Grotius , (De Groot), Hugo, a Dutch jurist, born in Delft, April 10, 1583, died in Rostock. Aug. 28, 1645. In his 15th year he published an edition of Marcianus Capella, from the annotations of which it is evident the young editor must have been critically acquainted with the works of Cicero, Aristotle, Pliny, Euclid. Strabo, Ptolemy, and many other even more recondite authors. After three years at the university of Leyden. which he had entered at the age of 12. he was made an attache of Barne-veldt's embassy from the Dutch states to Henry IV. He returned to Holland in 1599, published an edition of the Phoenomena of Aratus, and began the practice of law at the Hague. In 1607 he accepted the office of advocate general for the treasury of Holland and Zealand, and shortly afterward married the daughter of an opulent family in the latter province. In 1608 he published his treatise on the freedom of the seas (Mare Liberum), and in 1610 a dissertation on the " Antiquity of the Batavian Republic." In 1613 he was elected pensionary of Rotterdam for life, and soon afterward was sent to England to adjust a dispute on the subject of fishery in the northern seas.
The mission was not successful, and the negotiation was transferred to commissioners at Rotterdam. Grotius had adopted the principles of Arminius, and soon after his return from England became deeply involved in religious disputes. The public peace was violently interrupted through their acrimony; and various events of a short civil war led at length to the arrest of Barneveldt, Grotius, and Hoogarbetz. They were tried and condemned, the first to death, and the two others to perpetual imprisonment. Their crime was defence and support of religious toleration. The castle of Loevenstein, on an island formed by the Waal and the Meuse, was selected as the prison of Grotius. His father was denied the privilege of seeing him, but his wife at length obtained permission to share his fate; and with her society and in close habits of study he found his prison by no means an intolerable home. His favorite study was theology; and its result was his celebrated annotations on the Gospels. He also wrote in Dutch the foundation of his treatise on the truth of the Christian religion, which, published afterward in Paris in Latin, became the most valued of all his works, and before the close of the 17th century had been translated into English, French, Flemish, German, Persian, Arabic, and Greek. After nearly two years' imprisonment, the escape of Grotius was effected through the wit and address of his wife.
It had been her practice to send away and receive books in a chest; and observing that after a time the guards neglected to examine it in its passage to and fro, she caused Grotius to be carried out in it, March 21, 1621. Disguised as a mason, he escaped to Antwerp. His wife at first was rigorously confined, but was soon liberated. The illustrious refugee was well received at the French court, and in the course of the year became a French pensioner. He immediately published his "Apology," in vindication of his conduct, and attacking the legality of his sentence. The states general in reply outlawed the author, and forbade the reading of his memorial on pain of death. His personal safety was assured meanwhile by letters of naturalization from Louis XIII. He retired to a country seat near Senlis, and began his great work on the "Rights of Peace and War" (Do Jure Belli et Pacis), for which he made extensive researches, and which has been translated into nearly all European languages. The author remained more than nine years in France; and at last, through the application of friends and the entreaties of his wife, Prince Frederick Henry, who succeeded the incensed Maurice in the stadtholdership, reversed the decree of confiscation of the exile's property.
In 1631 Grotius revisited Holland, but finding no security against renewed persecution, he went to Hamburg in 1632, and received immediate and pressing invitations from Spain, Portugal, Pen-mark, and Sweden. Gustavus Adolphus had previously made overtures to him, and after the death of that monarch Oxenstiern, the regent, prevailed upon Grotius to become Swedish ambassador at the court of France (1635). He filled this post for 10 years to the entire satis- • faction of the government which he represented. The service was far from agreeable to him, but at Oxenstiern's desire Grotius remained at his post until the majority of Christina. On his visit to Stockholm in June, 1645, he was received with great honor and cordiality. He seems to have found Sweden unsuited to his health or disposition, and to have resolved to leave it. Christina at first refused him a passport, but finally dismissed him with large presents of money and plate. The vessel in which he embarked was driven into a port near Dantzic; whence, in the most tempestuous weather, he set forth in an open carriage, but was seized at Rostock by his last illness. Grotius was the first who investigated the principles of international law and attempted to reduce them to a science.
Besides the works mentioned, he is the author of a great number of writings on various subjects, among which are: Adamus Exul, a tragedy (Leyden, 1601); Christus Patiens, a tragedy (1608); Sophompa-neas, a tragedy (1617); Defensio Fidei Catholicoe de Satisfactione Christi adversus F. Socinum (1617); "Introduction to the Jurisprudence of Holland" (the Hague, 1631), in Dutch; Florum Sparsio ad Jus Justinianeum (Paris, 1642); Via ad Pacem Ecclesiasticam (Amsterdam, 1642); De Origine Gentium Americanarum (Paris and Amsterdam, 1642), and a second dissertation on the same subject (Paris, 1643); De Imperio Summarum Potestatum circa Sacra (1647); Historia Gothorum, Vandalorum et Longobardorum (Amsterdam, 1655); Annales et Historioe de Rebus Belgicis (fol., 1657); Parallelon Rerumpublicarum Librilll. (3 vols. 8vo, Haarlem, 1801); commentaries on various portions of the Scriptures, Latin poems, and miscellaneous treatises. His letters were published in full at Amsterdam (fol, 1687). His Opera Theologica were published in 1679 (4 vols. fob, Amsterdam, and 3 vols. 4to, London), and his poems in 1617 (Leyden; 11th ed., Amsterdam, 1670). There are numerous English translations of the most important of his works, including the treatises De Veritate Religionis Christianoe, and De Jure Belli et Pacis. - See Etude sur la vie et les travaux de Hugo Grotius, by Caumont (1862), and Motley's "Life of John of Barneveld " (1874). - His brother Willem (1597-1602), who was a distinguished lawyer, collected and published his Latin poems, and wrote a treatise on natural law (the Hague, 1(555) and lives of the jurists named in the Pandects (Leyden, 1690).