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Life and Legal Writings of Hugo Grotius Hardcover – December, 1969
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The author, a legal scholar, begins with a brief summary of Grotius' life. The central event of this life was his imprisonment for, as he saw it, performing his duties as an official of the State (province) of Holland. A religious dispute between the sternly Calvinist authorities of the over-arching States General and the more liberal subordinate State of Holland led to Grotius arrest. He was, after some years in jail, smuggled out to France in a box of books.
Grotius was already the author of a treatise on the law of privateering. He had written this treatise in response to the qualms expressed by some Mennonite members of the government over such activity. Grotius declared it was legal, under certain circumstances.
Eventually the ideas expressed here would be incorporated into his magnum opus, "On the laws of war and peace", in which he expressed and systematized such ideas as existed at the time on limiting and regulating the behavior of combatants.
These treatises, as well as his "Defense of the lawful government of Holland", the "Introduction to the Jurisprudence of Holland" (comparable to England's Blackstone),and the "Florum sparsio ad jus Justinianeum" (a study of Roman law), are described in epitome in this book. Though the style is that of a lawyer, it is that of a lawyer writing for laypersons, not other lawyers, or, for that matter, scholars. The book could not be more clearly composed. However, the subject matter is such that only those with a settled interest in international law and legal history are likely to pick the book up and finish it.
Through written in 1969, a time when all and sundry either criticized the war-making of the American government, or criticized such critics, the author makes no mention of current events in this book. Those looking for applications to current-day savagery and self-righteous indulgence in mass murder will not find it in this book.