Keymor's treatise on trade

Archive Collection

Scope and Content

An early neat copy MS of Keymor's treatise, written in the reign of James I, possibly in the author's own hand. This MS, which must have been written before 1626, predates any publication. There are other versions in Edinburgh University Library (Laing MS 1152) and the Public Record Office (SP14/118). This is fuller than the latter, and lacks one or two paragraphs of the former, but includes Keymor's name on the front page, and appears to be a presentation copy.

Administrative / Biographical History

John Keymor, or Keymer, was probably born in the 1550s. In January 1579 he married Joan Jackson at All Saints Cambridge (IGI), and in 1584, having been licensed by Sir Walter Raleigh to sell wine in Cambridge, was so severely impeded in this by scholars of Cambridge University and one Baxter, 'an esquire beadle', that Keymor's wife's life was threatened. Despite Raleigh's efforts on Keymor's behalf, the matter was referred to the Kings Bench. Although he lost his case, Keymor was still trading two years later, although it seems likely that he was eventually stopped. It is likely that the periods of travel abroad (to which he refers in his writings) began in the 1590s. In 1601 he wrote a treatise on the fishing undustry for the Queen, in which he demonstrated the importance of the industry and related its wealth to the wealth generated by Spain in the New World. This was followed by pamphlets on the cloth trade and other subjects in which Keymor puts himself forward as an early advocate of free trade. The particular pamphlet represented here, which is assigned to 'about 1620' by archivists in the PRO and MF Lloyd Prichard of the University of Auckland, was later taken as the work of Sir Walter Raleigh, and published several times under his name. According to Lloyd Prichard's introduction in Original Papers regarding Trade in England and Abroad drawn up by John Keymer for information of King James I about 1620 (New York, 1967), the last known mention of Keymor is a deputation of various lords to him in 1622 to discuss his economic theories, shortly after which he is presumed to have died.

Conditions Governing Access

Usual EUL arrangements apply

Acquisition Information

The document was sold by Maggs Bros of London, bookdealers, in 1953 to Miss Agnes Latham of 150 Park Road, London NW8. It was one of several items temporarily deposited in 1991 by Professor Joyce Youings in the University Library on behalf of Miss Agnes Latham, the then owner. Later all but two of the documents in this collection were withdrawn; the remaining two (this and MS 98) were separately re-accessioned as donations from Miss Latham.

Conditions Governing Use

Usual EUL arrangements apply