T.M.C. Asser (1838-1913) (2 vols.)

'In Quest of Liberty, Justice, and Peace'


This publication presents a comprehensive review of the life and intellectual legacy of the Dutch Nobel Peace laureate and father of the Hague tradition of international law. It is the first research study based on a wealth of recently disclosed private and family files, and deepens and modifies all earlier evaluations. It enlarges on Asser’s achievements as legal practitioner, university don, pioneer of private international law, diplomat and arbitrator, and State Councillor. It discusses his durable impact as founder of international law bodies and institutions. It likewise highlights the impressive Asser family tradition that exemplifies 19th-century Jewish emancipation in Amsterdam, addresses Asser’s youth and student years, his role as family man and the impact of personal drama on his career.

Detailed Table of Contents.

Layout of the Book.

E-Book: List price

EUR €175.00USD $211.00

Biographical Note

Arthur Eyffinger is classicist (PhD Amsterdam 1981) and law historian, co-founder of the Grotiana Foundation (1978) and former Head Librarian of the International Court of Justice (1988-2003). He edited works of Hugo Grotius and published monographs on International The Hague.

Table of contents

Foreword by Prof. Ernst Hirsch Ballin Preface Acknowledgements List of Figures Abbreviations
Introductory Note

Part 1 ‘Of Inconspicuous but Honest Lineage’: The Asser Family

1 The Ancestry Through the Mists of Time  1.1  17th Century Amsterdam Jewry  1.2  The Arrival of the Assers
2 Moses Salomon Asser (1754–1826) A Rebel with a Cause  2.1  The Founding Father  2.2  Economic and Social Crisis  2.3  The Rise of Moses Salomon  2.4  Law Reform and Codification  2.5  Last Years and Demise
3 The Next Generation Consolidating Success  3.1  Carel Asser (1780–1836)  3.2  Tobias Asser (1783–1847)
4 The Grandchildren ‘The Little Darlings’  4.1  Louis Asser (1802–1850)  4.2  Anna Gratie Marianne Asser (1807–1893)  4.3  Eduard Isaac Asser (1809–1894)  4.4  Carel Daniel Asser (1813–1890)  4.5  Epilogue

Part 2 ‘Le Monde Marche!’: Tobias Asser: The Early Years

Introductory Note: The Social and Political Context
5 Youth (1838–1855) A Precocious Youngster  5.1  Early Childhood  5.2  Tobie’s Notebook (1848–1849)  5.3  The Awakening Genius  5.4  Netje and Her Family  5.5  Tobias and Jeanne, the First Decade (1850–1860)
6 The Student Years (1855–1860) ‘Aciunt Musae Ingenium’  6.1  The Programme of Studies in Amsterdam  6.2  The Programme of Studies at Leiden University  6.3  Amsterdam Student Society  6.4  Higher Education in the Dutch Republic (1581–1795)  6.5  The Amsterdam Athenaeum Illustre  6.6  The Amsterdam Law Faculty
7 Economic Interests and Liberal Outlook ‘The Liberalism of Optimism’Introductory Note  7.1  The Leiden Prize Competition  7.2  The Catalysing Effect  7.3  The Background for Tobias Asser’s Outlook  7.4  The Origins of Modern Economics  7.5  The Classical Economists (1775–1875)  7.6  The International Debate  7.7  Frédéric Bastiat  7.8  The Dutch Tradition  7.9  Simon Vissering
8 The Treatise on the Economic Concept of Value (1858) ‘The Blind and the Lame Writ Large’  8.1  The Leiden School  8.2  Asser’s Treatise: The Introductory Note  8.3  The First Part of the Treatise  8.4  The Second Part of the Treatise  8.5  Conclusions  8.6  Samuel van Houten  8.7  Nicolaas Pierson

Part 3 ‘The Thread of Ariadne’: A Career and a Life in the Making

9 Constitutional Law and the Policy of Foreign Relations Jura Majestatica Exterim  9.1  The Leiden Dissertation  9.2  The Full Publication  9.3  The Introductory Note  9.4  Part I: Issues of War, Peace and Treaties  9.5  Article 55: The King’s Supremacy in Matters of Foreign Relations  9.6  Article 56: The King’s Prerogative on the Declaration of War  9.7  Article 57: The Conclusion of Treaties  9.8  Part III: Various Issues  9.9  Part IV: The Constitutional Laws of Other Countries  9.10  Concluding Remarks on the Interaction of Crown and Parliament  9.11  The Reception by Colleagues and Friends
10 A Career in the Making (1860–1865) ‘Le Progrès par la Science et la Liberté’  10.1  The Legal Practitioner  10.2  The Young Diplomat: The Rhine Commission (1860)  10.3  The International Lawyer: Couvreur’s Association (1862–1867)
11 Marriage and Family Life: The First Decade ‘I Embrace You and Are Your jeanne!’  11.1  The Engagement (1863–1864)  11.2  Wedding and Honeymoon (1864)  11.3  The Homecoming  11.4  Marriages of Consanguinity  11.5  Home Addresses  11.6  The Years of Bliss  11.7  The Assers and the Rolins: Family Ties
12 Asser’s Early Political Career ‘A Perceptive but Wavering Politician’  12.1  A Liberal Shooting Star  12.2  Michel Henry Godefroi (1813–1882)  12.3  Elections for Parliament (1870)  12.4  A Nasty Surprise  12.5  The Outcome of the Elections  12.6  A Cabinet Post?  12.7  The Aftermath

Part 4 ‘On Mercury’s Wings’: The Law of Commerce

13 The Chair at the Athenaeum Illustre (1862–1877) ‘The Herald of Trust/Confidence’  13.1  The Inaugural Ceremony  13.2  The Inaugural Address  13.3  The Law Faculty  13.4  Asser’s Position in the Faculty
14 Commerce and the Law The Mercator Sapiens  14.1  An Uneasy Relationship  14.2  Tobias’s Reprint (1866) of the Draft of the Triumvirate (1809)  14.3  The Nineteenth Century Dialogue
15 The ‘Schets van het Nederlandsche Handelsregt’ (1873) A Lasting Tribute  15.1  Character and Structure  15.2  Division I: Commerce in General  15.3  Division II: Shipping and the Carriage of Goods by Land  15.4  Division III: Insurance and Bottomry
16 Related Papers on the Law of Commerce Virtus Post Nummos?  16.1  The North Sea Canal and Art. 51 of the Code of Commerce (1865)  16.2  Limited Companies (1862, 1871)  16.3  Considerations on Civil Imprisonment (1866, 1871)  16.4  The Amsterdam Collision Clause on Hull Insurance Explained (1868)  16.5  The Judge of Rhine Navigation (1879)  16.6  The German Law on Inland Shipping (1896)  16.7  Evaluation

Part 5 ‘A Scaffolding of Fictions’: The Organization of International Law

Introductory Note
17 La Revue de droit international et de législation comparée (1868) ‘La calme recherche de la vérité et de la justice’  17.1  The Genesis of an Idea  17.2  The Implementation  17.3  Declarations on Principle  17.4  A Sobering Experience  17.5  Elections in Belgium and The Netherlands (1870)  17.6  A Labour of Love
18 The Institut de droit international (1873) ‘The Public Conscience of the Civilised World’  18.1  The Genesis of an Idea  18.2  The Opening Ceremony  18.3  Matters of Policy  18.4  The Geneva Session (1874)  18.5  The Hague Session (1875)  18.6  The Sessions in Zurich and Paris (1877, 1878)  18.7  The Annuaire / Yearbook
19 The International Law Association (1873) ‘To Promote Common Efforts to the Common Good’  19.1  The Genesis  19.2  The Relationship of Idi and Ila  19.3  The Dutch National Branch of Ila (1875–1880)
20 The Organisation of Pacifism in the Netherlands Enlightened Self-Interest  20.1  The Genesis of the International Peace Movement (1815–1870)  20.2  Early Aspirations in the Netherlands (1820–1870)  20.3  Tobias Asser’s Involvement (1870–1872)

Part 6 ‘The Brain’s Rack’: Private International Law

Introductory Note
21 The Dutch Tradition ‘Les Hollandais ont frayé la route’  21.1  The Dutch ‘Elegant’ School  21.2  The Rebirth of Interest  21.3  Tobias Asser’s Incentives  21.4  Revue and Institut (1869–1878)  21.5  The Dutch Initiative of 1874  21.6  Growing Opposition
22 The Chair at the University of Amsterdam (1877–1893) ‘The Jewel in the Imperial Crown’  22.1  A New Course Set  22.2  Amsterdam’s Economic Resurge  22.3  Asser’s Status at University  22.4  The Appraisal by Students  22.5  Asser’s Silver Jubilee (1887)  22.6  ‘Droit international privé et droit uniforme’ (1880)  22.7  The ‘Schets van het Internationaal Privaatregt’ (1880)  22.8  Asser and Hamaker  22.9  Asser’s Farewell Address (1893)
23 The Context of the Hague Conferences All Anchors Adrift  23.1  A Deep Indent  23.2  The National Discourse on Suffrage  23.3  Asser’s Views on Suffrage  23.4  Asser’s Tract on Constitutional Reform (1887)  23.5  Political Turbulence  23.6  ‘Tobi or Not Tobi’: The Elections of 1891  23.7  A Historic Stroll  23.8  Towards the Council of State  23.9  A Critical Family Moment  23.10  The Move to The Hague

Part 7 Vers L’ Union Judiciaire: The Four Hague Conferences on Private International Law (1893–1904)

Introductory Note
24 The First Conference (12–25 September 1893) ‘Un travail de longue haleine’  24.1  The Preliminary Work of the Institut (1873–1893)  24.2  Asser’s Memorandum of August 1893  24.3  The Opening of the Conference  24.4  The Work in the Four Commissions  24.5  The Closing Session  24.6  The Results of the Conference
25 Three More Conferences (1894–1904) Mettre fin à l’ incertitude  25.1  The Second Conference (25 June–13 July 1894)  25.2  Proceedings  25.3  The State Commission on Private International Law (1897–1913)  25.4  The Third Conference (29 May–18 June 1900)  25.5  The Fourth Conference (16 May–7 June 1904)
26 The Phoenix of the Hague Conference ‘Again This Mysterious Single Body’  26.1  Contemporary Reviews and Critics at Home  26.2  Hamaker  26.3  Josephus Jitta  26.4  The Shifting Paradigms of Doctrine  26.5  Kosters’s Inaugural Address (1908)  26.6  Carel Daniel’s Inaugural Address (1905)  26.7  The Relaunch of the Conferences  26.8  Taking Stock after 125 Years

Part 8 ‘The Learned Guide of the Nation’: The Counsellor

27 The Overall Climate ‘A Nation with a Mission’  27.1  Foreign Policy  27.2  A Synopsis of Activities
28 In the Service of the Foreign Ministry (1875–1913) Four Decades of Advice  28.1  International Rivers (1876–1892)  28.2  Diplomatic and Consular Law: Venezuela (1876)  28.3  Issues of Blockade (1877–1891): Advice on the Aceh War (1873–1914)  28.4  Issues of Neutrality (1877–1889)  28.5  Issues of Arbitration (1877–1897)  28.6  Boundary Issues (1889–1892)  28.7  The Bombardment of Undefended Townships (1889)  28.8  The Brussels Act on the Slave Trade (1890)  28.9  The Venezuela Crisis (1907–1908)  28.10  The River Ems Dispute (1912)
29 In Her Majesty’s Secret Service A German Plot  29.1  The North Sea Declaration (1907–1908)  29.2  Asser’s Advice to Queen Wilhelmina  29.3  The Dutch Reply  29.4  Asser’s Second Counsel  29.5  The Draft Declaration  29.6  Asser’s Third Advice  29.7  The New Cabinet  29.8  Van Heeckeren Van Kell
30 Diplomatic Exams (1878–1913) A Great Embarrassment  30.1  The Backdrop  30.2  Asser’s Involvement  30.3  The Disenchantement (1909)  30.4  The Final Years
31 Membership of the Council of State (1893–1913) Some Thorny Queries  31.1  The Appointment  31.2  The Canal of Terneuzen (1895)  31.3  The Courentyne Boundary Dispute with Britain (1902)  31.4  The Netherlands—South African Railway Company (1903)  31.5  Bilateral Arbitration Treaties (1903)  31.6  Neutrality in the Russo-Japanese War (1904)  31.7  The Suppression of Telegraph Services in the Dutch Indies (1904)

Part 9 ‘Surtout pas de zèle!’: The International Delegate

Introductory Note
32 The Technical Conferences of the 1880s The Law in the Service of Progress  32.1  The Policing of North Sea Fisheries (1882)  32.2  The Protection of Submarine Telegraph Cables (1884)  32.3  The Transport of Goods by Rail
33 The Berlin Conference (1884–1885) The Dice-Play for West Africa  33.1  Imperialism and Colonialism  33.2  Colonial Strategies  33.3  Livingstone and Stanley  33.4  King Leopold II of Belgium  33.5  The Status of the Congo Association  33.6&ems


Research institutes, libraries and students of private and public international law and of diplomacy. (Law) historians. Economic historians. Political scientists. Students of Jewish history in the Netherlands.


Index Card