John Roebuck was an innovative industrialist, primarily an ironmaster. Born in Sheffield but educated in Scotland, he had a wide range of interests. His concern in the American crisis no doubt arose from genuine political engagement, but it coincided with a broader interest in Britain’s economic welfare. He admitted as much when he noted in his American pamphlet that raising revenue in America would ‘enable Britain to revive some of its declining manufactures’. Roebuck also takes on colonists’ arguments directly, first by denying a distinction between taxes for ‘raising a revenue’ and older ones ‘to regulate the commerce’ of empire, noting that the latter were similarly ‘levied by his majesty’s officers of the customs, and the proceeds paid into the exchequer’.