Rare Books Blog

October 23, 2009

Freedom of the Seas, 1609: Grotius and the Emergence of International Law
An exhibit marking the 400th anniversary of Hugo Grotius's Mare Liberum

 

The Development of the Law of the Sea in the 17th Century: A Bibliography of Modern Scholarship
Compiled by Edward Gordon

 

Akashi. Kinji. Cornelius van Bynkershoek: His Role in the History of International Law. The Hague: Kluwer, 1998.

Alexandrowicz, C.H. An Introduction to the History of the Law of Nations in the East Indies. Oxford: Clarendon, 1967.

Alexandrowicz, C.H. "Freitas versus Grotius," 35 British Yearbook of International Law 162 (1959).

Allen, E.W. "Freedom of the Seas," 60 American Journal of International Law 814 (1966).

Alsop, J.D. "William Welwood, Anne of Denmark and the Sovereignty of the Sea," 49 Scottish Historical Review 171 (1980).

Amaral, Sylvino Gurgel do. "Le ‘Mare Liberum' et ses adversaries", in Hugo Grotius: Essays on His Life and Works Selected for the Occasion of the Tercentenary of His ‘De Jure Belli ac Pacis' 1625-1925 (A. Lysen ed.; Leyden: A.W. Sythoff, 1925). [Translated from the Portuguese, where it appeared in the author's Ensaio subre a vide e obras de Hugo de Groot (Grotius) (Rio de Janeiro-Paris, 1903).]

Anand, R.P. Origins and Development of the Law of the Sea: History of International Law Revisited. The Hague: Nijhoff, 1983.

Andrews, Kenneth R. Ships, Money and Politics: Seafaring and Naval Enterprise in the Reign of Charles I. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1991.

Armitage, David. The Ideological Origins of the British Empire. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2000.

Armitage, David, ed. The Free Sea: Hugo Grotius, Translated by Richard Hakluyt; with William Welwood's Critique and Grotius's Reply. Indianapolis: Liberty Fund, 2004.

Blom, Hans W., ed. Property, Piracy and Punishment: Hugo Grotius on War and Booty in De Jure Praedae – Concepts and Contexts. Leiden: Brill, 2009.

Borschberg, Peter. "Grotius, Intra-Asian Trade and the Portuguese Estado da India Problems," in Property, Piracy and Punishment: Hugo Grotius on War and Booty in De Jure Praedae – Concepts and Contexts ( Hans W. Blom, ed.; Leiden: Brill, 2009).

Borschberg, Peter. "The Seizure of the Sta. Catarina Revisited: The Portuguese Empire in Asia, VOC Politics and the Origins of the Dutch-Johor Alliance (1602-ca. 1616)," 33 Journal of Southeast Asian Studies 31 (2002).

Braudel, Fernand. The Mediterranean and the Mediterranean World in the Age of Philip II. New York: Harper & Row, 1972.

Brett, Annabel. Liberty, Right and Nature: Individual Rights in Latin Scholastic Thought. Cambridge: University Press, 1997. [See pp. 165-204, on Vásquez.]

Brito Vieira, Monica. "Mare liberum vs. Mare clausum: Grotius, Freitas, and Selden's Debate on Dominion over the Seas," 64 Journal of the History of Ideas 361 (2003).

Butler, Geoffrey; & Simon Maccoby. The Development of International Law. London: Longmans, Green 1928. [See esp. pp. 40-60, "The World by Sea".]

Butler, W.E. "Grotius and the Law of the Sea," in Hugo Grotius and International Relations (H. Bull, A. Roberts & B. Kingsbury, eds.; Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1990).

Chatterjee, Hiralal. International Law and Inter-State Relations in Ancient India. Calcutta: Mukhopadhyay, 1958.

Christianson, Paul. Discourse on History, Law, and Governance in the Public Career of John Selden, 1610-1635. Toronto: Toronto University Press, 1996.

Clark, G. N. "Grotius's East India Mission to England," 20 Transactions of the Grotius Society 45 (1935).

Clark, G. N., & van Eysinga, W. J. M. "The Colonial Conferences between England and the Netherlands in 1613 and 1615," 15 Bibliotheca Visseriana 15 (1940).

De Pauw, F. E. R., ed. Grotius and the Law of the Sea (P.J. Arthern, transl.). Brussels: Institut de Sociologie, 1965.

Diesselhorst, Malte. "Hugo Grotius and the Freedom of the Seas," 3 Grotiana (N.S.) 11 (1982).

Dumbauld, E. "Grotius on the Law of Prize," 14 Journal of Public Law 370 (1965).

Edmundson, George. Anglo-Dutch Rivalry during the First Half of the Seventeenth Century. Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1911.

Eysinga, William J. M. van. "Quelques Observations au Sujet du Mare Liberum et du De Jure Praedae de Grotius," 9 Grotiana 60 (1942).

Eysinga, William .M. van. "Le 350ieme anniversaire du ‘De jure Praedae commentarius' de Grotius" [French translation of address of the Royal Dutch Academy of Sciences and Letters, March 24, 1956], in Sparso Collect (Leyden 1958), pp. 358-374.

Fenn, Percy Thomas, Jr. The Origin of the Right of Fishery in Territorial Waters. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 1926. [See esp. ch. VIII, "Mare liberum versus Mare clausum."]

Fenn, Percy Thomas, Jr. "Origins of the Theory of Territorial Waters," 20 American Journal of International Law 465 (1926).

Fenn, Percy Thomas, Jr. "Justinian and the Freedom of the Seas," 19 American Journal of International Law 465 (1925).

Fruin, Robert. "An Unpublished Work of Hugo Grotius," 5 Bibliotheca Visseriana 3 (1925). [English translation of a work first published, in Dutch, in 1868.]

Fulton, Thomas Wemyss. The Sovereignty of the Seas: An Historical Account of the Claims of England to the Dominion of the British Seas, and of the Evolution of the Territorial Waters: With Special Reference to the Rights of Fishing and the Naval Salute. Edinburgh: William Blackwood, 1911.

Gepken-Jager, Ella; Gerard van Solinge, & Levinus Timmerman. VOC 1602-2002: 400 Years of Company Law. Deventer: Kluwer, 2005

Goldwin, R.A. "Locke and the Law of the Sea," 71 Commentary 46 (June 1981).

[Grotius, Hugo]. De jure praedae commentaries. I. Commentary on the Law of Prize and Booty. Gwladys L. Williams and Walter H. Zeydel, transl.. II. The Collotype Reproduction of the Original Manuscript on 1604 in the Handwriting of Grotius. 2 vols. Oxford: Clarendon, 1950.

Grotius, Hugo. "Defense of Chapter V of the Mare Liberum," in 7 Bibliotheca Visseriana 154 (1928). [Originally written between 1613 and 1617.]

Haggenmacher, Peter. "Grotius and Gentili: A Reassessment of Thomas E. Holland's Inaugural Lecture," in Hugo Grotius and International Relations (H. Bull, A. Roberts & B. Kingsbury, eds.; Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1990).

Hakluyt, Richard. The Original Writings and Correspondence of the Two Richard Hakluyts. 2 vols. E.G.R.Taylor, ed. London: Hakluyt Society, 1935.

Holk, L.E. van, & C.G. Roeflofsen, eds. Grotius Reader: A Reader for Students of International Law and Legal History. The Hague: T.M.C. Asser Instituut, 1983.

Ito, F. "The Thoughts of Hugo Grotius in the Mare Liberum," 18 Japanese Annual of International Law 1 (1974).

Ittersum, Martine van. Profit and Principle: Hugo Grotius, Natural Rights Theories and the Rise of Dutch Power in the East Indies (1595-1615). Boston: Brill, 2006.

Ittersum, Martine van, ed. Commentary on the Law of Prize and Booty: Hugo Grotius. Indianapolis: Liberty Fund, 2006.

Ittersum, Martine van. "Dating the Manuscript of De Jure Praedae (1604-1608): What Watermarks, Foliation and Quire Divisions Can Tell Us About Hugo Grotius' Development as a Natural Rights and Natural Law Theorist," 35 History of European Ideas 125 (2009).

Ittersum, Martine van. "Mare Liberum in the West Indies? Hugo Grotius and the Case of the Swimming Lion, a Dutch Pirate in the Caribbean at the Turn of the Seventeenth Century," 31:3 Itinerario 59 (2007).

Ittersum, Martine van. "Mare Liberum versus the Propriety of the Seas? The Debate between Hugo Grotius and William Welwood and the Impact on Anglo-Scottish-Dutch Fishing Disputes in the Second Decade of the Seventeenth Century," 10 Edinburgh Law Review 239 (2006).

Kenworthy, J.M., & George Yound. Freedom of the Seas. London: n.d.

Knight, William S.M. "Seraphin de Freitas: Critic of Mare liberum," 11 Transactions of the Grotius Society 1 (1926).

Kwiatkowska, B. "Hugo Grotius and the Freedom of the Seas," in Hugo Grotius: 1583-1983: Maastricht Hugo Grotius Colloquium March 31, 1983 (J.L.M. Elders et al., eds.; Van Gorcum: Assen, 1984).

Landwehr, John. VOC: A Bibliography of Publications Relating to the Dutch East India Company 1602-1800. Utrecht: HGS Publishers, 1991.

Lauterpacht, Hersch. "The Grotian Tradition in International Law," 23 British Yearbook of International Law 1 (1946).

Macrae, L.M. "Customary International Law and the United Nations' Law of the Sea Treaty," 13 California Western International Law Journal 181 (1983).

Meurer, Christian. The Program of the Freedom of the Seas: A Political Study in International Law. Leo J. Frechtenberg, transl. Washington: GPO, 1919.

Molen, G.H.J. van der. Alberico Gentili and the Development of International Law: His Work and Times. Amsterdam: H.J. Paris, 1937. [Later printing: Leyden 1968. See esp. ch. VI, "Questions of International Law."]

O'Connell, D.P. The International Law of the Sea. London: OxfordUniversity Press, 1983.

Oudendijk, J.K. Status and Extent of Adjacent Waters: A Historical Orientation. Leyden: Sijthoff, 1970.

Pagden, Anthony. Lords of All the World: Ideologues of Empire in Spain, Britain and France c.1500-1800. New Haven: Yale University Press, 1995. [See esp. pp. 56-61 on Vasquez.]

Parks, George Bruner. Richard Hakluyt and the English Voyages. New York: American Geographical Society, 1928.

Piggott, Frances. The Freedom of the Seas Historically Treated. Oxford: printed for the Historical Section of the Foreign Office, 1919.

Porras, Ileana M. "Constructing International Law in the East Indian Seas: Property, Sovereignty, Commerce and War in Hugo Grotius' de Iure Praedae - The Law of Prize and Booty, or on How to Distinguish Merchants from Pirates," 31 Brooklyn Journal of International Law 741 (2005-2006).

Potter, Pitman B. The Freedom of the Seas in History, Law, and Politics. New York: Longmans, Green, 1924. [Reprint 2002. See esp. ch. IV, "The Grotius-Selden Controversy."]

Quinn, D.B. "A Hakluyt Chronology," in The Hakluyt Handbook (D.B. Quinn, ed.; 2 vols.; London: Hakluyt Society, 1974).

Rawlinson, H.G. Intercourse between India and the Western World: From the Earliest Times to the Fall of Rome. Cambridge: University Press, 1926.

Roelofsen, C.G. "The Sources of Mare Liberum; the Contested Origins of the Doctrine of the Freedom of the Seas," in International Law and its Sources: Liber Amicorum Maarten Bos (W.P. Heere, ed.; Boston: Kluwer, 1988). [Reprinted in C.G. Roelofsen, Studies in the History of International Law: Practice and Doctrine in Particular with Regard to the Law of Naval Warfare in the Low Countries from circa 1450 Until the Early 17th Century (Utrecht: Rijksuniversiteit te Utrecht, 1991).]

Roelofsen, C.G. "Grotius and the International Politics of the Seventeenth Century," in Hugo Grotius and International Relations (H. Bull, A. Roberts & B. Kingsbury, eds.; Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1990). [Reprinted in C.G. Roelofsen, Studies in the History of International Law: Practice and Doctrine in Particular with Regard to the Law of Naval Warfare in the Low Countries from circa 1450 Until the Early 17th Century (Utrecht: Rijksuniversiteit te Utrecht, 1991).]

Roelofsen, C.G. "Grotius and State Practice of His Day," 10 Grotiana 3-46 (1989). [Reprinted in C.G. Roelofsen, Studies in the History of International Law: Practice and Doctrine in Particular with Regard to the Law of Naval Warfare in the Low Countries from circa 1450 Until the Early 17th Century (Utrecht: Rijksuniversiteit te Utrecht, 1991).]

Roelofsen, C.G. Review of Anand, Origins and Development of the Law of the Sea, 31 Netherlands International Law Review 117 (1984).

Rogers, F.M. "Hakluyt as Translator," in The Hakluyt Handbook (D.B. Quinn, ed.; 2 vols.; London: Hakluyt Society, 1974).

Steinburg, Philip G. The Social Construction of the Oceans. Cambridge: University Press, 2001. [See esp. pp. 92 et seq.]

Toomer, G. J. John Selden: A Life in Scholarship. 2 vols. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2009. [See vol. 1, ch. 12, "Mare Clausum."]

Trevor-Roper, H. From Counter-Reformation to Glorious Revolution. Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1982.

Vollenhoven, C. The Three Stages in the Evolution of the Law of Nations. The Hague: Nijhoff, 1919.

Vreeland, Hamilton. Hugo Grotius: The Father of the Modern Science of International Law. New York: Oxford University Press, 1917. [See esp. pp. 39-67.]

Wade, Thomas C. "Introductory Essay: The Freedom of the Sea," in Sir John Boroughs, The Sovereignty of the British Seas (Edinburgh: W. Green & Sons, 1920).

Wilkinson, John. "The First Declaration of the Freedom of the Seas: The Rhodian Sea Laws," appendix to Ch. XIX of the same author's paper, "A Tentative Program for Simulation of Historical ‘Ecology' of the Mediterranean," in The Mediterranean Marine Environment and Development of Region (Malta: Royal University of Malta Press, 1974).

Wilson, Eric. Savage Republic: De Indis of Hugo Grotius, Republicanism and Dutch Hegemony with the Early Modern World Systems (c.1600-1619). Leiden: Martinus Nijhoff, 2008.

Winstedt, Richard; & P.F. De Josselin De Jong, "Maritime Law of Malacca," 29 (Pt. 3) Journal of the Royal Asiatic Society (Aug. 1956).

Wright, Herbert F. "Some Lesser Known Works of Hugo Grotius," 7 Bibliotheca Visseriana 132 (1928). [Four works are reproduced, of which two are translations: one of Grotius's works on fisheries in his controversy with William Welwood, another a translation of extracts from Grotius's letters concerning international and natural law and fisheries. See esp. "Defense of Chapter V of the Mare Liberum."]

Zemanek, Karl. "Was Hugo Grotius Really in Favour of the Freedom of the Seas?", 1 Journal of the History of International Law 48 (1999).

Ziskind, Jonathan. "International Law and Ancient Sources: Grotius and Selden," 35 Review of Politics 537 (No. 4, 1973).

 

"Freedom of the Seas, 1609: Grotius and the Emergence of International Law," curated by Edward Gordon and Michael Widener, is on display October 2009 through January 2010 in the Rare Book Exhibition Gallery, Level L2, Lillian Goldman Law Library, Yale Law School.

October 23, 2009

Freedom of the Seas, 1609: Grotius and the Emergence of International Law
An exhibit marking the 400th anniversary of Hugo Grotius’s Mare Liberum

ACKNOWLEDGMENTS

Thanks to the following individuals and institutions for their assistance in preparing this exhibit:

David Warrington
Librarian for Special Collections
Harvard Law School Library

Kathryn James
Assistant Curator, Early Modern Books and Manuscripts
Beinecke Rare Book & Manuscript Library, Yale University

Christine McCarthy
Chief Conservator
Yale University Library

Tara Kennedy
Preservation Field Services Librarian
Yale University Library

Shana Jackson
Lillian Goldman Law Library

Benjamin Yousey-Hindes
Stanford University

The portrait of Hugo Grotius is from: Hugo Grotius, Inleydinghe tot de Hollandsche rechtsgheleerdheydt (Haarlem, 1636). Rare Book Collection, Lillian Goldman Law Library.

“Freedom of the Seas, 1609: Grotius and the Emergence of International Law,” curated by Edward Gordon and Michael Widener, is on display October 2009 through January 2010 in the Rare Book Exhibition Gallery, Level L2, Lillian Goldman Law Library, Yale Law School.

October 22, 2009

Freedom of the Seas, 1609: Grotius and the Emergence of International Law
An exhibit marking the 400th anniversary of Hugo Grotius’s Mare Liberum
Part 4

As it happens, the publication of Mare liberum came too late to influence negotiations with Spain. It served instead to ignite a fierce debate over the freedom of the seas that continued throughout the 17th century – what later scholars were to call the “Battle of the Books.” Grotius contended that nature and public utility alike forbid the acquisition of property rights in the sea. Unlike land, the sea (and the air) cannot in practice be occupied, demonstrating that nature intended it to be free to all to use. Being inexhaustible in use, moreover, it is not susceptible of occupation, which is necessary when the utility of things can be preserved only if they become private property.

The defense of Portugal’s imperial claims in the East Indies fell initially to Seraphim de Freitas, a Portuguese theologian-jurist, professor at the University of Valladolid, in a treatise published in 1625 under the name De iusto imperio Lusitanorum Asiatico (On the Just Empire of the Portuguese in Asia). Vastly larger and longer than Grotius’s mere pamphlet, De iusto imperio was highly critical not only of the youthful Grotius’s arguments, but of its factual inaccuracies and misleading references and inferences as well.

Freitas contended that the right to free trade and navigation, whatever its roots in natural law, had never become a part of the law of nations. A sovereign could exclude foreigners from his territories or commerce and could forbid his subjects to trade with them. He conceded that the pope lacked an abstract right to accord dominion over newly discovered territories and peoples, but insisted that his authority as the spiritual dominus mundi entitled him to grant an exclusive right to spread the Christian faith and civilization. Since, to be effective, this right necessarily involves both trade and limited conquest, the pope had the authority to grant Portugal-Spain the right to exclude other powers from the east.

De iusto imperio was expanded upon four years later by a Spanish jurist named Juan de Solórzano Pereira (1575-1655), in a treatise entitled Disputationem de Indiarum iure. Scarcely known or written about by English-speaking scholars, De Indiarum iure is regarded by some Spanish scholars as the most systematic juridical formulation of the legitimacy of Spain and Portugal’s 17th century claims. Unlike Freitas, Solórzano Pereira said that, regardless of the legitimacy of the 15th century papal grants on which they were said to be based, Portugal’s actual control and occupation of the new territories were sufficient in themselves to satisfy the requirements for retrospective ownership (prescription) recognized in both Roman and customary law.

Neither Freitas’s nor Solórzano Pereira’s treatise had as much influence in the 17th century as their intellectual content warranted, perhaps because they were too learned and too long, but in any event because the center of intellectual interest and political power was shifting from Spain to England.

– Notes by Edward Gordon

Solórzano Pereira, Juan de (1575-1655). De Indiarum jure (Lyons, 1672).
This work became the definitive treatise on the laws governing Spain’s overseas colonies.
Rare Book Collection, Lillian Goldman Law Library.

“Freedom of the Seas, 1609: Grotius and the Emergence of International Law,” curated by Edward Gordon and Michael Widener, is on display October 2009 through January 2010 in the Rare Book Exhibition Gallery, Level L2, Lillian Goldman Law Library, Yale Law School.

October 22, 2009

Freedom of the Seas, 1609: Grotius and the Emergence of International Law
An exhibit marking the 400th anniversary of Hugo Grotius’s Mare Liberum
Part 5

England’s own claims to maritime sovereignty ran counter to both Spain and Portugal’s and to Holland’s. Even during the reign of Queen Elizabeth – and notwithstanding her rebuke to the Spanish ambassador – England claimed sovereign rights seaward. During her reign these rights extended to the waters immediately adjacent to its coast, but her successors extended them out into the Atlantic, from Cape Finisterre in Spain around the British Isles, and in the North Sea to the coast of Norway.

The first British treatise on the law of the sea appeared in 1590. Written by William Welwood (fl. 1566-1624), a professor of mathematics and then law at St. Andrews (Scotland), The Sea Law of Scotland defended royal dominion over the seas out to a distance of eighty miles off the Scottish coast. The work pleased the king of Scotland, James VI, who had objected strongly, though ineffectively, to what he regarded as the intrusion of the Dutch herring fleet into Scots waters, and who happily rewarded Welwood for lending legal support to his cause.

When James succeeded to the crown of England, following Queen Elizabeth’s death in 1603, he issued a proclamation claiming all fisheries along the British and Irish coasts, and prohibiting foreign vessels from fishing in these waters without a royal license. To support his position, he asked Welwood to refute Mare liberum directly.

This Welwood did in two treatises: An Abridgement of All the Sea-Lawes (1613) and, in an amplified Latin version inspired in part by James’s wife, Queen Anne of Denmark, De dominio maris (1615). Quoting extensively from biblical sources and Roman lawyers, Welwood rejected Grotius’s claim that the waters of the world had always been regarded as indivisible; and defended the right of a coastal state to fish and to navigate – and to impose taxes with respect to either – in the waters adjacent to its coasts. Welwood is said to have been the first to clearly enunciate a coastal state’s authority over living resources adjacent to its shores. What is more, and of more than passing interest, he based his argument, at least in part, upon the risk of exhaustion of fisheries posed by otherwise unregulated promiscuous use.

– Notes by Edward Gordon

Welwood, William (fl. 1578-1622). An abridgement of all sea-lawes (London, 1613).
Rare Book Collection, Lillian Goldman Law Library.

“Freedom of the Seas, 1609: Grotius and the Emergence of International Law,” curated by Edward Gordon and Michael Widener, is on display October 2009 through January 2010 in the Rare Book Exhibition Gallery, Level L2, Lillian Goldman Law Library, Yale Law School.

October 22, 2009

Freedom of the Seas, 1609: Grotius and the Emergence of International Law
An exhibit marking the 400th anniversary of Hugo Grotius’s Mare Liberum
Part 6

William Welwood’s work eventually drew a response from a Dutch lawyer, Dirck Graswinckel, entitled Mare liberi vindiciae adversus Gulielmum Welwodum (1653), but its relative obscurity today owes more to the publication in 1635 of Mare clausum, by John Selden (1594-1654), an English jurist, scholar and polymath whose erudition rivaled that of Grotius himself. Selden had begun researching and writing a refutation of Mare liberum soon after its publication, even before Welwood’s two treatises appeared. He had completed it by around 1618, by which time, however, a coup d’etat had taken place in the Netherlands, Grotius had been imprisoned, and relations between England and the new government were unsettled. King James was reluctant anyway to provoke a dispute with Denmark, which had extensive claims of its own in the North Atlantic. Under the circumstances, the moment seemed inauspicious for a verbal assault on Grotius and the freedom of the seas – and James refused to publish Mare clausum.

Selden apparently abandoned the project for nearly seventeen years. By then, Grotius, having escaped from prison in 1621 and living in exile in France, had published his more mature and celebrated masterpiece, De jure belli ac pacis (1625), later translated into English as The Rights of Warre and Peace (1654), in which he toned down some of the extravagant positions he had taken in his youthful defense of the seizure of the Santa Catarina, constructing instead a more sophisticated basis for a law of nature and nations independent of empire or religious guardianship that was, not coincidentally, notably less lenient in justifying the resort to armed force.

By then, Selden’s personal status had changed, too. Having become embroiled in parliamentary politics, he himself had been imprisoned and was now ensconced in the Tower of London. James meanwhile had been succeeded by Charles I, whose maritime policy was more aggressive than that of either of his two predecessors. In returning to his attack on Mare liberum, therefore, Selden was faced not only with the task of exposing weaknesses in Mare liberum, as Welwood had done and as he himself presumably had already done in his 1618 draft, but also with the more demanding one of taking into account the comprehensive legal regime Grotius had subsequently presented in De jure belli ac pacis. And he had to do both in a way that ingratiated himself with Charles.

Selden’s treatise, like Grotius’s, is remarkable for its erudition, too much so for modern readers, who tend to see in both works an excess of pedantry, but decisively impressive to the two men’s own contemporaries. Selden conceded the innocence of harmless navigation and commerce, but maintained that restrictions on them do not necessarily violate the law of nature and the law of nations. He purported to show that the open sea is not everywhere common, is capable of appropriation, and in fact from time to time had been appropriated and occupied. As to the Spanish and Portuguese claims, whose legitimacy England continued to deny, Selden said that, while on general principles they could be valid, in actual practice neither of the two countries ever acquired valid title or command to the areas they claimed.

– Notes by Edward Gordon

Selden, John (1584-1654). Mare clausum (London, 1635).
The first edition of Selden’s Mare clausum is also famous as the first use of Arabic type in England. The map depicts what ancient geographers called “the British sea.”
Rare Book Collection, Lillian Goldman Law Library.

Selden, John (1584-1654). Mare clausum: the right and dominion of the sea (London, 1663).
The second edition of the English translation of Mare clausum.
Rare Book Collection, Lillian Goldman Law Library.

Grotius, Hugo (1583-1645). Of the law of warre and peace (London, 1655).
The second English edition, appearing only a year after the first. The portrait bears Grotius’s motto, “Ruit Hora” (“Time flies”), reflecting his busy and productive career as a jurist, diplomat, and author.
Rare Book Collection, Lillian Goldman Law Library.

“Freedom of the Seas, 1609: Grotius and the Emergence of International Law,” curated by Edward Gordon and Michael Widener, is on display October 2009 through January 2010 in the Rare Book Exhibition Gallery, Level L2, Lillian Goldman Law Library, Yale Law School.

October 22, 2009

Freedom of the Seas, 1609: Grotius and the Emergence of International Law
An exhibit marking the 400th anniversary of Hugo Grotius’s Mare Liberum
Part 7

In supporting his case with a massive showing of state practice, Selden was able to draw upon historical research done by the Keeper of the Records in the Tower of London, Sir John Borough, whose work, The Sovereignty of the British Seas Proved by Records, History, and the Municipall Lawes of the Kingdome, written in 1633, was published only posthumously in 1651.

Borough, John (d. 1643). The soveraignty of the British seas (London, 1739).
The third edition.
Collection of Edward Gordon.

Grotius, too, was able to draw upon earlier work. Some of his arguments had been anticipated by the writings of Alberico Gentili (1552-1608), an Italian émigré who became Regius Professor of Civil Law at Oxford, and at least as prominently, an admiralty lawyer in London, representing the king of Spain. Gentili died before the publication of Mare liberum, but in his notes in defense of Spanish claims, published posthumously in 1613 as Hispanicae advocationis, he organized the issues far more systematically than the youthful Grotius had been able to do in Mare liberum.

Like Grotius, Gentili said that under Roman law, consistently with natural law, the open sea was common property. But he recognized the gap between principle and practice, bridging it by distinguishing dominium (ownership) from jurisdictio (jurisdiction) – the latter, unlike the former, being applicable to the high seas. He also distinguished coastal waters from the high seas, insisting, however, that a coastal state’s right to control its territorial seas did not justify closing them to foreign navigation.

His ideas anticipated those of De jure belli ac pacis as well. In his use of phrases like ius inter gentes and societas humana, for example, Gentili may be said to have initiated the liberation of the law of nations conceptually from both Roman law and the guardianship of theology. Not until the late 19th century, however, was the extent of influence on Grotius recognized by scholars. Only then did Gentili’s reputation as a founder of modern international law begin to rival that of Grotius himself.

– Notes by Edward Gordon

Gentili, Alberico (1552-1608). Hispanicae advocationis libri duo (Hanover, 1613).
Special Collections, Harvard Law School Library.

“Freedom of the Seas, 1609: Grotius and the Emergence of International Law,” curated by Edward Gordon and Michael Widener, is on display October 2009 through January 2010 in the Rare Book Exhibition Gallery, Level L2, Lillian Goldman Law Library, Yale Law School.

October 22, 2009

Freedom of the Seas, 1609: Grotius and the Emergence of International Law
An exhibit marking the 400th anniversary of Hugo Grotius’s Mare Liberum
Part 1

Grotius, Hugo (1583-1645). Mare liberum (Leiden, 1609).
Grotius launched his illustrious career in international law with this little book that initially did not bear his name.
Special Collections, Harvard Law School Library.

This exhibit marks the 400th anniversary of the publication of Hugo Grotius’s Mare liberum, a short work, originally published as a pamphlet, which produced the first effective argument for the freedom of the seas and, with Grotius’s more mature work, De jure belli ac pacis (1625), lent substance and prestige to the idea of an international law in the service of the common good.

In principle, the Roman Civil Law had already established that navigation on the high seas was open to all. But in practice the principle was frequently disregarded  – even by Rome itself, when its naval power was at its height, and by others after its decline. With the growth of maritime commerce, especially in the later Middle Ages, maritime powers asserted dominion over wide areas of ocean space: Venice to dominion over the Adriatic Sea (Guido Pace, De dominio maris Adriatico, 1619); Genoa the Ligurian (Pietro Battista Borgo, De dominio serenessimae Genuinsis Reipublica in mari Liguria, 1641); Sweden, Denmark and Poland to all or parts of the Baltic.

Early efforts to codify maritime law, such as the 12th century Laws of Oleron and the Consolat de Mar (ca. 1484) had codified admiralty law on a range of subjects, including, for example, ship ownership, discipline and punishment of crews, and salvage.

– Notes by Edward Gordon

Pace, Giulio (1550-1635). De dominio maris Hadriatici desceptatio (Lyons, 1619).
Rare Book Collection, Lillian Goldman Law Library.

Libro llamado Consulado de mar (Valencia, 1539).
A translation from the original Catalan into Spanish of “The Book of the Consulate of the Sea,” the basis for much of Europe’s maritime law.
Rare Book Collection, Lillian Goldman Law Library.

“Freedom of the Seas, 1609: Grotius and the Emergence of International Law,” curated by Edward Gordon and Michael Widener, is on display October 2009 through January 2010 in the Rare Book Exhibition Gallery, Level L2, Lillian Goldman Law Library, Yale Law School.

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