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of her Boerhaaves and her Van Swietens. And the student, who delights in investigating the principles of that law of nations, so much talked of and so little practised, will ever revere the hallowed soil which gave birth to such illustrious men as Grotius and our Bynkershoek.
His saltern accumulem donis & fungar inani
Philadelphia, October, 1810.
UFE AND WRITINGS
Cornelius Van Bynkershoek was bom the
29th of May 1673, at Middleburgh, the capital of the province of Zealand, where his father was a respectable merchant. He received his education at the university of Franeker in Friesland, and his juvenile exercises while there, drew upon him the attention of the celebrated professor Huberus,* who in one of his elaborate dissertations, calls him eruditissimus juvenis Cornelius Bynkershoek.| On leaving the university, he settled at the Hague, where he exercised with great applause the profession of an advocate, and published from time to time ingenious and learned dissertations on various subjects of the civil, and of his own municipal law. In the year 1702, he published his excellent dissertation De Dominio Maris, and the next year was appointed a judge of the Supreme Court of Holland, Zealand, and West Friesland, which sat at the Hague. In the year 1721, he published his learned treatise De foro Legatorum, and three years afterwards, on the 26th of May 1724, was appointed president of the respectable court, of which he already was a member. He was now fifty one years of age. His
* Well known in this country, by his dissertation De ConjUctu Legum, part of which has been translated into English, and published by Mr. Dallas, in a note to the case of Emory v. Greenough, in the third volume of his Reports, page 370.
f Huber. Eunomia Romana, ad 1. Lecta, D. de reb. cred.
celebrated §>tta:stiones juris public}, are among the last works that he produced, as they did not appear until the year 1737, when he was sixty four years old. He died of a dropsy in the chest, on the 16th of April 1743, in the seventieth year of his age. He was twice married. By his second wife he had no children, but left six daughters by his first wife.
His works consist chieflyof dissertations and treatises (which he modestly calls questions) on various subjects of the law of nations, and of the civil law, combined in some instances with the municipal regulations of his own country. They were published separately, in his lifetime, except the Quastiones juris privati, which appeared only after his death. These are only a part of a larger work, which he did not live to finish. He had however prepared the four first books for the press, when death put a period to his labours. He had not even time to write more than the first paragraph of a preface, with which he intended to usher that work into the world, and in which he appears fully sensible of his approaching end.
Eighteen years after his death, his scattered writings were collected together by the learned Vicat,* professor of jurisprudence in the college of Lausanne in Switzerland, and published in two folio volumes at Geneva, in the year 1761. This edition is the only one, that we know of, of all the works of our author, though we are informed that some of his treatises have gone through several editions in his own country. The Baron Von Ompteda\ notices a second edition of the ^ucestiones jurisp iblici, Leyden 1752,4to. But this, the best and most complete monument of his fame, was published in a foreign land. . * This edition is remarkable for its beauty and correctness, and is adorned with an elegant preface by the learned editor, and an account of the author's life and writings, from which we have in part gathered the information which we now communicate to the American reader.
* M. Vicat is the author of an esteemed treatise on natural law, entitled: Traite du Droit Naturel [5* de i'application de ses principes au Droit Civil is" au Droit des Gent. Lausanne, 17S2, 4 vols. 8vo. Baron Von Ompteda calls it a very useful baoi. Litter, dcs Votlkerr. p. 389.
t Litteratur des Vtelierrecktt, p. 420.
We shall here give a brief notice of the several works of our author, which are contained in the collection of professor Vicat, although but few of them can be of any practical use in this country, yet we believe that a general idea of the whole will not be thought altogether uninteresting.
I. The first volume contains:
1. Observations juris Romani, in eight books, in which a variety of curious points, relating to the ancient Roman jurisprudence, are ably discussed, several of which are interesting in an historical point of view, as elucidating through the medium of their laws, the manners and customs of that once great people. Among those, we notice the first chapter of the first book, in which the terrible partis secanto of the law of the twelve tables is ingeniously and plausibly maintained to have meant no more than that the insolvent debtor should be sold in the public market as a slave, and the proceeds of the sale distributed among his creditors. The 14th chapter of the third book discusses the question, how far and in what cases the military force could among the Romans be called in to the aid of the judicial authority. In the 4th book, chap. 13, the author comments on the 19th law of the digest De ritu nuptiarum, by which a father was obliged to give his daughter in marriage with a competent portion, if a suitable match offered; and if he refused, might be compelled to it by the magistrate. Various other subjects of an equally interesting nature to the scientific lawyer, are examined and discussed in the course of that work; of which we think it sufficient to have instanced a few, to give an idea of the general scope and object of the whole.
2. Opuscula varii argument!. This work like the former, consists of dissertations on various subjects of the Roman law. They are six in number, the most interesting of which are the first, on the second law of the digest De origine juris, the third on the right which fathers had among the ancient Romans, of killing, selling, or exposing their children, and the fourth on the Roman laws, respecting foreign modes of worship. This last is replete with curious information, particularly with regard to the law which prevailed on that important subject, in the first ages of Christianity.
3. This volume concludes with an answer to his learned cotemporary Gerard Noodt, who had controverted some of the opinions which he had delivered in his above mentioned dissertation, on the power which fathers had at Rome over their children.
. II. The contents of the second volume are as follow:
1. Opera Minora, consisting of six dissertations on various subjects; none of which will be thought very interesting in this country, except the 5th, De Dominio Maris, and the 6th, De foro legatorum. These, indeed, had he never written any thing else, would have been sufficient to establish our author's reputation as a lawyer, and a publicist. Every one who has read and understood, and of course admired them, cannot help finding fault with the excessive modesty which induced him to publish them under the inappropriate title of opera minora. The learned world has long classed them among the best works that have ever appeared on those generally interesting subjects.
In the dissertation L\e Dominio Maris, our author considers the long agitated question of the Dominion of the Sea, in a liberal and impartial manner, unbiassed by prejudice, and unswayed by party spirit. He calmly and dispassionately considers in what cases the sea is capable of becoming the subject of sovereignty or exclusive jurisdiction, discusses with candor the various pretensions which different states have set up from time to time to the dominion of that element, or of considerable portions thereof; and upon the whole, his conclusions are such as reason avows, and moderate men will ever be disposed to adopt.
His dissertation, or rather treatise De foro Legatorum is in every body's hands, in the excellent translation which Mr. Barbcyrac made of it into the French language, with notes, in which he has displayed his usual judgment and learning. That translation has not only received the approbation, but the praise of our author himself, with whom Mr. Barbeyrac was intimate. We shall therefore dispense with giving a more particular account of a work which is so well and so generally known. To name it is sufficient praise.
2. §>ua;stiones juris publici. This work is divided into two parts; the first of which, entitled De Rebus Bellicis is now presented in an English translation to the American public, under