Mare Liberum: Western philosophy: Political philosophy: and the resulting two treatises, The Freedom of the Seas () and On the Law of War and Peace. Mare Liberum vs. Mare. Clausum: Grotius, Freitas, and Selden’s Debate on. Dominion over the Seas. M6nica Brito Vieira. Why would you withhold water from my. In Dutch legal thinker Hugo Grotius (de Groot) wrote Mare liberum, about the idea of freedom of the seas. Later, this was pivotal to the.

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For the jurists were not so simple as to dissent so openly from themselves, nor Tribonianus and his helpers so stupid as to insert in a single Corpus, as being entirely consistent, statements which were manifestly contradictory. Catarina or to the supposed facts of Portuguese aggression and depredation in the East Indies. But no man hath power to grant a privilege against mankind. Which, when he had confirmed by many divine and human authorities, he added after: And that worthily too.

To both these judgment places we bring a new case. Therefore he who wishes to express properly the opinion of that little book should not lay down the foundation which Welwod fashions for himself, but that which the author himself has expressed only too clearly: When Grotius came to publish that chapter as Mare Liberum, he made no reference to the case of the Sta.

No one, therefore, should be prohibited access to the shore of the sea. For a certain necessity of ownership as it were arose from the fact that some things were sufficient for the uses only of a few individuals.

Freedom of navigation and trade commeandi commercandique libertas exemplified those principles, whether applied to particular communities or to the universal society of humanity. And being about to examine these things, he rightly judgeth that the truth thereof dependeth as well upon the true knowledge of the law of nature as of the law of nations. For no man can grant that which is none of his own.

The sea therefore cannot be altogether proper unto any because nature doth not permit but commandeth it should be common, no nor so much as the shore, 36 but that this interpretation is to be added: For Cicero does not mean thereby that nature is opposed to ownership, and, as it were, forbids anything at all becoming property, but that nature of itself does not cause anything to be property. It is no more lawful for kings to transgress these than for the common people to impugn the decrees of senators, senators to resist the edicts of presidents, and viceroys the laws and statutes of their kings, for those very laws of people and all cities flowed from that fountain; thence they received their sanctimony and majesty.

We know also that wars began for this cause, as with the Magarensians against the Athenians, 8 and the Bononians against the Venetians, 9 and that these also were just causes of war to the Castilians against the Americans, and more probable than the rest.

These be the duties which the philosophers will have performed not only to strangers but also to the unthankful. But Vasquius, the honor of Spain, hath most carefully handled all this question, whose subtlety in sifting the law and liberty in teaching you would never look for. And I pray you say what less authority had Leo than the rest of the Roman emperors to grant to everyone in particular having possessions at the seaside as much of the sea as was nearest against their lands with the fishings thereof?


Next, to all other Christian men and infidels, from whom he could not take that right without cause or their cause not being heard.

Moreover, by law natural and divine it is commanded that thou do not that to another which thou would desire not have done to thee. And yet before I go any further I cannot pass the author his ridiculous pretence, in both epistle and beginning of his discourse, as for a liberty only to sail on seas: Again, that coaction or constraint ought to have continued for such a time of whose beginning no memory remaineth.

In point is that passage of Placentinus, praised likewise by Faber, that the sea itself is common and is under the dominion of no one save God, 56 the sense of which is as follows: Mare Liberum or The Freedom of the Seas is a book in Latin on international law written by the Dutch jurist and philosopher Hugo Grotiusfirst published in Or, rather, have not all princes a like right and power within their own precinct and bounds as these Roman princes had?

But that also is most vain or foolish which Angelus taught: And indeed this disputation was appointed for this purpose that it might appear the Portugals have not made the sea whereby we sail to the Indies to be in their jurisdiction.

The sea, however, was more like air than land, and was, as opposed to land, common property of all:. First, to the Indians who, as they are put out of the Church, were no way subject to the Pope, as we have said.

Therefore they could be prescribed by no time, justified by no law, nor be established, although it were by the consent, entertainment or exercise of many nations, which he confirmeth by some examples and the testimony of Alphonsus Castrensis the Spanish divine: Grotius’ argument was that the sea was free to all, and that nobody had the right to deny others access to it. It is true also that Marcian saith, nemo ad littus piscandi causa accedere prohibetur. For there is mention there only of living creatures, swimming, flying and crawling; no mention of the sea also.

Online Library of Liberty

The donation of Pope Alexander, which may be alleged in the second place by the Portugals challenging the sea or right of sailing only to themselves, seeing the title of invention faileth, is sufficiently convinced of vanity by that which hath been spoken before. For the same reasons the sea is common to all, because it is so limitless that it cannot become a possession of any one, and because it is adapted for the use of all, whether we consider it from the point of view of navigation or of fisheries.

In fact, I was expecting that some Spaniard would write a reply to my little book, a thing which I hear was done at Salamanca, 1 but as yet I have not happened to see that book.


There have been only two English translations of Mare Liberum. What, therefore, may seem so unjust as that the Spaniards should have the whole world tributary, so that they might neither buy nor sell but liiberum their pleasure?

All men therefore see that he who would forbid another to sail can defend himself by no law, seeing Ulpian saith grotus is guilty of wrong. Neither is that certain unless the Portugals had gone thither that no man would have gone, for the times were at hand wherein, as almost all arts, so the situation of seas and countries were daily more clearly known unto us.

But there is no end of subtle arguments. But if anyone nevertheless should persist in claiming that there is question here also of the right mae occupation by which individuals make individual things their own, not even then does this argument contribute anything to the point.

Mare Liberum | work by Grotius |

And for the eastern seas direct from Scotland what is more anciently notorious than that covenant twixt Scottish men and Hollanders concerning the length of their approaching toward Scotland by way of fishing?

If that little society which we call a commonwealth is thought not to stand without this and indeed cannot stand without itwhy shall not the self-same things be necessary to uphold the society and concord of all mankind? I the king heartily salute you. But why did the secondary law of nations, as it maketh that separation Edition: And albeit in part they afterward varied from that law, to wit, as concerning dominion and property of countries, the dominion whereof by nature being common was distinguished and divided, and so there was a separation from that community.

Wherefore seeing both law and equity required that the trade of India should be free for us as for any other, it remaineth that we wholly maintain that liberty which we have by nature, whether we have peace, truce or war with the Spaniard. He affirmeth these things not to be proper by nature—as Ulpian saith, they lie open to all by nature 25 —both because they were first discovered by nature and never came as yet into the dominion of any as Neratius speaketh26 and also because as Cicero saith they seem to be brought forth of nature for the common use.

This Seneca thinketh the greatest benefit of nature, that even by the wind she hath mingled nations scattered in regard of place and hath so divided all her goods into countries that mortal men must needs traffic among themselves.

As for the flowing condition of the sea, howsoever it be liquid, fluid, and unstable in the particles thereof, yet in the whole body it is not so, because it keeps the prescribed bounds strictly enough concerning the chief place and limits thereof.

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