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GENERAL PREFACE - Hugo Grotius, The Rights of War and Peace (1901 ed.) 
The Rights of War and Peace, including the Law of Nature and of Nations, translated from the Original Latin of Grotius, with Notes and Illustrations from Political and Legal Writers, by A.C. Campbell, A.M. with an Introduction by David J. Hill (New York: M. Walter Dunne, 1901).
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OftheLibrary ofUniversalClassics andRareManuscripts, twenty volumes are devoted to the various branches of Government, Philosophy, Law, Ethics, English and French Belles Letters, Hebraic, Ottoman, and Arabian Literature, and one to a collection of 150 reproductions, bound in English vellum, of the autographs, papers and letters of Rulers, Statesmen, Poets, Artists and Celebrities ranging through three centuries, crowned by an illuminated facsimile of that historic Document, the Magna Carta. The series in itself is an epitome of the best in History, Philosophy and Literature. The great writes of past ages are accessible to readers in general solely through translations. It was, therefore, necessary that translations of such rare Classics as are embodied in this series should be of the best, and should possess exactitude in text and supreme faithfulness in rendering the author’s thought. Under the vigilant scholarship of the Editorial Council this has been accomplished with unvarying excellence. The classification, selection and editing of the various volumes have been the subject of much earnest thought and consultation on the part of more than twenty of the best known scholars of the day.
The Universities of Yale, Washington, Cornell, Chicago, Pennsylvania, Columbia, London, Toronto and Edinburgh are all represented among the contributors, the writers of special introductions, or upon the consulting staff, the latter including the Presidents of five of the Universities mentioned. Among others who contribute special essays upon given subjects may be mentioned the late Librarian of the British Museum, Dr. Richard Garnett, who furnishes the essay introducing “Evelyn’s Diary.” From the Librarian of the National Library of France, Léon Vallée, comes the fascinating introduction to the celebrated “Memoirs of the Duc de Saint-Simon.” The scholarly minister to Switzerland (late First Assistant Secretary of State), Dr. David J. Hill, lent his wide reading to the brilliant and luminous essay that precedes the “Rights of War and Peace.” The resources of the Congressional Library at Washington, as well as of foreign libraries, have all been drawn upon in the gigantic task of compressing into the somewhat narrow limits of twenty volumes all that was highest, best, most enduring and useful in the various ramifications of literature at large.
The first section of the Library is devoted entirely to the manuscript reproductions of the autographs of celebrated men in all ranks and phases of life, covering a period of three centuries. They are, in fact, the American edition of the reproduction of rare and celebrated autographs drawn from the British Museum that was issued in England under the editorship of the Assistant Keeper of the Manuscripts. They afford an opportunity to the inquiring reader to study the characters of Rulers, Statesmen, Writers, and Artists through the medium of their chirography.
It has long been recognized that character is traceable through handwriting. So it is interesting to discern in the characters traced by Henry VIII the hardened, sensual and selfish character of that autocrat and polygamist; in the writing of Thomas Wolsey, those crafty traits combined with perseverance and mock humility which raised him wellnigh to supremacy in the realm and led him finally to a downfall more complete than any we read of in English history; and in that of Charles V, of Spain, the hard-headed continence of character and superb common sense which enabled him at the height of glory to retire to a monastery while yet there was “day-light in life,” as he expressed it, “for the making of his soul.” Apart from the historical interest of these Documents, this study of character as revealed in them will prove fascinating to thinking minds.
The Magna Carta, greatest of all historical characters wrung from the various kings of England from Henry I downward, was granted by King John at the pressing instance of the Barons and Commons of England toward the end of his ill-judged and unfortunate reign. Of this Document, celebrated and historic as it is, but little is known at large. Although Blackstone and other prominent lawyers have written upon it, information about it is hard to obtain. No reproduction of the original Document has ever been offered to American collectors. This facsimile is illuminated in colors with the shields of many of the Peers who compelled King John to accede to their demands for civil and religious liberty. The original charter was signed at a place called Runny-mede (the Council Meadow) a spot between Windsor and Staines, on the 15th of June, 1215, about a year before the death of John. It practically guaranteed to the Commons of England all the civil and religious rights they enjoy to-day. It dealt with testamentary law as well, securing to widows all the legal rights which they to-day possess. It dealt with the rights of accused persons; with military service; with feudal tenure; with taxation, and it limited the heretofore autocratic power of the King to an extent unknown before in the history of the world. If we except the Declaration of Independence, it is the most interesting historical record of all time.
The Second Section of the Library (ten volumes) is devoted to the presentation of Government, Philosophy, Law and Ethics. This section embraces such names as Grotius, Plato, Sir George Cornewall Lewis, Adam Smith, Hamilton, Madison, Jay, Walter Batgehot, Spinoza, Schopenhauer, Machiavelli, as well as those builders of Ideal Governments, More, Bacon, Campanella and Rousseau.
Of all benefactors in Literature of the human race, Grotius may perhaps rank as first among his equals. Centuries have borne witness to the justness of his premises and the wisdom of his conclusions. The principles of national law laid down by him are to-day accepted as the axioms of the Science. Among the nations, perhaps the United States is most deeply interested in the right administration of the principles affirmed by Grotius in his gigantic work on the “Rights of War and Peace,” and it was therefore most fitting, when the recent peace conference at the Hague completed the great structure of international comity, the foundations of which were laid by Grotius in 1625, that a silver wreath was laid by the representative of the United States upon the grave of the man to whom the Conference owed its initial impulse, although at a distance in time of nearly three centuries.
When the Publisher determined, under the advice of his Editorial Council, to publish Grotius, he found that only two volumes of the first edition were available in the Library of Congress. At much expense and trouble, he instituted a search in Europe and finally obtained the missing volume, which he presented to the Congressional Library, where it now is.
Sir George Cornewall Lewis’s “Government of Dependencies” is characterized by the accuracy of its information It is a reliable text book for the guidance of any nation in the treatment of its dependencies and colonies. It is a Classic that will survive as long as colonization remains to be done, and it is remarkable that although it was published for the first time sixty years ago, the illustrations afforded by the last two generations support the justice of its principles and the exactness of its deductions.
Adam Smith’s “Essay on Colonies” presents an introductory view of the principles governing colonial policy. It is a fitting work to go hand in hand with the greater one of Sir George Cornewall Lewis. It is of practical use to American Statesmen, since the United States seems at present to be entering upon a world-wide colonial policy. Its practical wisdom, which has made it a Classic for all times, finds a special applicability in the conditions of today, for Adam Smith was a theorist in the best sense of the word, that is to say, he was a man whose breadth of view, instead of unfitting him for practical details, enabled him to deduce from the lessons of history and experience the right solutions for the problems of Colonial policy.
Plato’s “Republic” and “Statesman” must be regarded to-day not merely as historical records of a by-gone philosophy, but as living, teaching dissertations upon theories which cannot fail to awaken in studious minds the highest ideals of life and government. Modern problems stated in the light of Plato’s philosophy, as it is expressed in these books, will find readier solutions when examined in the light of its principles. No student of sociology, of politics, national and municipal, or of government in all its many-sided aspects, can afford to be without a knowledge of these immortal discourses.
Goldwin Smith has declared that of all expositions of constitutional Government, “The Federalist” ranks the highest. When Hamilton, Madison, and Jay first conceived the idea of printing in the common tongue their ideas upon the principles of free government, they unwittingly laid the foundations of the best commentary on the principles of popular government ever written. Political science owes to them the most important contribution to its literature made since its birth. The Essays are equally admirable for sagacity, simplicity, and patriotism, and while The Federalist will never be read for pleasure, it contains a mine of wisdom for the student and the constitutional lawyer, and as a text book of political science is without a parallel.
When Bagehot issued his work on the English Constitution, it was hailed by the critics as the most wonderful and philosophical dissertation on the subject in any language or from any pen. John Stuart Mill used to say that of all great subjects much remained to be written, and that especially was this true of the English Constitution. Bagehot’s work, although affording the conclusion that monarchy in England exists as a logical necessity, is so unbiased in its premises, so logical and clear in its deductions, that this manifest fairness, although leading one to conclusions distasteful to a republican mind, must endear him to his readers. Dealing with a subject somewhat dry in its details, he invests inanimate objects with so much light that they become realities. In the highest sense he combines popularity and scholarship.
Spinoza’s philosophy may be traced both to the influence of Bacon, his predecessor, and to Descartes, his contemporary. Its combination of positivism with the enthusiasm of piety characterizes his philosophy as unique in itself, for while treating man from a purely mechanical standpoint, it asserts that the mechanism itself is entirely divine. Spinoza was a voluntary martyr in the cause of Free Thought. He was at the same time both Pantheist and Monist, yet sincere in his devotion to nature and the God of nature. His religion naturally made him a Monist, while his philosophy led him to express the pantheism that the lover of God in Nature cannot avoid. While he renounced his Judaism and entered the ranks of the Christian philosophers, he never received baptism. He may be ranked among the greatest of the German mystics, whose work had such profound influence upon the dogmatic Christianity of a later day. The epithet conferred on him, namely, “God-intoxicated,” summarizes his whole attitude and the character of his philosophy better than any lengthy dissertation.
When Schopenhauer began to write, he declared himself a true disciple of Kant, but he modifies and adapts Kant’s “Critique of Pure Reason” to such an extent that he reaches the attitude of opposition. This attitude he manifests throughout all his writings. He is truly an Apostle of Protest, but in spite of his positivist contradictions and his materialistic pantheism, he opens up a mine of suggestions to the literary and philosophical student. In spite of the apparent tragedy due to the conflict within him, we cannot help gathering from Schopenhauer an immensity of what is true, what is good and what is excellent. One thing especially noticeable about his writings is that while German philosophers are often ponderous and in fact nebulous, Schopenhauer is always clear, original, and readable.
To Machiavelli belongs by acclaim the honor of having written the ideal biography of a State. His clear, straightforward, concise statement of conditions and characters as he saw then is a model for all writers of record. He was the first great Italian historian, and no man has ever been more ardent in his patriotism or a more earnest supporter of government for and by the people. The greatest tribute to his inflexible honesty of character is the fact that while no man had greater opportunities to enrich himself at the cost of the State, he died leaving his family in the greatest poverty. His varied political experience, and his assiduous study of classic writers, gave him the ability as well as the desire to write the history of his native State. Time has pronounced this History to be a classic worthy of preservation, and the perspective of time has also enabled us to form a juster and greater estimate of its author.
The Ideal Republics and Empires that have been constructed from time to time by political dreamers have all the attractiveness of works like Pilgrim’s Progress or Gulliver’s Travels, combined with a philosophy and political insight that give them a double claim to be considered Classics. Modern progress may be more deeply indebted than we can estimate to the fantasies and airy castles of men like Rousseau, More, and Campanella. The four Ideal Republics or Governments described in this volume are perhaps the most famous of all, since they rank not only as great creations of the imagination but as literature of the highest class; and their writers have a further claim upon posterity from the fact that they helped to make history.
The Third and concluding Section of the Library deals with that tremendous range of world-wide literature which we call, for want of a better name, Belles Lettres. Goethe contributes his brilliant and sagacious observations on men and things as he communicated them to Eckerman. Landor, of whom Swinburne has said that Milton alone stands higher, both in prose and verse, furnishes us with his Classical Conversations. Montesquieu and Goldsmith are drawn on for their Persian and Chinese Letters. Lord Chesterfield gives us the irony and hard-headed criticism combined with worldly common sense contained in the Letters to His Son, and the various names best known in French and English Belles Letters yield what is greatest in them. Ottoman Literature, comprising Arabian, Persian, and Hebraic Poems, affords the reader an insight into the romantic and dramatic character of the Oriental. The Dabistan, possibly the most extraordinary book ever written in the East, finds itself at home in this section, while the Literature of the Hebrews is ideally represented in that most wonderful of all monuments of human wisdom, and perhaps folly, the “Talmud,” together with the basis of modern metaphysics, the “Kabbala.”
The Sufistic Quatrains of Omar Khayyam are here for the first time presented complete in a collection of this order. The various editions of Fitzgerald are reprinted, collated, and to them is added the valuable Heron-Allen analysis of Fitzgerald’s sources of inspiration. The very rare Whinfield version is found here complete; and for the first time in English appears M. Nicolas’ French transcription of the Teheran Manuscript. It is safe to say that any lover of Omar wishing to add to his collection the versions here quoted would be compelled to disburse more than one hundred times the amount this book will cost him.
While the Library of Universal Classics does not claim to be the final condensation of the treasure houses of human philosophy and lore, whether practical or ideal, it does most emphatically assert its right to be called the most useful, most attractive, and most representative selection, within the limits assigned to it, of those world-masterpieces of literature which men, for lack of a more luminous name, call Classics.