Prince Charles, John Williams, bishop of Lincoln and Buckingham, were joined with others in a commission 'to hear the propositions of John Keymer, and consider whether they will tend to the good of the King and the Commonwealth, as is pretended' (Cal. State Papers, Dom. 1619-22, p. 469). Nothing further seems to have been done in the matter.

[Editions of Keymer's book in Brit. Mus. Libr.; Cal. State Papers, Dom. 1619-22; Gentleman's Way to Win Wealth, 1614; Palgrave's Dict. of Political Economy, s.v. 'Gentleman, Tobias.']

A. F. P.