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LAW OF NATIONS,
LAW OF NATURE,
Applied to the Conduct and Affairs
OF NATIONS AND SOVEREIGNS.
Sihil eft enim illi principi Deo qui omnem hunc mundum regit, quod quidem in
terris fiat, acceptius, quam concilia cætusque hominum jure sociali, quæ civitates
CICERO, Som. Scip.
A NEW EDITION,
Revised, correâed, and enriched with many valuable Note never before trandated
L O N D ON:
PRINTED FOR G. G. AND J. ROBINSON, PATERXOSTER-ROW.
N undertaking this new edition of Monsieur De.
Vattel's treatise, it was not my intention to give what might strictly be called a new translation. To add the author's valuable notes from the posthumous edition printed at Neuchatel in 1773,
to correct some errors I had observed in the former version, and occasionally to amend the language where doubtful or obscure, - were the utmost limits of my original plan. As I proceeded, however, my alterations became more numerous: but whether they will be acknowledged as amendments, it must rest with the reader to determine. Even if his decision should be more favourable than I have any reason to expect, I lay no claim to praise for my humble efforts, but shall esteem myself very fortunate if I escape the severity of censure for presenting the work to the public in a state still so far short of perfection. Conscious of its defects, I declare with great fincerity .... Veniam pro laude peto, – laudatus abunde,
Non fastiditus fi tibi, lector, ero.
LONDON, May i, 1797.
HE Law of Nations, though fo noble and
important a subject, has not hitherto been treated of with all the care it deserves. The part of mankind have therefore only a vague, a very incomplete, and often even a false notion of it. The generality of writers, and even celebrated authors; almost exclusively confine the name of the Law of Nations to certain maxims and customs which have been adopted by different nations, and which the mutual consent of the parties has alone rendered obligatory on them. This is confining within very narrow bounds a law fo extensive in its own nature, and in which the whole human race are fo intimately concerned; it is at the same time a degradation of that law, in consequence of a misconception of its real origin.
There certainly exists a natural law of nations, lince the obligations of the law of nature are no less binding on states; on men united in political society, than on individuals. But; to acquire an exact knowledge of that law, it is not fufficient to know what the law of nature prescribes to the individuals of the human race. The application of a rule to various subjects can no otherwise be made than in a manner agreeable to the nature of each subject. Hence it follows that the natural law of nations is a particular science, consisting in a just and rational application of the law of nature to the affairs and conduct of nations or sovereigns. All those treatises, therefore, in which the law of nations is blended and confounded with the ordinary law of nature, are incapable of conveying a distinct idea or a fubftantial knowledge of the sacred law of nations.
The Romans often confounded the law of nitions with the law of nature, giving the name of “ the law " of nations” (Jus Gentium) to the law of naure, as