Matthew Tindall, An Essay concerning the Laws of Nations, and the Rights of Soveraigns. With and Account of what was said at the Council-Board by the Civilians upon the Question, Whether their Majesties Subjects taken at Sea acting by the late King's Commisssion, might not be looked on als pirates ? With Reflections upon the Arguments of Sir T.P. and Dr. Ol., London, printed for Richard Baldwin near the Oxford-Arms in Warwick-Lane, 34 pages, 1694.

The Egyptians did it, the Greek did it, the Romans did it, they all fought piracy. Even Julius Caesar himself was captured by pirates. After his ransom was paid, he went after them and had them crucified.

At this moment researchers attending the Centre for Studies and Research of the Hague Academy  of International  Law are studying the topic: Criminal Acts at Sea, of which piracy is one aspect. To illustrate the historical background of piracy, we have selected four booklets for you from the Old and Rare Books Collection of the Peace Palace Library:

Matthew Tindall,  An Essay concerning the Laws of Nations, and the Rights of Soveraigns. With and Account of what was said at the Council-Board by the Civilians upon the Question, Whether their Majesties Subjects taken at Sea acting by the late King's Commisssion, might not be looked on als pirates ? With Reflections upon the Arguments of Sir T.P. and Dr. Ol., London, printed for Richard Baldwin near the Oxford-Arms in Warwick-Lane, 34 pages, 1694.

Matthew Tindall, 1657-1733, doctor of laws, studied law in Oxford and was  fellow of All Souls College. He wrote this pamphlet on piracy in his capacity as Deputy Advocate of the Fleet, mentioning Hugo Grotius, quoting chapters from De Iure Belli ac Pacis.

Domenico Alberto Azuni, Recherches pour servir à l'histoire de la piraterie, avec un précis des moyens propres à l'extirpation des pirates barbaresques, Gênes, Ponthenier, XVI, 151 pages, 1816.

Domenico Alberto Azuni , 1749-1827, Italian lawyer, studied law in Sassari and Turin. He published extensively on maritime law. His major treatise: Sistema universal dei principii del diritto marittimo dell’Europe, published in 1795 in Firenze is also part of the Peace Palace Library's Old and Rare Books Collection. The Recherches pour servir à l'histoire de la piraterie is a charming overview of the history of piracy from ancient times.

Jean-Pierre Casimir de Marcassus de Puymaurin, Notice historique sur la piraterie extraite de plusieurs auteurs, Paris, Egron, 14 pages, 1820.

Jean-Pierre Casimir de Marcassus de Puymaurin, 1757-1841, was member of the Chambre des Députés. In this small paper he warns for the dangers of piracy for the French trade, calling the pirates "ennemis du genre humains".

Henricus Pilgrum Marius Cato van Ingen, Specimen juridicum inaugurale de crimine piraticæ, Campis, K. v Hulst, VIII, 72 pages, 1841.

Henricus Pilgrum Marius Cato van Ingen defended this thesis, in Latin, on January 28, 1841 at the University of Utrecht. The thesis was appreciated “magna cum laude”. Further details about his career are unknown, apart from the fact that he was mayor of a small town, Gramsbergen from 1852 till 1854.

These original texts are scanned and made available full text, see below. They might not be the oldest sources on piracy, but they give an interesting insight into the way people thought about piracy and how to deal with it.

Librarian's choice

A selection of relevant publications from the Peace Palace Library collection

  • Matthew Tindall,  An Essay concerning the Laws of Nations, and the Rights of Soveraigns. With and Account of what was said at the Council-Board by the Civilians upon the Question, Whether their Majesties Subjects taken at Sea acting by the late King's Commisssion, might not be looked on als pirates ? With Reflections upon the Arguments of Sir T.P. and Dr. Ol., London, printed for Richard Baldwin near the Oxford-Arms in Warwick-Lane, 34 pages, 1694. [fulltext]
  • Domenico Alberto Azuni, Recherches pour servir à l'histoire de la piraterie, avec un précis des moyens propres à l'extirpation des pirates barbaresques, Gênes, Ponthenier, XVI, 151 pages, 1816. [fulltext]
  • Jean-Pierre Casimir de Marcassus de Puymaurin, Notice historique sur la piraterie extraite de plusieurs auteurs, Paris, Egron, 14 pages, 1820. [fulltext]
  • Henricus Pilgrum Marius Cato van Ingen, Specimen juridicum inaugurale de crimine piraticæ, Campis, K. v Hulst, VIII, 72 pages, 1841. [fulltext]

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