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NOTE ON THE TEXT - Hugo Grotius, Commentary on the Law of Prize and Booty 
Commentary on the Law of Prize and Booty, ed. and with an Introduction by Martine Julia van Ittersum (Indianapolis: Liberty Fund, 2006).
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NOTE ON THE TEXT
Upon Hugo Grotius’s death in 1645, the manuscript of De Jure Praedae remained in the possession of his descendants, the Cornet de Groot family, for over two centuries. In fact, legal scholars did not know of its existence until the Dutch bookseller and printer Martinus Nijhoff auctioned off Grotius’s personal papers in 1864. The manuscript was purchased by Leiden University Library. One of its humanities graduates, H. G. Hamaker (1819–92), published the first Latin edition of De Jure Praedae in 1868. His text was the basis for the English translation that Gwladys L. Williams prepared for the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace in the middle of the twentieth century.
The words and phrases that Grotius wrote in capital letters for purposes of emphasis are printed in italic type in the body of the text. Bold type is used for words that are similarly emphasized in Grotius’s marginal headings and subheadings. Williams used brackets when she felt she had amplified Grotius’s thought in translating his concise Latin phrases.
Footnotes that start with lowercase letters (a, b, c, etc.) denote Grotius’s references to his alleged sources, both in the running text of the manuscript and in the marginalia. Unlike the Carnegie edition, where they appear in the left and right margins, these references are placed at the bottom of the page in the current edition. Square brackets signal Zeydel’s extensions or corrections of Grotius’s references to other authors. Lettered footnotes are also used for Grotius’s cross-references to other parts of the manuscript. Many of these cross-references are of a general nature: they relate not so much to a particular article or conclusion cited by Grotius as to the argument that follows or precedes the passage indicated in his marginal annotation. Although his cross-references do not rely on the manuscript’s folio numbering, the relevant page numbers of the English translation, as identified by Zeydel, are added for the benefit of the reader.
Walter H. Zeydel undertook the difficult task of verifying Grotius’s direct and indirect references to other authors. The editions consulted by Zeydel used in checking Grotius’s quotations are specified after each entry in the Index of Authors Cited. Where no edition is mentioned, the work in question was not available in the United States at the time that Walter Zeydel compiled his index. The titles of the more familiar works are given in English; others retain their Latin form.
Four modest changes have been made in the author and subject indexes as compared with the Carnegie edition. Zeydel indicated in his author index whether a particular work had been mentioned more than once on a particular page, using Latin terms like “bis,” “ter,” etc. The present publication omits these notations because changes in pagination make them no longer accurate. Zeydel put multiple works by one author in alphabetical order on the basis of the first letter of the first noun of the (Latin) book titles. This order has been adjusted to conform with the standard letter-by-letter alphabetization of the indexes in the Natural Law and Enlightenment Classics series. In addition, the author and subject indexes have been silently corrected to reflect the most recent historical scholarship, and, where possible, floruit or birth and death dates have been provided for important authors and historical figures. The material from the introduction and from appendixes I and II has been integrated into both indexes: existing entries have been amplified for this purpose, and new ones have been created when necessary. All of the original page references given in the Carnegie indexes have been preserved and translated into the corresponding page numbers for the Liberty Fund edition. However, the reader should be aware that the Carnegie references are sometimes more oblique than what the modern reader might expect.
The present publication improves upon the Carnegie edition of De Jure Praedae in various ways. It comprises two sets of appendixes of important archival and printed documents, all in English translation, which place De Jure Praedae in its historical context. The most up-to-date studies of Grotius’s natural rights and natural law theories are listed as suggestions for further reading. There is a detailed bibliography for the new introduction and appendixes I and II. Since the present volume does not reproduce the introduction and note on the text of the Carnegie edition, footnotes and index entries that refer to these matters have been omitted as well.
Appendix I reproduces eight documents that Grotius himself wished to affix to De Jure Praedae. It contains a wide variety of texts, which range from the verdict of the Amsterdam Admiralty Court, declaring the Santa Catarina good prize, to an intercepted letter of the Bishop of Malacca, urging Philip II of Spain and Portugal to take drastic action against Dutch interlopers in Asia Portuguesa. Grotius considered these documents conclusive evidence of (a) a systematic Portuguese campaign to oust Dutch merchants from the East Indies, (b) the Santa Catarina ’s capture in a just war, and (c) its rightful possession by the United Dutch East India Company, or VOC. The present text is partly based on a new transcription of the original sources.
Appendix II is a mixture of archival and printed documents, some of which were discovered only a few years ago in the Dutch national archives in The Hague. Documents I–IV consist of an intercepted Portuguese letter, addressed to Admiral André Furtado de Mendonça; Jacob van Heemskerck’s correspondence with the directors of the United Amsterdam Company; and the minutes of his council of naval officers. These sources reveal the motives behind Van Heemskerck’s privateering campaign in Malayan waters, give a detailed description of his capture of the Santa Catarina, and outline his ambitious plans for Dutch trade in Southeast Asia. Van Heemskerck urged his employers, for example, to establish a rendezvous near the Strait of Singapore and oust the Portuguese from the lucrative trade between the Indian subcontinent and the Far East. Two letters by Jan ten Grootenhuys (documents V and VI) prove that the VOC commissioned De Jure Praedae and provided Grotius with important information about the early Dutch voyages to the East Indies and his country’s official war policy, which endorsed indiscriminate attacks on Iberian shipping by private merchants. Document VIII is a brief selection from Grotius’s letter to George Lingelsheim in November 1606, announcing the completion of De Jure Praedae. Documents VII and IX testify to Grotius’s close collaboration with the VOC directors, both before and after he finished De Jure Praedae. He petitioned the Estates General in the spring of 1606, demanding that it alleviate the VOC’s heavy financial burdens, caused by the war against the Portuguese, and wrote to the company’s indigenous allies the following winter, offering military support in exchange for a monopoly of the spice trade. Finally, document X is the famous request for the publication of Mare Liberum, which Grotius received from the Zeeland VOC directors in November 1608.