HUGO GROTIUS (1583-1645), in his native country Huig van Groot, but known to the rest of Europe by the latinized form of the name, Dutch publicist and statesman, was born at Delft on Easter day, the 10th of April 1583.
If Socinianism had challenged natural theology - Christ, according to it, was the prophet who first revealed the way to eternal life - it had glorified the natural powers of man; and the learning of the Arminian divines (friends of Grotius and Locke) had helped to modernize Christian apologetics upon rational lines.
Though the mediating views in the great religious conflict between Catholic and Protestant, by which Grotius was afterwards known, had been arrived at by him by independent reflection, yet it could not but be that he would be confirmed in them by finding in England a developed school of thought of the same character already in existence.
How highly Casaubon esteemed Grotius appears from a letter of his to Daniel Heinsius, dated London, 13th of April 1613.
Theological rancour, however, prevailed over all other sentiments, and, after fruitless attempts to re-establish himself in Holland, Grotius accepted service under Sweden, in the capacity of ambassador to France.
In his Biblia Illustrata (4 vols.), written from the point of view of a very strict belief in inspiration, his object is to refute the statements made by Hugo Grotius in his Commentaries.
Vico may have derived from Grotius the idea of natural law; but his discovery of the historic evolution of law was first suggested to him by his study of Roman law.
In his extensive work Tractatus de legibus ac deo legislatore (reprinted, London, 1679) he is to some extent the precursor of Grotius and Samuel Pufendorf.
A short treatise which was printed in 1609, Grotius says without his permission, under the title of Mare liberum, is nothing more than a chapter - the 12th - of the De jure praedae.
De Groot (2 vols., 8vo, Dordrecht, 1727); Von Luden, Hugo Grotius nach seinen Schicksalen and Schriften dargestellt (8vo, Berlin, 1806); Life of Hugo Grotius, by Charles Butler of Lincoln's Inn (8vo, London, 1826).