Hugo Grotius Quotes

Who the Heck is Hugo Grotius?

Dutch jurist and humanist Huig de Groot, latinized to Hugo Grotius, laid the foundations of international law based on natural law in the 17th century.

Born April 10, 1583
Died August 28, 1645

Books by Hugo Grotius


Best 15 Quotes by Hugo Grotius

“A man cannot govern a nation if he cannot govern a city; he cannot govern a city if he cannot govern a family; he cannot govern a family unless he can govern himself; and he cannot govern himself unless his passions are subject to reason.”

Hugo Grotius

“A state is a perfect body of free men, united together to enjoy common rights and advantages.”

Hugo Grotius
The Rights of War and Peace

“By understanding many things, I have accomplished nothing.”

Hugo Grotius

“Even God cannot make two times two not make four.”

Hugo Grotius

“I have spent my life laboriously doing nothing.”

Hugo Grotius

“I saw in the whole Christian world a license of fighting at which even barbarous nations might blush. Wars were begun on trifling pretexts or none at all, and carried on without any reference of law, Divine or human.”

Hugo Grotius
The Truth of the Christian Religion

“Ignorance of certain subjects is a great part of wisdom.”

Hugo Grotius

“It is no less ancient than a pestilent error wherewith many men (but they chiefly who abound in power and riches) persuade themselves, or (as I think more truly) go about to persuade, that right and wrong are distinguished not according to their own nature but by a certain vain opinion and custom of men.”

Hugo Grotius
The Free Sea

“Liberty is the power that we have over ourselves.”

Hugo Grotius
The Rights of War and Peace

“Men rush to arms for slight causes, or no cause at all, and once taken up there is no longer any respect for law, divine or human.”

Hugo Grotius

“Not to know certain things is a great part of wisdom.”

Hugo Grotius

“So is there no kind of life more wicked than that of mercenary Soldiers, who without any respect had to the equity of the Cause, fight only for plunder and pay.”

Hugo Grotius

“The sanctity of an oath with regard to promises, agreements, and contracts, has
always been held in the greatest esteem, in every age and among every people.”

Hugo Grotius
On the Laws of War and Peace

“There is none of you who would not publicly exclaim that everyone should be moderator and arbitrator in his own matter, who would not command all citizens to use rivers and public places equally and indifferently, who would not with all his power defend the liberty of going hither and thither and trading.”

Hugo Grotius
The Free Sea

“Tis long ere time can mitigate your grief;
To wisdom fly, she quickly brings relief.”

Hugo Grotius