The free sea

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Liberty Fund, 2004 - Law - 145 pages
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The freedom of the oceans of the world and coastal waters has been a contentious issue in international law for the past four hundred years. The most influential argument in favor of freedom of navigation, trade, and fishing was that put forth by the Dutch theorist Hugo Grotius in his 1609 Mare Liberum (The Free Sea).

The Free Sea was originally published in order to buttress Dutch claims of access to the lucrative markets of the East Indies. It had been composed as the twelfth chapter of a larger work, De Jure Praedae (Commentary on the Law of Prize and Booty), which Grotius had written to defend the Dutch East India Company’s capture in 1603 of a rich Portuguese merchant ship in the Strait of Singapore.

Liberty Fund’s new edition of The Free Sea is the only translation of Grotius’s masterpiece undertaken in his own lifetime, left in manuscript by the English historian, Richard Hakluyt (1552–1616). It also contains William Welwod’s critique of Grotius (reprinted for the first time since the seventeenth century) and Grotius’s reply to Welwod. These documents provide an indispensable introduction to modern ideas of sovereignty and property as they emerged from the early-modern tradition of natural law.

Hugo Grotius is one of the most important thinkers in the early-modern period. A great humanistic polymath—lawyer and legal theorist, diplomat and political philosopher, ecumenical activist and theologian—his work was seminal for modern natural law and influenced the moral, political, legal, and theological thought of the Enlightenment, from Hobbes, Pufendorf, and Locke to Rousseau and Kant, as well as America’s Founding leaders.

David Armitage is the Lloyd C. Blankfein Professor of History at Harvard University. He is the author of The Ideological Origins of the British Empire and The Declaration of Independence: A Global History; the editor of Theories of Empire, 1450–1800; and the co-editor of The British Atlantic World, 1500–1800, Shakespeare and Early Modern Political Thought, and The Age of Revolutions in Global Context, c. 1760–1840.

Richard Hakluyt (d. 1616) was a geographer, editor, and translator of travel literature.

Knud Haakonssen is Professor of Intellectual History and Director of the Centre for Intellectual History at the University of Sussex, England.

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Contents

HUGO GROTIUS THE FREE SEA I
65
Hugo Grotius Defense of Chapter V
97
Bibliography
131
Copyright

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About the author (2004)

Born in Herfordshire, English geographer and clergyman Richard Hakluyt devoted much of his life to preserving the records of all English voyages of discovery and promoting the advantages of exploring and settling North America. While still a schoolboy, Hakluyt visited the law offices of his cousin and saw a large display of geographical materials. He immediately became fascinated with geography. In time he pursued this interest at Oxford University, where later he lectured on geography. Hakluyt was also ordained in the ministry, which enabled him to earn a living while indulging his passion for geography. In 1582 Hakluyt published the first of his four major works, Divers Voyages Touching the Discovery of America and the Islands Adjacent. This work was, in part, propaganda for the English explorer Sir Humphrey Gilbert's doomed voyage to America the following year. Hakluyt next wrote an outline for colonial policy in America, stating some of the advantages of settlement and who should go. Ironically, this work, The Discourse of Western Planting, was not published until 1877. Nonetheless, Hakluyt was instrumental in reviving interest in the settlement of Virginia after the disappearance of the ill-fated Roanoke colony. He was one of the petitioners for the Virginia Company's 1606 grant that resulted in the Jamestown settlement. He also helped plan the East India Company, which colonized India. Hakluyt's best-known work, Principal Navigations, Voyages, Traffiques, and Discoveries of the English Nation, first appeared in 1589, with a second edition published in 1599 and 1600. In 1846, the Hakluyt Society was founded, and it still continues today to publish narratives of early explorations, perpetuating his labors as well as his memory.

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