MEDOWS, Sir Philip (1626-1718). Observations concerning the Dominion and Sovereignty of the Seas. In the Savoy: Edward Jones, 1689.

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MEDOWS, Sir Philip (1626-1718). Observations concerning the Dominion and Sovereignty of the Seas: being An Abstract of the Marine Affairs of England. [London]: In the Savoy: printed by Edw. Jones; and sold by Samuel Lowndes, against Exeter Change in the Strand; and by Edward Jones, in the Savoy, 1689.

Small 4to., (8 x 6 inches). (Last leaf torn with loss to the lower margin and laid down, a bit browned and dusty throughout). Modern half tan calf, blue paper boards, gilt.


"... the Dominion of the Crown of England in the British Seas, did not exclude other Princes and States from all use, but from an equal use of those Seas" (page 6). In order to preserved England's dominion, Medows proposes three statutes: "1. A Right of Excluding all foreign Ships of War from passing upon any the Seas of England without Special License for that purpose first obtain'd. 2. The sole Marine Jurisdiction within those Seas. 3. An appropriate Fishery".

Historically, "the concept of territorial waters originated in the controversy over the status of the sea in the formative period of modern international lawin the 17th century. Although the doctrine that the sea by its nature must be free to all was eventually upheld, most commentators did recognize that, as a practical matter, a coastal state needed to exercise some jurisdiction in the waters adjacent to its shores. Two different concepts developed—that the area of jurisdiction should be limited to cannon-shot range, and that the area should be a much greater belt of uniform width adjacent to the coast—and in the late 18th century these concepts coalesced in a compromise view that proposed a fixed limit of 3 nautical miles (1 marine league, or 3.45 statute miles [5.5 km])" (Encyclopedia Britannica online). Catalogued by Kate Hunter