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Preparing Mare Liberum For The Press: Hugo Grotius’ Rewriting Of Chapter 12 Of De Iure Praedae In November-December 1608

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Chapter Summary

This chapter reconstructs the printing history of Hugo Grotius's Mare liberum. His aim was to placate the French envoy Pierre Jeannin and his own political patron Johan van Oldenbarnevelt, the driving forces behind the negotiations for the Twelve Years' Truce. In the context of these negotiations, Grotius was at pains to downplay his radical rights theories. The subjective right of punishment only received a mention in the conclusion of Mare liberum, for example. Yet a discarded outline for the pamphlet's preface shows that the argument of De iure praedae remained uppermost in his mind, witness the outline's denunciation of the 'poisonings, perfidy and crimes of the Portuguese'. Both De iure praedae and Mare liberum had been commissioned by the Dutch East India Company (VOC) for the express purpose of influencing political developments in its favour. Yet neither treatise had the impact originally intended by Grotius and the VOC directors.

Keywords: Dutch East India Company (VOC); Hugo Grotius; Johan van Oldenbarnevelt; Mare liberum; Pierre Jeannin



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