Dictionary of National Biography, 1901 supplement/Gentleman, Tobias

GENTLEMAN, TOBIAS (fl. 1614), writer on the herring fishery, was 'borne a fisherman's sonne by the seashore,' and spent his ' youthful time about fisher affaires, whereby I am more skilfull in nets, lines, and hookes then in Rethoricke, Logicke, or learned bookes.' About 1612 he was consulted by John Keymer [q. v. Suppl.], who was collecting information about the herring fisheries with a view to stimulating their development. Gentleman gave Keymer the benefit of his experience, but, nothing having come of his scheme, Gentleman determined to publish his collections himself. They appeared in 1614, under the title 'Way to Wealth and to employ ships' mariners; or, a plaine description what great profite it will bring unto the Commonwealth of England, by the erecting, building, and adventuring of busses to sea a-fishing. With a true Relation of the inestimable wealth that is yearely taken out of his Maiesties Seas by the Hollanders by their numbers of Busses, Pinkes, and Lineboates … and also a Discourse of the Sea Coast Towns of England, … ' London, Nathaniel Butter, 4to; dedicated to Henry, earl of Northampton and warden of the Cinque ports. Nothing more is known of Gentleman, but in 1660 a new edition of his book, with an address to the reader instead of the dedication, and other alterations, appeared as 'The Best Way to make England the richest and wealthiest country in Europe by Advancing the Fishing Trade' (London, fol.); it was also included in the 'Harleian Miscellany,' ed. 1744, vol. Hi., and ed. 1808, vol. viii. Gentleman's scheme was similar to that propounded by Robert Hitchcock [q. v. Suppl.] in his 'Politique Platt for a Prince' (1581), and both Hitchcock and Gentleman are commended by Thomas Mun [q. v.] Gerard Malynes [q. v.] also gives an abridgment of Gentleman's book in his 'Lex Mercatoria' (1622), chap, xlvii.

[Editions of Gentleman's book in Brit. Mus. Libr.; Thomas Mun's England's Treasury by Forraign Trade, 1664, cap. xix.; Palgrave's Dict. of Political Economy.]

A. F. P.