The lack of attention to the historical record by Grotius became a major point on which other classical writers attacked him. See, for example, John Selden, Of the Dominion, or, Ownership of the Sea, reprint of the 1652 edition (New York: Arno Press, 1972), and Cornelius van Bynkershoek, De Dominio Maris Dissertatio, edited by James Brown Scott, second edition, 1744 (New York: Oxford University Press, 1923). Writing in the twentieth century, Pittman Potter maintains that “as argument attempting to prove the legal validity of maritime dominion or maritime liberty in the period prior to 1650, Selden’s work is incomparably superior to that of Grotius in the opposite capacity.” Potter, The Freedom of the Seas in History, Law, and Politics (New York: Longmans, Green & Co., 1924) p. 65.
Laurent Lucchini and Michel Voelckel underscore the significance of the Spanish and Portuguese claims, noting that Spain and Portugal not only divided the seas but also the territory discovered or to be discovered within their respective ocean zones. Further, these states claimed a monopoly on the right of maritime trade in their zones. Droit de la mer, tome I (Paris: Éditions A. Pedone, 1990) p. 19.
Prior to Grotius, Queen Elizabeth I had been a strong champion of the concept of freedom of the seas, opposing the claims of Portugal and Spain. In an exchange between the Queen and the Spanish Ambassador in 1580, Queen Elizabeth indicated that British subjects would continue to use the oceans since “the use of the sea and the air is common to all; neither can any title to the ocean belong to