Robinson was born in London in late March 1605, the son of a prosperous London merchant. He died in London in July 1673. He entered St John's College, Oxford in 1621, but did not take a degree. He was admitted to the freedom of the Mercers Company in 1626 and worked for his father's firm, spending a number of years overseas in Italy and the Netherlands as a factor. He was very widely travelled, and used his travels to improve his education. Robinson returned to London before 1635 and took over the business after his father's death in that year. He was granted the freedom of the East India Company in 1641, and in the later 1640s was known to be trading in goods such as coral and saltpetre. He became a wealthy man, and devoted a considerable proportion of his wealth to philanthropic causes.
From The Biographical Dictionary of British Economists in Oxford Reference.