IN undertaking this new edition of lHonsiellr De Vattel’s treatise, it was not my the law of nature, the law of nations, and the civil law, are well known. ” The law. Cambridge Core – Political Theory – The Law of Nations – by Emmerich de Vattel / edited by Joseph Chitty. The great eighteenth-century theorist of international law Emer de Vattel (– ) was a key figure in sustaining the practical and theoretical influence of.

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If it be asked, what a nation has a right to do in case of extreme necessity, — this question will be answered se its proper place in the following book, Chap. Alienation of a part of the state. The fickleness of the Athenians was ever inimical to the happiness of the republic, and at length proved fatal to that liberty of which they were so jealous, without knowing, how to enjoy it.

Online Library of Liberty

The states of the principality of Neufchatel have often, in the form of a juridical sentence, pronounced on the succession to the sovereignty.

The Germanic nations introduced another custom — that of requiring homage from a state either vanquished, or too weak to make resistance. Since men are naturally equal, and a perfect equality prevails in their rights and obligations, as equally proceeding from nature,—nations composed of men, and considered as so many free persons living together in the state of nature, are naturally equal, and inherit from nature the same obligations and rights.

Every nation that governs itself, under what form soever, without dependence on any foreign power, is a sovereign state.

For even if the competitors have agreed among themselves, or have chosen arbitrators, the nation is not obliged to submit to their regulations, unless it has consented to the transaction or compromise — princes not acknowledged, and whose right is uncertain, not being in any manner able to dispose of its obedience. But does it not belong to that same nation to acknowledge the person to whom its duty binds it, and prevent its being delivered up to another?

This might, doubtless, be allowed in the first ages of the world, when the earth, without cultivation, produced more than was sufficient to feed its small number of inhabitants. Retrieved 16 April All that has been said in Chap.

We shall see, in this first book, what conduct a nation ought to observe, in order that it may not be wanting to itself.

But those who entertain this emmerlch have not sufficiently studied the subject. You have a right to buy of others such things as you want, and of which they themselves have no tne you make application to me: Those governors of places who bravely refused to execute the barbarous orders of Charles IX. We shall therefore only observe in general, that great changes in a state being delicate and dangerous operations, and frequent changes being in their own nature prejudicial, a people ought to be very circumspect in this point, and never be inclined to make innovations without the most pressing reasons, or an absolute necessity.


The nature of sovereignty, and the welfare of the state, will not permit citizens to oppose a prince whenever his commands appear to them unjust or prejudicial. The constitution and laws of a state are the basis of the public tranquility, the firmest support of political authority, and a security for the liberty of the citizens. War a mode of acquisition This is founded upon the supposition that naations a sovereign is not accountable to any person for the manner in which he governs, and that if the nation might controul his actions and resist him, where it thinks them unjust, his authority would no longer be absolute; which would be contrary to this hypothesis.

Emmerich de Vattel | Swiss jurist |

As it is evident that a treaty binds none but the contracting parties, the conventional law of nations is not a universal but a particular law. As soon as a nation acknowledges a prince for its lawful sovereign, all the citizens owe him a faithful obedience. There occurs no greater difficulty with respect to tributary states; for though the payment of tribute to a foreign power does in some degree diminish the dignity of those states, from its being a confession of their weakness, — yet it suffers their sovereignty to subsist entire.

Thus the lineal succession, and of males alone, is established in France. If it happened then that the order established in this respect became destructive to the state, the nation would certainly have a right to change it by a new law. But a wise king does not yield an undiscerning obedience to their impulse.

Our editors will review what you’ve submitted, and if it meets our criteria, we’ll add it to the article. Est tamen salutaris cogitatio, ut sit principibus persuasum, si rempublicam oppresserint, si vitiis et foeditate intolerandi erunt, ea se conditione vivere, ut non jure tantum, sed cum laude et gloria, perimi possint.

Of a state that has passed under the dominion of another. How one nation may injure another in the article of coin. And who would dare to assert that they would not have a right to oppose it? When the homage leaves independency and sovereign authority in the administration of vatyel state, and only means certain duties to the lord of the fee, or even a mere honorary acknowledgment, it does not prevent the state or the feudatory prince being strictly sovereign.

W E have seen in the preceding chapter, that it originally belongs to a nation to confer the supreme authority, od to choose the person by whom it is to be governed. Individuals are so constituted, and are capable of doing so little by themselves, that they can scarcely subsist without the aid and the laws of civil society.


Refusal of the succours due in virtue of an alliance ibid. The nation has every thing to gain in crowning an all-powerful minister; for he will improve that soil as his own inheritance, which he plundered whilst he only reaped precarious advantages from it.

Vattel: The Law of Nations: Book I

Mezeray’s History of France, vol. One might be astonished that celebrated authors should have maintained such a doctrine. It may reform the government. All these ought to relate to the welfare of the state and of the citizens. Populi patroni non pauciora neque mis ora praesidia habent. How reparation of an injury is to be sought ibid Retaliation ibid Various modes of punishing without having recourse to arms.

When the subjects of the United Provinces established themselves in the Indies on the ruin of their enemies the Portuguese, individual merchants would not have dared to think of such an arduous enterprise; and the state itself, wholly taken up with the defence of its liberty against the Spaniards, had not the means of attempting it. Liberty is the soul of abilities and industry: It does not debase the dignity of the greatest monarch to attribute to him this representative character; on the contrary, nothing sheds a greater lustre on it, since the monarch thus unites in his own person all the majesty that belongs to the emmerivh body of the nation.

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.

An alliance made by a republic is ntaions ibid. A liltle insignificant haberdasher, a tailor, places far beneath him the beloved employment of the first consuls and dictators of Rome! 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 vatrel and conduct of nations or sovereigns.

This authority essentially belongs to the body of the society; but it may be exercised in a variety of ways; and every society has a right to choose that mode which suits it best. If the conductors of states, if all those who are employed in public affairs, condescended to apply seriously to the study of a science which ought to be their law, and, as it were, the compass by which to steer their course, what happy effects might we not expect from a good treatise on the law of nations!

Comparatively, with regard to dimensions.