GROTIUS, Hugo (1583-1645). De iure belle ac pacis. Paris: Nicolas Buon, 1625.
4° (242 x 177mm). Title printed in red and black, Buon device on title, Greek, Hebrew, roman and italic types. With blanks o4 and Sss4. (Very occasional light marginal dampstain, light browning or spotting.) Contemporary English calf, blind double fillets, modern spine-label, red edges (a little minor scuffing, minor wear at spine); modern cloth solander case. Provenance: presentation copy, title inscribed 'Ex dono Authoris' by Herbert and with his cypher; sent to: -- Edward Herbert of Cherbury, Viscount Clive (1583-1648, armorial bookplate; sale by the Rt. Hon. The Earl of Powis & His Grace the Duke of Northumberland, Sotheby's, 20 March 1967, lot 146, £2000 to Heiman).
PRESENTATION COPY TO LORD HERBERT OF CHERBURY OF THE FIRST EDITION of the 'foundation of modern international law' (PMM). It was 'the first attempt to lay down a principle of right, and a basis for society and government, outside Church or Scripture. [It contains] the first expression of the "droit naturel", the natural law which exercised the great political theorists of the 18th century' (PMM).
Grotius sent the present copy of his magnum opus to Lord Herbert of Cherbury with a letter dated Paris, 9 May 1625. He opens the letter by allying his work with that of Herbert, De veritate, published on Grotius's encouragement the previous year: 'There has always been the nearest affinity between right and truth. 't Is no wonder therefore that a treatise upon the rights of nations should fly to the protection of one who is the chief support of truth' (original autograph and contemporary translation survive at PRO, see Grotius, Briefwisseling, XVII, no. 977A). On the same day Grotius also wrote to Nicolas-Claude Fabri de Peiresc, presenting him too with a copy (op. cit., 977). Celebrated by luminaries such as Donne and Jonson for his wit and learning, Edward Herbert was English ambassador at Paris when he became acquainted with the great Dutch philosopher Grotius. His copy of Grotius remained at Powis castle until 1967, when it was bought by Heiman and sold soon thereafter to Mr. Nathhorst.
Ter Meulen and Diermanse distinguish three issues of the first edition, the first compromising copies issued in haste (and incomplete) for the Frankfurt book fair. The present copy corresponds to their issue II, although the bibliographers also acknowledge that, owing to on-going corrections to the page-proofs, undoubtedly by Grotius himself, sheets were gathered up indiscriminately to form copies. PMM 125; Ter Meulen and Diermanse, Bib. Grotius, 565.