Front Page Titles (by Subject) INTRODUCTORY NOTE - The Freedom of the Seas (Latin and English version, Magoffin trans.)
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INTRODUCTORY NOTE - Hugo Grotius, The Freedom of the Seas (Latin and English version, Magoffin trans.) 
*The Freedom of the Seas, or the Right Which Belongs to the Dutch to take part in the East Indian Trade, *Translated by Ralph Van Deman Magoffin, Introduction by James Brown Scott, Director of the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace (New York: Oxford University Press, 1916).
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HVGONIS GROTII MARE LIBERVM sive DE IVRE QVOD BATAVIS COMPETIT AD INDICANA COMMERCIA, DISSERTATIO
In 1608 Spain and Holland began negotiations which, on April 9, 1609, resulted in the truce of Antwerp for the period of 12 years, and, in the course of the negotiations, Spain tried to secure from the United Provinces a renunciation of their right to trade in the East and West Indies. The Dutch East India Company thereupon, it would appear, requested Grotius to publish that part of his brief dealing with the freedom of the seas. This was done under the title of Mare Liberum, with such changes as were necessary to enable it to stand alone.
In this battle of books, to use the happy expression of Professor Nys, the Dutch Scholar has had the better of his English antagonist. If it cannot be said that Grotius wears his learning “lightly like a flower”, the treatise of Selden is, in comparison, over-freighted with it; the Mare Liberum is still an open book, the Mare Clausum is indeed a closed one, and as flotsam or jetsam on troubled waters, Chapter XII of the Law of Prize rides the waves, whereas its rival, heavy and water-logged, has gone under.
In the leading case of The Louis (2 Dodson 210), decided in 1817, some two hundred years after Selden’s book was written, Sir William Scott, later Lord Stowell and one of Selden’s most distinguished countrymen, said, in rejecting the claim of his country to the exercise of jurisdiction beyond a marine league from the British shore:
I have to observe, that two principles of public law are generally recognized as fundamental.
One is the perfect equality and entire independence of all distinct states. Relative magnitude creates no distinction of right; relative imbecility, whether permanent or casual, gives no additional right to the more powerful neighbor; and any advantage seized upon that ground is mere usurpation. This is the great foundation of public law, which it mainly concerns the peace of mankind, both in their politic and private capacities, to preserve inviolate.
The second is, that all nations being equal, all have an equal right to the uninterrupted use of the unappropriated parts of the ocean for their navigation. In places where no local authority exists, where the subjects of all states meet upon a footing of entire equality and independence, no one state, or any of its subjects, has a right to assume or exercise authority over the subjects of another.
In closing the preface to the Mare Clausum, Selden used language, which the undersigned quotes, albeit in an inverse sense, as a fit ending to this subject:
“Other passages there are everywhere of the same kind. But I enlarge myself too much in a thing so manifest. Therefore I forbear to light a candle to the sun. Farewell reader.”
James Brown Scott,Director of the Division of International Law.
Washington, D. C.,
February 28, 1916.