Hugo Grotius

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Hugo Grotius
Michiel Jansz van Mierevelt - Hugo Grotius.jpg
Portrait of Hugo Grotius
by Michiel Jansz. van Mierevelt, 1631
Born10 April 1583
Died28 August 1645 (aged 62)
Alma mater Leiden University
Era Renaissance philosophy
Region Western philosophy
School Natural law
Main interests
Philosophy of war, international law, political philosophy
Notable ideas
Theory of natural rights, grounding just war principles in natural law

Hugo Grotius ( /ˈɡrʃiəs/ ; 10 April 1583 – 28 August 1645), also known as Huig de Groot (Dutch:  [ˈɦœyɣ də ɣroːt] ) or Hugo de Groot (Dutch:  [ˈɦyɣoː də ɣroːt] ), was a Dutch jurist. Along with the earlier works of Francisco de Vitoria and Alberico Gentili, he laid the foundations for international law, based on natural law. A teenage intellectual prodigy, he was born in Delft and studied at Leiden University. He was imprisoned for his involvement in the intra-Calvinist disputes of the Dutch Republic, but escaped hidden in a chest of books. Grotius wrote most of his major works in exile in France.

Francisco de Vitoria Spanish philosopher

Francisco de Vitoria was a Basque (Spanish) Roman Catholic philosopher, theologian, and jurist of Renaissance Spain. He is the founder of the tradition in philosophy known as the School of Salamanca, noted especially for his contributions to the theory of just war and international law. He has in the past been described by some scholars as one of the "fathers of international law", along with Alberico Gentili and Hugo Grotius, though contemporary academics have suggested that such a description is anachronistic, since the concept of international law did not truly develop until much later. American jurist Arthur Nussbaum noted that Vitoria was "the first to set forth the notions of freedom of commerce and freedom of the seas."

Alberico Gentili Italian jurist

Alberico Gentili was an Italian lawyer, jurist, and a former standing advocate to the Spanish Embassy in London, who served as the Regius professor of civil law at the University of Oxford for 21 years. Recognised as the founder of the science of international law alongside Francisco de Vitoria and Hugo Grotius, Gentili is perhaps one of the most influential people in legal education ever to have lived. He is one of the three men referred to as the "Father of international law". Gentili has been the earliest writer on public international law and the first person to split secularism from canon law and Roman Catholic theology. In 1587, he became the first non-English Regius Professor.

International law regulations governing international relations

International law, also known as public international law and law of nations, is the set of rules, norms, and standards generally accepted in relations between nations. It establishes normative guidelines and a common conceptual framework for states to follow across a broad range of domains, including war, diplomacy, trade, and human rights. International law thus provides a mean for states to practice more stable, consistent, and organized international relations.

Contents

It is thought that Hugo Grotius was not the first to formulate the international society doctrine, but he was one of the first to define expressly the idea of one society of states, governed not by force or warfare but by actual laws and mutual agreement to enforce those laws. As Hedley Bull declared in 1990: "The idea of international society which Grotius propounded was given concrete expression in the Peace of Westphalia, and Grotius may be considered the intellectual father of this first general peace settlement of modern times." [1] Additionally, his contributions to Arminian theology helped provide the seeds for later Arminian-based movements, such as Methodism and Pentecostalism; Grotius is acknowledged as a significant figure in the Arminian-Calvinist debate. Because of his theological underpinning of free trade, he is also considered an "economic theologist". [2]

Force Any action that tends to maintain or alter the motion of an object

In physics, a force is any interaction that, when unopposed, will change the motion of an object. A force can cause an object with mass to change its velocity, i.e., to accelerate. Force can also be described intuitively as a push or a pull. A force has both magnitude and direction, making it a vector quantity. It is measured in the SI unit of newtons and represented by the symbol F.

Hedley Norman Bull, FBA was Professor of International Relations at the Australian National University, the London School of Economics and the University of Oxford until his death from cancer in 1985. He was Montague Burton Professor of International Relations at Oxford from 1977 to 1985, and died there.

Peace of Westphalia Peace treaty ending the European Thirty and Eighty Years Wars

The Peace of Westphalia was a series of peace treaties signed between May and October 1648 in the Westphalian cities of Osnabrück and Münster, largely ending the European wars of religion, including the Thirty Years' War. The treaties of Westphalia brought to an end a calamitous period of European history which caused the deaths of approximately eight million people. Scholars have identified Westphalia as the beginning of the modern international system, based on the concept of Westphalian sovereignty, though this interpretation has been challenged.

Early life

Grotius at age 16, by Jan Antonisz. van Ravesteyn, 1599 Hugo Grotius00.jpg
Grotius at age 16, by Jan Antonisz. van Ravesteyn, 1599

Born in Delft during the Dutch Revolt, Hugo was the first child of Jan de Groot and Alida van Overschie. His father was a man of learning, once having studied with the eminent Justus Lipsius at Leiden, as well as of political distinction, and he groomed his son from an early age in a traditional humanist and Aristotelian education. A prodigious learner, Hugo entered the University of Leiden when he was just eleven years old. There he studied with some of the most acclaimed intellectuals in northern Europe, including Franciscus Junius, Joseph Justus Scaliger, and Rudolph Snellius. [3]

Delft City and municipality in South Holland, Netherlands

Delft is a city and municipality in the province of South Holland, Netherlands. It is located between Rotterdam, to the southeast, and The Hague, to the northwest. Together with them, it is part of both Rotterdam–The Hague metropolitan area and the Randstad.

Eighty Years War 16th and 17th-century Dutch revolt against the Habsburgs

The Eighty Years' War or Dutch War of Independence (1568–1648) was a revolt of the Seventeen Provinces of what are today the Netherlands, Belgium, and Luxembourg against Philip II of Spain, the sovereign of the Habsburg Netherlands. After the initial stages, Philip II deployed his armies and regained control over most of the rebelling provinces. Under the leadership of the exiled William the Silent, the northern provinces continued their resistance. They eventually were able to oust the Habsburg armies, and in 1581 they established the Republic of the Seven United Netherlands. The war continued in other areas, although the heartland of the republic was no longer threatened; this included the beginnings of the Dutch Colonial Empire, which at the time were conceived as carrying overseas the war with Spain. The Dutch Republic was recognized by Spain and the major European powers in 1609 at the start of the Twelve Years' Truce. Hostilities broke out again around 1619, as part of the broader Thirty Years' War. An end was reached in 1648 with the Peace of Münster, when the Dutch Republic was definitively recognised as an independent country no longer part of the Holy Roman Empire. The Peace of Münster is sometimes considered the beginning of the Dutch Golden Age.

Justus Lipsius Southern-Netherlandish philologist

Justus Lipsius was a Flemish philologist, philosopher and humanist. Lipsius wrote a series of works designed to revive ancient Stoicism in a form that would be compatible with Christianity. The most famous of these is De Constantia. His form of Stoicism influenced a number of contemporary thinkers, creating the intellectual movement of Neostoicism. He taught at the universities in Jena, Leiden and Leuven.

At age sixteen he published his first book: a scholarly edition of the late antique author Martianus Capella's work on the seven liberal arts, Martiani Minei Felicis Capellæ Carthaginiensis viri proconsularis Satyricon, in quo De nuptiis Philologiæ & Mercurij libri duo, & De septem artibus liberalibus libri singulares. Omnes, & emendati, & Notis, siue Februis Hug. Grotii illustrati [The Satyricon by Martianus Minneus Felix Capella, a man from Carthage, which includes the two books of 'On the Marriage of Philology and Mercury', and the book named 'On the Seven Liberal Arts'. Everything, including corrections, annotations as well as deletions and illustrations by Hug. Grotius]. [4]

Late antiquity period of transition from classical antiquity to the Middle Ages (Europe, the Mediterranean, and the Near East only)

Late antiquity is a periodization used by historians to describe the time of transition from classical antiquity to the Middle Ages in mainland Europe, the Mediterranean world, and the Near East. The popularization of this periodization in English has generally been accredited to historian Peter Brown, after the publication of his seminal work The World of Late Antiquity (1971). Precise boundaries for the period are a continuing matter of debate, but Brown proposes a period between the 3rd and 8th centuries AD. Generally, it can be thought of as from the end of the Roman Empire's Crisis of the Third Century to, in the East, the early Muslim conquests in the mid-7th century. In the West the end was earlier, with the start of the Early Middle Ages typically placed in the 6th century, or earlier on the edges of the Western Roman Empire.

Martianus Minneus Felix Capella was a Latin prose writer of Late Antiquity, one of the earliest developers of the system of the seven liberal arts that structured early medieval education. His single encyclopedic work, De nuptiis Philologiae et Mercurii is an elaborate didactic allegory written in a mixture of prose and elaborately allusive verse.

In Holland, Grotius earned an appointment as advocate to The Hague in 1599 and then as official historiographer for the States of Holland in 1601. His first occasion to write systematically on issues of international justice came in 1604, when he became involved in the legal proceedings following the seizure by Dutch merchants of a Portuguese carrack and its cargo in the Singapore Strait. [5]

The Hague City and municipality in South Holland, Netherlands

The Hague is a city on the western coast of the Netherlands and the capital of the province of South Holland. It is also the seat of government of the Netherlands.

Carrack type of sailing ship in the 15th century

A carrack was a three- or four-masted ocean-going sailing ship that was developed in the 14th to 15th centuries in Europe. Evolved from the single-masted cog, the carrack was first used for European trade from the Mediterranean to the Baltic and quickly found use with the newly found wealth of the trans-Atlantic trade between Europe, Africa and then the Americas. In their most advanced forms, they were used by the Portuguese for trade between Europe and Asia starting in the late 15th century, before eventually being superseded in the 17th century by the galleon, introduced in the 16th century.

Singapore Strait strait

The Singapore Strait is a 105-kilometer long, 16-kilometer wide strait between the Strait of Malacca in the west and the Karimata Strait in the east. Singapore is on the north of the channel and the Riau Islands are on the south. The Indonesia-Singapore border lies along the length of the strait.

De Indis and Mare Liberum

Page written in Grotius' hand from the manuscript of De Indis (circa 1604/05) Grotius de iure praedae.jpg
Page written in Grotius' hand from the manuscript of De Indis (circa 1604/05)

The Dutch were at war with Spain; although Portugal was closely allied with Spain, it was not yet at war with the Dutch. The war began when Grotius's cousin captain Jacob van Heemskerk captured a loaded Portuguese carrack merchant ship, Santa Catarina , off present-day Singapore in 1603.[ citation needed ] Heemskerk was employed with the United Amsterdam Company (part of the Dutch East India Company), and though he did not have authorization from the company or the government to initiate the use of force, many shareholders were eager to accept the riches that he brought back to them. [6]

Dynastic union kind of federation with only two different states that are governed by the same dynasty, while their boundaries, their laws and their interests remain distinct

A dynastic union is a kind of federation with only two different states that are governed by the same dynasty, while their boundaries, their laws and their interests remain distinct. It differs from a personal union in that a personal union is under a monarch, but not under a dynasty, although it depends on the country.

Dutch–Portuguese War Conflict for sea dominance from 1601 through 1661

The Dutch–Portuguese War was an armed conflict involving Dutch forces, in the form of the Dutch East India Company and the Dutch West India Company, against the Portuguese Empire. Beginning in 1602, the conflict primarily involved the Dutch companies invading Portuguese colonies in the Americas, Africa, India and the Far East. The war can be thought of as an extension of the Eighty Years' War being fought in Europe at the time between Spain and the Netherlands, as Portugal was in a dynastic union with the Spanish Crown after the War of the Portuguese Succession, for most of the conflict. However, the conflict had little to do with the war in Europe and served mainly as a way for the Dutch to gain an overseas empire and control trade at the cost of the Portuguese. English forces also assisted the Dutch at certain points in the war. Because of the cargo of conflict, this war would be nicknamed the Spice War.

Santa Catarina was a Portuguese merchant ship, a 1500-ton carrack, that was seized by the Dutch East India Company during February 1603 off Singapore. She was such a rich prize that her sale proceeds increased the capital of the V.O.C by more than 50%. From the large amounts of Ming Chinese porcelain captured in this ship, Chinese pottery became known in Holland as Kraakporselein, or "carrack-porcelain" for many years.

Not only was the legality of keeping the prize questionable under Dutch statute, but a faction of shareholders (mostly Mennonite) in the Company also objected to the forceful seizure on moral grounds, and of course, the Portuguese demanded the return of their cargo. The scandal led to a public judicial hearing and a wider campaign to sway public (and international) opinion. [ citation needed ] It was in this wider context that representatives of the Company called upon Grotius to draft a polemical defence of the seizure. [6]

Portrait of Grotius at age 25 (Michiel Jansz. van Mierevelt, 1608) Mierevelt grotius 1608.jpg
Portrait of Grotius at age 25 (Michiel Jansz. van Mierevelt, 1608)

The result of Grotius' efforts in 1604/05 was a long, theory-laden treatise that he provisionally entitled De Indis (On the Indies). Grotius sought to ground his defense of the seizure in terms of the natural principles of justice. In this, he had cast a net much wider than the case at hand; his interest was in the source and ground of war's lawfulness in general. The treatise was never published in full during Grotius' lifetime, perhaps because the court ruling in favor of the Company preempted the need to garner public support.[ citation needed ]

In The Free Sea ( Mare Liberum , published 1609) Grotius formulated the new principle that the sea was international territory and all nations were free to use it for seafaring trade. Grotius, by claiming 'free seas' (Freedom of the seas), provided suitable ideological justification for the Dutch breaking up of various trade monopolies through its formidable naval power (and then establishing its own monopoly). [ citation needed ] England, competing fiercely with the Dutch for domination of world trade, opposed this idea and claimed in John Selden's Mare clausum (The Closed Sea), "That the Dominion of the British Sea, or That Which Incompasseth the Isle of Great Britain, is, and Ever Hath Been, a Part or Appendant of the Empire of that Island." [7]

Arminian controversy, arrest and exile

Aided by his continued association with Van Oldenbarnevelt, Grotius made considerable advances in his political career, being retained as Oldenbarnevelt's resident advisor in 1605, Advocate General of the Fisc of Holland, Zeeland and Friesland in 1607, and then as Pensionary of Rotterdam (the equivalent of a mayoral office) in 1613. [8] In 1608 he married Maria van Reigersberch, with whom he would have eight children (four surviving beyond youth) and who would be invaluable in helping him and the family to weather the storm to come.

In these years a great theological controversy broke out between the chair of theology at Leiden Jacobus Arminius and his followers (who are called Arminians or Remonstrants) and the strongly Calvinist theologian, Franciscus Gomarus, whose supporters are termed Gomarists or Counter-Remonstrants. [ citation needed ] Leiden University "was under the authority of the States of Holland – they were responsible, among other things, for the policy concerning appointments at this institution, which was governed in their name by a board of Curators – and, in the final instance, the States were responsible for dealing with any cases of heterodoxy among the professors." [9] The domestic dissension resulting over Arminius' professorship was overshadowed by the continuing war with Spain, and the professor died in 1609 on the eve of the Twelve Years' Truce. The new peace would move the people's focus to the controversy and Arminius' followers.[ citation needed ]

Controversy within Dutch Protestantism

The controversy expanded when the Remonstrant theologian Conrad Vorstius was appointed to replace Jacobus Arminius as the theology chair at Leiden. Vorstius was soon seen by Counter-Remonstrants as moving beyond the teachings of Arminius into Socinianism and he was accused of teaching irreligion. Leading the call for Vorstius' removal was theology professor Sibrandus Lubbertus. On the other side Johannes Wtenbogaert (a Remonstrant leader) and Johan van Oldenbarnevelt, Grand Pensionary of Holland, had strongly promoted the appointment of Vortius and began to defend their actions. Gomarus resigned his professorship at Leyden, in protest that Vorstius was not removed.[ citation needed ] The Counter-Remonstrants were also supported in their opposition by King James I of England "who thundered loudly against the Leyden nomination and gaudily depicted Vorstius as a horrid heretic. He ordered his books to be publicly burnt in London, Cambridge, and Oxford, and he exerted continual pressure through his ambassador in the Hague, Ralph Winwood, to get the appointment cancelled." [10] James began to shift his confidence from Oldenbarnevelt towards Maurice.

Grotius joined the controversy by defending the civil authorities' power to appoint (independently of the wishes of religious authorities) whomever they wished to a university's faculty. He did this by writing Ordinum Pietas , "a pamphlet...directed against an opponent, the Calvinist Franeker professor Lubbertus; it was ordered by Grotius' masters the States of Holland, and thus written for the occasion – though Grotius may already have had plans for such a book." [11]

The work is twenty-seven pages long, is "polemical and acrimonious" and only two-thirds of it speaks directly about ecclesiastical politics (mainly of synods and offices). [11] The work met with a violent reaction from the Counter-Remonstrants, and "It might be said that all Grotius' next works until his arrest in 1618 form a vain attempt to repair the damage done by this book." [11] Grotius would later write De Satisfactione aiming "at proving that the Arminians are far from being Socinians." [11]

Decretum pro pace ecclesiarum (1613–14)

Led by Oldenbarnevelt, the States of Holland took an official position of religious toleration towards Remonstrants and Counter-Remonstrants. Grotius, (who acted during the controversy first as Attorney General of Holland, and later as a member of the Committee of Counsellors) was eventually asked to draft an edict to express the policy of toleration. [12] This edict, Decretum pro pace ecclesiarum was completed in late 1613 or early 1614. The edict put into practice a view that Grotius had been developing in his writings on church and state (see Erastianism): that only the basic tenets necessary for undergirding civil order (e.g., the existence of God and His providence) ought to be enforced while differences on obscure theological doctrines should be left to private conscience. [13]

Statue of Hugo Grotius in Delft, the Netherlands Statue of Hugo Grotius.jpg
Statue of Hugo Grotius in Delft, the Netherlands

The edict "imposing moderation and toleration on the ministry", was backed up by Grotius with "thirty-one pages of quotations, mainly dealing with the Five Remonstrant Articles." [11] In response to Grotius' Ordinum Pietas, Professor Lubbertus published Responsio Ad Pietatem Hugonis Grotii in 1614. Later that year Grotius anonymously published Bona Fides Sibrandi Lubberti in response to Lubbertus. [11]

Jacobus Trigland joined Lubberdus in expressing the view that tolerance in matters of doctrine was inadmissible, and in his 1615 works Den Recht-gematigden Christen: Ofte vande waere Moderatie and Advys Over een Concept van moderatie [14] Trigland denounced Grotius' stance.

It is generally assumed that Grotius first propounded the principle of freedom of the seas, although all countries in the Indian Ocean and other Asian seas accepted the right of unobstructed navigation long before Grotius wrote his De Jure Praedae (On the Law of Spoils) in the year of 1604. Additionally, 16th century Spanish theologian Francisco de Vitoria had postulated the idea of freedom of the seas in a more rudimentary fashion under the principles of jus gentium . [15] Grotius's notion of the freedom of the seas would persist until the mid-twentieth century, and it continues to be applied even to this day for much of the high seas, though the application of the concept and the scope of its reach is changing.[ citation needed ]

In late 1615, when Middelburg professor Antonius Walaeus published Het Ampt der Kerckendienaren (a response to Johannes Wtenbogaert's 1610 Tractaet van 't Ampt ende authoriteit eener hoogher Christelijcke overheid in kerckelijkcke zaken) he sent Grotius a copy out of friendship. This was a work "on the relationship between ecclesiastical and secular government" from the moderate counter-remonstrant viewpoint. [11] In early 1616 Grotius also received the 36 page letter championing a remonstrant view Dissertatio epistolica de Iure magistratus in rebus ecclesiasticis from his friend Gerardus Vossius. [11]

The letter was "a general introduction on (in)tolerance, mainly on the subject of predestination and the sacrament...[and] an extensive, detailed and generally unfavourable review of Walaeus' Ampt, stuffed with references to ancient and modern authorities." [11] When Grotius wrote asking for some notes "he received a treasure-house of ecclesiastical history. ...offering ammunition to Grotius, who gratefully accepted it". [11] Around this time (April 1616) Grotius went to Amsterdam as part of his official duties, trying to persuade the civil authorities there to join Holland's majority view about church politics.

In early 1617 Grotius debated the question of giving counter-remonstrants the chance to preach in the Kloosterkerk in The Hague which had been closed. During this time lawsuits were brought against the States of Holland by counter-remonstrant ministers and riots over the controversy broke out in Amsterdam.

De Imperio Summarum Potestatum circa Sacra

Loevestein Castle at the time of Grotius' imprisonment in 1618-21 Slot loevestein 1619.jpg
Loevestein Castle at the time of Grotius' imprisonment in 1618–21

As the conflict between civil and religious authorities escalated, in order to maintain civil order Oldenbarnevelt eventually proposed that local authorities be given the power to raise troops (the Sharp Resolution of August 4, 1617). Such a measure putatively undermined the authority of the Captain-General of the republic, Maurice of Nassau, Prince of Orange.[ citation needed ] Maurice seized the opportunity to solidify the preeminence of the Gomarists, whom he had supported, and to eliminate the nuisance he perceived in Oldenbarnevelt (the latter had previously brokered the Twelve Years' Truce with Spain in 1609 against Maurice's wishes). During this time Grotius made another attempt to address ecclesiastical politics by completing De Imperio Summarum Potestatum circa Sacra, on "the relations between the religious and secular authorities...Grotius had even cherished hopes that publication of this book would turn the tide and bring back peace to church and state". [11]

Grotius' escape from Loevestein Castle in 1621 Fredrik-Duim-De-vlugt-van-Huig-de-Groot MG 1299.tif
Grotius' escape from Loevestein Castle in 1621

The conflict between Maurice and the States of Holland, led by Oldenbarnevelt and Grotius, about the Sharp Resolution and Holland's refusal to allow a National Synod, came to a head in July 1619 when a majority in the States General authorized Maurice to disband the auxiliary troops in Utrecht. Grotius went on a mission to the States of Utrecht to stiffen their resistance against this move, but Maurice prevailed. The States General then authorized him to arrest Oldenbarnevelt, Grotius and Rombout Hogerbeets on 29 August 1618. They were tried by a court of delegated judges from the States General. Van Oldenbarnevelt was sentenced to death and was beheaded in 1619. Grotius was sentenced to life imprisonment and transferred to Loevestein Castle. [16]

From his imprisonment in Loevestein, Grotius made a written justification of his position "as to my views on the power of the Christian [civil] authorities in ecclesiastical matters, I refer to my...booklet De Pietate Ordinum Hollandiae and especially to an unpublished book De Imperio summarum potestatum circa sacra, where I have treated the matter in more detail...I may summarize my feelings thus: that the [civil] authorities should scrutinize God's Word so thoroughly as to be certain to impose nothing which is against it; if they act in this way, they shall in good conscience have control of the public churches and public worship – but without persecuting those who err from the right way." [11] Because this stripped Church officials of any power some of their members (such as Johannes Althusius in a letter to Lubbertus) declared Grotius' ideas diabolical. [11]

The book chest in which Grotius escaped Loevestein in 1621 WLANL - Pachango - Slot Loevestein - Boekenkist van Hugo de Groot.jpg
The book chest in which Grotius escaped Loevestein in 1621

In 1621, with the help of his wife and his maidservant, Elsje van Houwening, Grotius managed to escape the castle in a book chest and fled to Paris. In the Netherlands today, he is mainly famous for this daring escape. Both the Rijksmuseum in Amsterdam and the museum Het Prinsenhof in Delft claim to have the original book chest in their collection. [17]

Grotius was well received in Paris by his former acquaintances and was granted a royal pension under Louis XIII. It was there in France that Grotius completed his most famous philosophical works.[ citation needed ]

On The Truth of the Christian Religion

While in Paris, Grotius set about rendering into Latin prose a work which he had originally written as Dutch verse in prison, providing rudimentary yet systematic arguments for the truth of Christianity. The Dutch poem, Bewijs van den waren Godsdienst, was published in 1622, the Latin treatise in 1627, under the title De veritate religionis Christianae.

Governmental theory of atonement

Grotius also developed a particular view of the atonement of Christ known as the "Governmental" or "Moral government" theory. He theorized that Jesus' sacrificial death occurred in order for the Father to forgive while still maintaining his just rule over the universe. This idea, further developed by theologians such as John Miley, became one of the prominent views of the atonement in Methodist Arminianism. [ citation needed ]

De Jure Belli ac Pacis

Title page from the second edition (Amsterdam 1631) of De jure belli ac pacis 381px-Grotius de jure 1631.jpg
Title page from the second edition (Amsterdam 1631) of De jure belli ac pacis

Living in the times of the Eighty Years' War between Spain and the Netherlands and the Thirty Years' War between Catholic and Protestant European nations (Catholic France being in the otherwise Protestant camp), it is not surprising that Grotius was deeply concerned with matters of conflicts between nations and religions. His most lasting work, begun in prison and published during his exile in Paris, was a monumental effort to restrain such conflicts on the basis of a broad moral consensus. Grotius wrote:

Fully convinced...that there is a common law among nations, which is valid alike for war and in war, I have had many and weighty reasons for undertaking to write upon the subject. Throughout the Christian world I observed a lack of restraint in relation to war, such as even barbarous races should be ashamed of; I observed that men rush to arms for slight causes, or no cause at all, and that when arms have once been taken up there is no longer any respect for law, divine or human; it is as if, in accordance with a general decree, frenzy had openly been let loose for the committing of all crimes. [18]

De jure belli ac pacis libri tres (On the Law of War and Peace: Three books) was first published in 1625, dedicated to Grotius' current patron, Louis XIII. The treatise advances a system of principles of natural law, which are held to be binding on all people and nations regardless of local custom. The work is divided into three books:

Natural law

Engraved portrait of Grotius Hugo-de-Groot-Johann-Niclas-Serlin-Drey-Bucher-von-Kriegs-und-Friedens-Rechten 0157.tif
Engraved portrait of Grotius

Grotius' concept of natural law had a strong impact on the philosophical and theological debates and political developments of the 17th and 18th centuries. Among those he influenced were Samuel Pufendorf and John Locke, and by way of these philosophers his thinking became part of the cultural background of the Glorious Revolution in England and the American Revolution. [19] In Grotius' understanding, nature was not an entity in itself, but God's creation. Therefore, his concept of natural law had a theological foundation. [20] The Old Testament contained moral precepts (e.g. the Decalogue), which Christ confirmed and therefore were still valid. They were useful in interpreting the content of natural law. Both biblical revelation and natural law originated in God and could therefore not contradict each other. [21]

Later years

Many exiled Remonstrants began to return to the Netherlands after the death of Prince Maurice in 1625 when toleration was granted to them. In 1630 they were allowed complete freedom to build and run churches and schools and to live anywhere in Holland. The Remonstrants guided by Uytenbogaert set up a presbyterial organization. They established a theological seminary at Amsterdam where Grotius came to teach alongside Episcopius, Limborch, Curcellaeus, and Le Clerc.

In 1634 Grotius was given the opportunity to serve as Sweden's ambassador to France. The recently deceased Swedish king, Gustavus Adolphus, had been an admirer of Grotius (he was said to have always carried a copy of De jure belli ac pacis in his saddle when leading his troops). [22] His successor's regent, Axel Oxenstierna, was keen to have Grotius in his employ. Grotius accepted the offer and took up diplomatic residence in Paris, which remained his home until he was released from his post in 1645.[ citation needed ]

While departing from his last visit to Sweden, Grotius was shipwrecked on the voyage. He washed up on the shore of Rostock, ill and weather-beaten, and on August 28, 1645, he died; his body at last returned to the country of his youth, being laid to rest in the Nieuwe Kerk in Delft.[ citation needed ]

Personal life

Syntagma Arateorum Hug. Grotii Bataui Syntagma Arateorum 981373 00009.jpg
Syntagma Arateorum

Grotius' personal motto was Ruit hora ("Time is running away"); his last words were "By understanding many things, I have accomplished nothing" (Door veel te begrijpen, heb ik niets bereikt). [23] Significant friends and acquaintances of his included the theologian Franciscus Junius, the poet Daniel Heinsius, the philologist Gerhard Johann Vossius, the historian Johannes Meursius, the engineer Simon Stevin, the historian Jacques Auguste de Thou, the Orientalist and Arabic scholar Erpinius, and the French ambassador in the Dutch Republic, Benjamin Aubery du Maurier, who allowed him to use the French diplomatic mail in the first years of his exile. He was also friends with the Flemish Jesuit Andreas Schottus. [24]

Grotius was the father of regent and diplomat Pieter de Groot.

Commentary on Grotius

Andrew Dickson White wrote in Seven Great Statesmen in the Warfare of Humanity with Unreason (1910):

Into the very midst of all this welter of evil, at a point in time to all appearance hopeless, at a point in space apparently defenseless, in a nation of which every man, woman, and child was under sentence of death from its sovereign, was born a man who wrought as no other has ever done for a redemption of civilization from the main cause of all that misery; who thought out for Europe the precepts of right reason in international law; who made them heard; who gave a noble change to the course of human affairs; whose thoughts, reasonings, suggestions, and appeals produced an environment in which came an evolution of humanity that still continues.

In contrast, Robert A. Heinlein satirized the Grotian governmental approach to theology in Methuselah's Children : "There is an old, old story about a theologian who was asked to reconcile the doctrine of Divine Mercy with the doctrine of infant damnation. 'The Almighty,' he explained, 'finds it necessary to do things in His official and public capacity which in His private and personal capacity He deplores.'" [25]

Bibliography (selection)

Marble bas-relief of Hugo Grotius among 23 reliefs of great historical lawgivers in the chamber of the U.S. House of Representatives in the United States Capitol Hugo Grotius bas-relief in the U.S. House of Representatives chamber.jpg
Marble bas-relief of Hugo Grotius among 23 reliefs of great historical lawgivers in the chamber of the U.S. House of Representatives in the United States Capitol
Annotationes ad Vetus Testamentum (1732) Annotationes ad Vetus Testamentum.tif
Annotationes ad Vetus Testamentum (1732)

The Peace Palace Library in The Hague holds the Grotius Collection, which has a large number of books by and about Hugo Grotius. The collection was based on a donation from Martinus Nijhoff of 55 editions of De jure belli ac pacis libri tres.

Works are listed in order of publication, with the exception of works published posthumously or after long delay (estimated composition dates are given). [26] Where an English translation is available, the most recently published translation is listed beneath the title.

The Antiquity of the Batavian Republic, ed. Jan Waszink and others (van Gorcum, 2000).
Meletius, ed. G.H.M. Posthumus Meyjes (Brill, 1988).
The Annals and History of the Low-Countrey-warrs, ed. Thomas Manley (London, 1665):
Modern Dutch translation of the "Annales" only in: Hugo de Groot, "Kroniek van de Nederlandse Oorlog. De Opstand 1559-1588", ed. Jan Waszink (Nijmegen, Vantilt 2014), with introduction, index, plates.
Ordinum Hollandiae ac Westfrisiae pietas, ed. Edwin Rabbie (Brill, 1995).
De imperio summarum potestatum circa sacra, ed. Harm-Jan van Dam (Brill, 2001).
Defensio fidei catholicae de satisfactione Christi, ed. Edwin Rabbie (van Gorcum, 1990).
A defence of the Catholic faith concerning the satisfaction of Christ against Faustus Socinus, tr. Frank Hugh Foster (W. F. Draper, 1889).
The Jurisprudence of Holland, ed. R.W. Lee (Oxford, 1926).
De iure belli ac pacis libri tres, ed. Francis W. Kelsey, with the collaboration of Arthur E. R. Boak (Washington, D.C.: Carnegie Institution of Washington, 1913–1925; reprint: Buffalo, NY: William H. Hein, 1995)
Hugo Grotius: On the Law of War and Peace. Student edn. Ed. Stephen C. Neff (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2012)
The Truth of the Christian Religion, ed. John Clarke (Edinburgh, 1819).

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References

Notes

  1. Hedley Bull; Adam Roberts; Benedict Kingsbury) (eds.). Hugo Grotius and International Relations. Oxford: Oxford UP. ISBN   978-0-19-825569-7.
  2. Thumfart (2009)
  3. See Vreeland (1919), chapter 1
  4. Stahl, William H. (1965). "To a Better Understanding of Martianus Capella". Speculum. 40 (1): 102–115. doi:10.2307/2856467. JSTOR   2856467.
  5. "Hugo Grotius". www.tititudorancea.com. Retrieved 22 November 2018.
  6. 1 2 See Ittersum (2006), chapter 1.
  7. Selden, John. Needham, Marchmont (trans.) (1652) Mare Clausum. Of the Dominion, or, Ownership of the Sea. Vols. 1 & 2. London: Printed by William Du-Gard, by appointment of the Council of State and sold at the Sign of the Ship at the New Exchange.
  8. Vreeland (1919), chapter 3.
  9. Edwin Rabbie (1995). Hugo Grotius: Ordinum Hollandiae ac Westfrisiae Pietas, 1613. Brill.
  10. Willem Nijenhuis (1972–1994). Ecclesia reformata: Studies on the Reformation. Leiden, Netherlands: Brill.
  11. 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 Harm-Jan Van Dam (1994). "De Imperio Summarum Potestatum Circa Sacra". In Henk J.M. Nellen & Edwin Rabbie (ed.). Hugo Grotius Theologian – Essays in Honor of G.H.M. Posthumus Meyjes. New York: E.J. Brill.
  12. A translation edict is printed in full in the appendix to Vreeland (1919).
  13. See his manuscript for Meletius (1611) and the more systematic De imperio summarum potestatum circa sacra (finished 1617, published 1647).
  14. Hans W. Blom, ed. (2009). Property, Piracy and Punishment: Hugo Grotius on War and Booty in De iure praedae. Brill.
  15. Nussbaum, Arthur (1947). A concise history of the law of nations (1st ed.). New York: Macmillan Co. p. 62.
  16. Israel, Jonathan (1995). The Dutch Republic: Its Rise, Greatness, and Fall 1477–1806. Oxford: Clarendon Press. pp. 447–449. ISBN   0-19-873072-1.
  17. "Hugo de Groot - Slot Loevestein". Slot Loevestein (in Dutch). Retrieved 23 January 2017.
  18. The Law of War and Peace, trans. Francis Kelsey (Carnegie edition, 1925), Prol. sect. 28.
  19. Cf. Jeremy Waldron (2002), God, Locke, and Equality: Christian Foundations in Locke's Political Thought, Cambridge University Press, Cambridge (UK), ISBN   978-0-521-89057-1, pp. 189, 208
  20. Ernst Wolf, Naturrecht, in Die Religion in Geschichte und Gegenwart, 3. Auflage, Band IV (1960), Tübingen (Germany), col. 1357
  21. M. Elze, Grotius, Hugo, in Die Religion in Geschichte und Gegenwart, 3. Auflage, Band II (1958), Tübingen (Germany), col. 1885
  22. Grotius, Hugo The Rights of War and Peace Book I, Project Gutenberg.
  23. Bill Uzgalis, "Hugo Grotius" in Western Philosophers, Oregon State online notes (2003) Archived 20 October 2011 at the Wayback Machine .
  24. Guillaume H.M. Posthumus Meyjes (ed.), Hugo Grotius, Meletius sive De iis quae inter Christianos conveniunt Epistola: Critical Edition with Translation, Commentary and Introduction, Brill 1988, p. 33, n. 67
  25. Robert A. Heinlein (1958/1999), Revolt in 2100 & Methuselah's Children, reprint, Riverdale, New York: Baen, Chapter 3, pp. 324–325.
  26. See Catalogue of the Grotius Collection (Peace Palace Library, The Hague) and 'Grotius, Hugo' in Dictionary of Seventeenth Century Dutch Philosophers (Thoemmes Press 2003).
  27. An extension of François Vranck's Deduction of 1587, see Leeb, I. Leonard (1973). Ideological Origins of the Batavian Revolution: History and Politics in the Dutch Republic, 1747–1800. Springer. pp. 21ff, 89.
  28. This was for a long time the only source for what transpired during Grotius' trial in 1619, because the trial record was not published at the time. However, Robert Fruin edited this trial record in R. Fruin, ed. (1871). "Verhooren en andere bescheiden betreffende het rechtsgeding van Hugo de Groot". Google Books (in Dutch). Kemink en Zn. Retrieved 26 January 2019.

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