Dictionary of National Biography, 1885-1900/Smith, John (fl.1633-1673)

SMITH, JOHN (fl. 1633–1673), writer on trade, was apprenticed to Matthew Cradock, a London merchant, a member of the Society for the Fishing Trade of Great Britain, and afterwards became himself a merchant of London. In 1633, while still an apprentice, he was sent by Philip Herbert, earl of Montgomery and fourth earl of Pembroke [q. v.], to visit the Shetland Islands, and to make a report on their trade and industries. He remained in the Orkneys and Shetlands more than a year, and drew up an interesting account of the general condition of the islands and their chief industry, the fishing trade, which he published as ‘The Trade and Fishing of Great Britain displayed; with a Description of the Islands of Orkney and Shotland, by Captain John Smith,’ London, 1661, 4to.

In 1670 Smith published a more elaborate work, in which his former treatise was included, entitled ‘England's Improvement Reviv'd: in a treatise of all Manner of Husbandry and Trade, by Land and Sea,’ London, 4to. This work is prefaced by a eulogistic notice from John Evelyn [q. v.] The chief attention of the writer is devoted to forestry, but it also deals with live-stock and the reclamation of waste land. It is very practical, and is not concerned with economic theory. Another edition was published in 1673.

[Smith's works; Donaldson's Agricultural Biography, p. 34.]

E. I. C.