The Law International Law Law of Nations

Law of Nations

Law of Nations
Catalog # SKU2056
Publisher TGS Publishing
Weight 1.00 lbs
Author Name Emerich De Vattel
 
$34.95
Quantity

Description

The
Law of Nations


Principles Of The Law Of Nature
Applied To The Conduct And
Affairs Of Nations And Sovereigns


by
Emerich De Vattel



THE Law of Nations, though so noble and important a subject, has not, hitherto, been treated of with all the care it deserves. The greater 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 "Law of Nations" to certain maxims and treatises recognised among nations, and which the mutual consent of the parties has rendered obligatory on them.

Excerpt:

This is confining within very narrow bounds a law so extensive in its own nature, and in which the whole human race are so 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, since 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 sufficient 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 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 substantial knowledge of the sacred law of nations.

The Romans often confounded the law of nations with the law of nature, giving the name of "the law of nations" (Jus Gentium) to the law of nature, as being generally acknowledged and adopted by all civilized nations. The definitions given by the emperor Justinian, of the law of nature, the law of nations, and the civil law, are well known. "The law of nature," says he, "is that which nature teaches to all animals": thus he defines the natural law in its most extensive sense, not that natural law which is peculiar to man, and which is derived as well from his rational as from his animal nature. "The civil law," that emperor adds, "is that which each nation has established for herself, and which peculiarly belongs to each state or civil society. And that law, which natural reason has established among all mankind, and which is equally observed by all people, is called the law of nations, as being law which all nations follow.

In the succeeding paragraph, the emperor seems to approach nearer to the sense we at present give to that term. "The law of nations," says he, "is common to the whole human race. The exigencies and necessities of mankind have induced all nations to lay down and adopt certain rules of right. For wars have arisen, and produced captivity and servitude, which are contrary to the law of nature; since, by the law of nature, all men were originally born free."

But from what he adds, - that almost all kinds of contracts, those of buying and selling, of hire, partnership, trust, and an infinite number of others, owe their origin to that law of nations,- it plainly appears to have been Justinian's idea, that, according to the situations and circumstances in which men were placed, right reason has dictated to them certain maxims of equity, so founded on the nature of things, that they have been universally acknowledged and adopted. Still this is nothing more than the law of nature, which is equally applicable to all mankind. The Romans, however, acknowledged a law whose obligations are reciprocally binding on nations: and to that law they referred the right of embassies.

They had also their fecial law, which was nothing more than the law of nations in its particular relation to public treaties, and especially to war. The feciales were the interpreters, the guardians, and, in a manner, the priests of the public faith. The moderns are generally agreed in restricting the appellation of "the law of nations" to that system of right and justice which ought to prevail between nations or sovereign states.

They differ only in the ideas they entertain of the origin whence that system arose, and of the foundations upon which it rests. The celebrated Grotius understands it to be a system established by the common consent of nations: and he thus distinguishes it from the law of nature: "When several persons, at different times, and in various places, maintain the same thing as certain, such coincidence of sentiment must be attributed to some general cause. Now, in the questions before us, that cause must necessarily be one or the other of these two - either a just consequence drawn from natural principles, or a universal consent. The former discovers to us the law of nature, and the latter the law of nations."


500+ pages - 10¾ x 8¼ softcover


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