The Law of Nations? (supremely supreme?)

FYI: 220 years ago, George Washington borrowed The Law of Nations from a New york library (and never returned it, a $300,00 fine?) which maybe is why Article 1 Section 8,10 (US) reads: "To define and punish Piracies and Felonies committed on the high Seas, and Offences against the Law of Nations"? 🙂



§ 1. Of the state, and of sovereignty

A NATION or a state is, as has been said at the beginning of this work, a body politic, or a society of men united together for the purpose of promoting their mutual safety and advantage by their combined strength.

From the very design that induces a number of men to form a society which has its common interests, and which is to act in concert, it is necessary that there should be established a Public Authority, to order and direct what is to be done by each in relation to the end of the association. This political authority is the Sovereignty; and he or they who are invested with it are the Sovereign. (10)

§ 2. Authority of the body politic over the members.

It is evident, that, by the very act of the civil or political association, each citizen subjects himself to the authority of the entire body, in every thing that relates to the common welfare. The authority of all over each member, therefore, essentially belongs to the body politic, or state; but the exercise of that authority may be placed in different hands, according as the society may have ordained.

§ 3. Of the several kinds of government.

If the body of the nation keep in ifs own hands the empire, or the right to command, it is a Populargovernment, a Democracy; if it intrust it to a certain number of citizens, to a senate, it establishes anAristocratic republic; finally, if it confide the government to a single person, the state becomes a Monarch. (11.)

These three kinds of government may be variously combined and modified. We shall not here enter into the particulars; this subject belonging to the public universal law;1 for the object of the present work, it is sufficient to establish the general principles necessary for the decision of those disputes that may arise between nations.

§ 4. What are sovereign states.

Every nation that governs itself, under what form soever, without dependence on any foreign power, is a Sovereign State, Its rights are naturally the same as those of any other state. Such are the moral persons who live together in a natural society, subject to the law of nations. To give a nation a right to make an immediate figure in this grand society, it is sufficient that it be really sovereign and independent, that is, that it govern itself by its own authority and laws.

§ 5. States bound by unequal alliance.

We ought, therefore, to account as sovereign states those which have united themselves to another more powerful, by an unequal alliance, in which, as Aristotle says, to the more powerful is given more honour, and to the weaker, more assistance.

The conditions of those unequal alliances may be infinitely varied, But whatever they are, provided the inferior ally reserve to itself the sovereignty, or the right of governing its own body, it ought to be considered as an independent state, that keeps up an intercourse with others under the authority of the law of nations.

§ 6. Or by treaties of protection.

Consequently a weak state, which, in order to provide for its safety, places itself under the protection of a more powerful one, and engages, in return, to perform several offices equivalent to that protection, without however divesting itself of the right of government and sovereignty, — that state, I say, does not, on this account, cease to rank among the sovereigns who acknowledge no other law than that of nations. (12)

§ 7. Of tributary states.

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. The custom of paying tribute was formerly very common, — the weaker by that means purchasing of their more powerful neighbour an exemption from oppression, or at that price securing his protection, without ceasing to be sovereigns.

§ 8. Of feudatory states.

The Germanic nations introduced another custom — that of requiring homage from a state either vanquished, or too weak to make resistance. Sometimes even, a prince has given sovereignties in fee, and sovereigns have voluntarily rendered themselves feudatories to others.

When the homage leaves independency and sovereign authority in the administration of the 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. The king of Naples pays homage for his kingdom to the pope, and is nevertheless reckoned among the principal sovereigns of Europe,

§ 9. Of two states subject to the same prince.

Two sovereign states may also be subject to the same prince, without any dependence on each other, and each may retain all its rights as a free and sovereign state. The king of Prussia is sovereign prince of Neufchatel in Switzerland, without that principality being in any manner united to his other dominions; so that the people of Neufchatel, in virtue of their franchises, may serve a foreign power at war with the king of Prussia, provided that the war be not on account of that principality.

§ 10. Of states forming a federal republic.

Finally, several sovereign and independent states may unite themselves together by a perpetual confederacy, without ceasing to be, each individually, a perfect state. They will together constitute a federal republic: their joint deliberations will not impair the sovereignty of each member, though they may, in certain respects, put some restraint on the exercise of it, in virtue of voluntary engagements. A person does not cease to be free and independent, when he is obliged to fulfil engagements which he has voluntarily contracted.

Such were formerly the cities of Greece; such are at present the Seven United Provinces of the Netherlands, (13) and such the members of the Helvetic body.

§ 11. Of a state that has passed under the dominion of another.

But a people that has passed under the dominion of another is no longer a state, and can no longer avail itself directly of the law of nations. Such were the nations and kingdoms which the Romans rendered subject to their empire; the generality even of those whom they honoured with the name of friends and allies no longer formed real states. Within themselves they were governed by their own laws and magistrates; but without, they were in every thing obliged to follow the orders of Rome; they dared not of themselves either to make war or contract alliances; and could not treat with nations.

The law of nations is the law of sovereigns; free and independent states are moral persons, whose rights and obligations we are to establish in this treatise.

(10) The student desirous of enlarging his knowledge upon this subject should read Locke on Government; De Lolme on the Constitution; 1 Bla. Com. 47; Sedgwick's Commentaries thereon; and Chitty Junior's Prerogatives of the Crown as regards Sovereignly and different Governments; and see Cours de Droit Public Interne et Externe, Paris, A.D. 1830. — C.

(11) See the advantages and disadvantages of each of those forms of government shortly considered. 1 Bla. Com. 49, 50. — C.

1. Nor shall we examine which of those different kinds of government is the best. It will be sufficient to say in general, that the monarchical form appears preferable to every other, provided the power of the sovereign be limited, and not absolute, — qui [principatus] tum demum regius est, si intra modestiæ et mediocritatis fines se contineat, excessu potestatis, quam imprudentes in dies augere satagunt, minuitur, penitusque corrumpitur. Nos stulti, majoris, potentiæ specie decepti, dilabimur in contrarium, non satis considerantes cam demum tutam esse potentiam quæ viribus modum imponit. The maxim has both truth and wisdom on its side. The author here quotes the saying of Theopompus, king of Sparta, who, returning to his house amidst the acclamations of the people, after the establishment of the Ephori — "You will leave to your children (said his wife) an authority diminished through your fault." "True," replied the king: "I shall leave them a smaller portion of it; but it will rest upon a firmer basis." The Lacedæmonians, during a certain period, had two chiefs to whom they very improperly gave the title of kings. They were magistrates, who possessed a very limited power, and whom it was not unusual to cite before the tribunal of justice, — to arrest, — to condemn to death, — Sweden acts with less impropriety in continuing to bestow on her chief the title of king, although she has circumscribed his power within very narrow bounds. He shares not his authority with a colleague, — he is hereditary, — and the state has, from time immemorial, borne the title of a kingdom. — Edit. A.D. 1797.

(12) This and other rules respecting smaller states sometimes form the subject of consideration even in the Municipal Courts. In case of a revolted colony, or part of a parent or principal state, no subject of another state can legally make a contract with it or assist the same without leave of his own government, before its separate independence has been recognised by his own government, Jones v. Garcia del Rio, 1 Turn, & Russ 297; Thompson v. Powles, 2 Sim. Rep. 202; Yrisarri v. Clement, 2 Car. & P. 223; 11 B. Moore, 308; 3 Bing. 432; and post. — C. (The United states v. Palmer. 3 Wheat. 610. See Cherriot v. Foussat, 3 Binn. 252.)

(13) Of course, the words "at present" refer only to the time when Vattel wrote and it is unnecessary to mention otherwise than thus cursorily the notorious recent changes. — C.


§ 12. The objects of this treatise.

IF the rights of a nation spring from its obligations, it is principally from those that relate to itself. It will further appear, that its duties towards others depend very much on its duties towards itself, as the former are to be regulated and measured by the latter. As we are then to treat of the obligations and rights of nations, an attention to order requires that we should begin by establishing what each nation owes to itself.

§ 13. A nation ought to act agreeably to its nature.

The general and fundamental rule of our duties towards ourselves is, that every moral being ought to live in a manner conformable to his nature, naturae conveni enter vivere. (14) A nation is a being determined by its essential attributes, that has its own nature, and can act in conformity to it. There are then actions of a nation as such, wherein it is concerned in its national character, and which are either suitable or opposite to what constitutes it a nation; so that it is not a matter of indifference whether it performs some of those actions, and omits others. In this respect, the Law of Nature prescribes it certain duties. 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 we shall first sketch out a general idea of this subject.

§ 14. Of the preservation and perfection of a nation.

He who no longer exists can have no duties to perform: and a moral being is charged with obligations to himself, only with a view to his perfection and happiness: for to preserve and to perfect his own nature, is the sum of all his duties to himself.

The preservation of a nation is found in what renders it capable of obtaining the end of civil society; and a nation is in a perfect state, when nothing necessary is wanting to arrive at that end. We know that the perfection of a thing consists, generally, in the perfect agreement of all its constituent parts to tend to the same end. A nation being a multitude of men united together in civil society — if in that multitude all conspire to attain the end proposed in forming a civil society, the nation is perfect; and it is more or less so, according as it approaches more or less to that perfect agreement. In the same manner its external state will be more or less perfect, according as it concurs with the interior perfection of the nation,

§ 15. What is the end of civil society.

The end or object of civil society is to procure for the citizens whatever they stand in need of for the necessities, the conveniences, the accommodation of life, and, in general, whatever constitutes happiness, — with the peaceful possession of property, a method of obtaining justice with security, and, finally, a mutual defence against all external violence.

It is now easy to form a just idea of the perfection of a state or nation: — every thing in it must conspire to promote the ends we have pointed out.

§ 16. A nation is under an obligation to preserve itself.

In the act of association, by virtue of which a multitude of men form together a state or nation, each individual has entered into engagements with all, to promote the general welfare; and all have entered into engagements with each individual, to facilitate for him the means of supplying his necessities, and to protect and defend him. It is manifest that these reciprocal engagements can no otherwise be fulfilled than by maintaining the political association. The entire nation is then obliged to maintain that association; and as their preservation depends on its continuance, it thence follows that every nation is obliged to perform the duty of self-preservation,

This obligation, so natural to each individual of God's creation, is not derived to nations immediately from nature, but from the agreement by which civil society is formed: it is therefore not absolute, but conditional, — that is to say, it supposes a human act, to wit, the social compact. And as compacts may be dissolved by common consent of the parties — if the individuals that compose a nation should unanimously agree to break the link that binds them, it would be lawful for them to do so, and thus to destroy the state or nation; but they would doubtless incur a degree of guilt, if they took this step without just and weighty reasons; for civil societies are approved by the Law of Nature, which recommends them to mankind, as the true means of supplying all their wants, and of effectually advancing towards their own perfection. Moreover, civil society is so useful, nay so necessary to all citizens, that it may well be considered as morally impossible for them to consent unanimously to break it without necessity. But what citizens may or ought to do — what the majority of them may resolve in certain cases of necessity or of pressing exigency — are questions that will be treated of elsewhere: they cannot be solidly determined without some principles which we have not yet established. For the present, it is sufficient to have proved, that, in general, as long as the political society subsists, the whole nation is obliged to endeavour to maintain it.

§ 17. And to preserve its members.

If a nation is obliged to preserve itself, it is no less obliged carefully to preserve all its members. The nation owes this to itself, since the loss even of one of its members weakens it, and is injurious to its preservation. It owes this also to the members in particular, in consequence of the very act of association; for those who compose a nation are united for their defence and common advantage; and none can justly be deprived of this union, and of the advantages he expects to derive from it, while he on his side fulfils the conditions. (15)

The body of a nation cannot then abandon a province, a town, or even a single individual who is a part of it, unless compelled to it by necessity, or indispensably obliged to it by the strongest reasons founded on the public safety. (16)

§ 18. A nation has a right to every thing necessary for its preservation.

Since then a nation is obliged to preserve itself, it has a right to every thing necessary for its preservation. For the Law of Nature gives us a right to every thing without which we cannot fulfil our obligation; otherwise it would oblige us to do impossibilities, or rather would contradict itself in prescribing us a duty, and at the same time debarring us of the only means of fulfilling it. It will doubtless be here understood, that those means ought not to be unjust in themselves, or such as are absolutely forbidden by the Law of Nature.

As it is impossible that it should ever permit the use of such means, — if on a particular occasion no other present themselves for fulfilling a general obligation, the obligation must, in that particular instance, be looked on as impossible, and consequently void.

§ 19. It ought to avoid every thing that might occasion its destruction.

By an evident consequence from what has been said, a nation ought carefully to avoid, as much as possible, whatever might cause its destruction, or that of the state, which is the same thing.

§ 20. Of its right to every thing that may promote this end.

A nation or state has a right to every thing that can help to ward off imminent danger, and kept at a distance whatever is capable of causing its ruin; and that from the very same reasons that establish its right to the things necessary to its preservation. (17)

§ 21. A nation ought to perfect itself and the state.

The second general duty of a nation towards itself is to labour at its own perfection and that of its state. It is this double perfection that renders a nation capable of attaining the end of civil sociely: it would be absurd to unite in society, and yet not endeavour to promote the end of that union.

Here the entire body of a nation, and each individual citizen, are bound by a double obligation, the one immediately proceeding from nature, and the other resulting from their reciprocal engagements. Nature lays an obligation upon each man to labour after his own perfection; and in so doing, he labours after that of civil society, which could not fail to be very flourishing, were it composed of none but good citizens. But the individual finding in a well-regulated society the most powerful succours to enable him to fulfil the task which Nature imposes upon him in relation to himself, for becoming better, and consequently more happy — he is doubtless obliged to contribute all in his power to render that society more perfect.

All the citizens who form a political society reciprocally engage to advance the common welfare, and as far as possible to promote the advantage of each member. Since then the perfection of the society is what enables it to secure equally the happiness of the body and that of the members, the grand object of the engagements and duties of a citizen is to aim at this perfection, This is more particularly the duty of the body collective in all their common deliberations, and in every thing they do as a body. (18)

§ 22. And to avoid every thing contrary to its perfection.

A nation therefore ought to prevent, and carefully to avoid, whatever may hinder its perfection and that of the state, or retard the progress either of the one or the other. (19)

§ 23. The rights it derives from these obligations.

We may then conclude, as we have done above in regard to the preservation of a state (§ 18), that a nation has a right to every thing without which it cannot attain the perfection of the members and of the state, or prevent and repel whatever is contrary to this double perfection.

§ 24. Examples.

On this subject, the English furnish us an example highly worthy of attention. That illustrious nation distinguishes itself in a glorious manner by its application to every thing that can render the state more flourishing. An admirable constitution there places every citizen in a situation that enables him to contribute to this great end, and everywhere diffuses that spirit of genuine patriotism which zealously exerts itself for the public welfare. We there see private citizens form considerable enterprises, in order to promote the glory and welfare of the nation. And while a bad prince would find his hands tied up, a wise and moderate king finds the most powerful aids to give success to his glorious designs. The nobles and the representatives of the people form a link of confidence between the monarch and the nation, and, concurring with him in every thing that tends to promote the public welfare, partly case him of the burden of government, give stability to his power, and procure him an obedience the more perfect, as it is voluntary. Every good citizen sees that the strength of the state is really the advantage of all, and not that of a single person. (20) Happy constitution! which they did not suddenly obtain: it has cost rivers of blood; but they have not purchased it too dear. May luxury, that pest so fatal to the manly and patriotic virtues, that minister of corruption so dangerous to liberty, never overthrow a monument that does so much honour to human nature — a monument capable of teaching kings how glorious it is to rule over a free people!

There is another nation illustrious by its bravery and its victories. Its numerous and valiant nobility, its extensive and fertile dominions, might render it respectable throughout all Europe, and in a short time it might be in a most flourishing situation, but its constitution opposes this; and such is its attachment to that constitution, that there is no room to expect a proper remedy will ever be applied. In vain might a magnanimous king, raised by his virtues above the pursuits of ambition and injustice, from the most salutary designs for promoting the happiness of his people; — in vain might those designs be approved by the more sensible part, by the majority of the nation; — a single deputy, obstinate, or corrupted by a foreign power, might put a stop to all, and disconcert the wisest and most necessary measures. From an excessive jealousy of its liberty, that nation has taken such precautions as must necessarily place it out of the power of the king to make any attempts on the liberties of the public. But is it not evident that those precautions exceed the end proposed — that they tie the hands of the most just and wise prince, and deprive him of the means of securing the public freedom against the enterprises of foreign powers, and of rendering the nation rich and happy? Is it not evident that the nation has deprived itself of the power of acting, and that its councils are exposed to the caprice or treachery of a single member?

§ 25. A nation ought to know itself.

We shall conclude this chapter, with observing that a nation ought to know itself. (21) Without this knowledge it cannot make any successful endeavours after its own perfection. It ought to have a just idea of its state, to enable it to take the most proper measures; it ought to know the progress it has already made, and what further advances it has still to make, — what advantages it possesses, and what defects it labours under, in order to preserve the former, and correct the latter. Without this knowledge a nation will act at random, and often take the most improper measures. It will think it acts with great wisdom in imitating the conduct of nations that are reputed wise and skilful, — not perceiving that such or such regulation, such or such practice, though salutary to one state, is often pernicious to another. Every thing ought to be conducted according to its nature. Nations cannot be well governed without such regulations as are suitable to their respective characters; and in order to this, their characters ought to be known.

(14) If to particularize may be allowed, we may instance Great Britain. Comparatively, with regard to dimensions. it would be but an insignificant state; but with regard to its insular situation and excellent ports, and its proximity to Europe, and above all the singularly manly, brave, and adventurous character of its natives, it has been capable of acquiring and has acquired powers far beyond its diminutive extent. These being established. It becomes the duty of such a state, and of those exercising the powers of government, to cultivate and improve these natural advantages; and in that view the ancient exclusive navigation system, constituting England the carrier of Europe and the world were highly laudable; and it is to be hoped that a return of the system, injudiciously abandoned, will ere long lake place. — C.

(15) This principle is in every respect recognized and acted upon by our municipal law. It is in respect of, and as a due return for, the protection every natural born subject is entitled to, and actually does, by law, receive from the instant of his birth that all the obligations of allegiance attach upon him, and from which he cannot by any act of his own emancipate himself. This is the principle upon which is founded the rule "Nemo potest exuere patriam," Calvin's case. 7 Coke 25. Co Lit. 129, a; and see an interesting application of that rule in Macdonald's case, Forster's Crown Law 59. — C.

(16) In tracing the consequences of this rule, we shall hereafter perceive how important is the rule itself. — C.

(17) Salus populi supreme est lex. Upon this principle it has been established, that for national defence in war, it is legal to pull down or injure the property of any private individual. See Governors, &c. v. Meredith, 4 Term Rep. 796-7. — C.

(18) In a highly intelligent and cultivated society like England, this principle is exemplified in an extraordinary degree; for in the legislative assembly, members of parliament, without any private interest excepting the approbation of their countrymen, almost destroy themselves by exertion in discussing the improvement of existing regulations; and this indeed even to excess as regards long speeches, sometimes even counteracting their own laudable endeavours. — C.

(19) See Book 1. chap. xxiii. § 283, as to the duty of all nations to prevent the violation of the law of nations. — C.

(20) This is indeed a flattering compliment from Vattel, a foreigner; but certainly it is just; for although, as a commercial nation, it might be supposed that each individual principally labours for his own individual gain; yet when we refer to the spirited employment of capital in building national bridges, canals, railroads, &c. not yielding even 21 per cent., it must be admitted that great public spirit for national good very generally prevails. — C.

(21) This is one of the soundest and most important principles that can be advanced, whether it refers to individuals or to nations, and is essential even to the attainment of the rudiments of true wisdom. Every moral and wise man should enlarge on this principle, and among others study that excellent, but too litlle known work, Mason on Self-Knowledge.


WE were unable to avoid in the first chapter, anticipating something of the subject of this.

§ 26. Of public authority.

We have seen already that every political society must necessarily establish a public authority to regulate their common affairs, — to prescribe to each individual the conduct he ought to observe with a view to the public welfare, and to possess the means of procuring obedience. 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.

§ 27. What is the constitution of a state.

The fundamental regulation that determines the manner in which the public authority is to be executed, is what forms the constitution of the state. In this is seen the form in which the nation acts in quality of a body politic, how and by whom the people are to be governed, — and what are the rights and duties of the governors. This constitution is in fact nothing more than the establishment of the order in which a nation proposes to labour in common for obtaining those advantages with a view to which the political society was established.

§ 28. The nation ought to choose the best constitution.

The perfection of a state, and its aptitude to attain the ends of society, must then depend on its constitution: consequently the most important concern of a nation that forms a political society, and its first and most essential duty towards itself, is to choose the best constitution possible, and that most suitable to its circumstances. When it makes this choice, it lays the foundation of its own preservation, safety, perfection, and happiness: — it cannot take too much care in placing these on a solid basis.

§ 29. Of political, fundamental, and civil laws.

The laws are regulations established by public authority, to be observed in society. All these ought to relate to the welfare of the state and of the citizens. The laws made directly with a view to the publicwelfare are political laws; and in this class, those that concern the body itself and the being of the society, the form of government, the manner in which the public authority is to be exerted, — those, in a word, which together form the constitution of the state, are the fundamental laws.

The civil laws are those that regulate the rights and conduct of the citizens among themselves.

Every nation that would not be wanting to itself, ought to apply its utmost care in establishing these laws, and principally its fundamental laws, — in establishing them, I say, with wisdom in a manner suitable to the genius of the people, and to all the circumstances in which they may be placed: they ought to determine them and make them known with plainness and precision, to the end that they may possess stability, that they may not be eluded, and that they may create, if possible, no dissension — that, on the one hand, he or they to whom the exercise of the sovereign power is committed, and the citizens, on the other, may equally know their duty and their rights. It is not here necessary to consider in detail what that constitution and those laws ought to be: that discussion belongs to public law and politics. Besides, the laws and constitutions of different states must necessarily vary according to the disposition of the people and other circumstances. In the Law of Nations we must adhere to generals. We here consider the duty of a nation towards itself, principally to determine the conduct that it ought to observe in that great society which nature has established among all nations. These duties give it rights, that serve as a rule to establish what it may require from other nations, and reciprocally what others may require from it.

§ 30. Of the support of the constitution and obedience to the laws.

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. But this constitution is a vain phantom, and the best laws are useless, if they be not religiously observed: the nation ought then to watch very attentively, in order to render them equally respected by those who govern, and by the people destined to obey. To attack the constitution of the state and to violate its laws, is a capital crime against society; and if those guilty of it are invested with authority, they add to this crime a perfidious abuse of the power with which they are intrusted. The nation ought constantly to repress them with its utmost vigour and vigilance, as the importance of the case requires.

It is very uncommon to see the laws and constitution of a state openly and boldly opposed: it is against silent and gradual attacks that a nation ought to be particularly on its guard. Sudden revolutions strike the imaginations of men: they are detailed in history; their secret springs are developed. But we overlook the changes that insensibly happen by a long train of steps that are but slightly marked. It would be rendering nations an important service to show from history how many states have thus entirely changed their nature, and lost their original constitution. This would awaken the attention of mankind: — impressed thenceforward with this excellent maxim (no less essential in politics than in morals) principiis obsta, — they would no longer shut their eyes against innovations, which, though inconsiderable in themselves, may serve as steps to mount to higher and more pernicious enterprises.

§ 31. The rights of a nation with respect to its constitution and government.

The consequences of a good or bad constitution being of such importance, and the nation being strictly obliged to procure, as far as is possible, the best and most convenient one, it has a right to every thing necessary to enable it to fulfil this obligation (§ 18). It is then manifest that a nation has an indisputable right to form, maintain, and perfect its constitution, to regulate at pleasure every thing relating to the government, and that no person can have a just right to hinder it. Government is established only for the sake of the nation, with a view to its safety and happiness.

§ 32. It may reform the government.

If any nation is dissatisfied with the public administration, it may apply the necessary remedies, and reform the government. But observe that I say "the nation;" for I am very fat from meaning to authorize a few malcontents or incendiaries to give disturbance to their governors by exciting murmurs and seditions. None but the body of a nation have a right to check those at the helm when they abuse their power. When the nation is silent and obeys, the people are considered as approving the conduct of their superiors, or at least finding it supportable; and it is not the business of a small number of citizens to put the state in danger, under the pretense of reforming it.

§ 33. And may change the constitution.

In virtue of the same principles, it is certain that it the nation is uneasy under its constitution, it has a right to change it.

There can be no difficulty in the case, if the whole nation be unanimously inclined to make this change. But it is asked, what is to be done if the people are divided? In the ordinary management of the state, the opinion of the majority must pass without dispute for that of the whole nation: otherwise it would be almost impossible for the society ever to take any resolution. It appears then, by parity of reasoning, that a nation may change the constitution of the state by a majority of voles; and whenever there is nothing in this change that can be considered as contrary to the act of civil association, or to the intention of those united under it, the whole are bound to conform to the resolution of the majority. (22) But if the question be, to quit a form of government to which alone it appeared that the people were willing to submit on their entering into the bonds of society, — if the greater part of a free people, after the example of the Jews in the time of Samuel, are weary of liberty, and resolved to submit to the authority of a monarch, — those citizens who are more jealous of that privilege, so invaluable to those who have tasted it, though obliged to suffer the majority to do as they please, are under no obligation at all to submit to the new government: they may quit a society which seems to have dissolved itself in order to unite again under another form: they have a right to retire elsewhere, to sell their lands, and take with them all their effects.

§ 34. Of the legislative power, and whether it can change the constitution.

Here, again, a very important question presents itself. It essentially belongs to the society to make laws both in relation to the manner in which it desires to be governed, and to the conduct of the citizens: this is called the legislative power. The nation may intrust the exercise of it to the prince, or to an assembly and the prince jointly; who have then a right to make new laws and to repeal old ones.(23) It is asked, whether their power extends to the fundamental laws — whether they may change the constitution of a state? The principals we have laid down lead us to decide with certainty, that the authority of those legislators does not extend so far, and that they ought to consider the fundamentallaws as sacred, if the nation has not, in very express terms, given them power to change them. For the constitution of the state ought to possess stability: and since that was first established by the nation, which afterwards intrusted certain persons with the legislative power, the fundamental laws are expected from their commission. It is visible that the society only intended to make provision for having the state constantly furnished with laws suited to particular conjunctures, and, for that purpose, gave the legislature the power of abrogating the ancient civil and political laws that were not fundamental, and of making new ones; but nothing leads us to think that it meant to submit the constitution itself to their will. In short, it is from the constitution that those legislators derive their power: how then can they change it without destroying the foundation of their own authority? By the fundamental laws of England, the two houses of parliament, in concert with the king, exercise the legislative power: but, if the two houses should resolve to suppress themselves, and to invest the king with full and absolute authority, certainly the nation would not suffer it. And who would dare to assert that they would not have a right to oppose it? But if the parliament entered into a debate on making so considerable a change, and the whole nation was voluntarily silent upon it, this would be considered as an approbation of the act of its representatives.

§ 35. The nation ought not to attempt it without great caution.

But in treating here of the change of the constitution, we treat only of the right: the question of expediency belongs to politics. 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 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.

§ 36. It is the judge of all disputes relating to the government.

We may conclude from what has been said (§ 33), that if any disputes arise in a state respecting thefundamental laws, the public administration, or the rights of the different powers of which it is composed, it belongs to the nation alone to judge and determine them conformably to its political constitution.

§ 37. No foreign power has a right to interfere.

In short, all these affairs being solely a national concern, no foreign power has a right to interfere in them, nor ought to intermeddle with them otherwise than by its good offices unless requested to do it, or induced by particular reasons. If any intrude into the domestic concerns of another nation, and attempt to put a constraint on its deliberations, they do it an injury.

(22) In 1 Bla. Com, 51-2, it is contended, that, unless in cases where the natural law or consciencedictates the observance of municipal laws, it is optional, in a moral view, to observe the positive law, or to pay the penalty where detected in the breach: but that doctrine, as regards the moral duty to observe laws, has been justly refuted. See Sedgwick's Commentaries, 61; 2 Box. & Pul. 375; 5 Bar. & Ald. 341; sed vide 13 Ves. jun. 215, 316. — C.

(23) Thus, during the last war, English acts of Parliament delegated to the king in council all the power of making temporary orders and laws regulating commerce. So by a bill of 3 Will. 4, power was proposed to be given to eight of the judges to make rules and orders respecting pleading, these not being considered unconstitutional delegations of powers of altering the fundamental laws, part of the constitution itself; but even then, the rules or orders so made are not absolutely to become law until they have been submitted to, and not objected against in parliament during six weeks. — C.


§ 38. Of the sovereign.

THE reader cannot expect to find here a long deduction of the rights of sovereignty, and the functions of a prince. These are to be found in treatises on the public law. In this chapter we only propose to show, in consequence of the grand principles of the law of nations, what a sovereign is, and to give a general idea of his obligations and his rights.

We have said that the sovereignty is that public authority which commands in civil society, and orders and directs what each citizen is to perform, to obtain the end of its institution. This authority originally and essentially belonged to the body of the society, to which each member submitted, and ceded his natural right of conducting himself in every thing as he pleased, according to the dictates of his own understanding, and of doing himself justice. But the body of the society does not always retain in its own hands this sovereign authority: it frequently intrusts it to a senate, or to a single person. That senate, or that person, is then the sovereign.

§ 39. It is solely established for thesafety and advantage of society.

It is evident that men form a political society, and submit to laws, solely for their own advantage and safety. The sovereign authority is then established only for the common good of all the citizens; and it would be absurd to think that it could change its nature on passing into the hands of a senate or a monarch. Flattery, therefore, cannot, without rendering itself equally ridiculous and odious, deny that the sovereign is only established for the safety and advantage of society.

A good prince, a wise conductor of society, ought to have his mind impressed with this great truth, that the sovereign power is solely intrusted to him for the safety of the state, and the happiness of all the people; that he is not permitted to consider himself as the principal object in the administration of affairs, to seek his own satisfaction, or his private advantage; but that he ought to direct all his views, all his steps, to the greatest advantage of the state and people who have submitted to him.1 What a noble sight it is to see a king of England rendering his parliament an account of his principal operations — assuring that body, the representatives of the nation, that he has no other end in view than the glory of the state and the happiness of his people — and affectionately thanking all who concur with him in such salutary views! Certainly, a monarch who makes use of this language, and by his conduct proves the sincerity of his professions, is, in the opinion of the wise, the only great man. But, in most kingdoms, a criminal flattery has long since caused these maxims to be forgotten. A crowd of servile courtiers easily persuade a proud monarch that the nation was made for him, and not he for the nation. He soon considers the kingdom as a patrimony that is his own property, and his people as a herd of cattle from which he is to derive his wealth, and which he may dispose of to answer his own views, and gratify his passions. Hence those fatal wars undertaken by ambition, restlessness, hatred, and pride; — hence those oppressive taxes, whose produce is dissipated by ruinous luxury, or squandered upon mistresses and favourites; — hence, in fine, are important posts given by favour, while public merit is neglected, and every thing that does not immediately interest the prince is abandoned to ministers and subalterns. Who can, in this unhappy government, discover an authority established for the public welfare? A great prince will be on his guard even against his virtues.

Let us not say, with some writers, that private virtues are not the virtues of kings — a maxim of superficial politicians, or of those who are very inaccurate in their expressions. Goodness, friendship, gratitude, are still virtues on the throne; and would to God they were always to be found there! But a wise king does not yield an undiscerning obedience to their impulse. He cherishes them, he cultivates them in his private life; but in state affairs he listens only to justice and sound policy. And why? because he knows that the government was intrusted to him only for the happiness of society, and that, therefore, he ought not to consult his own pleasure in the use he makes of his power. He tempers his goodness with wisdom; he gives to friendship his domestic and private favours; he distributes posts and employments according to merit; public rewards to services done to the state. In a word, he uses the public power only with a view to the public welfare. All this is comprehended in that fine saying of Lewis XII.: — "A king of France does not revenge the injuries of a duke of Orleans."

§ 40. Of his representative character.

A political society is a moral person (Prelim. § 2) inasmuch as it has an understanding and a will, of which it makes use for the conduct of its affairs, and is capable of obligations and rights. When, therefore, a people confer the sovereignty on any one person, they invest him with their understanding and will, and make over to him their obligations and rights, so far as relates to the administration of the state, and to the exercise of the public authority. The sovereign, or conductor of the state, thus becoming the depositary of the obligations and rights relative to government, in him is found the moral person, who, without absolutely ceasing to exist in the nation, acts thenceforwards only in him and by him. Such is the origin of the representative character attributed to the sovereign. He represents the nation in all the affairs in which he may happen to be engaged as a sovereign. 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 entire body of the nation.

§ 41. He is intrusted with the obligations of the nation, and invested with its rights.

The sovereign, thus clothed with the public authority, with every thing that constitutes the moral personality of the nation, of course becomes bound by the obligations of that nation, and invested with its rights.

§ 42 His duty with respect to the preservation and perfection of the nation.

All that has been said in Chap. II. of the general duties of a nation towards itself particularly regards the sovereign. He is the depositary of the empire, and the power of commanding whatever conduces to the public welfare; he ought, therefore, as a tender and wise father, and as a faithful administrator, to watch for the nation, and take care to preserve it, and render it more perfect; to better its state, and to secure it, as far as possible, against every thing that threatens its safety or its happiness.

§ 43. His rights in this respect.

Hence all the rights which a nation derives from its obligation to preserve and perfect itself, and to improve its state, (see §§ 18, 20, and 23, of this book); all these rights, I say, reside in the sovereign, who is therefore indifferently called the conductor of the society, superior, prince, &c.

§ 44. He ought to know the nation.

We have observed above, that every nation ought to know itself. This obligation devolves on the sovereign, since it is he who is to watch over the preservation and perfection of the nation. The duty which the law of nature here imposes on the conductors of nations is of extreme importance, and of considerable extent. They ought exactly to know the whole country subject to their authority; its qualities, defects, advantages, and situation with regard to the neighbouring states; and they ought to acquire a perfect knowledge of the manners and general inclinations of their people, their virtues, vices, talents, &c. All these branches of knowledge are necessary to enable them to govern properly.

§ 45. The extent of his power.

The prince derives his authority from the nation; he possesses just so much of it as they have thought proper to intrust him with. If the nation has plainly and simply invested him with the sovereignty, without limitation or division, he is supposed to be invested with all the prerogatives, without which the sovereign command or authority could not be exerted in the manner most conducive to the public welfare. These are called regal prerogatives, or the prerogatives of majesty.

§ 46. The prince ought to respect and support the fundamental laws.

But when the sovereign power is limited and regulated by the fundamental laws of the state, those laws show the prince the extent and bounds of his power, and the manner in which he is to exert it. The prince is therefore strictly obliged not only to respect, but also to support them. The constitution and the fundamental laws are the plan on which the nation has resolved to labour for the attainment of happiness; the execution is intrusted to the prince. Let him religiously follow this plan; let him consider the fundamental laws as inviolable and sacred rules; and remember that the moment he deviates from them, his commands become unjust, and are but a criminal abuse of the power with which he is intrusted. He is, by virtue of that power, the guardian and defender of the laws: and while it is his duty to restrain each daring violator of them, ought he himself to trample them under foot?2

§ 47. He may change the laws not fundamental.

If the prince be invested with the legislative power, he may, according to his wisdom, and when the public advantage requires it, abolish those laws that are not fundamental, and make now ones. (See what we have said on this subject in the preceding chapter, § 34.)

§ 48. He ought to maintain and observe the existing laws.

But while these laws exist, the sovereign ought religiously to maintain and observe them. They are the foundation of the public tranquility, and the firmest support of the sovereign authority. Every thing is uncertain, violent, and subject to revolutions, in those unhappy states where arbitrary power has placed her throne. It is therefore the true interest of the prince, as well as his duty, to maintain and respect the laws; he ought to submit to them himself. We find this truth established in a piece published by order of Lewis XIV., one of the most absolute princes that ever reigned in Europe. "Let it not be said that the sovereign is not subject to the laws of his state, since the contrary proposition is one of the truths of the law of nations, which flattery has sometimes attacked, and which good princes have always defended, as a tutelar divinity of their states."3

§ 49. In what sense he is subject to the laws.

But it is necessary to explain this submission of the prince to the laws. First, he ought, as we have just seen, to follow their regulations in all the acts of his administration. In the second place, he is himself subject, in his private affairs, to all the laws that relate to property. I say, "in his private affairs;" for when he acts as a sovereign prince, and in the name of the state, he is subject only to the fundamental laws, and the law of nations. In the third place, the prince is subject to certain regulations of general polity, considered by the state as inviolable, unless he be excepted in express terms by the law, or tacitly by a necessary consequence of his dignity. I here speak of the laws that relate to the situation of individuals, and particularly of those that regulate the validity of marriages. These laws are established to ascertain the state of families: now the royal family is that of all others the most important to be certainly known. But, fourthly, we shall observe in general, with respect to this question, that, if the prince is invested with a full, absolute, and unlimited sovereignty, he is above the laws, which derive from him all their force; and he may dispense with his own observance of them, whenever natural justice and equity will permit him. Fifthly, as to the laws relative to morals and good order, the prince ought doubtless to respect them, and to support them by his example. But, sixthly, he is certainly above all civil penal laws, The majesty of a sovereign will not admit of his being punished like a private person; and his functions are too exalted to allow of his being molested under pretence of a fault that does not directly concern the government of the state.

§ 50. His person is sacred and inviolable.

It is not sufficient that the prince be above the penal laws: even the interest of nations requires that we should go something farther. The sovereign is the soul of the society; if he be not held in veneration by the people, and in perfect security, the public peace, and the happiness and safety of the state, are in continual danger. The safety of the nation then necessarily requires that the person of the prince be sacred and inviolable. The Roman people bestowed this privilege on their tribunes, in order that they might meet with no obstruction in defending them, and that no apprehension might disturb them in the discharge of their office. The cares, the employments of a sovereign, are of much greater importance than those of the tribunes were, and not less dangerous, if he be not provided with a powerful defence. It is impossible even for the most just and wise monarch not to make malcontents; and ought the state to continue exposed to the danger of losing so valuable a prince by the hand of an assassin? The monstrous and absurd doctrine, that a private person is permitted to kill a bad prince, deprived the French, in the beginning of the last century, of a hero who was truly the father of his people.4Whatever a prince may be, it is an enormous crime against a nation to deprive them of a sovereign whom they think proper to obey.5

§ 51. But the nation may curb a tyrant, and withdraw itself from his obedience.

But this high attribute of sovereignty is no reason why the nation should not curb an insupportable tyrant, pronounce sentence on him (still respecting in his person the majesty of his rank) and withdraw itself from his obedience. To this indisputable right a powerful republic owes its birth. The tyranny exercised by Philip II. in the Netherlands excited those provinces to rise: seven of them, closely confederated, bravely maintained their liberties, under the conduct of the heroes of the House of Orange; and Spain, after several vain and ruinous efforts, acknowledged them sovereign and independent states. If the authority of the prince is limited and regulated by the fundamental laws, the prince, on exceeding the bounds prescribed him, commands without any right and even without a just title: the nation is not obliged to obey him, but may resist his unjust attempts. As soon as a prince attacks the constitution of the state, he breaks the contract which bound the people to him; the people become free by the act of the sovereign, and can no longer view him but as a usurper who would load them with oppression. This truth is acknowledged by every sensible writer, whose pen is not enslaved by fear, or sold for hire. But some celebrated authors maintain, that if the prince is invested with the supreme command in a full and absolute manner, nobody has a right to resist him, much less to curb him, and that naught remains for the nation but to suffer and obey with patience. This is founded upon the supposition that such a sovereign is not accountable to any person for the manner in which he governs, and that if the nation might control his actions and resist him where it thinks them unjust, his authority would no longer be absolute; which would be contrary to this hypothesis. They say that an absolute sovereign completely possesses all the political authority of the society, which nobody can oppose; that, if he abuses it, he does ill indeed, and wounds his conscience; but that his commands are not the less obligatory, as being founded on a lawful right to command; that the nation, by giving him absolute authority, has reserved no share of it to itself, and has submitted to his discretion, &c. We might be content with answering, that in this light there is not any sovereign who is completely and fully absolute. But in order to remove all these vain subtleties, let us remember the essential end of civil society. Is it not to labour in concert for the common happiness of all? Was it not with this view that every citizen divested himself of his rights, and resigned his liberty? Could the society make such use of its authority as irrevocably to surrender itself and all its members to the discretion of a cruel tyrant? No, certainly, since it would no longer possess any right itself, if it were disposed to oppress a part of the citizens. When, therefore, it confers the supreme and absolute government, without an express reserve, it is necessarily with the tacit reserve that the sovereign shall use it for the safety of the people, and not for their ruin. If he becomes the scourge of the state, he degrades himself; he is no better than a public enemy, against whom the nation may and ought to defend itself; and if he has carried his tyranny to the utmost height, why should even the life of so cruel and perfidious an enemy be spared? Who shall presume to blame the conduct of the Roman senate, that declared Nero an enemy to his country?

But it is of the utmost importance to observe, that this judgment can only be passed by the nation, or by a body which represents it, and that the nation itself cannot make any attempt on the person of the sovereign, except in cases of extreme necessity, and when the prince, by violating the laws, and threatening the safety of his people, puts himself in a state of war against them. It is the person of the sovereign, not that of an unnatural tyrant and a public enemy, that the interest of the nation declares sacred and inviolable. We seldom see such monsters as Nero. In the more common cases, when a prince violates the fundamental laws; when he attacks the liberties and privileges of his subjects; or (if he be absolute) when his government, without being carried to extreme violence, manifestly tends to the ruin of the nation; it may resist him, pass sentence on him, and withdraw from his obedience; but though this may be done, still his person should be spared, and that for the welfare of the state.5 It is above a century since the English took up arms against their king, and obliged him to descend from the throne. A set of able, enterprising men, spurred on by ambition, took advantage of the terrible ferment caused by fanaticism and party spirit; and Great Britain suffered her sovereign to die unworthily on a scaffold. The nation coming to itself discovered its former blindness. If, to this day, it still annually makes a solemn atonement, it is not only from the opinion that the unfortunate Charles I. did not deserve so cruel a fate, but, doubtless, from a conviction that the very safety of the state requires the person of the sovereign to be held sacred and inviolable, and that the whole nation ought to render this maxim venerable, by paying respect to it when the care of its own preservation will permit.

One word more on the distinction that is endeavoured to be made here in favour of an absolute sovereign. Whoever has well weighed the force of the indisputable principles we have established, will be convinced, that when it is necessary to resist a prince who has become a tyrant, the right of the people is still the same, whether that prince was made absolute by the laws, or was not; because that right is derived from what is the object of all political society — the safety of the nation, which is the supreme law.6 But, if the distinction of which we are treating is of no moment with respect to the right, it can be of none in practice, with respect to expediency. As it is very difficult to oppose an absolute prince, and it cannot be done without raising great disturbances in the state, and the most violent and dangerous commotions, it ought to be attempted only in cases of extremity, when the public miseries are raised to such a height that the people may say with Tacitus, miseram pacem vel bello bene niutari, that it is better to expose themselves to a civil war than to endure them. But if the prince's authority is limited, if it in some respects depends on a senate, or a parliament that represents the nation, there are means of resisting and curbing him, without exposing the state to violent shocks. When mild and innocent remedies can be applied to the evil, there can be no reason for waiting until it becomes extreme.

§ 52. Arbitration between the king and his subjects.

But however limited a prince's authority may be, he is commonly very jealous of it; it seldom happens that he patiently suffers resistance, and peaceably submits to the judgement of his people. Can he want support, while he is the distributor of favours? We see too many base and ambitious souls, for whom the state of a rich and decorated slave has more charms than that of a modest and virtuous citizen. It is therefore always difficult for a nation to resist a prince and pronounce sentence on his conduct, without exposing the state to dangerous troubles, and to shocks capable of overturning it. This has sometimes occasioned a compromise between the prince and the subjects, to submit to the decision of a friendly power all the disputes that might arise between them. Thus the kings of Denmark, by solemn treaties, formerly referred to those of Sweden the differences that might arise between them and their senate; and this the kings of Sweden have also done with regard to those of Denmark. The princes and states of West Friesland, and the burgesses of Embden, have in the same manner constituted the republic of the United Provinces the judge of their differences. The princes and the city of Neufchatel established, in 1406, the canton of Berne perpetual judge and arbitrator of their disputes. Thus also, according to the spirit of the Helvetic confederacy, the entire body takes cognisance of the disturbances that arise in any of the confederated states, though each of them is truly sovereign and independent.

§ 53. The obedience which subjects owe to a sovereign.

As soon as a nation acknowledges a prince for its lawful sovereign, all the citizens owe him a faithful obedience. He can neither govern the state, nor perform what the nation expects from him, if he be not punctually obeyed. Subjects then have no right, in doubtful cases, to examine the wisdom or justice of their sovereign's commands; this examination belongs to the prince: his subjects ought to suppose (if there be a possibility of supposing it) that all his orders are just and salutary: he alone is accountable for the evil that may result from them.

§ 54. In what cases they may resist him.

Nevertheless this ought not to be entirely a blind obedience. No engagement can oblige, or even authorize, a man to violate the law of nature. All authors who have any regard to conscience or decency agree that no one ought to obey such commands as are evidently contrary to that sacred law. Those governors of places who bravely refused to execute the barbarous orders of Charles IX. on the memorable day of St. Bartholomew, have been universally praised; and the court did not dare to punish them, at least openly. "Sire," said the brave Orte, governor of Bayonne, in his letter, "I have communicated your majesty's command to your faithful inhabitants and warriors in the garrison; and I have found there only good citizens and brave soldiers, but not a single executioner: wherefore both they and I most humbly entreat your majesty to be pleased to employ our hands and our lives in things that are possible, however hazardous they may be; and we will exert ourselves to the last drop of our blood in the execution of them."7 The Count de Tende, Charny, and others, replied to those who brought them the orders of the court, "that they had too great a respect for the king, to believe that such barbarous orders came from him."

It is more difficult to determine in what cases a subject may not only refuse to obey, but even resist a sovereign, and oppose his violence by force. When a sovereign does injury to any one, he acts without any real authority; but we ought not thence to conclude hastily that the subject may resist him. 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. This would be falling back into the state of nature, and rendering government impossible. A subject ought patiently to suffer from the prince doubtful wrongs, and wrongs that are supportable; the former, because whoever has submitted to the decision of a judge, is no longer capable of deciding his own pretensions; and as to those that are supportable, they ought to be sacrificed to the peace and safety of the state, on account of the great advantages obtained by living in society. It is presumed, as matter of course, that every citizen has tacitly engaged to observe this moderation; because, without it, society could not exist. But when the injuries are manifest and atrocious, — when a prince, without any apparent reason attempts to deprive us of life, or of those things the loss of which would render life irksome, who can dispute our right to resist him? Self-preservation is not only a natural right, but an obligation imposed by nature, and no man can entirely and absolutely renounce it. And though he might give it up, can he be considered as having done it by his political engagements since he entered into society only to establish his own safety upon a more solid basis? The welfare of society does not require such a sacrifice; and, as Barbeyrac well observes in his notes on Grotius, "If the public interest requires that those who obey should suffer some inconvenience, it is no less for the public interest that those who command should be afraid of driving their patience to the utmost extremity."8 The prince who violates all laws, who no longer observes any measures, and who would in his transports of fury take away the life of an innocent person, divests himself of his character, and is no longer to be considered in any other light than that of an unjust and outrageous enemy, against whom his people are allowed to defend themselves. The person of the sovereign is sacred and inviolable: but he who, after having lost all the sentiments of a sovereign, divests himself even of the appearances and exterior conduct of a monarch, degrades himself: he no longer retains the sacred character of a sovereign, and cannot retain the prerogatives attached to that exalted rank. However, if this prince is not a monster, — if he is furious only against us in particular, and from the effects of a sudden transport or a violent passion, and is supportable to the rest of the nation, the respect we ought to pay to the tranquility of the state is such, and the respect due to sovereign majesty so powerful, that we are strictly obliged to seek every other means of preservation, rather than to put his person in danger. Every one knows the example set by David: he fled, — he kept himself concealed, to secure himself from Saul's fury, and more than once spared the life of his persecutor. When the reason of Charles VI. of France was suddenly disordered by a fatal accident, he in his fury killed several of those who surrounded him: none of them thought of securing his own life at the expense of that of the king; they only endeavoured to disarm and secure him. They did their duty like men of honour and faithful subjects, in exposing their lives to save that of this unfortunate monarch: such a sacrifice is due to the state and to sovereign majesty: furious from the derangement of his faculties, Charles was not guilty: he might recover his health, and again become a good king.

§ 55. Of ministers.

What has been said is sufficient for the intention of this work: the reader may see these questions treated more at large in many books that are well known. We shall conclude this subject with an important observation. A sovereign is undoubtedly allowed to employ ministers to ease him in the painful offices of government; but he ought never to surrender his authority to them. When a nation chooses a conductor, it is not with a view that he should deliver up his charge into other hands. Ministers ought only to be instruments in the hands of the prince; he ought constantly to direct them, and continually endeavour to know whether they act according to his intentions. If the imbecility of age. or any infirmity, render him incapable of governing, a regent ought to be nominated, according to the laws of the state: but when once the sovereign is capable of holding the reins, let him insist on being served, but never suffer himself to be superseded. The last kings of France of the first race surrendered to government and authority to the mayors of the palace: thus becoming mere phantoms, they justly lost the title and honours of a dignity of which they had abandoned the functions. 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.

1. The last words of Louis VI. to his son Louis VII. were — "Remember, my son, that royalty is but a public employment of which you must render a rigorous account to him who is the sole disposer of crowns and sceptres," Abbe Velley's Hist. of France, Vol. III. p. 65.

Timur-Bec declared (as he often before had done on similar occasions) that "a single hour's attention devoted by a prince to the care of his state, is of more use and consequence than all the homage and prayers he could offer up to God during his whole life." The same sentiment is found in the Koran. Hist. of Timur-Bec, Book II. ch. xli.

2. Neque enim se princeps reipulicae et singulorum dominum arbitrabitur, quamvis assentatoribus id in aurem insusurrantibus, sed rectorem mercede a civibus designata, quam augere, nisi ipsis volentibus, nefas existimabit. Ibid. c. v. — From this principle it follows that the nation is superior to the sovereign. Quod caput est, sit principi persuasum totius reipulicae majorem quam ipsius unius auctoritatem esse: neque pessimis hominibus credat diversum affirmantibus gratificandi studio; quae magna pernicies est. Ibid.

In some countries, formal precautions are taken against the abuse of power. — "Reflecting among other things (says Grotius), that princes are often found to make no scruple of violating their promises under the state pretext of the public good, the people of Brabant, in order to obviate that inconvenience, established the custom of never admitting their prince to the possession of the government without having previously made with him a covenant, that, whenever he may happen to violate the laws of the country, they shall be absolved from the oath of obedience they had sworn to him, until ample reparation be made for the outrages committed. The truth of this is confirmed by the example of past generations, who formerly made effectual use of arms and decrees to reduce within proper bounds such of their sovereigns as had transgressed the line of duty, whether through their own licentiousness or the artifices of their flatterers. Thus it happened to John the Second; nor would they consent to make peace with him or his successors, until those princes had entered into a solemn engagement to secure the citizens in the enjoyment of their privileges." Annals of the Netherlands, Book II. note, edit A.D. 1797.

3. A treatise on the right of the queen to several states of the Spanish monarchy, 1667, in 12 mo. Part II. p. 191.

4. Since the above was written, France has witnessed a renewal of those horrors. She sighs at the idea of having given birth to a monster capable of violating the majesty of kings in the person of a prince, whom the qualities of his heart entitle to the love of his subjects and the veneration of foreigners. [The author alludes to the attempt made by Damien to assassinate Louis XV.] Note, edit a.d. 1797.

5. In Mariana's work, above quoted, I find (chap. vii. towards the end) a remarkable instance of the errors into which we are apt to be led by a subtle sophistry destitute of sound principles. That author allows us to poison a tyrant, and even a public enemy, provided it be done without obliging him, either by force or through mistake or ignorance, to concur in the act that causes his own death, — which would be the case, for instance, in presenting him a poisoned draught. For (says he), in thus leading him to an act of suicide, although committed through ignorance, we make him violate the natural law which forbids each individual to lake away his own life; and the crime of him who thus unknowingly poisons himself redounds on the real author, — the person who administered the poison. — No cogatur tantum sciens aut imprudens sibi conscire mortem; quod esse nefas judicamus, veneno in potu aut cibo, quod hauriat qui perimendus est, aut simili alia retemperato. A fine reason, truly! Was Mariana disposed to insult the understandings of his readers, or only desirous of throwing a slight varnish over the detestable doctrine contained in that chapter? — Note, edit. A.D. 1797.

5. Dissimulandum censeo quatenus salus publica patiatur, privatimque corruptis moribus princeps continagat; alioquin si rempublicam in periculum vocat, si patriae religionis contemptor existit, neque mediciniam ullam recipit, abdicandum judico, alium substituendum; quod in Hispania non semel fuisse factum scimus: quasi fera irritata, ominium telis peti debet, cum, humanitate abdicata, tyrannum induit. Sic Petro rege ob immanitatem dejecto publice, Henricus ejus frater, quamvis ex impari matre, regnum obtinuit. Sic Henrico hujus abnepote ob ignaviam pravosque mores abdicato procerum suffragiis, primum Alfonsus ejus frater, recte an secus non disputo, sed tamen in tenera actate rex est proclamatus: deinde defuncto Alfonso, Elisabetha ejas soror, Henrico invito, rerum summam ad se traxit, regio tantum nomine abstinens dum ille vixit. Mariana, de Rege et Regis Institut. Lib. 1. c. iii.

To this authority, furnished by Spain, join that of Scotland, proved by the letter of the barons to the pope, dated April 6, 1320, requesting him to prevail on the king of England to desist from his enterprises against Scotland. After having spoken of the evils they had suffered from him. they add — A quibus malis innumeris, ipso juvante qui post vulnera medetur et sanat, liberati sumus per serenissimum principem regem et dominum nostrum. dominum Robertum, qui pro populo et haereditate suis de manibus inimicorm liberandis, quasi alter Maccabaeus aut Josue, labores et taedia, inedias et pericula laeto sustinuit animo. Quem etiam divina dispositio, et (juxta leges et consuetudines nostras, quas usque ad mortem sustinere volumus) juris successio, et debitus nostrorum consensus et assensus nostrum fecerunt principem atque regem: cui, tanquam liii per quem salus in populo facta est, pro nostra libertate tuenda, tam jure quam meritis tenemur, et volumus in omnibus adhaerere. Quem, si ab inceptis desistet, regi Anglorum aut Anglis nos aut regnum nostrum volens subjicere, tanquam inimicum nostrum et sui nostrique juris subversorem, statim expellere nitemur, et alium regem nostrum, qui ad defensionem nostram sufficiet, faciemus: quia quamdiu centum viri remanserint, numquam Anglorum dominio aliquatenus volumus subjugari, Non enim propter gloriam, divitias, aut honores pugnamus, sed propter libertatem solummodo, quam remo, bonus nisi simul eum vita amittit.

"In the year 1581" (says Grotius, Ann. Book III.) "the confederated provinces of the Netherlands — after having for nine years continued to wage war against Philip the Second, without ceasing to acknowledge him as their sovereign — at length solemnly deprived him of the authority he had possessed over their country, because he had violated their laws and privileges," The author afterwards observes, that "France, Spain herself, England, Sweden, Denmark, furnish instances of kings deposed by their people; so that there are at present few sovereigns in Europe whose right to the crown rests on any other foundation than the right which the people possess of divesting their sovereign of his power when he makes an ill use of it," Pursuant to this idea, the United Provinces, in their justificatory letters on that subject, addressed to the princes of the empire and the king of Denmark — after having enumerated the oppressive acts of the king of Spain, added — "Then, by a mode which has been often enough adopted even by those nations that now live under kingly government, we wrested the sovereignty from him whose actions were all contrary to the duty of a prince." Ibid. — Note, edit A.D. 1797.

6. Populi patroni non pauciora neque mis ora praesidia habent. Certe a republica, unde ortum habet regia potestas, rebus exigentibus, regens in jus vocari potest, et, si sanitatem respuat, principatu spoiliari; neque ita in principem jura potestatis transtuilit, ut non sibi majorem reservârit potestatem. Ibid. cap. vi.

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. Ibid. — Note. edit. A.D. 1797.

7. Mezeray's History of France, vol. ii. p. 1107.

8. De Jure Belli & Pacis. lib. i. cap. lv. § 11, n. 2


§ 56 Of elective states.

WE have seen in the preceding chapter, that it originally belongs to a nation to confer the supreme authority, and to choose the person by whom it is to be governed. If it confers the sovereignty on him for his own person only, reserving to itself the right of choosing a successor after the sovereign's death, the state is elective. As soon as the prince is elected according to the laws, he enters into the possession of all the prerogatives which those laws annex to his dignity.

§ 57. Whether elective kings are real sovereigns.

It has been debated, whether elective kings and princes are real sovereigns. But he who lays any stress on this circumstance must have only a very confused idea of sovereignty. The manner in which a prince obtains his dignity has nothing to do with determining its nature. We must consider, first, whether the nation itself forms an independent society (see chap 1), and secondly, what is the extent of the power it has intrusted to the prince. Whenever the chief of an independent state really represents his nation, he ought to be considered as a true sovereign (§ 40), even though his authority should be limited in several respects.

§ 58. Of successive and hereditary states. The origin of the right of succession.

When a nation would avoid the troubles which seldom fail to accompany the election of a sovereign, it makes its choice for a long succession of years, by establishing the right of succession, or by rendering the crown hereditary in a family, according to the order and rules that appear most agreeable to that nation. The name of an Hereditary State or Kingdom is given to that where the successor is appointed by the same law that regulates the successions of individuals. The SuccessiveKingdom is that where a person succeeds according to a particular fundamental law of the state. Thus the lineal succession, and of males alone, is established in France.

§ 59. Other origins of this right.

The right of succession is not always the primitive establishment of a nation; it may have been introduced by the concession of another sovereign, and even by usurpation. But when it is supported by long possession, the people are considered as consenting to it; and this tacit consent renders it lawful, though the source be vicious. It rests then on the foundation we have already pointed out — a foundation that alone is lawful and incapable of being shaken, and to which we must ever revert.

§ 60. Other sources which still amount to the same thing.

The same right, according to Grotius and the generality of writers, may be derived from other sources, as conquest, or the right of a proprietor, who, being master of a country, should invite inhabitants to settle there, and give them lands, on condition of their acknowledging him and his heirs for their sovereigns. But as it is absurd to suppose that a society of man can place themselves in subjection otherwise than with a view to their own safety and welfare, and still more that they can bind their posterity on any other footing, it ultimately amounts to the same thing; and it must still be said that the succession is established by the express will, or the tacit consent of the nation, for the welfare and safety of the state.

§ 61. A nation may change the order of the succession.

It thus remains an undeniable truth, that in all cases the succession is established or received only with a view to the public welfare and the general safety. 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. Salus populi supreme lex, the safety of the people is the supreme law; and this law is agreeable to the strictest justice, the people having united in society only with a view to their safety and greater advantage.1

This pretended proprietary right attributed to princes is a chimera, produced by an abuse which its supporters would fain make of the laws respecting private inheritances. The state neither is nor can be a patrimony, since the end of patrimony is the advantage of the possessor, whereas the prince is established only for the advantage of the state.2 The consequence is evident: if a nation plainly perceives that the heir of her prince would be a pernicious sovereign, she has a right to exclude him.

The authors, whom we oppose, grant this right to a despotic prince, while they refuse it to nations. This is because they consider such a prince as a real proprietor of the empire, and will not acknowledge that the care of their own safety, and the right to govern themselves, still essentially belong to the society, although they have intrusted them, even without any express reserve, to a monarch and his heirs. In their opinion, the kingdom is the inheritance of the prince, in the same manner as his field and his flocks — a maxim injurious to human nature, and which they would not have dared to advance in an enlightened age, if it had not the support of an authority which too often proves stronger than reason and justice.

§ 62. Of renunciations.

A nation may, for the same reason, oblige one branch who removes to another country, to renounce all claim to the crown, as a daughter who marries a foreign prince These renunciations, required or approved by the state, are perfectly valid, since they are equivalent to a law that such persons and their posterity should be excluded from the throne. Thus the laws of England have for ever rejected every Roman Catholic. "Thus a law of Russia, made at the beginning of the reign of Elizabeth, most wisely excludes from the possession of the crown every heir possessed of another monarchy; and thus the law of Portugal disqualifies every foreigner who lays claim to the crown by right of blood."3

Some celebrated authors, in other respects very learned and judicious, have then deviated from the true principles in treating of renunciations. They have largely expatiated on the rights of children born or to be born, of the transmission of those rights, &c. But they ought to have considered the succession less as a property of the reigning family, than as a law of the state. From this clear and incontestable principle, we easily deduce the whole doctrine of renunciations. Those required or approved by the state are valid and sacred:

they are fundamental laws: those not authorized by the state can only be obligatory on the prince who made them. They cannot injure his posterity, and he himself may recede from them in case the state stands in need of him and gives him an invitation: for he owes his services to a people who had committed their safety to his care. For the same reason, the prince cannot lawfully resign at an unseasonable juncture, to the detriment of the state, and abandon in imminent danger a nation that had put itself under his care.4

§ 63. The order of succession ought commonly to be kept.

In ordinary cases, when the state may follow the established rule without being exposed to very great and manifest danger, it is certain that every descendant ought to succeed when the order of succession calls him to the throne, however great may appear his incapacity to rule by himself. This is a consequence of the spirit of the law that established the succession: for the people had recourse to it only to prevent the troubles which would otherwise be almost inevitable at every change. Now little advances would have been made towards obtaining this end, if, at the death of a prince, the people were allowed to examine the capacity of his heir, before they acknowledged him for their sovereign. "What a door would this open for usurpers or malcontents! It was to avoid these inconveniences that the order of succession was established; and nothing more wise could have been done, since by this means no more is required than his being the king's son and his being actually alive, which can admit of no dispute: but, on the other hand, there is no rule fixed to judge of the capacity or incapacity to reign."5 Though the succession was not established for the particular advantage of the sovereign and his family, but for that of the state, the heir-apparent has nevertheless a right, to which justice requires that regard should be paid. His right is subordinate to that of the nation, and to the safety of the state; but it ought to take place when the public welfare does not oppose it. (23)

These reasons have the greater weight, since the law or the state may remedy the incapacity of the prince by nominating a regent, as is practised in cases of minority. This regent is, during the whole time of his administration, invested with the royal authority; but he exercises it in the king's name. (24)

§ 65. Indivisibility of sovereignties.

The principles we have just established respecting the successive or hereditary right, manifestly show that a prince has no right to divide his state among his children. Every sovereignty, properly so called, is, in its own nature, one and indivisible, since those who have united in society cannot be separated in spite of themselves. Those partitions, so contrary to the nature of sovereignty and the preservation of states, have been much in use; but an end has been put to them, wherever the people, and princes themselves, have had a clear view of their greatest interest, and the foundation of their safety.6

But when a prince has united several different nations under his authority, his empire is then properly an assemblage of several societies subject to the same head; and there exists no natural objection to his dividing them among his children: he may distribute them, if there be neither law nor compact to the contrary, and if each of those nations consents to receive the sovereign he appoints for it. For this reason, France was divisible under the first two races. But being entirely consolidated under the third, it has since been considered as a single kingdom; it has become indivisible, and a fundamental law has declared it so. That law, wisely providing for the preservation and splendour of the kingdom, irrevocably unites to the crown all the acquisitions of its kings.

§ 66. Who are to decide disputes respecting the succession to a sovereignty.

The same principles will also furnish us with the solution of a celebrated question. When the right of succession becomes uncertain in a successive or hereditary state, and two or three competitors lay claim to the crown, it is asked, "Who shall be the judge of their pretensions?" Some learned men, resting on the opinion that sovereigns are subject to no other judge but God, have maintained that the competitors for the crown, while their right remains uncertain, ought cither to come to an amicable compromise, enter into articles among themselves, choose arbitrators, have recourse even to the drawing of lots, or, finally, determine the dispute by arms; and that the subjects cannot in any manner decide the question. One might be astonished that celebrated authors should have maintained such a doctrine. But since, even in speculative philosophy, there is nothing so absurd as not to have been advanced by one or other of the philosophers,7 what can be expected from the human mind, when seduced by interest or fear? What! in a question that concerns none so much as the nation — that relates to a power established only with a view to the happiness of the people — in a quarrel that is to decide for ever their dearest interests, and their very safety — are they to stand by as unconcerned spectators? Are they to allow strangers, or the blind decision of arms, to appoint them a master, as a flock of sheep are to wait till it be determined whether they are to be delivered up to the butcher, or restored to the care of their shepherd?

But, say they, the nation has divested itself of all jurisdiction, by giving itself up to a sovereign; it has submitted to the reigning family; it has given to those who are descended from that family a right which nobody can take from them; it has established them its superiors, and can no longer judge them. Very well! 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? And since it has established the law of succession, who is more capable or has a better right to identify the individual whom the fundamental law had in view, and has pointed out as the successor? We may affirm, then, without hesitation, that the decision of this grand controversy belongs to the nation, and to the nation alone. 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. The nation acknowledges no superior judge in an affair that relates to its most sacred duties and most precious rights. Grotius and Puffendorf differ in reality but little from our opinion; but would not have the decision of the people or state called a juridical sentence (judicium jurisdictionis). Well! be it so: we shall not dispute about words. However, there is something more in the case than a mere examination of the competitors' rights, in order to submit to him who has the best. All the disputes that arise in society are to be judged and decided by the public authority. As soon as the right of succession is found uncertain, the sovereign authority returns for a time to the body of the state, which is to exercise it, cither by itself or by its representatives, till the true sovereign be known. "The contest on this right suspending the functions in the person of the sovereign, the authority naturally returns to the subjects, not for them to retain it, but to prove on which of the competitors it lawfully devolves, and then to commit it to his hands. It would not be difficult to support, by an infinite number of examples, a truth so evident by the light of reason: it is sufficient to remember that the states of France, after the death of Charles the Fair, terminated the famous dispute between Philip de Valois and the king of England (Edward III.), and that those states, though subject to him in whose favour they granted the decision, were nevertheless the judges of the dispute."8

Buicciardini, book xii., also shows that it was the states of Arragon that decided the succession to that kingdom, in favour of Ferdinand, grandfather of Ferdinand the husband of Isabella, queen of Castile, in preference to the other relations of Martin, king of Arragon, who asserted that the kingdom belonged to them.9

In the kingdom of Jerusalem also, it was the states that decided the disputes of those who made pretensions to it; as is proved by several examples in the foreign political history.10

The states of the principality of Neufchatel have often, in the form of a juridical sentence, pronounced on the succession to the sovereignty. In the year 1707, they decided between a great number of competitors, and their decision in favour of the king of Prussia was acknowledged by all Europe in the treaty of Utrecht.

§ 67. That the right to the succession ought not to depend on the judgment of a foreign power.

The better to secure the succession in a certain and invariable order, it is at present an established rule in all Christian states (Portugal excepted), that no descendant of the sovereign can succeed to the crown, unless he be the issue of a marriage that is conformable to the laws of the country. As the nation has established the succession, to the nation alone belongs the power of acknowledging those who are capable of succeeding; and consequently, on its judgment and laws alone must depend the validity of the marriage of its sovereigns and the legitimacy of their birth,

If education had not the power of familiarizing the human mind to the greatest absurdities, is there any man of sense who would not be struck with astonishment to see so many nations suffer the legitimacy and right of their princes to depend on a foreign power? The court of Rome has invented an infinite number of obstructions and cases of invalidity in marriages, and at the same time arrogates to itself the right of judging of their validity, and of removing the obstructions; so that a prince of its communion cannot in certain cases by so much his own master as to contract a marriage necessary to the safety of the state. Jane, the only daughter of Henry IV., king of Castile, found this true by cruel experience. Some rebels published abroad that she owed her birth to Bertrand de la Cueva, the king's favourite; and notwithstanding the declarations and last will of that prince, who explicitly and invariably acknowledged Jane for his daughter, and nominated her his heiress, they called to the crown Isabella, Henry's sister, and wife to Ferdinand, heir of Arragon. The grandees of Jane's party had provided her a powerful resource, by negotiating a marriage between her and Alphonsus, king of Portugal: but as that prince was Jane's uncle, it was necessary to obtain a dispensation from the pope; and Pius II., who was in the interest of Ferdinand and Isabella, refused to grant the dispensation, though such alliances were then very common. These difficulties cooled the ardour of the Portuguese monarch, and abated the zeal of the faithful Castilians. Everything succeeded with Isabella, and the unfortunate Jane took the veil in order to secure, by this heroic sacrifice, the peace of Castile.11

If the prince proceeds and marries, notwithstanding the pope's refusal, he exposes his dominions to the most fatal troubles. What would have become of England, if the Reformation had not been happily established, when the pope presumed to declare Queen Elizabeth illegitimate, and incapable of wearing the crown?

A great emperor, Lewis of Bavaria, boldly asserted the rights of his crown in this respect. In the diplomatic code of the law of nations by Leibnitz, we find12 two acts, in which that prince condemns, as an invasion of the imperial authority, the doctrine that attributes to any other power but his own, the right of granting dispensations, and of judging of the validity of marriages, in the places under his jurisdiction: but he was neither well supported in his lifetime, nor imitated by his successors.

§ 68. Of states called patrimonial.

Finally, there are states whose sovereign may choose his successor, and even transfer the crown to another during his life: these are commonly called patrimonial kingdoms or states: but let us reject so unjust and so improper an epithet, which can only serve to inspire some sovereigns with ideas very opposite to those they ought to entertain. We have shown (§ 61) that a state cannot be a patrimony. But it may happen that a nation, either through unbounded confidence in its prince, or for some other reason, has intrusted him with the care of appointing his successor, and even consented to receive, if he thinks proper, another sovereign from his hands. Thus we see that Peter I., emperor of Russia nominated his wife to succeed him, though he had children.

§ 69. Every true sovereignty is unalienable.

But when a prince chooses his successor, or when he cedes the crown to another, — properly speaking, he only nominates, by virtue of the power with which he is, either expressly or by tacit consent, intrusted — he only nominates, I say, the person who is to govern the state after him. This neither is nor can be an alienation, properly so called. Every true sovereignty is, in its own nature, unalienable. We shall be easily convinced of this, if we pay attention to the origin and end of political society, and of the supreme authority. A nation becomes incorporated into a society, to labour for the common welfare as it shall think proper, and to live according to its own laws. With this view it establishes a public authority. If it intrusts that authority to a prince, even with the power of transferring it to other hands, this can never take place without the express and unanimous consent of the citizens, with the right of really alienating or subjecting the state to another body politic: for the individuals who have formed this society, entered into it in order to live in an independent state, and not under a foreign yoke. Let not any other source of this right be alleged in objection to our argument, as conquest, for instance; for we have already shown (§ 60) that these different sources ultimately revert to the true principles on which all just governments are founded. While the victor does not treat his conquest according to those principles, the state of war still in some measure subsists: but the moment he places it in a civil state, his rights are proportioned by the principles of that state.

I know that many authors, and particularly Grotius,13 give long enumerations of the alienations of sovereignties. But the examples often prove only the abuse of power, not the right. And besides, the people consented to the alienation, either willingly or by force. What could the inhabitants of Pergamus, Bithynia, and Cyrene do, when their kings gave them, by their last wills, to the Roman people? Nothing remained for them, but to submit with a good grace to so powerful a legatee. To furnish an example capable of serving as an authority, they should have produced an instance of a people resisting a similar bequest of their sovereign, and whose resistance had been generally condemned as unjust and rebellious. Had Peter I., who nominated his wife to succeed him, attempted to subject his empire to the grand seignior, or to some other neighbouring power, can we imagine that the Russians would have suffered it, or that their resistance would have passed for a revolt? We do not find in Europe any great state that is reputed alienable. If some petty principalities have been considered as such, it is because they were not true sovereignties. They were fiefs of the empire, enjoying a greater or less degree of liberty: their masters made a traffic of the rights they possessed over those territories: but they could not withdraw them from a dependence on the empire.

Let us conclude then, that, as the nation alone has a right to subject itself to a foreign power, the right of really alienating the state can never belong to the sovereign, unless it be expressly given him by the entire body of the people.14 Neither are we to presume that he possesses a right to nominate his successor or surrender the sceptre to other hands, — a right which must be founded on an express consent, on a law of the state, or on long custom, justified by the tacit consent of the people.

§ 70. Duty of a prince who is empowered to nominate his successor.

If the power of nominating his successor is intrusted to the sovereign, he ought to have no other view in his choice but the advantage and safety of the state. He himself was established only for this end (§ 39); the liberty of transferring his power to another could then be granted to him only with the same view. It would be absurd to consider it as a prerogative useful to the prince, and which he may turn to his own private advantage. Peter the Great proposed only the welfare of the empire when he left the crown to his wife. He knew that heroine to be the most capable person to follow his views, and perfect the great things he had begun, and therefore preferred her to his son, who was still too young. If we often found on the throne such elevated minds as Peter's, a nation could not adopt a wiser plan, in order to ensure to itself a good government, than to instruct the prince, by a fundamental law, with the power of appointing his successor. This would be a much more certain method than the order of birth. The Roman emperors, who had no male children, appointed a successor by adoption. To this custom Rome was indebted for a series of sovereigns unequalled in history, — Nerva, Trajan, Adrian, Antoninus, Marcus Aurelius. What princes! Does the right of birth often place such on the throne?

§ 71. He must have at least a tacit ratification.

We may go still farther, and boldly assert, that, as the safety of the whole nation is deeply interested in so important a transaction, the consent and ratification of the people or state is necessary to give it full and entire effect, — at least their tacit consent and ratification. If an emperor of Russia thought proper to nominate for his successor a person notoriously unworthy of the crown, it is not at all probable that vast empire would blindly submit to so pernicious an appointment. And who shall presume to blame a nation for refusing to run headlong to ruin out of respect to the last orders of its prince? As soon as the people submit to the sovereign appointed to rule over them, they tacitly ratify the choice made by the last prince; and the new monarch enters into all the rights of his predecessor.

1. Nimirum, quod publicae salutis causa et communi consensu statatum est, eadem multitudinis voluntate, repus exigentibus, immutari quid obstat? MARIANA, ibid, c. iv.

2. When Philip II. resigned the Netherlands to his daughter Isabella Clara Eugenia, it was said (according to the testimony of Grotius) that it was setting a dangerous precedent, for a prince to treat free citizens as his property, and barter them away like domestic slaves; that, among barbarians, indeed, the extraordinary practice sometimes obtained of transferring governments by will or donation, because those people were incapable of discerning the difference between a prince and a master; but that those, whom superior knowledge enabled to distinguish between what is lawful and what is not, could plainly perceive that the administration of a state is the property of the people (thence usually denominated res-publica); and that, as in every period of the world there have been nations who governed themselves by popular assemblies, or by a senate; there have been others who intrusted the general management of their concerns to princes, For it is not to be imagined, it was added, that legitimate sovereignties have originated from any other source than the consent of the people, who gave themselves all up to a single person, or, for the sake of avoiding the tumults and discord of elections, to a whole family; and those to whom they thus committed themselves were induced, by the prospect of honourable pre-eminence alone, to accept a dignity by which they were bound to promote the general welfare of their fellow-citizens in preference to their own private advantage. GROTIUS. Hist. of the Disturbances in the Netherlands, book ii. — Edit. A.D. 1797.

3. Spirit of Laws, book xxvi. chap. xxiii., where may be seen very good political reasons for these regulations.

4. See further on.

5. Memorial in behalf of Madame de Longueville, concerning the principality of Neufchatel, in 1672.

(23) See this doctrine illustrated in 1 Bla. Com. 247-8. — C

(24) Ante, p. 26, n. — C.

6. But it is to be observed that those partitions were not made without the approbation and consent of the respective states.

7. Nesico quomodo nihil tam absurde did potest, quod non dicatur ab aliquo philosophorum. Cicero, de Divinat lib. ii.

8. Answer in behalf of Madame de Longueville to a memorial in behalf of Madame de Nemours.

9. Ibid.

10. See the same memorial, which quotes P. Labbe's Royal Abridgment, page 501, &c.

11. I take this historical passage from M. Du Port de Tertre's Conspiracies. To him I refer; for I have not the original historians by me. However, I do not enter into the question relating to the birth of Jane: this would here be of no use, The princess had not been declared a bastard according to the laws; the king acknowledged her for his daughter; and besides, whether she was or was not legitimate, the inconveniences resulting from the pope's refusal still remained the same with respect to her and the king of Portugal. — Note. edit. 1797.

12. P. 154. Forma divortii matrimonialis inter Johannem filium regis Bohemiae et Margaretham ducissam Karinthiae. This divorce is given by the emperor on account of the impotency of the husband, per auctoritatem, says he, nobis rite debitam et concessam.

P. 156. Forma dispensationis super affinitate consanguinitatis inter Ludovicum marchionem Brandenburg et Margaretham ducissam Karinthiae, nec non legitimatio liberorum procreandorum, faciae per dom. Ludovic IV. Rom. imper.

It is only human law, says the emperor, that hinders these marriages intra gradus affinitatis sanguinis, praesertim intra fratres et sorores. De cujus legis praeceptis dispensare solummodo pertinet ad auctoritatem imperatoris seu principis Romanorum. He then opposes and condemns the opinion of those who dare to say that these dispensations: depend on ecclesiastics. Both this act and the former are dated in the year 1341. — Note, edit A.D. 1797.

13. Grotius De Jure Belli et Pacis lib. i. cap. iii § 12.

14. The pope, opposing the attempt made upon England by Louis, the son of Philip Augustus, and alleging, as his pretext. that John had rendered himself a vassal of the holy see, received for answer, among other arguments, "that a sovereign had no right to dispose of his states without the consent of his barons, who were bound to defend them." On which occasion the French nobles unanimously exclaimed, that they would, to their last breath, maintain this truth, "that no prince can, of his own private will, give away his kingdom, or render it tributary, and thus enslave the nobility." Velly's Hist. of France, vol. iii. p. 491.


§ 72. The object of society points out the duties of the sovereign.

AFTER these observations on the constitution of the state, let us now proceed to the principal objects of a good government. We have seen above (§§ 41 and 42) that the prince, on his being invested with the sovereign authority, is charged with the duties of the nation in relation to government. In treating of the principal objects of a wise administration, we at once show the duties of a nation towards itself, and those of the sovereign towards his people.

A wise conductor of the state will find in the objects of civil society the general rule and indication of his duties. The society is established with the view of procuring, to those who are its members, the necessaries, conveniences, and even pleasures of life, and, in general, every thing necessary to their happiness, — of enabling each individual peaceably to enjoy his own property, and to obtain justice with safety and certainty, — and, finally, of defending themselves in a body against all external violence (§ 15). The nation, or its conductor, should first apply to the business of providing for all the wants of the people, and producing a happy plenty of all the necessaries of life, with its conveniences and innocent and laudable enjoyments. (25). As an easy life without luxury contributes to the happiness of men, it likewise enables them to labour with greater safety and success after their own perfection, which is their grand and principal duty, and one of the ends they ought to have in view when they unite in society,

§ 73. To take care that there be a sufficient number of workmen.

To succeed in procuring this abundance of every thing, it is necessary to take care that there be asufficient number of able workmen in every useful or necessary profession. (26) An attentive application on the part of government, wise regulations, and assistance properly granted, will produce this effect without using constraint, which is always fatal to industry.

§ 74. To prevent the emigration of those that are useful.

Those workmen that are useful ought to be retained in the state; to succeed in retaining them, the public authority has certainly a right to use constraint, if necessary. (27) Every citizen owes his personal services to his country; and a mechanic, in particular, who has been reared, educated, and instructed in its bosom, cannot lawfully leave it, and carry to a foreign land that industry which he acquired at home, unless his country has no occasion for him, (27) or he cannot there obtain the just fruit of his labour and abilities. Employment must then be procured for him; and, if, while able to obtain a decent livelihood in his own country, he would without reason abandon it, the state has a right to detain him. (28) But a very moderate use ought to be made of this right, and only in important or necessary cases. Liberty is the soul of abilities and industry: frequently a mechanic or an artist, after having long travelled abroad, is attracted home to his native soil by a natural affection, and returns more expert and better qualified to render his country useful services. If certain extraordinary cases be excepted, it is best in this affair to practise the mild methods of protection, encouragement, &c., and to leave the rest to that natural love felt by all men for the places of their birth.

§ 75. Emissaries who entice them away.

As to those emissaries who come into a country to entice away useful subjects, the sovereign has a right to punish them severely, and has just cause of complaint against the power by whom they are employed.

In another place, we shall treat more particularly of the general question, whether a citizen be permited to quit the society of which he is a member. The particular reasons concerning useful workmen are sufficient here.

§ 76. Labour and industry must be encouraged.

The state ought to encourage labour, to animate industry, (29) to excite abilities, to propose honours, rewards, privileges, and so to order matters that every one may live by his industry. In this particular, England deserves to be held up as an example. The parliament incessantly attends to these important affairs, in which neither care nor expense is spared. (30) And do we not even see a society of excellent citizens formed with this view, and devoting considerable sums to this use? Premiums are also distributed in Ireland to the mechanics who most distinguish themselves in their profession. Can such a state fail of being powerful and happy?

(25) See the general doctrine, that the happiness of a people depends on the quantity of productive labour and employment, and the consequent return of produce and remuneration, discussed at large. 2 Malthus, 433; 2 Smith, W.N. 200; 2 Paley, Mor. Phil. 345; Sir J. Child on Trade, 1667-8; and Tucker on Trade, part ii. sections, 4, 7, 8; 1 Chitty's Commercial Law, 1, &c. — C.

(26) There were in England many enactments enforcing this supposed policy, and prohibiting various workmen from leaving the kingdom. See 5 Geo. I. c. 27; 23 Geo. II. c. 13:14 Geo. III c. 71; 4 Bla. Com. 160. But, according to more modern policy, these enactments were repealed by 5 Geo. lV. c. 97. — C.

(27) See the English acts enforcing this rule, 5 Geo. I. C. 27; 23 Geo. II. c. 13; 14 Geo. III. c. 71; 4 Bla. Com. 160; but repealed by 5 Geo. IV. c. 97. — C.

(28) See also the power of preventing a subject, or even a foreigner, going abroad. Plack v. Holm, 1 Jac. & Walk. Rep. 405, and post, § 272. and Book II. § 108. — C.

(29) Ante, § 72, note (25), — C.

(30) How far the interference of the legislature is advisable, and when — see the authorities and arguments collected, 1 Chitty's Commercial Law, 4 to 7, and post, § 98. — C.


§ 77. The utility of tillage.

OF all the arts, tillage, or agriculture, is doubtless the most useful and necessary, as being the source whence the nation derives its subsistence. The cultivation of the soil causes it to produce an infinite increase; it forms the surest resource and the most solid fund of riches and commerce, for a nation that enjoys a happy climate.(31)

§ 78. Regulations necessary in this respect

This object then deserves the utmost attention of the government. The sovereign ought to neglect no means of rendering the land under his jurisdiction as well cultivated as possible. He ought not to allow either communities or private persons to acquire large tracts of land and leave them uncultivated. Those rights of common, which deprive the proprietor of the free liberty of disposing of his land — which will not allow him to enclose and cultivate it in the most advantageous manner; those rights, I say, are inimical to the welfare of the state and ought to be suppressed, or reduced to just bounds. Notwithstanding the introduction of private property among the citizens, the nation has still a right to take the most effectual measures to cause the aggregate soil of the country to produce the greatest and most advantageous revenue possible. (32)

§ 79. For the protection of husbandmen.

The government ought carefully to avoid every thing capable of discouraging the husbandman, or of diverting him from the labours of agriculture. Those taxes — those excessive and ill-proportioned impositions, the burden of which falls almost entirely on the cultivators — and the oppressions they suffer from the officers who levy them — deprive the unhappy peasant of the means of cultivating the earth, and depopulate the country. Spain is the most fertile and the worst cultivated country in Europe. The church there possesses too much land; and the contractors for the royal magazines, being authorized to purchase, at a low price, all the corn they find in the possession of a peasant, above what is necessary for the subsistence of himself and his family, so greatly discourage the husbandman, that he sows no more corn than is barely necessary for the support of his own household. Hence the frequent scarcity in a country capable of feeding its neighbours.

§ 80. Husbandry ought to be placed in an honorable light

Another abuse injurious to agriculture is the contempt cast upon the husbandman. The tradesmen in cities — even the most servile mechanics — the idle citizens — consider him that cultivates the earth with a disdainful eye; they humble and discourage him; they dare to despise a profession that feeds the human race — the natural employment of man. A liltle insignificant haberdasher, a tailor, places far beneath him the beloved employment of the first consuls and dictators of Rome! China has wisely prevented this abuse: agriculture is there held in honour; and to preserve this happy mode of thinking, the emperor himself, followed by his whole court, annually, on a solemn day, sets his hand to the plough, and sows a small piece of land. Hence China is the best cultivated country in the world; it feeds an immense multitude of inhabitants who at first sight appear to the traveller too numerous for the space they occupy.

§ 81. The cultivation of the soil a natural obligation

The cultivation of the soil deserves the attention of the government, not only on account of the invaluable advantages that flow from it, but from its being an obligation imposed by nature on mankind. The whole earth is destined to feed its inhabitants; but this it would be incapable of doing if it were uncultivated. Every nation is then obliged by the law of nature to cultivate the land that has fallen to its share; and it has no right to enlarge its boundaries, or have recourse to the assistance of other nations, but in proportion as the land in its possession is incapable of furnishing it with necessaries. Those nations (such as the ancient Germans, and some modern Tartars) who inhabit fertile countries, but disdain to cultivate their lands and choose rather to live by plunder, are wanting to themselves, are injurious to all their neighbours, and deserve to be extirpated as savage and pernicious beasts. There are others, who, to avoid labour, choose to live only by hunting, and their flocks. 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. But at present, when the human race is so greatly multiplied, it could not subsist if all nations were disposed to live in that manner. Those who still pursue this idle mode of life, usurp more extensive territories than, with a reasonable share of labour, they would have occasion for, and have, therefore, no reason to complain, if other nations, more industrious and too closely confined, come to take possession of a part of those lands. Thus, though the conquest of the civilized empires of Peru and Mexico was a notorious usurpation, the establishment of many colonies on the continent of North America might, on their confining themselves within just bounds, be extremely lawful. The people of those extensive tracts rather ranged through than inhabited them.

§ 82. Of public granaries.

The establishment of public granaries is an excellent regulation for preventing scarcity. But great care should be taken to prevent their being managed with a mercantile spirit, and with views of profit. This would be establishing a monopoly, which would not be the less unlawful for its being carried on by the magistrate. These granaries should be filled in times of the greatest plenty, and take off the corn that would lie on the husbandman's hands, or be carried in too great quantities to foreign countries: they should be opened when corn is dear, and keep it at a reasonable price. If in a time of plenty they prevent that necessary commodity from easily falling to a very low price, this inconvenience is more than compensated by the relief they afford in times of dearth: or rather, it is no inconvenience at all; for, when corn is sold extremely cheap, the manufacturer, in order to obtain a preference, is tempted to undersell his neighbours, by offering his goods at a price which he is afterwards obliged to raise (and this produces great disorders in commerce, by putting it out of its course); or he accustoms himself to an easy life, which he cannot support in harder times. It would be of advantage to manufactures and to commerce to have the subsistence of workmen regularly kept at a moderate and nearly equal price. In short, public granaries keep in the state quantities of corn that would be sent abroad at too cheap a rate, and must be purchased again, and brought back at a very great expense after a bad harvest, which is a real loss to the nation. These establishments, however, do not hinder the corn trade. If the country, one year with another, produces more than is sufficient for the support of her inhabitants, the superfluity will still be sent abroad: but it will be sent at a higher and fairer price.

(31) As to the subject of this chapter, see further authorities, Chitty's Commercial Law, vol. i. chap. 1. — C.

(32) In England there are few legislative enactments respecting the cultivation of the soil or employment of its produce, each individual being left to his own discretion; but to prevent the injurious sale of farming produce, thereby impoverishing the land, there is an express enactment enforcing public policy in that respect. See 56 Geo. III. c. 50, and its recitals. In France there are express provisions punishing individuals who suffer injurious weeds to seed on land to the injury of their neighbors, a regulation which would be exceedingly salutary if introduced into this country. — C.


§ 83. Of home and foreign trade.

IT is commerce that enables individuals and whole nations to procure those commodities which they stand in need of, but cannot find at home. Commerce is divided into home and foreign trade. (34) The former is that carried on in the state between the several inhabitants; the latter is carried on with foreign nations.

§ 84. Utility of the home trade.

The home trade of a nation is of great use; it furnishes all the citizens with the means of procuring whatever they want, as either necessary, useful, or agreeable; it causes a circulation of money, excites industry, animates labour, and, by affording subsistence to a great number of people, contributes to increase the population and power of the state.

§ 85. Utility of foreign trade.

The same reasons show the use of foreign trade, which is moreover attended with these two advantages: — 1. By trading with foreigners, a nation procures such things as neither nature nor art can furnish in the country it occupies. And secondly, if its foreign trade be properly directed, it increases the riches of the nation, and may become the source of wealth and plenty. Of this the example of the Carthaginians among the ancients, and that of the English and Dutch among the moderns, afford remarkable proofs. Carthage, by her riches, counterbalanced the fortune, courage, and greatness of Rome. Holland has amassed immense sums in her marshes; a company of her merchants possesses whole kingdoms in the East, and the governor of Batavia exercises command over the monarchs of India. To what a degree of power and glory has England arrived! Formerly her warlike princes and inhabitants made glorious conquests, which they afterwards lost by those reverses of fortune so frequent in war; at present, it is chiefly commerce that places in her hand the balance of Europe.

§ 86. Obligation to cultivate the home trade.

Nations are obliged to cultivate the home trade, — first, because it is clearly demonstrated from the law of nature, that mankind ought mutually to assist each other, and, as far as in their power, contribute to the perfection and happiness of their fellow-creatures: whence arises, after the introduction of private property, the obligation to resign to others, at a fair price, those things which they have occasion for, and which we do not destine for our own use. Secondly, society being established with a view that each may procure whatever things are necessary to his own perfection and happiness — and a home trade being the means of obtaining them — the obligations to carry on and improve this trade are derived from the very compact on which the society was formed. Finally, being advantageous to the nation, it is a duty the people owe to themselves, to make this commerce flourish.

§ 87. Obligation to carry on foreign trade.

For the same reason, drawn from the welfare of the state, and also to procure for the citizens every thing they want, a nation is obliged to promote and carry on a foreign trade. Of all the modern states, England is most distinguished in this respect. The parliament have their eyes constantly fixed on this important object; they effectually protect the navigation of the merchants, and, by considerable bounties, favour the exportation of superfluous commodities and merchandises. In a very sensible product,1 may be seen the valuable advantages that kingdom has derived from such judicious regulations.

§ 88. Foundation of the laws of commerce: — right of purchasing.

Let us now see what are the laws of nature and the rights of nations in respect to the commerce they carry on with each other. Men are obliged mutually to assist each other as much as possible, and to contribute to the perfection and happiness of their fellow-creatures (Prelim. § 10); (35) whence it follows, as we have said above (§ 86), that, after the introduction of private property, it became a duty to sell to each other, at a fair price, what the possessor himself has no occasion for, and what is necessary to others; because, since that introduction of private property, no one can, by any other moans, procure the different things that may be necessary or useful to him, and calculated to render life pleasant and agreeable. Now, since right springs from obligation (Prelim. § 3), the obligation which we have just established gives every man the right of procuring the things he wants, by purchasing them at a reasonable price from those who have themselves no occasion for them.(36)

We have also seen (Prelim. § 5) that men could not free themselves from the authority of the laws of nature by uniting in civil society, and that the whole nation remains equally subject to those laws in its national capacity; so that the natural and necessary law of nations is no other than the law of nature properly applied to nations or sovereign states (Prelim. § 6): from all which it follows, that a nation has a right to procure, at an equitable price, whatever articles it wants, by purchasing them of other nations who have no occasion for them. This is the foundation of the right of commerce between different nations, and, in particular, of the right of buying.(36)

§ 89. Right of selling

We cannot apply the same reasoning to the right of selling such things as we want to part with. Every man and every nation being perfectly at liberty to buy a thing that is to be sold, or not to buy it, and to buy it of one rather than of another' the law of nature gives to no person whatsoever any kind of right to sell what belongs to him to another who does not wish to buy it; neither has any nation the right of selling her commodities or merchandise to a people who are unwilling to have them.

§ 90. Prohibition of foreign merchandise.

Every state has consequently a right to prohibit the entrance of foreign merchandises; and the nations that are affected by such prohibition have no right to complain of it, as if they had been refused an office of humanity.(37) Their complaints would be ridiculous, since their only ground of complaint would be, that a profit is refused to them by that nation who does not choose they should make it at her expense, It is, however, true, that if a nation was very certain that the prohibition of her merchandises was not founded on any reason drawn from the welfare of the state that prohibited them, site would have cause to consider this conduct as a mark of ill-will shown in this instance, and to complain of it on that fooling. But it would be very difficult for the excluded nation to judge with certainty that the state had no solid or apparent reason for making such a prohibition.

§ 91. Nature of the right of buying,

By the manner in which we have shown a nation's right to buy of another what it wants, it is easy to see that this right is not one of those called perfect, and that are accompanied with a right to use constraint. Let us now distinctly explain the nature of a right which may give room for disputes of a very serious nature. You have a right to buy of others such things as you want, and of which they themselves have no need; you make application to me: I am not obliged to sell them to you, if I myself have any occasion for them. In virtue of the natural liberty which belongs to all men, it is I who am to judge whether I have occasion for them myself, or can conveniently sell them to you; and you have no right to determine whether I judge well, or ill, because you have no authority over me. If I, improperly, and without any good reason, refuse to sell you at a fair price what you want, I offend against my duty: you may complain of this, but you must submit to it: and you cannot attempt to force me, without violating my natural right, and doing me an injury. The right of buy ing the things we want is then only an imperfect right, like that of a poor man to receive alms of the rich man; if the latter refuses to bestow it, the poor man may justly complain: but he has no right to take it by force.

If it be asked, what a nation has a right to do in case of extreme necessity, — this question will be answered in its proper place in the following book, Chap. IX.

§ 92. Every nation is to choose how far it will engage in commerce.

Since then a nation cannot have a natural right to sell her merchandises to another that is unwilling to purchase them, since she has only an imperfect right to buy what she wants of others, since it belongs only to these last to judge whether it be proper for them to sell or not; and finally, since commerce consists in mutually buying and selling all sorts of commodities, it is evident that it depends on the will of any nation to carry on commerce with another, or to let it alone. If she be willing to allow this to one, it depends on the nation to permit it under such conditions as she shall think proper. For in permitting another nation to trade with her, she grants that other a right; and every one is at liberty to affix what conditions he pleases to a right which he grants of his own accord.(38)

§ 93. How a nation acquires a perfect right to a foreign trade.

Men and sovereign states may, by their promises, enter into a perfect obligation with respect to each other, in things where nature has imposed only an imperfect obligation. A nation, not having naturally a perfect right to carry on a commerce with another, may procure it by an agreement or treaty. This right is then acquired only by treaties, and relates to that branch of the law of nations termedconventional (Prelim. § 24). The treaty that gives the right of commerce, is the measure and rule of that right.

§ 94. Of the simple permission of commerce.

A simple permission to carry on commerce with a nation gives no perfect right to that commerce. For if I merely and simply permit you to do any thing, I do not give you any right to do it afterwards in spite of me: — you may make use of my condescension as long as it lasts; but nothing prevents me from changing my will. As then every nation has a right to choose whether she will or will not trade with another, and on what conditions she is willing to do it (§ 92), if one nation has for a time permitted another to come and trade in the country, she is at liberty, whenever she thinks proper, to prohibit that commerce — to restrain it — to subject it to certain regulations; and the people who before carried it on cannot complain of injustice.

Let us only observe, that nations, as well as individuals, are obliged to trade together for the common benefit of the human race, because mankind stand in need of each other's assistance (Prelim. §§ 10, 11, and Book I. § 88): still, however, each nation remains at liberty to consider, in particular cases, whether it be convenient for her to encourage or permit commerce; and as our duty to ourselves is paramount to our duty to others, if one nation finds herself in such circumstances that she thinks foreign commerce dangerous to the state, she may renounce and prohibit it. This the Chinese have done for a long time together. But, again, it is only for very serious and important reasons that her duty to herself should dictate such a reserve; otherwise, she could not refuse to comply with the general duties of humanity.

§ 95. Whether the laws relating to commerce are subject to prescription. (39)

We have seen what are the rights that nations derive from nature with regard to commerce, and how they may acquire others by treaties: let us now examine whether they can found any on long custom. To determine this question in a solid manner, it is necessary first to observe, that there are rights which consist in a simple power: they are called in Latin, jura meræ facultatis, rights of mere ability. They are such in their own nature that he who possesses them may use them or not, as he thinks proper — being absolutely free from all restraint in this respect; so that the actions that relate to the exercise of these rights are acts of mere free will, that may be done or not done, according to pleasure. It is manifest that rights of this kind cannot be lost by prescription, on account of their not being used, since prescription is only founded on consent legitimately presumed; and that, if I possess a right which is of such a nature that I may or may not use it, as I think proper, without any person having a right to prescribe to me on the subject, it cannot be presumed, from my having long forborne to use it, that I therefore intend to abandon it. This right is then imprescriptible, unless I have been forbidden or hindered from making use of it, and have obeyed with sufficient marks of consent. Let us suppose, for instance, that I am entirely at liberty to grind my corn at any mill I please, and that during a very considerable time, a century if you please, I have made use of the same mill: as I have done in this respect what I thought proper, it is not to be presumed, from this long-continued use of the same mill, that I meant to deprive myself of the right of grinding at any other; and, consequently, my right cannot be lost by prescription. But now suppose, that, on my resolving to make use of another mill, the owner of the former opposes it, and announces to me a prohibition; if I obey his prohibition without necessity, and without opposition, though I have it in my power to defend myself, and know my right, this right is lost, because my conduct affords grounds for a legitimate presumption that I chose to abandon it. — Let us apply these principles. — Since it depends on the will of each nation to carry on commerce with another, or not to carry it on, and to regulate the manner in which it chooses to carry it on (§ 92), the right of commerce is evidently a right of mere ability (jus merae facultatis), a simple power, and consequently is imprescriptible. Thus, although two nations have treated together, without interruption, during a century, this long usage does not give any right to either of them; nor is the one obliged on this account to suffer the other to come and sell its merchandises, or to buy others: — they both preserve the double right of prohibiting the entrance of foreign merchandise, and of selling their own wherever people are willing to buy them. Although the English have from time immemorial been accustomed to get wine from Portugal, they are not on that account obliged to continue the trade, and have not lost the liberty of purchasing their wines elsewhere. (40) Although they have, in the same manner, been long accustomed to sell their cloth in that kingdom, they have, nevertheless, a right to transfer that trade to any other country: and the Portuguese, on their part, are not obliged by this long custom, either to sell their wines to the English, or to purchase their cloths. If a nation desires any right of commerce which shall no longer depend on the will of another, she must acquire it by treaty. (40)

§ 96. Imprescriptibility of rights founded on treaty.

What has been just said may be applied to the rights of commerce acquired by treaties. If a nation has by this method procured the liberty of selling certain merchandises to another, she does not lose her right, though a great number of years are suffered to elapse without its being used; because this right is a simple power, jus merae facultatis, which she is at liberty to use or not, whenever she pleases.

Certain circumstances, however, may render a different decision necessary, because they imply a change in the nature of the right in question. For instance, if it appears evident, that the nation granting this right granted it only with a view of procuring a species of merchandise of which she stands in need, and if the nation which obtained the right of selling neglects to furnish those merchandises, and another offers to bring them regularly, on condition of having an exclusive privilege, — it appears certain that the privilege may be granted to the latter. Thus the nation that had the right of selling would lose it, because she had not fulfilled the tacit condition.

§ 97. Of monopolies, and trading companies, with exclusive privileges. (41)

Commerce is a common benefit to a nation; and all her members have an equal right to it. Monopoly, therefore, in general, is contrary to the rights of the citizens. However, this rule has its exceptions, suggested even by the interest of the nation: and a wise government may, in certain cases, justly establish monopolies. There are commercial enterprises that cannot be carried on without an energy that requires considerable funds, which surpass the ability of individuals. There are others that would soon become ruinous, were they not conducted with great prudence, with one regular spirit, and according to well-supported maxims and rules. These branches of trade cannot be indiscriminately carried on by individuals: companies are therefore formed, under the authority of government; and these companies cannot subsist without an exclusive privilege. It is therefore advantageous to the nation to grant them: hence have arisen, in different countries, those powerful companies that carry on commerce with the East. 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.

It is also certain beyond all doubt, that, whenever any individual offers, on condition of obtaining an exclusive privilege, to establish a particular branch of commerce or manufacture which the nation has not the means of carrying on, the sovereign may grant him such privilege.

But whenever any branch of commerce may be left open to the whole nation, without producing any inconvenience or being less advantageous to the state, a restriction of that commerce to a few privileged individuals is a violation of the rights of all the other citizens. And even when such a commerce requires considerable expenses to maintain forts, men of war, &c., this being a national affair, the state may defray those expenses, and, as an encouragement to industry, leave the profits of the trade to the merchants. This is sometimes done in England.

§ 98. Balance of trade, and attention of government in this respect.

The conductor of a nation ought to take particular care to encourage the commerce that is advantageous to his people, and to suppress or lay restraints upon that which is to their disadvantage.(42) Gold and silver having become the common standard of the value of all the articles of commerce, the trade that brings into the state a greater quantity of these metals than it carries out, is an advantageous trade; and, on the contrary, that is a ruinous one, which causes more gold and silver to be sent abroad, than it brings home. This is what is called the balance of trade. The ability of those who have the direction of it, consists in making that balance turn in favour of the nation.

§ 99. Import duties. (43)

Of all the measures that a wise government may take with this view, we shall only touch here onimport duties. When the conductors of a state, without absolutely forcing trade, are nevertheless desirous of diverting it into other channels, they lay such duties on the merchandises they would discourage as will prevent their consumption. Thus, French wines are charged with very high duties in England, while the duties on Portugal are very moderate, — because England sells few of her productions to France, while she sells large quantities to Portugal. There is nothing in this conduct that is not very wise and extremely just; and France has no reason to complain of it — every nation having an undoubted right to make what conditions she thinks proper, with respect to receiving foreign merchandises, and being even at liberty to refuse taking them at all.

(33) See the authorities and doctrines on the advantage of commerce and commercial regulations, 1 Chitty's Commercial Law, 1 to 106. — C.

(34) To these are to be added the carrying trade, formerly one of the principal sources of British wealth and power. See authorities, 1 Chitty's Commercial Law, 7, 8, &c. — C.

1. Remarks on the Advantages and Disadvantages of France and Great Britain with respect to Commerce.

(35) See also s. 13, and Id. note. ante. — C.

(36) The moral obligation of a nation, in time of peace, to permit commercial intercourse with other states, and to allow other states to buy her surplus produce, or to sell or exchange their own surplus produce, is illustrated in Mr. Pitt's celebrated speech in concluding the commercial treaty with France in 1786, &c., 2 Smith's W. of N, 226 to 252; Tucker's Pamphlet Cui Bono, and 1 Chitty's Commercial Law, 73 to 79.1 his seems to be considered by the ablest writers on the law of nations, to be a moralduty but of imperfect obligation, so that in truth each state has a right, when so disposed, to decline any commercial intercourse with other states. Id ibid et supra. — C.

(37) When such a prohibition has been established, any violation of it in general subjects the ship and goods to seizure and confiscation, as in case of smuggling, whether by exporting or importing prohibited goods, or permitted goods without paying imposed duties, Bird v. Appleton, 8 Term Rep. 562; Wigmore v. Reed, 5 Term Rep. 599: Holman v. Johnson, Cowp. 344. — C.
(Church v. Hubbart, 2 Cranch. 187.)

(38) With respect to commercial intercourse with the colonies of a parent state of Europe, all the European nations which have formed settlements abroad have so appropriated the trade of those settlements to themselves, either in exclusively permitting their own subjects to partake of it, or in granting a monopoly to trading companies, that the colonies themselves cannot legally carry on hardly any direct trade with other powers: consequently the commerce in those possessions is not free to foreign nations; and they are not even permitted to land in the country, or to enter with their vessels within cannon shot of the shore, except only in cases of urgent necessity. This has now become generally the understanding and law of nations as regards colonies; and the ships, &c. violating the rule are liable to seizure. Marten's Law of Nations, 150 to 152; Bird v. Appleton, 8 Term Rep. 562; 1 Chitty's Commercial Law, 79, 211 to 244, 470, 631. — C.

(39) See further, Grotius, 158; Puffendorf, B. 4. chap. 5, s. 10, p. 168; 1 Chit. Com. Law, 80, 81. — C.

(40) The perpetual obligation to purchase Port wines from Portugal in exchange for British woollen cloths was established by the celebrated treaty of Methuen, A.D. 1703 (so called because concluded by Sir P. Methuen): with Portugal: a treaty which has been censured by some as evidently advantageous to Portugal and disadvantagous to Great Britain. 2 Smith, W.N. 338 to 341; Tucker on Trade, 356; and 1 Chitty's Commercial Law. 619. — C.

(41) See the advantages and disadvantages resulting from commercial companies and foreign monopolies, and upon colonization in general. 1 Chitty's Commercial Law, 631 to 689; and see some sensible observations on the impolicy of Exclusive Companies, Evans on Statutes, Class III. title Insurance, p. 231. Dr. Adam Smith, in his Wealth of Nations, book iv. c. 7, p. 379, &c. and Dean Tucker, in his Essay on Trade, 67 to 71 (but see Id. 40, 41), admit, that, to induce speculating and enterprising individuals to embark their capitals in expensive undertakings, probably generally beneficial in the result, but which could not be pursued by single individuals, it may be expedient originally to afford them a monopoly; hut that, after they have acquired a liberal profit, the trade ought to be thrown open. Again, when a country becomes too densely populated, and many subjects are out of employ and restless, then there may be another reason for encouraging the creation of foreign companies. A celebrated diplomatist, and an acute observer of human nature (M. Talleyrand), has justly said, that the art of putting men into their proper places is, perhaps, the first science of government, but that of finding the proper place for the discontented is assuredly the most difficult:and the presenting to their imagination in a distant country, perspective views, on which their thoughts and desires may fix themselves, is one of the solutions of this difficulty. In the development of the motives which determined the establishment of the ancient colonies we easily remark, that, at the very time they were indispensable, they were voluntary; that they were presented by the governments as an allurement, not as a punishment. Bodies politic ought to reserve to themselves the means of placing to advantage, at a distance from their immediate seat, that superabundance of citizens who from time to time threaten their tranquillity. Thus, with new views of life, and the content springing from the full employment of the aspiring mind of man, and under the influence of renewed hope, the bad, the idle, and the turbulent may be rendered useful members of society. Our colonies, then, present such a field for the promotion of human happiness, such a scope for the noblest purposes of philanthropy, that we cannot be led to think their interests will be overlooked by a wise legislature or government. — C.

(42) This is a questionable policy. It has been laid down by some of the most eminent writers on political economy, that every active interference or the legislature with its subjects, by prohibiting or restraining any particular branch of honest labour, or by encouraging any particular branch at the expense of the others, whether in agriculture or commerce, has uniformly retarded the advances of public opulence, and that the sound policy of a legislator is not to impose restrictions or regulations upon domestic industry, but rather to prevent them from being imposed by the contrivance or folly of others. See 2 Smith, W.M. 118, 125, 201, 204; 3 Id. 183; Malthus. 196; 2 Paley, Mor. Phil. 400, 402; 3 Hume, Hist. 403; Sir J. Child on Trade, 2d part, 46, 81, 86, 132, 154 to 164: and Buchanan's Observations on Smith's W. of N. 2d ed. vol. 4, page 156, 157; Introduc. 3 Lord Sheffield's Strictures on Navigation System, 3 Adolph. 163, and see ante, chap. 6, and 1 Chitty's Commercial Law, 4 to 7.

But as regards the encouragement or discouragement of any particular branch of trade, there is another motive for interference which powerfully influences, viz, the increase of revenue, for whenever the luxury or other wish of the people introduces a foreign, or even a domestic article to greater consumption, a moderate charge upon the same, though in a degree restrictive upon the consumption, will in general be a proper tax. Ibid. — C.


§ 100. Utility of highways, canals, &c.

THE utility of highways, bridges, canals, and, in a word, of all safe and commodious ways of communication, cannot be doubted. They facilitate the trade between one place and another, and render the conveyance of merchandise less expensive, as well as more certain and easy. The merchants are enabled to sell at a better price, and to obtain the preference; an attraction is held out to foreigners, whose merchandises are carried through the country, and diffuse wealth in all the places through which they pass. France and Holland feel the happy consequences of this from daily experience. (44)

§ 101. Duty of government in this respect.

One of the principal things that ought to employ the attention of the government with respect to the welfare of the public in general, and of trade in particular, must then relate to the highways, canals, &c., in which nothing ought to be neglected to render them safe and commodious. France is one of those states where this duty to the public is discharged with the greatest attention and magnificence. Numerous patroles everywhere watch over the safety of travellers: magnificent roads, bridges, and canals, facilitate the communication between one province and another: — Lewis XIV. joined the two seas by a work worthy of the Romans.

§ 102. Its rights in this respect.

The whole nation ought, doubtless, to contribute to such useful undertakings. When therefore the laying out and repairing of highways, bridges, and canals, would be too great a burden on the ordinary revenues of the state, the government may oblige the people to labour at them, or to contribute to the expense.(45) The peasants, in some of the provinces of France, have been heard to murmur at the labours imposed upon them for the construction of roads: but experience had no sooner made them sensible of their true interest, than they blessed the authors of the undertaking.

§ 103. Foundation of the right of toll (46)

The construction and preservation of all these works being attended with great expense, the nation may very justly oblige all those to contribute to them, who receive advantage from their use: this is the legitimate origin of the right of toll. It is just that a traveller, and especially a merchant, who receives advantage from a bridge, a canal, or a road, in his own passage, and in the more commodious conveyance of his merchandise, should help to defray the expense of these useful establishments, by a moderate contribution: and if the state thinks proper to exempt the citizens from paying it, she is under no obligation to gratify strangers in this particular.

§ 104. Abuse of this right.

But a law so just in its origin frequently degenerates into great abuses. There are countries where no care is taken of the highways, and where nevertheless considerable tolls are exacted. A lord of a manor, who happens to possess a strip of land terminating on a river, there establishes a toll, though he is not at a farthing's expense in keeping up the navigation of the river, and rendering it convenient. This is a manifest extortion, and an infringement of the natural rights of mankind. For the division of lands, and their becoming private property, could never deprive any man of the right of passage, when not the least injury is done to the person through whose territory he passes. Every man inherits this right from nature, and cannot justly be forced to purchase it.(47)

But the arbitrary or customary law of nations at present tolerates this abuse, while it is not carried to such an excess as to destroy commerce, People do not, however, submit without difficulty, except in the case of those tolls which are established by ancient usage: and the imposition of new ones is often a source of disputes. The Swiss formerly made war on the Dukes of Milan, on account of some oppressions of this nature. This right of tolls is also further abused, when the passenger is obliged to contribute too much, and what bears no proportion to the expense of preserving these public passages.(48)

At present, to avoid all difficulty and oppression, nations settle these points by treaties.

(43) This is a very slight allusion to the very important regulation of import and export duties, bounties and drawbacks, which since Vattel wrote, have become extensive branches of law, highly important to be studied. See an attempt of the editor to arrange them, in 1 Chitty's Commercial Law, Index, titlesImport and Export. — C,

(44) But although, since Vattel wrote, France greatly advanced in the improvement of her roads, yet England has surpassed all other nations in the facilities of internal intercourse by new canals, railways, and other improvements sanctioned by the legislature. With respect to which, see the enactments and decisions. 2 Chitty's Commercial Law, 127 to 141. — C.

(45) This position of a government's right to oblige the people to labour on the roads as thus stated, would startle an Englishman. In England there is no such direct power. The 34 Geo. 3, c. 74, s. 4, it is true, requires each occupier to send his carts and horses, and labourers, to work on the roads; but then, if he neglect to do so. he is subject only to a moderate penalty, just sufficient to enable the surveyor to hire the like assistance elsewhere: and as to men, even a pauper is subject to no penalty for refusing to work, excepting that, if he does so, he will not then be entitled to parochial relief. If he work, he is entitled to pay in money, or supply of proper food in return for his labour. — C.

(46) As to the right to toll, &c., see Grotius, b. ii. chap. 2, § 14, p. 154; Puffendorf, book iii. chap. 3 § 6, p. 29,30; 1 Bla. Com. 287; 1 Chitty's Commercial Law, 103 to 106; 2 ld. 139,140. It has been observed, that of all the taxes with which the inhabitants of this country are burdened, there is perhaps none so odious as the turnpike duty. On the continent no such interruption in travelling is experienced, and tolls have been abolished on the northern side of the metropolis, London. Lord Byron, in his eulogy upon English roads, humorously observes —

"What a delightful thing's a turnpike road,
So smooth, so level, such a mode of shaving
The earth, as scarce the eagle in the broad
Air can accomplish with his wide wings waving
Had such been cut in Phaeton's time, the god
Had told his son to satisfy his craving
With the York mail — but onward as we roll —
Surgit amari aliquid the toll.
Cant. x 78. — C.

(47) This position requires explanation and qualification. As respects a public navigable river, every part of the navigable stream must ever remain free and open from its communication with the sea to its extreme navigable point; but the absolute right to approach it on each side, can only be by public and general ways. Consequently, if an individual have land adjoining a river, ho may reasonably refuse permission to any person to go over it to approach the river, and demand any sum he thinks fit for the permission, unless there be a public way over it. Nor have the public any right at common law to tow on the banks of an ancient navigable river; Ball v. Herbert, 3 Term Rep. 253; though it may exist by custom or prescription. Pierce v. Pauconberge, 1 Burr. 292. In the absence of such custom or prescription, no right to approach a river over private grounds exists. Parthericke v. Mason, 2 Chitty's Rep. 658; Wyatt v. Thompson, 1 Esp. Rep. 252. (Chess v. Manoven, 3 Watts, Rep. 219; Cooper v. Smith, 9 Serg. & Rawle, 26.) So, if a private individual make and repair a bridge over a river, he may insist upon any person using it paying him a toll, as in the instance of Putney and Fulham bridge. In these cases the demand of an exorbitant toll may be illiberal, but is no more illegal than a nation's refusing to sell its superfluous produce, or to admit free passage through its country. The right to pass at a moderate toll is a moral but imperfect right, ante, § 91. — C.

(48) See n. 47, ante.


§ 105. Establishment of money. (49)

IN the first ages, after the introduction of private property, people exchanged their superfluous commodities and effects for those they wanted. Afterwards gold and silver became the common standard of the value of all things: and to prevent the people from being cheated, the mode was introduced of stamping pieces of gold and silver in the name of the state, with the figure of the prince, or some other impression, as the seal and pledge of their value. This institution is of great use and infinite convenience: it is easy to see how much it facilitates commerce, — Nations or sovereigns cannot therefore bestow too much attention on an affair of such importance.

§ 106. Duty of the nation or prince with respect to the coin.

The impression on the coin becoming the seal of its standard and weight, a moment's reflection will convince us that the coinage of money ought not to be left indiscriminately free to every individual; for, by that means, frauds would become too common — the coin would soon lose the public confidence; and this would destroy a most useful institution. Hence money is coined by the authority and in the name of the state or prince, who are its surety; they ought, therefore, to have a quantity of it coined sufficient to answer the necessities of the country, and to take care that it be good, that is to say, that its intrinsic value bear a just proportion to its extrinsic or numerary value.

It is true, that, in a pressing necessity, the state would have a right to order the citizens to receive the coin at a price superior to its real value; but as foreigners will not receive it at that price, the nations gains nothing by this proceeding; it is only a temporary palliative for the evil, without effecting a radical cure. This excess of value, added in an arbitrary manner to the coin, is a real debt which the sovereign contracts with individuals: and, in strict justice, this crisis of affairs being over, that money ought to be called in at the expense of the state, and paid for in other specie, according to the natural standard: otherwise, this kind of burden, laid on in the hour of necessity, would fall solely on those who received this arbitrary money in payment, which would be unjust. Besides, experience has shown that such a resource is destructive to trade, by destroying the confidence both of foreigners and citizens — raising in proportion the price of every thing — and inducing every one to lock up or send abroad the good old specie; whereby a temporary stop is put to the circulation of money. So that it is the duty of every nation and of every sovereign to abstain, as much as possible, from so dangerous an experiment, and rather to have recourse to extraordinary taxes and contributions to support the pressing exigencies of the state.1

§ 107. Their rights in this respect

Since the state is surely for the goodness of the money and its currency, the public authority alone has the right of coining it. Those who counterfeit it, violate the rights of the sovereign, whether they make it of the same standard and value or not. These are called false-coiners, and their crime is justly considered as one of the most heinous nature. For if they coin base money, they rob both the public and the prince; and if they coin good, they usurp the prerogative of the sovereign. They will never be inclined to coin good money unless there be a profit on the coinage: and in this case they rob the state of a profit which exclusively belongs to it. In both cases they do an injury to the sovereign; for the public faith being surety for the money, the sovereign alone has a right to have it coined. For this reason the right of coining is placed among the prerogatives of majesty, and Bodinus relates,2 That Sigismund Augustus, king of Poland, having granted this privilege to the duke of Prussia, in the year 1543, the states of the country passed a decree in which it was asserted that the king could not grant that privilege, it being inseparable from the crown. The same author observes, that, although many lords and bishops of France had formerly the privilege of coining money, it was still considered as coined by the king's authority: and the kings of France at last withdrew all those privileges, on account of their being often abused.

§ 108. How one nation may injure another in the article of coin.

From the principles just laid down, it is easy to conclude, that if one nation counterfeits the money of another, or if she allows and protects false-coiners who presume to do it, she does that nation an injury. But commonly criminals of this class find no protection anywhere — all princes being equally interested in exterminating them.(50)

§ 109. Of exchange, and the laws of commerce.

There is another custom more modern, and of no less use to commerce than the establishment of coin, namely exchange, or the traffic of bankers, by means of which a merchant remits immense sums from one end of the world to the other, at a very trifling expense, and, if he pleases, without risk. For the same reason that sovereigns are obliged to protect commerce, they are obliged to support this custom, by good laws, in which every merchant, whether citizen or foreigner, may find security. In general, it is equally the interest and the duty of every nation to have wise and equitable commercial laws established in the country.

(49) The modern law of nations, and the municipal law of England, as to coin, bullion, and money, will be found collected in 1 Bla. Com 276 to 280; 4 Id. 84 to 120; 1 Chitty's Commercial Law, 583; 2 Id. 179 to 187, and statutes and decisions there collected. — C.

1. In Boizard's Treatise on Coin, we find the following observations: "It is worthy of remark, that, when our kings debased the coin, they kept the circumstance a secret from the people: — witness the ordinance of Philip de Valois in 1350, by which he ordered Tournois Doubles to be coined 2d 5 1/3 gr. fine, which was, in fact, a debasement of the coin. In that ordinance, addressing the officers of the mint, he says — Upon the oath by which you are bound to the king, keep this affair as secret as you possibly can, that neither the bankers nor others may, by your means, acquire any knowledge of it; for if, through you, it comes to be known, you shall be punished for the offence in such manner as shall serve as an example to others." — The same author quotes other similar ordinances of the same king, and one issued by the Dauphin, who governed the kingdom as regent during the captivity of King John, dated June 27, 1360, by virtue of which the mint-masters, directing the officers engaged in the coinage to coin white Deniers 1d. 12 gr. fine, at the same time expressly command them to keep this order secret, and, "if any persons should make inquiry respecting their standard, to maintain that they were 2d. fine." Chap. xxix.

The kings [of France] had recourse to this strange expedient in cases of urgent necessity; but they saw its injustice. — The same author, speaking of the debasement of coin, or the various modes of reducing its intrinsic value, says — "These expedients are but rarely resorted to, because they give occasion to the exportation or melting down of the good specie, and to the introduction and circulation of foreign coin — raise the price of every thing — impoverish individuals — diminish the revenue, which is paid in specie of inferior value — and sometimes put a total stop to commerce. This truth has been so well understood in all ages, that those princes who had recourse to one or other of these modes of debasing the coin in difficult times, ceased to practise it the moment the necessity ceased to exist." We have, on this subject, an ordinance of Philip the Fair, issued in May, 1295, which announces, that, "The king having reduced the coin both in fineness and weight, and expecting to be obliged to make a further reduction in order to retrieve his affairs, — but knowing himself to be, in conscience, responsible for the injury caused to the state by such reduction, — pledges himself to the people of his kingdom, by solemn charter, that, as soon as his affairs are retrieved, he will restore the coin to its proper standard and value, at his own private cost and expense, and will himself bear all the loss and waste. And, in addition to this engagement, Dame Joan, Queen of France and Navarre, pledges her revenues and dower for the same purpose." Note. edit A.D. 1797.

2. In his Republic, book i, chap. x. (50) This is a sound principle, which ought to be extended so as to deny effect to any fraud upon a foreign nation or its subjects. But in England a narrow and immoral policy prevails of not noticing frauds upon the revenue of a foreign state. Roach v. Edie, 6 Term Rep. 425; Boucher v. Lawrence, R.T. Hardw. 198; Holman v. Johnson, Cowp. 343; James v, Catherwood, 3 Dowl. & Ryl. 190, {Cambiooso's Ex. v. Maffet's Assignees, 2 Wash, C.C. Rep. 99.} And so far has this narrow doctrine been carried, in disgrace of this country, that, in Smith v. Marconnay, 2 Peake's Rep. 81, it was held, that the maker of paper in England, knowingly made by him for the purpose of forging assignats upon the same, to be exported to France in order to commit frauds there on other persons, might recover damages for not accepting such paper pursuant to contract. So a master of an English ship was even allowed to recover salvage for bringing home his captured vessel, by deceptively inducing the enemy to release the vessel on his giving a ransom bill, payment of which he look care to countermand in London. 2 Dodson's R. 74.


§ 110. A nation ought to labour after its own happiness.

LET us continue to lay open the principal objects of a good government. What we have said in the five preceding chapters relates to the care of providing for the necessities of the people, and procuring plenty in the state: this is a point of necessity; but it is not sufficient for the happiness of a nation. Experience shows that a people may be unhappy in the midst of all earthly enjoyments, and in the possession of the greatest riches. Whatever may enable mankind to enjoy a true and solid felicity, is a second object that deserves the most serious attention of the government. Happiness is the point where centre all those duties which individuals and nations owe to themselves; and this is the great end of the law of nature. The desire of happiness is the powerful spring that puts man in motion: felicity is the end they all have in view, and it ought to be the grand object of the public will (Prelim. § 5). It is then the duty of those who form this public will, or of those who represent it — the rulers of the nation — to labour for the happiness of the people, to watch continually over it, and to promote it to the utmost of their power.

§ 111. Instruction.

To succeed in this, it is necessary to instruct the people to seek felicity where it is to be found; that is, in their own perfection, — and to teach them the means of obtaining it. The sovereign cannot, then, take too much pains in instructing and enlightening his people, and in forming them to useful knowledge and wise discipline. Let us leave a hatred of the sciences to the despotic tyrants of the east: they are afraid of having their people instructed, because they choose to rule over slaves. But though they are obeyed with the most abject submission, they frequently experience the effects of disobedience and revolt. A just and wise prince feels no apprehensions from the light of knowledge: he knows that it is ever advantageous to a good government. If men of learning know that liberty is the natural inheritance of mankind; on the other hand they are more fully sensible than their neighbours, how necessary it is, for their own advantage, that this liberty should be subject to a lawful authority: — incapable of being slaves, they are faithful subjects.

§ 112. Education of youth.

The first impressions made on the mind are of the utmost importance for the remainder of life. In the tender years of infancy and youth, the human mind and heart easily receive the seeds of good or evil. Hence the education of youth is one of the most important affairs that deserve the attention of the government. It ought not to be entirely left to fathers. The most certain way of forming good citizens is to found good establishments for public education, to provide them with able masters — direct them with prudence — and pursue such mild and suitable measures, that the citizens will not neglect to take advantage of them. How admirable was the education of the Romans, in the flourishing ages of their republic, and how admirably was it calculated to form great men! The young men put themselves under the patronage of some illustrious person; they frequented his house, accompanied him wherever he went, and equally improved by his instructions and example: their very sports and amusements were exercises proper to form soldiers. The same practice prevailed at Sparta; and this was one of the wisest institutions of the incomparable Lycurgus. That legislator and philosopher entered into the most minute details respecting the education of youth,1 being persuaded that on that depended the prosperity and glory of his republic.

§ 113. Arts and sciences.

Who can doubt that the sovereign — the whole nation — ought to encourage the arts and sciences? To say nothing of the many useful inventions that strike the eye of every beholder, — literature and the polite arts enlighten the mind and soften the manners: and if study does not always inspire the love of virtue, it is because it sometimes, and even too often, unhappily meets with an incorrigibly vicious heart. The nation and its conductors ought then to protect men of learning and great artists, and to call forth talents by honours and rewards. Let the friends of barbarism declaim against the sciences and polite arts; — let us, without deigning to answer their vain reasonings, content ourselves with appealing to experience. Let us compare England, France, Holland, and several towns of Switzerland and Germany, to the many regions that lie buried in ignorance, and see where we can find the greater number of honest men and good citizens. It would be a gross error to oppose against us the example of Sparta, and that of ancient Rome. They, it is true, neglected curious speculations, and those branches of knowledge and art that were purely subservient to pleasure and amusement; but the solid and practical sciences — morality, jurisprudence, politics, and war — were cultivated by them, especially by the Romans, with a degree of attention superior to what we bestow upon them.

In the present age, the utilily of literature and the polite arts is pretty generally acknowledged, as is likewise the necessity of encouraging them. The immortal Peter I. thought that without their assistance he could not entirely civilize Russia, and render it flourishing. In England, learning and abilities lead to honour and riches. Newton was honoured, protected, and rewarded while living, and after his death, his tomb was placed among those of kings. France also, in this respect, deserves particular praise; to the munificence of her kings she is indebted for several establishments that are no less useful than glorious. The Royal Academy of Sciences diffuses on every side the light of knowledge and the desire of instruction. Louis XV. furnished the means of sending to search, under the equator and the polar circle, for the proof of an important truth; and we at present know what was before only believed on the strength of Newton's calculations. Happy will that kingdom be, if the too general taste of the age does not make the people neglect solid knowledge, to give themselves up to that which is merely amusing, and if those who fear the light do not succeed in extinguishing the blaze of science!

§ 114. Freedom of philosophical discussion.

I speak of the freedom of philosophical discussion, which is the soul of the republic of letters. What can genius produce, when trammelled by fear? Can the greatest man that ever lived contribute much towards enlightening the minds of his fellow-citizens, if he finds himself constantly exposed to the cavils of captious and ignorant bigots — if he is obliged to be continually on his guard, to avoid being accused by innuendo-mongers of indirectly attacking the received opinions? I know that liberty has its proper bounds — that a wise government ought to have an eye to the press, and not to allow the publication of scandalous productions, which attack morality, government, or the established religion. But yet, great care should be taken not to extinguish a light that may afford the state the most valuable advantages. Few men know how to keep a just medium; and the office of literary censor ought to be intrusted to none but those who are at once both prudent and enlightened. Why should they search in a book for what the author does not appear to have intended to put into it? And when a writer's thoughts and discourses are wholly employed on philosophy, ought a malicious adversary to be listened to, who would set him at variance with religion? So far from disturbing a philosopher on account of his opinions, the magistrate ought to chastise those who publicly charge him with impiety, when in his writings he shows respect to the religion of the state. The Romans seem to have been formed to give examples to the universe. That wise people carefully supported the worship and religious ceremonies established by law, and left the field open to the speculations of philosophers. Cicero — a senator, a consul, an augur — ridicules superstition, attacks it, and demolishes it in his philosophical writings; and, in so doing, he thought he was only promoting his own happiness and that of his fellow citizens: but he observes that "to destroy superstition is not destroying religion; for," says he, "it becomes a wise man to respect the institutions and religious ceremonies of his ancestors: and it is sufficient to contemplate the beauty of the world, and the admirable order of the celestial bodies, in order to be convinced of the existence of an eternal and all-perfect being, who is entitled to the veneration of the human race."2 And in his Dialogues on the Nature of the Gods, he introduces Cotta the academic, who was high-priest, attacking with great freedom the opinions of the stoics, and declaring that he should always be ready to defend the established religion, from which he saw the republic had derived great advantages; that neither the learned nor the ignorant should make him abandon it: he then says to his adversary," These are my thoughts, both as pontiff and as Cotta. But do you, as a philosopher, bring me over to your opinion by the strength of your arguments: for a philosopher ought to prove to me the truth of the religion he would have me embrace, whereas I ought in this respect to believe our forefathers, even without proof."3

Let us add experience to these examples and authorities. Never did a philosopher occasion disturbances in the state, or in religion, by his opinions: they would make no noise among the people, nor ever offend the weak, if malice or intemperate zeal did not take pains to discover a pretended venom lurking in them. It is by him who endeavours to place the opinions of a great man in opposition to the doctrines and worship established by law, that the state is disturbed, and religion brought into danger.

§ 115. Love of virtue, and abhorrence of vice, to be excited.

To instruct the nation is not sufficient: — in order to conduct it to happiness, it is still more necessary to inspire the people with the love of virtue, and the abhorrence of vice. Those who are deeply versed in the study of morality are convinced that virtue is the true and only path that leads to happiness; so that its maxims are but the art of living happily; and he must be very ignorant of politics, who does not perceive how much more capable a virtuous nation will be, than any other, of forming a state that shall be at once, happy, tranquil, flourishing, solid, respected by its neighbours, and formidable to its enemies. The interest of the prince must then concur with his duty and the dictates of his conscience, in engaging him to watch attentively over an affair of such importance. Let him employ all his authority in order to encourage virtue, and suppress vice: let the public establishments be all directed to this end: let his own conduct, his example, and the distribution of favours, posts, and dignities, all have the same tendency. Let him extend his attention even to the private life of the citizens, and banish from the state whatever is only calculated to corrupt the manners of the people. It belongs to politics to teach him in detail the different means of attaining this desirable end — to show him those he should prefer, and those he ought to avoid on account of the dangers that might attend the execution, and the abuses that might be made of them. We shall here only observe, in general, that vice may be suppressed by chastisements, but that mild and gentle methods alone can elevate men to the dignity of virtue; it may be inspired, but it cannot be commanded.

§ 116. The nation may hence discover the intention of its rulers.

It is an incontestable truth, that the virtues of the citizens constitute the most happy dispositions that can be desired by a just and wise government. Here then is an infallible criterion, by which the nation may judge of the intentions of those who govern it. If they endeavour to render the great and the common people virtuous, their views are pure and upright; and you may rest assured that they solely aim at the great end of government — the happiness and glory of the nation. But if they corrupt the morals of the people, spread a taste for luxury, effeminacy, a rage for licentious pleasures — if they stimulate the higher orders to a ruinous pomp and extravagance — beware, citizens! beware of those corruptors! they only aim at purchasing slaves in order to exercise over them an arbitrary sway.

If a prince has the smallest share of moderation, he will never have recourse to these odious methods. Satisfied with his superior station and the power given him by the laws, he proposes to reign with glory and safety; ho loves his people, and desires to render them happy. But his ministers are in general impatient of resistance, and cannot brook the slightest opposition: if he surrenders to them his authority, they are more haughty and intractable than their master: they feel not for his people the same love that he feels: "let the nation be corrupted (say they) provided it do but obey." They dread the courage and firmness inspired by virtue, and know that the distributor of favours rules as he pleases over men whose hearts are accessible to avarice. Thus a wretch who exercises the most infamous of all professions, perverts the inclinations of a young victim of her odious traffic; she prompts her to luxury and epicurism; she inspires her with voluptuousness and vanity, in order the more certainly to betray her to a rich seducer. This base and unworthy creature is sometimes chastised by the magistrate; but the minister, who is infinitely more guilty, wallows in wealth, and is invested with honour and authority. Posterity, however, will do him justice, and detest the corruptor of a respectable nation.

§ 117. The state, or the public person, ought to perfect its understanding and will.

If governors endeavoured to fulfil the obligations which the law of nature lays upon them with respect to themselves, and in their character of conductors of the state, they would be incapable of ever giving into the odious abuse just mentioned. Hitherto we have considered the obligation a nation is under to acquire knowledge and virtue, or to perfect its understanding and will; — that obligation, I say, we have considered in relation to the individuals that compose a nation; it also belongs in a proper and singular manner to the conductors of the state. A nation, while she acts in common, or in a body, is a moral person (Prelim. § 2) that has an understanding and will of her own, and is not less obliged than any individual to obey the laws of nature (Book I. § 5), and to improve her faculties (Book I. § 21). That moral person resides in those who are invested with the public authority, and represent the entire nation. Whether this be the common council of the nation, an aristocratic body, or a monarch, this conductor and representative of the nation, this sovereign of whatever kind, is therefore indispensably obliged to procure all the knowledge and information necessary to govern well, and to acquire the practice and habit of all the virtues suitable to a sovereign.

And as this obligation is imposed with a view to the public welfare, he ought to direct all his knowledge, and all his virtues, to the safety of the state, the end of civil society.

§ 118. And to direct the knowledge and virtues of the citizens to the welfare of the society.

He ought even to direct, as much as possible, all the abilities, the knowledge, and the virtues of the citizens to this great end; so that they may not only be useful to the individuals who possess them, but also to the state. This is one of the great secrets in the art of reigning. The state will be powerful and happy, if the good qualities of the subject, passing beyond the narrow sphere of private virtues, become civic virtues. This happy disposition raised the Roman republic to the highest pitch of power and glory.

§ 119. Love for their country. (53)

The grand secret of giving to the virtues of individuals a turn so advantageous to the state, is to inspire the citizens with an ardent love for their country. It will then naturally follow, that each will endeavour to serve the state, and to apply all his powers and abilities to the advantage and glory of the nation. This love of their country is natural to all men. The good and wise Author of nature has taken care to bind them, by a kind of instinct, to the places where they received their first breath, and they love their own nation, as a thing with which they are intimately connected. But it often happens that some causes unhappily weaken or destroy this natural impression. The injustice or the severity of the government loo easily effaces it from the hearts of the subjects; can self-love attach an individual to the affairs of a country where every thing is done with a view to a single person? — far from it: — we see, on the contrary, that free nations are passionately interested in the glory and the happiness of their country. Let us call to mind the citizens of Rome in the happy days of the republic, and consider, in modern times, the English and the Swiss.

§ 120. In individuals.

The love and affection a man feels for the state of which he is a member, is a necessary consequence of the wise and rational love he owes to himself, since his own happiness is connected with that of his country. This sensation ought also to flow from the engagements he has entered into with society. He has promised to procure its safety and advantage as far as in his power: and how can he serve it with zeal, fidelity, or courage, if he has not a real love for it?

§ 121. In the nation or state itself, and in the sovereign.

The nation in a body ought doubtless to love itself, and desire its own happiness as a nation. The sensation is too natural to admit of any failure in this obligation: but this duty relates more particularly to the conductor, the sovereign, who represents the nation, and acts in its name. He ought to love it as what is most dear to him, to prefer it to every thing, for it is the only lawful object of his care, and of his actions, in every thing he does by virtue of the public authority. The monster who does not love his people is no better than an odious usurper, and deserves, no doubt, to be hurled from the throne. There is no kingdom where the statue of Codrus ought not to be placed before the palace of the sovereign. That magnanimous king of Athens sacrificed his life for his people.4 That great prince and Louis XII, are illustrious models of the tender love a sovereign owes to his subjects.

§ 122. Definition of the term country.

The term, country, seems to be pretty generally known: but as it is taken in different senses, it may not be unuseful to give it here an exact definition. It commonly signifies the State of which one is a member: in this sense we have used it in the preceding sections; and it is to be thus understood in the law of nations.

In a more confined sense, and more agreeably to its etymology, this term signifies the state, or even more particularly the town or place where our parents had their fixed residence at the moment of our birth. In this sense, it is justly said, that our country cannot be changed, and always remains the same, to whatsoever place we may afterwards remove. A man ought to preserve gratitude and affection for the state to which he is indebted for his education, and of which his parents were members when they gave him birth. But as various lawful reasons may oblige him to choose another country, — that is, to become a member of another society; so. when we speak in general of the duty to our country, the term is to be understood as meaning the state of which a man is an actual member; since it is the latter, in preference to every other state, that he is bound to serve with his utmost efforts.

§ 123. How shameful and criminal to injure our country.

If every man is obliged to entertain a sincere love for his country, and to promote its welfare as far as in his power, it is a shameful and detestable crime to injure that very country. He who becomes guilty of it, violates his most sacred engagements, and sinks into base ingratitude: he dishonours himself by the blackest perfidy, since he abuses the confidence of his fellow-citizens, and treats as enemies those who had a right to expect his assistance and services. We sec traitors to their country only among those men who are solely sensible to base interest, who only seek their own immediate advantage, and whose hearts are incapable of every sentiment of affection for others. They are, therefore, justly detested by mankind in general, as the most infamous of all villains.

§ 124. The glory of good citizens (51) Examples

On the contrary, those generous citizens are loaded with honour and praise, who, not content with barely avoiding a failure in duly to their country, make noble efforts in her favour, and are capable of making her the greatest sacrifices. The names of Brutus, Curtius, and the two Decii, will live as long as that of Rome. The Swiss will never forget Arnold de Winkelried, that hero, whose exploit would have deserved to be transmitted to posterity by the pen of a Livy. He truly devoted his life for his country's sake: but he devoted it as a general, as an undaunted warrior, not as a superstitious visionary. That nobleman, who was of the country of Underwald, seeing, at the battle of Sempach, that his countrymen could not break through the Austrians, because the latter, armed cap-a-pie, had dismounted and forming a close battalion, presented a front covered with steel, and bristling with pikes and lances, — formed the generous design of sacrificing himself for his country. "My friends," said he to the Swiss, who began to be dispirited, " I will this day give my life to procure you the victory: I only recommend to you my family: follow me, and act in consequence of what you see me do." At these words he ranged them in that form which the Romans called cuneus, and placing himself in the point of the triangle, marched to the centre of the enemy, when, embracing between his arms as many of the enemy's pikes as he could compass, he threw himself to the ground, thus opening for his followers a passage to penetrate into the midst of this thick battalion. The Austrians, once broken, were conquered, as the weight of their armour then became fatal to them, and the Swiss obtained a complete victory.5

1. See Xenophon, Lacedæmon. Respublica.

2. Nam, ut vere loquamur, superstitio fusa per gentes oppressit omnium fere animos, atque omnium imbecillitatem occupavit.... multum enim et nobismet ipsis et nostris profuturi videbamur, si eam funditus sustulissemus. Nec vero (id enim diligenter intelligi volo) superstitione tollendâ religio tollitur. Nam et majorum instituta tueri, sacris cæremonilsque retinendis, sapientis est: et esse præstantem aliquam æternamque naturam, et eam suspiciendam, admirandamque hominum generi, pulchritudo mundi, ordoque coelstium cogit confiteri. De Divinatione, lib. ii.

3. Harum ego religionem nullam unquam contemnendam putavi: mihique ita persuasi, Romulum auspiciis, Numam sacris constitutis, fundamenta jecisse nostræ civitatis, quæ nunquam profecto sine summa placatione Deorum immortalium tanta esse potjisset Habes, Balbe, quid Cotta, quid pontifex sentiat. Fac nunc ego intelligam, quid tu sentias: a te enim philosophe rationem accipere debeo religionis; majoribus autem nostris, etiam nulla ratione reddita, credere. De Natura Decorum, lib. iii.

4. His country being attacked by the Heraclidæ, he consulted the oracle of Apollo; and being answered, that the people whose chief should be slain should remain victorious, Codrus disguised himself, and rushing into the battle, was killed by one or the enemy's soldiers.

(51) See observations, post, § 190, p. 92. — C.

5. This affair happened in the year 1386. The Austrian army consisted of four thousand chosen men, among whom were a great number of princes, counts and nobility of distinguished rank, all armed from head to foot. The Swiss were no more than thirteen hundred men. ill armed. In this battle, the duke of Austria perished, with two thousand of his forces, in which number were six hundred and seventy-six noblemen of the best families in Germany. History of the Helvetic Confederacy, by De Wateville, vol. i. p. 183. — Tschudl — Etterlln. — Schodeler. — Ræbman. — (See the national consequences of this valour, stated post. § 190, pp. 92-3.)


§ 125. Of piety.

PIETY and religion have an essential influence on the happiness of a nation, and, from their importance, deserve a particular chapter. Nothing is so proper as piety to strengthen virtue, and give it its due extent. By the word Piety, I mean a disposition of soul that leads us to direct all our actions towards the Deity, and to endeavour to please him in every thing we do. To the practice of this virtue all mankind are indispensably obliged: it is the purest source of their felicity; and those who unite in civil society are under still greater obligations to practise it. A nation ought then to be pious. The superiors intrusted with the public affairs should constantly endeavour to deserve the approbation of their divine Master; and whatever they do in the name of the state, ought to be regulated by this grand view. The care of forming pious dispositions in all the people should be constantly one of the principal objects of their vigilance, and from this the state will derive very great advantages. A serious attention to merit, in all our actions, the approbation of an infinitely wise Being, cannot fail of producing excellent citizens. Enlightened piety in the people is the firmest support of a lawful authority; and, in the sovereign's heart, it is the pledge of the people's safety, and excites their confidence. Ye lords of the earth, who acknowledge no superior here below, what security can we have for the purity of your intentions, if we do not conceive you to be deeply impressed with respect for the common Father and Lord of men, and animated with a desire to please him?

§ 126. It ought to be attended with knowledge.

We have already insinuated that piety ought to be attended with knowledge. In vain would we propose to please God, if we know not the means of doing it. But what a deluge of evils arises, when men, heated by so powerful a motive, are prompted to take methods that are equally false and pernicious! A blind piety only produces superstitious bigots, fanatics, and persecutors, a thousand times more dangerous and destructive to society than libertines are. There have appeared barbarous tyrants who have talked of nothing but the glory of God, while they crushed the people, and trampled under foot the most sacred laws of nature. It was from a refinement of piety, that the anabaptists of the sixteenth century refused all obedience to the powers of the earth. James Clement and Ravaillac,1those execrable parricides, thought themselves animated by the most sublime devotion.

§ 127. Of religion internal and external.

Religion consists in the doctrines concerning the Deity and the things of another life, and in the worship appointed to the honour of the Supreme Being. So far as it is seated in the heart, if is anaffair of conscience, in which every one ought to be directed by his own understanding: but so far as it is external, and publicly established, it is an affair of state.

§ 128. Rights of individuals.

Every man is obliged to endeavour to obtain just ideas of God, to know his laws, his views with respect to his creatures, and the end for which they were created. Man doubtless owes the most pure love, the most profound respect to his Creator; and to keep alive these dispositions, and act in consequence of them, he should honour God in all his actions, and show, by the most suitable means, the sentiments that fill his mind. This short explanation is sufficient to prove that man is essentially and necessarily free to make use of his own choice in matters of religion. His belief is not to be commanded; and what kind of worship must that be which is produced by force? Worship consists in certain actions performed with an immediate view to the honour of God; there can be no worship proper for any man, which he does not believe suitable to that end. The obligation of sincerely endeavouring to know God, of serving him, and adoring him from the bottom of the heart, being imposed on man by his very nature, — it is impossible that, by his engagements with society, he should have exonerated himself from that duty. or deprived himself of the liberty which is absolutely necessary for the performance of it. It must then be concluded, that liberty of conscience is a natural and inviolable right. It is a disgrace to human nature, that a truth of this kind should stand in need of proof.

§ 129. Public establishment of religion

But we should take care not to extend this liberty beyond its just bounds. In religious affairs a citizen has only a right to be free from compulsion, but can by no means claim that of openly doing what he pleases, without regard to the consequences it may produce on society.(52) The establishment of religion by law, and its public exercise, are matters of state, and are necessarily under the jurisdiction of the political authority. If all men are bound to serve God, the entire nation, in her national capacity is doubtless obliged to serve and honour him (Prelim. § 5), And as this important duty is to be discharged by the nation in whatever manner she judges best, — to the nation it belongs to determine what religion she will follow, and what public worship she thinks proper to establish.

§ 130. When there was yet no established religion.

If there be as yet no religion established by public authority, the nation ought to use the utmost care, in order to know and establish the best. That which shall have the approbation of the majority shall be received, and publicly established by law; by which means it will become the religion of the state, But if a considerable part of the nation is obstinately bent upon following another, it is asked — What does the law of nations require in such a case? Let us first remember that liberty of conscience is a natural right, and that there must be no constraint in this respect. There remain then but two methods to take, — either to permit this party of the citizens to exercise the religion they choose to profess, or to separate them from the society, leaving them their property, and their share of the country that belonged to the nation in common, — and thus to form two new states instead of one. The latter method appears by no means proper: it would weaken the nation, and thus would be inconsistent with that regard which she owes to her own preservation. It is therefore of more advantage to adopt the former method, and thus to establish two religions in the state. But if these religions are too incompatible; if there be reason to fear that they will produce divisions among the citizens and disorder in public affairs, there is a third method, a wise medium between the two former, of which the Swiss have furnished examples. The cantons of Glaris and Appenzel were, in the sixteenth century, each divided into two parts: the one preserved the Romish religion, and the other embraced the Reformation; each part has a distinct government of its own for domestic affairs; but on foreign affairs they unite, and form but one and the same republic, one and the same canton.

Finally, if the number of citizens who would profess a different religion from that established by the nation be inconsiderable; and if, for good and just reasons, it be thought improper to allow the exercise of several religions in the state — those citizens have a right to sell their lands, to retire with their families, and take all their property with them. For their engagements to society, and their submission to the public authority, can never oblige them to violate their consciences. If the society will not allow me to do that to which I think myself bound by an indispensable obligation, it is obliged to allow me permission to depart.

§ 131. When there is an established religion.

When the choice of a religion is already made, and there is one established by law, the nation ought to protect and support that religion, and preserve it as an establishment of the greatest importance, without, however, blindly rejecting the changes that may be proposed to render it more pure and useful: for we ought, in all things, to aim at perfection (§ 21). But as all innovations, in this case, are full or danger, and can seldom be produced without disturbances, they ought not to be attempted upon slight grounds, without necessity, or very important reasons. It solely belongs to the society, the state, the entire nation, to determine the necessity or propriety of those changes; and no private individual has a right to tempt them by his own authority, nor consequently to preach to the people a new doctrine. Let him offer his sentiments to the conductors of the nation, and submit to the orders he receives from them.

But if a new religion spreads, and becomes fixed in the minds of the people, as it commonly happens, independently of the public authority, and without any deliberation in common, it will be then necessary to adopt the mode of reasoning we followed in the preceding section on the case of choosing a religion; to pay attention to the number of those who follow the new opinions — to remember that no earthly power has authority over the consciences of men, — and to unite the maxims of sound policy with those of justice and equity.

§ 132. Duties and rights of the sovereign with regard to religion.

We have thus given a brief compendium of the duties and rights of a nation with regard to religion. Let us now come to those of the sovereign. These cannot be exactly the same as those of the nation which the sovereign represents. The nature of the subject opposes it; for in religion nobody can give up his liberty. To give a clear and distinct view of those rights and duties of the prince, and to establish them on a solid basis, it is necessary here to refer to the distinction we have made in the two preceding sections: if there is question of establishing a religion in a state that has not yet received one, the sovereign may doubtless favour that which to him appears the true or the best religion, — may have it announced to the people, and, by mild and suitable means, endeavour to establish it; — he is even bound to do this, because he is obliged to attend to every thing that concerns the happiness of the nation. But in this he has no right to use authority and constraint. Since there was no religion established in the society when he received his authority, the people gave him no power in this respect; the support of the laws relating to religion is no part of his office, and does not belong to the authority with which they intrusted him. Numa was the founder of the religion of the ancient Romans: but he persuaded the people to receive it. If he had been able to command in that instance, he would not have had recourse to the revelations of the nymph Egeria. Though the sovereign cannot exert any authority in order to establish a religion where there is none, he is authorized, and ever obliged, to employ all his power to hinder the introduction of one which he judges pernicious to morality and dangerous to the state. For he ought to preserve his people from every thing that may be injurious to them; and so far is a new doctrine from being an exception to this rule, that it is one of its most important objects. We shall see, in the following sections, what are the duties and rights of the prince in regard to the religion publicly established.

§ 133. Where there is an established religion

The prince, or the conductor, to whom the nation has intrusted the care of the government and the exercise of the sovereign power, is obliged to watch over the preservation of the received religion, the worship established by law, and has a right to restrain those who attempt to destroy or disturb it. But to acquit himself of this duty in a manner equally just and wise, he ought never to lose sight of the character in which he is called to act, and the reason of his being invested with it. Religion is of extreme importance to the peace and welfare of society; and the prince is obliged to have an eye to every thing in which the state is interested. This is all that calls him to interfere in religion, or to protect and defend it. It is therefore upon this footing only that he can interfere: consequently, he ought to exert his authority against those alone whose conduct in religious matters is prejudicial or dangerous to the state; but he must not extend it to pretended crimes against God, the punishment of which exclusively belongs to the Sovereign Judge, the searcher of hearts. Let us remember that religion is no farther an affair of state, than as it is exterior and publicly established: that of the heart can only depend on the conscience. The prince has no right to punish any persons but those that disturb society; and it would be very unjust in him to inflict pains and penalties on any person whatsoever for his private opinions when that person neither takes pains to divulge them, nor to obtain followers. It is a principle of fanaticism, a source of evils and of the most notorious injustice, to imagine that nail mortals ought to take up the cause of God, maintain his glory by acts of violence, and avenge him on his enemies. Let us only give to sovereigns, said a great statesman and an excellent citizen2 — let us give them, for the common advantage, the power of punishing whatever is injurious to charity in society. It appertains not to human justice to become the avenger of what concerns the cause of God.3 Cicero, who was as able and as great in state affairs as in philosophy and eloquence, thought like the Duke of Sully. In the laws he proposes relating to religion, he says, on the subject of piety and interior religion, "if any one transgresses, God will revenge it:" but he declares the crime capital that should be committed against the religious ceremonies established for public affairs, and in which the whole state is concerned.4 The wise Romans were very far from persecuting a man for his creed; they only required that people should not disturb the public order.

§ 134. Objects of his care, and the means he ought to employ.

The creeds or opinions of individuals, their sentiments with respect to the Deity, — in a word, interior religion — should, like piety, be the object of the prince's attention: he should neglect no means of enabling his subjects to discover the truth, and of inspiring them with good sentiments; but he should employ for this purpose only mild and paternal methods.5 Here he cannot command (§ 128). It is in external religion and its public exercise that his authority may be employed. His task is to preserve it, and to prevent the disorders and troubles it may occasion. To preserve religion, he ought to maintain it in the purity of its institution, to take care that it be faithfully observed in all its public acts and ceremonies, and punish those who dare to attack it openly. But he can require nothing by force except silence, and ought never to oblige any person to bear a part in external ceremonies: — by constraint, he would only produce disturbances or hypocrisy.

A diversity of opinions and worship has often produced disorders and fatal dissensions in a state: and for this reason, many will allow but one and the same religion. A prudent and equitable sovereign will, in particular conjunctures, see whether it be proper to tolerate or forbid the exercise of several different kinds of worship.

§ 135. Of toleration.

But, in general, we may boldly affirm that the most certain and equitable means of preventing the disorders that may be occasioned by difference of religion, is a universal toleration of all religions which contain no tenets that are dangerous either to morality or to the state. Let interested priests declaim! they would not trample under fool the laws of humanity, and those of God himself, to make their doctrine triumph, if it were not the foundation on which are erected their opulence, luxury, and power. Do but crush the spirit of persecution, — punish severely whoever shall dare to disturb others on account of their creed, and you will see all sects living in peace in their common country, and ambitious of producing good citizens. Holland, and the states of the King of Prussia, furnish a proof of this: Calvinists, Lutherans, Catholics, Pietists, Socinians, Jews, all live there in peace, because they are equally protected by the sovereign; and none are punished, but the disturbers of the tranquillity of others.

§ 136. What the prince ought to do when the nation is resolved to change its religion.

If in spite of the prince's care to preserve the established religion, the entire nation, or the greater part of it, should be disgusted with it, and desire to have it changed, the sovereign cannot do violence to his people, nor constrain them in an affair of this nature. The public religion was established for the safety and advantage of the nation: and, besides its proving inefficacious when it ceases to influence the heart, the sovereign has here no other authority than that which results from the trust reposed in him by the people, and they have only committed to him that of protecting whatever religion they think proper to profess.

§ 137. Difference of religion does not deprive a prince of his crown.

But at the same time it is very just that the prince should have the liberty of continuing in the profession of his own religion, without losing his crown. Provided that he protect the religion of the state, this is all that can be required of him. In general, a difference of religion can never make any prince forfeit his claims to the sovereignty, unless a fundamental law ordain it otherwise. The pagan Romans did not cease to obey Constantine when he embraced Christianity; nor did the Christians revolt from Julian after he had quitted it.6

§ 138. Duties and rights of the sovereign reconciled with those of the subject.

We have established liberty of conscience for individuals (§ 128). However, we have also shown that the sovereign has a right, and is even under an obligation, to protect and support the religion of the state, and not suffer any person to attempt to corrupt or destroy it, — that he may even, according to circumstances, permit only one kind of public worship throughout the whole country. Let us reconcile those different duties and rights, between which it maybe thought that there is some contradiction: — let us, if possible, omit no material argument on so important and delicate a subject.

If the sovereign will allow the public exercise of only one and the same religion, let him oblige nobody to do any thing contrary to his conscience; let no subject be forced to bear a part in a worship which he disapproves, or to profess a religion which he believes to be false; but let the subject on his part rest content with avoiding the guilt of a shameful hypocrisy; let him, according to the light of his own knowledge, serve God in private and in his own house — persuaded that Providence does not call upon him for public worship, since it has placed him in such circumstances that he cannot perform it without creating disturbances in the state. God would have us obey our sovereign, and avoid every thing that may be pernicious to society. These are immutable precepts of the law of nature: the precept that enjoins public worship is conditional, and dependent on the effects which that worship may produce. Interior worship is necessary in its own nature; and we ought to confine ourselves to it, in all cases in which it is most convenient. Public worship is appointed for the edification of men in glorifying God: but it counteracts that end, and ceases to be laudable, on those occasions when it only produces disturbances, and gives offence. If any one believes it absolutely necessary, let him quit the country where he is not allowed to perform it according to the dictates of his own conscience; let him go and join those who profess the same religion with himself.

§ 139. The sovereign ought to have the inspection of the affairs of religion, and authority over those who teach it.

The prodigious influence of religion on the peace and welfare of society incontrovertibly proves that the conductor of the state ought to have the inspection of what relates to it, and an authority over the ministers who teach it The end of society and of civil government necessarily requires that he who exercises the supreme power should be invested with all the rights without which he could not exercise it in a manner the most advantageous to the state. These are the prerogatives of majesty (§ 45), of which no sovereign can divest himself, without the express consent of the nation. The inspection of the affairs of religion, and the authority over its ministers, constitute, therefore, one of the most important of those prerogatives, since, without this power, the sovereign would never be able to prevent the disturbances that religion might occasion in the state, nor to employ that powerful engine in promoting the welfare and safety of the society. It would be certainly very strange that a multitude of men who united themselves in society for their common advantage, that each might, in tranquillity, labour to supply his necessities, promote his own perfection and happiness, and live as becomes a rational being: it would be very strange, I say, that such a society should not have a right to follow their own judgment in an affair of the utmost importance; to determine what they think most suitable with regard to religion; and to take care that nothing dangerous or hurtful be mixed with it. Who shall dare to dispute that an independent nation, has, in this respect as in all others, a right to proceed according to the light of conscience? and when once she has made choice of a particular religion and worship, may she not confer on her conductor all the power she possesses of regulating and directing that religion and worship, and enforcing their observance?

Let us not be told that the management of sacred things belongs not to a profane hand. Such discourses, when brought to the bar of reason, are found to be only vain declamations. There is nothing on earth more august and sacred than a sovereign; and why should God, who calls him by his providence to watch over the safety and happiness of a whole nation, deprive him of the direction of the most powerful spring that actuates mankind? The law of nature secures to him this right, with all others that are essential to good government; and nothing is to be found in Scripture that changes this disposition. Among the Jews, neither the king nor any other person could make any innovation in the law of Moses; but the sovereign attended to its preservation, and could chock the high priest when he deviated from his duty. Where is it asserted in the New Testament, that a Christian prince has nothing to do with religious affairs? Submission and obedience to the superior powers are there clearly and expressly enjoined. It were in vain to object to us the example of the apostles, who preached the gospel in opposition to the will of sovereigns: — whoever would deviate from the ordinary rules, must have a divine mission, and establish his authority by miracles.

No person can dispute that the sovereign has a right to take care that nothing contrary to the welfare and safety of the state be introduced into religion; and, consequently, he must have a right to examine its doctrines, and to point out what is to be taught, and what is to be suppressed in silence.

§ 140. He ought to prevent the abuse of the received religion.

The sovereign ought, likewise, to watch attentively, in order to prevent the established religion from being employed to sinister purposes, either by making use of its discipline to gratify hatred, avarice, or other passions, or presenting its doctrines in a light that may prove prejudicial to the state. Of wild reveries, seraphic devotions, and sublime speculations, what would be the consequences to society, if it entirely consisted of individuals whose intellects were weak, and whose hearts were easily governed? — the consequences would be a renunciation of the world, a general neglect of business and of honest labour. This society of pretended saints would become an easy and certain prey to the first ambitious neighbour; or if suffered to live in peace, it would not survive the first generation; both sexes, consecrating their chastity to God, would refuse to co-operate in the designs of their Creator, and to comply with the requisitions of nature and of the state. Unluckily for the missionaries, it evidently appears, even from Father Charlevoix' History of New France, that their labours were the principal cause of the ruin of the Hurons. That author expressly says, that a great number of those converts would think of nothing but the faith — that they forgot their activity and valour — that divisions arose between them and the rest of the nation, &c. That nation was, therefore, soon destroyed by the Iroquois, whom they had before been accustomed to conquer.7

§ 141. The sovereign's authority over the ministers of religion.

To the prince's inspection of the affairs and concerns of religion we have joined an authority over its ministers: without the latter power, the former would be nugatory and ineffectual; — they are both derived from the same principle. It is absurd, and contrary to the first foundations of society, that any citizens should claim an independence of the sovereign authority, in offices of such importance to the repose, the happiness, and safety of the state. This is establishing two independent powers in the same society — an unfailing source of division, disturbance, and ruin. There is but one supreme power in the state; the functions of the subordinate powers vary according to their different objects: — ecclesiastics, magistrates, and commanders of the troops, are all officers of the republic, each in his own department; and all are equally accountable to the sovereign.

§ 142. Nature of this authority.

A prince cannot, indeed, justly oblige an ecclesiastic to preach a doctrine, or to perform a religious rite, which the latter does not think agreeable to the will of God. But if the minister cannot, in this respect, conform to the will of his sovereign, he ought to resign his station, and consider himself as a man who is not called to fill it — two things being necessary for the discharge of the duty annexed to it, viz. to teach and behave with sincerity, according to the dictates of his own conscience, and to conform to the prince's intentions and the laws of the state. Who can forbear being filled with indignation, at seeing a bishop audaciously resist the orders of the sovereign, and the decrees of the supreme tribunals, solemnly declaring that he thinks himself accountable to God alone for the power with which he is intrusted?

§ 143. Rule to be observed with respect to ecclesiastics.

On the other hand, if the clergy are rendered contemptible, it will be out of their power to produce the fruits for which their ministry was appointed. The rule that should be followed with respect to them may be comprised in a few words; — let them enjoy a large portion of esteem; but let them have no authority, and still less any claim to independence. In the first place, let the clergy, as well as every other order of men, be, in their functions, as in every thing else, subject to the public power, and accountable to the sovereign for their conduct. Secondly, let the prince take care to render the ministers of religion respectable in the eyes of the people, let him trust them with the degree of authority necessary to enable them to discharge their duty with success; let him, in case of need, support them with the power he possesses. Every man in office ought to be vested with an authority commensurate to his functions; otherwise he will be unable to discharge them in a proper manner. I see no reason why the clergy should be excepted from this general rule; only the prince should be more particularly watchful that they do not abuse their authority; the affair being altogether the most delicate, and the most fruitful in dangers. If he renders the character of churchmen respectable, he should take care that this respect be not carried to such a superstitious veneration as shall arm the hand of an ambitious priest with a powerful engine with which he may force weak minds into whatever direction he pleases. When once the clergy become a separate body, they become formidable. The Romans (we shall often have occasion to recur to them) — the wise Romans elected from among the senators their pontifex-maximus and the principal ministers of the altar; they knew no distinction between clergy and laity; nor had they a set of gownsmen to constitute a separate class from the rest of the citizens.

§ 144. Recapitulation of the reasons which establish the sovereign's rights in matters of religion.

If the sovereign be deprived of this power in matters of religion, and this authority over the clergy, how shall he preserve the religion pure from the admixture of any thing contrary to the welfare of the state? How can he cause it to be constantly taught and practised in the manner most conducive to the public welfare? and, especially, how can he prevent the disorders it may occasion, either by its doctrines or the manner in which its discipline is exerted? These cares and duties can only belong to the sovereign, and nothing can dispense with his discharging them.

Hence we see that the prerogatives of the crown, in ecclesiastical affairs, have been constantly and faithfully defended by the parliaments of France. The wise and learned magistrates, of whom those illustrious bodies are composed, are sensible of the maxims which sound reason dictates on this subject. They know how important it is not to suffer an affair of so delicate a nature, so extensive in its connections and influence, and so momentous in its consequences, to be placed beyond the reach of the public authority. — What! Shall ecclesiastics presume to propose to the people, as an article of faith, some obscure and useless dogma, which constitutes no essential part of the received religion? — shall they exclude from the church, and defame those who do not show a blind obedience? — shall they refuse them the sacraments, and even the rites of burial? — and shall not the prince have power to protect his subjects, and preserve the kingdom from a dangerous schism?

The kings of England have asserted the prerogatives of their crown: they have caused themselves to be acknowledged heads of the church: and this regulation is equally approved by reason and sound policy, and is also conformable to ancient custom. The first Christian emperors exercised all the functions of heads of the church; they made laws on subjects relating to it,8 — summoned councils, and presided in them, — appointed and deposed bishops, &c. In Switzerland there are wise republics, whose sovereign knowing the full extent of the supreme authority, have rendered the ministers of religion subject to it, without offering violence to their consciences. They have prepared a formulary of the doctrines that are to be preached, and published laws of ecclesiastical discipline, such as they would have it exercised in the countries under their jurisdiction, — in order that those who will not conform to these establishments may not devote themselves to the service of the church. They keep all the ministers of religion in a lawful dependence, and suffer no exertion of church discipline but under their own authority. It is not probable that religion will ever occasion disturbances in these republics.

§ 145. Pernicious consequences of the contrary opinion.

If Constantine and his successors had caused themselves to be formally acknowledged heads of the church, — and if Christian kings and princes had, in this instance, known how to maintain the rights of sovereignty, — would the world ever have witnessed those horrid disorders produced by the pride and ambition of some popes and ecclesiastics, emboldened by the weakness of princes, and supported by the superstition of the people, — rivers of blood shed in the quarrels of monks, about speculative questions that were often unintelligible and almost always as useless to the salvation of souls as in themselves indifferent to the welfare of society — citizens and even brothers armed against each other, — subjects excited to revolt, and kings hurled from their thrones? Tantum religio potuit suadere malorum! The history of the emperors Henry IV., Frederick I., Frederick II., and Louis of Bavaria, is well known. Was it not the independence of the ecclesiastics, — was it not that system in which the affairs of religion are submitted to a foreign power, — that plunged France into the horrors of the league, and had nearly deprived her of the best and greatest of her kings? Had it not been for that strange and dangerous system, would a foreigner, Pope Sextus V., have undertaken to violate the fundamental law of the kingdom, and declared the lawful heir incapable of wearing the crown? Would the world have seen, at other times and in other places,9 the succession to the crown rendered uncertain by a bare informality — the want of a dispensation, whose validity was disputed, and which a foreign prelate claimed the sole right of granting? Would that same foreigner have arrogated to himself the power of pronouncing on the legitimacy of the issue of a king? Would kings have been assassinated in consequence of a detestable doctrine?10 Would a part of France have been afraid to acknowledge the best of their kings,11 until he had received absolution from Rome? And, would many other princes have been unable to give a solid peace to their people, because no decision could be formed within their own dominions on articles or conditions in which religion was interested?12

§ 146. The abuses particularized. 1. The power of the popes.

All we have advanced on this subject, so evidently flows from the notions of independence and sovereignty, that it will never be disputed by any honest man who endeavours to reason justly. If a state cannot finally determine every thing relating to religion, the nation is not free, and the prince is but half a sovereign. There is no medium in this case; either each state must, within its own territories, possess supreme power in this respect, as well as in all others, or we must adopt the system of Boniface VIII., and consider all Roman Catholic countries as forming only one state, of which the pope shall be the supreme head, and the kings subordinate administrators of temporal affairs, each in his province, — nearly as the sultans were formerly under the authority of the caliphs. We know that the above-mentioned pope had the presumption to write to Philip the Fair, king of France, Scire te volumus, quod in spiritualibus et temporalibus nobis subes13 —; "We would have thee know that thou art subject to us as well in temporals as in spirituals." And we may see in the canon law14 his famous bull Unam sanctam, in which he attributes to the church two swords, or a double power, spiritual and temporal, — condemns those who think otherwise, as men, who, after the example of the Manicheans, establish two principles, — and finally declares, that it is an article of faith, necessary to salvation, to believe that every human creature is subject to the Roman pontiff..15

We shall consider the enormous power of the popes as the first abuse that sprung from this system, which divests sovereigns of their authority in matters of religion. This power in a foreign court directly militates against the independence of nations and the sovereignty of princes. It is capable of overturning a state; and wherever it is acknowledged, the sovereign finds it impossible to exercise his authority in such a manner as is most for the advantage of the nation. We have already, in the last section, given several remarkable instances of this; and history presents others without number. The senate of Sweden having condemned Trollius, archbishop of Upsal, for the crime of rebellion, to be degraded from his see, and to end his days in a monastery, pope Leo X. had the audacity to excommunicate the administrator Steno and the whole senate, and sentenced them to rebuild, at their own expense, a fortress belonging to the archbishop, which they had caused to be demolished, and pay a fine of a hundred thousand ducats to the deposed prelate.16 The barbarous Christiern, king of Denmark, took advantage of this decree, to lay waste the territories of Sweden, and to spill the blood of the most illustrious of her nobility. Paul V. thundered out an interdict against Venice, on account of some very wise laws made with respect to the government of the city, but which displeased that pontiff, who thus threw the republic into an embarrassment, from which all the wisdom and firmness of the senate found it difficult to extricate it. Pius V., in his bull, in Cænna Domini, of the year 1567, declares, that all princes who shall introduce into their dominions any new taxes, of what nature soever they be, or shall increase the ancient ones, without having first obtained the approbation of the holy see, are ipso facto excommunicated. is not this a direct attack on the independence of nations, and a subversion of the authority of sovereigns?

In those unhappy times, those dark ages that preceded the revival of literature and the Reformation, the popes attempted to regulate the actions of princes, under the pretence of conscience — to judge the validity of their treaties — to break their alliances, and declare them null and void. But those attempts met with a vigorous resistance, even in a country which is generally thought to have then possessed valour alone, with a very small portion of knowledge. The pope's nuncio, in order to detach the Swiss from the interests of France, published a monitory against all those cantons that favoured Charles VIII., declaring them excommunicated, if within the space of fifteen days they did not abandon the cause of that prince, and enter into the confederacy which was formed against him; but the Swiss opposed this act, by protesting against it as an iniquitous abuse, and caused their protest to be publicly posted up in all the places under their jurisdiction: thus showing their contempt for a proceeding that was equally absurd and derogatory to the rights of sovereigns.17 We shall mention several other similar attempts, when we come to treat of the faith of treaties.

§ 147. 2. Important employments conferred by a foreign power.

This power in the popes has given birth to another abuse, that deserves the utmost attention from a wise government. We see several countries in which ecclesiastical dignities, and all the higher benefices, are distributed by a foreign power — by the pope — who bestows them on his creatures, and very often on men who are not subjects of the state. This practice is at once a violation of the nation's rights, and of the principles of common policy. A nation ought not to suffer foreigners to dictate laws to her, to interfere in her concerns, or deprive her of her natural advantages; and yet, how does it happen that so many states still tamely suffer a foreigner to dispose of posts and employments of the highest importance to their peace and happiness? The princes who consented to the introduction of so enormous an abuse were equally wanting to themselves and their people. In our times, the court of Spain has been obliged to expend immense sums, in order to recover, without danger, the peaceable possession of a right which essentially belonged to the nation or its head.

§ 148. 3. Powerful subjects dependent on a foreign court.

Even in those states whose sovereigns have preserved so important a prerogative of the crown, the abuse in a great measure subsists. The sovereign nominates, indeed, to bishoprics and great benefices; but his authority is not sufficient to enable the persons nominated to enter on the exercise of their functions; they must also have bulls from Rome.18 By this and a thousand other links of attachment, the whole body of the clergy in those countries still depend on the court of Rome;

from it they expect dignities; from it that purple, which, according to the proud pretensions of those who are invested with it, renders them equal to sovereigns. From the resentment of that court they have every thing to fear; and of course we see them almost invariably disposed to gratify it on every occasion. On the other hand, the court of Rome supports those clergy with all her might, assists them by her politics and credit, protects them against their enemies, and against those who would set bounds to their power — nay, often against the just indignation of their sovereign; and by this means attaches them to her still more strongly. Is it not doing an injury to the rights of society, and shocking the first elements of government, thus to suffer a great number of subjects, and even subjects in high posts, to be dependent on a foreign prince, and entirely devoted to him? Would a prudent sovereign receive men who preached such doctrines? There needed no more to cause all the missionaries to be driven from China.

§ 149. 4. The celibacy of the priests.

It was for the purpose of more firmly securing the attachment of churchmen that the celibacy of the clergy was invented. A priest, a prelate, already bound to the see of Rome by his functions and his hopes, is further detached from his country, by the celibacy he is obliged to observe. He is not connected with civil society by a family: his grand interests are all centered in the church; and, provided he has the pope's favour, he has no further concern: in what country soever he was born, Rome is his refuge, the centre of his adopted country. Everybody knows that the religious orders are a sort of papal militia, spread over the face of the earth, to support and advance the interests of their monarch. This is doubtless a strange abuse — a subversion of the first laws of society. But this is not all: if the prelates were married, they might enrich the state with a number of good citizens; rich benefices affording them the means of giving their legitimate children a suitable education. But what a multitude of men are there in convents, consecrated to idleness under the cloak of devotion! Equally useless to society in peace and war, they neither serve it by their labour in necessary professions, nor by their courage in arms: yet they enjoy immense revenues; and the people are obliged, by the sweat of their brow, to furnish support for these swarms of sluggards. What should we think of a husbandman who protected useless hornets, to devour the honey of his bees?19 It is not the fault of the fanatic preachers of overstrained sanctity, if all their devotees do not imitate the celibacy of the monks. How happened it that princes could suffer them publicly to extol, as the most sublime virtue, a practice equally repugnant to nature, and pernicious to society? Among the Romans, laws were made to diminish the number of those who lived in celibacy, and to favour marriage:20 but superstition soon attacked such just and wise regulations; and the Christian emperors, persuaded by churchmen, thought themselves obliged to abrogate them.21 Several of the fathers of the church has censured those laws against celibacy — doubtless, says a great man,22 with a laudable zeal for the things of another life; but with very little knowledge of the affairs of this. This great man lived in the church of Rome" — he did not dare to assert, in direct terms, that voluntary celibacy is to be condemned even with respect to conscience and the things of another life: — but it is certainly a conduct well becoming genuine piety, to conform ourselves to nature, to fulfil the views of the Creator, and to labour for the welfare of society. If a person is capable of rearing a family, let him marry, let him be attentive to give his children a good education: — in so doing, he will discharge his duty, and be undoubtedly in the road to salvation.

§ 150. 5. Enormous pretensions of the clergy. Pre-eminence.

The enormous and dangerous pretensions of the clergy are also another consequence of this system, which places every thing relating to religion beyond the reach of the civil power. In the first place, the ecclesiastics, under pretence of the holiness of their functions, have raised themselves above all other citizens, even the principal magistrates: and, contrary to the express injunctions of their master, who said to his apostles, seek not the first places at feasts, they have almost everywhere arrogated to themselves the first rank. Their head, in the Roman church, obliges sovereigns to kiss his feet; emperors have held the bridle of his horse; and if bishops or even simple priests do not at present raise themselves above their prince, it is because the times will not permit it: they have not always been so modest; and one of their writers has had the assurance to assert, that a priest is as much above a king as a man is above a beast.23 How many authors, better known and more esteemed than the one just quoted, have taken a pleasure in praising and extolling that silly speech attributed to the emperor Theodosius the First — Ambrose has taught me the great difference there is between the empire and the priesthood!

We have already observed that ecclesiastics ought to be honoured: but modesty, and even humility, should characterize them: and does it become them to forget it in their own conduct while they preach it to others? I would not mention a vain ceremonial, were it not attended with very material consequences, from the pride with which it inspires many priests, and the impressions it may make on the minds of the people. It is essentially necessary to good order, that subjects should behold none in society so respectable as their sovereign, and, next to him, those on whom he has devolved a part of his authority.

§ 151. 6. Independence immunities.

Ecclesiastics have not stopped in so fair a path. Not contented with rendering themselves independent with respect to their functions, — by the aid of the court of Rome, they have even attempted to withdraw themselves entirely, and in every respect, from all subjection to the political authority. There have been times when an ecclesiastic could not be brought before a secular tribunal for any crime whatsoever.24 The canon law declares expressly, It is indecent for laymen to judge a churchman.25The popes Paul III., Pius V., and Urban VIII., excommunicated all lay judges who should presume to undertake the trial of ecclesiastics. Even the bishops of France have not been afraid to say on several occasions, that they did not depend on any temporal prince, and, in 1656, the general assembly of the French clergy had the assurance to use the following expressions — "The decree of council having been read, was disapproved by the assembly, because it leaves the king judge over the bishops, andseems to subject their immunities to his judges."26 There are decrees of the popes that excommunicate whoever imprisons a bishop. According to the principles of the church of Rome, a prince has not the power of punishing an ecclesiastic with death, though a rebel or a malefactor; — he must first apply to the ecclesiastical power; and the latter will, if it thinks proper, deliver up the culprit to the secular arm, after having degraded him.27 History affords us a thousand examples of bishops who remained unpunished, or were but slightly chastised, for crimes for which nobles of the highest rank forfeited their lives. John de Braganza, king of Portugal, justly inflicted the penalty of death on those noblemen who had conspired his destruction: but he did not dare to put to death the archbishop of Braga, the author of that detestable plot.28

For an entire body of men, numerous and powerful, to stand beyond the reach of the public authority, and be dependent on a foreign court, is an entire subversion of order in the republic, and a manifest diminution of the sovereignty. This is a mortal stab given to society, whose very essence it is, that every citizen should be subject to the public authority. Indeed the immunity which the clergy arrogate to themselves in this respect, is so inimical to the natural and necessary rights of a nation, that the king himself has not the power of granting it. But churchmen will tell us they derive this immunity from God himself; but till they have furnished some proof of their pretensions, let us adhere to this certain principle, that God desires the safety of states, and not that which will only be productive of disorder and destruction to them.

§ 152. 7. Immunity of church possessions.

The same immunity is claimed for the possessions of the church. The state might, no doubt, exempt those possessions from every species of lax at a time when they were scarcely sufficient for the support of the ecclesiastics; but, for that favour, these men ought to be indebted to the public authority alone, which has always a right to revoke it, whenever the welfare of the state makes it necessary. It being one of the fundamental and essential laws of every society, that, in case of necessity, the wealth of all the members ought to contribute proportionally to the common necessities — the prince himself cannot, of his own authority, grant a total exemption to a very numerous and rich body, without being guilty of extreme injustice to the rest of his subjects, on whom, in consequence of that exemption, the whole weight of the burden will fall.

The possessions of the church are so far from being entitled to an exemption on account of their being consecrated to God, that, on the contrary, it is for that very reason they ought to be taken the first for the use and safety of the state. For nothing is more agreeable to the common Father of mankind than to save a state from ruin. God himself having no need of anything, the consecration of wealth to him is but a dedication of it to such uses as shall be agreeable to him. Besides, a great part of the revenues of the church, by the confession of the clergy themselves, is destined for the poor. When the state is in necessity, it is doubtless the first and principal pauper, and the most worthy of assistance. We may extend this principle even to the most common cases, and safely assert that to supply a part of the current expenses of the state from the revenues of the church, and thus take so much from the weight of the people's burden, is really giving a part of those revenues to the poor, according to their original destination. But it is really contrary to religion and the intentions of the founders to waste in pomp, luxury, and epicurism, those revenues that ought to be consecrated to the relief of the poor.29

§ 153. 8. Excommunication of men in office.

Not satisfied, however, with rendering themselves independent, the ecclesiastics undertook to bring mankind under their dominion; and indeed they had reason to despise the stupid mortals who suffered them to proceed in their plan. Excommunication was a formidable weapon among ignorant and superstitious men, who neither knew how to keep it within its proper bounds, nor to distinguish between the use and the abuse of it. Hence arose disorders which have prevailed in some protestant countries. Churchmen have presumed, by their own authority alone, to excommunicate men in high employments, magistrates whose functions were daily useful to society — and have boldly asserted that those officers of the state, being struck with the thunders of the church, could no longer discharge the duties of their posts. What a perversion of order and reason! What! shall not a nation be allowed to intrust its affairs, its happiness, its repose and safety, to the hands of those whom it deems the most skilful and the most worthy of that trust? Shall the power of a churchman, whenever he pleases, deprive the state of its wisest conductors, of its firmest supports, and rob the prince of his most faithful servants? So absurd a pretension has been condemned by princes, and even by prelates, respectable for their character and judgment. We read in the 171st letter of Ives de Chartres, to the Archbishop of Sens, that the royal capitularies (conformably to the thirteenth canon of the twelfth council of Toledo, held in the year 681) enjoined the priests to admit to their conversation all those whom the king's majesty had received into favour or entertained at his table, though they had been excommunicated by them, or by others, in order that the church might not appear to reject or condemn those whom the king was pleased to employ in his service.29

§ 154. 9. And of sovereigns themselves

The excommunications pronounced against the sovereigns themselves, and accompanied with the absolution of their subjects from their oaths of allegiance, put the finishing stroke to this enormous abuse; and it is almost incredible that nations should have suffered such odious procedures. We have slightly touched on this subject in §§ 145 and 346. The thirteenth century gives striking instances of it. Otho IV. for endeavouring to oblige several provinces of Italy to submit to the laws of the empire, was excommunicated and deprived of the empire by Innocent III. and his subjects absolved from their oath of allegiance. Finally, this unfortunate emperor, being abandoned by the princes, was obliged to resign the crown to Frederic II. John, king of England, endeavouring to maintain the rights of his kingdom in the election of an archbishop of Canterbury, found himself exposed to the audacious enterprises of the same pope. Innocent excommunicated the king — laid the whole kingdom under an interdict — had the presumption to declare John unworthy of the throne, and to absolve his subjects from their oath of fidelity; he stirred up the clergy against him — excited his subjects to rebel — solicited the king of France to take up arms to dethrone him — publishing, at the same time, a crusade against him, as he would have done against the Saracens. The king of England at first appeared determined to defend himself with vigour: but soon losing courage, he suffered himself to be brought to such an excess of infamy, as to resign his kingdoms into the hands of the pope's legate, to receive them back from him, and hold them as a fief of the church, on condition of paying tribute.30

The popes were not the only persons guilty of such enormities: there have also been councils who bore a part in them. That of Lyons, summoned by Innocent IV., in the year 1245, had the audacity to cite the emperor Frederic II. to appear before them in order to exculpate himself from the charges brought against him — threatening him with the thunders of the church if he failed to do it. That great prince did not give himself much trouble about so irregular a proceeding. He said — "that the pope aimed at rendering himself both a judge and a sovereign; but that, from all antiquity, the emperors themselves had called councils, where the popes and prelates rendered to them, as to their sovereigns, the respect and obedience that was their due."31 The emperor, however, thinking it necessary to yield a little to the superstition of the times, condescended to send ambassadors to the council, to defend his cause; but this did not prevent the pope from excommunicating him, and declaring him deprived of the crown. Frederic, like a man of a superior genius, laughed at the empty thunders of the Vatican, and proved himself able to preserve the crown in spite of the election of Henry, Landgrave of Thuringia, whom the ecclesiastical electors, and many bishops, had presumed to declare king of the Romans — but who obtained little more by that election, than the ridiculous title of king of the priests.

I should never have done, were I to accumulate examples; but those I have already quoted are but too many for the honour of humanity. It is an humiliating sight to behold the excess of folly to which superstition had reduced the nations of Europe in those unhappy times.32

§ 155. 10. The clergy drawing every thing to themselves, and disturbing the order of justice.

By means of the same spiritual arms, the clergy drew everything to themselves, usurped the authority of the tribunals, and disturbed the course of justice. They claimed a right to take cognisance of all causes on account of sin, of which (says Innocent III.33every man of sense must know that thecognisance belongs to our ministry. In the year 1329, the prelates of France had the assurance to tell King Philip de Valois, that to prevent causes of any kind from being brought before the ecclesiastical courts, was depriving the church of all its rights, omnia ecclesiarum jura tollere.34 And accordingly, it was their aim to have to themselves the decision of all disputes. They boldly opposed the civil authority, and made themselves feared by proceeding in the way of excommunication. It even happened sometimes, that as dioceses were not always confined to the extent of the political territory, a bishop would summon foreigners before his tribunal, for causes purely civil, and take upon him to decide them, in manifest violation of the rights of nations. To such a height had the disorder arisen three or four centuries ago, that our wise ancestors thought themselves obliged to take serious measures to put a stop to it, and stipulated, in their treaties, that none of the confederates should be summoned before spiritual courts, for money debts, since every one ought to be contented with the ordinary modes of justice that were observed in the country35 We find in history, that the Swiss on many occasions repressed the encroachments of the bishops and their judges.

Over every affair of life they extended their authority, under pretence that conscience was concerned. They obliged new-married husbands to purchase permission to he with their wives the first three nights after marriage.36

§ 156. 11. Money drawn to Rome.

This burlesque invention leads us to remark another abuse, manifestly contrary to the rules of a wise policy, and to the duty a nation owes to herself; I mean the immense sums which bulls, dispensations, &c., annually drew to Rome, from all the countries in communion with her. How much might be said on the scandalous trade of indulgences! but it at last became ruinous to the court of Rome, which, by endeavouring to gain too much, suffered irreparable losses.

§ 157. 12. Laws and customs contrary to the welfare of states.

Finally, that independent authority intrusted to ecclesiastics, who were often incapable of understanding the true maxims of government, or too careless to take the trouble of studying them, and whose minds were wholly occupied by a visionary fanatacism, by empty speculations, and notions of a chimerical and overstrained purity, — that authority, I say, produced under the pretence of sanctity, laws and customs that were pernicious to the state. Some of these we have noticed; but a very remarkable instance is mentioned by Grotius. "In the ancient Greek church," says he, "was long observed a canon, by which those who had killed an enemy in any war whatsoever were excommunicated for three years:"37 a fine reward decreed for the heroes who defended their country, instead of the crowns and triumphs with which pagan Rome had been accustomed to honour them! Pagan Rome became mistress of the world; she adorned her bravest warriors with crowns. The empire, having embraced Christianity, soon became a prey to barbarians; her subjects, by defending her, incurred the penalty of a degrading excommunication. By devoting themselves to an idle life, they thought themselves pursuing the path to heaven, and actually found themselves in the high road to riches and greatness.

1. The former assassinated Henry III. of France; the latter murdered his successor, Henry IV.

(52) With respect to these in England, and punishments for the violation, see 4 Bla. Com. 41 to 66. Blasphemy, or a libel, stating our Saviour to have been an imposter, and a murderer in principle, and a fanatic, is an indictable misdemeanor at common law. Rex v. Waddington, 1 Barn. & Cress. 26. And as to modern regulation, see 4 Bla. Com. 443. —

2. The Duke de Sully; see his Memoirs digested by M. de l'Ecluse, vol. v. pp. 135, 136.

3. Decorum injuriae diis curae. — Tacit. Ann. book i. c. 73.

4. Qui secus faxit, Deus ipse vindex erit. ... Qui non paruerit, capitale esto. — De Legib. lib. ii.

5. Quas (religiones) non metu, sed ea conjunctione quae est homini cum Deo, conservandas puto. Cicero de Legib. lib. i. What a fine lesson does this pagan philosopher give to Christians!

(53) See the modern enactments, 4 Bla. Com. 440, 443; Id. 52, 53, in the notes. — C.

6. When the chief part of the people in the principality of Neufchatel and Vallangin embraced the reformed religion in the sixteenth century Joan of Hochberg, their sovereign, continued to live in the Roman Catholic faith, and nevertheless still retained all her rights. The state counsel enacted ecclesiastical laws and constitutions similar to those of the reformed churches in Switzerland, and the princess gave them her sanction.

7. History of New France, books v. vi. vii.

8. See the Theodosian Code.

9. In England under Henry VIII.

10. Henry III. and Henry IV. assassinated by fanatics, who thought they were serving God and the church by slabbing their king.

11. Though Henry IV. relumed to the Romish religion, a great number of Catholics did not dare to acknowledge him until he had received the pope's absolution.

12. Many kings of France in the civil wars on account of religion.

13. Turretin. Hist. Ecclesiast. Compendium. p. 182, Where may also be seen the resolute answer of the king of France.

14. Extravag. Commun. lib. i. tit De Majoritate & Obedientia.

15. Gregory VII. endeavoured to render almost all the states of Europe tributary to him. He maintained that Hungary, Dalmatia, Russia, Spain, and Corsica, were absolutely his property, as successor to St. Peter, or were feudatory dependencies of the holy see. Greg. Epist. Concil. vol. vi. Edit, Harduin. — He summoned the emperor Henry IV. to appear before him, and make his defence against the accusations of some of his subjects: and, on the emperor's non-compliance, he deposed him. In short, here are the expressions he made use of in addressing the council assembled at Rome on the occasion: "Agite nunc, quæso, patres et principes sanctissimi, ut omnis mundus intelligat et cognoscat, quia si potestis in cœlo ligare et solvere, potestis in terra imperia, regna, principatus, ducatus, marchias, comitatus, et omnium hominum possessiones, pro meritis tollere unicique et concedere: Natal, Ales. Dissert. Hist. Eccl., s. xi. and xii. p. 384. The canon law boldly decides that the regal power is subordinate to the priesthood, "Imperium non præest saccerdotio, sed subest, et ei obedire tenetur." Rubric. ch. vi. De Major, et Obed. "Et est multum allegabile," is the complaisant remark of the writer of the article.

16. History of the Revolutions in Sweden.

17. Vogel's Historical and Political Treatise on the Alliances between France and the Thirteen Cantons, pp. 33 and 36.

18. We may see, in the letters of Cardinal d'Ossat, what difficulties, what opposition, what long delays. Henry IV. had to encounter, when he wished to confer the archbishopric of Sens on Renauld de Baune, archbishop of Bourges, who had saved France, by receiving that great prince into the Roman Catholic church.

19. This reflection has no relation to the religious houses in which literature is cultivated. Establishments that afford to learned men a peaceful retreat, and that leisure and tranquility required in deep scientific research, are always laudable, and may become very useful to the state.

20. The Papia-Poppæn law.

21. In the Theodosian Code.

22. The president de Montesquieu, in his Spirit of Laws.

23. Tantum sacerdos præstat regi, quantum homo bestiæ. Stanislaus Orichovius. — Vid; Tribbechov. Exerc. 1, ad Baron. Annal Sect 2, et Thomas Nat. ad. Lancell.

24. The congregation of inmunities has decided that the cognisance of causes against ecclesiastics, even for the crime of high treason, exclusively belongs to the spiritual court: — "Cognitio causæ contra ecclesiasticos, etiam pro delicto læsæ majestatis, feri debet a judice ecclesiastico." RICCISynops. Decret. et Resol. S. Congreg. Immunit. p. 105. — A constitution of pope Urban VI. pronounces those sovereigns or magistrates guilty of sacrilege, who shall banish an ecclesiastic from their territories, and declares them to have ipso facto incurred the sentence of excommunication. Cap. II. De Fora. Compet in VII. To this immunity may be added the indulgence shown by the ecclesiastical tribunals to the clergy, on whom they never inflicted any but slight punishments, even for the most atrocious crimes. The dreadful disorders that arose from this cause, at length produced their own remedy in France, where the clergy were at length subjected to the temporal jurisdiction for all transgressions that are injurious to society. See Papon Arrets Notables, book i. tit. v. act 34.

25. Indecorum est laicos homines viros ecclesiasticos judicare. Can. in nona actione 22, xvi. q. 7.

26. See the Statement of Facts on the System of Independence of Bishops.

27. In the year 1725, a parish priest, of the canton of Lucerne, having refused to appear before the supreme council, was, for his contumacy, banished from the canton. Hereupon his diocesan, the bishop of Constance, had the assurance to write to the council that they had infringed the ecclesiastical immunities — that "it is unlawful to subject the ministers of God to the decisions of the temporal power." In these pretensions he was sanctioned by the approbation of the pope's nuncio and the court of Rome. But the council of Lucerne firmly supported the rights of sovereignty, and, without engaging with the bishop in a controversy which would have been derogatory to their dignity, answered him — "Your lordship quotes various passages from the writings of the fathers, which we, on our side, might also quote in our own favour, if it were necessary, or if there was question of deciding the contest by dint of quotation. But let your lordship rest assured that we have a right to summon before us a priest, our natural subject, who encroaches on our prerogatives — to point out to him his error — to exhort him to a reform of his conduct — and, in consequence of his obstinate disobedience, after repeated citations, to banish him from our dominions. We have not the least doubt that this right belongs to us; and we are determined to defend it. And indeed it ought not to be proposed to any sovereign to appear as party in a contest with a refractory subject like him — to refer the cause to the decision of a third party, whoever he be — and run the risk of being condemned to tolerate in the state a person of such character, with what dignity soever he might be invested." &c. The bishop of Constance had proceeded so far as to assert in his letter to the canton, dated December 18th, 1725, that "churchmen, as soon as they have received holy orders, ceased to be natural subjects, and are thus released from the bondage in which they lived before." Memorial on the Dispute between the Pope and the Canton of Lucerne, p. 65.

28. Revolutions of Portugal.

29. See Letters on the Pretensions of the Clergy.

30. Matthew Paris. — turretin. Compend. Hist. Eccles. Secul. xiii.

31. Heiss's History of the Empire, book ii., chap. svi.

32. Sovereigns were sometimes found, who, without considering future consequences, favoured the papal encroachments when they were likely to prove advantageous to their own interests. Thus, Louis VIII., king of France, wishing to invade the territories of the Count of Toulouse, under pretence of making war on the Albigenses, requested of the pope, among other things, "that he would Issue a bull declaring that the two Raymonds, father and son, together with all their adherents, associates, and allies, had been and were deprived of all their possessions." VELLY'S Hist. of France, vol. iv. p. 33. Of a similar nature to the preceding is the following remarkable fact: — Pope Martin IV. excommunicated Peter, king of Arragon, declared that he had forfeited his kingdom, all his lands, and even the regal dignity, and pronounced his subjects absolved from their oath of allegiance. He even excommunicated all who should acknowledge him as king, or perform towards him any of the duties of a subject. He then offered Arragon and Catalonia to the Count de Valois, second son of Philip the Bold, on condition that he and his successors should acknowledge themselves vassals of the holy see, take an oath of fealty to the pope, and pay him a yearly tribute. The king of France assembled the barons and prelates of his kingdom, to deliberate on the pope's offer, and they advised him to accept of it. "Strange blindness of kings and their counsellors!" exclaims, with good reason, a modern historian; "they did not perceive, that, by thus accepting kingdoms from the hands of the pope, they strengthened and established his pretensions to the right of deposing themselves." VELLY'S History of France, vol. vi. p. 190.

33. In cap. Novit. de Judicis.

34. See Leibnitii Codex, Juris Gent. Diplomat. Dipl. LXVII. § 9.

35. Ibid. Alliance of Zurich with the cantons of Uri, Schweitz, and Underwald, dated May 1, 1351, § 7.

36. See A Regulation of Parliament in an arret of March 19, 1409. Spirit of Laws. These (says Montesquieu) were the very best nights they could pitch upon; they would have made no great profit of any other.

37. De Jure Belli et Pacis. lib. ii. cap. xxiv. He quotes Basil ad Amphiloch, x. 13. Zonarcas in Niceph. Phoc. vol. iii.


§ 158. A nation ought to make justice reign.

NEXT to the care of religion, one of the principal duties of a nation relates to justice. They ought to employ their utmost attention in causing it to prevail in the state, and to take proper measures for having it dispensed to every one in the most certain, the most speedy, and the least burdensome manner. This obligation flows from the object proposed by uniting in civil society, and from the social compact itself. We have seen (§ 15), that men have bound themselves by the engagements of society, and consented to divest themselves, in its favour, of a part of their natural liberty, only with a view of peaceably enjoying what belongs to them, and obtaining justice with certainly. The nation would therefore neglect her duty to herself, and deceive the individuals, if she did not seriously endeavour to make the strictest justice prevail. This attention she owes to her own happiness, repose, and prosperity. Confusion, disorder, and despondency will soon arise in a state, when the citizens are not sure of easily and speedily obtaining justice in all their disputes; without this, the civil virtues will become extinguished, and the society weakened.

§159. To establish good laws.

There are two methods of making justice flourish — good laws, and the attention of the superiors to see them executed. In treating of the constitution of a state (Chap. III.), we have already shown that a nation ought to establish just and wise laws, and have also pointed out the reasons why we cannot here enter into the particulars of those laws. If men were always equally just, equitable, and enlightened, the laws of nature would doubtless be sufficient for society. But ignorance, the illusions of self-love, and the violence of the passions, too often render these sacred laws ineffectual. And we see, in consequence, that all well-governed nations have perceived the necessity of enacting positive laws. There is a necessity for general and formal regulations, that each may clearly know his own rights, without being misled by self-deception. Sometimes even it is necessary to deviate from natural equity, in order to prevent abuses and frauds, and to accommodate ourselves to circumstances; and, since the sensation of duty has frequently so little influence on the heart of man, a penal sanction becomes necessary, to give the laws their full efficacy. Thus is the law of nature converted into civil law.1 It would be dangerous to commit the interests of the citizens to the mere discretion of those who are to dispense justice. The legislator should assist the understanding of the judges, force their prejudices and inclinations, and subdue their will, by simple, fixed, and certain rules. These, again are the civil laws.

§ 160. To enforce them.

The best laws are useless if they be not observed. The nation ought then to take pains to support them, and to cause them to be respected and punctually executed: with this view she cannot adopt measures too just, too extensive, or too effectual; for hence, in a great degree, depend her happiness, glory, and tranquillity.

§ 161. Functions and duties of the prince in this respect.

We have already observed (§ 41) that the sovereign, who represents a nation and is invested with its authority, is also charged with its duties. An attention to make justice flourish in the state must then be one of the principal functions of the prince; and nothing can be more worthy of the sovereign majesty. The emperor Justinian thus begins his book of the Institutes: Imperitoriam majestatem non solum armis decoratam, sed etiam legibus oportet esse armatam, ut utrumque tempus, et bellorum et pacis, recte possit gubernari. The degree of power intrusted by the nation to the head of the state, is then the rule of his duties and his functions in the administration of justice. As the nation may either reserve the legislative power to itself, or intrust it to a select body, — it has also a right, if it thinks proper, to establish a supreme tribunal to judge of all disputes, independently of the prince. But the conductor of the state must naturally have a considerable share in legislation, and it may even be entirely intrusted to him. In this last case, it is he who must establish salutary laws, dictated by wisdom and equity: but in all cases, he should be the guardian of the law; he should watch over those who are invested with authority, and confine each individual within the bounds of duty.

§ 162. How he is to dispense justice.

The executive power naturally belongs to the sovereign, — to every conductor of a people: he is supposed to be invested with it, in its fullest extent, when the fundamental laws do not restrict it. When the laws are established, it is the prince's province to have them put in execution. To support them with vigour, and to make a just application of them to all cases that present themselves, is what we call rendering justice. And this is the duty of the sovereign, who is naturally the judge of his people. We have seen the chiefs of some small states perform these functions themselves: but this custom becomes inconvenient, and even impossible in a great kingdom.

§ 163. He ought to appoint enlightened and upright judges.

The best and safest method of distributing justice is by establishing judges, distinguished by their integrity and knowledge, to take cognisance of all the disputes that may arise between the citizens. It is impossible for the prince to take upon himself this painful task: he cannot spare sufficient time either for the thorough investigation of all causes, or even for the acquisition of the knowledge necessary to decide them. As the sovereign cannot personally discharge all the functions of government, he should, with a just discernment, reserve to himself such as he can successfully perform, and are of most importance, — intrusting the others to officers and magistrates who shall execute them under his authority. There is no inconvenience in trusting the decision of a lawsuit to a body of prudent, honest, and enlightened men: — on the contrary it is the best mode the prince can possibly adopt; and he fully acquits himself of the duty he owes to his people in this particular, when he gives them judges adorned with all the qualities suitable to ministers of justice: he has then nothing more to do but to watch over their conduct, in order that they may not neglect their duty.

§ 164. The ordinary courts should determine causes relating to the revenue.

The establishment of courts of justice is particularly necessary for the decision of all fiscal causes, — that is to say, all the disputes that may arise between the subjects on the one hand, and, on the other, the persons who exert the profitable prerogatives of the prince. It would be very unbecoming, and highly improper for a prince, to take upon him to give judgment in his own cause: — he cannot be too much on his guard against the illusions of interest and self-love; and even though he were capable of resisting their influence, still he ought not to expose his character to the rash judgments of the multitude. These important reasons ought even to prevent his submitting the decision of causes in which he is concerned, to the ministers and counsellors particularly attached to his person. In all well-regulated states, in countries that are really states, and not the dominions of a despot, the ordinary tribunals decide all causes in which the sovereign is a party, with as much freedom as those between private persons.

§ 165. There ought to be established supreme courts of justice wherein causes should be finally determined.

The end of all trials at law is justly to determine the disputes that arise between the citizens. If, therefore, suits are prosecuted before an inferior judge, who examines all the circumstances and proofs relating to them, it is very proper, that, for the greater safety, the party condemned should be allowed to appeal to a superior tribunal, where the sentence of the former judge may be examined, and reversed, if it appear to be ill-founded. But it is necessary that this supreme tribunal should have the authority of pronouncing a definitive sentence without appeal: otherwise the whole proceeding will be vain, and the dispute can never be determined.

The custom of having recourse to the prince himself, by laying a complaint at the foot of the throne, when the cause has been finally determined by a supreme court, appears to be subject to very great inconveniences. It is more easy to deceive the prince by specious reasons, than a number of magistrates well skilled in the knowledge of the laws; and experience too plainly shows what powerful resources are derived from favour and intrigue in the courts of kings.

If this practice be authorized by the laws of the state, the prince ought always to fear that these complaints are only formed with a view of protracting a suit, and procrastinating a just condemnation. A just and wise sovereign will not admit them without great caution; and if he reverses the sentence that is complained of, he ought not to try the cause himself, but submit it to the examination of another tribunal, as is the practice in France. The ruinous length of these proceedings authorizes us to say that it is more convenient and advantageous to the state, to establish a sovereign tribunal, whose definitive decrees should not be subject to a reversal even by the prince himself. It is sufficient for the security of justice that the sovereign keep a watchful eye over the judges and magistrates, in the same manner as he is bound to watch all the other officers in the state, — and that he have power to call to an account and to punish such as are guilty of prevarication.

§ 166. The prince ought to preserve the forms of justice.

When once this sovereign tribunal is established, the prince cannot meddle with its decrees; and, in general, he is absolutely obliged to preserve and maintain the forms of justice. Every attempt to violate them is an assumption of arbitrary power, to which it cannot be presumed that any nation could ever have intended to subject itself.

When those forms are defective, it is the business of the legislator to reform them. This being done or procured in a manner agreeable to the fundamental laws, will be one of the most salutary benefits the sovereign can bestow upon his people. To preserve the citizens from the danger of ruining themselves in defending their rights, — to repress and destroy that monster, chicanery, — will be an action more glorious in the eyes of the wise man, than all the exploits of a conqueror.

§ 167. The prince ought to support the authority of the judges.

Justice is administered in the name of the sovereign; the prince relies on the judgment of the courts, and, with good reason, looks upon their decisions as sound law and justice. His part in this branch of the government is then to maintain the authority of the judges, and to cause their sentences to be executed; without which they would be vain and delusive; for justice would not be rendered to the citizens.

§ 168. Of distributive justice. The distribution of employments and rewards.

There is another kind of justice named attributive or distributive, which in general consists in treating every one according to his deserts. This virtue ought to regulate the distribution of public employments, honours, and rewards in a state. It is, in the first place, a duty the nation owes to herself, to encourage good citizens, to excite every one to virtue by honours and rewards, and to intrust with employments such persons only as are capable of properly discharging them. In the next place, it is a duty the nation owes to individuals, to show herself duly attentive to reward and honour merit. Although a sovereign has the power of distributing his favours and employments to whomsoever he pleases, and nobody has a perfect right to any post or dignity, — yet a man who by intense application has qualified himself to become useful to his country, and he who has rendered some signal service to the state, may justly complain if the prince overlooks them, in order to advance useless men without merit. This is treating them with an ingratitude that is wholly unjustifiable, and adapted only to extinguish emulation. There is hardly any fault that in the course of time can become more prejudicial to a state: it introduces into it a general relaxation; and its public affairs, being managed by incompetent hands, cannot fail to be attended with ill-success. A powerful state may support itself for some time by its own weight; but at length it falls into decay; and this is perhaps one of the principal causes of the revolutions observable in great empires. The sovereign is attentive to the choice of those he employs, while he feels himself obliged to watch over his own safety, and to be on his guard: but when once he thinks himself elevated to such a pitch of greatness and power as leaves him nothing to fear, he follows his own caprice, and all public offices are distributed by favour.

§ 169. Punishment of transgressors.

The punishment of transgressors commonly belongs to distributive justice, of which it is really a breach; since good order requires that malefactors should be made to suffer the punishments they have deserved. But, if we would clearly establish this on its true foundations, we must recur to first principles. The right of punishing, which in a state of nature belongs to each individual, is founded on the right of personal safety. Every man has a right to preserve himself from injury, and by force to provide for his own security against those who unjustly attack him. For this purpose he may, when injured, inflict a punishment on the aggressor, as well with the view of putting it out of his power to injure him for the future, or of reforming him, as of restraining, by his example, all those who might be tempted to imitate him. Now, when men unite in society, — as the society is thenceforward charged with the duty of providing for the safety of its members, the individuals all resign to it their private right of punishing. To the whole body, therefore, it belongs to avenge private injuries, while it protects the citizens at large. And as it is a moral person, capable also of being injured, it has a right to provide for its own safety, by punishing those who trespass against it; — that is to say, it has a right to punish public delinquents. Hence arises the right of the sword, which belongs to a nation, or to its conductor. When the society use it against another nation, they make war; when they exert it in punishing an individual, they exercise vindictive justice. Two things are to be considered in this part of government, — the laws, and their execution.

§ 170. Criminal laws

It would be dangerous to leave the punishment of transgressors entirely to the discretion of those who are invested with authority. The passions might interfere in a business which ought to be regulated only by justice and wisdom. The punishment pre-ordained for an evil action, lays a more effectual restraint on the wicked than a vague fear, in which they may deceive themselves. In short, the people, who are commonly moved at the sight of a suffering wretch, are better convinced of the justice of his punishment, when it is inflicted by the laws themselves. Every well-governed state ought then to have its laws for the punishment of criminals. It belongs to the legislative power, whatever that be, to establish them with justice and wisdom. But this is not a proper place for giving a general theory of them: we shall therefore only say that each nation ought, in this as in every other instance, to choose such laws as may best suit her peculiar circumstances.

§ 171. Degree of punishment.

We shall only make one observation, which is connected with the subject in hand, and relates to the degree of punishment. From the foundation even of the right of punishing, and from the lawful end of inflicting penalties, arises the necessity of keeping them within just bounds. Since they are designed to procure the safety of the state and of the citizens, they ought never to be extended beyond what that safety requires. To say that any punishment is just since the transgressor knew before-hand the penalty he was about to incur, is using a barbarous language, repugnant to humanity, and to the law of nature, which forbids our doing any ill to others, unless they lay us under the necessity of inflicting it in our own defence and for our own security. Whenever then a particular crime is not much to be feared in society, as when the opportunities of committing it are very rare, or when the subjects are not inclined to it, too rigorous punishments ought not to be used to suppress it. Attention ought also to be paid to the nature of the crime; and the punishment should be proportioned to the degree of injury done to the public tranquillity and the safety of society, and the wickedness it supposes in the criminal.

These maxims are not only dictated by justice and equity, but also as forcibly recommended by prudence and the art of government. Experience shows us that the imagination becomes familiarized to objects which are frequently presented to it. If, therefore, terrible punishments are multiplied, the people will become daily less affected by them, and at length contract, like the Japanese, a savage and ferocious character: — these bloody spectacles will then no longer produce the effect designed; for they will cease to terrify the wicked. It is with these examples as with honours: — a prince who multiplies titles and distinctions to excess, soon depreciates them, and makes an injudicious use of one of the most powerful and convenient springs of government. When we recollect the practice of the ancient Romans with respect to criminals — when we reflect on their scrupulous attention to spare the blood of the citizens, — we cannot fail to be struck at seeing with how little ceremony it is now-a-days shed in the generality of states. Was then the Roman republic but ill governed? Docs better order and greater security reign among us? — It is not so much the cruelty of the punishments, as a strict punctuality in enforcing the penal code, that keeps mankind within the bounds of duty: and if simple robbery is reserved to check the hand of the murderer?

§ 172. Execution of the laws.

The execution of the laws belongs to the conductor of the state: he is intrusted with the care of it, and is indispensably obliged to discharge it with wisdom. The prince then is to see that the criminal laws be put in execution; but he is not to attempt in his own person to try the guilty. Besides the reasons we have already alleged in treating of civil causes, and which are of still greater weight in regard to those of a criminal nature — to appear in the character of a judge pronouncing sentence on a wretched criminal, would ill become the majesty of the sovereign, who ought in every thing to appear as the father of his people. It is a very wise maxim commonly received in France, that the prince ought to reserve to himself all matters of favour, and leave it to the magistrates to execute the rigour of justice. But then justice ought to be exercised in his name, and under his authority. A good prince will keep a watchful eye over the conduct of the magistrates; he will oblige them to observe scrupulously the established forms, and will himself take care never to break through them. Every sovereign who neglects or violates the forms of justice in the prosecution of criminals, makes large strides towards tyranny; and the liberty of the citizens is at an end when once they cease to be certain that they cannot be condemned, except in pursuance of the laws, according to the established forms, and by their ordinary judges. The custom of committing the trial of the accused party to commissioners chosen at the pleasure of the court, was the tyrannical invention of some ministers who abused the authority of their master. By this irregular and odious procedure, a famous minister always succeeded in destroying his enemies. A good prince will never give his consent to such a proceeding, if he has sufficient discernment to foresee the dreadful abuse his ministers may make of it. If the prince ought not to pass sentence himself — for the same reason, he ought not to aggravate the sentence passed by the judges.

§ 173. Right of pardoning

The very nature of government requires that the executor of the laws should have the power of dispensing with them when this may be done without injury to any person, and in certain particular cases where the welfare of the state requires an exception. Hence the right of granting pardons is one of the attributes of sovereignly. But, in his whole conduct, in his severity as well as his mercy, the sovereign ought to have no other object in view than the greater advantage of society. A wise prince knows how to reconcile justice with clemency — the care of the public safety with that pity which is due to the unfortunate.

§ 174. Internal police.

The internal police consists in the attention of the prince and magistrates to preserve every thing in order. Wise regulations ought to prescribe whatever will best contribute to the public safety, utility, and convenience; and those who are invested with authority cannot be too attentive to enforce them. By a wise police, the sovereign accustoms the people to order and obedience, and preserves peace, tranquillity, and concord among the citizens. The magistrates of Holland are said to possess extraordinary talents in this respect: — a better police prevails in their cities, and even their establishments in the Indies, than in any other places in the known world.

§ 175. Duel, or single combat.

Laws and the authority of the magistrates having been substituted in the room of private war, the conductors of a nation ought not to suffer individuals to attempt to do themselves justice, when they can have recourse to the magistrates. Duelling — that species of combat, in which the parties engage on account of a private quarrel — is a manifest disorder repugnant to the ends of civil society. This frenzy was unknown to the ancient Greeks and Romans, who raised to such a height the glory of their arms: we received it from barbarous nations who knew no other law but the sword. Louis XIV. deserves the greatest praise for his endeavours to abolish this savage custom.(54)

§ 176. Means of putting a stop to this disorder.

But why was not that prince made sensible that the most severe punishments were incapable of curing the rage for duelling? They did not reach the source of the evil; and since a ridiculous prejudice had persuaded all the nobility and gentlemen of the army, that a man who wears a sword is bound in honour to avenge with his own hand the least injury he has received; this is the principle on which it is proper to proceed. We must destroy this prejudice, or restrain it by a motive of the same nature. While a nobleman, by obeying the law, shall be regarded by his equals as a coward and as a man dishonoured — while an officer in the same case shall be forced to quit the service — can you hinder his fighting by threatening him with death? On the contrary, he will place a part of his bravery in doubly exposing his life in order to wash away the affront. And, certainly, while the prejudice subsists, while a nobleman or an officer cannot act in opposition to it, without embittering the rest of his life, I do not know whether we can justly punish him who is forced to submit to his tyranny, or whether he be very guilty with respect of morality. That worldly honour, be it as false and chimerical as you please, is to him a substantial and necessary possession, since without it he can neither live with his equals, nor exercise a profession that is often his only resource. When, therefore, any insolent fellow would unjustly ravish from him that chimera so esteemed and so necessary, why may he not defend it as he would his life and property against a robber? As the state does not permit an individual to pursue with arms in his hand the usurper of his property, because he may obtain justice from the magistrate — so, if the sovereign will not allow him to draw his sword against the man from whom he has received an insult, he ought necessarily to take such measures that the patience and obedience of the citizen who has been insulted shall not prove prejudicial to him. Society cannot deprive man of his natural right of making war against an aggressor, without furnishing him with some other means of securing himself from the evil his enemy would do him. On all those occasions where the public authority cannot lend us its assistance, we resume our original and natural right of self-defence. Thus a traveller may, without hesitation, kill the robber who attacks him on the highway; because it would, at that moment, be in vain for him to implore the protection of the laws and of the magistrate. Thus a chaste virgin would be praised for taking away the life of a brutal ravisher who attempted to force her to his desires.

Till men have got rid of this Gothic idea, that honour obliges them, even in contempt of the laws, to avenge their personal injuries with their own hands, the most effectual method of putting a stop to the effects of this prejudice would perhaps be to make a total distinction between the offended and the aggressor — to pardon the former without difficulty, when it appears that his honour has been really attacked — and to exercise justice without mercy on the party who has committed the outrage. And as to those who draw the sword for trifles and punctilios, for little piques, or railleries in which honour is not concerned, I would have them severely punished. By this means a restraint would be put on those peevish and insolent folks who often reduce even the moderate men to a necessity of chastising them. Every one would be on his guard, to avoid being considered as the aggressor; and with a view to gain the ad vantage of engaging in duel (if unavoidable) without incurring the penalties of the law, both parties would curb their passions; by which means the quarrel would fall of itself, and be attended with no consequences. It frequently happens that a bully is at bottom a coward; he gives himself haughty airs, and offers insult, in hopes that the rigour of the law will oblige people to put up with his insolence. And what is the consequence? — A man of spirit will run every risk, rather than submit to be insulted: the aggressor dares not recede: and a combat ensues, which would not have taken place, if the latter could have once imagined that there was nothing to prevent the other from chastising him for his presumption — the offended person being acquitted by the same law that condemns the aggressor.

To this first law, whose efficacy would, I doubt not, be soon proved by experience, it would be proper to add the following regulations: — 1. Since it is an established custom that the nobility and military men should appear armed, even in time of peace, care should be taken to enforce a rigid observance of the laws which allow the privilege of wearing swords to these two orders of men only. 2. It would be proper to establish a particular court, to determine, in a summary manner, all affairs of honour between persons of these two orders. The marshals' court in France is in possession of this power; and it might be invested with it in a more formal manner and to a greater extent. The governors of provinces and strong places, with their general officers — the colonels and captains of each regiment — might, in this particular, act as deputies to the marshals. These courts, each in his own department, should alone confer the right of wearing a sword. Every nobleman at sixteen or eighteen years of age, and every soldier at his entrance into the regiment, should be obliged to appear before the court to receive the sword. 3. On its being there delivered to him, he should be informed that it is intrusted to him only for the defence of his country; and care might be taken to inspire him with true ideas of honour. 4. It appears to me of great importance to establish, for different cases, punishments of a different nature. Whoever should so far forget himself, as, either by word or deed, to insult a man who wears a sword, might be degraded from the rank of nobility, deprived of the privilege of carrying arms, and subjected to corporal punishment — even the punishment of death, according to the grossness of the insult: and, as I before observed, no favour should be shown to the offender in case a duel was the consequence, while at the same time the other party should stand fully acquitted. Those who fight on slight occasions, I would not have condemned to death, unless in such cases where the author of the quarrel — he, I mean, who carried it so far as to draw his sword, or to give the challenge — has killed his adversary. People hope to escape punishment when it is too severe; and, besides, a capital punishment in such cases is not considered as infamous. But let them be ignominiously degraded from the rank of nobility and the use of arms, and forever deprived of the right of wearing a sword, without the least hope of pardon: this would be the most proper method to restrain men of spirit, provided that due care was taken to make a distinction between different offenders, according to the degree of the offence. As to persons below the rank of nobility, and who do not belong to the army, their quarrels should be left to the cognisance of the ordinary courts, which in case of bloodshed should punish the offenders according to the common laws against violence and murder. It should be the same with respect to any quarrel that might arise between a commoner and a man entitled to carry arms: it is the business of the ordinary magistrate to preserve older and peace between those two classes of men, who cannot have any points of honour to settle the one with the other. To protect the people against the violence of those who wear the sword, and to punish the former severely if they should dare to insult the latter, should further be, as it is at present, the business of the magistrate,

I am sanguine enough to believe that these regulations, and this method of proceeding, if strictly adhered to, would extirpate that monster, duelling, which the most severe laws have been unable to restrain. They go to the source of the evil, by preventing quarrels, and oppose a lively sensation of true and real honour to that false and punctilious honour which occasions the spilling of so much blood. It would be worthy a great monarch to make a trial of it: its success would immortalize his name: and by the bare attempt he would merit the love and gratitude of his people.

1. See a dissertation on this subject, in the Loisir Philosophique, p. 71.

(54) As to the legal view of the offence of duelling in England, see 6 East Rep. 260; 2 East Rep. 581; 2 Barn. & Ald. 462 and Burn's J. 266 ed. tit — "Duelling,"


§ 177. A nation ought to fortify itself against external attacks.

WE have treated at large of what relates to the felicity of a nation: the subject is equally copious and complicated. Let us now proceed to a third division of the duties which a nation owes to itself, — a third object of good government. One of the ends of political society is to defend itself with its combined strength against all external insult or violence (§ 15). If the society is not in a condition to repulse an aggressor, it is very imperfect, — it is unequal to the principal object of its destination, and cannot long subsist. The nation ought to put itself in such a state as to be able to repel and humble an unjust enemy: this is an import duty, which the care of its own perfection, and even of its preservation, imposes both on the state and its conductor.

§ 176. National strength.

It is its strength alone that can enable a nation to repulse all aggressors, to secure its rights, and render itself everywhere respectable. It is called upon by every possible motive to neglect no circumstance that can tend to place it in this happy situation. The strength of a state consists in three things, — the number of citizens, their military virtues, and their riches. Under this last article we may comprehend fortresses, artillery, arms, horses, ammunition, and, in general, all that immense apparatus at present necessary in war, since they can all be procured with money.

§ 179. Increase of population.(55)

To increase the number of the citizens as far as it is possible or convenient, is then one of the first objects that claim the attentive care of the state or its conductor: and this will be successfully effected by complying with the obligation to procure the country a plenty of the necessaries of life, —; by enabling the people to support their families with the fruits of their labour, —; by giving proper directions that the poorer classes, and especially the husbandmen, be not harassed and oppressed by the levying of taxes, — by governing with mildness and in a manner which, instead of disgusting and dispersing the present subjects of the state, shall rather attract new ones, — and, finally, by encouraging marriage, after the example of the Romans. That nation, so attentive to every thing capable of increasing and supporting their power, made wise laws against celibacy (as we have already observed in § 149), and granted privileges and exemptions to married men, particularly to those who had numerous families: laws that were equally wise and just, since a citizen who rears subjects for the state has a right to expect more favour from it than the man who chooses to live for himself alone.1

Every thing tending to depopulate a country is a defect in a state not overstocked with inhabitants. We have already spoken of convents and the celibacy of priests. It is strange that establishments so directly repugnant to the duties of a man and citizen, as well as to the advantage and safety of society, should have found such favour, and that princes, instead of opposing them, as it was their duty to do, should have protected and enriched them. A system of policy, that dextrously took advantage of superstition to extend its own power, led princes and subjects astray, caused them to mistake their real duties, and blinded sovereigns even with respect to their own interest. Experience seems at length to have opened the eyes of nations and their conductors; the pope himself (let us mention it to the honour of Benedict XIV.) endeavors gradually to reform so palpable an abuse; by his orders, none of his dominions are any longer permitted to take the vow of celibacy before they are twenty-five years of age. That wise pontiff gives the sovereigns of his communion a salutary example; he invites them to attend at length to the safety of their states, — to narrow at least, if they cannot entirely close up, the avenues of that sink that drains their dominions. Take a view of Germany; and there, in countries which are in all other respects upon an equal fooling, you will see the protestant states twice as populous as the catholic ones. Compare the desert state of Spain with that of England, teeming with inhabitants: survey many fine provinces, even in France, destitute of hands to till the soil; and then tell me, whether the many thousands of both sexes, who are now locked up in convents, would not serve God and their country infinitely better by peopling those fertile plains with useful cultivators? It is true, indeed, that the catholic cantons of Switzerland are nevertheless very populous: but this is owing to a profound peace, and the nature of the government, which abundantly repair the losses occasioned by convents. Liberty is able to remedy the greatest evils; it is the soul of a state, and was with great justice called by the Romans alma Libertas.

§ 180. Valour.

A cowardly and undisciplined multitude are incapable of repulsing a warlike enemy: the strength of the state consists less in the number than the military virtues of its citizens. Valour, that heroic virtue which makes us undauntedly encounter danger in defence of our country, is the firmest support of the state: it renders it formidable to its enemies, and often even saves it the trouble of defending itself. A state whose reputation in this respect is once well established, will be seldom attacked, if it does not provoke other states by its enterprises. For above two centuries the Swiss have enjoyed a profound peace, while the din of arms resounded all around them, and the rest of Europe was desolated by the ravages of war. Nature gives the foundation of valour; but various causes may animate it, weaken it, and even destroy it, A nation ought then to seek after and cultivate a virtue so useful; and a prudent sovereign will take all possible measures to inspire his subjects with it: — his wisdom will point out to him the means. It is this generous flame that animates the French nobility: fired with a love of glory and of their country, they fly to battle, and cheerfully spill their blood in the field of honour. To what an extent would they not carry their conquests, if that kingdom were surrounded by nations less warlike! The Briton, generous and intrepid, resembles a lion in combat; and, in general, the nations of Europe surpass in bravery all the other people upon earth.

§ 181. Other military virtues.

But valour alone is not always successful in war: constant success can only be obtained by an assemblage of all the military virtues. History shows us the importance of ability in the commanders, of military discipline, frugality, bodily strength, dexterity, and being inured to fatigue and labour. These are so many distinct branches which a nation ought carefully to cultivate. It was the assemblage of all these that raised so high the glory of the Romans, and rendered them the masters of the world. It were a mistake to suppose that valour alone produced those illustrious exploits of the ancient Swiss — the victories of Morgarten, Sempach, Laupen, Morat, and many others. The Swiss not only fought with intrepidity; they studed the art of war, — they inured themselves to its toils, — they accustomed themselves to the practice of all its manœuvres, — and their very love of liberty made them submit to a discipline which could alone secure to them that treasure, and save their country. Their troops were no loss celebrated for their discipline than their bravery. Mezeray, after having given an account of the behaviour of the Swiss at the battle of Dreux, adds these remarkable words; "in the opinion of all the officers of both sides who were present, the Swiss, in that battle, under every trial, against infantry and cavalry, against French and against Germans, gained the palm for military discipline, and acquired the reputation of being the best infantry in the world."3

§ 182. Riches.

Finally, the wealth of a nation constitutes a considerable part of its power, especially in modern times, when war requires such immense expenses. It is not simply in the revenues of the sovereign, or the public treasure, that the riches of a nation consist: its opulence is also rated from the wealth of individuals. We commonly call a nation rich, when it contains a great number of citizens in easy and affluent circumstances. The wealth of private persons really increases the strength of the nation; since they are capable of contributing large sums towards supplying the necessities of the state, and that, in a case of extremity, the sovereign may even employ all the riches of his subjects in the defence, and for the safety of the state, in virtue of the supreme command with which he is invested, as we shall hereafter show. The nation, then, ought to endeavour to acquire those public and private riches that are of such use to it: and this is a new reason for encouraging a commerce with other nations, which is the source from whence they flow, — and a new motive for the sovereign to keep a watchful eye over the different branches of foreign trade carried on by his subjects, in order that he may preserve and protect the profitable branches, and cut off those that occasion the exportation of gold and silver.

§ 183. Public revenues and taxes.

It is requisite that the state should possess an income proportionate to its necessary expenditures. That income may be supplied by various means, — by lands reserved for that purpose, by contributions, taxes of different kinds, &c. — but of this subject we shall treat in another place.

§ 184. The nation ought not to increase its power by illegal means.

We have here summed up the principal ingredients that constitute that strength which a nation ought to augment and improve. Can it be necessary to add the observation, that this desirable object is not to be pursued by any other methods than such as are just and innocent? A laudable end is not sufficient to sanctify the means; for these ought to be in their own nature lawful. The law of nature cannot contradict itself: if it forbids an action as unjust or dishonest in its own nature, it can never permit it for any purpose whatever. And therefore in those cases where that object, in itself so valuable and so praiseworthy, cannot be attained without employing unlawful means, it ought to be considered as unattainable, and consequently be relinquished. Thus, we shall show, in treating of the just causes of war, that a nation is not allowed to attack another with a view to aggrandize itself by subduing and giving law to the latter. This is just the same as if a private person should attempt to enrich himself by seizing his neighbour's property.

§ 185. Power is but relative.

The power of a nation is relative, and ought to be measured by that of its neighbours, or of all the nations from whom it has any thing to fear. The state is sufficiently powerful when it is capable of causing itself to be respected, and of repelling whoever would attack it. It may be placed in this happy situation, either by keeping up its own strength equal or even superior to that of its neighbours, or by preventing their rising to a predominant and formidable power. But we can not show here in what cases and by what means a state may justly set bounds to the power of another. It is necessary, first, to explain the duties of a nation towards others, in order to combine them afterwards with its duties towards itself. For the present, we shall only observe, that a nation, while it obeys the dictates of prudence and wise policy in this instance, ought never to lose sight of the maxims of justice.

(55) This subject, and the necessity for endeavouring to discourage the increase of population, have, in recent years, occasioned the publication of numerous works. See them commented upon, 1 Chitty's Commercial Law, 1, 2. &c.

1. It is impossible to suppress the emotions of indignation that arise on reading what some of the fathers of the church have written against marriage, and in favour of celibacy. "Videtur esse matrimonii et stupri differentia, (says Tertulian): sed utrobique est communicatio.2 Ergo, inquis, et primas nuptios damnas? Nec immerito, quoniam et ipsæ constant ex eo quod est stuprum." EXHORT. CASTIT. And thus Jerome; "Hanc tantum esse differentiam inter uxorem et scortum, quod tolerabiliu, sit uni esse prostitutam quam pluribus."

2. Contaminatio. —; EDIT.

3. History of France, vol. ii. p. 668.


§ 186. Advantages of glory.

THE glory of a nation is intimately connected with its power, and indeed forms a considerable part of it. It is this brilliant advantage that procures it the esteem of other nations, and renders it respectable to its neighbours. A nation whose reputation is well established — especially one whose glory is illustrious — is courted by all sovereigns; they desire its friendship, and are afraid of offending it. Its friends, and those who wish to become so, favour its enterprises; and those who envy its prosperity are afraid to show their ill-will.

§ 187. Duty of the nation.

It is, then, of great advantage to a nation to establish its reputation and glory; hence, this becomes one of the most important of the duties it owes to itself. True glory consists in the favourable opinion of men of wisdom and discernment; it is acquired by the virtues or good qualities of the head and the heart, and by great actions, which are the fruits of those virtues. A nation may have a two-fold claim to it; — first, by what it does in its national character, by the conduct of those who have the administration of its affairs, and are invested with its authority and government; and, secondly, by the merit of the individuals of whom the nation is composed.

§ 188. Duty of the prince.

A prince, a sovereign of whatever kind, being bound to exert every effort for the good of the nation, is doubtless obliged to extend its glory as far as lies in his power. We have seen that his duty is to labour after the perfection of the state, and of the people who are subject to him; by that means he will make them merit a good reputation and glory. He ought always to have this object in view, in every thing he undertakes, and in the use he makes of his power. Let him, in all his actions, display justice, moderation, and greatness of soul, and he will thus acquire for himself and his people a name respected by the universe, and not less useful than glorious. The glory of Henry IV, saved France. In the deplorable state in which he found affairs, his virtues gave animation to the loyal part of his subjects, and encouraged foreign nations to lend him their assistance, and to enter into an alliance with him against the ambitious Spaniards. In his circumstances, a weak prince of little estimation would have been abandoned by all the world; people would have been afraid of being involved in his ruin.

Besides the virtues which constitute the glory of princes as well as of private persons, there is a dignity and decorum that particularly belong to the supreme rank, and which a sovereign ought to observe with the greatest care. He cannot neglect them without degrading himself, and casting a stain upon the state. Every thing that emanates from the throne ought to bear the character of purity, nobleness, and greatness. What an idea do we conceive of a people, when we see their sovereign display, in his public acts, a meanness of sentiment by which a private person would think himself disgraced! All the majesty of the nation resides in the person of the prince; what, then, must become of it, if he prostitutes it, or suffers it to be prostituted by those who speak and act in his name? The minister who puts into his master's mouth a language unworthy of him, deserves to be turned out of office with every mark of ignominy.

§ 189. Duty of the citizens.

The reputation of individuals is, by a common and natural mode of speaking and thinking, made to reflect on the whole nation. In general, we attribute a virtue or a vice to a people, when that vice or that virtue is frequently observed among them. We say that a nation is warlike, when it produces a great number of brave warriors; that it is learned, when there are many learned men among the citizens; and that it excels in the arts, when it produces many able artists. On the other hand, we call it cowardly, lazy, or stupid, when men of those characters are more numerous there than elsewhere. The citizens, being obliged to labour with all their might to promote the welfare and advantage of their country, not only owe to themselves the care of deserving a good reputation, but they also owe it to the nation, whose glory is so liable to be influenced by theirs. Bacon, Newton, Descartes, Leibnitz, and Bernouilli, have each done honour to his native country, and essentially benefited it by the glory he acquired. Great ministers, and great generals — an Oxenstiern, a Turenne, a Marlborough, a Ruyter — serve their country in a double capacity, both by their actions and by their glory. On the other hand, the fear of reflecting a disgrace on his country will furnish the good citizen with a new motive for abstaining from every dishonourable action. And the prince ought not to suffer his subjects to give themselves up to vices capable of bringing infamy on the nation, or even of simply tarnishing the brightness of its glory; he has a right to suppress and to punish scandalous enormities, which do a real injury to the state.

§ 190. Example of the Swiss.

The example of the Swiss is very capable of showing how advantageous glory may prove to a nation. (56) The high reputation they have acquired for their valour, and which they still gloriously support, has preserved them in peace for above two centuries, and rendered all the powers of Europe desirous of their assistance. Louis XI., while dauphin, was witness of the prodigies of valour they performed at the battle of St. Jacques, near Basle, and he immediately formed the design of closely attaching to his interest so intrepid a nation.1 The twelve hundred gallant heroes, who on this occasion attacked an army of between fifty and sixty thousand veteran troops, first defeated the vanguard of the Armagnacs, which was eighteen thousand strong; afterwards, rashly engaging the main body of the army, they perished almost to a man, without being able to complete their victory.2 But, besides their terrifying the enemy, and preserving Switzerland from a ruinous invasion, they rendered her essential service by the glory they acquired for her arms. A reputation for an inviolable fidelity is no less advantageous to that nation; and they have at all times been jealous of preserving it. The canton of Zug punished with death that unworthy soldier who betrayed the confidence of the duke of Milan by discovering that prince to the French, when, to escape them, he had disguised himself in the habit of the Swiss, and placed himself in their ranks as they were marching out of Novara.3

§ 191. Attacking the glory of a nation is doing her an injury.

Since the glory of a nation is a real and substantial advantage, she has a right to defend it, as well as her other advantages. He who attacks her glory does her an injury; and she has a right to exact of him, even by force of arms, a just reparation. We cannot, then condemn those measures, sometimes taken by sovereigns to support or avenge the dignity of their crown. They are equally just and necessary. If, when they do not proceed from too lofty pretensions, we attribute them to a vain pride, we only betray the grossest ignorance of the art of reigning: and despise one of the firmest supports of the greatness and safety of a state.

(56) This observation properly refers to ante, § 124, p. 54.

1. See the Memoirs of Comines.

2. Of this small army, "eleven hundred and fifty-eight were counted dead on the field, and thirty-two wounded. Twelve men only escaped, who were considered by their countrymen as cowards that had preferred a life of shame to the honour of dying for their country." History of the Helvetic Confederacy, by M. de Watteville, vol. i. p. 250. — Tschudi, p. 425.

3. Vogel's Historical and political Treatise of the Alliances between France and the Thirteen Cantons, p. 75, 76.


§ 192. Protection.

WHEN a nation is not capable of preserving herself from insult and oppression, she may procure the protection of a more powerful state. If she obtains this by only engaging to perform certain articles, as to pay a tribute in return for the safety obtained, — to furnish her protector with troops, — and to embark in all his wars as a joint concern, — but still reserving to herself the right of administering her own government at pleasure, — it is a simple treaty of protection, that does not all derogate from her sovereignty, and differs not from the ordinary treaties of alliance, otherwise than as it creates a difference in the dignity of the contracting parties.

§ 193. Voluntary submission of one nation to another.

But this matter is sometimes carried still farther; and, although a nation is under an obligation to preserve with the utmost care the liberty and independence it inherits from nature, yet when it has not sufficient strength of itself, and feels itself unable to resist its enemies, it may lawfully subject itself to a more powerful nation on certain conditions agreed to by both parties: and the compact or treaty of submission will thenceforward be the measure and rule of the rights of each. For, since the people who enter into subjection resign a right which naturally belongs to them, and transfer it to the other nation, they are perfectly at liberty to annex what conditions they please to this transfer; and the other party, by accepting their submission on this footing, engages to observe religiously all the clauses of the treaty.

§ 194. Several kinds of submission.

This submission may be varied to infinity, according to the will of the contracting parties: it may either leave the inferior nation a part of the sovereignty, restraining it only in certain respects, or it may totally abolish it, so that the superior nation shall become the sovereign of the other, — or, finally, the lesser nation may be incorporated with the greater, in order thenceforward to form with it but one and the same state: and then the citizens of the former will have the same privileges as those with whom they are united. The Roman history furnishes examples of each of these three kinds of submission, — 1. The allies of the Roman people, such as the inhabitants of Latium were for a long time, who, in several respects, depended on Rome, but, in all others, were governed according to their own laws, and by their own magistrates; — 2. The countries reduced to Roman provinces, as Capua, whose inhabitants submitted absolutely to the Romans; — 1 3. The nations to which Rome granted the freedom of the city. In after times the emperors granted that privilege to all the nations subject to the empire, and thus transformed all their subjects into citizens.

§ 195. Right of the citizens when the nation submits to a foreign power.

In the case of a real subjection to a foreign power, the citizens who do not approve this change are not obliged to submit to it: — they ought to be allowed to sell their effects and retire elsewhere. For, my having entered into a society does not oblige me to follow its fate, when it dissolves itself in order to submit to a foreign dominion. I submitted to the society as it then was, to live in that society as the member of a sovereign state, and not in another; I am bound to obey it, while it remains a political society: but, when it divests itself of the quality in order to receive its laws from another state, it breaks the bond of union between its members, and releases them from their obligations.

§ 196. These compacts annulled by the failure of protection.

When a nation has placed itself under the protection of another that is more powerful, or has even entered into subjection to it with a view to receiving its protection, — if the latter does not effectually protect the other in case of need, it is manifest, that, by failing in its engagements, it loses all the rights it had acquired by the convention, and that the other, being disengaged from the obligation it had

contracted, re-enters into the possession of all its rights, and recovers its independence, or its liberty. It is to be observed that this takes place even in cases where the protector does not fail in his engagements through the want of good faith, but merely through inability. For, the weaker nation having submitted only for the sake of obtaining protection, — if the other proves unable to fulfil that essential condition, the compact is dissolved; — the weaker resumes its rights, and may, if it thinks proper, have recourse to a more effectual protection.2 Thus, the dukes of Austria, who had acquired a right of protection, and in some sort a sovereignty over the city of Lucerne, being unwilling or unable to protect it effectually, that city concluded an alliance with the three first cantons; and the dukes having carried their complaint to the emperor, the inhabitants of Lucerne replied, "that they had used the natural right common to all men, by which every one is permitted to endeavour to procure his own safety when he is abandoned by those who are obliged to grant him assistance."3

§ 197. Or by the infidelity of the party protected.

The law is the same with respect to both the contracting parties: if the party protected do not fulfil their engagements with fidelity, the protector is discharged from his; he may afterwards refuse his protection, and declare the treaty broken, in case the situation of his affairs renders such a step advisable.

§ 198. And by the encroachments of the protector.

In virtue of the same principle which discharges one of the contracting parties when the other fails in his engagements, if the more powerful nation should assume a greater authority over the weaker one than the treaty of protection or submission allows, the latter may consider the treaty as broken, and provide for its safety according to its own discretion. If it were otherwise, the inferior nation would lose by a convention which it had only formed with a view to its safety; and if it were still bound by its engagements when its protector abuses them and openly violates his own, the treaty would, to the weaker party, prove a downright deception. However, as some people maintain, that, in this case, the inferior nation has only the right of resistance and of imploring foreign aid, — and particularly as the weak cannot take too many precautions against the powerful, who are skilful in colouring over their enterprises, — the safest way is to insert in this kind of treaty a clause declaring it null and void whenever the superior power shall arrogate to itself any rights not expressly granted by the treaty.

§ 199. How the right of the nation protected is lost by its silence.

But if the nation that is protected, or that has placed itself in subjection on certain conditions, does not resist the encroachments of that power from which it has sought support — if it makes no opposition to them — if it preserves a profound silence, when it might and ought to speak — its patient acquiescence becomes in length of time a tacit consent that legitimates the rights of the usurper. There would be no stabiliity in the affairs of men, and especially in those of nations, if long possession, accompanied by the silence of the persons concerned, did not produce a degree of right. But it must be observed, that silence, in order to show tacit consent, ought to be voluntary. If the inferior nation proves that violence and fear prevented its giving testimonies of its opposition, nothing can be concluded from its silence, which therefore gives no right to the usurper.

1. Haque populum Campanum, urbemque Capuam, agros, delubra deum, divina himanaque omnia, in vestram, patres conscripti, populique Romani ditionem dedimus. LIVY, book vii. c. 31.

2. We speak here of a nation that has rendered itself subject to another, and not of one that has incorporated itself with another state, so as to constitute a part of it. The latter stands in the same predicament with all the other citizens. Of this case we shall treat in the following chapter.

3. See The History of Switzerland. The United Provinces, having been obliged to rely wholly on thelr own efforts in defending themselves against Spain, would no longer acknowledge any dependence on the empire from which they had received no assistance. GROTIUS, Hist. of the Troubles in the LowCountries, b. xvi. p. 627.


§ 200. Difference between the present case and those in the preceding chapter.

WE have said that an independent nation, which, without becoming a member of another state, has voluntarily rendered itself dependent on, or subject to it, in order to obtain protection, is released from its engagements as soon as that protection fails, even though the failure happen through the inability of the protector. But we are not to conclude that it is precisely the same case with every nation that cannot obtain speedy and effectual protection from its natural sovereign or the state of which it is a member. The two cases are very different. In the former, a free nation becomes subject to another state, — not to partake of all the other's advantages, and form with it an absolute union of interests (for, if the more powerful state were willing to confer so great a favour, the weaker one would be incorporated, not subjected), — but to obtain protection alone by the sacrifice of its liberty, without expecting any other return. When, therefore, the sole and indispensable condition of its subjection is (from what cause soever) not complied with, it is free from its engagements; and its duty towards itself obliges it to take fresh methods to provide for its own security. But the several members of one individual state, as they all equally participate in the advantages it procures, are bound uniformly to support it: they have entered into mutual engagements to continue united with each other, and to have on all occasions but one common cause. If those who are menaced or attacked might separate themselves from the others, in order to avoid a present danger, every state would soon be dismembered and destroyed. It is, then, essentially necessary for the safety of society, and even for the welfare of all its members, that each part should with all its might resist a common enemy, rather than separate from the others; and this is consequently one of the necessary conditions of the political association. The natural subjects of a prince are bound to him without any other reserve than the observation of the fundamental laws; — it is their duty to remain faithful to him, as it is his, on the other hand, to take care to govern them well: both parties have but one common interest; the people and the prince together constitute but one complete whole, one and the same society. It is, then, an essential and necessary condition of the political society, that the subjects remain united to their prince as far as in their power.(57)

§ 201. Duty of the members of a state, or subjects of a prince, who are in danger.

When, therefore, a city or a province is threatened or actually attacked, it must not, for the sake of escaping the danger, separate itself from the state of which it is a member, or abandon its natural prince, even when the state or the prince is unable to give it immediate and effectual assistance. Its duty, its political engagements, oblige it to make the greatest efforts, in order to maintain itself in its present state. If it is overcome by force, necessity, that irresistible law, frees it from its former engagements, and gives it a right to treat with the conqueror, in order to obtain the best terms possible. If it must either submit to him or perish, who can doubt but that it may and even ought to prefer the former alternative? Modern usage is conformable to this decision: — a city submits to the enemy when it cannot expect safety from a vigorous resistance; it takes an oath of fidelity to him; and its sovereign lays the blame on fortune alone.

§ 202. Their right when they are abandoned.

The state is obliged to defend and preserve all its members (§ 17); and the prince owes the same assistance to his subjects. If, therefore, the state or the prince refuses or neglects to succour a body of people who are exposed to imminent danger, the latter, being thus abandoned, become perfectly free to provide for their own safety and preservation in whatever manner they find most convenient, without paying the least regard to those who, by abandoning them, have been the first to fail in their duty. The country of Zug, being attacked by the Swiss in 1352, sent for succour to the duke of Austria, its sovereign; but that prince, being engaged in discourse concerning his hawks, at the time when the deputies appeared before him, would scarcely condescend to hear them. Thus abandoned, the people of Zug entered into the Helvetic confederacy.1 The city of Zurich had been in the same situation the year before. Being attacked by a band of rebellious citizens who were supported by the neighbouring nobility, and the house of Austria, it made application to the head of the empire: but Charles IV., who was then emperor, declared to its deputies that he could not defend it; — upon which Zurich secured its safety by an alliance with the Swiss.2 The same reason has authorized the Swiss, in general, to separate themselves entirely from the empire, which never protected them in any emergency; they had not owned its authority for a long time before their independence was acknowledged by the emperor and the whole Germanic body, at the treaty of Westphalia.

(57) Nemo potest exure patriam. This is part of natural allegiance, which no individual can shake off until the part of the country where he resides is absolutely conquered by a foreign power, and the parent state has acknowledged the severance. See 1 Chitty's Commercial Law. 129.

1. See Etterlin, Simler, and De Watteville.

2. See the same historians, and Bullinger, Stumpf, Tschudi and Stettler.


§ 203. Possession of a country by a nation.

HITHERTO we have considered the nation merely with respect to itself, without any regard to the country it possesses. Let us now see it established in a country which becomes its own property and habitation. The earth belongs to mankind in general; destined by the Creator to be their common habitation, and to supply them with food, they all possess a natural right to inhabit it, and derive from it whatever is necessary for their subsistence, and suitable to their wants. But when the human race became extremely multiplied, the earth was no longer capable of furnishing spontaneously, and without culture, sufficient support for its inhabitants; neither could it have received proper cultivation from wandering tribes of men continuing to possess it in common. It therefore became necessary that those tribes should fix themselves somewhere, and appropriate to themselves portions of land, in order that they might, without being disturbed in their labour, or disappointed of the fruits of their industry, apply themselves to render those lands fertile, and thence derive their subsistence. Such must have been the origin of the rights of property and dominion: and it was a sufficient ground to justify their establishment. Since their introduction, the right which was common to all mankind is individually restricted to what each lawfully possesses. The country which a nation inhabits, whether that nation has emigrated thither in a body, or the different families of which it consists were previously scattered over the country, and, there uniting, formed themselves into a political society, — that country, I say, is the settlement of the nation, and it has a peculiar and exclusive right to it.

§ 204. Its right over the parts in its possession.

This right comprehends two things: 1. The domain virtue of which the nation alone may use the country for the supply of its necessities, may dispose of it as it thinks proper, and derive from it every advantage it is capable of yielding. 2. The empire, or the right of sovereign command, by which the nation directs and regulates at its pleasure every thing that passes in the country.

§ 205. Acquisition of the sovereignty in a vacant country.

When a nation takes possession of a country to which no prior owner can lay claim, it is considered as acquiring the empire or sovereignly of it, at the same time with the domain. For, since, the nation is free and independent, it can have no intention, in settling in a country, to leave to others the right of command, or any of those rights that constitute sovereignty. The whole space over which a nation extends its government becomes the seal of its jurisdiction, and is called its territory.

§ 206. Another manner of acquiring the empire in a free country.

If a number of free families, scattered over an independent country, come to unite for the purpose of forming a nation or state, they altogether acquire the sovereignty over the whole country they inhabit: for they were previously in possession of the domain — a proportional share of it belonging to each individual family: and since they are willing to form together a political society, and establish a public authority, which every member of the society shall be bound to obey, it is evidently their intention to attribute to that public authority the right of command over the whole country.

§ 207. How a nation appropriates to itself a desert country.

All mankind have an equal right to things that have not yd fallen into the possession of any one; and those things belong to the person who first takes possession of them. When, therefore, a nation finds a country uninhabited, and without an owner, it may lawfully take possession of it: and, after it has sufficiently made known its will in this respect, it cannot be deprived of it by another nation. Thus navigators going on voyages of discovery, furnished with a commission from their sovereign, and meeting with islands or other lands in a desert state, have taken possession of them in the name of their nation: and this title has been usually respected, provided it was soon after followed by a real possession.

§ 208. A question on this subject.

But it is questioned whether a nation can, by the bare act of taking possession, appropriate to itself countries which it does not really occupy, and thus engross a much greater extent of territory than it is able to people or cultivate. It is not difficult to determine that such a pretension would be an absolute infringement of the natural rights of men, and repugnant to the views of nature, which, having destined the whole earth to supply the wants of mankind in general, gives no nation a right to appropriate to itself a country, except for the purpose of making use of it, and not of hindering others from deriving advantage from it. The law of nations will, therefore, not acknowledge the property and sovereignly of a nation over any uninhabited countries, except those of which it has really taken actual possession, in which it has formed settlements, or of which it makes actual use. in effect, when navigators have met with desert countries in which those of other nations had, in their transient visits, erected some monument to show their having taken possession of them, they have paid as little regard to that empty ceremony as to the regulation of the popes, who divided a great part of the world between the crowns of Castile and Portugal.1

There is another celebrated question, to which the discovery of the New World has principally given rise. It is asked whether a nation may lawfully take possession of some part of a vast country, in which there are none but eratic nations whose scanty population is incapable of occupying the whole? We have already observed (§ 81), in establishing the obligation to cultivate the earth, that those nations cannot exclusively appropriate to themselves more land than they have occasion for, or more than they are able to settle and cultivate. Their unsettled habitation in those immense regions cannot be accounted a true and legal possession; and the people of Europe, too closely pent up at home, finding land of which the savages stood in no particular need, and of which they made no actual and constant use, were lawfully entitled to take possession of it, and settle it with colonies. The earth, as we have already observed, belongs to mankind in general, and was designed to furnish them with subsistence: if each nation had, from the beginning, resolved to appropriate to itself a vast country, that the people might live only by hunting, fishing, and wild fruits, our globe would not be sufficient to maintain a tenth part of its present inhabitants. We do not, therefore, deviate from the views of nature, in confining the Indians within narrower limits, However, we cannot help praising the moderation of the English Puritans who first settled in New England; who, notwithstanding their being furnished with a charter from their sovereign, purchased of the Indians the land of which they intended to take possession.2 This laudable example was followed by William Penn, and the colony of Quakers that he conducted to Pennsylvania.

§ 210. Colonies.

When a nation takes possession of a distant country, and settles a colony there, that country, though separated from the principal establishment, or mother-country, naturally becomes a part of the state, equally with its ancient possessions. Whenever, therefore, the political laws, or treaties, make no distinction between them, every thing said of the territory of a nation, must also extend to its colonies.

1. Those decrees being of a very singular nature, and hardly anywhere to be found but in very scarce books, the reader will not be displeased with seeing here an extract of them.

The bull of Alexander VI. by which he gives to Ferdinand and Isabella, king and queen of Castile and Arragon, the New World, discovered by Christopher Columbus.

"Motu proprio" (says the pope), "non ad vestram, vel alterius pro vobis super hoc nobis oblatæ petitionis instantiam, sed de nostra mera liberalitate, et ex certa scientia, ac de apostolicæ potestatis plenitudine, omnes insulas et terras firmas, inventas et inveniendas, detectas et detegendas, versus occidentem el meridiem." (drawing a line from one pole to the other, at a hundred leagues to the west of the Azores.) "auctoritate omnipotentis Dei nobis in beato Petro concessa, ac vicariatis Jesu Christi, qua fungimur in terris, cum omnibus illarum dominiis, civitatibus, &c., vobis, hæredibusque et successoribus vestris, Castellæ et Legionis regibus, in perpetuum tenore præsentium donamus, concedimus, assignamus, vosque et hæredes ac successores, præfatos, illorum dominos, cum plena libera et omni moda potestate, auctoritate et jurisdictione, facimus, constituimus, et deputamus," The pope excepts only what might be in the possession of some other Christian prince before the year 1493; as if he had a greater right to give what belonged to nobody, and especially what was possessed by the American nations. He adds: "Ac quibuscunque personis eujuseunque dignitatis, etiam imperialis et regalis, status, gradus, ordinis, vel conditionis, sub excommunicationis latæ sententiæ pœna, quam eo ipso, si contra fecerint, incurrant, districtius inhibemus ne ad insulas et terras firmas inventas et inveniendas, detactas et detegendas, versus occidentem et meridiem...... pro mercibus habendis, vel quavis alia de causa, accedere præsumant absque vestra ac hæredum et successorum vestrorum præditcorum licentia speciali, &c. Datum Romæ apud S. Petrum anno 1493. IV. nonas Maji, Pontific. nostri anno primo." Leibnitti Codex Juris Gent. Diplomat. 203.

See ibid. (Diplom. 165), the bull by which pope Nicholas V. gave to Alphonso, king of Portugal, and to the infant Henry, the sovereignty of Guinea, and the power of subduing the barbarous nations of those countries forbidding any other to visit that country without the permission of Portugal. This act is dated Rome, on the 8th of January, 1454.

2. History of the English Colonies in North America.


§ 211. What is our country.

THE whole of the countries possessed by a nation and subject to its laws, forms, as we have already said, its territory, and is the common country of all the individuals of the nation. We have been obliged to anticipate the definition of the term, native country (§ 122), because our subject led us to treat of the love of our country — a virtue so excellent and so necessary in a state. Supposing, then, this definition already known, it remains that we should explain several things that have a relation to this subject, and answer the questions that naturally arise from it.

§ 212. Citizens and natives.

The citizens are the members of the civil society; bound to this society by certain duties, and subject to its authority, they equally participate in its advantages. The natives, or natural-born citizens, are those born in the country, of parents who are citizens. As the society cannot exist and perpetuate itself otherwise than by the children of the citizens, those children naturally follow the condition of their fathers, and succeed to all their rights. The society is supposed to desire this, in consequence of what it owes to its own preservation; and it is presumed, as matter of course, that each citizen, on entering into society, reserves to his children the right of becoming members of it. The country of the fathers is therefore that of the children; and these become true citizens merely by their tacit consent. We shall soon see whether, on their coming to the years of discretion, they may renounce their right, and what they owe to the society in which they were born. I say, that, in order to be of the country, it is necessary that a person be born of a father who is a citizen; for, if he is born there of a foreigner, it will be only the place of his birth, and not his country.

§ 213. Inhabitants.

The inhabitants, as distinguished from citizens, are foreigners, who are permitted to settle and stay in the country. Bound to the society by their residence, they are subject to the laws of the state while they reside in it; and they are obliged to defend it, because it grants them protection, though they do not participate in all the rights of citizens. They enjoy only the advantages which the law or custom gives them. The perpetual inhabitants are those who have received the right of perpetual residence. These are a kind of citizens of an inferior order, and are united to the society without participating in all its advantages. Their children follow the condition of their fathers; and, as the state has given to these the right of perpetual residence, their right passes to their posterity.

§ 214. Naturalization.(58)

A nation, or the sovereign who represents it, may grant to a foreigner the quality of citizen, by admitting him into the body of the political society. This is called naturalization. There are some states in which the sovereign cannot grant to a foreigner all the rights of citizens, — for example, that of holding public offices — and where, consequently, he has the power of granting only an imperfect naturalization. It is here a regulation of the fundamental law, which limits the power of the prince. In other states, as in England and Poland, the prince cannot naturalize a single person, without the concurrence of the nation, represented by its deputies. Finally, there are states, as, for instance, England, where the single circumstance of being born in the country naturalizes the children of a foreigner.

§ 215. Children of citizens born in a foreign country.

It is asked whether the children born of citizens in a foreign country are citizens? The laws have decided this question in several countries, and their regulations must be followed.(59) By the law of nature alone, children follow the condition of their fathers, and enter into all their rights (§ 212); the place of birth produces no change in this particular, and cannot, of itself, furnish any reason for taking from a child what nature has given him; I say "of itself," for, civil or political laws may, for particular reasons, ordain otherwise. But I suppose that the father has not entirely quitted his country in order to settle elsewhere. If he has fixed his abode in a foreign country, he is become a member of another society, at least as a perpetual inhabitant; and his children will be members of it also.

§ 216. Children born at sea.

As to children born at sea, if they are born in those parts of it that are possessed by their nation, they are born in the country: if it is on the open sea, there is no reason to make a distinction between them and those who are born in the country; for, naturally, it is our extraction, not the place of our birth, that gives us rights: and if the children are born in a vessel belonging to the nation, they may be reputed born in its territories; for, it is natural to consider the vessels of a nation as parts of its territory, especially when they sail upon a free sea, since the state retains its jurisdiction over those vessels. And as, according to the commonly received custom, this jurisdiction is preserved over the vessels, even in parts of the sea subject to a foreign dominion, all the children born in the vessels of a nation are considered as born in its territory. For the same reason, those born in a foreign vessel are reputed born in a foreign country, unless their birth took place in a port belonging to their own nation; for, the port is more particularly a part of the territory; and the mother, though at that moment on board a foreign vessel, is not on that account out of the country. I suppose that she and her husband have not quitted their native country to settle elsewhere.

§ 217. Children born in the armies of the state.

For the same reasons also, children born out of the country, in the armies of the state, or in the house of its minister at a foreign court, are reputed born in the country; for a citizen who is absent with his family, on the service of the state, but still dependent on it, and subject to its jurisdiction, cannot be considered as having quitted its territory.

§ 218. Settlement.

Settlement is a fixed residence in any place, with an intention of always staying there. A man does not, then, establish his settlement in any place, unless he makes sufficiently known his intention of fixing there, either tacitly or by an express declaration. However, this declaration is no reason why, if he afterwards changes his mind, he may not transfer his settlement elsewhere. In this sense, a person who stops at a place upon business, even though he stay a long time, has only a simple habitation there, but has no settlement. Thus, the envoy of a foreign prince has not his settlement at the court where he resides.

The natural, or original settlement, is that which we acquire by birth, in the place where our father has his; and we are considered as retaining it, till we have abandoned it, in order to choose another. The acquired settlement (adscititium) is that where we settle by our own choice.

§ 219. Vagrants.

Vagrants are people who have no settlement. Consequently, those born of vagrant parents have no country, since a man's country is the place where, at the time of his birth, his parents had their settlement (§ 122), or it is the state of which his father was then a member, which comes to the same point; for, to settle for ever in a nation, is to become a member of it, at least as a perpetual inhabitant, if not with all the privileges of a citizen. We may, however, consider the country of a vagrant to be that of his child, while that vagrant is considered as not having absolutely renounced his natural or original settlement.

§ 220. Whether a person may quit his country.

Many distinctions will be necessary, in order to give a complete solution to the celebrated question, whether a man may quit his country or the society of which he is a member.(60) — 1. The children are bound by natural ties to the society in which they were born; they are under an obligation to show themselves grateful for the protection it has afforded to their fathers, and are in a great measure indebted to it for their birth and education. They ought, therefore, to love it, as we have already shown (§ 122), to express a just gratitude to it, and requite its services as far as possible, by serving it in turn. We have observed above (§ 212), that they have a right to enter into the society of which their fathers were members. But every man is born free; and the son of a citizen, when come to the years of discretion, may examine whether it be convenient for him to join the society for which he was destined by his birth. If he does not find it advantageous to remain in it, he is at liberty to quit it, on making it a compensation for what it has done in his favour,1 and preserving, as far as his new engagements will allow him, the sentiments of love and gratitude he owes it. A man's obligations to his natural country may, however, change, lessen, or entirely vanish, according as he shall have quitted it lawfully, and with good reason, in order to choose another, or has been banished from it deservedly or unjustly, in due form of law or by violence.

2. As soon as the son of a citizen attains the age of manhood, and acts as a citizen, he tacitly assumes that character; his obligations, like those of others who expressly and formally enter into engagements with society, become stronger and more extensive: but the case is very different with respect to him of whom we have been speaking. When a society has not been formed for a determinate time, it is allowable to quit it, when that separation can take place without detriment to the society. A citizen may therefore quit the state of which he is a member, provided it be not in such a conjuncture when he cannot abandon it without doing it a visible injury. But we must here draw a distinction between what may in strict justice be done, and what is honourable and conformable to every duty — in a word, between the internal, and the external obligation. Every man has a right to quit his country, in order to settle in any other, when by that step he does not endanger the welfare of his country. But a good citizen will never determine on such a step without necessity, or without very strong reasons. It is taking a dishonourable advantage of our liberty, to quit our associates upon slight pretences, after having derived considerable advantages from them; and this is the case of every citizen, with respect to his country.

3. As to those who have the cowardice to abandon their country in a time of danger, and seek to secure themselves, instead of defending it, they manifestly violate the social compact, by which all the contracting parties engaged to defend themselves in a united body, and in concert; they are infamous deserters, whom the state has a right to punish severely.2

§ 221. How a person may absent himself for a time.

In a time of peace and tranquillity, when the country has no actual need of all her children, the very welfare of the state, and that of the citizens, requires that every individual be at liberty to travel on business, provided that he be always ready to return, whenever the public interest recalls him. It is not presumed that any man has bound himself to the society of which he is a member, by an engagement never to leave the country when the interest of his affairs requires it, and when he can absent himself without injury to his country.

§ 222. Variation of the political laws in this respect, (61) These must be obeyed.

The political laws of nations vary greatly in this respect. In some nations, it is at all times, except in case of actual war, allowed to every citizen to absent himself, and even to quit the country altogether, whenever he thinks proper without alleging any reason for it. This liberty, contrary in its own nature to the welfare and safety of society, can nowhere be tolerated but in a country destitute of resources and incapable of supplying the wants of its inhabitants. In such a country there can only be an imperfect society; for civil society ought to be capable of enabling all its members to procure, by their own labour and industry, all the necessaries of life: unless it effects this, it has no right to require them to devote themselves entirely to it. In some other states, every citizen is left at liberty to travel abroad on business, but not to quit his country altogether, without the express permission of the sovereign. Finally, there are states where the rigour of the government will not permit any one whatsoever to go out of the country without passports in form, which are even not granted without great difficulty. In all these cases, it is necessary to conform to the laws, when they are made by a lawful authority. But, in the last-mentioned case, the sovereign abuses his power, and reduces his subjects to an insupportable slavery, if he refuses them permission to travel for their own advantage, when he might grant it to them without inconvenience, and without danger to the state. Nay, it will presently appear, that, on certain occasions, he cannot, under any pretext, detain persons who wish to quit the country, with the intention of abandoning it for ever.

§ 223. Cases in which a citizen has a right to quit his country.

There are cases in which a citizen has an absolute right to renounce his country, and abandon it entirely — a right founded on reasons derived from the very nature of the social compact. 1. If the citizen cannot procure subsistence in his own country, it is undoubtedly lawful for him to seek it elsewhere. For, political or civil society being entered into only with a view of facilitating to each of its members the means of supporting himself, and of living in happiness and safety, it would be absurd to pretend that a member, whom it cannot furnish with such things as are most necessary, has not a right to leave it.

2. If the body of the society, or he who represents it, absolutely fail to discharge their obligations towards a citizen, the latter may withdraw himself. For, if one of the contracting parties does not observe his engagements, the other is no longer bound to fulfil his; as the contract is reciprocal between the society and its members. It is on the same principle, also, that me society may expel a member who violates its laws.

3. If the major part of the nation, or the sovereign who represents it, attempt to enact laws relative to matters in which the social compact cannot oblige every citizen to submission, those who are averse to these laws have a right to quit the society, and go settle elsewhere. For instance, if the sovereign, or the greater part of the nation, will allow but one religion in the state, those who believe and profess another religion have a right to withdraw, and take with mem their families and effects. For, they cannot be supposed to have subjected themselves to the authority of men, in affairs of conscience;3and if the society suffers and is weakened by their departure, the blame must be imputed to the intolerant party; for it is they who fail in their observance of the social compact — it is they who violate it, and force the others to a separation. We have elsewhere touched upon some other instances of this third case, — that of a popular state wishing to have a sovereign (§ 33), and that of an independent nation taking the resolution to submit to a foreign power (§ 195).

§ 224. Emigrants.

Those who quit their country for any lawful reason, with a design to settle elsewhere, and take their families and property with them, are called emigrants.

§ 225. Sources of their right

Their right to emigrate may arise from several sources. 1. In the cases we have just mentioned (§ 223), it is a natural right, which is certainly reserved to each individual in the very compact itself by which civil society was formed.

2. The liberty of emigration may, in certain cases, be secured to the citizens by a fundamental law of the state. The citizens of Neufchatel and Valangin in Switzerland may quit the country and carry off their effects at their own pleasure, without even paying any duties.

3. It may be voluntarily granted them by the sovereign.

4. This right may be derived from some treaty made with a foreign power, by which a sovereign has promised to leave full liberty to those of his subjects, who, for a certain reason — on account of religion, for instance — desire to transplant themselves into me territories of that power. There are such treaties between the German princes, particularly for cases in which religion is concerned. In Switzerland likewise, a citizen of Bern who wishes to emigrate to Fribourg, and there profess the religion of the place, and, reciprocally, a citizen of Fribourg who, for a similar reason, is desirous of removing to Bern, has a right to quit his native country, and carry off with him all his property.

It appears from several passages in history, particularly the history of Switzerland and the neighbouring countries, that the law of nations, established there by custom some ages back, did not permit a state to receive the subjects of another state into the number of its citizens. This vicious custom had no other foundation than the slavery to which the people were then reduced. A prince, a lord, ranked his subjects under the head of his private property; he calculated their number as he did that of his flocks; and, to the disgrace of human nature, this strange abuse is not yet everywhere eradicated.

§226. If the sovereign infringes their right, he injures them.

If the sovereign attempts to molest those who have a right to emigrate, he does them an injury; and the injured individuals may lawfully implore the protection of the power who is willing to receive them. Thus we have seen Frederic William, king of Prussia, grant his protection to the emigrant Protestants of Saltzburgh.

§227. Supplicants.

The name of supplicants is given to all fugitives who implore the protection of a sovereign against the nation or prince they have quitted. We cannot solidly establish what the law of nations determines with respect to them, until we have treated of the duties of one nation towards others.

§ 228. Exile and banishment.

Finally, exile is another manner of leaving our country. An exile is a man driven from the place of his settlement, or constrained to quit it, but without a mark of infamy. Banishment is a similar expulsion, with a mark of infamy annexed.4 Both may be for a limited time, or for ever. If an exile, or banished man, had his settlement in his own country, he is exiled or banished from his country. It is, however, proper to observe that common usage applies also the terms exile and banishment to the expulsion of a foreigner who is driven from a country where he had no settlement, and to which he is, either for a limited time, or for ever, prohibited to return.

As a man may be deprived of any right whatsoever by way of punishment — exile, which deprives him of the right of dwelling in a certain place, may be inflicted as a punishment: banishment is always one; for, a mark of infamy cannot be set on any one, but with a view of punishing him for a fault, either real or pretended.

When the society has excluded one of its members by a perpetual banishment, he is only banished from the lands of that society, and it cannot hinder him from living wherever else he pleases; for, after having driven him out, it can no longer claim any authority over him. The contrary, however, may take place by particular conventions between two or more states. Thus, every member of the Helvetic confederacy may banish its own subject out of the territories of Switzerland in general; and in this case the banished person will not be allowed to live in any of the cantons, or in the territories of their allies.

Exile is divided into voluntary and involuntary. It is voluntary, when a man quits his settlement to escape some punishment, or to avoid some calamity — and involuntary, when it is the effect of a superior order.

Sometimes a particular place is appointed, where the exiled person is to remain during his exile; or a certain space is particularized, which he is forbid to enter. These various circumstances and modifications depend on him who has the power of sending into exile.

§ 229. The exile and banished man have a right to live somewhere.

A man, by being exiled or banished, does not forfeit the human character, nor consequently his right to dwell somewhere on earth. He derives this right from nature, or rather from its Author, who has destined the earth for the habitation of mankind; and the introduction of property cannot have impaired the right which every man has to the use of such things as are absolutely necessary — a right which he brings with him into the world at the moment of his birth.

§ 230. Nature of this right.

But though this right is necessary and perfect in the general view of it, we must not forget that it is but imperfect with respect to each particular country. For, on the other hand, every nation has a right to refuse admitting a foreigner into her territory, when he cannot enter it without exposing the nation to evident danger, or doing her a manifest injury, what she owes to herself, the care of her own safety, gives her this right; and, in virtue of her natural liberty, it belongs to the nation to judge, whether her circumstances will or will not justify the admission of that foreigner (Prelim. § 16). He cannot, then, settle by a full right, and as he pleases, in the place he has chosen, but must ask permission of the chief of the place; and, if it is refused, it is his duty to submit.

§ 231. Duty of nations towards them.

However, as property could not be introduced to the prejudice of the right acquired by every human creature, of not being absolutely deprived of such things as are necessary — no nation can, without good reasons, refuse even a perpetual residence to a man driven from his country. But, if particular and substantial reasons prevent her from affording him an asylum, this man has no longer any right to demand it — because, in such a case, the country inhabited by the nation cannot, at the same time, serve for her own use, and that of this foreigner. Now, supposing even that things are still in common, nobody can arrogate to himself the use of a thing which actually serves to supply the wants of another. Thus, a nation, whose lands are scarcely sufficient to supply the wants of the citizens, is not obliged to receive into its territories a company of fugitives or exiles. Thus, it ought even absolutely to reject them, if they are infected with a contagious disease. Thus, also, it has a right to send them elsewhere, if it has just cause to fear that they will corrupt the manners of the citizens, that they will create religious disturbances, or occasion any other disorder, contrary to the public safety. In a word, it has a right, and is even obliged to follow, in this respect, the suggestions of prudence. But this prudence should be free from unnecessary suspicion and jealousy; it should not be carried so far as to refuse a retreat to the unfortunate, for slight reasons, and on groundless and frivolous fears. The means of tempering it will be, never to lose sight of that charity and commiseration which are due to the unhappy. We must not suppress these feelings even for those who have fallen into misfortune through their own fault. For, we ought to hate the crime, but love the man, since all mankind ought to love each other.

§ 232. A nation cannot punish them for faults committed out of its territories.

If an exiled or banished man has been driven from his country for any crime, it does not belong to the nation in which he has taken refuge to punish him for that fault committed in a foreign country. For, nature does not give to men or to nations any right to inflict punishment, except for their own defence and safety (§ 169); whence it follows that we cannot punish any but those by whom we have been injured.

§ 233. Except such as affect the common safety of mankind.

But this very reason shows, that, although the justice of each nation ought in general to be confined to the punishment of crimes committed in its own territories, we ought to except from this rule those villains, who, by the nature and habitual frequency of their crimes, violate all public security, and declare themselves the enemies of the human race. Poisoners, assassins, and incendiaries by profession, may be exterminated wherever they are seized; for they attack and injure all nations by trampling under foot the foundations of their common safety. Thus, pirates are sent to the gibbet by the first into whose hands they fall. If the sovereign of the country where crimes of that nature have been committed, reclaims the perpetrators of them, in order to bring them to punishment, they ought to be surrendered to him, as being the person who is principally interested in punishing them in an exemplary manner. And as it is proper to have criminals regularly convicted by a trial in due form of law, this is a second reason for delivering up malefactors of that class to the states where their crimes have been committed. (62)

(58) See fully in general, and of naturalization in Great Britain in particular, 1 Chitty's Commercial Law, 123 to 131; 1 Bla. Com. 369; Bac. Ab. Aliens. A naturalization in a foreign country, without license, wilt not discharge a natural-born subject from his allegiance, 2 Chalmer's Col. Opin. 363. But a natural-born subject of England, naturalized in America, was holden to be entitled to trade as an American subject to the East Indies, 8 Term Rep. 39, 43, 45; and see Reeves, 2d ed. 328, 330, and 37 Geo. 3, c. 97. — C.

{A native citizen of the United States cannot throw off his allegiance to the government, without an Act of Congress authorizing him to do so. Miller v. The Resolution, 1 Dall. 10; Shanks v. Dupont, 3 Pet. S.C. Rep. 246; Coxe v. McIlvaine, 4 Cranch, 209; The Santissinta Trinidada, 7 Wheat. Rep. 763. The United states v. Gillies, Peter's C.C. Rep. 159.)

(59) See 1 Chitty's Commercial Law, 114, n. 1.; 115, n. 1.

(60) In Great Britain, the established maxim is nemo potest exuere patriam, 1 Bla. C. 369, 3 Chit. Com. Law, 129 to 132.

1. This is the foundation of the tax paid on quitting a country, called, in Latin, census emigrationis.

2. Charles XII. condemned to death and executed General Patkul, a native of Livonia, whom he had made prisoner in an engagement with the Saxons. But the sentence and execution were a violation of the laws of justice. Patkul, it is true, had been born a subject of the king of Sweden; but he had quitted his native country at the age of twelve years, and having been promoted in the army of Saxony, had, with the permission of his former sovereign sold the property he possessed in Livonia. he had therefore quitted his own country, to choose another (as every free citizen is at liberty to do, except, as we have observed above, at a critical moment, when the circumstances of his country require the aid of all her sons), and the king of Sweden, by permitting him to sell his property, had consented to his emigration.

(61) See post. Book II. ch. viii. § 108, p. 174. and Chitty's General Practice, p. 731 to 736, as to writs of ne exeat regno.

(62) A distinction has usually been taken between capital offences and mere misdemeanors, and for one state to allow the taking and removing an offender of the former class back into the country where the offence was committed, in order to take his trial in the latter, but not so in case of misdemeanors. But sometimes, as upon a charge of perjury, a foreign country will allow the removal of an offender even in case of a misdemeanor. See Ex parte Scott, 9 Barn. & Cress. 446. (A foreign government has no right, by the Law of Nations, to demand of the government of the United States a surrender of a citizen or subject of such foreign government, who has committed a crime in his own country. Such a right can only exist by treaty. Comm. v. Deacon, 10 Serg. &c Raw. 125; Case of Dos Santos, 2 Brocken. Rep. 493. The Case of Robins, Bee's Rep. 266; was under the treaty with Great Britain.)

3. See above, the chapter on Religion.

4. The common acceptation of these two terms is not repugnant to our application of them. The French academy says, "Banishment is only applied to condemnations indue course of law. Exile is only an absence caused by some disgrace at court." The reason is plain: such a condemnation from the tribunal of justice entails infamy on the emigrant; whereas a disgrace at court does not usually involve the same consequence.


§ 234. What the Romans called res communes.

LET us now see what is the nature of the different things contained in the country possessed by a nation, and endeavour to establish the general principles of the law by which they are regulated. This subject is treated by civilians under the title de rerum divisione. There are things which in their own nature cannot be possessed: there are others, of which nobody claims the property, and which remain common, as in their primitive state, when a nation takes possession of a country: the Roman lawyers called those things res communes, things common: such were, with them, the air, the running water, the sea, the fish, and wild beasts.

§ 235. Aggregate wealth of a nation, and its divisions.

Every thing susceptible of property is considered as belonging to the nation that possesses the country, and as forming the aggregate mass of its wealth. But the nation does not possess all those things in the same manner. Those not divided between particular communities, or among the individuals of a nation, are called public property. Some are reserved for the necessities of the state, and form the demesne of the crown, or of the republic: others remain common to all the citizens, who take advantage of them, each according to his necessities, or according to the laws which regulate their use; and these are called common property. There are others that belong to somebody or community, termed join property, res universitatis; and these are, with respect to this body in particular, what the public property is with respect to the whole nation. As the nation may be considered as a great community, we may indifferently give the name of common property to those things that belong to it in common, in such a manner that all the citizens may make use of them, and to those that are possessed in the same manner by a body or community; the same rules hold good with respect to both. Finally, the property possessed by individuals is termed private property, res singulorem.

§ 236. Two ways of acquiring public property.

When a nation in a body takes possession of a country, every thing that is not divided among its members remains common to the whole nation, and is called public property. There is a second way whereby a nation, and, in general, every community, may acquire possessions, viz. by the will of whosoever thinks proper to convey to it, under any title whatsoever, the domain or property of what he possesses.

§ 237. The revenues of the public property are naturally at the sovereign's disposal.

As soon as the nation commits the reins of government to the hands of a prince, it is considered as committing to him, at the same time, the means of governing. Since, therefore, the income of the public property, of the domain of the state, is destined for the expenses of government, it is naturally at the prince's disposal, and ought always to be considered in this light, unless the nation has, in express terms, excepted it in conferring the supreme authority, and has provided in some other manner for its disposal, and for the necessary expenses of the state, and the support of the prince's person and household. Whenever, therefore, the prince is purely and simply invested with the sovereign authority, it includes a full discretional power to dispose of the public revenues. The duty of the sovereign, indeed, obliges him to apply those revenues only to the necessities of the state; but he alone is to determine the proper application of them, and is not accountable for them to any person.

§ 238. The nation may grant him the use and property of its common possessions.

The nation may invest the superior with the sole use of its common possessions, and thus add them to the domain of the state. It may even cede the property of them to him. But this cession of the use of property requires an express act of the proprietor, which is the nation. It is difficult to found it on a tacit consent, because fear too often hinders the subjects from protesting against the unjust encroachments of the sovereign.

§ 239. Or allow him the domain, and reserve to itself the use of them.

The people may even allow the superior the domain of the things they possess in common, and reserve to themselves the use of them in the whole or in the part. Thus, the domain of a river, for instance, may be ceded to the prince, while the people reserve to themselves the use of it for navigation, fishing, the watering of cattle, &c., in that river. In a word, the people may cede to the superior whatever right they please over the common possessions of the nation; but all those particular rights do not naturally, and of themselves, flow from the sovereignty.

§ 240. Taxes.

If the income of the public property, or of the domain, is not sufficient for the public wants, the state supplies the deficiency by taxes. These ought to be regulated in such a manner, that all the citizens may pay their quota in proportion to their abilities, and the advantages they reap from the society. All the members of civil society being equally obliged to contribute, according to their abilities, to its advantage and safety, they cannot refuse to furnish the subsidies necessary to its preservation, when they are demanded by lawful authority.

§ 241. The nation may reserve to itself the right of imposing them.

Many nations have been unwilling to commit to the prince a trust of so delicate a nature, or to grant him a power that he may so easily abuse. In establishing a domain for the support of the sovereign and the ordinary expenses of the state, they have reserved to themselves the right of providing, by themselves or their representatives, for extraordinary wants, in imposing taxes payable by all the inhabitants. In England, the king lays the necessities of the state before the parliament; that body, composed of the representatives of the nation, deliberates, and, with the concurrence of the king, determines the sum to be raised, and the manner of raising it.(63) And of the use the king makes of the money thus raised, that same body obliges him to render it an account.

§ 242. Of the sovereign who has this power.

In other states, where the sovereign possesses the full and absolute authority, it is he alone that imposes taxes, regulates the manner of raising them, and makes use of them as he thinks proper, without giving an account to anybody. The French king at present enjoys this authority,(64) with the simple formality of causing his edicts to be registered by the parliament; and that body has a right to make humble remonstrances, if it sees any inconveniences attending the imposition ordered by the prince: — a wise establishment for causing truth, and the cries of the people, to reach the ears of the sovereign, and for selling some bounds to his extravagance, or to the avidity of the ministers and persons concerned in the revenue.1

§ 243. Duties of the prince with respect to taxes.

The prince who is invested with the power of taxing his people ought by no means to consider the money thus raised as his own property. He ought never to lose sight of the end for which this power was granted him: the nation was willing to enable him to provide, as it should seem best to his wisdom, for the necessities of the state. If he diverts this money to other uses, — if he consumes it in idle luxury, to gratify his pleasures, to satiate the avarice of his mistresses and favourites, — we hesitate not to declare to those sovereigns who are still capable of listening to the voice of truth, that such a one is not less guilty, nay, that he is a thousand times more so, than a private person who makes use of his neighbours' property to gratify his irregular passions. Injustice, though screened from punishment, is not the less shameful.

§ 244. Eminent domain annexed to the sovereignty.

Every thing in the political society ought to tend to the good of the community; and, since even the persons of the citizens are subject to this rule, their property cannot be excepted. The state could not subsist, or constantly administer the public affairs in the most advantageous manner, if it had not a power to dispose occasionally of all kinds of property subject to its authority. It is even to be presumed, that, when the nation takes possession of a country, the property of certain things is given up to the individuals only with this reserve. The right which belongs to the society, or to the sovereign, of disposing, in case of necessity, and for the public safety, of all the wealth contained in the state, is called the eminent domain. It is evident that this right is, in certain cases, necessary to him who governs, and consequently is a part of the empire, or sovereign power, and ought to be placed in the number of the prerogatives of majesty (§ 45). When, therefore, the people confer the empire on any one, they at the same time invest him with the eminent domain, unless it be expressly reserved. Every prince, who is truly sovereign, is invested with this right when the nation has not excepted it, — however limited his authority may be in other respects,

If the sovereign disposes of the public property in virtue of his eminent domain, the alienation is valid, as having been made with sufficient powers.

When, in case of necessity, he disposes in like manner of the possessions of a community, or an individual, the alienation will, for the same reason, be valid. But justice requires that this community, or this individual, be indemnified at the public charge: and if the treasury is not able to bear the expense, all the citizens are obliged to contribute to it; for, the burdens of the state ought to be supported equally, or in a just proportion. The same rules are applicable to this case as to the loss of merchandise thrown overboard to save the vessel.

§ 245. Government of

Besides the eminent domain, the sovereignty gives a right of another nature over all public, common, and private property, — that is, the empire, or the right of command in all places of the country belonging to the nation. The supreme power extends to everything that passes in the state, wherever it is transacted; and, consequently, the sovereign commands in all public places, on rivers, on highways, in deserts, &c. Every thing that happens there is subject to his authority.

§ 246. The superior may make laws with respect to the use of things possessed in common.

In virtue of the same authority, the sovereign may make laws to regulate the manner in which common property is to be used, — as well the property of the nation at large, as that of distinct bodies or corporations. He cannot, indeed, take away their right from those who have a share in that property: but the care he ought to take of the public repose, and of the common advantage of the citizens, gives him doubtless a right to establish laws tending to this end, and, consequently, to regulate the manner in which things possessed in common are to be enjoyed. This affair might give room for abuses, and excite disturbances, which it is important to the state to prevent, and against which the prince is obliged to take just measures. Thus, the sovereign may establish wise laws with respect to hunting and fishing, — forbid them in the seasons of propagation, — prohibit the use of certain nets, and of every destructive method, &c. But, as it is only in the character of the common father, governor, and guardian of his people, that the sovereign has a right to make those laws, he ought never to lose sight of the ends which he is called upon to accomplish by enacting them; and if, upon those subjects, he makes any regulations with any other view than that of the public welfare, he abuses his power.

§ 247. Alienation of the property of a corporation.

A corporation, as well as every other proprietor, has a right to alienate and mortgage its property: but the present members ought never to lose sight of the destination of that joint property, nor dispose of it otherwise than for the advantage of the body, or in cases of necessity. If they alienate it with any other view, they abuse their power, and transgress against the duty they own to their own corporation and their posterity; and the prince, in quality of common father, has a right to oppose the measure. Besides, the interest of the state requires that the property of corporations be not squandered away; — which gives the prince intrusted with the care of watching over the public safety, a new right to prevent the alienation of such property. It is then very proper to ordain in a state, that the alienation of the property of corporations should be invalid, without the consent of the superior powers. And indeed the civil law, in this respect, gives to corporations the rights of minors. But this is strictly no more than a civil law; and the opinion of those who make the law of nature alone a sufficient authority to take from a corporation the power of alienating their property without the consent of the sovereign, appears to me to be void of foundation, and contrary to the notion of property. A corporation, it is true, may have received property, either from their predecessors or from any other persons, with a clause that disables them from alienating it: but in this case they have only the perpetual use of it, not the entire and free property. If any of their property was solely given for the preservation of the body, it is evident that the corporation has not a right to alienate it, except in a case of extreme necessity: — and whatever property they may have received from the sovereign is presumed to be of that nature.

§ 248. Use of common property.

All the members of a corporation have an equal right to the use of its common property. But, respecting the manner of enjoying it, the body of the corporation may make such regulations as they think proper, provided that those regulations be not inconsistent with that equality which ought to be preserved in a communion of property. Thus, a corporation may determine the use of a common forest or pasture, either allowing it to all the members according to their wants or allotting to each an equal share; but they have not a right to exclude any one of the number, or to make a distinction to his disadvantage, by assigning him a less share than that of the others.

§ 249. How each member is to enjoy it.

All the members of a body having an equal right to its common property, each individual ought so to manage in taking advantage of it, as not in any wise to injure the common use. According to this rule, an individual is not permitted to construct upon any river that is public property, any work capable of rendering it less convenient for the use of every one else, as, erecting mills, making a trench to turn the water upon his own lands, &c. If he attempts if, he arrogates to himself a private right, derogatory to the common right of the public.

§ 250. Right of anticipation in the use of it.

The right of anticipation (jus praeventionis) ought to be faithfully observed in the use of common things which cannot be used by several persons at the same time. This name is given to the right which the first comer acquires to the use of things of this nature. For instance, if I am actually drawing water from a common or public well, another who comes after me cannot drive me away to draw out of it himself: and he ought to wait till I have done. For, I make use of my right in drawing that water, and nobody can disturb me; a second, who has an equal right, cannot assert it to the prejudice of mine; to stop me by his arrival would be arrogating to himself a better right than he allows me, and thereby violating the law of equality.

§ 251. The same right

The same rule ought to be observed in regard to those common things which are consumed in using them. They belong to the person who first takes possession of them with the intention of applying them to his own use: and a second, who comes after, has no right to take them from him, I repair to a common forest, and begin to fell a tree: you come in afterwards, and would wish to have the same tree: you cannot take it from me: for this would be arrogating to yourself a right superior to mine, whereas our rights are equal. The rule in this case is the same as that which the law of nature prescribes in the use of the productions of the earth before the introduction of property.

§ 252. Preservation and repairs of common possessions.

The expenses necessary for the preservation or reparation of the things that belong to the public, or to a community, ought to be equally borne by all who have a share in them, whether the necessary sums be drawn from the common coffer, or that each individual contributes his quota. The nation, the corporation, and, in general, every collective body, may also establish extraordinary taxes, imposts, or annual contributions, to defray these expenses, — provided there be no oppressive exaction in the case, and that the money so levied be faithfully applied to the use for which it was raised. To this end, also, as we have before observed (§ 103), toll-duties are lawfully established. Highways, bridges, and causeways are things of a public nature, from which all who pass over them derive advantage: it is therefore just that all those passengers should contribute to their support.

§ 253. Duty and right of the sovereign in this respect.

We shall see presently that the sovereign ought to provide for the preservation of the public property. He is no less obliged, as the conductor of the whole nation, to watch over the preservation of the property of a corporation. It is the interest of the state at large that a corporation should not fall into indigence by the ill conduct of its members for the time being. And, as every obligation generates the correspondent right which is necessary to discharge it, the sovereign has here a right to oblige the corporation to conform to their duty. If, therefore, he perceives, for instance, that they suffer their necessary buildings to fall to ruin, or that they destroy their forests, he has a right to prescribe what they ought to do, and to put his orders in force.

§ 254. Private property.

We have but a few words to say with respect to private property: every proprietor has a right to make what use he pleases of his own substance, and to dispose of it as he pleases, when the rights of a third person are not involved in the business. The sovereign, however, as the father of his people, may and ought to set bounds to a prodigal, and to prevent his running to ruin, especially if this prodigal be the father of a family.(65) But he must take care not to extend this right of inspection so far as to lay a restraint on his subjects in the administration of their affairs — which would be no less injurious to the true welfare of the state than to the just liberty of the citizens. The particulars of this subject belong to public law and politics.

§ 255. The sovereign may subject it to regulations of police.

It must also be observed, that individuals are not so perfectly free in the economy or government of their affairs as not to be subject to the laws and regulations of police made by the sovereign. For instance, if vineyards are multiplied to too great an extent in a country which is in want of corn, the sovereign may forbid the planting of the vine in fields proper for tillage; for here the public welfare and the safety of the state are concerned. When a reason of such importance requires it, the sovereign or the magistrate may oblige an individual to sell all the provisions in his possession above what are necessary for the subsistence of his family, and may fix the price he shall receive for them.(66) The public authority may and ought to hinder monopolies, and suppress all practices tending to raise the price of provisions — to which practices the Romans applied the expressions annonam incendere, comprimere, vexare.

§ 256. Inheritances.

Every man may naturally choose the person to whom he would leave his property after his death, as long as his right is not limited by some indispensable obligation — as, for instance, that of providing for the subsistence of his children.(67) The children also have naturally a right to inherit their father's property in equal proportions. But this is no reason why particular laws may not be established in a state, with regard to testaments and inheritances — a respect being, however, paid to the essential laws of nature. Thus, by a rule established in many places with a view to support noble families, the eldest son, is of right, his father's principal heir. Lands perpetually appropriated to the eldest male heir of a family, belong to him by virtue of another right, which has its source in the will of the person who, being sole owner of those lands, has bequeathed them in that manner.

(63) All money bills, imposing a tax, must originate in and be passed by the House of Commons, and afterwards submitted to the lords and the king for their sanction, before they can become law.

(64) This was, of course, when Vattel wrote, and before the Revolution.

1. Too great attention cannot be used in watching the imposition of taxes, which, once introduced, not only continue, but are so easily multiplied. — Alphonso VIII. king of Castile, besieging a city belonging to the Moors (Concham urbem in Celtiberis), and being in want of money, applied to the states of his kingdom for permission to impose, on every free inhabitant, a capitation tax of five golden maravedis. But Peter, Count de Lara, vigorously opposed the measure, "contractaque nobilium manu, ex conventu discedit, armis tueri paratus partam armis et virtute a majoribus immunitatem, neque passururn affirmans nobilitatis opprimendæ atque novis vectigalibus vexandæ ab eo aditu initium fieri; Mauros opprimere non esse tanti, ut graviori servitute rempublicam implicari sinant. Rex, periculo peromotus, ab ea cogitatione desistit. Petrum nobiles, consilio communicato, quotannis convivio excipere decreverunt, ipsum et posteros, — navatæ operæ mercedem, rei gestæ bonæ posteritati monumentum, documentumque ne quavis occasione jus libertatis imminui patiantur."MARIANA.

(65) In Great Britain no such right of interference exists, and a person may lay waste or even burn his own property, unless he thereby endangers a third person, or defrauds a person who has insured against fire. Co. Lit. 254; Saville's case, For. 6, 3 Thomas Co. Lit. 243, n. (m). — C.

(66) In Great Britain no such interference now takes place, though formerly it was exercised. See 1 Bla. Com. 287, — C.

(67) In England a parent has an absolute right to devise or bequeath all his property to a stranger in exclusion of his children.


§ 257. The nation may alienate its public property.

THE nation, being the sole mistress of the property in her possession, may dispose of it as she thinks proper, and may lawfully alienate or mortgage it. This right is a necessary consequence of the full and absolute domain: the exercise of it is restrained by the law of nature only with respect to proprietors who have not the use of reason necessary for the management of their affairs; which is not the case with a nation. Those who think otherwise, cannot allege any solid reason for their opinion; and it would follow from their principles that no safe contract can be entered into with any nation; — a conclusion which attacks the foundation of all public treaties.

§ 258. Duties of a nation in this respect.

But it is very just to say, that the nation ought carefully to preserve her public property — make a proper use of it — not to dispose of it without good reasons, nor to alienate or mortgage it but for a manifest public advantage, or in case of a pressing necessity. This is an evident consequence of the duties a nation owes to herself. The public property is extremely useful and even necessary to the nation; and she cannot squander it improperly without injuring herself, and shamefully neglecting the duty of self-preservation, I speak of the public property, strictly so called, or the domain of the state. Alienating its revenues is cutting the sinews of government. As to the property common to all the citizens, the nation does an injury to those who derive advantage from it, if she alienates it without necessity, or without cogent reasons. She has a right to do this as proprietor of these possessions; but she ought not to dispose of them except in a manner that is consistent with the duties which the body owes its members.

§ 259. Duties of the prince.

The same duties lie on the prince, the director of the nation: he ought to watch over the preservation and prudent management of the public property — to slop and prevent all waste of it — and not suffer it to be applied to improper uses.

§ 260. He cannot alienate the public property.

The prince, or the superior of the society, whatever he is, being naturally no more than the administrator, and not the proprietor of the state, his authority, as sovereign or head of the nation, does not of itself give him a right to alienate or mortgage the public property. The general rule then is, that the superior cannot dispose of the public property, as to its substance — the right to do this being reserved to the proprietor alone, since proprietorship is defined to be the right to dispose of a thing substantially. If the superior exceeds his powers with respect to this property, the alienation he makes of it will be invalid, and may at any time be revoked by his successor, or by the nation. This is the law generally received in France; and it was upon this principle that the duke of Sully1 advised Henry IV. to resume the possession of all the domains of the crown alienated by his predecessors.

§ 261. The nation may give him a right to it.

The nation, having the free disposal of all the property belonging to her (§ 257), may convey her right to the sovereign, and consequently confer upon him that of alienating and mortgaging the public property. But this right not being necessary to the conductor of the state, to enable him to render the people happy by his government — it is not to be presumed that the nation have given it to him; and, if they have not made an express law for that purpose, we are to conclude that the prince is not invested with it, unless he has received full, unlimited, and absolute authority.

§ 262. Rules on this subject with respect to treaties between nation and nation.

The rules we have just established relate to alienations of public property in favour of individuals. The question assumes a different aspect when it relates to alienations made by one nation to another:2 it requires other principles to decide it in the different cases that may present themselves. Let us endeavour to give a general theory of them.

1. It is necessary that nations should be able to treat and contract validly with each other, since they would otherwise find it impossible to bring their affairs to an issue, or to obtain the blessings of peace with any degree of certainty. Whence it follows, that, when a nation has ceded any part of its property to another, the cession ought to be deemed valid and irrevocable, as in fact it is, in virtue of the notion of property. This principle cannot be shaken by any fundamental law by which a nation might pretend to deprive themselves of the power of alienating what belongs to them: for, this would be depriving themselves of all power to form contracts with other nations, or attempting to deceive them, A nation with such a law ought never to treat concerning its property: if it is obliged to it by necessity, or determined to do it for its own advantage, the moment it broaches a treaty on the subject, it renounces its fundamental law. It is seldom disputed that an entire nation may alienate what belongs to itself: but it is asked, whether its conductor, its sovereign, has this power? The question may be determined by the fundamental laws. But, if the laws say nothing on this subject, then we have recourse to our second principle, viz.

2. If the nation has conferred the full sovereignty on its conductor — if it has intrusted to him the care, and, without reserve, given him the right, of treating and contracting with other states, it is considered as having invested him with all the powers necessary to make a valid contract. The prince is then the organ of the nation: what he does is considered as the act of the nation itself; and, though he is not the owner of the public property, his alienations of it are valid, as being duly authorized.

§ 263. Alienation of a part of the state.

The question becomes more distinct, when it relates, not to the alienation of some parts of the public property, but to the dismembering of the nation or state itself — the cession of a town or a province that constitutes a part of it. This question, however, admits of a sound decision on the same principles. A nation ought to preserve itself (§ 26) — it ought to preserve all its members — it cannot abandon them; and it is under an engagement to support them in their rank as members of the nation (§ 17). It has not, then, a right to traffic with their rank and liberty, on account of any advantages it may expect to derive from such a negotiation. They have joined the society for the purpose of being members of it — they submit to the authority of the state for the purpose of promoting in concert their common welfare and safety, and not of being at its disposal, like a farm or a herd of cattle. But the nation may lawfully abandon them in a case of extreme necessity; and she has a right to cut them off from the body, if the public safety requires it. When, therefore, in such a case, the state gives up a town or a province to a neighbour or to a powerful enemy, the cession ought to remain valid as to the state, since she had a right to make it: nor can she any longer lay claim to the town or province thus alienated, since she has relinquished every right she could have over it.

§ 264. Rights of the dismembered party.

But the province or town thus abandoned and dismembered from the state, is not obliged to receive the new master whom the state attempts to set over it. Being separated from the society of which it was a member, it resumes all its original rights; and if it be capable of defending its liberty against the prince who would subject it to his authority, it may lawfully resist him, Francis I. having engaged, by the treaty of Madrid, to cede the duchy of Burgundy to the emperor Charles V., the state of that province declared, "that, having never been subject but to the crown of France, they would die subject to it; and that, if the king abandoned them, they would take up arms, and endeavour to set themselves at liberty, rather than pass into a new state of subjection."3 It is true, subjects are seldom able to make resistance on such occasions; and, in general, their wisest plan will be to submit to their new master, and endeavour to obtain the best terms they can.

§265. Whether the prince has power to dismember the state.

Has the prince, or the superior of whatever kind, a power to dismember the state? We answer as we have done with respect to the domain: — if the fundamental laws forbid all dismemberment by the sovereign, he cannot do it without the concurrence of the nation or its representatives. But, if the laws are silent, and if the prince has received a full and absolute authority, he is then the depositary of the rights of the nation, and the organ by which it declares its will. The nation ought never to abandon its members but in a case of necessity, or with a view to the public safety, and to preserve itself from total ruin; and the prince ought not to give them up except for the same reasons. But, since he has received an absolute authority, it belongs to him to judge of the necessity of the case, and of what the safety of the state requires.

On occasion of the above-mentioned treaty of Madrid, the principal persons in France, assembled at Cognac after the king's return, unanimously resolved, "that his authority did not extend so far as to dismember the crown."4 The treaty was declared void, as being contrary to the fundamental law of the kingdom: and, indeed, it had been concluded without sufficient powers: for, as the laws in express terms refused to the king the power of dismembering the kingdom, the concurrence of the nation was necessary for that purpose; and it might give its consent by the medium of the states-general. Charles V. ought not to have released his prisoner before those very states had approved the treaty; or rather, making a more generous use of his victory, he should have imposed less rigorous conditions, such as Francis I. would have been able to comply with, and such as he could not, without dishonour, have refused to perform. But now that there are no longer any meetings of the states-general in France, the king remains the sole organ of the state, with respect to other powers: these latter have a right to take his will for that of all France; and the cessions the king might make them would remain valid, in virtue of the tacit consent by which the nation has vested the king with unlimited powers to treat with them. Were it otherwise, no solid treaty could be entered into with the crown of France. For greater security, however, other powers have often required that their treaties should be registered in the parliament of Paris; but at present even this formality seems to be laid aside.

1. See his Memoirs.

2. Quod domania regnorum inalienabilia et semper revocabilia dicuntur, id respectu privatorum intelligitur; nam contra alias gentes divino privilegio opus foret Leibnitz, Praefat. ad Cou. Jur. Gent. Diplomat

3. Mezeray's History of France, vol. ii. p. 458.

4. Mezeray's History of France, vol. ii. p. 458.


§ 266. A river that separates two territories.

WHEN a nation takes possession of a country, with a view to settle there, it takes possession of every thing included in it, as lands, lakes, rivers, &c. But it may happen that the country is bounded and separated from another by a river; in which case, it is asked, to whom this river belongs. It is manifest, from the principles established in Chap. XVIII., that it ought to belong to the nation who first took possession of it. This principle cannot be denied; but the difficulty is, to make the application. It is not easy to determine which of the two neighbouring nations was the first to take possession of a river that separates them. For the decision of such questions, the rules which may be deducted from the principles of the law of nations are as follow: —

1. When a nation takes possession of a country bounded by a river, she is considered as appropriating to herself the river also: for, the utility of a river is too great to admit a supposition that the nation did not intend to reserve it to herself. Consequently, the nation that first established her dominion on one of the banks of the river is considered as being the first possessor of all that part of the river which bounds her territory. When there is a question of a very broad river, this presumption admits not of a doubt, so far, at least, as relates to a part of the river's breadth; and the strength of the presumption increases or diminishes in an inverse ratio with the breadth of a river; for, the narrower the river is, the more does the safety and convenience of its use require that it should be subject entirely to the empire and property of that nation. (68)

2. If that nation has made any use of the river, as, for navigating or fishing, it is presumed with the greatest certainty that she has resolved to appropriate the river to her own use.

3. If, of two nations inhabiting the opposite banks of the river, neither party can prove that they themselves, or those whose rights they inherit, were the first settlers in those tracts, it is to be supposed that both nations came there at the same time, since neither of them can give any reason for claiming the preference; and in this case the dominion of each will extend to the middle of the river.(68a)

4. A long and undisputed possession establishes the right of nation,(69) otherwise there could be no peace, no stability between them; and notorious facts must be admitted to prove the possession. Thus, when from time immemorial a nation has, without contradiction, exercised the sovereignty upon a river which forms her boundary, nobody can dispute with that nation the supreme dominion over the river in question.

5. Finally, if treaties determine any thing on this question, they must be observed. To decide it by accurate and express stipulations, is the safest mode; and such is, in fact, the method taken by most powers at present.

§ 267. Of the bed of a river which is dried up, or takes another course.

If a river leaves its bed, whether it be dried up or takes its course elsewhere, the bed belongs to the owner of the river; for, the bed is a part of the river; and he who had appropriated to himself the whole, had necessarily appropriated to himself all its parts.

§ 268. The right of alluvion. (70)

If a territory which terminates on a river has no other boundary than that river, it is one of those territories that have natural or indeterminate bounds (territoria arcifinia), and it enjoys the right ofalluvion; that is to say, every gradual increase of soil, every addition which the current of the river may make to its bank on that side, is an addition to that territory, stands in the same predicament with it, and belongs to the same owner. For, if I take possession of a piece of land, declaring that I will have for its boundary the river which washes its side, — or if it is given to me upon that footing, — I thus acquire, beforehand, the right of alluvion; and, consequently, I alone may appropriate to myself whatever additions the current of the river may insensibly make to my land: — I say "insensibly,"; because in the very uncommon case called avulsion, when the violence of the stream separates a considerable part from one piece of land and joins it to another, but in such manner that it can still be identified, the property of the soil so removed naturally continues vested in its former owner. The civil laws have thus provided against and decided this case, when it happens between individual and individual; they ought to unite equity with the welfare of the state, and the care of preventing litigations.

In case of doubt, every territory terminating on a river is presumed to have no other boundary than the river itself: because nothing is more natural than to take a river for a boundary, when a settlement is made; and wherever there is a doubt, that is always to be presumed which is most natural and most probable.

§ 269. Whether alluvion produces any change in the right to a river.

As soon as it is determined that a river constitutes the boundary line between two territories, whether it remains common to the inhabitants on each side of its banks, or whether each shares half of it, or, finally, whether it belongs entirely to one of them, their rights with respect to the river are in no wise changed by the alluvion. If, therefore, it happens that, by a natural effect of the current, one of the two territories receives an increase, while the river gradually encroaches on the opposite bank, the river still remains the natural boundary of the two territories, and notwithstanding the progressive changes in its course, each retains over it the same rights which it possessed before; so that, if, for instance, it be divided in the middle between the owners of the opposite banks, that middle, though it changes its place, will continue to be the line of separation between the two neighbours. The one loses, it is true, while the other gains; but nature alone produces this change: she destroys the land of the one, while she forms new land for the other. The case cannot be otherwise determined, since they have taken the river alone for their limits.

§ 270. What is the case when the river changes its bed.

But if, instead of a gradual and progressive change of its bed, the river, by an accident merely natural, turns entirely out of its course, and runs into one of the two neighbouring states, the bed which it has abandoned becomes, thenceforward, their boundary, and remains the property of the former owner of the river (§ 267); the river itself is, as it were, annihilated in all that part, while it is reproduced in its new bed, and there belongs only to the state in which it flows.

This case is very different from that of a river which changes its course without going out of the same state. The latter, in its new course, continues to belong to its former owner, whether that owner be the state, or any individual to whom the state has given it; because rivers belong to the public in whatever part of the country they flow. Of the bed which it has abandoned, a moiety accrues to the contiguous lands on each side, if they are lands that have natural boundaries, with the right of alluvion, That bed (notwithstanding what we have said in § 267) is no longer the property of the public, because of the right of alluvion vested in the owners of its banks, and because the public held possession of the bed only on account of its containing a river. But if the adjacent lands have not natural boundaries, the public still retains the property of the bed. The new soil over which the river takes its course is lost to the proprietor, because all the rivers in the country belong to the public.

§ 271. Works

It is not allowable to raise any works on the bank of a river, which have a tendency to turn its course, and to cast it upon the opposite bank: this would be promoting our own advantage at our neighbour's expense. Each can only secure himself, and hinder the current from undermining and carrying away his land.(72)

§ 272. or, in general, prejudicial to the rights of others. (73)

In general, no person ought to build on a river, any more than elsewhere, any work that is prejudicial to his neighbour's rights. If a river belongs to one nation, and another has an incontestible right to navigate it, the former cannot erect upon it a dam or a mill which might render it unfit for navigation. The right which the owners of the river possess in this case is only that of a limited property; and, in the exercise of it, they are bound to respect the rights of others.

§ 273. Rules in relation to interfering rights.

But, when two different rights to the same thing happen to clash with each other, it is not always easy to determine which ought to yield to the other: the point cannot be satisfactorily decided, without attentively considering the nature of the rights and their origin. For example, a river belongs to me, but you have a right to fish in it: and the question is, whether I may erect mills on my river, whereby the fishery will become more difficult and less advantageous? The nature of our rights seems to determine the question in the affirmative. I, as proprietor, have an essential right over the river itself: — you have only a right to make use of it — a right which is merely accessory, and dependent on mine; you have but a general right to fish as you can in my river, such as you happen to find it, and in whatever state I may think fit to possess it. I do not deprive you of your right by erecting my mills: it still exists in the general view of it; and, if it becomes less useful to you, it is by accident, and because it is dependent on the exercise of mine.(74)

The case is different with respect to the right of navigation, of which we have spoken. This right necessarily supposes that the river shall remain free and navigable, and therefore excludes every work that will entirely interrupt its navigation.

The antiquity and origin of the rights serve, no less than their nature, to determine the question. The more ancient right, if it be absolute, is to be exerted in its full extent, and the other only so far as it may be extended without prejudice to the former; for, it could only be established on this fooling, unless the possessor of the first right has expressly consented to its being limited.

In the same manner, rights ceded by the proprietor of any thing are considered as ceded without prejudice to the other rights that belong to him, and only so far as they are consistent with these latter, unless an express declaration, or the very nature of the right, determine it otherwise. If I have ceded to another the right of fishing in my river, it is manifest that I have ceded it without prejudice to my other rights, and that I remain free to build on that river such works as I think proper, even though they should injure the fishery, provided they do not altogether destroy it.(75) A work of this latter kind, such as a dam that would hinder the fish from ascending it, could not be built but in case of necessity, and on making, according to circumstances, an adequate compensation to the person who has a right to fish there.

§ 274. Lakes.

What we have said of rivers and streams, may be easily applied to lakes. Every lake, entirely included in a country, belongs to the nation that is the proprietor of that country; for in taking possession of a territory, a nation is considered as having appropriated to itself every thing included in it; and, as it seldom happens that the property of a lake of any considerable extent falls to the share of individuals, it remains common to the nation. If this lake is situated between two states, it is presumed to be divided between them at the middle, while there is no title, no constant and manifest custom, to determine otherwise.

§ 275. Increase of a lake.

What has been said of the right of alluvion, in speaking of rivers, is also to be understood as applying to lakes. When a lake which bounds a state belongs entirely to it, every increase in the extent of that lake falls under the same predicament as the lake itself; but it is necessary that the increase should be insensible, as that of land in alluvion, and moreover that it be real, constant, and complete. To explain myself more fully. — 1. I speak of insensible increase: this is the reverse of alluvion; the question here relates to the increase of a lake, as in the other case, to an increase of soil. If this increase be not insensible, — if the lake, overflowing its banks, inundates a large tract of land, this new portion of the lake, this tract thus covered with water, still belongs to its former owner. Upon what principles can we found the acquisition of it in behalf of the owner of the lake? The space is very easily identified, though it has changed its nature: and it is too considerable to admit a presumption that the owner had no intention to preserve it to himself, notwithstanding the changes that might happen to it.

But 2. If the lake insensibly undermines a part of the opposite territory, destroys it, and renders it impossible to be known, by fixing itself there, and adding it to its bed, that part of the territory is lost to its former owner; it no longer exists; and the whole of the lake thus increased still belongs to the same state as before.

3. if some of the lands bordering on the lake are only overflowed at high water, this transient accident cannot produce any change in their dependence. The reason why the soil which the lake invades by little and little belongs to the owner of the lake and is lost to its former proprietor, is, because the proprietor has no other boundary than the lake, nor any other marks than its banks, to ascertain how far his possessions extend. If the water advances insensibly, he loses; if it retires in like manner, he gains; such must have been the intention of the nations who have respectively appropriated to themselves the lake and the adjacent lands: — it can scarcely be supposed that they had any other intention. But a territory overflowed for a time is not confounded with the rest of the lake: it can still be recognised; and the owner may still retain his right of property in it. Were it otherwise, a town overflowed by a lake would become subject to a different government during the inundation, and return to its former sovereign as soon as the waters were dried up.

4. For the same reasons, if the waters of the lake, penetrating by an opening into the neighbouring country, there form a bay, or new lake, joined to the first by a canal, this new body of water and the canal belong to the owner of the country in which they are formed, For the boundaries are easily ascertained: and we are not to presume an intention of relinquishing so considerable a tract of land in case of its happening to be invaded by the waters of an adjoining lake.

It must be observed that we here treat the question as arising between two states: it is to be decided by other principles when it relates to proprietors who are members of the same state. In the latter case, it is not merely the bounds of the soil, but also its nature and use, that determine the possession of it. An individual who possesses a field on the borders of a lake, cannot enjoy it as a field when it is overflowed; and a person who has, for instance, the right of fishing in the lake, may exert his right in this new extent: if the waters retire, the field is restored to the use of its former owner. If the lake penetrates by an opening into the low lands in its neighbourhood, and there forms a permanent inundation, this new lake, belongs to the public, because all lakes belong to the public.

§ 276. Land formed on the banks of a lake.

The same principles show, that if the lake insensibly forms an accession of land on its banks, either by retiring or in any other manner, this increase of land belongs to the country which it joins, when that country has no other boundary than the lake. It is the same thine as alluvion on the banks of the river,

§ 277. Bed of a lake dried up.

But, if the lake happened to be suddenly dried up, either totally or in a great part of it, the bed would remain in the possession of the sovereign of the lake; the nature of the soil, so easily known, sufficiently marking out the limits.

§ 278. Jurisdiction over lakes and rivers.

The empire or jurisdiction over lakes and rivers is subject to the same rules as the property of them, in all the cases which we have examined. Each state naturally possesses it over the whole or the part of which it possesses the domain. We have seen (§ 245) that the nation, or its sovereign, commands in all places in its possession.

(68) As regards private rights, there is no legal presumption that the soil of a navigable river belongs to the owners of the adjoining lands, ex utraque parte, or otherwise, Rex v. Smith, 2 Doug. 411. {Palmer v. Hicks, 66 Johns Rep. 133.}

(68a) (5 Wheat. Rep. 374, 379; 3 Mass, Rep. 147.) [This note was anomalously numbered (1) in the original]

(69) As to what is a sufficiently long and undisturbed possession, by the law of France, Jersey, and England, in general, see Benest v. Pipon, Knapp's Rep. 67.

(70) As to the rights of alluvion, or sudden derelict in general, see The King v. Yarborough, 1 Dow Rep. New Series, 178; 4 Dowl. & Ry. 799; 3 Barn. & Cres. 91, S.C.; 5 Bing. 163, 169; 1 Thomas Co. Lit. 47, in note; Scuites on Aquatic Rights; Chitty's General Practice, 199, 200. {2 Johns. Rep. 322; 3 Mass. Rep. 325; 2 Hall's L. Journ. 307; 5 Hall's L. Journ. 1, 113.)

(71) This principle of the law of nations has been ably discussed as part of the municipal law of Scotland and England in Menzies v. Breadalbone, 3 Wils. & Shaw, 235; and see The King v. Lord Yarborough, 1 Dow. Rep., New Series, 179; and Wright v. Howard. 1 Sim. & Stu. 190; Rex v. Trafford, 1 Barn. & Adolph. 874, and Chitty's General Practice, 610. {4 Dall. Rep. 211; 13 Mass. 420, 507; 3 Har. & McHen. 441; 2 Conn. Rep. 584; Coxe's Rep, 460.)

(72) That is permitted as well as a bank or groove to prevent an alteration in the current. Rex v. Pagham, 8 Barn. & Cress. 355; Rex v. Trafford, 1 Barn. & Adolph. 874; 2 Man. & Ryl, 468; 1 Moore & Scott, 401; 8 Bing. 204. (in error.)

(73) See note 72.

(74) But this doctrine seems questionable. See Wright v. Howard, 1 Sim. & Stu. 190; and Mason v. Hill, 3 Barn. & Adolph. 304; Chitty's General Prac. 191, 192. Even a right of irrigating at reasonable times may qualify the absolute and general right to the use of the water for working a mill.

(75) See note 74, ante, p. 122,


§ 279. The sea, and its use.(76)

IN order to complete the exposition of the principles of the law of nations with respect to the things a nation may possess, it remains to treat of the open sea. The use of the open sea consists in navigation, and in fishing; along its coasts it is moreover of use for the procuring of several things found near the shore, such as shell-fish, amber, pearls, &c., for the making of salt, and finally, for the establishment of places of retreat and security for vessels.

§ 280. Whether the sea can be possessed, and its dominion appropriated.

The open sea is not of such a nature as to admit the holding possession of it, since no settlement can be formed on it, so as to hinder others from passing. But a nation powerful at sea may forbid others to fish in it and to navigate it; declaring that she appropriates to herself the dominion over it, and that she will destroy the vessels that shall dare to appear in it without her permission. Let us see whether she has a right to do this.

§ 281. Nobody has a right to appropriate to himself the use of the open sea.

It is manifest that the use of the open sea, which consists in navigation and fishing, is innocent andinexhaustible; that is to say — he who navigates or fishes in the open sea does no injury to any one, and the sea, in these two respects, is sufficient for all mankind. Now, nature does not give to man a right of appropriating to himself things that may be innocently used, and that are inexhaustible, and sufficient for all. For, since those things, while common to all, are sufficient to supply the wants of each, — whoever should, to the exclusion of all other particpants, attempt to render himself sole proprietor of them, would unreasonably wrest the bounteous gifts of nature from the parties excluded. The earth no longer furnishing, without culture, the things necessary or useful to the human race, who were extremely multiplied, it became necessary to introduce the right of property, in order that each might apply himself with more success to the cultivation of what had fallen to his share, and multiply, by his labour, the necessaries and conveniences of life. It is for this reason the law of nature approves the rights of dominion and property, which put an end to the primitive manner of living in common. But this reason cannot apply to things which are in themselves inexhaustible; and consequently, it cannot furnish any just grounds for seizing the exclusive possession of them. If the free and common use of a thing of this nature was prejudicial or dangerous to a nation, the care of their own safety would authorize them to reduce that thing under their own dominion, if possible, in order to restrict the use of it by such precautions as prudence might dictate to them. But this is not the case with the open sea, on which people may sail and fish without the least prejudice to any person whatsoever, and without putting any one in danger. No nation, therefore, has a right to take possession of the open sea, or claim the sole use of it, to the exclusion of other nations. The kings of Portugal formerly arrogated to themselves the empire of the seas of Guinea and the East Indies;1 but the other maritime powers gave themselves little trouble about such a pretension.

§ 282. The nation that attempts to exclude another, does it an injury.

The right of navigating and fishing in the open sea being then a right common to all men, the nation that attempts to exclude another from that advantage does her an injury, and furnishes her with sufficient grounds for commencing hostilities, since nature authorizes a nation to repel an injury — that is, to make use of force against whoever would deprive her of her rights.

§ 283. It even does an injury to all nations.

Nay, more, — a nation, which, without a legitimate claim, would arrogate to itself an exclusive right to the sea, and support its pretensions by force, does an injury to all nations; it infringes their common right; and they are justifiable in forming a general combination against it, in order to repress such an attempt. Nations have the greatest interest in causing the law of nations, which is the basis of their tranquillity, to be universally respected. If any one openly tramples it under fool, they all may and ought to rise up against him; and, by uniting their forces to chastise the common enemy, they will discharge their duty towards themselves, and towards human society, of which they are members (Prelim. § 22).

§ 284. It may acquire an exclusive right by treaties:

However, as every one is at liberty to renounce his right, a nation may acquire exclusive rights of navigation and fishing, by treaties, in which other nations renounce in its favour the rights they derive from nature. The latter are obliged to observe their treaties; and the nation they have favoured has a right to maintain by force the possession of its advantages. Thus, the house of Austria has renounced, in favour of England and Holland, the right of sending vessels from the Netherlands to the East Indies. In Grotius, de Jure Belli et Pacis, lib. ii. cap. iii. § 15, may be found many instances of similar treaties.

§ 285. but not by prescription and long use. (77)

As the rights of navigation and of fishing, and other rights which may be exercised on the sea, belong to the class of those rights of mere ability (jura meroe facultatis), which are imprescriptible § 95), they cannot be lost for want of use. Consequently, although a nation should happen to have been, from time immemorial, in sole possession of the navigation or fishery in certain seas, it cannot, on this foundation, claim an exclusive right to those advantages. For, though others have not made use of their common right to navigation and fishery in those seas, it does not thence follow that they have had any intention to renounce it; and they are entitled to exert it whenever they think proper.(78)

§ 286. unless by virtue of a tacit agreement.

But it may happen that the non-usage of the right may assume the nature of a consent or tacit agreement, and thus become a title in favour of one nation against another. When a nation that is in possession of the navigation and fishery in certain tracts of sea claims an exclusive right to them, and forbids all participation on the part of other nations, — if the others obey that prohibition with sufficient marks of acquiescence, they tacitly renounce their own right in favour of that nation, and establish for her a new right, which she may afterwards lawfully maintain against them, especially when it is confirmed by long use.(79)

§ 287. The sea near the coasts may become a property.

The various uses of the sea near the coasts render it very susceptible of property. It furnishes fish, shells, pearls, amber, &c. Now. in all these respects, its use is not inexhaustible; wherefore, the nation, to whom the coasts belong, may appropriate to themselves, and convert to their own profit, an advantage which nature has so placed within their reach as to enable them conveniently to take possession of it, in the same manner as they possessed themselves of the dominion of the land they inhabit. Who can doubt that the pearl fisheries of Bahrem and Ceylon may lawfully become property? And though, where the catching of fish is the only object, the fishery appeals less liable to be exhausted, yet, if a nation have on their coast a particular fishery of a profitable nature, and of which they may become masters, shall they not be permitted to appropriate to themselves that bounteous gift of nature, as an appendage to the country they possess, and to reserve to themselves the great advantages which their commerce may thence derive in case there be a sufficient abundance of fish to furnish the neighbouring nations? But if, so far from taking possession of it, the nation has once acknowledged the common right of other nations to come and fish there, it can no longer exclude them from it; it has left that fishery in its primitive freedom, at least with respect to those who have been accustomed to take advantage of it. The English not having originally taken exclusive possession of the herring fishery on their coasts, it is become common to them with other nations.

§ 288. Another reason for appropriating the sea bordering on the coasts.(80)

A nation may appropriate to herself those things of which the free and common use would be prejudicial or dangerous to her. This is a second reason for which governments extend their dominion over the sea along their coasts as far as they are able to protect their right. It is of considerable importance to the safety and welfare of the state that a general liberty be not allowed to all comers to approach so near their possessions, especially with ships of war, as to hinder the approach of trading nations, and molest their navigation. During the war between Spain and the United Provinces, James I., king of England, marked out along his coasts certain boundaries, within which he declared that he would not suffer any of the powers at war to pursue their enemies, nor even allow their armed vessels to stop and observe the ships that should enter or sail out of the ports.2 These parts of the sea, thus subject to a nation, are comprehended in her territory; nor must any one navigate them without her consent. But, to vessels that are not liable to suspicion, she cannot, without a breach of duty, refuse permission to approach for harmless purposes, since it is a duty incumbent on every proprietor to allow to strangers a free passage, even by land, when it may be done without damage or danger. It is true that the state itself is sole judge of what is proper to be done in every particular case that occurs; and, if it judges amiss, it is to blame: but the others are bound to submit. It is otherwise, however, in cases of necessity, — as, for instance, when a vessel is obliged to enter a road which belongs to you in order to shelter herself from a tempest. In this case, the right of entering wherever we can, provided we cause no damage, or that we repair any damage done, is, as we shall show more at large, a remnant of the primitive freedom of which no man can be supposed to have divested himself; and the vessel may lawfully enter in spite of you, if you unjustly refuse her permission.

§ 289. How far this possession may extend. (81)

It is not easy to determine to what distance a nation may extend its rights over the sea by which it is surrounded. Bodinus3 pretends, that according to the common right of all maritime nations, the prince's dominion extends to the distance of thirty leagues from the coast. But this exact determination can only be founded on a general consent of nations, which it would be difficult to prove. Each state may, on this head, make what regulation it pleases so far as respects the transactions of the citizens with each other, or their concerns with the sovereign: but, between nation and nation, all that can reasonably be said is, that in general, the dominion of the state over the neighbouring sea extends as far as her safety renders it necessary and her power is able to assert it; since, on the one hand, she cannot appropriate to herself a thing that is common to all mankind, such as the sea, except so far as she has need of it for some lawful end (§ 281), and, on the other, it would be a vain and ridiculous pretension to claim a right which she were wholly unable to assert. The fleets of England have given room to her kings to claim the empire of the seas which surround that island, even as far as the opposite coasts.4 Selden relates a solemn act,5 by which it appears, that, in the time of Edward I., that empire was acknowledged by the greatest part of the maritime nations of Europe; and the republic of the United Provinces acknowledged it, in some measure, by the treaty of Breda, in 1667, at least so far as related to the honours of the flag. But solidly to establish a right of such extent, it were necessary to prove very clearly the express or tacit consent of all the powers concerned. The French have never agreed to this pretension of England; and, in that very treaty of Breda just mentioned, Louis XIV. would not even suffer the channel to be called the English channel, or the British sea. The republic of Venice claims the empire of the Adriatic, and every body knows the ceremony annually performed upon that account. In confirmation of this right we are referred to the examples of Uladislaus, king of Naples, of the emperor Frederic III., and of some of the kings of Hungary, who asked permission of the Venetians for their vessels to pass through that sea.6 That the empire of the Adriatic belongs to the republic to a certain distance from her coasts, in the places of which she can keep possession, and of which the possession is important to her own safety, appears to me incontestable: but I doubt very much whether any power is at present disposed to acknowledge her sovereignty over the whole Adriatic sea. Such pretensions to empire are respected as long as the nation that makes them is able to assert them by force; but they vanish of course on the decline of her power. At present the whole space of the sea within cannon shot of the coast is considered as making a part of the territory; and, for that reason, a vessel taken under the cannon of a neutral fortress is not a lawful prize.(82)

§ 290. Shores and ports. (83)

The shores of the sea incontestably belong to the nation that possesses the country of which they are a part; and they belong to the class of public things. If civilians have set them down as things common to all mankind (res communes), it is only in regard to their use; and we are not thence to conclude that they considered them as independent of the empire: the very contrary appears from a great number of laws. Ports and harbours are manifestly an appendage to and even a part of the country, and consequently are the property of the nation. Whatever is said of the land itself will equally apply to them, so far as respects the consequences of the domain and of the empire.

§ 291. Bays and straits. (84)

All we have said of the parts of the sea near the coast, may be said more particularly, and with much greater reason, of roads, bays, and straits, as still more capable of being possessed, and of greater importance to the safety of the country. But I speak of bays and straits of small extent, and not of those great tracts of sea to which these names are sometimes given, as Hudson's Bay and the Straits of Magellan, over which the empire cannot extend, and still less a right of property. A bay, whose entrance can be defended, may be possessed and rendered subject to the laws of the sovereign; and it is important that it should be so, since the country might be much more easily insulted in such a place, than on the coast that lies exposed to the winds and the impetuosity of the waves.

§ 292. Straits in particular. (65)

It must be remarked, with regard to straits, that, when they serve for a communication between two seas, the navigation of which is common to all, or several nations, the nation which possesses the strait cannot refuse the others a passage through it, provided that passage be innocent and attended with no danger to herself. By refusing it without just reasons, she would deprive those nations of an advantage granted them by nature; and indeed, the right to such a passage is a remnant of the primitive liberty enjoyed by all mankind. Nothing but the care of his own safety can authorize the owner of the strait to make use of certain precautions, and to require certain formalities, commonly established by the custom of nations. He has a right to levy a moderate tax on the vessels that pass, partly on account of the inconvenience they give him, by obliging him to be on his guard — partly as a return for the safety he procures them by protecting them from their enemies, by keeping pirates at a distance, and by defraying the expense attendant on the support of light-houses, sea-marks, and other things necessary to the safety of mariners. Thus, the king of Denmark requires a custom at the straits of the Sound. Such right ought to be founded on the same reasons, and subject to the same rules, as the tolls established on land, or on a river. (See §§ 103 and 104).

§ 293. Right to wrecks. (86)

It is necessary to mention the right to wrecks — a right which was the wretched offspring of barbarism, and which has almost everywhere fortunately disappeared with its parent. Justice and humanity cannot allow of it, except in those cases only where the proprietors of the effects saved from a wreck cannot possibly be discovered. In such cases, those effects belong to the person who is the first to take possession of them, or to the sovereign, if the law reserves them for him.

§ 294. A sea enclosed within the territories of a nation.

If a sea is entirely enclosed by the territories of a nation, and has no other communication with the ocean than by a channel of which that nation may take possession, it appears that such a sea is no less capable of being occupied, and becoming property, than the land; and it ought to follow the late of the country that surrounds it. The Mediterranean, in former times, was absolutely enclosed within the territories of the Romans; and that people, by rendering themselves masters of the strait which joins it to the ocean, might subject the Mediterranean to their empire, and assume the dominion over it. They did not, by such procedure, injure the rights of other nations; a particular sea being manifestly designed by nature for the use of the countries and nations that surround it. Besides, by barring the entrance of the Mediterranean against all suspected vessels, the Romans, by one single stroke, secured the immense extent of their coasts: and this reason was sufficient to authorize them to take possession of it. And, as it had absolutely no communication but with the states which belonged to them, they were at liberty to permit or prohibit the entrance into it, in the same manner as into any of their towns or provinces.

§ 295. The parts of the sea possessed by power are within its jurisdiction. (87)

When a nation takes possession of certain parts of the sea, it takes possession of the empire over them, as well as of the domain, on the same principle which we advanced in treating of the land (§ 205). These parts of the sea are within the jurisdiction of the nation, and a part of its territory: the sovereign commands there; he makes laws, and may punish those who violate them; in a word, he has the same rights there as on land, and in general, every right which the laws of the state allow him.

It is, however, true that the empire and the domain, or property, are not inseparable in their own nature, even in a sovereign state.7 As a nation may possess the domain or property of a tract of land or sea, without having the sovereignly of it, so it may likewise happen that she shall possess the sovereignty of a place, of which the property or the domain, with respect to use, belongs to some other nation. But it is always presumed, that, when a nation possesses the useful domain of any place whatsoever, who has also the higher domain and empire, or the sovereignly (§ 205). We cannot, however, from the possession of the empire, infer, with equal probability, a coexistent possession of the useful domain; for, a nation may have good reasons for claiming the empire over a country, and particularly over a tract of sea, without pretending to have any property in it, or any useful domain. The English have never claimed the property of all the seas over which they have claimed the empire. (88)

This is all we have to say in this first book. A more minute detail of the duties and rights of a nation, considered in herself, would lead us too far. Such detail must, as we have already observed, be sought for in particular treatises on the public and political law. We are very far from flattering ourselves that we have omitted no important article; this is a slight sketch of an immense picture: but an intelligent reader will without difficulty supply all our omissions by making a proper application of the general principles: we have taken the utmost care solidly to establish those principles, and to develop them with precision and perspicuity.

(76) As to the dominion of the main seas, and right to limit the passage thereon, and the claim of the English in the British seas and elsewhere, in general, see the authorities collected in 1 Chitty's Commercial Law, 88 to 108. With respect to the view taken by the English law of rights in and connected with the sea and sea-shore, the doctrine is, that the sea is the property of the king; and that so is the land beneath, except such part of that land as is capable of being usefully occupied without prejudice to navigation, and of which a subject has either had a grant from the king, or has soexclusively used it for so long a time as to confer on him a title by prescription. In the latter case, a presumption is raised that the king has either granted him an exclusive right to it, or has permitted him to have possession of it, and to employ his money and labour upon it, so as to confer upon him a title by occupation, the foundation of most of the rights to property inland. This is the law of England, and also of Jersey, and some other islands belonging to Great Britain. Benest v. Pipon, Knapp's Rep. 67;Blundell v. Cotterall, 5 Bar. & Ald. 268; and The King v. Lord Yarborough, 3 Bar. & Cres. 91, and 1 Dow's Appeal Cases, New Series, 178. In the first mentioned case, it was decided that the lord of a manor cannot establish a claim to the exclusive right of cutting sea-weed on rocks below-water marker, except by a grant from the king, or by such long and undisturbed enjoyment of it (viz. at least for twenty years continuously) as to give him a title by prescription must be uninterrupted and peaceable, both according to the law of England, the civil law, and those of France, Normandy, and Jersey. But, where artificial cuts or recesses have been made on the sea-shore, into and over which the sea afterwards flows, then, in the absence of proof as to acts of ownership, the soil of these recesses is to be presumed to have belonged to the owner of the adjacent estate, and not to the crown.Lowe v. Govett, 3 Bar. & Adol. 863. — C.

1. See Grotius's Mare Liberum, and Selden's Mare Clausum, lib. i. cap. vii.

(77) See observations and authorities, 1 Chit. Com. L. 287, n. 4, 5.

(78) As to the effect of twenty years' uninterrupted use, and what interruption not successfully litigated will prevent a right, see the judgment in Benest v. Picon, Knapp's Rep. 67. — C.

(79) See further, 1 Chit. Com. L. 94, n. 1; ib. 98, s. 1. — C.

(80) See further, 1 Chit. Com. L. 92, n. 2; ib. 94.1; ib. 95, n. 1; Puffnd. 3. c. 3, s. 6, p. 69. — C.

2. Selden's Mare Clausum, lib. ii. (81) See further, Puff. b. 4, c. 5, s. 9. pp. 167, 8; 1 Chit. Com L. 99, n 1; b. 100, n. 1; ib. 101, n, 2; ib. 101, n. 4; ib. 287, n. 7: ib. 441, n. 5.

3. In his Republic, book i. c. x.

4. See Selden's Mare Clausum.

5. Ibid. lib. 2. cap. xxxviii.

6. See Selden's Mare Clausum, lib. i. cap. xvi.

(82) Post, b. 3, c. 7, § 132, p. 344 — C.

(83) See further 1 Chitty's Commercial Law, 100, n. 2. The sea-shore, below low-water mark. prima facie belongs to the king and all his subjects, and no subject can claim an exclusive right to cut seaweed on rocks situated below low-water mark, but by express grant from the king, or uninterrupted presumption. Benest v. Pipon, Knapp's Rep. 67.

(84) See 1 Chitty's Commercial Law, 100. n. 3. — C.

(85) See 1 Chitty's Commercial Law, 101, n. 1. — C.

(86) The right to wreck is not infrequently the subject of litigation in the Municipal Courts of Great Britain; see in general modern cases. Ship Augusta, 1 Hagg. Rep. 16; and The Bailiffs, &c., ofDunwich v. Sterry, 1 Barn. & Adolph 831. — C.

(87) See further, 1 Chitty's Commercial Law, 95, n. 3: Grotius, b. 2, c. 3, s. 13, p. 166. — C.

7. See Book II. § 83.

(88) As to the British seas, and the claims of the English of empire over the seas in general, see Selden's Mare Clausum, b. 2. c. 1, p. 182, and other authorities collected 1 Chitty's Commercial Law, 101, 2, 3. As to the duty of the flag, or the obligation upon other nations to pay a particular mark of respect to British men-of-war, by striking their flag or lowering their topsail, formerly claimed, and so obnoxious to foreign shipping, see id. 101, 2; Molloy, b. 1, c. 5, ss. 11; and see Postlewaite's Did. tit. Sea, British; Marten's L. Nat. 168-9 — 172, 175. Com. Dig. Navigation, A. And, as to the French view of the right of the sea. and of the respects to be observed between ships see Cours de Droit Public Interne et Externe, tom. 2, p. 80 to 84, and id. 396 to 406. — C.




§ 1. Foundation of the common and mutual duties of nations.

THE following maxims will appear very strange to cabinet politicians; and such is the misfortune of mankind, that, to many of those refined conductors of nations, the doctrine of this chapter will be a subject of ridicule. Be it so; but we will, nevertheless, boldy lay down what the law of nature prescribes to nations. Shall we be intimidated by ridicule, when we speak after Cicero? That great man held the reins of the most powerful state that ever existed; and in that station he appeared no less eminent than at the bar. The punctual observance of the law of nature he considered as the most salutary policy to the state. In my preface, I have already quoted this fine passage — Nihil est quod adhuc de republica putem dictum, et quo possim longius progredi, nisi sit confirmatum, non modo falsum esse illud, sine injuria not posse, sed hoc verissimum, sine summa justitia rempublicam regi non posse.1 I might say on good grounds, that, by the words summa justitia, Cicero means that universal justice which consists in completely fulfilling the law of nature. But in another place he explains himself more clearly on this head, and gives us sufficiently to understand that he does not confine the mutual duties of men to the observance of justice, properly so called. "Nothing," says he, "is more agreeable to nature, more capable of affording true satisfaction, than, in imitation of Hercules, to undertake even the most arduous and painful labours for the benefit and preservation of all nations." Magis est secundum naturam, pro omnibus gentibus, si fieri possit, conservandis aut juvandis, maximos labores molestiasque suscipere, imitantem Herculem illum, quem hominum fama, beneficiorum memor, in concilium cœlestium collocavit, quam vivere in solitudine, non modo sine ullis molestiis, sed, etiam in maximis voluptatibus, abundantem omnibus copiis, ut excellas etiam pulchritudine et viribus. Quocirca optimo quisque et splendidissimo ingenio longe illam vitam huic anteponit.2 In the same chapter, Cicero expressly refutes those who are for excluding foreigners from the benefit of those duties to which they acknowledge themselves bound towards their fellow-citizens. Qui autem civium rationem dicunt habendam, externorum negant, hi dirimunt communem humani generis societatem; qua sublata, beneficentia, liberalitas, bonitas, justitia, funditus tollitur; quæ qui tollunt, etiam adversus Deos immortales impii judicandi sunt; ab Us enim constitutam inter homines societatem evertunt.

And why should we not hope still to find, among those who are the head of affairs, come wise individuals who are convinced of this great truth, that virtue is, even for sovereigns and political bodies, the most certain road to prosperity and happiness? There is at least one benefit to be expected from the open assertion and publication of sound maxims, which is, that even those who relish them the least are thereby laid under a necessity of keeping within some bounds, lest they should forfeit their characters altogether. To flatter ourselves with the vain expectation that men, and especially men in power, will be inclined strictly to conform to the laws of nature, would be a gross mistake; and to renounce all hope of making impression on some of them, would be to give up mankind for lost.

Nations, being obliged by nature reciprocally to cultivate human society (Prelim. § 11), are bound to observe towards each other all the duties which the safety and advantage of that society require.

§ 2. Offices of humanity, and their foundation.

The offices of humanity are those succours, those duties, which men owe to each other, as men, — that is, as social beings formed to live in society, and standing in need of mutual assistance for their preservation and happiness, and to enable them to live in a manner conformable to their nature. Now, the laws of nature being no less obligatory on nations than on individuals (Prelim. § 5), whatever duties each man owes to other men, the same does each nation, in its way, owe to other nations (Prelim. § 10, &c). Such is the foundation of those common duties — of those offices of humanity — to which nations are reciprocally bound towards each other. They consist, generally, in doing every thing in our power for the preservation and happiness of others, as far as such conduct is reconcilable with our duties towards ourselves.

§ 3. General principle of all the mutual duties of nations.

The nature and essence of man, who, without the assistance of his fellow-men, is unable to supply all his wants, to preserve himself, to render himself perfect, and to live happily, plainly show us that he is destined to live in society, in the interchange of mutual aid; and, consequently, that all men are, by their very nature and essence, obliged to unite their common efforts for the perfection of their own being and that of their condition. The surest method of succeeding in this pursuit is, that each individual should exert his efforts first for himself and then for others. Hence it follows, that, whatever we owe to ourselves, we likewise owe to others, so far as they stand in need of assistance, and we can grant it to them without being wanting to ourselves. Since, then, one nation, in its way, owes to another nation every duty that one man owes to another man, we may confidently lay down this general principle: — one state owes to another state whatever it owes to itself, so far as that other stands in real need of its assistance, and the former can grant it without neglecting the duties it owes to itself. Such is the eternal and immutable law of nature. Those who might be alarmed at this doctrine, as totally subversive of the maxims of sound policy, will be relieved from their apprehensions by the two following considerations: —

1. Social bodies or sovereign states are much more capable of supplying all their wants than individual men are; and mutual assistance is not so necessary among them, nor so frequently required. Now, in those particulars which a nation can itself perform, no succour is due to it from others.

2. The duties of a nation towards itself, and chiefly the care of its own safety, require much more circumspection and reserve than need be observed by an individual in giving assistance to others. This remark we shall soon illustrate.

§ 4. Duties of a nation for the preservation of others.

Of all the duties of a nation towards itself, the chief object is its preservation and perfection, together with that of its state. The detail given of them in the first book of this work may serve to point out the several objects in relation to which a state may and should assist another state. Every nation ought, on occasion, to labour for the preservation of others, and for securing them from ruin and destruction, as far as it can do this without exposing itself too much. Thus, when a neighbouring nation is unjustly attacked by a powerful enemy who threatens to oppress it, if you can defend it, without exposing yourself to great danger, unquestionably it is your duty to do so. Let it not be said, in objection to this, that a sovereign is not to expose the lives of his soldiers for the safety of a foreign nation with which he has not contracted a defensive alliance. It may be his own case to stand in need of assistance; and, consequently, he is acting for the safety of his own nation in giving energy to the spirit and disposition to afford mutual aid. Accordingly, policy here coincides with and enforces obligation and duty. It is the interest of princes to stop the progress of an ambitious monarch, who aims at aggrandizing himself by subjugating his neighbours. A powerful league was formed in favour of the United Provinces, when threatened with the yoke of Louis XIV.3 When the Turks laid siege to Vienna, the brave Sobieski, king of Poland, saved the house of Austria.4 and possibly all Germany, and his own kingdom.

§ 5. It ought to assist a nation afflicted with famine or any other calamities.

For the same reason, if a nation is afflicted with famine, all those who have provisions to spare ought to relieve her distress, without, however, exposing themselves to want.(89) But, if that nation is able to pay for the provisions thus furnished, it is perfectly lawful to sell them to her at a reasonable rate; for they are not bound to furnish her with what she is herself capable of procuring; and, consequently, there is no obligation of gratuitously bestowing on her such things as she is able to purchase. To give assistance in such extreme necessity is so essentially conformable to humanity, that the duty is seldom neglected by any nation that has received the slightest polish of civilization. The great Henry the Fourth could not forbear to comply with it in favour of obstinate rebels who were bent on his destruction.5

Whatever be the calamity with which a nation is afflicted, the like assistance is due to it. We have seen little states in Switzerland order public collections to be made in behalf of towns or villages of the neighbouring countries, which had been ruined by fire, and remit them liberal succours; the difference of religion proving no bar to the performance of so humane a deed. The calamities of Portugal have given England an opportunity of fulfilling the duties of humanity with that noble generosity which characterizes a great nation. On the first intelligence of the disastrous fate of Lisbon,6 the parliament voted a hundred thousand pounds sterling for the relief of an unfortunate people; the king also added considerable sums: ships, laden with provisions and all kinds of succours, were sent away with the utmost despatch; and their arrival convinced the Portuguese that an opposition in belief and worship does not restrain the beneficence of those who understand the claims of humanity. On the same occasion, likewise, the king of Spain signally displayed his tenderness for a near ally, and exerted, in a conspicuous manner, his humanity and generosity.

§ 6. It ought to contribute to the perfection of other states.

A nation must not simply confine itself to the preservation of other states; it should likewise, according to its power and their want of its assistance, contribute to their perfection. We have already shown (Prelim. § 13) that natural society imposes on it this general obligation. We are now come to the proper place for treating of the obligation somewhat more in detail. A state is more or less perfect, as it is more or less adapted to attain the end of civil society, which consists in procuring for its members every thing of which they stand in need, for the necessities, the conveniences, and enjoyments of life, and for their happiness in general, — in providing for the peaceable enjoyment of property, and the safe and easy administration of justice, — and, finally, in defending itself against all foreign violence (Book I. § 15). Every nation therefore, should occasionally, and according to its power, contribute, not only to put another nation in possession of these advantages, but likewise to render it capable of procuring them itself. Accordingly, a learned nation, if applied to for masters and teachers in the sciences, by another nation desirous of shaking off it native barbarism, ought not to refuse such a request. A nation, whose happiness it is to live under wise laws, should on occasion, make it a point of duty to communicate them. Thus, when the wise and virtuous Romans sent ambassadors to Greece to collect good laws, the Greeks were far from rejecting so reasonable and so laudable a request. (90)

§ 7. But not by force.

But, though a nation be obliged to promote, as far as lies in its power, the perfection of others, it is not entitled forcibly to obtrude these good offices on them. Such an attempt would be a violation of their natural liberty. In order to compel any one to receive a kindness, we must have an authority over him; but nations are absolutely free and independent (Prelim. § 4). Those ambitious Europeans who atlacked the American nations, and subjected them to their greedy dominion, in order, as they pretended, to civilize them, and cause them to be instructed in the true religion, — those usurpers, I say, grounded themselves on a pretext equally unjust and ridiculous. It is strange to hear the learned and judicious Grotius assert that a sovereign may justly take up arms to chastise nations which are guilty of enormous transgressions of the law of nature, which treat their parents with inhumanity like the Sogdians, which eat human flesh as the ancient Gauls, &c.7(91) What led him into this error, was, his attributing to every independent man, and of course to every sovereign, an odd kind of right to punish faults which involve an enormous violation of the laws of nature, though they do not affect either his rights or his safety. But we have shown (Book I. § 169) that men derive the right of punishment solely from their right to provide for their own safety; and consequently they cannot claim it except against those by whom they have been injured. Could it escape Grotius, that, notwithstanding all the precautions added by him in the following paragraphs, his opinion opens a door to all the ravages of enthusiasm and fanaticism, and furnishes ambition with numberless pretexts? Mohammed and his successors have desolated and subdued Asia, to avenge the indignity done to the unity of the Godhead; all whom they termed associators or idolaters fell victims to their devout fury.

§ 8. The right to require the offices of humanity.

Since nations ought to perform these duties or offices of humanity towards each other, according as one stands in need, and the other can reasonably comply with them, — every nation being free, independent, and sole arbitress of her own actions, it belongs to each to consider whether her situation warrants her in asking or granting any thing on this head. Thus 1. Every nation has a perfect right to ask of another that assistance and those kind offices which she conceives herself to stand in need of. To prevent her, would be doing her an injury. If she makes the application without necessity, she is guilty of a breach of duty; but, in this respect, she is wholly independent of the judgment of others. A nation has a right to ask for these kind offices, but not to demand them.

§ 9. The right of judging whether they are to be granted.

For, 2. These offices being due only in necessity, and by a nation which can comply with them without being wanting to itself; the nation that is applied to has, on the other hand, a right of judging whether the case really demands them, and whether circumstances will allow her to grant them consistently with that regard which she ought to pay to her own safety and interests: for instance, a nation is in want of corn, and applies to another nation to sell her a quantity of it: — in this case it rests with the latter party to judge whether, by a compliance with the request, they will not expose themselves to the danger of a scarcity: and, if they refuse to comply, their determination is to be patienty acquiesced in. We have very lately seen a prudent performance of this duty on the part of Russia: she generously assisted Sweden when threatened with a famine, but refused to other powers the liberty of purchasing corn in Livonia, from the circumstance of standing herself in need of it, and, no doubt, from weighty political motives likewise.

§ 10. A nation is not to compel another to perform these.

Thus, the right which a nation has to the offices of humanity is but an imperfect one: she cannot compel another nation to the performance of them. The nation that unreasonably refuses them offends against equity, which consists in acting conformably to the imperfect right of another: but thereby no injury is done; injury or injustice being a trespass against the perfect right of another.

§ 11. Mutual love of nations.

It is impossible that nations should mutually discharge all these several duties if they do not love each other. This is the pure source from which the offices of humanity should proceed; they will retain the character and perfection of it. Then nations will be seen sincerely and cheerfully to help each other, earnestly to promote their common welfare, and cultivate peace, without jealousy or distrust.

§ 12. Each nation ought to cultivate the friendship of others.

A real friendship will be seen to reign among them; and this happy state consists in a mutual affection, Every nation is obliged to cultivate the friendship of other nations, and carefully to avoid whatever might kindle their enmity against her. Wise and prudent nations often pursue this line of conduct from views of direct and present interest: a more noble, more general, and less direct interest, is too rarely the motive of politicians. If it be incontestable that men must love each other in order to answer the views of nature and discharge the duties which she prescribes them, as well as for their own private advantage, — can it be doubted that nations are under the like reciprocal obligation? Is it in the power of men, on dividing themselves into different political bodies, to break the ties of that universal society which nature has established amongst them?

§ 13. To perfect itself with a view to the advantage of others, and set them good examples.

If a man ought to qualify himself for becoming useful toother men, — and a citizen, for rendering useful services to his country and fellow citizens, a nation likewise, in perfecting herself, ought to have in view the acquisition of a greater degree of ability to promote the perfection and happiness of other nations; she should be careful to set them good examples, and avoid setting them a pattern of any thing evil. Imitation is natural to mankind: the virtues of a celebrated nation are sometimes imitated, and much more frequently its vices and defects.

§ 14. To take care of their glory.

Glory being a possession of great importance to a nation, as we have shown in a particular chapter expressly devoted to the subject,8 — the duty of a nation extends even to the care of the glory of other nations. In the first place, she should, on occasion, contribute to enable them to merit true glory: secondly, she should do them in this respect all the justice due to them, and use all proper endeavours that such justice be universally done them: finally, instead of irritating, she should kindly extenuate the bad effect which some slight blemishes may produce.

§ 15. Difference of religion.

From the manner in which we have established the obligation of performing the offices of humanity, it plainly appears to be solely founded on the nature of man. Wherefore, no nation can refuse them to another, under pretence of its professing a different religion; to be entitled to them, it is sufficient that the claimant is our fellow-creature, A conformity of belief and worship may become a new tie of friendship between nations: but no difference in these respects can warrant us in laying aside the character of men, or the sentiments annexed to it. As we have already related (§ 5) some instances well worthy of imitation, let us here do justice to the pontiff who at present fills the see of Rome, and has recently given a very remarkable example, and which cannot be loo highly commended. Information being given to that prince, that several Dutch ships remained at Civita Vecchia, not daring to put to sea for fear of the Algerine corsairs, he immediately issued orders that the frigates of the ecclesiastical state should convoy those ships out of danger; and his nuncio at Brussels received instructions to signify to the ministers of the states-general, that his holiness made it a rule to protect commerce and perform the duties of humanity, without regarding any difference of religion. Such exalted sentiments cannot fail of raising a veneration for Benedict XIV. even amongst Protestants.(92)

§ 16. Rule and measure of the offices of humanity.

How happy would mankind be, were these amiable precepts of nature everywhere observed! Nations would communicate to each other their products and their knowledge; a profound peace would prevail all over the earth, and enrich it with its invaluable fruits; industry, the sciences and the arts would be employed in promoting our happiness, no less than in relieving our wants; violent methods of deciding contests would be no more heard of; all differences would be terminated by moderation, justice, and equity; the world would have the appearance of a large republic; men would live everywhere like brothers, and each individual be a citizen of the universe. That this idea should be but a delightful dream! yet it flows from the nature and essence of man.9 Put disorderly passions, and private and mistaken interest, will for ever prevent its being realized. Let us then, consider what limitations the present state of men, and the ordinary maxims and conduct of nations, may render necessary in the practice of these precepts of nature, which are in themselves so noble and excellent.

The law of nature cannot condemn the good to become the dupes and prey of the wicked, and the victims of their injustice and ingratitude. Melancholy experience shows that most nations aim only to strengthen and enrich themselves at the expense of others, — to domineer over them, and even if an opportunity offers, to oppress and bring them under the yoke. Prudence does not allow us to strengthen an enemy,(93) or one in whom we discover a desire of plundering and oppressing us: and the care of our own safety forbids it. We have seen (§ 3, &c.) that a nation does not owe her assistance and the offices of humanity to other nations, except so far as the grant of them is reconcilable with her duties to herself. Hence, it evidently follows, that, though the universal love of mankind obliges us to grant at all times, and to all, even to our enemies, those offices which can only tend to render them more moderate and virtuous, because no inconvenience is to be apprehended from granting them, — we are not obliged to give them such succours as probably may become destructive to ourselves. Thus, 1. The exceeding importance of trade, not only to the wants and conveniences of life, but likewise to the strength of a state, and furnishing it with the means of defending itself against its enemies, — and the insatiable avidity of those nations which seek wholly and exclusively to engross it, — thus, I say, these circumstances authorize a nation possessed of a branch of trade, or the secret of some important manufacture or fabric, to reserve to herself those sources of wealth, and, instead of communicating them to foreign nations, to take measure against it. But, where the necessaries or conveniences of life are in question, the nation ought to sell them to others at a reasonable price, and not convert her monopoly into a system of odious extortion. To commerce England chiefly owes her greatness, her power, and her safety: who, then, will presume to blame her for endeavouring, by every fair and just method, to retain the several branches of it in her own hand?

2. As to things directly and more particularly useful for war, a nation is under no obligation to sell them to others of whom it has the smallest suspicion; and prudence even declares against it. Thus, by the Roman laws, people were very justly prohibited to instruct the barbarous nations in building galleys. Thus, in England, laws have been enacted to prevent the best method of ship-building from being carried out of the kingdom.

This caution is to be carried farther, with respect to nations more justly suspected. Thus, when the Turks were successfully pursuing their victorious career, and rapidly advancing to the zenith of power, all Christian nations ought, independent of every bigoted consideration, to have considered them as enemies; even the most distant of those nations, though not engaged in any contest with them, would have been justifiable in breaking off all commerce with a people who made it their profession to subdue by force of arms all who would not acknowledge the authority of their prophet.

§ 17. Particular limitation with regard to the prince.

Let us further observe, with regard to the prince in particular, that he ought not, in affairs of this nature, to obey without reserve all the suggestions of a noble and generous heart impelling him to sacrifice his own interests to the advantage of others, or to motives of generosity; because it is not his private interest that is in question, but that of the state — that of the nation who has committed herself to his care. Cicero says that a great and elevated soul despises pleasures, wealth, life itself, and makes no account of them, when the common utility is at stake.10 He is right, and such sentiments are to be admired in a private person; but generosity is not to be exerted at the expense of others. The head or conductor of a nation ought not to practise that virtue in public affairs without great circumspection, nor to a greater extent than will redound to the glory and real advantage of the state. As to the common good of human society, he ought to pay the same attention to it as the nation he represents would be obliged to pay were the government of her affairs in her own hand.

§ 18. No nation ought to injure others.

But, though the duties of a nation towards herself set bounds to the obligation of performing the offices of humanity, they cannot in the least affect the prohibition of doing any harm to others, of causing them any prejudice, — in a word, of injuring them 11.... If every man is, by his very nature, obliged to assist in promoting the perfection of others, much more cogent are the reasons which forbid him to increase their imperfection, and that of their condition. The same duties are incumbent on nations (Prelim. §§ 5, 6). No nation, therefore, ought to commit any actions tending to impair the perfection of other nations, and that of their condition, or to impede their progress, — in other words, to injure them.(94) And, since the perfection of a nation consists in her aptitude to attain the end of civil society — and the perfection of her condition, in not wanting any of the things necessary to that end (Book I. § 14) — no one nation ought to hinder another from attaining the end of civil society, or to render her incapable of attaining it. This general principle forbids nations to practise any evil manœuvres tending to create disturbance in another state, to foment discord, to corrupt its citizens, to alienate its allies, to raise enemies against it, to tarnish its glory, and to deprive it of its natural advantages.(95)

However, it will be easily conceived that negligence in fulfilling the common duties of humanity, and even the refusal of these duties or offices, is not an injury. To neglect or refuse contributing to the perfection of a nation, is not impairing that perfection.

It must be further observed, that, when we are making use of our right, when we are doing what we owe to ourselves or to others, if, from this action of ours, any prejudice results to the perfection of another, — any detriment to his exterior condition, — we are not guilty of an injury we are doing what is lawful, or even what we ought to do. The damage which accrues to the other is no part of our intention: it is merely an accident, the imputability of which must be determined by the particular circumstances. For instance, in case of a lawful defence, the harm we do to the aggressor is not the object we aim at; — we act only with a view to our own safety; we make use of our right; and the aggressor alone is chargeable with the mischief which he brings on himself.

§ 19. Offences.

Nothing is more opposite to the duties of humanity, nor more contrary to that society which should be cultivated by nations, than offences, or actions which give a just displeasure to others: every nation therefore should carefully avoid giving any other nation real offence: I say real; for, should others take offence at our behaviour when we are only using our rights or fulfilling our duties, the fault lies with them, not with us. Offences excite such asperity and rancour between nations that we should avoid giving any room even for ill-grounded piques, when it can be done without any inconveniency, or failure in our duty. It is said that certain medals and dull jests irritated Louis XIV. against the United Provinces to such a degree as to induce him, in 1672, to undertake the destruction of that republic.(96)

§ 20. Bad customs of the ancients.

The maxims laid down in this chapter, — those sacred precepts of nature, — were for a long time unknown to nations. The ancients had no notion of any duty they owed to nations with whom they were not united by treaties of friendship.12 The Jews especially placed a great part of their zeal in hating all nations; and, as a natural consequence, they were detested and despised by them in turn. At length the voice of nature came to be heard among civilized nations; they perceived that all men are brethren.13 When will the happy time come that they shall behave as such?

1. Fragm. ex. lib. ii. De Republica.

2. De Officiis, lib. iii. cap. 5

3. In 1672.

4. He defeated the Turks, and obliged them to raise the siege of Vienna, in 1683.

(89) Ante. Prelim. § 14. Upon this principle, during the late war with France, when the French troops were extensively afflicted with a disorder which would have occasioned more destruction than the most disastrous defeat in battle, England supplied them with Peruvian bark, which instantly checked and overcame the disease. — C.

5. At the famous siege of Paris.

6. The earthquake by which a great part of that city was destroyed.

(90) See the conduct of Charlemagne and Alfred the Great. Hume Hist. The ancient policy was to withhold any communication or information in improvements which might diminish our home manufactures; but the restrictions upon the exportations of artificers and machinery were removed by 5 Geo. 4, c. 97. If there be reciprocity on the part of the other nation, the indulgence of this liberal policy must be desirable; but otherwise it requires prudential checks. — C.

7. De Jure Belli et Pacis, lib. ii. cap. xx. § 11.

(91) And see the absurdity of such interference sarcastically well exemplified by Cervantes in his Don Quixote, releasing the refractory apprentice and compelling his master to beg pardon, thereby occasioning the former an infinitely more severe chastisement. — C.

8. Book I. chap. xv.

(92) He was much celebrated and spoken of in Lord Charlemont's Travels in A.D. 1742. — C.

9. Here, again, let us call in the authority of Cicero to our support. "All mankind (says that excellent philosopher) should lay it down as their constant rule of action, that individual and general advantage should be the same: for, if each man strives to grasp every advantage for himself, all the ties of human society will be broken. And, if nature ordains that man should feel interested in the welfare of his fellow-man, whoever he be, and for the single reason that he is a man, — it necessarily follows, that, according to the intentions of nature, all mankind must have one common interest. — Ergo unum debet esse omnibus propositum, ut eadem sit utilitas uniuscujusque et universorum: quam si ad se quisque raplat, dissolvetur omnis humana consociatio. Atque si etiam hoc natura præscribit, ut homo homini, quicunque sit, ob eam ipsam causam, quod is homo sit, consultum velit, necesse est, secundum eandem naturam, omnium utilitatem esse communem. De Offic. lib. iii. cap. iv. Note Ed. 1797.

(93) The same prudential consideration extends also in time of peace; for, who can anticipate how soon after advantages have been conferred or granted without equivalent to another state, she may declare war against the nation who conferred them? — C.

10. De Offic. lib. iii. cap. v.

11. Lézer (professedly borrowed from the Latin lædo) is the term used by the author, who, in order the better to explain his meaning, proceeds to inform us, that "nuire (to hurt), offenser (to offend), faire tort (to wrong), porter dommage (to cause detriment), porter prejudice (to prejudice), blesser (to wound, or hurt), are not of precisely the same import," and that, by the word lézer (which is here rendered injure) he means, "in general, causing imperfection in the injured party, or in his condition — rendering his person or his condition less perfect."

(94) This position, however, requires qualification; for, whether in time of peace or of war, a nation has a right to diminish the commerce or resources of another by fair rivalry and other means not in themselves unjust, precisely as one tradesman may by fair competition undersell his neighbour, and thereby alienate his customers. — C.

(95) An instance of this rule, is, the illegality of any commercial intercourse with a revolted colony before its separate independence has been acknowledged. A contract made between a revolted colony in that character with the subject of another state that has not as yet recognised such revolted colony as an independent state, is illegal and void, and will not be given effect to by the Court of Chancery, or any other court in this country. City of Berne v. Bank of England, 9 Ves. 347; Jones v. Garcia del Rio, 1 Turner & Russ. 297; Thompson v. Powles. 2 Sim. Rep. 202, 3; Yrisarri v. Clement, 11 Moore, 308; 2 Car. & P. 223; 3 Bing. 432; for such direct recognition of such a revolted colony must necessarily be offensive to the principal state to which it belonged; and, in the American war, Great B



§ 1. Definition of war.(136)

WAR is that state in which we prosecute our right by force. We also understand, by this term, the act itself, or the manner of prosecuting our right by force: but it is more conformable to general usage, and more proper in a treatise on the law of war, to understand this term in the sense we have annexed to it.

§ 2. Public war.(136)

Public war is that which takes place between nations or sovereigns, and which is carried on in the name of the public power, and by its order. This is the war we are here to consider: — private war, or that which is carried on between private individuals, belongs to the law of nature properly so called.

§ 3. Right of making war.(136)

In treating of the right to security (Book II. Chap. IV.), we have shown that nature gives men a right to employ force, when it is necessary for their defence, and for the preservation of their rights. This principle is generally acknowledged: reason demonstrates it; and nature herself has engraved it on the heart of man. Some fanatics indeed, taking in a literal sense the moderation recommended in the gospel, have adopted the strange fancy of suffering themselves to be massacred or plundered, rather than oppose force to violence. But we need not fear that this error will make any great progress. The generality of mankind will, of themselves, guard against its contagion — happy, if they as well knew how to keep within the just bounds which nature has set to a right that is granted only through necessity! To mark those just bounds, — and, by the rules of justice, equity, and humanity, to moderate the exercise of that harsh, though too often necessary right — is the intention of this third book.

§ 4. It belongs only to the sovereign power.(137)

As nature has given men no right to employ force, unless when it becomes necessary for self defence and the preservation of their rights (Book II. § 49, &c.), the inference is manifest, that, since the establishment of political societies, a right, so dangerous in its exercise, no longer remains with private persons except in those encounters where society cannot protect or defend them. In the bosom of society, the public authority decides all the disputes of the citizens, represses violence, and checks every attempt to do ourselves justice with our own hands. If a private person intends to prosecute his right against the subject of a foreign power, he may apply to the sovereign of his adversary, or to the magistrates invested with the public authority: and if he is denied justice by them, he must have recourse to his own sovereign, who is obliged to protect him. It would be too dangerous to allow every citizen the liberty of doing himself justice against foreigners; as, in that case, there would not be a single member of the state who might not involve it in war. And how could peace be preserved between nations, if it were in the power of every private individual to disturb it? A right of so momentous a nature, — the right of judging whether the nation has real grounds of complaint, whether she is authorized to employ force, and justifiable in taking up arms, whether prudence will admit of such a step, and whether the welfare of the state requires it, — that right, I say, can belong only to the body of the nation, or to the sovereign, her representative. It is doubtless one of those rights, without which there can be no salutary government, and which are therefore called rights of majesty (Book I. § 45).

Thus the sovereign power alone is possessed of authority to make war. But, as the different rights which constitute this power, originally resident in the body of the nation, may be separated or limited according to the will of the nation (Book I. § 31 and 45), it is from the particular constitution of each state, that we are to learn where the power resides, that is authorized to make war in the name of the society at large. The kings of England, whose power is in other respects so limited, have the right of making war and peace.1 Those of Sweden have lost it. The brilliant but ruinous exploits of Charles XII. sufficiently warranted the states of that kingdom to reserve to themselves a right of such importance to their safety.

§ 5. Defensive and offensive war.

War is either defensive or offensive. He who takes up arms to repel the attack of an enemy, carries on a defensive war. He who is foremost in taking up arms, and attacks a nation that lived in peace with him, wages offensive war. The object of a defensive war is very simple; it is no other than self defence: in that of offensive war there is as great a variety as in the multifarious concerns of nations; but, in general, it relates either to the prosecution of some rights, or to safety. We attack a nation with a view either to obtain something to which we lay claim, to punish her for an injury she has done us, or to prevent one which she is preparing to do, and thus avert a danger with which she seems to threaten us. I do not here speak of the justice of war: — that shall make the subject of a particular chapter; — all I here propose is to indicate, in general, the various objects for which a nation takes up arms — objects which may furnish lawful reasons, or unjust pretences, but which are at least susceptible of a colour of right. I do not, therefore, among the objects of offensive war, set down conquest, or the desire of invading the property of others: views of that nature, destitute even of any reasonable pretext to countenance them, do not constitute the object of regular warfare, but of robbery, which we shall consider in its proper place.

(136) See definition of war and of the king's sole right to declare it, as regards England, per Sir Wm. Scott, The Hoop 1 Rob. R. 196; Nayade, 4 Rob. Rep. 252; Bro. Ab. tit. Denizen, pl. 20. and Chitty's L.N. 28, 29, 30. — C.

(137) The right of declaring war is, by his prerogative, vested in the king of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland. Bro. Ab. tit. Denizen, pl. 20. The ship Hoop, per Sir W. Scott, 1 Rob. R. 196, post, 432. — C. {And, by the Constitution of the United States, in Congress. Art. 1 § 8.}

1. I here speak of the right considered in itself. But as a king of England cannot, without the concurrence of parliament, either raise money or compel his subjects to take up arms, his right of making war is, in fact, but a slender prerogative, unless the parliament second him with supplies. — Ed. 1797.


§ 6. Instruments of war.(138)

THE sovereign is the real author of war, which is carried on in his name, and by his order. The troops, officers, soldiers, and, in general, all those by whose agency the sovereign makes war, are only instruments in his hands. They execute his will and not their own. The arms, and all the apparatus of things used in war, are instruments of an inferior order. For the decision of questions that will occur in the sequel, it is of importance to determine precisely what are the things which belong to war. Without entering here into a minute detail, we shall only observe that whatever is peculiarly used in waging war, is to be classed among the instruments of war; and things which are equally used at all times, such as provisions, belong to peace, unless it be in certain particular junctures, when those things appear to be specially destined for the support of war. Arms of all kinds, artillery, gun-powder, salt-petre and sulphur of which it is composed, ladders, gabions, tools and all other implements for sieges, materials for building ships of war, tents, soldiers' clothes, &c.: these always belong to war.

§ 7. Right of levying troops.(139)

As war cannot be carried on without soldiers, it is evident that whoever has the right of making war, has also naturally that of raising troops. The latter, therefore, belongs likewise to the sovereign (§ 4), and is one of the prerogatives of majesty (Book I. § 45). The power of levying troops, or raising an army, is of too great consequence in a state, to be intrusted to any other than the sovereign. The subordinate authorities are not invested with it; they exercise it only by order or commission from the sovereign. But it is not always necessary that they should have an express order for the purpose. On those urgent exigencies which do not allow time to wait for the supreme order, the governor of a province, or the commandant of a town, may raise troops for the defence of the town or province committed to their care: and this they do by virtue of the power tacitly given them by their commission in cases of this nature.

I say that this important power is the appendage of sovereignty; it makes a part of the supreme authority. But we have already seen that those rights which together constitute the sovereign power, may be divided (Book I. §§ 31, 45), if such be the will of the nation. It may then happen that a nation does not intrust her chief with a right so dangerous to her liberty as that of raising and supporting troops, or at least that she limits the exercise of it, by making it depend on the consent of her representatives. The king of England, who has the right of making war, has also, indeed that of granting commissions for raising troops; but he cannot compel any person to enlist, nor, without the concurrence of parliament, keep an army on foot.(140)

§ 8. Obligation of the citizens or subjects.(140)

Every citizen is bound to serve and defend the state as far as he is capable.(140) Society cannot otherwise be maintained; and this concurrence for the common defence is one of the principal objects of every political association. Every man capable of carrying arms should take them up at the first order of him who has the power of making war.

§ 9. Enlisting or raising of troops.

In former times, and especially in small states, immediately on a declaration of war, every man became a soldier; the whole community took up arms, and engaged in the war. Soon after, a choice was made, and armies were formed of picked men, — the remainder of the people pursuing their usual occupations. At present, the use of regular troops is almost everywhere adopted, especially in powerful states. The public authority raises soldiers, distributes them into different bodies under the command of generals and other officers, and keeps them on foot as long as it thinks necessary. As every citizen or subject is bound to serve the state, the sovereign has a right to enlist whom he pleases. But he ought to choose such only as are fit for the occupation of war; and it is highly proper that he should, as far as possible, confine his choice to volunteers who enlist without compulsion.

§ 10. Whether there be any exemptions from carrying arms.

No person is naturally exempt from taking up arms in defence of the state, — the obligation of every member of society being the same. Those alone are excepted, who are incapable of handling arms, or supporting the fatigues of war. This is the reason why old men, children, and women are exempted. Although there be some women who are equal to men in strength and courage, such instances are not usual; and rules must necessarily be general, and derived from the ordinary course of things. Besides, women are necessary for other services in society; and, in short, the mixture of both sexes in armies would be attended with too many inconveniences.

A good government should, as far as possible, so employ all the citizens, and distribute posts and employments in such manner, that the state may be most effectually served in all its affairs. Therefore, when not urged by necessity, it should exempt from military service all those who are employed in stations useful or necessary to society. Upon this ground, magistrates are usually exempted, — their whole time not being too much for the administration of justice and the maintenance of order.

The clergy cannot naturally, and, as matter of right, arrogate to themselves any peculiar exemption. To defend one's country is an action not unworthy of the most sacred hands. That article of the canon law which forbids ecclesiastics to shed blood, is a convenient device to exempt from personal danger those men who are often so zealous to fan the flame of discord and excite bloody wars. Indeed, for the same reasons which we have above alleged in favour of magistrates, an exemption from bearing arms should be allowed to such of the clergy as really useful, — to those who are employed in teaching religion, governing the church, and celebrating the public worship.1

But those immense multitudes of useless monks and friars, — those drones, who, under pretence of dedicating themselves to God, dedicate themselves in fact to sloth and effeminacy; — by what right do they pretend to a prerogative that is ruinous to the state? And if the prince exempts them from military service, is he not guilty of injustice to the other members, on whom he thus throws the whole burthen? I do not here mean to advise a sovereign to fill his armies with monks, but gradually to diminish a useless class of men, by depriving them of injurious and ill-founded privileges. History mentions a martial bishop2 whose weapon was a club, with which he knocked down the enemy, to avoid incurring the censure of the canon law by shedding their blood, it would be much more reasonable, when monks are exempted from carrying arms, that they should be employed in the work as pioneers, and thus made to alleviate the toil of the soldiers. They have, on many occasions, zealously undertaken the task in cases of necessity. I could mention more than one famous siege where monks have usefully served in defence of their country. When the Turks besieged Malta, the ecclesiastics, the women, the very children, all, according to their respective strength or capacity, contributed to that glorious defence, which baffled the utmost efforts of the Ottoman empire.

There is another class of idle drones, whose exemption is a still more glaring abuse, — I mean those swarms of useless footmen who crowd the dwellings of the great and the wealthy, — and who, by the very nature of their employment, are themselves corrupted in displaying the luxury of their masters.

§ 11. Soldiers' pay and quarters.

Among the Romans, while every citizen took his turn to serve in the army, their service was gratuitous. But when a choice is made, and standing armies are kept on foot, the state is bound to pay them, as no individual is under an obligation to perform more than his quota of the public service: and if the ordinary revenues are not sufficient for the purpose, the deficiency must be provided for by taxation. It is but reasonable that those who do not serve should pay their defenders.

When the soldier is not in the field, he must necessarily be provided with quarters. The burthen, in such case, naturally falls on housekeepers: but as that is attended with many inconveniences, and proves very distressing to the citizens, it becomes a good prince, or a wise and equitable government, to ease them of it as far as possible. In this particular, the king of France has made magnificent and ample provision in many towns, by the erection of barracks for the accommodation of the garrison.

§ 12. Hospitals for invalids.

The asylums prepared for indigent soldiers and officers who are grown gray in the service, and whom toil or the enemy's sword has rendered incapable of providing for their own subsistence, may be considered as part of the military pay. In France and England, magnificent establishments have been made in favour of invalids, which, while they discharge a debt of a sacred nature, do honour to the sovereign and the nation. The care of those unfortunate victims of war is the indispensable duty of every state, in proportion to its ability. It is repugnant, not only to humanity, but to the strictest justice that generous citizens, heroes who have shed their blood for the safety of their country, should be left to perish with want, or unworthily forced to beg their bread. The honourable maintenance of such persons might very properly be imposed upon rich convents and large ecclesiastical benefices. Nothing can be more just than that those citizens who avoid all the dangers of war, should bestow part of their riches for the relief of their valiant defenders.

§ 13. Mercenary soldiers.

Mercenary soldiers are foreigners voluntarily engaging to serve the state for money, or a stipulated pay. As they owe no service to a sovereign whose subjects they are not, the advantages he offers them are their sole motive. By enlisting, they incur the obligation to serve him; and the prince, on his part, promises them certain conditions, which are settled in the articles of enlistment. Those articles, being the rule and measure of the respective obligations and rights of the contracting parties, are to be religiously observed. The complaints of some French historians against the Swiss troops, who on several occasions formerly refused to march against the enemy, and even withdrew from the service, because they were not paid, — those complaints, I say, are equally ridiculous and unjust. Why should the articles of enlistment be more strongly binding on one of the parties than on the other? Whenever the prince fails to perform what he has promised, the foreign soldiers are discharged from any further duty to him. I own it would be ungenerous to forsake a prince who, without any fault on his own part, is by accident alone rendered for a while unable to make good his payments. There may even be occasions when such an inflexibility on the part of the soldier would be, if not contrary to strict justice, at least very repugnant to equity. But this was never the case with the Switzers: they never were known to quit the service on the first failure of payment; and when they perceived the good intentions of a sovereign labouring under a real inability to satisfy them, their patience and zeal always supported them under such difficulties. Henry the Fourth owed them immense sums: yet they did not, in his greatest necessities, abandon him; and that hero found the nation equally generous as brave, I here speak of the Switzers, because, in fact, those above alluded to were often mere mercenaries. But a distinction is to be made between troops of this kind and those Switzers who at present serve different powers, and with the permission of their sovereign, and in virtue of alliances subsisting between those powers and the Helvetic body, or some particular canton. The latter are real auxiliaries, though paid by the sovereign whom they serve.

Much has been said on the question — Whether the profession of a mercenary soldier be lawful or not? Whether individuals may, for money or any other reward, engage to serve a foreign prince in his wars? This question does not to me appear very difficult to be solved. Those who enter into such engagements without the express or tacit consent of their sovereign, offend against their duty as citizens. But if their sovereign leaves them at liberty to follow their inclination for a military life, they are perfectly free in that respect. Now, every free man may join whatever society he pleases, according as he finds it most to his advantage. He may make its cause his own, and espouse its quarrels. He becomes in some measure, at least for a time, a member of the state in whose service he engages: and as an officer is commonly at liberty to quit the service when he thinks proper, and the private soldier at the expiration of his engagement, — if that state embark in a war which is evidently unjust, the foreigner may quit its service. And the mercenary soldier, having now learned the art of war, has rendered himself more capable of serving his country, if ever she require his assistance. This last consideration will furnish us with an answer to a question proposed on this head — Whether the sovereign can with propriety permit his subjects to serve foreign powers indiscriminately for money? He can for this simple reason — that his subject will thus learn an art, of which a thorough knowledge is both useful and necessary. The tranquillity, the profound peace which Switzerland has so long enjoyed in the midst of all the commotions and wars which have agitated Europe, — that long repose would soon become fatal to her, did not her citizens, by serving foreign princes, qualify themselves for the operations of war, and keep alive their martial spirit.

§ 14. What is to be ob-

Mercenary soldiers enlist voluntarily. The sovereign has no right to compel foreigners: he must not even employ stratagem or artifice, in order to induce them to engage in a contract, which like all others, should be founded on candour and good faith.

§ 15. Enlisting in foreign countries.

As the right of levying soldiers belongs solely to the nation or the sovereign (§ 7), no person must attempt to enlist soldiers, in a foreign country, without the permission of the sovereign; and, even with that permission, none but volunteers are to be enlisted; for the service of their country is out of the question here; and no sovereign has a right to give or sell his subjects to another.

The man who undertakes to enlist soldiers in a foreign country, without the sovereign's permission, — and, in general, whoever entices away the subjects of another state, violates one of the most sacred rights of the prince and the nation. This crime is distinguished by the name of kidnapping, or man-stealing, and is punished with the utmost severity in every well-regulated state. Foreign recruiters are hanged without mercy, and with great justice. It is not presumed that their sovereign has ordered them to commit a crime; and, supposing even that they had received such an order, they ought not to have obeyed it, — their sovereign having no right to command what is contrary to the law of nature. It is not, I say, presumed that these recruiters act by order of their sovereign; and with respect to such of them as have practised seduction only, it is generally thought sufficient to punish them when they can be detected and caught: if they have used violence, and made their escape, it is usual to demand a surrender of the delinquents, and to claim the persons they have carried off. But if it appears that they acted by order, such a proceeding in a foreign sovereign is justly considered as an injury, and as a sufficient cause for declaring war against him, unless he makes suitable reparation.

§ 16. Obligation of soldiers.

All soldiers, natives or foreigners, are to take an oath to serve faithfully, and not desert the service. This is no more than what they are already obliged to, the former as subjects, the latter by their engagement; but their fidelity is of so great importance to the state, that too many precautions cannot be taken for rendering it secure. Deserters merit severe and exemplary punishment; and the sovereign may, if he thinks it necessary, annex the penalty of death to desertion. The emissaries who solicit them to desert are far more guilty than the recruiters mentioned in the preceding section.

§ 17. Military laws.

Good order and subordination, so useful in all places, are nowhere so necessary as in the army. The sovereign should exactly specify and determine the functions, duties, and rights of military men, — of soldiers, officers, commanders of corps, and generals. He should regulate and fix the authority of commanders in all the gradations of rank, — the punishments to be inflicted on offenders, — the form of trials, &c. The laws and ordinances relative to these several particulars form the military code.

§ 18. Military discipline.

Those regulations, whose particular tendency is to maintain order among the troops, and to enable them to perform their military service with advantage to the state, constitute what is called military discipline. This is of the highest importance. The Switzers were the first among the modern nations that revived it in its ancient vigour. It was a good discipline, added to the valour of a free people, that produced, even in the infancy of their republic, those brilliant achievements which astonished all Europe. Machiavel says that the Switzers are the masters of all Europe in the art of war.3 In our times, the Prussians have shown what may be expected from good discipline and assiduous exercise: soldiers, collected from all quarters, have, by the force of habit, and the influence of command, performed all that could be expected from the most zealous and loyal subjects.

§ 19. Subordinate powers in war.

Every military officer, from the ensign to the general, enjoys the rights and authority assigned him by the sovereign; and the will of the sovereign, in this respect, is known by his express declarations, contained either in the commissions he confers or in the military code, — or is, by fair deduction, inferred from the nature of the functions assigned to each officer; for every man who is intrusted with an employment is presumed to be invested with all the powers necessary to enable him to fill his station with propriety, and successfully discharge the several functions of his office.

Thus, the commission of a commander in chief, when it is simple and unlimited, gives him an absolute power over the army — a right to march it whither he thinks proper, to undertake such operations as he finds conducive to the service of the state, &c. It is true, indeed, that the powers of a general are often limited; but the example of Marshal Turenne sufficiently shows, that, when the sovereign is certain of having made a good choice, the best thing he can do in this respect is to give the general an unlimited power. Had the operations of the Duke of Marlborough depended on the directions of the cabinet, there is little probability that all his campaigns would have been crowned with such distinguished success.

When a governor is besieged in the place where he commands, and all communication with his sovereign is cut off, that very circumstance confers on him the whole authority of the state, so far as respects the defence of the town and the safety of the garrison.

These particulars merit the utmost attention, as they furnish a principle for determining what the several commanders, who are the subordinate or inferior powers in war, may execute with sufficient authority. Exclusive of the consequences which may be deduced from the very nature of their employments, we are likewise to consider the general practice and established usage in this respect. If it be a known fact, that, in the service of a particular nation, officers of a certain rank have been uniformly invested with such or such powers, it may reasonably be presumed that the person we are engaged with is furnished with the same powers.

§ 20. How their promises bind the sovereign.

Every promise made by any of the subordinate powers, by any commander within his department, in conformity to the terms of his commission and to the authority which he naturally derives from his office and the functions intrusted to his care, — every such promise, I say, is, for the reasons above alleged, made in the name and by the authority of the sovereign, and equally obligatory on him as if he had himself personally made it. Thus, a governor capitulates for the town which he commands, and for the garrison; and what he has promised, the sovereign cannot invalidate. In the last war, the general who commanded the French at Lintz, engaged to march back his troops on this side of the Rhine. Governors of towns have often promised that, for a limited time, their garrisons should not carry arms against the enemy with whom they capitulated: and these capitulations have always been faithfully observed

§ 21. In what cases their promises bind only themselves.

But, if a subordinate power allows himself a greater latitude, and exceeds the authority annexed to his office, his promise becomes no more than a private engagement, or what is called sponsio, of which we have already treated, (Book II. Chap. XIV.) This was the case with the Roman consuls at the Furcæ Caudinæ. They might, indeed, agree to deliver hostages, and that their army should pass under the yoke, &c., but they were not authorized to conclude a peace, as they took care to signify to the Samnites.

§ 22. Their assumption of an authority which they do not possess.

If a subordinate power assumes an authority which he does not possess, and thus deceives the party treating with him, though an enemy, — he is naturally responsible for the damage caused by his deception, and bound to make reparation. I say "though an enemy:" for the faith of treaties is to be observed between enemies, as all men of principle agree, and as we shall prove in the sequel. The sovereign of that fraudulent officer ought to punish him, and oblige him to repair his fault: it is a duty which the prince owes to justice, and to his own character.

§ 23. How they bind their inferiors.

Promises made by a subordinate power are obligatory on those who are subject to his control, and bind them in every particular in which he is authorized and accustomed to command their obedience: for, with respect to such particulars, he is vested with the sovereign authority, which his inferiors are bound to respect in his person. Thus, in a capitulation, the governor of a town stipulates and promises for his garrison, and even for the magistrates and citizens.

(138) What are instruments of war, or contraband, and of the prohibitions respecting them, as regards neutral commerce, see Chitty's L.N. 119 to 128; 1 Chitty's Commercial Law, 445 to 449. L'art de la guerre n'est pas ainsi qu'on le croit vulgairement, l'art de detreure mais l'art de paralyser des forces de l'ennemi. Cours le Droit Public. — Paris, 1830; tom 2, pages 85, 86, & Id 406. — C.

(139) But semble, that anciently the king might press men to serve on land as soldiers. Barrington's Observations on Ancient Statutes, 334. The right of pressing men to serve in the Navy constitutes an exception. Its legality cannot now be effectually disputed, per Lord Mansfield, King v. Jubbs, Cowp. 517; per Lord Kenyon, 5 Term R. 276; 9 East, 466; 5 East, 477; 14 East, 346; 2 Camp. 320, and see Barrington's Observations on Ancient Statutes, 334, 5 edit.; 1 Bla. Com. 420 n. 13. It should seem that every passenger on board a merchant ship is bound to assist in her defence; and if he refuse, he may be confined until all danger from the attack has subsided. Boyce v. Bailiff, 1 Campb. 60. — C.

(140) See note (139) ante.

1. Formerly bishops went to war in virtue of their fiefs, and led with them their vassals. The Danish bishops were not inattentive to a function which pleased them better than the peaceful cares of episcopacy. The famous Absalom, bishop of Roschild, and afterwards archbishop of Lunden, was the principal general of king Waldemarl. And since the use of regular troops has superseded that feudal service, there have not been wanting some martial prelates who eagerly courted the command of armies. The cardinal De la Valette, and Sourdis, archbishop of Bordeaux, appeared in arms under the ministry of cardinal Richelieu, who also acted himself in a military capacity at the attack of the pass of Susa. This is an abuse which the church very justly opposes. A bishop makes a better appearance in his proper station, in his diocese, than in the army; and, at present, sovereigns are in no want of generals and officers, who will perform more useful services than can be expected from churchmen. In short, let every person keep to his vocation. All I dispute with the clergy, is their exemption as matter of right and in cases of necessity. — Ed. 1797.

2. A bishop of Beauvais, under Philip Augustus. He fought at the battle of Bouvines.

3. Disc. on Livy.


§ 24. War never to be undertaken without very cogent reasons.

WHOEVER entertains a true idea of war, — whoever considers its terrible effects, its destructive and unhappy consequences, will readily agree that it should never be undertaken without the most cogent reasons. Humanity revolts against a sovereign, who, without necessity or without very powerful reasons, lavished the blood of his most faithful subjects, and exposes his people to the calamities of war, when he has it in his power to maintain them in the enjoyment of an honourable and salutary peace. And if to this imprudence, this want of love for his people, he moreover adds injustice towards those he attacks, — of how great a crime, or rather, of what a frightful scries of crimes, does he not become guilty! Responsible for all the misfortunes which ho draws down on his own subjects, he is moreover loaded with the guilt of all those which he inflicts on an innocent nation. The slaughter of men, the pillage of cities, the devastation of provinces, — such is the black catalogue of his enormities. He is responsible to God, and accountable to human nature, for every individual that is killed, for every hut that is burned down. The violences, the crimes, the disorders of every kind, attendant on the tumult and licentiousness of war, pollute his conscience, and are set down to his account, as he is the original author of them all. Unquestionable truths! alarming ideas!! which ought to affect the rulers of nations, and, in all their military enterprises, inspire them with a degree of circumspection proportionate to the importance of the subject!

§ 25. Justificatory reasons, and motives for making war.

Were men always reasonable, they would terminate their contests by the arms of reason only; natural justice and equity would be their rule, or their judge. Force is a wretched and melancholy expedient against those who spurn at justice, and refuse to listen to the remonstrances of reason: but, in short, it becomes necessary to adopt that mode, when every other proves ineffectual. It is only in extremities that a just and wise nation, or a good prince, has recourse to it, as we have shown in the concluding chapter of the second book. The reasons which may determine him to take such a step are of two classes. Those of the one class show that he has a right to make war, — that he has just grounds for undertaking it: — these are called justificatory reasons. The others, founded on fitness and utility, determine whether it be expedient for the sovereign to undertake a war, — these are called motives.

§ 26. What is in general a just cause of war.

The right of employing force, or making war, belongs to nations no farther than is necessary for their own defence, and for the maintenance of their rights (§ 3). Now, if any one attacks a nation, or violates her perfect rights, he does her an injury. Then, and not till then, that nation has a right to repel the aggressor, and reduce him to reason. Further, she has a right to prevent the intended injury, when she sees herself threatened with it (Book II. § 50). Let us then say in general, that the foundation, or cause of every just war is injury, either already done or threatened. The justificatory reasons for war show that an injury has been received, or so far threatened as to authorize a prevention of it by arms. It is evident, however, that here the question regards the principal in the war, and not those who join in it as auxiliaries. When, therefore, we would judge whether a war be just, we must consider whether he who undertakes it has in fact received an injury, or whether he be really threatened with one. And, in order to determine what is to be considered as an injury, we must be acquainted with a nation's rights, properly so called, — that is to say, her perfect rights. These are of various kinds, and very numerous, but may all be referred to the general heads of which we have already treated, and shall further treat in the course of this work. Whatever strikes at these rights is an injury, and a just cause of war.

§ 27. What war is unjust.

The immediate consequence of the premises is, that if a nation takes up arms when she has received no injury, nor is threatened with any, she undertakes an unjust war. Those alone, to whom an injury is done or intended, have a right to make war.

§ 28. The object of war.

From the same principle we shall likewise deduce the just and lawful object of every war, which is, to avenge or prevent injury. To avenge signifies here to prosecute the reparation of an injury, if it be of a nature to be repaired, — or, if the evil be irreparable, to obtain a just satisfaction, — and also to punish the offender, if requisite, with a view of providing for our future safety. The right to security authorizes us to do all this (Book II. §§ 49-52). We may therefore distinctly point out, as objects of a lawful war, the three following: — 1. To recover what belongs, or is due to us. 2. To provide for our future safety by punishing the aggressor or offender. 3. To defend ourselves, or to protect ourselves from injury, by repelling unjust violence. The two first are the objects of an offensive, the third of a defensive war. Camillus, when on the point of attacking the Gauls, concisely set forth to his soldiers all the subjects on which war can be grounded or justified — omnia, quæ defendi, repetique, et ulcisci fas sit.1

§ 29. Both justificatory reasons and proper motives requisite in undertaking a war.

As the nation, or her ruler, ought, in every undertaking, not only to respect justice, but also to keep in view the advantage of the state, it is necessary that proper and commendable motives should concur with the justificatory reasons, to induce a determination to embark in a war. These reasons show that the sovereign has a right to take up arms, that he has just cause to do so. The proper motives show, that in the present case it is advisable and expedient to make use of his right. These latter relate to prudence, as the justificatory reasons come under the head of justice.

§ 30. Proper motives.

I call proper and commendable motives those derived from the good of the state, from the safety and common advantage of the citizens. They are inseparable from the justificatory reasons, — a breach of justice being never truly advantageous. Though an unjust war may for a time enrich a state, and extend her frontiers, it renders her odious to other nations, and exposes her to the danger of being crushed by them. Besides, do opulence and extent of dominion always constitute the happiness of states? Amidst the multitude of examples which might here be quoted, let us confine our view to that of the Romans. The Roman republic ruined herself by her triumphs, by the excess of her conquests and power. Rome, when mistress of the world, but enslaved by tyrants and oppressed by a military government, had reason to deplore the success of her arms, and to look back with regret on those happy times when her power did not extend beyond the bounds of Italy, or even when her dominion was almost confined within the circuit of her walls.

Vicious motives are those which have not for their object the good of the state, and which, instead of being drawn from that pure source, are suggested by the violence of the passions. Such are the arrogant desire of command, the ostentation of power, the thirst of riches, the avidity of conquest, hatred, and revenge.

§ 31. War undertaken upon just grounds, but from vicious motives.

The whole right of the nation, and consequently of the sovereign, is derived from the welfare of the state; and by this rule it is to be measured. The obligation to promote and maintain the true welfare of the society or state gives the nation a right to take up arms against him who threatens or attacks that valuable enjoyment. But if a nation, on an injury done to her, is induced to take up arms, not by the necessity of procuring a just reparation, but by a vicious motive, she abuses her right. The viciousness of the motive tarnishes the lustre of her arms, which might otherwise have shone in the cause of justice: — the war is not undertaken for the lawful cause which the nation had to engage in it: that cause is now no more than a pretext. As to the sovereign in particular, the ruler of the nation — what right has he to expose the safety of the state, with the lives and fortunes of the citizens, to gratify his passions? It is only for the good of the nation that the supreme power is intrusted to him; and it is with that view that he ought to exert it: that is the object prescribed to him even in his least important measures: and shall he undertake the most important and the most dangerous, from motives foreign or contrary to that great end? Yet nothing is more common that such a destructive inversion of views; and it is remarkable, that, on this account, the judicious Polybius gives the name of causes2 to the motives on which war is undertaken, — and of pretexts3 to the justificatory reasons alleged in defence of it. Thus he informs us that the cause of the war which Greece undertook against the Persians was the experience she had had of their weakness, and that the pretext alleged by Philip, or by Alexander after him, was the desire of avenging the injuries which the Greeks had so often suffered, and of providing for their future safety.

§ 32. Pretexts.

Let us, however, entertain a better opinion of nations and their rulers. There are just causes of war, real justificatory reasons; and why should there not be sovereigns who sincerely consider them as their warrant, then they have besides reasonable motives for taking up arms? We shall therefore give the name of pretexts to those reasons alleged as justificatory, but which are so only in appearance, or which are even absolutely destitute of all foundation. The name of pretexts may likewise be applied to reasons which are, in themselves, true and well-founded, but, not being of sufficient importance for undertaking a war, are made use of only to cover ambitious views, or some other vicious motive. Such was the complaint of the czar Peter I. that sufficient honours had not been paid him on his passage through Riga. His other reasons for declaring war against Sweden I here omit.

Pretexts are at least a homage which unjust men pay to justice. He who screens himself with them shows that he still retains some sense of shame. He does not openly trample on what is most sacred in human society: he tacitly acknowledges that a flagrant injustice merits the indignation of all mankind.

§ 33. War undertaken merely for advantage.

Whoever, without justificatory reasons, undertakes a war merely from motives of advantage, acts without any right, and his war is unjust. And he, who, having in reality just grounds for taking up arms, is nevertheless solely actuated by interested views in resorting to hostilities, cannot indeed be charged with injustice, but he betrays a vicious disposition: his conduct is reprehensible, and sullied by the badness of his motives. War is so dreadful a scourge, that nothing less than manifest justice, joined to a kind of necessity, can authorize it, render it commendable, or at least exempt it from reproach,

§ 34. Na-

Nations that are always ready to take up arms on any prospect of advantage, are lawless robbers: but those who seem to delight in the ravages of war, who spread it on all sides, without reasons or pretexts, and even without any other motive than their own ferocity, are monsters, unworthy the name of men. They should be considered as enemies to the human race, in the same manner as, in civil society, professed assassins and incendiaries are guilty, not only towards the particular victims of their nefarious deeds, but also towards the state, which therefore proclaims them public enemies. All nations have a right to join in a confederacy for the purpose of punishing and even exterminating those savage nations. Such were several German tribes mentioned by Tacitus — such those barbarians who destroyed the Roman empire: nor was it till long after their conversion to Christianity that this ferocity wore off. Such have been the Turks and other Tartars — Genghis Khan, Timur Bec or Tamerlane, who, like Attila, were scourges employed by the wrath of Heaven, and who made war only for the pleasure of making it. Such are, in polished ages and among the most civilized nations, those supposed heroes, whose supreme delight is a battle, and who make war from inclination purely, and not from love to their country.

§ 35. How defensive war is just or unjust.

Defensive war is just when made against an unjust aggressor. This requires no proof. Self-defence against unjust violence is not only the right, but the duty of a nation, and one of her most sacred duties. But if the enemy who wages offensive war has justice on his side, we have no right to make forcible opposition; and the defensive war then becomes unjust: for that enemy only exerts his lawful right: — he took arms only to obtain justice which was refused to him; and it is an act of injustice to resist any one in the exertion of his right.

§ 36. How it may become just against an offensive war which at first was just.

All that remains to be done in such a case is, to offer the invader a just satisfaction. If he will not be content with this, a nation gains one great advantage — that of having turned the balance of justice on her own side; and his hostilities, now becoming unjust, as having no longer any foundation, may very justly be opposed.

The Samnites, instigated by the ambition of their chiefs, had ravaged the lands of the allies of Rome. When they became sensible of their misconduct, they offered full reparation for the damages, with every reasonable satisfaction: but all their submissions could not appease the Romans; whereupon Caius Pontius, general of the Samnites, said to his men, "Since the Romans are absolutely determined on war, necessity justifies it on our side; an appeal to arms becomes lawful on the part of those who are deprived of every other resource." — Justum est bellum, quibus necessarium; et pia arma, quibus nulla nisi in armis relinquitur spes.4

§ 37. How an offensive war is just in an evident cause.

In order to estimate the justice of an offensive war, the nature of the subject for which a nation takes up arms must be first considered. We should be thoroughly assured of our right, before we proceed to assert it in so dreadful a manner. If, therefore, the question relates to a thing which is evidently just, as the recovery of our property, the assertion of a clear and incontestable right, or the attainment of just satisfaction for a manifest injury, and if we cannot obtain justice otherwise than by force of arms, offensive war becomes lawful. Two things are therefore necessary to render it just: 1, some right which is to be asserted — that is to say, that we be authorized to demand something of another nation: 2, that we be unable to obtain it otherwise than by force of arms, Necessity alone warrants the use of force. It is a dangerous and terrible resource. Nature, the common parent of mankind, allows of it only in cases of the last extremity, and when all other means fail. It is doing wrong to a nation, to make use of violence against her, before we know whether she be disposed to do us justice, or to refuse it.

Those who without trying pacific measures, run to arms on every trifling occasion, sufficiently show that justificatory reasons are, in their mouths, mere pretexts: they eagerly seize the opportunity of indulging their passions and gratifying their ambition under some colour of right.

§ 38. In a doubtful cause.

In a doubtful cause, where the rights are uncertain, obscure and disputable, all that can be reasonably required is, that the question be discussed (Book II. § 331), and that, if it be impossible fully to clear it up, the contest be terminated by an equitable compromise. If, therefore, one of the parties should refuse to accede to such conciliatory measures, the other is justifiable in taking up arms to compel him to an accommodation. And we must observe, that war does not decide the question: victory only compels the vanquished to subscribe to the treaty which terminates the difference. It is an error, no less absurd than pernicious, to say that war is to decide controversies between those who acknowledge no superior judge — as is the case with nations. Victory usually favours the cause of strength and prudence, rather than that of right and justice. It would be a bad rule of decision; but it is an effectual mode of compelling him who refuses to accede to such measures as are consonant to justice; and it becomes just in the hands of a prince who uses it seasonably, and for a lawful cause.

§ 39. War cannot be just on both sides.

War cannot be just on both sides. One party claims a right; the other disputes it: the one complains of an injury: the other denies having done it. They may be considered as two individuals disputing on the truth of a proposition; and it is impossible that two contrary sentiments should be true at the same time.

§ 40. Some-

It may however happen that both the contending parties are candid and sincere in their intentions; and, in a doubtful cause, it is still uncertain which side is in the right. Wherefore, since nations are equal and independent (Book II. § 36, and Prelim. §§ 18, 19), and cannot claim a right of judgment over each other, it follows, that in every case susceptible of doubt, the arms of the two parties at war are to be accounted equally lawful, at least as to external effects, and until the decision of the cause. But neither does that circumstance deprive other nations of the liberty of forming their own judgment on the case, in order to determine how they are to act, and to assist that party who shall appear to have right on his side; nor does that effect of the independence of nations operate in exculpation of the author of an unjust war, who certainly incurs a high degree of guilt. But if he acts in consequence of invincible ignorance or error, the injustice of his arms is not imputable to him.

§ 41. War undertaken to punish a nation.

When offensive war has for its object the punishment of a nation, it ought, like every other war, to be founded on right and necessity. 1. On right: — an injury must have been actually received. Injury alone being a just cause of war (§ 26), the reparation of it may be lawfully prosecuted: or if, in its nature, it be irreparable (the only case in which we are allowed to punish), we are authorized to provide for our own safety, and even for that of all other nations, by inflicting on the offender a punishment capable of correcting him, and serving as an example to others. 2. A war of this kind must have necessity to justify it; that is to say, that, to be lawful, it must be the only remaining mode to obtain a just satisfaction; which implies a reasonable security for the time to come. If that complete satisfaction, be offered, or if it may be obtained without a war, the injury is done away, and the right to security no longer authorizes us to seek vengeance for it. — (See Book II. §§ 49, 52.)

The nation in fault is bound to submit to a punishment which she has deserved, and to suffer it by way atonement: but she is not obliged to give herself up to the discretion of an incensed enemy. Therefore, when attacked she ought to make a tender of satisfaction, and ask what penalty is required; and if no explicit answer be given, or the adversary attempts to impose a disproportionate penalty, she then acquires a right to resist, and her defence becomes lawful.

On the whole, however, it is evident that the offended party alone has a right to punish independent persons. We shall not here repeat what we have said elsewhere (Book II. § 7) of the dangerous mistake, or extravagant pretensions, of those who assume a right of punishing an independent nation for faults which do not concern them — who, madly setting themselves up as defenders of the cause of God, take upon them to punish the moral depravity, or irreligion, of a people not committed to their superintendency.

§ 42. Whether the aggrandizement of a neighbouring power can authorize a war against him.

Here a very celebrated question, and of the highest importance, presents itself. It is asked, whether the aggrandizement of a neighbouring power, by whom a nation fears she may one day be crushed, be a sufficient reason for making war against him — whether she be justifiable in taking up arms to oppose his aggrandizement, or to weaken him, with the sole view of securing herself from those dangers which the weaker states have almost always reason to apprehend from an overgrown power. To the majority of politicians this question is no problem: it is more difficult of solution to those who wish to see justice and prudence ever inseparably united.

On the one hand, a state that increases her power by all the arts of good government, does no more than what is commendable — she fulfils her duties towards herself without violating those which she owes to other nations. The sovereign, who, by inheritance, by free election, or by any other just and honourable means, enlarges his dominions by the addition of new provinces or entire kingdoms, only makes use of his right, without injuring any person. How then should it be lawful to attack a state which, for its aggrandizement, makes use only of lawful means? We must either have actually suffered an injury or be visibly threatened with one, before we are authorized to take up arms, or have just grounds for making war (§§ 26, 27). On the other hand, it is but too well known, from sad and uniform experience, that predominating powers seldom fail to molest their neighbours, to oppress them, and even totally subjugate them, whenever an opportunity occurs, and they can do it with impunity. Europe was on the point of falling into servitude for want of a timely opposition to the growing fortune of Charles V. Is the danger to be waited for? Is the storm, which might be dispersed at its rising, to be permitted to increase? Are we to allow of the aggrandizement of a neighbour, and quietly wait till he makes his preparations to enslave us? Will it be a time to defend ourselves when we are deprived of the means? Prudence is a duty incumbent on all men, and most pointedly so on the heads of nations, as being commissioned to watch over the safety of a whole people. Let us endeavour to solve this momentous question, agreeably to the sacred principles of the law of nature and of nations. We shall find that they do not lead to weak scruples, and that it is an invariable truth that justice is inseparable from sound policy.

§ 43. Alone and of itself, it cannot give a right to attack him.

And first, let us observe, that prudence, which is, no doubt, a virtue highly necessary in sovereigns, can never recommend the use of unlawful means for the attainment of a just and laudable end. Let not the safety of the people, that supreme law of the state, be alleged here in objection; for the very safety of the people itself, and the common safety of nations, prohibit the use of means which are repugnant to justice and probity. Why are certain means unlawful? If we closely consider the point, if we trace it to its first principles, we shall see that it is purely because the introduction of them would be pernicious to human society, and productive of fatal consequences to all nations.

See particularly what we have said concerning the observance of justice (Book II. Chap. V.). For the interest, therefore, and even the safety of nations, we ought to hold it as a sacred maxim, that the end does not sanctify the means. And since war is not justifiable on any other ground than that of avenging an injury received, or preserving ourselves from one with which we are threatened (§ 26), it is a sacred principle of the law of nations, that an increase of power cannot, alone and of itself, give any one a right to take up arms in order to oppose it.

§ 44. How the appearances of danger give that right.

No injury has been received from that power (so the question supposes); we must, therefore, have good grounds to think ourselves threatened by him, before we can lawfully have recourse to arms. Now power alone does not threaten an injury: — it must be accompanied by the will. It is, indeed, very unfortunate for mankind, that the will and inclination to oppress may be almost always supposed, where there is a power of oppressing with impunity. But these two things are not necessarily inseparable: and the only right which we derive from the circumstance of their being generally or frequently united, is, that of taking the first appearances for a sufficient indication. When once a state has given proofs of injustice, rapacity, pride, ambition, or an imperious thirst of rule, she becomes an object of suspicion to her neighbours, whose duty it is to stand on their guard against her. They may come upon her at the moment when she is on the point of acquiring a formidable accession of power, — may demand securities, — and if she hesitates to give them, may prevent her designs by force of arms. The interests of nations are, in point of importance, widely different from those of individuals: the sovereign must not be remiss in his attention to them, nor suffer his generosity and greatness of soul to supersede his suspicions. A nation that has a neighbour at once powerful and ambitious has her all at stake. As men are under a necessity of regulating their conduct in most cases by probabilities, those probabilities claim their attention in proportion to the importance of the subject: and (to make use of a geometrical expression) their right to obviate a danger is in a compound ratio of the degree of probability and the greatness of the evil threatened. If the evil in question be of a supportable nature, — if it be only some slight loss, — matters are not to be precipitated: there is no great danger in delaying our opposition to it till there be a certainty of our being threatened. But if the safety of the state lies at stake, our precaution and foresight cannot be extended too far. Must we delay to avert our ruin till it is become inevitable? If the appearances are so easily credited, it is the fault of that neighbour who has betrayed his ambition by several indications. If Charles the Second, King of Spain, instead of settling the succession on the Duke of Anjou, had appointed for his heir Louis XIV. himself — to have tamely suffered the union of the monarchy of Spain with that of France, would, according to all the rules of human foresight, have been nothing less than delivering up all Europe to servitude, or at least reducing it to the most critical and precarious situation. But then, if two independent nations think fit to unite, so as afterwards to form one joint empire, have they not a right to do it? And who is authorized to oppose them? I answer, they have a right to form such a union, provided the views by which they are actuated be not prejudicial to other states. Now, if each of the two nations in question be, separately and without assistance, able to govern and support herself, and to defend herself from insult and oppression, it may be reasonably presumed that the object of their coalition is to domineer over their neighbours. And, on occasions where it is impossible or too dangerous to wait for an absolute certainty, we may justly act on a reasonable presumption. If a stranger levels a musket at me in the middle of a forest, I am not yet certain that he intends to kill me; but shall I, in order to be convinced of his design, allow him time to fire? What reasonable casuist will deny me the right to anticipate him? But presumption becomes nearly equivalent to certainty, if the prince who is on the point of rising to an enormous power has already given proofs of imperious pride and insatiable ambition. In the preceding supposition, who could have advised the powers of Europe to suffer such a formidable accession to the power of Louis the Fourteenth? Too certain of the use he would have made of it, they would have joined in opposing it: and in this their safety warranted them. To say that they should have allowed him time to establish his dominion over Spain, and consolidate the union of the two monarchies, — and that, for fear of doing him an injury, they should have quietly waited till he crushed them all, — would not this be, in fact, depriving mankind of the right to regulate their conduct by the dictates of prudence, and to act on the ground of probability? Would it not be robbing them of the liberty to provide for their own safety, as long as they have not mathematical demonstration of its being in danger? It would have been in vain to have preached such a doctrine. The principal sovereigns of Europe, habituated, by the administration of Louvois, to dread the views and power of Louis XIV., carried their mistrust so far, that they would not even suffer a prince of the house of France to sit on the throne of Spain, though invited to it by the nation, whose approbation had sanctioned the will of her former sovereign. He ascended it, however, notwithstanding the efforts of those who so strongly dreaded his elevation; and it has since appeared that their policy was too suspicious.

§ 45. Another case more evident.

It is still easier to prove, that, should that formidable power betray an unjust and ambitious disposition, by doing the least injustice to another, all nations may avail themselves of the occasion, and, by joining the injured party, thus form a coalition of strength, in order to humble that ambitious potentate, and disable him from so easily oppressing his neighbours, or keeping them in continual awe and fear. For an injury gives us a right to provide for our future safety, by depriving the unjust aggressor of the means of injuring us; and it is lawful and even praiseworthy to assist those who are oppressed, or unjustly attacked.

Enough has been said on this subject, to set the minds of politicians at case, and relieve them from all apprehension that a strict and punctilious observance of justice in this particular would pave the way to slavery. It is perhaps wholly unprecedented that a state should receive any remarkable accession of power, without giving other states just causes of complaint. Let the other nations be watchful and alert in repressing that growing power, and they will have nothing to fear. The emperor Charles V. laid hold on the pretext of religion, in order to oppress the princes of the empire, and subject them to his absolute authority. If, by following up his victory over the elector of Saxony, he had accomplished that vast design, the liberties of all Europe would have been endangered. It was therefore with good reason that France assisted the protestants of Germany: — the care of her own safety authorized and urged her to the measure. When the same prince seized on the duchy of Milan, the sovereigns of Europe ought to have assisted France in contending with him for the possession of it, and to have taken advantage of the circumstance, in order to reduce his power within just bounds. Had they prudently availed themselves of the just causes which he soon gave them to form a league against him, they would have saved themselves the subsequent anxieties for their tottering liberty.

§ 46. Other allowable means of defence against a formidable power.

But, suppose that powerful state, by the justice and circumspection of her conduct, affords us no room to take exception to her proceedings, are we to view her progress with an eye of indifference? Are we to remain quiet spectators of the rapid increase of her power, and imprudently expose ourselves to such designs as it may inspire her with? — No, beyond all doubt. In a matter of so high importance, imprudent supineness would be unpardonable. The example of the Romans is a good lesson for all sovereigns. Had the potentates of those times concerted together to keep a watchful eye on the enterprises of Rome, and to check her incroachments, they would not have successively fallen into servitude. But force of arms is not the only expedient by which we may guard against a formidable power. There are other means, of a gentler nature, and which are at all times lawful. The most effectual is a confederacy of the less powerful sovereigns, who, by this coalition of strength, become able to hold the balance against that potentate whose power excites their alarms. Let them be firm and faithful in their alliance; and their union will prove the safety of each.

They may also mutually favour each other, to the exclusion of him whom they fear; and by reciprocally allowing various advantages to the subjects of the allies, especially in trade, and refusing them to those of that dangerous potentate, they will augment their own strength, and diminish his, without affording him any just cause of complaint, since every one is at liberty to grant favours and indulgences at his own pleasure.

§ 47. Political equilibrium.

Europe forms a political system, an integral body, closely connected by the relations and different interests of the nations inhabiting this part of the world. It is not, as formerly, a confused heap of detached pieces, each of which though herself very little concerned in the fate of the others, and seldom regarded things which did not immediately concern her. The continual attention of sovereigns to every occurrence, the constant residence of ministers, and the perpetual negotiations, make of modern Europe a kind of republic, of which the members — each independent, but all linked together by the ties of common interest — unite for the maintenance of order and liberty. Hence arose that famous scheme of the political balance, or the equilibrium of power; by which is understood such a disposition of things, as that no one potentate be able absolutely to predominate, and prescribe laws to the others.

§ 48. Ways of maintaining it.

The surest means of preserving that equilibrium would be, that no power should be much superior to the others, that all, or at least the greater part, should be nearly equal in force. Such a project has been attributed to Henry the Fourth:5 but it would have been impossible to carry it into execution without injustice and violence. Besides, suppose such equality once established, how could it always be maintained by lawful means? Commerce, industry, military pre-eminence, would soon put an end to it. The right of inheritance, vesting even in women and their descendants, — a rule, which it was so absurd to establish in the case of sovereignties, but which nevertheless is established, — would completely overturn the whole system.

It is a more simple, an easier, and a more equitable plan, to have recourse to the method just mentioned, of forming confederacies in order to oppose the more powerful potentate, and prevent him from giving law to his neighbours. Such is the mode at present pursued by the sovereigns of Europe. They consider the two principal powers, which, on that very account, are naturally rivals, as destined to be checks on each other; and they unite with the weaker, like so many weights thrown into the lighter scale, in order to keep it in equilibrium with the other. The house of Austria has long been the preponderating power: at present France is so in her turn. England, whose opulence and formidable fleets have a powerful influence, without alarming any state on the score of its liberty, because that nation seems cured of the rage for conquest, — England, I say, has the glory of holding the political balance. She is attentive to preserve it in equilibrium: — a system of policy, which is in itself highly just and wise, and will ever entitle her to praise, as long as she continues to pursue it only by means of alliances, confederacies, and other methods equally lawful.

§ 49. How he who destroys the equilibrium may be restrained, or even weakened.

Confederacies would be a sure mode of preserving the equilibrium, and thus maintaining the liberty of nations, did all princes thoroughly understand their true interests, and make the welfare of the state serve as the rule in all their proceedings. Great potentates, however, are but too successful in gaining over partisans and allies, who blindly adopt all their views. Dazzled by the glare of a present advantage, seduced by their avarice, deceived by faithless ministers — how many princes become the tools of a power which will one day swallow up either themselves or their successors! The safest plan, therefore, is to seize the first favourable opportunity, when we can, consistently with justice, weaken the potentate who destroys the equilibrium (§ 45) — or to employ every honourable means to prevent his acquiring too formidable a degree of power. For the purpose, all the other nations should be particularly attentive not to suffer him to aggrandize himself by arms: and this they may at all times do with justice. For, if this prince makes an unjust war, every one has a right to succour the oppressed party. If he makes a just war, the neutral nations may interfere as mediators for an accommodation — they may induce the weaker state to propose reasonable terms and offer a fair satisfaction, and may save her from falling under the yoke of a conqueror. On the offer of equitable conditions to the prince who wages even the most justifiable war, he has all that he can demand. The justice of his cause, as we shall soon see, never gives him a right to subjugate his enemy, unless when that extremity becomes necessary to his own safety, or when he has no other mode of obtaining indemnification for the injury he has received. Now, that is not the case here, as the interposing nations can by other means procure him a just indemnification, and an assurance of safety.

In fine, there cannot exist a doubt, that, if that formidable potentate certainly entertain designs of oppression and conquest, — if he betray his views by his preparations and other proceedings, — the other states have a right to anticipate him; and if the fate or war declares in their favour, they are justifiable in taking advantage of this happy opportunity to weaken and reduce a power too contrary to the equilibrium, and dangerous to the common liberty.

This right of nations is still more evident against a sovereign, who, from an habitual propensity to take up arms without reasons, or even so much as plausible pretexts, is continually disturbing the public tranquillity.

§ 50. Behaviour allowable towards a neighbour preparing for war.

This leads us to a particular question, nearly allied to the preceding. When a neighbour, in the midst of a profound peace, erects fortresses on our frontier, equips a fleet, augments his troops, assembles a powerful army, fills his magazines, — in a word when he makes preparations for war, — are we allowed to attack him, with a view to prevent the danger with which we think ourselves threatened? The answer greatly depends on the manner and character of that neighbour. We must inquire into the reasons of those preparations, and bring him to an explanation: — such is the mode of proceeding in Europe: and if his sincerity be justly suspected, securities may be required of him. His refusal in this case, would furnish ample indication of sinister designs, and a sufficient reason to justify us in anticipating them. But if that sovereign has never betrayed any symptoms of baseness and perfidy, and especially if at that time there is no dispute subsisting between him and us, why should we not quietly rest on his word, only taking such precautions as prudence renders indispensable? We ought not, without sufficient cause, to presume him capable of exposing himself to infamy by adding perfidy to violence. As long as he has not rendered his sincerity questionable, we have no right to require any other security from him.

It is true, however, that, if a sovereign continues to keep up a powerful army in profound peace, his neighbours must not suffer their vigilance to be entirely lulled to sleep by his bare word; and prudence requires that they should keep themselves on their guard. However certain they may be of the good faith of that prince, unforeseen differences may intervene; and shall they leave him the advantage of being provided, at that juncture, with a numerous and well disciplined army, while they themselves will have only new levies to oppose it? Unquestionably no. This would be leaving themselves almost wholly at his discretion. They are, therefore, under the necessity of following his example, and keeping, as he does, a numerous army on foot: and what a burden is this to a state! Formerly, and without going any further back than the last century, it was pretty generally made an article in every treaty of peace, that the belligerent powers should disarm on both sides — that they should disband their troops. If, in a time of profound peace, a prince was disposed to keep up any considerable number of forces, his neighbours took their measures accordingly, formed leagues against him, and obliged him to disarm. Why has not that salutary custom been preserved? The constant maintenance of numerous armies deprives the soil of its cultivators, checks the progress of population, and can only serve to destroy the liberties of the nation by whom they are maintained. Happy England! whose situation exempts it from any considerable charge in supporting the instruments of despotism. Happy Switzerland! if, continuing carefully to exercise her militia, she keeps herself in a condition to repel any foreign enemies, without feeding a host of idle soldiers, who might one day crush the liberties of the people, and even bid defiance to the lawful authority of the sovereign. Of this the Roman legions furnish a signal instance, This happy method of a free republic, — the custom of training up all her citizens to the art of war, — renders the state respectable abroad, and saves it from a very pernicious defect at home. It would have been everywhere imitated, had the public good been everywhere the only object in view.

Sufficient has now been said on the general principles for estimating the justice of a war. Those who are thoroughly acquainted with the principles, and have just ideas of the various rights of nations, will easily apply the rules to particular cases.

(141) See further, as to what are, or are not, just causes for rescinding a treaty of peace, and which seem also to be here applicable, post. B. 4, ch. 4, § 41, 45, p. 49.

1. Livy, lib. v. cap. 49.

2. Aitial. Histor. lib. iii. cap. 6.

3. Prophaseis

4. Livy, lib. ix. init.

5. Of France.


§ 51. Declaration of war.(142)

THE right of making war belongs to nations only as a remedy against injustice: it is the offspring of unhappy necessity. This remedy is so dreadful in its effects, so destructive to mankind, so grievous even to the party who has recourse to it, that unquestionably the law of nature allows of it only in the last extremity, — that is to say, when every other expedient proves ineffectual for the maintenance of justice. It is demonstrated in the foregoing chapter, that, in order to be justifiable in taking up arms it is necessary — 1. That we have a just cause of complaint. 2. That a reasonable satisfaction have been denied us. 3. The ruler of the nation, as we have observed, ought maturely to

consider whether it be for the advantage of the state to prosecute his right by force of arms. But all this is not sufficient. As it is possible that the present fear of our arms may make an impression on the mind of our adversary, and induce him to do us justice, — we owe this further regard to humanity, and especially to the lives and peace of the subjects, to declare to that unjust nation, or its chief, that we are at length going to have recourse to the last remedy, and make use of open force, for the purpose of bringing him to reason. This is called declaring war. All this is included in the Roman manner of proceeding, regulated in their fecial law. They first sent the chief of the feciales, or heralds, called pater patratus, to demand satisfaction of the nation who had offended them; and if, within the space of thirty-three days, that nation did not return a satisfactory answer, the herald called the gods to be witnesses of the injustice, and came away, saying that the Romans would consider what measures they should adopt. The king, and in after times the consul, hereupon asked the senate's opinion: and when war was resolved on, the herald was sent back to the frontier, where he declared it.1 It is surprising to find among the Romans such justice, such moderation and prudence, at a time too when, apparently, nothing but courage and ferocity was to be expected from them. By such scrupulous delicacy in the conduct of her wars, Rome laid a most solid foundation for her subsequent greatness.

§ 52. What it is to contain.

A declaration of war being necessary, as a further effort to terminate the difference without the effusion of blood, by making use of the principle of fear, in order to bring the enemy to more equitable sentiments, — it ought, at the same time that it announces our settled resolution of making war, to set forth the reasons which have induced us to take up arms. This is, at present, the constant practice among the powers of Europe.

§ 53. It is simple or conditional.

After a fruitless application for justice, a nation may proceed to a declaration of war, which is then pure and simple. But, to include the whole business in a single act, instead of two separate ones, the demand of justice (called by the Romans rerum repetitio) may, if we think proper, be accompanied by a conditional declaration of war, notifying that we will commence hostilities unless we obtain immediate satisfaction on such or such subject, in this case there is no necessity for adding a pure and simple declaration of war, — the conditional one sufficing, if the enemy delays giving satisfaction.

§ 54. The right to make war ceases on

If the enemy, on either declaration of war, offers equitable conditions of peace, we are bound to refrain from hostilities: for as soon as justice is done to us, that immediately supersedes all right to employ force, which we are not allowed to use unless for the necessary maintenance of our rights. To these offers, however, are to be added securities; for we are under no obligation to suffer ourselves to be amused by empty proposals. The word of a sovereign is a sufficient security, as long as he has not disgraced his credit by any act of perfidy: and we should be contented with it. As to the conditions themselves, — besides the principal subject, we have a right to demand a reimbursement of the expenses incurred in our preparations for war.

§ 55. Formalities of a declaration of war.(143)

It is necessary that the declaration of war be known to the state against whom it is made. This is all which the natural law of nations requires. Nevertheless, if custom has introduced certain formalities in the business, those nations who, by adopting the custom, have given their tacit consent to such formalities, are under an obligation of observing them, as long as they have not set them aside by a public renunciation (Prelim. § 26). Formerly, the powers of Europe used to send heralds, or ambassadors to declare war; at present, they content themselves with publishing the declaration in the capital, in the principal towns, or on the frontiers: manifestoes are issued; and, through the easy and expeditious channels of communication which the establishment of posts now affords, the intelligence is soon spread on every side.

§ 56. Other reasons for the necessity of its publication.(143)

Besides the foregoing reasons, it is necessary for a nation to publish the declaration of war for the instruction and direction of her own subjects, in order to fix the date of the rights which belong to them from the moment of this declaration, and in relation to certain effects which the voluntary law of nations attributes to a war in form. Without such a public declaration of war, it would, in a treaty of peace, be too difficult to determine those acts which are to be considered as the effects of war, and those that each nation may set down as injuries of which she means to demand reparation. In the last treaty of Aix-la-Chapelle, between France and Spain on the one side, and England on the other, it was agreed that all the prizes taken before the declaration of war should be restored.

§ 57. Defensive war requires no declarations.

He who is attacked and only wages defensive war, needs not to make any hostile declaration, — the state of warfare being sufficiently ascertained by the enemy's declaration, or open hostilities. In modern times, however, the sovereign who is attacked, seldom omits to declare war in his turn, whether from an idea of dignity, or for the direction of his subjects.

§ 58. When it may be omitted in an offensive war.

If the nation on whom we have determined to make war will not admit any minister or herald to declare it, — whatever the custom may otherwise be, we may content ourselves with publishing the declaration of hostilities within our own territories, or on the frontier; and if the declaration does not come to the knowledge of that nation before hostilities are commenced, she can only blame herself. The Turks imprison and maltreat even the ambassadors of those powers with whom they are determined to come to a rupture: it would be a perilous undertaking for a herald to go and declare war against them in their own country. Their savage disposition therefore, supersedes the necessity of sending one.

§ 59. It is not to be omitted by way of retaliation.

But no person being exempted from his duty for the sole reason that another has been wanting in his, we are not to omit declaring war against a nation, previous to commencement of hostilities, because that nation has, on a former occasion, attacked us without any declaration. That nation, in so doing, has violated the law of nature (§ 51); and her fault does not authorise us to commit a similar one.

§ 60. Time of the declaration.

The law of nations does not impose the obligation of declaring war, with a view to give the enemy time to prepare for an unjust defence. The declaration, therefore, need not be made till the army has reached the frontiers; it is even lawful to delay it till we have entered the enemy's territories, and there possessed ourselves of an advantageous post: it must, however, necessarily precede the commission of any act of hostility, For thus we provide for our own safety, and equally attain the object of a declaration of war, which is, to give an unjust adversary the opportunity of seriously considering his past conduct, and avoiding the horrors of war, by doing justice. Such was the conduct of that generous prince, Henry the Fourth, towards Charles Emanuel duke of Savoy; who had wearied his patience by vain and fraudulent negotiations.2

§ 61. Duty of the inhabitants on a foreign army's entering a country before a declaration of war.

If he, who enters a country with an army kept under strict discipline, declares to the inhabitants that he does not come as an enemy, that he will commit no violence, and will acquaint the sovereign with the cause of his coming, — the inhabitants are not to attack him; and should they dare to attempt it, he has a right to chastise them. But they are not to admit him into any strong-holds, nor can he demand admission. It is not the business of subjects to commence hostilities without orders from their sovereign: but if they are brave and loyal, they will, in the mean time, seize on all the advantageous posts, and defend themselves against any attempt made to dislodge them.

§ 62. Commencement of hostilities.

After a declaration of war on the part of the sovereign who has thus invaded the country, if equitable conditions are not offered him without delay, he may commence his operations; for, I repeat it, he is under no obligation to suffer himself to be amused. But, at the same time, we are never to lose sight of the principles before laid down (§§ 26 and 51) concerning the only legitimate causes of war. To march an army into a neighbouring country by which we are not threatened, and without having endeavoured to obtain, by reason and justice, an equitable reparation for the wrongs of which we complain, would be introducing a mode pregnant with evils to mankind, and sapping the foundations of the safety and tranquillity of states. If this mode of proceeding be not exploded and proscribed by the public indignation and the concurrence of every civilized people, it will become necessary to continue always in a military posture, and to keep ourselves constantly on our guard, no less in times of profound peace, than during the existence of declared and open war.

§ 63. Conduct to be observed towards the subjects of an enemy, who are in the country at the time of the declaration of war.(144)

The sovereign declaring war can neither detain the persons nor the property of those subjects of the enemy who are within his dominions at the time of the declaration. They came into his country under the public faith. By permitting them to enter and reside in his territories, he tacitly promised them full liberty and security for their return. He is therefore bound to allow them a reasonable time for withdrawing with their effects; and, if they stay beyond the term prescribed, he has a right to treat them as enemies, — as unarmed enemies, however. But, if they are detained by an insurmountable impediment, as by sickness, he must necessarily, and for the same reasons, grant them a sufficient extension of the time. At present, so far from being wanting in this duty, sovereigns carry their attention to humanity still farther, so that foreigners, who are subjects of the state against which war is declared, are very frequently allowed full time for the settlement of their affairs. This is observed in a particular manner with regard to merchants; and the case is moreover carefully provided for in commercial treaties. The king of England has done more than this. In his last declaration of war against France, he ordained that all French subjects who were in his dominions should be at liberty to remain, and be perfectly secure in their persons and effects, "provided they demeaned themselves properly,"

§ 64. Publication of the war, and manifestoes.

We have said (§ 56), that a sovereign is to make the declaration of war public within his dominions, for the information and direction of his subjects. He is also to make known his declaration of war to the neutral powers, in order to acquaint them with the justificatory reasons which authorize it, — the cause which obliges him to take up arms, — and to notify to them that such or such a nation is his enemy, that they may conduct themselves accordingly. We shall even see that this is necessary in order to obviate all difficulty, when we come to treat of the right to seize certain things which neutral persons are carrying to the enemy, and of what termed contraband, in time of war. Thispublication of the war may be called declaration, and that which is notified directly to the enemy, denunciation; and indeed the Latin term is denunciatio belli.

War is at present published and declared by manifestoes. These pieces never fail to contain the justificatory reasons, good or bad, on which the party grounds his right to take up arms. The least scrupulous sovereign would wish to be thought just, equitable, and a lover of peace: he is sensible that a contrary reputation might be detrimental to him. The manifestoe implying a declaration of war, or the declaration itself, printed, published, and circulated throughout the whole state, contains also the sovereign's general orders to his subjects, relative to their conduct in the war.3

§ 65. Decorum and moderation to be observed in the manifestoes.

In so civilized an age, it may be unnecessary to observe, that, in those pieces which are published on the subject of war, it is proper to abstain from every opprobrious expression indicative of hatred, animosity, and rage, and only calculated to excite similar sentiments in the bosom of the enemy. A prince ought to preserve the most dignified decorum, both in his words and in his writings. He ought to respect himself in the person of his equals: and, though it is his misfortune to be at variance with a nation, shall he inflame the quarrel by offensive expressions, and thus deprive himself even of the hopes of a sincere reconciliation? Homer's heroes call each other "dog" and "drunkard": but this was perfectly in character, since, in their enmity, they knew no bounds. Frederic Barbarossa, and other emperors, and the popes their enemies, treated each other with as little delicacy. Let us congratulate our age on the superior gentleness of its manners, and not give the name of unmeaning politeness to those attentions which are productive of real and substantial effects.

§ 66. What is lawful war in due force.

Those formalities, of which the necessity is deducible from the principles and the very nature of war, are the characteristics of a lawful war in due form (justum bellum). Grotius says.4 that, according to the law of nations, two things are requisite to constitute a solemn or formal war — first, that it be on both sides, made by the sovereign authority, — secondly, that it be accompanied by certain formalities. These formalities consist in the demand of a just satisfaction (rerum repetitio), and in the declaration of war, at least on the part of him who attacks: — for defensive war requires no declaration (§ 57), nor even, on urgent occasions an express order from the sovereign. In effect, these two conditions are necessarily required in every war which shall, according to the law of nations, be a legitimate one, that is to say, such a war as nations have a right to wage. The right of making war belongs only to the sovereign (§ 4); and it is only after satisfaction has been refused to him (§ 37), and even after he has made a declaration of war (§ 51), that he has a right to take up arms.(145)

A war in due form is also called a regular war, because certain rules, either prescribed by the law of nature, or adopted by custom, are observed in it.(146)

§ 67. It is to be distinguished from informal and unlawful war.

Legitimate and formal warfare must be carefully distinguished from those illegitimate and informal wars, or rather predatory expeditions, undertaken either without lawful authority or without apparent cause, as likewise without the usual formalities, and solely with a view to plunder. Grotius relates several instances of the latter.5 Such were the enterprises of the grandes compagnies which had assembled in France during the wars with the English, — armies of banditti, who ranged about Europe, purely for spoil and plunder: such were the cruises of the buccaneers, without commission, and in time of peace; and such in general are the depredations of pirates. To the same class belong almost all the expeditions of the Barbary corsairs: though authorized by a sovereign, they are undertaken without any apparent cause, and from no other motive than the lust of plunder. These two species of war, I say, — the lawful and the illegitimate, — are to be carefully distinguished, as the effects and the rights arising from each are very different.

§ 68. Grounds of this distinction.

In order fully to conceive the grounds of this distinction, it is necessary to recollect the nature and object of lawful war. It is only as the last remedy against obstinate injustice that the law of nature allows of war. Hence arise the rights which it gives, as we shall explain in the sequel: hence, likewise, the rules to be observed in it. Since it is equally possible that either of the parties may have right on his side, — and since, in consequence of the independence of nations, that point is not to be decided by others (§ 40), — the condition of the two enemies is the same, while the war lasts. Thus, when a nation, or a sovereign, has declared war against another sovereign on account of a difference arisen between them, their war is what among nations is called a lawful and formal war; and its effects are, by the voluntary law of nations, the same on both sides, independently of the justice of the cause, as we shall more fully show in the sequel.6 Nothing of this kind is the case in an informal and illegitimate war, which is more properly called depredation. Undertaken without any right, without even an apparent cause, it can be productive of no lawful effect, nor give any right to the author of it. A nation attacked by such sort of enemies is not under any obligation to observe towards them the rules prescribed in formal warfare. She may treat them as robbers,(146a) The inhabitants of Geneva, after defeating the famous attempt to take their city by escalade,7 caused all the prisoners whom they took from the Savoyards on that occasion to be hanged up as robbers, who had come to attack them without cause and without a declaration of war. Nor were the Genevese censured for this proceeding, which would have been detested in a formal war.

(142) See in general, Grotius, B. iii. c. iv. s. 8: and 1 Chitty's Com. Law, 378. — C.

1. Livy, lib. i. cap. 31.

(143) But there seems to be no absolute necessity for a formal declaration of war to render it legal. See observations of Sir William Scott, in Nayede, 4 Rob. Rep. 252; Chitty's Law Nat. 29, 3. But in England the king must have assented to a war to render it strictly legal. Brooke's Abrid. tit. "Denizen," pl. 26; The Hoop, 1 Rob. Rep, 196. — C. {The late war between the United States and Great Britain was declared by Act of Congress, June 18th, 1812. (Laws U.S. 1812, p. 227.) But war had existed, in fact, from March 4th until May 13th, 1846, between Mexico and the United States, without any formal declaration. The act of Congress of 13th May, 1846, declares that, "by the act of the Republic of Mexico," war existed between the countries. (Laws U. States, 1846, p. 14.)}

2. See Sully's Memoirs.

(144) See in general 1 Chitty's Com. L. 414. — C.

3. It is remarked as a very singular circumstance, that Charles the Second, king of Great Britain, in his declaration of war against France, dated February 9, 1668, promised security to French subjects who should "demean themselves properly," — and, moreover, his protection and favour to such of them as might choose to emigrate to his dominions.

4. De Jure Belli et Pacis, lib. i. cap. iii. § 4.

(145) Ante, the notes to the same sections. — C.

(146) It has been laid down, that whenever the king's courts are open in a given country, it is time of peace in judgment of law; but, when by hostile measures such courts are shut up or interrupted, then it is said to he time of war. Earl Lancaster's case. Hale's Pleas Crown, Part I. c. 26, p. 344; Co. Litt. 249 b. cited, and other points as to what is war; Elphinstone v. Bedreechund, Knapp's Rep. 316. But at present, when in courts of justice, whether of Common Law, Equity, Admiralty, or Prize Court, it becomes necessary to ascertain what is, or not, evidence of a war, or a peace or neutrality, the same is now usually determined by distinct acts of the state. Upon this question, the following cases are material: — Sir Wm. Grant (in case of Pelham Burke, 1 Edward's Rep. Appendix D; 3 Camp. 62; Blackburne v. Thompson, 15 East, 90, S.P.) observed, that, in order to ascertain whether or not a war or state of amity or neutrality subsists, it always belongs to the Government of the country to determine in what relation any other country stands towards it; and that is a point upon which courts of justice cannot decide; (i.e. without evidence aliunde as to the declarations or resolutions of Government;) and the most potent evidence upon such a subject is the declaration of the state. And if the state recognises any place as being or as not being in the relation of hostility to this country, that is obligatory on courts of justice. Per Lord Ellenborough, 3 Camp. 66; and see other instances and authorities, 1 Chitty's Commercial Law, 393-4. — C. (See, also, The U. States v. Palmer, 3 Wheat. Rep. 634, 635.)

5. Lib. iii. cap, iv.

6. See chap. xii. of this book.

{(146a) Pirates may be lawfully captured by the public or private armed ships of any nation, in peace or war; for they are hostes humani generie. The Mariana Flora, 11 Wheat. Rep, 1.}[This note was numbered (1) by Chitty.]

7. In the year 1602.


§ 69. Who is an enemy.(147)

THE enemy is he with whom a nation is at open war. The Latins had a particular term (Hostis) to denote a public enemy, and distinguished him from a private enemy (Inimicus). Our language affords but one word for these two classes of persons, who ought, nevertheless to be carefully distinguished. A private enemy is one who seeks to hurt us, and takes pleasure in the evil that befalls us. A public enemy forms claims against us, or rejects ours, and maintains his real or pretended rights by force of arms. The former is never innocent; he fosters rancour and hatred in his heart. It is possible that the public enemy may be free from such odious sentiments, that he does not wish us ill, and only seeks to maintain his rights. This observation is necessary in order to regulate the dispositions of our heart towards a public enemy.

§ 70. All the subjects of the two states at war are enemies.

When the sovereign or ruler of the state declares war against another sovereign, it is understood that the whole nation declares war against another nation; for the sovereign represents the nation, and acts in the name of the whole society (Book I. §§ 40, 41;) and it is only in a body, and in her national character, that one nation has to do with another. Hence, these two nations are enemies, and all the subjects of the one are enemies to all the subjects of the other. In this particular, custom and principle are in accord.

§ 71. and continue to be enemies in all places.

Enemies continue such wherever they happen to be. The place of abode is of no consequence here. It is the political ties which determine the character. Whilst a man continues a citizen of his own country, he is the enemy of all those with whom his nation is at war. But we must not hence conclude that these enemies may treat each other as such, wherever they happen to meet. Every one being master in his respective country, a neutral prince will not allow them to use any violence in his territories.

§ 72. Whether women and children are to be accounted enemies.

Since women and children are subjects of the state, and members of the nation, they are to be ranked in the class of enemies. But it does not thence follow that we are justifiable in treating them like men who bear arms, or are capable of bearing them. It will appear in the sequel, that we have not the same rights against all classes of enemies.

§ 73. Things belonging to the enemy.

When once we have precisely determined who our enemies are, it is easy to know what are the things belonging to the enemy (res hostiles). We have shown that not only the sovereign with whom we are at war is an enemy, but also his whole nation, even the very women and children. Every thing, therefore, which belongs to that nation, — to the state, to the sovereign, to the subjects, of whatever age or sex, — everything of that kind, I say, falls under the description of things belonging to the enemy.

§ 74. continue such everywhere.

And, with respect to things, the case is the same as with respect to persons: — things belonging to the enemy continue such, wherever they are.(147a) But we are not hence to conclude, any more than in the case of persons (§ 71), that we everywhere possess a right to treat those things as things belonging to the enemy.

§ 75. Neutral things found with an enemy.

Since it is not the place where a thing is, which determines the nature of that thing, but the character of the person to whom it belongs, — things belonging to neutral persons, which happen to be in an enemy's country, or on board an enemy's ships, are to be distinguished from those which belong to the enemy. But it is the owner's business to adduce evident proof that they are his property: for, in default of such proof, a thing is naturally presumed to belong to the nation in whose possession it is found.(148)

§ 76. Lands possessed by foreigners in an enemy's country.

The preceding section relates to movable property: but the rule is different with respect to immovable possessions, such as landed estates. Since all these do in some measure belong to the nation, are part of its domain, of its territory, and under its government (Book I, §§ 204, 235, Book ii. § 114) — and since the owner is still a subject of the country as possessor of a landed estate, — property of this kind does not cease to be enemy's property (res hostiles), though possessed by a neutral foreigner. Nevertheless, war being now carried on with so much moderation and indulgence, protections are granted for houses and lands possessed by foreigners in an enemy's country. For the same reason, he who declares war does not confiscate the immovable property possessed in his country by his enemy's subjects. By permitting them to purchase and possess such property, he has in that respect admitted them into the number of his subjects. But the income may be sequestrated, in order to prevent its being remitted to the enemy's country.

§ 77. Things due to the enemy by a third party.

Among the things belonging to the enemy, are likewise incorporeal things, — all his rights, claims, and debts, excepting, however, those kind of rights granted by a third party, and in which the grantor is so far concerned, that it is not a matter of indifference to him, in what hands they are vested. Such, for instance, are the rights of commerce. But as debts are not of this number, war gives us the same rights over any sums of money due by neutral nations to our enemy, as it can give over his other property.(149)

When Alexander, by conquest, became absolute master of Thebes, he remitted to the Thessalians a hundred talents which they owed to the Thebans.1 The sovereign has naturally the same right over what his subjects may owe to enemies, he may therefore confiscate debts of this nature, if the term of payment happen in the time of war; or at least he may prohibit his subjects from paying while the war continues. But, at present, a regard to the advantage and safety of commerce has induced all the sovereigns of Europe to act with less rigour in this point.(150) And as the custom has been generally received, he who should act contrary to it would violate the public faith; for strangers trusted his subjects only from a firm persuasion that the general custom would be observed. The state does not so much as touch the sums which it owes to the enemy: money lent to the public is everywhere exempt from confiscation and seizure in case of war.

(147) As to the definition of an alien enemy, and of what is less than a general enemy, and merely an hostile character, or hostile residence, or hostile trade, and of the modern decisions on the diversities; see Boedes Lust, 5 Rob. Rep. 233; 1 Chitty's Commercial Law, 394 to 412, Id. Index, tit, Hostile Character, and Chitty L. Nat. 30 to 64.

In some cases, the generous and beneficial conduct of an enemy will obliterate his hostile character, and preclude his property from becoming subject to seizure, as was beautifully Illustrated by Sir W. Scott's decision in Jonge J. Baumannn, where an English frigate, with her officers and crew, having been saved from shipwreck by a foreign (neutral) vessel and crew, the former ingratefully carried the latter into port as prize; {asserting she had French property on board;} but a restoration was decreed, on the ground that such a service had blotted out and obliterated the character of an enemy, {if it had ever existed, which was not the fact.} 1 Rob. Rep. 245; and see §§ 176, post, pp. 374-5.

Of the illegality of commerce between subjects of belligerent states. — Vattel is very succinct upon this, in modern times, the most important consequence of war. In general it is illegal for the private subjects of belligerents to have any commercial transactions or dealings between each other, in expectation of or pending the war; for otherwise assistance might be rendered to the enemy, enabling them to protract the war, and under colour of commerce, secret communications might be made injurious to the states of each country; and therefore there is no such thing as a war for arms, and a peace for commerce. The rule and the principle upon which it is founded, are fully commented upon in the case of The Hoop, 1 Rob. Rep. 196; Potts v. Bell, 8 Term Rep. 546; Mennet v. Bonham, 15 East, 489; William v. Patteson. 7 Taunt. 439; Grotius, B. 3, c. 4, s. 8; Binkershoek, B. 1, c. 3; Chitty's L. Nat. 1 to 27. The exceptions to that rule are sometimes by express treaty; (see 2 Ward's Law of Nat. 358); and in Great Britain have been permitted by temporary acts, or by orders in council, authorizing the privy council to grant licenses. (See Phillimore on Licenses, 5.) The case of prisoners at war contracting for necessaries, constitutes an exception. Antoine v. Morshead, 6 Taunt. 237-447; 1 Marsh. Rep. 558; Danby v. Morshead, 6 Taunt. 332; Vattel, post, § 264, p. 414.

Questions sometimes arise, whether a commercial transaction between parties in different countries, afterwards at war with each other, as for instance, Great Britain and America, pending war, or on the eve of war, between these countries, was pactum illicitum. If it be pending war, or in contemplation of it, and against its spirit, and not expressly licensed by the Government, then it is illegal, See the rule in the case of McGaven v. Stewart, in the House of Lords, (14 July, 1830), 4 Wlls. & Shaw, 193-4. An alien carrying on trade in an enemy's country, though resident there also in the character of consul of a neutral state, has been considered an alien enemy, and as such disabled to sue, and liable to confiscation. Albrecht v. Sussmann, 2 Ves. & Beames, 323.

But these rules prohibiting commerce between the subjects of belligerent states, do not affect neutrals: (excepting, indeed the liability to visitation and search); and therefore, actions may be sustained in England by a neutral on a promissory note given to him by a British subject in an enemy's country, for goods sold by the neutral to the latter there. Cowp. 363; Hourret v. Morris, 3 Camp. 303. And it has even been held, that an Englishman domiciled in a foreign state in amity with this country may lawfully exercise the privileges of a subject of the place where he is resident, to trade with a nation in hostility with England, 1 Maule & Selwyn 726, sed quæ re. {See Livingston v. The Maryland Ins. Co. 7 Cranch, 506.} But in general he who maintains an establishment or house of commerce in a hostile country, is to be considered as impressed with a hostile character, with reference at least to so much of his commerce as may be connected with that establishment; and this, whether he maintains that establishment as a partner, or as a sole trade, The Citto, 3 Rob. 38; The Portland, Id. 41 to 44. — C.

{(147a)See Johnson et al. v. Twenty-one Bales, &c. Van Ness, Prize Causes, p. 7.}[This note was numbered (1) by Chitty.]

(148) As to protection to neutrals' property and modern decisions, see 1 Chitty's Commercial Law, 385-440; Id. Index, tit. Neutrals; 1 Chitty's L. Nat. 34, 54, 110-113, 183; Id. Index, tit. Neutrals. — C.

(149) This was the ancient law of nations. Att. Gen. v. Weedon, Parker Rep. 267, though certainly denied by Rolle, J. At all events it is now altered; see authorities, ante, 284, n. (134) 1 Chitty's Commercial Law, 423; 1 Chitty's L. Nat. 82 to 86. — C.
{But see Fairfax v. Hunter, 5 Cranch, 19.}

1. Grotius, De Jure Belli et Pacis, lib. iii. cap. viii § 4.


§ 78. Treaties relative to war.

WE have sufficiently spoken of treaties in general, and shall here touch on this subject only in its particular relations to war. Treaties relating to war are of several kinds, and vary in their objects and clauses, according to the will of those who make them. Besides applying to them all that we have said of treaties in general (Book II. Ch. XII. &c.), they may also be divided into treaties real and personal, equal and unequal, &c. But they have also their specific differences, viz. those which relate to their particular object, war.

§ 79. Defensive and offensive alliances.

Under this relation, alliances made for warlike purposes are divided in general into defensive and offensive alliances. In the former, the nation engages only to defend her ally in case he be attacked: in the latter, she unites with him for the purpose of making an attack, — of jointly waging war against another nation. Some alliances are both offensive and defensive; and there seldom is an offensive alliance which is not also a defensive one. But it is very usual for alliances to be purely defensive: and these are in general the most natural and lawful. It would be a tedious and even a useless task to enumerate in detail all the varieties incident to such alliances. Some are made, without restriction, against all opponents: in others, certain states are excepted: others again are formed against such or such a nation expressly mentioned by name.

§ 80. Difference between warlike associations and auxiliary treaties.

But a difference of great importance to be observed, especially in defensive alliances, is that between an intimate and complete alliance, in which we agree to a union of interests, — and another, in which we only promise a stated succour. The alliance in which we agree to a union of interests is a warlike association: each of the parties acts with his whole force; all the allies become principals in the war, they have the same friends and the same enemies. But an alliance of this nature is more particularly termed awarlike association, when it is offensive.

§ 81. Auxiliary troops.

When a sovereign, without directly taking part in the war made by another sovereign, only sends him succours of troops or ships, these are called auxiliaries.

The auxiliary troops serve the prince to whom they are sent, according to their sovereign's orders. If they are purely and simply sent without restriction, they are to serve equally on the offensive and the defensive; and for the particulars of their operations, they are to obey the directions of the prince to whose assistance they come. Yet this prince has not the free and entire disposal of them, as of his own subjects: they are granted to him only for his own wars; and he has no right to transfer them, as auxiliaries, to a third power.

§ 82. Subsidies.

Sometimes, this succour from a potentate who does not directly take part in the war, consists in money; and then it is called a subsidy. This term is now often taken in another sense, and signifies a sum of money annually paid by one sovereign to another, in return for a body of troops which the latter furnishes to the other to carry on his wars, or keeps in readiness for his service. The treaties for procuring such a resource are called subsidiary treaties. France and England have at present such treaties existing with several of the northern powers and princes in Germany, and continue them even in times of peace.

§ 83. When a nation is allowed to assist another.

In order, now, to judge of the morality of these several treaties or alliances, — of their legitimacy according to the law of nations, we must, in the first place, lay down this incontrovertible principle, that It is lawful and commendable to succour and assist, by all possible means, a nation engaged in a just war; and it is even a duty incumbent on every nation, to give such assistance, when she can give it without injury to herself. But no assistance whatever is to be afforded to him who is engaged in an unjust war. There is nothing in this which is not demonstrated by what we have said of the common duties of nations towards each other. (Book II. Ch. I.) To support the cause of justice when we are able, is always commendable: but, in assisting the unjust, we partake of his crime, and become, like him, guilty of injustice.

§ 84. and to make alliances for war.

If, to the principle we have now laid down, you add the consideration of what a nation owes to her own safety, and of the care which it is so natural and so fit that she should take to put herself in a condition to resist her enemies, you will the more readily perceive how clear a right a nation has to make warlike alliances, and especially defensive alliances, whose sole tendency is to maintain all parties in the quiet and secure possession of their property.

But great circumspection is to be used in forming such alliances. Engagements by which a nation maybe drawn into a war at a moment when she least expects it, ought not to be contracted without very important reasons, and a direct view to the welfare of the state. We here speak of alliances made in time of peace, and by way of precaution against future contingencies.

§ 85. Alliances made with a nation actually engaged in war.

If there be question of contracting an alliance with a nation already engaged in a war, or on the point of engaging in one, two things are to be considered: 1. The justice of that nation's quarrel. 2. The welfare of the state. If the war which a prince wages, or is preparing to wage, be unjust, it is not allowable to form an alliance with him; for injustice is not to be supported. If he is justifiable in taking up arms, it still remains to be considered whether the welfare of the state allows or requires us to embark in his quarrel: for it is only with a view to the welfare of the state that the sovereign ought to use his authority: to that all his measures should tend, and especially those of the most important nature. What other consideration can authorise him to expose his people to the calamities of war?

§ 86. Tacit clause in every warlike alliance.

As it is only for the support of a just war that we are allowed to give assistance or contract alliances, — every alliance, every warlike association, every auxiliary treaty, contracted by way of anticipation in time of peace, and with no view to any particular war, necessarily and of itself includes this tacit clause — that the treaty shall not be obligatory except in case of a just war. On any other footing, the alliance could not be validly contracted. (Book II. §§ 161, 168.)

But care must be taken that treaties of alliance be not thereby reduced to empty and delusive formalities. The tacit restriction is to be understood only of a war which is evidently unjust; for otherwise a pretence for eluding treaties would never be wanting. Is there question of contracting an alliance with a power actually at war? It behooves you most religiously to weigh the justice of his cause: the judgment depends solely on you, since you owe him no assistance any further than as his quarrel is just, and your own circumstances make it convenient for you to embark in it. But when once engaged, nothing less than the manifest injustice of his cause can excuse you from assisting him. In a doubtful case, you are to presume that your ally has justice on his side; that being his concern.

But if you entertain strong doubts, you may very fairly and commendably interpose to effect an accommodation. Thus you may bring the justice of the cause to the test of evidence, by discovering which of the contending parties refuses to accede to equitable conditions.

§ 87. To refuse succours for an unjust war is no breach of alliance.

As every alliance implies the tacit clause above mentioned, he who refuses to succour his ally in a war that is manifestly unjust is not chargeable with a breach of alliance.

§ 88. What the casus fœderis is.

When alliances have thus been contracted beforehand, the question is, to determine, in the course of events, those cases in which our engagements come in force, and we are bound to act in consequence of the alliance. This is what is called casus fœderis, or case of the alliance, and is to be discovered in the concurrence of the circumstances for which the treaty has been made, whether those circumstances have been expressly specified in it, or tacitly supposed. Whatever has been promised in the treaty of alliance is due in the casus fœderis, and not otherwise.

§ 89. It never takes place in an unjust war.

As the most solemn treaties cannot oblige any one to favour an unjust quarrel (§ 86): the casus fœderis never takes place in a war that is manifestly unjust.

§ 90. How it exists in a defensive war.

In a defensive alliance, the casus fœderis does not exist immediately on our ally being attacked. It is still our duty to examine whether he has not given his enemy just cause to make war against him: for we cannot have engaged to undertake his defence with the view of enabling him to insult others, or to refuse them justice. If he is in the wrong, we must induce him to offer a reasonable satisfaction; and if his enemy will not be contented with it, then, and not till then, the obligation of defending him commences.

§ 91. and in a treaty of guarantee.

But if the defensive alliance contains a guarantee of all the territories at that time possessed by the ally, the casus fœderis immediately takes place whenever those territories are invaded or threatened with an invasion. If they are attacked for a just cause, we must prevail on our ally to give satisfaction; but we may on good grounds oppose his being deprived of his possessions, as it is generally with a view to our own security that we undertake to guaranty them. On the whole, the rules of interpretation, which we have given in an express chapter,1 are to be consulted, in order to determine, on particular occasions, the existence of the casus fœderis.

§ 92. The succour is not due under an inability to

If the state that has promised succours finds herself unable to furnish them, her inability alone is sufficient to dispense with the obligation; and if she cannot give her assistance without exposing herself to evident danger, this circumstance also dispenses with it.

This would be one of those cases in which a treaty becomes pernicious to the state, and therefore not obligatory (Book II. § 160). But we here speak of an imminent danger, threatening the very existence of the state. The case of such a danger is tacitly and necessarily reserved in every treaty. As to remote dangers, or those of no extraordinary magnitude, — since they are inseparable from every military alliance, it would be absurd to pretend that they should create an exception; and the sovereign may expose the nation to them in consideration of the advantages which she reaps from the alliance.

In virtue of these principles, we are absolved from the obligation of sending assistance to an ally while we are ourselves engaged in a war which requires our whole strength. If we are able to oppose our own enemies and to assist our ally at the same time, no reason can be pleaded for such dispensation. But, in such cases, it rests with ourselves to determine what our circumstances and strength will allow. It is the same with other things which may have been promised, as, for instance, provisions. There is no obligation to furnish an ally with them when we want them for our own use.

§ 93. Other cases.

We forbear to repeat in this place what we have said of various other cases, in discoursing of treaties in general, as, for example, of the preference due to the more ancient ally (Book II. § 167), and to a protector (ibid. § 204), of the meaning to be annexed to the term "allies," in a treaty in which they are reserved (ibid. § 309). Let us only add, on this last question, that, in a warlike alliance made against all opponents, the allies excepted, this exception is to be understood only of the present allies. Otherwise, it would afterwards be easy to elude the former treaty by new alliances; and it would be impossible for us to know either what we are doing in concluding such a treaty, or what we gain by it.

A case which we have not spoken of is this: — Three powers have entered into a treaty of defensive alliance: two of them quarrel, and make war on each other: — how is the third to act? The treaty does not bind him to assist either the one or the other; for it would be absurd to say that he has promised his assistance to each against the other, or to one of the two in prejudice of the other. The only obligation, therefore, which the treaty imposes on him, is to endeavour, by the interposition of his good offices, to effect a reconciliation between his allies; and if his mediation proves unsuccessful, he remains at liberty to assist the party who appears to have justice on his side.

§ 94. Refusal of the succours due in vir-

To refuse an ally the succours due to him, without having any just cause to allege for such refusal, is doing him an injury, since it is a violation of the perfect right which we gave him by a formal engagement. I speak of evident cases, it being then only that the right is perfect; for, in those of a doubtful nature, it rests with each party to judge what he is able to do (§ 92): but he is to judge maturely and impartially, and to act with candour. And as it is an obligation naturally incumbent on us, to repair any damage caused by our fault, and especially by our injustice, we are bound to indemnify an ally for all the losses he may have sustained in consequence of our unjust refusal. How much circumspection, therefore, is to be used in forming engagements, which we cannot refuse to fulfil without material injury to our affairs or our honour, and which, on the other hand, if complied with, may be productive of the most serious consequences.

§ 95. The enemy's associates.

An engagement, which may draw us into a war, is of great moment: in it the very existence of the state is at stake. He who in an alliance promises a subsidy or a body of auxiliaries, sometimes imagines that he only risks a sum of money or a certain number of soldiers; whereas he often exposes himself to war and all its calamities. The nation against whom he furnishes assistance will look upon him as her enemy; and should her arms prove successful, she will carry the war into his country. But it remains to be determined whether she can do this with justice, and on what occasions. Some authors2 decide in general, that whoever joins our enemy, or assists him against us with money, troops, or in any other manner whatever, becomes thereby our enemy, and gives us a right to make war against him: — a cruel decision, and highly inimical to the peace of nations! It cannot be supported by principles; and happily the practice of Europe stands in opposition to it.

It is true, indeed, that every associate of my enemy is himself my enemy. It is of little consequence whether any one makes war on me directly, and in his own name, or under the auspices of another. Whatever rights war gives me against my principal enemy, the like it gives me against all his associates: for I derive those rights from the right to security, — from the care of my own defence; and I am equally attacked by the one and the other party. But the question is, to know whom I may lawfully account my enemy's associate, united against me in war.

§ 96. Those who make a common cause with the enemy are his associates

First, in that class I shall rank all those who are really united in a warlike association with my enemy, and who make a common cause with him, though it is only in the name of that principal enemy that the war is carried on. There is no need of proving this. In the ordinary and open warlike associations, the war is carried on in the name of all the allies, who are equally enemies (§ 80).

§ 97. And those who

In the second place, I account as associates of my enemy, those who assist him in his war without being obliged to it by any treaty. Since they freely and voluntarily declare against me, they, of their own accord, choose to become my enemies. If they go no farther than furnishing a determined succour, allowing some troops to be raised, or advancing money, — and, in other respects, preserve towards me the accustomed relations of friendship and neutrality, — I may overlook that ground of complaint; but still I have a right to call them to account for it. This prudent caution of not always coming to an open rupture with those who give such assistance to our enemy, that we may not force them to join him with all their strength, — this forbearance, I say, has gradually introduced the custom of not looking on such assistance as an act of hostility, especially when it consists only in the permission to enlist volunteers. How often have the Switzers granted levies to France, at the same time that they refused such an indulgence to the house of Austria, though both powers were in alliance with them! How often have they allowed one prince to levy troops in their country, and refused the same permission to his enemy, when they were not in alliance with either! They granted or denied that favour according as they judged it most expedient for themselves; and no power has ever dared to attack them on that account. But if prudence dissuades us from making use of all our right, it does not thereby destroy that right, A cautious nation chooses rather to overlook certain points, than unnecessarily to increase the number of her enemies.

§ 98. Or who are in an offensive alliance with him.

Thirdly, those, who, being united with my enemy by an offensive alliance, actively assist him in the war which he declares against me, — those, I say, concur in the injury intended against me. They show themselves my enemies, and I have a right to treat them as such. Accordingly, the Switzers, whose example we have above quoted, seldom grant troops except for defensive war. To those in the service of France, it has ever been a standing order from their sovereigns, not to carry arms against the empire, or against the states of the house of Austria in Germany. In 1644, the captains of the Neufchatel regiment of Guy, on information that they were destined to serve under Marshal Turenne, in Germany, declared that they would rather die than disobey their sovereign and violate the alliances of the Helvetic body. Since France has been mistress of Alsace, the Switzers who serve in her armies never pass the Rhine to attack the empire. The gallant Daxelhoffer, captain of a Berne company in the French service, consisting of 200 men, and of which his four sons formed the first rank, seeing the general would oblige him to pass the Rhine, broke his espontoon, and marched back with his company to Berne.

§ 99. How a defensive alliance as-

Even a defensive alliance made expressly against me, or (which amounts to the same thing) concluded with my enemy during the war, or on the certain prospect of its speedy declaration, is an act of association against me; and if followed by effects, I may look on the party who has contracted it as my enemy. The case is here precisely the same as that of a nation assisting my enemy without being under any obligation to do so, and choosing of her own accord to become my enemy. (See § 97).

§ 100. Another case.

A defensive alliance, though of a general nature, and made before any appearance of the present war, produces also the same effect, if it stipulates the assistance of the whole strength of the allies: for in this case it is a real league, or warlike association; and, besides, it were absurd that I should be debarred from making war on a nation who opposes me with all her might, and thus exhausting the source of those succours with which she furnishes my enemy. In what light am I to consider an auxiliary who comes to make war on me at the head of all his forces? It would be mockery on his part, to pretend that he is not my enemy. What more could he do, were he openly to declare himself such? He shows no tenderness for me on the occasion: he only wishes that a tender regard should be paid to himself. And shall I suffer him to preserve his provinces in peace, and secure from all danger, whilst he is doing me all the mischief in his power? No! the law of nature, the law of nations, obliges us to be just: but does not condemn us to be dupes.

§ 101. In what case it does not produce the same effect.

But, if a defensive alliance has not been made against me in particular, nor concluded at the time when I was openly preparing for war, or had already begun it, — and if the allies have only stipulated in it that each of them shall furnish a stated succour to him who shall be attacked, — I cannot require that they should neglect to fulfil a solemn treaty, which they had an unquestionable right to conclude without any injury to me. In furnishing my enemy with assistance, they only acquit themselves of a debt: they do me no wrong in discharging it; and, consequently, they afford me no just grounds for making war on them (§ 26). Neither can I say that my safety obliges me to attack them; for I should thereby only increase the number of my enemies, and, instead of a slender succour which they furnish against me, should draw on myself the whole power of those nations. It is, therefore, only the troops which they send as auxiliaries, that I am to consider as enemies. These are actually united with my enemies and fighting against me.

The contrary principles would tend to multiply wars, and spread them beyond all bounds, to the common ruin of nations. It is happy for Europe, that, in this instance, the established custom is in accord with the true principles. A prince seldom presumes to complain of a nation's contributing to the defence of her ally by furnishing him with succours which were promised in former treaties, — in treaties that were not made against that prince in particular. In the last war, the United Provinces long continued to supply the queen of Hungary with subsidies, and even with troops; and France never complained of these proceedings till those troops marched into Alsace to attack the French frontier. Switzerland, in virtue of her alliance with France, furnishes that crown with numerous bodies of troops, and, nevertheless, lives in peace with all Europe.

There is one case, however, which might form an exception to the general rule; it is that of a defensive war which is evidently unjust. For in such case there no longer exists any obligation to assist an ally (§§ 86, 87, 89). If you undertake to do it without necessity, and in violation of your duty, you do an injury to the enemy, and declare against him out of mere wantoness. But this is a case that very rarely occurs between nations. There are few defensive wars without at least some apparent reason to warrant their justice or necessity. Now, on any dubious occasion, each state is sole judge of the justice of her own cause; and the presumption is in favour of your ally (§ 86). Besides, it belongs to you alone to determine what conduct on your part will be conformable to your duties and to your engagements; and consequently nothing less than the most palpable evidence can authorize the enemy of your ally to charge you with supporting an unjust war, contrary to the conviction of your own conscience. In fine, the voluntary law of nations ordains, that, in every case susceptible of doubt, the arms of both parties shall, with regard to external effects, be accounted equally lawful (§ 40).

§ 102. Whether it be necessary to declare war against the enemy's associates.

The real associates of my enemy being my enemies, I have against them the same rights as against the principal enemy (§ 95). And as their own conduct proclaims them my enemies, and they take up arms against me in the first instance, I may make war on them without any declaration: the war being sufficiently declared by their own act. This is especially the case of those who in any manner whatever concur to make an offensive war against me; and it is likewise the case of all those whom we have mentioned in §§ 96, 97, 98, 99, 100.

But it is not thus with those nations which assist my enemy in a defensive war: I cannot consider them as his associates (§ 101). If I am entitled to complain of their furnishing him with succours, this is a new ground of quarrel between me and them. I may expostulate with them, and, on not receiving satisfaction, prosecute my right, and make war on them. But in this case there must be a previous declaration (§ 51). The example of Manlius, who made war on the Galatians for having supplied Antiochus with troops, is not a case in point. Grotius3 censures the Roman general for having begun that war without a declaration. The Galatians, in furnishing troops for an offensive war against the Romans, had declared themselves enemies to Rome. It would appear, indeed, that, on peace being concluded with Antiochus, Manlius ought to have waited for orders from Rome before he attacked the Galatians; and then, if that expedition was considered as a fresh war, he should have not only issued a declaration, but also made a demand of satisfaction, previous to the commencement of hostilities (§ 51). But the treaty with the king of Syria had not yet received its consummation: and it concerned that monarch alone, without making any mention of his adherents. Therefore Manlius undertook the expedition against the Galatians, as a consequence or a remnant of the war with Antiochus, This is what he himself very well observed in his speech to the senate;4 and he even added, that his first measure was to try whether he could bring the Galatians to reasonable terms. Grotius more appositely quotes the example of Ulysses and his followers, — blaming them for having, without any declaration of war, attacked the Ciconians, who had sent succours to Priam during the siege of Troy.5

(150) See supra, n. (149).

1. Book II. chap. xvii.

2. See Wolf, Jus Gentium. §§ 730 and 737.

3. De Jure Belli et Pacis, lib. iii. cap. iii. § 10.

4. Livy, lib. xxxviii.

5. Grotius, ubi supra, not. 3.


§ 103. Neutral nations.(151)

NEUTRAL nations are those who, in time of war, do not take any part in the contest, but remain common friends to both parties, without favouring the arms of the one to the prejudice of the other. Here we are to consider the obligations and rights flowing from neutrality.

§ 104. Conduct to be observed by a neutral nation.

In order rightly to understand this question, we must avoid confounding what may lawfully be done by a nation that is free from all engagements, with what she may do if she expects to be treated as perfectly neutral in a war. As long as a neutral nation wishes sccurely to enjoy the advantages of her neutrality, she must in all things show a strict impartiality towards the belligerent powers: for, should she favour one of the parties to the prejudice of the other, she cannot complain of being treated by him as an adherent and confederate of his enemy. Her neutrality would be a fraudulent neutrality, of which no nation will consent to be the dupe. It is sometimes suffered to pass unnoticed, merely for want of ability to resent it; we choose to connive at it, rather than excite a more powerful opposition against us. But the present question is, to determine what may lawfully be done, not what prudence may dictate according to circumstances. Let us therefore examine, in what consists that impartiality which a neutral nation ought to observe.

It solely relates to war, and includes two articles, — 1. To give no assistance when there is no obligation to give it, — nor voluntarily to furnish troops, arms, ammunition, or any thing of direct use in war. I do not say, "to give assistance equally," but "to give no assistance:" for it would be absurd that a state should at one and the same time assist two nations at war with each other; and, besides, it would be impossible to do it with equality. The same things, the like number of troops, the like quantity of arms, of stores, &c., furnished in different circumstances, are no longer equivalent succours. 2. In whatever does not relate to war, a neutral and impartial nation must not refuse to one of the parties, on account of his present quarrel, what she grants to the other. This does not deprive her of the liberty to make the advantage of the state still serve as her rule of conduct in her negotiations, her friendly connections, and her commerce. When this reason induces her to give preferences in things which are ever at the free disposal of the possessor, she only makes use of her right, and is not chargeable with partiality. But to refuse any of those things to one of the parties purely because he is at war with the other, and because she wishes to favour the latter, would be departing from the line of strict neutrality.

§ 105. An ally may furnish the succour due from him, and remain neuter.

I have said that a neutral state ought to give no assistance to either of the parties, when "under no obligation to give it." This restriction is necessary. We have already seen, that when a sovereign furnishes the moderate succour due in virtue of a former defensive alliance, he does not become an associate in the war (§ 101). He may, therefore, fulfil his engagement, and yet observe a strict neutrality. Of this, Europe affords frequent instances.

§ 106. Right of remaining neuter.

When a war breaks out between two nations, all other states that are not bound by treaties are free to remain neuter; and, if either of the belligerent powers attempted to force them to a junction with him, he would do them an injury, inasmuch as he would be guilty of an infringement on their independency in a very essential point. To themselves alone it belongs to determine whether any reason exists to induce them to join in the contest; and there are two points which claim their consideration: 1. The justice of the cause. If that be evident, injustice is not to be countenanced: on the contrary, it is generous and praiseworthy to succour oppressed innocence, when we possess the ability. If the case be dubious, the other nations may suspend their judgment, and not engage in a foreign quarrel. 2. When convinced which party has justice on his side, they have still to consider whether it be for the advantage of the state to concern themselves in this affair, and to embark in the war.

§ 107. Treaties of neutrality.

A nation making war, or preparing to make it, often proposes a treaty of neutrality to a state of which she entertains suspicions. It is prudent to learn betimes what she has to expect, and not to run the risk of a neighbour's suddenly joining with the enemy in the heat of the war. In every case where neutrality is allowable, it is also allowable to bind ourselves to it by treaty.

Sometimes even necessity renders this justifiable. Thus, although it be the duty of all nations to assist oppressed innocence (Book II. § 4), yet, if an unjust conqueror, ready to invade his neighbour's possessions, makes me an offer of neutrality when he is able to crush me, what can I do better than to accept it? I yield to necessity; and my inability discharges me from a natural obligation. The same inability would even excuse me from a perfect obligation contracted by an alliance. The enemy of my ally threatens me with a vast superiority of force: my fate is in his hand: he requires me to renounce the liberty of furnishing any assistance against him. Necessity, and the care of my own safety, absolve me from my engagements. Thus it was that Louis the Fourteenth compelled Victor Amadeus, duke of Savoy, to quit the party of the allies. But, then, the necessity must be very urgent. It is only the cowardly, or the perfidious, who avail themselves of the slightest grounds of alarm, to violate their promises and desert their duty. In the late war, the king of Poland, elector of Saxony, and the king of Sardinia, firmly held out against the unfortunate course of events, and, to their great honour, could not be brought to treat without the concurrence of their allies.

§ 108. Additional reason for making these treaties.

Another reason renders these treaties of neutrality useful, and even necessary. A nation that wishes to secure her own peace, when the flames of war are kindling in her neighbourhood, cannot more successfully attain that object than by concluding treaties with both parties, expressly agreeing what each may do or require in virtue of the neutrality. This is a sure mode to preserve herself in peace, and to obviate all disputes and cavils.

§ 109. Foundation of the rules of neutrality.

Without such treaties, it is to be feared that disputes will often arise respecting what neutrality does or does not allow. This subject presents many questions which authors have discussed with great heat, and which have given rise to the most dangerous quarrels between nations. Yet the law of nature and of nations has its invariable principles, and affords rules on this head, as well as on the others. Some things also have grown into custom among civilized nations, and are to be conformed to by those who would not incur the reproach of unjustly breaking the peace.1 As to the rules of the natural law of nations, they result from a just combination of the laws of war, with the liberty, the safety, the advantages, the commerce, and the other rights of neutral nations. It is on this principle that we shall lay down the following rules: —

§ 110. How levies may be allowed, money lent, and every kind of things sold, without a breach of neutrality.

First, no act on the part of a nation, which falls within the exercise of her rights, and is done solely with a view to her own good, without partiality, without a design of favouring one power to the prejudice of another, — no act of that kind, I say, can in general be considered as contrary to neutrality; nor does it become such, except on particular occasions, when it cannot take place without injury to one of the parties, who has then a particular right to oppose it. Thus, the besieger has a right to prohibit access to the place besieged (see § 117 in the sequel). Except in cases of this nature, shall the quarrels of others deprive me of the free exercise of my rights in the pursuit of measures which I judge advantageous to my people? Therefore, when it is the custom of a nation, for the purpose of employing and training her subjects, to permit levies of troops in favour of a particular power to whom she thinks proper to intrust them, — the enemy of that power cannot look upon such permissions as acts of hostility, unless they are given with a view to the invasion of his territories, or the support of an odious and evidently unjust cause. He cannot even demand, as matter of right, that the like favour be granted to him, — because that nation may have reasons for refusing him, which do not hold good with regard to his adversary; and it belongs to that nation alone to judge of what best suits her circumstances. The Switzers, as we have already observed, grant levies of troops to whom they please; and no power has hitherto thought fit to quarrel with them on that head. It must, however, be owned, that, if those levies were considerable, and constituted the principal strength of my enemy, while, without any substantial reason being alleged, I were absolutely refused all levies whatever, — I should have just cause to consider that nation as leagued with my enemy; and, in this case, the care of my own safety would authorise me to treat her as such.

The case is the same with respect to money which a nation may have been accustomed to lend out at interest. If the sovereign, or his subjects, lend money to my enemy on that footing, and refuse it to me because they have not the same confidence in me, this is no breach of neutrality. They lodge their property where they think it safest. If such preference be not founded on good reasons, I may impute it to ill-will against me, or to a predilection for my enemy. Yet if I should make it a pretence for declaring war, both the true principles of the law of nations, and the general custom happily established in Europe, would join in condemning me. While it appears that this nation lends out her money purely for the sake of gaining an interest upon it, she is at liberty to dispose of it according to her own discretion; and I have no right to complain.

But if the loan were evidently granted for the purpose of enabling an enemy to attack me, this would be concurring in the war against me.

If the troops, above alluded to, were furnished to my enemy by the state herself, and at her own expense, or the money in like manner lent by the state, without interest, it would no longer be a doubtful question whether such assistance were incompatible with neutrality.

Further, it may be affirmed on the same principles, that if a nation trades in arms, timber for ship-building, vessels, and warlike stores, — I cannot take it amiss that she sells such things to my enemy, provided she does not refuse to sell them to me also at a reasonable price. She carries on her trade without any design to injure me; and by continuing it in the same manner as if I were not engaged in war, she gives me no just cause of complaint.

§ 111. Trade of neutral nations with those which are at war.

In what I have said above, it is supposed that my enemy goes himself to a neutral country to make his purchases. Let us now discuss another case, — that of neutral nations resorting to my enemy's country for commercial purposes. It is certain, that, as they have no part in my quarrel, they are under no obligation to renounce their commerce for the sake of avoiding to supply my enemy with the means of carrying on the war against me. Should they affect to refuse selling me a single article, while at the same time they take pains to convey an abundant supply to my enemy, with an evident intention to favour him, such partial conduct would exclude them from the neutrality they enjoyed. But if they only continue their customary trade, they do not thereby declare themselves against my interest: they only exercise a right which they are under no obligation of sacrificing to me.(152)

Provinces having agreed, in the treaty of Whitehall, signed on the 22d of August, 1689, to notify to all states not at war with France, that they would attack every ship bound to or coming from any port of that kingdom, and that they beforehand declared every such ship to be a lawful prize, — Sweden and Denmark, from whom some ships had been taken, entered into a counter-treaty on the 17th of March, 1693, for the purpose of maintaining their rights and procuring just satisfaction. And the two maritime powers, being convinced that the complaints of the two crowns were well founded, did them justice.2

Commodities particularly useful in war, and the importation of which to an enemy is prohibited, are called contraband goods. Such are arms, ammunition, timber for ship-building, every kind of naval stores, horses, — and even provisions, in certain junctures, when we have hopes of reducing the enemy by famine.3(153)

§ 113. Whether such goods may be confiscated.

But, in order to hinder the transportation of contraband goods to an enemy, are we only to stop and seize them, paying the value to the owner, — or have we a right to confiscate them? Barely to stop those goods would in general prove an ineffectual mode, especially at sea, where there is no possibility of entirely cutting off all access to the enemy's harbours. Recourse is therefore had to the expedient of confiscating all contraband goods that we can seize on, in order that the fear of loss may operate as a check on the avidity of gain, and deter the merchants of neutral countries from supplying the enemy with such commodities. And, indeed, it is an object of such high importance to a nation at war to prevent, as far as possible, the enemy's being supplied with such articles as will add to his strength and render him more dangerous, that necessity and the care of her own welfare and safety authorize her to take effectual methods for that purpose, and to declare that all commodities of that nature, destined for the enemy, shall be considered as lawful prize. On this account she notifies to the neutral states her declaration of war (§ 63); whereupon, the letter usually give orders to their subjects to refrain from all contraband commerce with the nations at war, declaring, that if they are captured in carrying on such trade, the sovereign will not protect them. This rule is the point where the general custom of Europe seems at present fixed, after a number of variations as will appear from the note of Grotius, which we have just quoted, and particularly from the ordinances of the kings of France, in the years 1543 and 1584, which only allow the French to seize contraband goods, and to keep them on paying the value. The modern usage is certainly the most agreeable to the mutual duties of nations, and the best calculated to reconcile their respective rights. The nation at war is highly interested in depriving the enemy of all foreign assistance; and this circumstance gives her a right to consider all those, if not absolutely as enemies, at least as people that feel very little scruple to injure her, who carry to her enemy the articles of which he stands in need for the support of the war. She, therefore, punishes them by the confiscation of their goods. Should their sovereign undertake to protect them, such conduct would be tantamount to his furnishing the enemy with those succours himself: — a measure which were undoubtedly inconsistent with neutrality. When a nation, without any other motive than the prospect of gain, is employed in strengthening my enemy, and regardless of the irreparable evil which she may thereby entail upon me,4 she is certainly not my friend, and gives me a right to consider and treat her as an associate of my enemy. In order, therefore, to avoid perpetual subjects of complaint and rupture, it has in perfect conformity to sound principles, been agreed that the belligerent powers may seize and confiscate all contraband goods which neutral persons shall attempt to carry to their enemy, without any complaint from the sovereign of those merchants; as, on the other hand, the power at war does not impute to the neutral sovereigns these practices of their subjects. Care is even taken to settle every particular of this kind in treaties of commerce and navigation.

§ 114. Searching

We cannot prevent the conveyance of contraband goods, without searching neutral vessels that we meet at sea: we have therefore a right to search them. Some powerful nations have indeed, at different times, refused to submit to this search. "After the peace of Vervins, Queen Elizabeth, continuing the war against Spain, requested permission of the king of France to cause all French ships bound for Spain to be searched, in order to discover whether they secretly carried any military stores to that country: but this was refused, as an injury to trade, and a favourable occasion for pillage."5 At present a neutral ship refusing to be searched, would from that proceeding alone be condemned as a lawful prize.(154) But, to avoid inconveniences, oppression, and every other abuse, the manner of the search is settled in the treaties of navigation and commerce. It is the established custom at present to give full credit to the certificates, bills of lading, &c., produced by the master of the ship, unless any fraud appear in them, or there be good reasons for suspecting it.(155)

§ 115. Enemy's property on

If we find an enemy's effects on board a neutral ship, we seize them by the rights of war: (156) but we are naturally bound to pay the freight to the master of the vessel, who is not to suffer by such seizure.6(157)

§ 116. Neutral property on board an enemy's ship.

The effects of neutrals, found in an enemy's ships, are to be restored to the owners, against whom there is no right of confiscation; but without any allowance for detainer, decay, &c. The loss sustained by the neutrals on this occasion is an accident to which they exposed themselves by embarking their property in an enemy's ship; and the captor, in exercising the rights of war, is not responsible for the accidents which may thence result, any more than if his cannon kills a neutral passenger who happens unfortunately to be on board an enemy's vessel.(158)

§ 117. Trade with a besieged town.(159)

Hitherto we have considered the commerce of neutral nations with the territories of the enemy in general. There is a particular case in which the rights of war extend still farther. All commerce with a besieged town is absolutely prohibited. If I lay siege to a place, or even simply blockade it, I have a right to hinder any one from entering, and to treat as an enemy whoever attempts to enter the place, or carry any thing to the besieged, without my leave; for he opposes my undertaking, and may contribute to the miscarriage of it, and thus involve me in all the misfortunes of an unsuccessful war.

King Demetrius hanged up the master and pilot of a vessel carrying provisions to Athens at a time when he was on the point of reducing that city by famine.7 In the long and bloody war carried on by the United Provinces against Spain for the recovery of their liberties they would not suffer the English to carry goods to Dunkirk, before which the Dutch fleet lay.8

§ 118. Impartial offices of neutrals.

A neutral nation preserves, towards both the belligerent powers, the several relations which nature has instituted between nations. She ought to show herself ready to render them every office of humanity reciprocally due from one nation to another: she ought, in every thing not directly relating to war, to give them all the assistance in her power, and of which they may stand in need. Such assistance, however, must be given with impartiality; that is to say, she must not refuse any thing to one of the parties on account of his being at war with the other (§ 104). But this is no reason why a neutral state, under particular connections of friendship and good neighbourhood with one of the belligerent powers, may not, in every thing that is unconnected with war, grant him all those preferences which are due to friends: much less does she afford any grounds of exception to her conduct, if in commerce, for instance, she continues to allow him such indulgences as have been stipulated in her treaties with him. She ought, therefore, as far as the public welfare will permit, equally to allow the subjects of both parties to visit her territories on business, and there to purchase provisions, horses, and, in general, every thing they stand in need of, — unless she has by a treaty of neutrality promised to refuse to both parties such articles as are used in war. Amidst all the wars which disturb Europe, the Switzers preserve their territories in a state of neutrality. Every nation indiscriminately is allowed free access for the purchase of provisions, if the country has a surplus, and for that of horses, ammunition, and arms.

§ 119. Passage of troops through a neutral country.

An innocent passage is due to all nations with whom a state is at peace (Book II. § 123); and this duty extends to troops as well as to individuals. But it rests with the sovereign of the country to judge whether the passage be innocent; and it is very difficult for that of an army to be entirely so. In the late wars of Italy the territories of the republic of Venice and those of the pope sustained very great damage by the passage of armies, and often became the theatre of the war.

§ 120. Passage to be asked.

Since, therefore, the passage of troops, and especially that of a whole army, is by no means a matter of indifference, he who desires to march his troops through a neutral country, must apply for the sovereign's permission. To enter his territory without his consent, is a violation of his rights of sovereignty and supreme dominion, by virtue of which, that country is not to be disposed of for any use whatever, without his express or tacit permission. Now a tacit permission for the entrance of a body of troops is not to be presumed, since their entrance may be productive of the most serious consequences.

§ 121. It may be refused for good reasons.

If the neutral sovereign has good reasons for refusing a passage, he is not obliged to grant it, — the passage in that case being no longer innocent.

§ 122. In what case it may be forced.

In all doubtful cases we must submit to the judgment of the proprietor respecting the innocence of the use we desire to make of things belonging to another (Book II. §§ 128, 130), and must acquiesce in his refusal, even though we think it unjust. If the refusal be evidently unjust, — if the use, and, in the case now before us, the passage be unquestionably innocent, — a nation may do herself justice, and take by force what is unjustly denied to her. But we have already observed, that it is very difficult for the passage of an army to be absolutely innocent, and much more so for the innocence to be very evident. So various are the evils it may occasion, and the dangers that may attend it, — so complicated are they in their nature, and so numerous are the circumstances with which they are connected, — that, to foresee and provide for every thing, is next to impossible. Besides, self-interest has so powerful an influence on the judgments of men, that if he who requires the passage is to be the judge of its innocence, he will admit none of the reasons brought against it; and thus a door is opened to continual quarrels and hostilities. The tranquillity, therefore, and the common safety of nations require that each should be mistress of her own territory, and at liberty to refuse every foreign army an entrance, when she has not departed from her natural liberties in that respect, by treaties. From this rule, however, let us except those very uncommon cases which admit of the most evident demonstration that the passage required is wholly unattended with inconvenience or danger. If, on such an occasion, a passage be forced, he who forces it will not be so much blamed as the nation that has indiscreetly subjected herself to this violence. Another case, which carries its own exception on the very face of it, and admits not of the smallest doubt, is that of extreme necessity. Urgent and absolute necessity suspends all the rights of property (Book II. §§ 119, 123): and if the proprietor be not under the same pressure of necessity as you, it is allowable for you, even against his will, to make use of what belongs to him. When, therefore, an army find themselves exposed to imminent destruction, or unable to return to their own country, unless they pass through neutral territories, they have a right to pass in spite of the sovereign, and to force their way, sword in hand. But they ought first to request a passage, to offer securities, and pay for whatever damages they may occasion. Such was the mode pursued by the Greeks on their return from Asia, under the conduct of Agesilaus.9

Extreme necessity may even authorize the temporary seizure of a neutral town, and the pulling a garrison therein, with a view to cover ourselves from the enemy, or to prevent the execution of his designs against that town, when the sovereign is not able to defend it. But when the danger is over, we must immediately restore the place, and pay all the charges, inconveniences, and damages, which we have occasioned by seizing it.

§ 123. The fear of danger authorizes a refusal.

When the passage is not of absolute necessity, the bare danger which attends the admission of a powerful army into our territory, may authorize us to refuse them permission to enter. We may have reason to apprehend that they will be tempted to take possession of the country, or at least to act as masters while they are in it, and to live at discretion. Let it not be said, with Grotius,10 that he who requires the passage is not to be deprived of his right on account of our unjust fears, A probable fear, founded on good reasons, gives us a right to avoid whatever may realize it; and the conduct of nations affords but too just grounds for the fear in question. Besides, the right of passage is not a perfect right, unless in a case of urgent necessity, or when we have the most perfect evidence that the passage is innocent.

§ 124. or a demand of every reasonable security

But, in the preceding section, I suppose it impracticable to obtain sufficient security which shall leave us no cause to apprehend any hostile attempts or violent proceedings on the part of those who ask permission to pass. If any such security can be oblained, (and the safest one is, to allow them to pass only in small bodies, and upon delivering up their arms, as has been sometimes required),11 the reason arising from fear no longer exists. But those who wish to pass should consent to give every reasonable security required of them, and consequently submit to pass by divisions and deliver up their arms, if the passage be denied them on any other terms. The choice of the security they are to give does not rest with them. Hostages, or a bond, would often prove very slender securities. Of what advantage will it be to me to hold hostages from one who will render himself master over me? And as to a bond, it is of very little avail against a prince of much superior power.

§ 125. Whether always necessary to give every kind of security required.

But, is it always incumbent on us to give every security a nation may require, when we wish to pass through her territories? — In the first place, we are to make a distinction between the different reasons that may exist for our passing through the country; and we are next to consider the manners of the people whose permission we ask. If the passage be not essentially necessary, and can be obtained only on suspicious or disagreeable conditions, we must relinquish all idea of it, as in the case of a refusal (§ 122). But, if necessity authorizes me to pass, the conditions on which the passage will be granted may be accepted or rejected, according to the manners of the people I am treating with. Suppose I am to cross the country of a barbarous, savage, and perfidious nation, — shall I leave myself at their discretion, by giving up my arms and causing my troops to march in divisions? No one, I presume, will condemn me to take so dangerous a step. Since necessity authorizes me to pass, a kind of new necessity arises for my passing in such a posture as will secure me from any ambuscade or violence. I will offer every security that can be given without foolishly exposing myself; and if the offer is rejected, I must be guided by necessity and prudence, — and, let me add, by the most scrupulous moderation, in order to avoid exceeding the bounds of that right which I derive from necessity.

§ 126. Equality to be observed towards both parties as to the passage.

If the neutral state grants or refuses a passage to one of the parties at war, she ought, in like manner to grant or refuse it to the other, unless a change of circumstances affords her substantial reasons for acting otherwise. Without such reasons, to grant to one party what she refuses to the other, would be a partial distinction, and a departure from the line of strict neutrality.

§ 127. No complaint lies against a neutral state for granting a passage.

When I have no reason to refuse a passage, the party against whom it is granted has no right to complain of my conduct, much less to make it the ground of a hostile attack upon me, since I have done no more than what the law of nations enjoins (§ 119). Neither has he any right to require that I should deny the passage; for he must not pretend to hinder me from doing what I think agreeable to my duty. And even on those occasions when I might with justice refuse permission to pass, I am at liberty to abstain from the exertion of my right. But especially when I should be obliged to support my refusal by the sword, who will take upon him to complain of my having permitted the war to be carried into his country, rather than draw it on myself? No sovereign can require that I should take up arms in his favour, unless obliged to it by treaty. But nations, more attentive to their own interests than to the observance of strict justice, are often very loud on this pretended subject of complaint. In war, especially, they stick at no measures; and if by their threats they can induce a neighbouring state to refuse a passage to their enemy, the generality of their rulers consider this conduct only as a stroke of good policy.

§ 128. This state may refuse it from a fear of the resentment of the opposite party.

A powerful state will despise these unjust menaces: firm and unshaken in what she thinks due to justice and to her own reputation, she will not suffer herself to be diverted by the fear of a groundless resentment: she will not even bear the menace. But a weak nation, unable to support her rights, will be under a necessity of consulting her own safety; and this important concern will authorize her to refuse a passage, which would expose her to dangers too powerful for her to repel.

§ 129. And lest her country should become the theatre of war.

Another fear may also warrant her in refusing a passage, namely, that of involving her country in the disorders and calamities of war. For, even if the party against whom a passage is requested, should observe such moderation as not to employ menaces for the purpose of intimidating the neutral nation into a refusal, he will hardly fail to demand a passage for himself also: he will march to meet his enemy; and thus the neutral country will become the theatre of war. The infinite evils of such a situation are an unexceptionable reason for refusing the passage. In all these cases, he who attempts to force a passage, does an injury to the neutral nation, and gives her most just cause to unite her arms with those of his adversary. The Switzers, in their alliances with France, have promised not to grant a passage to her enemies. They ever refuse it to all sovereigns at war, in order to secure their frontiers from that calamity; and they take care that their territory shall be respected. But they grant a passage to recruits, who march in small bodies, and without arms.

§ 130. What is included in the grant of passage.

The grant of permission to pass includes a grant of every thing which is naturally connected with the passage of troops, and without which the passage would be impracticable; such as the liberty of carrying with them whatever may be necessary for an army, — that of exercising military discipline on the soldiers and officers, and of purchasing, at a fair price, every thing the army may want, unless, through fear of scarcity, a particular exception has been made, to oblige them to carry with them their own provisions.

§ 131. Safety of the passage.

He who grants the passage is bound to render it safe, as far as depends on him. Good faith requires this; and to act otherwise would be ensnaring those to whom the passage is granted.

§ 132. No hostility to be committed in a neutral country.

For this reason, and because foreigners can do nothing in a territory against the will of the sovereign, it is unlawful to attack an enemy in a neutral country, or to commit in it any other act of hostility. The Dutch East-India fleet having put into Bergen, in Norway, in 1666, to avoid the English, the British admiral had the temerity to attack them there. But the governor of Bergen fired on the assailants; and the court of Denmark complained, though perhaps too faintly, of an attempt so injurious to her rights and dignity.12(160)

To conduct prisoners, to convey spoil to a place of safety, are acts of war, consequently not to be done in a neutral country; and whoever should permit them, would depart from the line of neutrality, by favouring one of the parties. But I here speak of prisoners and spoil not yet perfectly in the enemy's power, and whose capture is, as it were, not yet fully completed. A flying party, for instance, cannot make use of a neighbouring and neutral country as a place of deposit to secure their prisoners and spoil. To permit this, would be giving countenance and support to their hostilities. When the capture is completed, and the booty absolutely in the enemy's power, no inquiry is made how he came by such effects, and he may dispose of them in a neutral country. A privateer carries his prize into a neutral port, and there freely sells it; but he cannot land his prisoners there, for the purpose of keeping them in confinement, because the detention and custody of prisoners of war is a continuation of hostilities.

§ 133. Neutral country not to afford a retreat to troops, that they may again attack their enemies.

On the other hand, it is certain that, if my neighbour affords a retreat to my enemies, when defeated and too much weakened to escape me, and allows them time to recover, and watch a favourable opportunity of making a second attack on my territories, this conduct, so prejudicial to my safety and interests, would be incompatible with neutrality. If, therefore, my enemies, on suffering a discomfiture, retreat into his country, although charity will not allow him to refuse them permission to pass in security, he is bound to make them continue their march beyond his frontiers as soon as possible, and not suffer them to remain in his territories on the watch for a convenient opportunity to attack me anew; otherwise he gives me a right to enter his country in pursuit of them. Such treatment is often experienced by nations that are unable to command respect. Their territories soon become the theatre of war; armies march, encamp, and fight in it, as in a country open to all comers.

§ 134. Conduct to be observed by

Troops to whom a passage is granted are not to occasion the least damage in the country; they are to keep to the public roads, and not enter the possessions of private persons, — to observe the most exact discipline, and punctually pay for everything with which the inhabitants supply them. And if the licentiousness of the soldiers, or the necessity of certain operations, as encamping or intrenching, has caused any damage, their commander or their sovereign is bound to make reparation. All this requires no proof. What right have an army to injure a country, when the most they could require was an innocent passage through it?

There can be no reason why the neutral state should not stipulate for a sum of money, as an indemnification for certain damages which it would be difficult to estimate, and for the inconveniences naturally resulting from the passage of an army. But it would be scandalous to sell the very grant of passage, — nay, even unjust, if the passage be attended with no damage, since, in that case, the permission is due. As to the rest, the sovereign of the country is to take care that the compensation be paid to the parties who have suffered the damage; for no right authorizes him to reserve for his own use what is given for their indemnification. It is, indeed, too often the case, that the weak sustain the loss, and the powerful receive the compensation.

§ 135. A passage may be refused for a war evidently unjust.

Finally, as we are not bound to grant even an innocent passage, except for just causes, we may refuse it to him who requires it for a war that is evidently unjust, — as, for instance, to invade a country without any reason, or even colourable pretext. Thus Julius Cæsar denied a passage to the Helvetii, who were quitting their country in order to conquer a better. I conceive, indeed, that policy had a greater share in his refusal than the love of justice; but, in short, justice authorised him on that occasion to obey the dictates or prudence. A sovereign who is in a condition to refuse without fear, should doubtless refuse in the case we now speak of. But if it would be dangerous for him to give a refusal, he is not obliged to draw down the impending evil on his own head for the sake of averting it from that of his neighbour: nay, rashly to hazard the quiet and welfare of his people, would be a very great breach of his duty.

(151) The modern illustrating decisions upon neutrals, and neutrality, will be found collected in 1 Chitty's Commercial Law, 43-64, 383-490; Id. Index, tit. Neutrals, and in Chitty's L. Nat. 14, 34-54, 153; and Id. Index, tit. Neutrals. — C.

1. The following is an instance: — It was determined by the Dutch, that, on a vessel's entering a neutral port, after having taken any of the enemies of her nation prisoners on the high seas, she should be obliged to set those prisoners at liberty, because they were then fallen into the power of a nation that was in neutrality with the belligerent parties. — The same rule had been observed by England in the war between Spain and the United Provinces.

(152) It must be a continuance only of such customary trade. See Home on Captures, 215-233; De Tastet v. Taylor, 4 Taunt. 238; Bell v. Reid, 1 Maule & Selw. 727; and an able speech of Lord Erskine, 8th March, 1808, upon the orders in Council; 10 Cobbett's Parl. Deb. 935. It has even been holden that a British-born subject, while domiciled in a neutral country, may legally trade from that country with a state at war with this country. Bell v. Reid, 1 Maule & Selwyn, 727. — C.

2. See other instances in Grotius, De Jure Belli et Pacis, lib. iii. cap. i. § 5, not. 6.

3. The Pensionary De Witt, in a letter of January 14, 1654, acknowledges that it would be contrary to the law of nations to prevent neutrals from carrying corn to an enemy's country; but he says that we may lawfully prevent them from supplying the enemy with cordage and other materials for the riffing and equipment of ships of war.

In 1597, queen Elizabeth would not allow the Poles and Danes to furnish Spain with provisions, much less with arms, alleging that, "according to the rules of war, it is lawful to reduce an enemy even by famine, with the view of obliging him to sue for peace," The United Provinces, finding it necessary to observe a greater degree of circumspection, did not prevent neutral nations from carrying on every kind of commerce with Spain. It is true, indeed, that, while their own subjects sold both arms and provisions to the Spaniards, they could not with propriety have attempted to forbid neutral nations to carry on a similar trade. (Grotius, His. of the Disturbances in the Low Countries, book vi.) Nevertheless, in 1646, the United Provinces published an edict prohibiting their own subjects in general, and even neutral nations, to carry either provisions or any other merchandise to Spain, because the Spaniards, "after having, under the appearance of commerce, allured foreign vessels to their ports, detained them, and made use of them as ships of war." And for this reason, the same edict declared that "the confederates, when blocking up their enemies' ports, would seize upon every vessel they saw steering towards those places." — Ibid. book xv. p. 572 — Ed. A.D. 1797.

(153) What are contraband goods, see 1 Chitty's Comml. L. 444-449, and Chitty's L. Nat. 119-128. — C.

4. In our time, the king of Spain prohibited all Hamburgh ships from entering his harbours, because that city had engaged to furnish the Algerines with military stores; and thus he obliged the Hamburghers to cancel their treaty with the Barbarians. — Ed. A.D. 1797.

5. Grotius, ubi supra.

(154) As to the right of visiting and searching neutral ships, see the celebrated letter of the Duke of Newcastle to the Prussian Secretary, A.D. 1752; 1 Collect. Jurid. 138; and Halliday's Life of Lord Mansfield; Elements of General History, vol. iii. p. 222, Marshall on Insurance, book i. ch. 8, sect. 5; Garrels v. Kensington, 8 Term Rep. 230; Lord Erskine's Speech upon Orders in council, 8 March 1808; 10 Cobbett's Parl. Deb. 955; Baring upon Orders in Council, p. 102. Clearly at this day the right of search exists practically as well as theoretically.

The right of search, and of the consequence of resistance, and of the papers and documents that ought to be found on board the neutral vessels, are most clearly established by the best modern decision; see Barker v. Blakes, 9 East Rep. 283, and numerous other cases, collected in 1 Chitty's Commercial Law, 482-489; Chitty's L. Nat. 190-199. The international law upon the subject will be found admirably summed up by Sir Wm. Scott, in his Judgment in the case of the Maria, 1 Rob. Rep. 346, and 1 Edward's Rep. 208, confirming the authority of Vattel, and on which he thus concludes: "I stand with confidence upon all fair principles of reason, — upon the distinct authority of Vattel, and upon the institutes of other great maritime countries, as well as those of our own country, when I venture to lay it down that, by the law of nations, as now understood, a deliberate and continued resistance of search, on the part of a neutral vessel, to a lawful cruiser, is followed by the legal consequences of confiscation." And see Dispatch, 3 Rob, Rep. 278; Elsabe, 4 Rob. Rep. 408; Pennsylvania, 1 Acton's Rep. 33; Saint Juan Baptista, 5 Rob. Rep. 33; Maria, 1 Rob. Rep. 340; Mentor. 1 Edward, 2668; Catherina Elisabeth, 5 Rob. Rep. 232. See the modern French view of the right of visitation and search, Cours de Droits Public, tom. i. p. 84. Paris: A.D. 1830. — C. {And the American, The Eleanor, 2 Wheat. Rep. 345; The U. states v. LaJeune Eugenie, 2 Mass. Rep. 409; The Marianna Flora, 3 Mass. Rep. 116; Maley v. Shattuck, 3 Cranch, 458.}

(155) As to papers and documents that ought to be on board, see 1 Chitty's Commercial Law, 487-489, and Chitty's L. Nat. 196-199, and authorities there collected. The owner of the neutral vessel has no remedy for loss of voyage, or other injury occasioned by the reasonable exercise of the right of search (infra note), but he may insure against the risk; Barker v. Blakes, 9 East. 283. — C. — {See Maley v. Shattuck, 3 Cranch, 458.}

(156) Particular states have relaxed the rigour of this rule, and, by express treaty, granted immunity, by establishing a maxim, "Free ships, free goods;" see instances, 5 Rob. Rep. 52; 6 Rob. Rep. 24, 41-358. — C.

6. {See the rule as recognised by the United States. The Nereide, 9 Cranch, 110.} — "I have obtained," said the ambassador Boreel, in a letter to the Grand Pensionary, De Witt, "the abrogation of that pretended French law, that enemies' property involves in confiscation the property of friends; so that, if henceforward any effects belonging to the enemies of France be found in a free Dutch vessel, those effects alone shall be liable to confiscation; and the vessel shall be released, together with all the other property onboard. But I find it impossible to obtain the object of the twenty-fourth article of my instructions, which says, that the immunity of the vessel shall extend to the cargo, even if enemies' property," De Witt's Letters and Negotiations, vol i. p. 80, — Such a law as the latter would be more natural than the former. — Edit. A.D. 1797.

(157) (Schwartz v. The Ins. Co. of North America, 3 Wash. C. C. Rep. 117.) — But, in these cases, the freight to be paid is not necessarily to be measured by the terms of the charter party, 1 Molloy, 1-18; and Twilling Ruet, 5 Rob. Rep. 82. — C.

(158) 1 Chitty's Commercial Law, 440; Grotius, b. iii. c. vi. § vi; Marshall on Insurance, b. i. c, viii. § v. The loss of voyage and damage may be insured against; Barker v. Blakes, 9 East, Rep. 283. — C.

(159) As to violation of blockade in general, see the modern decisions, 1 Chitty's Commercial Law, 449 and 460-492; Chitty's L. Nat. 129-144, and 259; and see, as to the distinction between a military and commercial blockade, and their effect, 1 Acton's Rep. 128. On a question of violation of blockade, Sir W. Scott said, "three things must be proved — 1st, the existence of an actual blockade; 2dly, the knowledge of the party supposed to have offended; and 3dly, some act of violation, either by going in or coming out with a cargo laden after the commencement of the blockade." In case of Betsy, 1 Rob. Rep. 92, and Nancy, 1 Acton's Rep. 59. — C. — {Fitzsimmons v. The Newport Ins. Co., 4 Cranch, 185.}

7. Plutarch, in Demetrio.

8. Grotius, ubi supra.

9. Plutarch's Life of Agesilaus.

10. Book ii. chap. ii. § 13, note 5.

11. By the Eleans, and the ancient inhabitants of Cologne. See Grotius, ibid.

12. The author of the "Present State of Denmark," written in English, pretends that the Danes had engaged to deliver up the Dutch fleet, but that some seasonable presents, made to the court of Copenhagen, saved it. Chap. x.

(160) At present, by the general law of nations, the whole space of the sea, within cannon-shot of the coast, in considered as making a part of the territory; and, for that reason, a vessel taken under the cannon of a neutral fortress, is not a lawful prize. Ante, book i. chap. xxxiii. s. 289, p. 129; Marten's L.N. b. viii. chap. vi. s. 6; and see 1 Molloy, b. i. chap. iii. s. 7; and chap. i. s. 16. (The Ann. 1 Gall. Rep. 62.) And Professor Marten observes, that when two vessels, the enemies of each other, meet in a neutral port, or where one pursues the other into such port, not only must they refrain from all hostilities while they remain there, but should one set sail, the other must not sail in less than twenty-four hours after Marten's L. Nat. b. viii. c. vi. s. 6. Sir W. Scott, in the Twee Gebroeders. 3 Rob. Rep. 162-336; and the Anna, 5 Rob. Rep. 373, observes, that no proximate acts of war are in any manner to be allowed to originate on neutral ground, and explains and elucidates what preparatory acts of warfare there ought, or ought not, to be tolerated; and see 1 Chitty's Com L. 441 to 444. So we have seen that even a sentence of condemnation of ship or goods as prize cannot legally lake place in a neutral country. Ante, and Flad Oyen, 1 Rob. Rep. 115; 8 T.R. 270; Atcheson's Rep. 8, note 9; and see Haveloch v. Pockwood, Atcheson's Rep. 33, 43. — C


§ 136. General principles of the rights against an enemy in a just war.(161)

WHAT we have hitherto said, concerns the right of making war: — let us now proceed to those rights which are to be respected during the war itself, and to the rules which nations should reciprocally observe, even when deciding their differences by arms. Let us begin by laying down the rights of a nation engaged in a just war; let us see what she is allowed to do to her enemy. The whole is to be deduced from one single principle, — from the object of a just war: for, when the end is lawful, he who has a right to pursue that end, has of course, a right to employ all the means which are necessary for its attainment. The end of a just war is to avenge or prevent injury (§ 28) — that is to say, to obtain justice by force, when not obtainable by any other method, — to compel an unjust adversary to repair an injury already done, or give us securities against any wrong with which we are threatened by him. As soon, therefore, as we have declared war, we have a right to do against the enemy whatever we find necessary for the attainment of that end, — for the purpose of bringing him to reason, and obtaining justice and security from him.

§ 137. Difference between what we have a right to do and what is barely allowed to be done with impunity between enemies.

The lawfulness of the end does not give us a real right to any thing further than barely the means necessary for the attainment of that end. Whatever we do beyond that, is reprobated by the law of nature, is faulty, and condemnable at the tribunal of conscience. Hence it is that the right to such or such acts of hostility varies according to circumstances. What is just and perfectly innocent in war, in one particular situation, is not always so on other occasions. Right goes hand in hand with necessity and the exigency of the case, but never exceeds them.

But as it is very difficult always to form a precise judgment of what the present case requires, and as, moreover, it belongs to each nation to judge of what her own particular situation authorizes her to do (Prelim. § 16) — it becomes absolutely necessary that nations should reciprocally conform to general rules on this subject. Accordingly, whenever it is certain and evident that such a measure, such an act of hostility, is necessary, in general, for overpowering the enemy's resistance, and attaining the end of a lawful war, — that measure, thus viewed in a general light, is, by the law of nations, deemed lawful in war, and consistent with propriety, although he who unnecessarily adopts it, when he might attain his end by gentler methods, is not innocent before God and his own conscience. In this lies the difference between what is just, equitable, irreprehensible in war, and what is only allowed between nations, and suffered to pass with impunity. The sovereign who would preserve a pure conscience, and punctually discharge the duties of humanity, ought never to lose sight of what we already have more than once observed, — that nature gives him no right to make war on his fellow-men, except in cases of necessity, and as a remedy, ever disagreeable, though often necessary, against obstinate injustice or violence. If his mind is duly impressed with this great truth, he will never extend the application of the remedy beyond its due limits, and will be very careful not to render it more harsh in its operation, and more fatal to mankind, than is requisite for his own security and the defence of his rights.

§ 138. The right to weaken an enemy by every justifiable method.

Since the object of a just war is to repress injustice and violence, and forcibly to compel him who is deaf to the voice of justice, we have a right to put in practice, against the enemy, every measure that is necessary in order to weaken him, and disable him from resisting us and supporting his injustice; and we may choose such methods as are the most efficacious and best calculated to attain the end in view, provided they be not of an odious kind, nor unjustifiable in themselves, and prohibited by the law of nature.

§ 139. The right over the enemy's person.

The enemy who attacks me unjustly, gives me an undoubted right to repel his violence; and he who takes up arms to oppose me when I demand only my right, becomes himself the real aggressor by his unjust resistance: he is the first author of the violence, and obliges me to employ forcible means in order to secure myself against the wrong which he intends to do me either in my person or my property. If the forcible means I employ produce such effect as even to take away his life, he alone must bear the whole blame of that misfortune: for, if I were obliged to submit to the wrong rather than hurt him, good men would soon become the prey of the wicked. Such is the origin of the right to kill our enemies in a just war. When we find gentler methods insufficient to conquer their resistance and bring them to terms, we have a right to put them to death. Under the name of enemies, as we have already shown, are to be comprehended, not only the first author of the war, but likewise all those who join him, and who fight in support of his cause.

§ 140. Limits of this right.

But the very manner in which the right to kill our enemies is proved, points out the limits of that right. On an enemy's submitting and laying down his arms, we cannot with justice take away his life. Thus, in a battle, quarter is to be given to those who lay down their arms; and, in a siege, a garrison offering to capitulate are never to be refused their lives. The humanity with which most nations in Europe carry on their wars at present cannot be too much commended. If, sometimes, in the heat of action, the soldier refuses to give quarter, it is always contrary to the inclination of the officers, who eagerly interpose to save the lives of such enemies as have laid down their arms.1

§ 141. A particular case, in which quarter may be refused.

There is, however, one case in which we may refuse to spare the life of an enemy who surrenders, or to allow any capitulation to a town reduced to the last extremity. It is, when that enemy has been guilty of some enormous breach of the law of nations, and particularly when he has violated the laws of war. This refusal of quarter is no natural consequence of the war, but a punishment for his crime, — a punishment which the injured party has a right to inflict. But, in order that it be justly inflicted, it must fall on the guilty. When we are at war with a savage nation, who observe no rules, and never give quarter, we may punish them in the persons of any of their people whom we take, (these belonging to the number of the guilty.) and endeavour, by this rigorous proceeding, to force them to respect the laws of humanity. But, wherever severity is not absolutely necessary, clemency becomes a duty. Corinth was utterly destroyed for having violated the law of nations in the person of the Roman ambassadors. That severity, however, was reprobated by Cicero and other great men. He who has even the most just cause to punish a sovereign with whom he is in enmity, will ever incur the reproach of cruelty, if he causes the punishment to fall on his innocent subjects. There are other methods of chastising the sovereign, — such as depriving him of some of his rights, taking from him towns and provinces. The evil which thence results to the nation at large, is the consequence of that participation which cannot possibly be avoided by those who unite in political society.

§ 142. Reprisals(162)

This leads us to speak of a kind of retaliation sometimes practised in war, under the name of reprisals. If the hostile general has, without any just reason, caused some prisoners to be hanged, we hang an equal number of his people, and of the same rank, — notifying to him that we will continue thus to retaliate, for the purpose of obliging him to observe the laws of war. It is a dreadful extremity thus to condemn a prisoner to atone, by a miserable death, for his general's crime; and if we had previously promised to spare the life of that prisoner, we cannot, without injustice, make him the subject of our reprisals.2 Nevertheless, as a prince, or his general, has a right to sacrifice his enemy's lives to his own safety and that of his men, — it appears that, if he has to do with an inhuman enemy, who frequently commits such enormities, he is authorized to refuse quarter to some of the prisoners he takes, and to treat them as his people have been treated.3 But Scipio's generosity is rather to be imitated; — that great man, having reduced some Spanish princes, who had revolted against the Romans, declared to them that, on a breach of their faith, he would not call the innocent hostages to an account, but themselves; and that he would not avenge it on an unarmed enemy, but on those who should be found in arms.4 Alexander the Great, having cause of complaint against Darius for some malpractices, sent him word, that if he continued to make war in such a manner, he would proceed to every extremity against him, and give him no quarter.5It is thus an enemy who violates the laws of war is to be checked, and not by causing the penalty due to his crime to fall on innocent victims.

§ 143. Whether a governor of a town can be punished with death for an obstinate defence.

How could it be conceived, in an enlightened age, that it is lawful to punish with death a governor who has defended his town to the last extremity, or who, in a weak place, has had the courage to hold out against a royal army? In the last century, this notion still prevailed; it was looked upon as one of the laws of war, and is not, even at present, totally exploded. What an idea! to punish a brave man for having performed his duty! Very different were the principles or Alexander the Great, when he gave orders for sparing some Milesians, on account of their courage and fidelity.6 "As Phyton was led to execution, by order of Dionysius the tyrant, for having obstinately defended the town of Rhegium, of which he was governor, he cried out, that he was unjustly condemned to die for having refused to betray the town, and that heaven would soon avenge his death." Diodorus Siculus terms this "an unjust punishment."7 It is vain to object, that an obstinate defence, especially in a weak place, against a royal army, only causes a fruitless effusion of blood. Such a defence may save the state, by delaying the enemy some days longer; and besides, courage supplies the defects of the fortifications.8 The chevalier Bayard having thrown himself into Mezieres, defended it with his usual intrepidity,9 and proved that a brave man is sometimes capable of saving a place which another would not think tenable. The history of the famous siege of Malta is another instance how far men of spirit may defend themselves, when thoroughly determined. How many places have surrendered, which might still have arrested the enemy's progress for a considerable time, obliged him to consume his strength and waste the remainder of the campaign, and even finally saved themselves, by a better-supported and more vigorous defence! In the last war, whilst the strongest places in the Netherlands opened their gates in a few days, the valiant general Leutrum was seen to defend Coni against the utmost efforts of two powerful armies, — to hold out, in so indifferent a post, forty days from the opening of the trenches, — and, finally, to save the town, and, together with it, all Piemont. If it be urged, that, by threatening a commandant with death, you may shorten a bloody siege, spare your troops, and make a valuable saving of time, — my answer is, that a brave man will despise your menace, or, incensed by such ignominious treatment, will sell his life as dearly as he can, — will bury himself under the ruins of his fort, and make you pay for your injustice. But, whatever advantage you might promise yourself from an unlawful proceeding, that will not warrant you in the use of it. The menace of an unjust punishment is unjust in itself; it is an insult and an injury. But, above all, it would be horrible and barbarous to put it in execution; and, if you allow that the threatened consequences must not be realized, the threat is vain and ridiculous. Just and honourable means may be employed to dissuade a governor from ineffectually persevering to the last extremity; and such is the present practice of all prudent and humane generals. At a proper stage of the business, they summon a governor to surrender; they offer him honourable and advantageous terms of capitulation, — accompanied by a threat, that, if he delays too long, he will only be admitted to surrender as a prisoner of war, and at discretion. If he persists, and is at length forced to surrender at discretion, — they may then treat both himself and his troops with all the severity of the law of war. But that law can never extend so far as to give a right to take away the life of an enemy who lays down his arms (§ 140), unless he has been guilty of some crime against the conqueror (§ 141).

Resistance carried to extremity does not become punishable in a subaltern, except on those occasions only when it is evidently fruitless. It is then obstinacy, and not firmness or valour: — true valor has always a reasonable object in view. Let us, for, instance, suppose that a state has entirely submitted to the conqueror's arms, except one single fortress, — that no succour is to be expected from without, — no neighbour, no ally, concerns himself about saving the remainder of that conquered state: — on such an occasion, the governor is to be made acquainted with the situation of affairs, and summoned to surrender; and he may be threatened with death in case of his persisting in a defence which is absolutely fruitless, and which can only lend to the effusion of human blood.10 Should this make no impression on him, he deserves to suffer the punishment with which he has been justly threatened. I suppose the justice of the war to be problematical, and that it is not an insupportable oppression which he opposes: for if this governor maintains a cause that is evidently just, — if he fights to save his country from slavery, — his misfortune will be pitied; and every man of spirit will applaud him for gallantly persevering to the last extremity, and determining to die free.

§ 144. Fugitives and deserters.

Fugitives and deserters, found by the victor among his enemies, are guilty of a crime against him; and he has undoubtedly a right to put them to death. But they are not properly considered as enemies: they are rather perfidious citizens traitors to their country; and their enlistment with the enemy cannot obliterate that character, or exempt them from the punishment they have deserved. At present, however, desertion being unhappily too common, the number of the delinquents renders it in some measure necessary to show clemency; and, in capitulations, it is usual to indulge the evacuating garrison with a certain number of covered wagons, in which they save the deserters.

§ 145. Women, children, the aged, and sick.

Women, children, feeble old men, and sick persons, come under the description of enemies (§§ 70-72); and we have certain rights over them, inasmuch as they belong to the nation with whom we are at war, and as, between nation and nation, all rights and pretensions affect the body of the society, together with all its members (Book II. §§ s81, 82-344). But these are enemies who make no resistance; and consequently we have no right to maltreat their persons or use any violence against them, much less to take away their lives (§ 140). This is so plain a maxim of justice and humanity, that at present every nation in the least degree civilized, acquiesces in it. If, sometimes, the furious and ungovernable soldier carries his brutality so far as to violate female chastity, or to massacre women, children, and old men, the officers lament those excesses; they exert their utmost efforts to put a stop to them; and a prudent and humane general even punishes them whenever he can. But, if the women wish to be spared altogether, they must confine themselves to the occupations peculiar to their own sex, and not meddle with those of men, by taking up arms. Accordingly, the military law of the Switzers, which forbids the soldier to maltreat women, formally excepts those females who have committed any acts of hostility.11

§ 146. Clergy, men of letters, &c.

The like may be said of the public ministers of religion, of men of letters, and other persons whose mode of life is very remote from military affairs: — not that these people, nor even the ministers of the altar, are, necessarily, and by virtue of their functions, invested with any character of inviolability, or that the civil law can confer it on them with respect to the enemy: but, as they do not use force or violence to oppose him, they do not give him a right to use it against them. Among the ancient Romans, the priests carried arms: Julius Cæsar himself was sovereign pontiff: — and among the Christians, it has been no rare thing to see prelates, bishops, and cardinals buckle on their armor, and take the command of armies. From the instant of their doing so, they subjected themselves to the common fate of military men. While dealing out their blows in the field of battle, they did not, it is to be presumed, lay claim to inviolability.

§ 147. Peasants, and,

Formerly, every one capable of carrying arms became a soldier when his nation was at war, and especially when it was attacked. Grotius, however,12 produces instances of several nations and eminent commanders,13 who spared the peasantry, in consideration of the immediate usefulness of their labours.14 At present, war is carried on by regular troops: the people, the peasants, the citizens, take no part in it, and generally have nothing to fear from the sword of the enemy. Provided the inhabitants submit to him who is master of the country, pay the contributions imposed, and refrain from all hostilities, they live in as perfect safety as if they were friends: they even continue in possession of what belongs to them: the country people come freely to the camp to sell their provisions, and are protected, as far as possible, from the calamities of war. A laudable custom, truly worthy of those nations who value themselves on their humanity, and advantageous even to the enemy who acts with such moderation. By protecting the unarmed inhabitants, keeping the soldiery under strict discipline, and preserving the country, a general procures an easy subsistence for his army, and avoids many evils and dangers. If he has any reason to mistrust the peasantry and the inhabitants of the towns, he has a right to disarm them, and to require hostages from them: and those who wish to avoid the calamities of war, must submit to the laws which the enemy thinks proper to impose on them.

§ 148. The right of making prisoners of war.

But all those enemies thus subdued or disarmed, whom the principles of humanity oblige him to spare, — all those persons belonging to the opposite party, (even the women and children,) he may lawfully secure and make prisoners, either with a view to prevent them from taking up arms again, or for the purpose of weakening the enemy (§ 138), or, finally, in hopes that, by getting into his power some woman or child for whom the sovereign has an affection, he may induce him to accede to equitable conditions of peace, for the sake of redeeming those valuable pledges. At present, indeed, this last mentioned expedient is seldom put in practice by the polished nations of Europe: women and children are suffered to enjoy perfect security, and allowed permission to withdraw wherever they please. But this moderation, this politeness, though undoubtedly commendable, is not in itself absolutely obligatory; and if a general thinks fit to supersede it, he cannot be justly accused of violating the laws of war. He is at liberty to adopt such measures, in this respect, as he thinks most conducive to the success of his affairs. If without reason, and from mere caprice, he refuses to indulge women with this liberty, he will be taxed with harshness and brutality, — he will be censured for not conforming to a custom established by humanity: but he may have good reasons for disregarding, in this particular, the rules of politeness, and even the suggestions of pity. If there are hopes of reducing by famine a strong place, of which it is very important to gain possession, the useless mouths are not permitted to come out. And in this there is nothing which is not authorized by the laws of war. Some great men, however, have, on occasions of this nature, carried their compassion so far as to postpone their interests to the motions of humanity. We have already mentioned, in another place, how Henry the Great acted during the siege of Paris. To such a noble example let us add that of Titus at the siege of Jerusalem: at first he was inclined to drive back into the city great numbers of starving wretches, who came out of it; but he could not withstand the compassion which such a sight raised in him; and he suffered the sentiments of humanity and generosity to prevail over the maxims of war.

§ 149. A prisoner of war not to be put to death.

As soon as your enemy has laid down his arms and surrendered his person, you have no longer any right over his life (§ 140), unless he should give you such right by some new attempt, or had before committed against you a crime deserving death (§ 141). It was therefore a dreadful error of antiquity, a most unjust and savage claim, to assume a right of putting prisoners of war to death, and even by the hand of the executioner. More just and humane principles, however, have long since been adopted. Charles I., king of Naples, having defeated and taken prisoner Conradin, his competitor, caused him to be publicly beheaded at Naples, together with Frederic of Austria, his fellow-prisoner. This barbarity raised a universal horror; and Peter III., king of Arragon, reproached Charles with it as a detestable crime, and till then unheard of among Christian princes.15The case, however, was that of a dangerous rival, who contended with him for the throne. But supposing even the claims of that rival were unjust, Charles might have kept him in prison till he had renounced them, and given security for his future behaviour.

§ 150. How prisoners of war are to be treated.

Prisoners may be secured; and for this purpose they may be put into confinement, and even fettered, if there be reason to apprehend that they will rise on their captors, or make their escape. But they are not to be treated harshly, unless personally guilty of some crime against him who has them in his power. In this case, he is at liberty to punish them: otherwise, he should remember that they are men, and unfortunate.16 A man of exalted soul no longer feels any emotions but those of compassion towards a conquered enemy who has submitted to his arms. Let us, in this particular, bestow on the European nations the praise to which they are justly entitled. Prisoners of war are seldom ill-treated among them. We extol the English and French; we feel our bosoms glow with love for them, when we hear the accounts of the treatment which prisoners of war, on both sides, have experienced from those generous nations. And what is more, by a custom which equally displays the honour and humanity of the Europeans, an officer, taken prisoner in war, is released on his parole, and enjoys the comfort of passing the time of his captivity in his own country, in the midst of his family; and the party who have thus released him rest as perfectly sure of him as if they had him confined in irons.

§ 151. Whether prisoners, who cannot be kept or fed, may be put to death.

Formerly, a question of an embarrassing nature might have been proposed. When we have so great a number of prisoners that we find it impossible to feed them, or to keep them with safety, have we a right to put them to death? or shall we send them back to the enemy, — thus increasing his strength, and exposing ourselves to the hazard of being overpowered by him on a subsequent occasion? At present, the case is attended with no difficulty. Such prisoners are dismissed on their parole, — bound by promise not to carry arms for a certain time, or during the continuance of the war. And as every commander necessarily has a power of agreeing to the conditions on which the enemy admits his surrender, the engagements entered into by him for saving his life or his liberty, with that of his men, are valid, as being made within the limits of his powers (§§ 19, &c.); and his sovereign cannot annul them. Of this, many instances occurred during the last war: — several Dutch garrisons submitted to the condition of not serving against France or her allies for one or two years: a body of French troops being invested in Lintz, were by capitulation sent back across the Rhine, under a restriction not to carry arms against the queen of Hungary for a stated time; and the sovereigns of those troops respected the engagements formed by them. But conventions of this kind have their limits, which consist in not infringing the rights of the sovereign over his subjects. Thus the enemy, in releasing prisoners, may impose on them the condition of not carrying arms against him till the conclusion of the war; since he might justly keep them in confinement till that period: but he cannot require that they shall for ever renounce the liberty of fighting for their country; because, on the termination of the war, he has no longer any reason for detaining them; and they, on their part, cannot enter into an engagement absolutely inconsistent with their character of citizens or subjects. If their country abandons them, they become free in that respect, and have in their turn a right to renounce their country.

But if we have to do with a nation that is at once savage, perfidious, and formidable, shall we send her back a number of soldiers who will perhaps enable her to destroy us? — When our own safety is incompatible with that of an enemy — even of an enemy who has submitted — the question admits not of a doubt. But to justify us in coolly and deliberately putting to death a great number of prisoners, the following conditions are indispensably necessary: — 1. That no promise have been made to spare their lives; and, 2. That we be perfectly assured that our own safety demands such a sacrifice. If it is at all consistent with prudence either to trust to their parole, or to disregard their perfidy, a generous enemy will rather listen to the voice of humanity than to that of a timid circumspection. Charles XII., being encumbered with his prisoners after the battle of Narva, only disarmed them and set them at liberty: but his enemy, still impressed with the apprehensions which his warlike and formidable opponents had excited in his mind, sent into Siberia all the prisoners he took at Pultowa, The Swedish hero confided too much in his own generosity; the sagacious monarch of Russia united, perhaps, too great a degree of severity with his prudence; but necessity furnishes an apology for severity, or rather throws a veil over it altogether. When Admiral Anson look the rich Acapulco galleon, near Manilla, he found that the prisoners outnumbered his whole ship's company: he was therefore under a necessity of confining them in the hold, where they suffered cruel distress.17 But had he exposed himself to the risk of being carried away a prisoner, with his prize and his own ship together, would the humanity of his conduct have justified the imprudence of it? Henry V., king of England, after his victory in the battle of Agincourt, was reduced, or thought himself reduced, to the cruel necessity of sacrificing the prisoners to his own safety. "In this universal rout," says Father Daniel, "a fresh misfortune happened, which cost the lives of a great number of French. A remainder of their van was retreating in some order, and many of the stragglers was retreating in some order, and many of the stragglers rallied and joined it. The king of England, observing their motions from an eminence, supposed it was their intention to return to the charge. At the same moment, he received information of an attack being made on his camp, where the baggage was deposited. In fact, some noblemen of Picardy, having armed about six hundred peasants, had fallen upon the English camp. Thus circumstanced, that prince, apprehensive of some disastrous reverse, despatched his aides-de-camp to the different divisions of the army, with orders for putting all the prisoners to the sword, lest, in case of a renewal of the battle, the care of guarding them should prove an impediment to his soldiers, or the prisoners should escape and join their countrymen. The order was immediately carried into execution, and all the prisoners were put to the sword."18 Nothing short of the greatest necessity can justify so terrible an execution; and the general whose situation requires it, is greatly to be pitied.

§ 152. Whether prisoners of war may be made slaves.

Is it lawful to condemn prisoners of war to slavery? Yes, in cases which give a right to kill them, — when they have rendered themselves personally guilty of some crime deserving of death. The ancients used to sell their prisoners of war for slaves. They, indeed, thought they had a right to put them to death. In every circumstance, when I cannot innocently take away my prisoner's life, I have no right to make him a slave. If I spare his life, and condemn him to a state so contrary to the nature of man, I still continue with him the state of war. He lies under no obligation to me: for, what is life without freedom? If any one counts life a favour when the grant of it is attended with chains, — be it so: let him accept the kindness, submit to the destiny which awaits him, and fulfil the duties annexed to it. But he must apply to some other writer to teach him those duties: there have been authors enough who have amply treated of them. I shall dwell no longer on the subject; and, indeed, that disgrace to humanity is happily banished from Europe.

§ 153. Exchange and ransom of prisoners.

Prisoners of war, then, are detained, either to prevent their returning to join the enemy again, or with a view to obtain from their sovereign a just satisfaction, as the price of their liberty. There is no obligation to release those who are detained with the latter view, till after satisfaction is obtained. As to the former, whoever makes a just war has a right, if he thinks proper, to detain his prisoners till the end of the war: and whenever he releases them, he may justly require a ransom, either as a compensation at the conclusion of a peace, or, if during the continuance of the war, for the purpose of at least weakening his enemy's finances at the same time that he restores him a number of soldiers. The European nations, who are ever to be commended for their care in alleviating the evils of war, have, with regard to prisoners, introduced humane and salutary customs. They are exchanged or ransomed, even during the war: and this point is generally settled beforehand by cartel. However, if a nation finds a considerable advantage in leaving her soldiers prisoners with the enemy during the war rather than exchanging them, she may certainly, unless bound by cartel, act in that respect as is most conducive to her interest. Such would be the case of a state abounding in men, and at war with a nation more formidable by the courage than the number of her soldiers. It would have ill suited the interests of the czar, Peter the Great, to restore his prisoners to the Swedes for an equal number of Russians.

§ 154. The state is bound to procure their release.

But the state is bound to procure, at her own expense, the release other citizens and soldiers who are prisoners of war, as soon as she has the means of accomplishing it, and can do it without danger. It was only by acting in her service and supporting her cause that they were involved in their present misfortune. For the same reason, it is her duty to provide for their support during the time of their captivity. Formerly, prisoners of war were obliged to redeem themselves: but then the ransom of all those whom the officers or soldiers might take, was the perquisite of the individual captors. The modern custom is more agreeable to reason and justice. If prisoners cannot be delivered during the course of the war, at least their liberty must, if possible, make an article in the treaty of peace. This is a care which the state owes to those who have exposed themselves in her defence. It must, nevertheless, be allowed, that a nation may, after the example of the Romans, and for the purpose of stimulating her soldiers to the most vigorous resistance, enact a law to prohibit prisoners of war from ever being ransomed. When this is agreed to by the whole society, nobody can complain. But such a law is very severe, and could scarce suit any but those ambitious heroes who were determined on sacrificing every thing in order to make themselves master of the world.

§ 155. Whether an enemy may lawfully be assassinated or poisoned.

Since the present chapter treats of the rights which war gives us over the person of the enemy, this is the proper place to discuss a celebrated question, on which authors have been much divided, — and that is, whether we may lawfully employ all sorts of means to take away an enemy's life? whether we be justifiable in procuring his death by assassination or poison? Some writers have asserted, that, where we have a right to take away life, the manner is indifferent. A strange maxim! but happily exploded by the bare ideas of honour, confused and indefinite as they are. In civil society, I have a right to punish a slanderer, — to cause my property to be restored by him who unjustly detains it: but shall the manner be indifferent? Nations may do themselves justice sword in hand, when otherwise refused to them: shall it be indifferent to human society that they employ odious means capable of spreading desolation over the whole face of the earth, and against which the most just and equitable of sovereigns, even though supported by the majority of other princes, cannot guard himself?

But, in order to discuss this question on solid grounds, assassination is by all means to be distinguished from surprises, which are, doubtless, very allowable in war. Should a resolute soldier steal into the enemy's camp by night, — should he penetrate to the general's tent, and stab him, — in such conduct there is nothing contrary to the natural laws of war, — nothing even but what is perfectly commendable in a just and necessary war. Mutius Scævola has been praised by all the great men of antiquity; and Persenna himself, whom he intended to kill, could not but commend his courage.19 Pepin, father of Charlemagne, having crossed the Rhine with one of his guards, went and killed his enemy in his chamber.20 If any one has absolutely condemned such bold strokes, his censure only proceeded from a desire to flatter those among the great, who would wish to leave all the dangerous part of war to the soldiery and inferior officers. It is true, indeed, that the agents in such attempts are usually punished with some painful death, But that is, because the prince or general who is thus attacked exercises his own rights in turn, — has an eye to his own safety, and endeavours, by the dread of a cruel punishment, to deter his enemies from attacking him otherwise than by open force. He may proportion his severity towards an enemy according as his own safety requires. Indeed, it would be more commendable on both sides to renounce every kind of hostility which lays the enemy under a necessity of employing cruel punishments, in order to secure himself against it. This might be made an established custom, — a conventional law of war. The generous warriors of the present age dislike such attempts, and would never willingly undertake them, except on those extraordinary occasions, when they become necessary to the very safety and being of their country. As to the six hundred Lacedæmonians, who, under the conduct of Leonidas, broke into the enemy's camp, and made their way directly to the Persian monarch's tent,21 their expedition was justifiable by the common rules of war, and did not authorize the king to treat them more rigorously than any other enemies. In order to defeat all such attempts, it is sufficient to keep a strict watch; and it would be unjust to have recourse to cruel punishments for that purpose: accordingly, such punishments are reserved for those only who gain admittance by stealth alone, or in very small number, and especially if under cover of a disguise.

I give, then, the name of assassination to a treacherous murder, whether the perpetrators of the deed be subjects of the party whom we cause to be assassinated, or of our own sovereign, — or that it be executed by the hand of any other emissary, introducing himself as a supplicant, a refugee, a deserter, or, in fine, as a stranger; and such an attempt I say, is infamous and execrable, both in him who executes and in him who commands it. Why do we judge an act to be criminal, and contrary to the law of nature, but because such act is pernicious to human society, and that the practice of it would be destructive to mankind? Now, what could be more terrible than the custom of hiring a traitor to assassinate our enemy? Besides, were such a liberty once introduced, the purest virtue, the friendship of the majority of the reigning sovereigns, would no longer be sufficient to insure a prince's safety. Had Titus lived in the time of the old man of the mountain, —; though the happiness of mankind centered in him, — though punctual in the observance of peace and equity, he was respected and adored by all potentates, — yet, the very first time that the prince of Assassins might have thought proper to quarrel with him, that universal affection would have proved insufficient to save him; and mankind would have lost their "darling." Let it not here be replied, that it is only in favour of the cause of justice that such extraordinary measures are allowable: for all parties, in their wars, maintain that they have justice on their side. Whoever, by setting the example, contributes to the introduction of so destructive a practice, declares himself the enemy of mankind, and deserves the execration of all ages.22 The assassination of William, prince of Orange, was regarded with universal detestation, though the Spaniards had declared that prince a rebel. And the same nation denied, as an atrocious calumny, the charge of having had the least concern in that of Henry the Great, who was preparing for a war against them, which might have shaken their monarchy to its very foundations.

In treacherously administering poison there is something still more odious than in assassination: it would be more difficult to guard against the consequences of such an attempt; and the practice would be more dreadful; accordingly, it has been more generally detested. Of this Grotius has accumulated many instances.23 The consuls Caius Fabricius and Quintus Æmilius rejected with horror the proposal of Pyrrhus's physician, who made an offer of poisoning his master; they even cautioned that prince to be on his guard against the traitor, — haughtily adding: "It is not to ingratiate ourselves with you that we give this information, but to avoid the obloquy to which your death would expose us."24 And they justly observe, in the same letter, that it is for the common interest of all nations not to set such examples.25 It was a maxim of the Roman Senate, that war was to be carried on with arms, and not with poison.26 Even under Tiberius, the proposal of the prince of the Catti was rejected, who offered to destroy Arminius, if poison were sent him for that purpose: and he received for answer, that "it was the practice of the Romans to take vengeance on their enemies by open force, and not by treachery and secret machinations;"27

Tiberius thus making it his glory to imitate the virtue of the ancient Roman commanders. This instance is the more remarkable, as Arminius had treacherously cut off Varus, together with three Roman legions. The senate, and even Tiberius himself, thought it unlawful to adopt the use of poison, even against a perfidious enemy, and as a kind of retaliation or reprisals.

Assassination and poisoning are therefore contrary to the laws of war, and equally condemned by the law of nature and the consent of all civilized nations. The sovereign who has recourse to such execrable means should be regarded as the enemy of the human race; and the common safety of mankind calls on all nations to unite against him and join their forces to punish him. His conduct particularly authorizes the enemy, whom he has attacked by such odious means, to refuse him any quarter. Alexander declared, that "he was determined to proceed to the utmost extremities against Darius, and no longer to consider him as a fair enemy, but as a poisoner and an assassin."28

The interest and safety of men in high command require, that, so far from countenancing the introduction of such practices, they should use all possible care to prevent it, It was wisely said by Eumenes, that "he did not think any general wished to obtain a victory in such manner as should set a pernicious example which might recoil on himself."29And it was on the same principle that Alexander formed his judgment of Bessus, who had assassinated Darius.30

§ 156. Whether poisoned weapons may be used in war.

The use of poisoned weapons may be excused or defended with a little more plausibility. At least, there is no treachery in the case, no clandestine machination. But the practice is nevertheless prohibited by the law of nature, which does not allow us to multiply the evils of war beyond all bounds. You must of course strike your enemy in order to get the better of his efforts: but if he is once disabled, is it necessary that he should inevitably die of his wounds? Besides, if you poison your weapons, the enemy will follow your example; and thus, without gaining any advantage on your side for the decision of the contest, you have only added to the cruelty and calamities of war. It is necessity alone that can at all justify nations in making war: they ought universally to abstain from every thing that has a tendency to render it more destructive: it is even a duty incumbent on them to oppose such practices. It is therefore with good reason, and in conformity to their duty, that civilized nations have classed among the laws of war the maxim which prohibits the poisoning of weapons;31 and they are all warranted by their common safety to repress and punish the first who should offer to break through that law.

§ 157. Whether springs may be poisoned.

A still more general unanimity prevails in condemning the practice of poisoning waters, wells, and springs, because (say some authors) we may thereby destroy innocent persons, — we may destroy other people as well as our enemies. This is indeed an additional reason: but it is not the only nor even the true one; for we do not scruple to fire on an enemy's ship, although there be neutral passengers on board. But though poison is not to be used, it is very allowable to divert the water, — to cut off the springs, — or by any other means to render them useless, that the enemy may be reduced to surrender.32 This is a milder way than that of arms.(163)

§ 158. Dispositions to

I cannot conclude this subject, of what we have a right to do against the person of the enemy, without speaking a few words concerning the dispositions we ought to preserve towards him. They may already be deduced from what I have hitherto said, and especially in the first chapter of the second book. Let us never forget that our enemies are men. Though reduced to the disagreeable necessity of prosecuting our right by force of arms, let us not divest ourselves of that charity which connects us with all mankind. Thus shall we courageously defend our country's rights without violating those of human nature.33 Let our valour preserve itself from every stain of cruelty, and the lustre of victory will not be tarnished by inhuman and brutal actions. Marius and Attila are now detested; whereas we cannot forbear admiring and loving Cæsar; his generosity and clemency almost tempt us to overlook the injustice of his undertaking. Moderation and generosity redound more to the glory of a victor than his courage; they are more certain marks of an exalted soul. Besides the honour which infallibly accompanies those virtues, humanity towards an enemy has been often attended with immediate and real advantages. Leopold, duke of Austria, besieging Soleure, in the year 1318, threw a bridge over the Aar, and posted on it a large body of troops. Soon after, the river having, by an extraordinary swell of its waters, carried away the bridge together with those who were stationed on it, — the besieged hastened to the relief of those unfortunate men, and saved the greatest part of them. Leopold, relenting at this act of generosity, raised the siege and made peace with the city.34 The duke of Cumberland, after his victory at Dettingen,35 appears to me still greater than in the heat of battle. As he was under the surgeon's hands, a French officer, much more dangerously wounded than himself, being brought that way, the duke immediately ordered his surgeon to quit him, and assist that wounded enemy. If men in exalted stations did but conceive how great a degree of affection and respect attends such actions, they would study to imitate them, even when not prompted to the practice by native elevation of sentiment. At present, the European nations generally carry on their wars with great moderation and generosity. These dispositions have given rise to several customs which are highly commendable, and frequently carried to the extreme of politeness.36 Sometimes refreshments are sent to the governor of a besieged town; and it is usual to avoid firing on the king's or the general's quarters. We are sure to gain by this moderation, when we have to do with a generous enemy; but we are not bound to observe it any further than can be done without injuring the cause we defend; and it is clear that a prudent general will, in this respect, regulate his conduct by the circumstances of the case, by an attention to the safety of the army and of the state, by the magnitude of the danger, and by the character and behaviour of the enemy. Should a weak nation or town be attacked by a furious conqueror who threatens to destroy it, are the defenders to forbear firing on his quarters: Far from it: that is the very place to which, if possible, every shot should be directed.

§ 159. Tenderness for the person of a king who is in arms against us.

Formerly, he who killed the king or general of the enemy was commended and greatly rewarded: the honours annexed the spoila opima are well known. Nothing was more natural: in former times, the belligerent nations had, almost in every instance, their safety and very existence at stake; and the death of the leader often put an end to the war. In our days, a soldier would not dare to boast of having killed the enemy's king. Thus sovereigns tacitly agree to secure their own persons. It must be owned, that, in a war which is carried on with no great animosity, and where the safety and regard for regal majesty is perfectly commendable, and even consonant to the reciprocal duties of nations. In such a war, to take away the life of the enemy's sovereign, when it might be spared, is perhaps doing that nation a greater degree of harm than is necessary for bringing the contest to a happy issue. But it is not one of the laws of war that we should on every occasion spare the person of the hostile king: we are not bound to observe that moderation except where we have a fair opportunity of making him prisoner.37

(161) See, in general, the Rights of War; Grotius, ch. vi.; and 1 Chitty's Commercial Law, 377 to 437; and Chitty's Law of Nations, per tot. — C.

1. From several passages of Grotius's History of the Disturbances in the low Countries, it appears that the war between the Dutch and Spaniards was carried on with unrelenting cruelty at sea, although the parties had agreed to observe the usual rules of moderation on land. Intelligence being received by the confederate states, that the Spaniards had, by the advice of Spinola, embarked at Lisbon a body of troops destined for Flanders, they dispatched a squadron to wait for them in the strait of Calais, with orders to drown without mercy every soldier that was taken; and the order was punctually executed. — Book xiv. p. 550. — Edit A.D. 1797.

(162) As to reprisals and letters of marque in general, see ante b??ri. ch. xviii. § 334. — C. [Yes, b??ri is in the original.]

2. In the French; we here find (apparently very much out of place) a verbatim repetition of the long note which has already appeared in page 286 — Edit. A.D. 1797.

3. Lysander, having captured the Athenian fleet, put the prisoners to death, on account of various cruelties practised by the Athenians during the course of the war, but principally on account of the barbarous resolution which they were known to have adopted, of cutting off the right hand or every prisoner, in case of victory declaring on their side. He spared Adeimantus alone, who had opposed that infamous resolution. Xenoph. Hist. Græc. lib. ii. cap. i. — Edit. A.D. 1797.

4. Neque se in obsides innoxios, sed in ipsos, si defecerint, sæviturum; nec ab inermi, sed ab armato hoste, pœnas expetiturum. — Tit. Liv. lib. xxviii.

5. Quint. Curt. lib. iv. cap. i. and ii.

6. Arrian. de Exped. Alexand. lib. i. cap. xx.

7. Lib. xiv. cap. cxiii., quoted by Grotius, lib. iii. cap. ii. § xvi. n. v.

8. The false maxim which formerly prevailed on this subject, is noticed in the relation of the battle of Musselburgh (De Thou, vol. i. p. 287). "The general (the duke of Somerset), the regent of England, was on this occasion much admired for his clemency, which induced him to spare the lives of the besieged (the garrison of a castle in Scotland.) notwithstanding that ancient maxim in war, which declares that a weak garrison forfeit all claim to mercy on the part of the conqueror, when, with more courage than prudence, they obstinately persevere in defending an ill-fortified place against a royal army and when, refusing to accept of reasonable conditions offered to them, they undertake to arrest the progress of a power which they are unable to resist." — Pursuant to that maxim, Cæsar answered the Aduatici that he would spare their town, if they surrendered before the battering-ram touched their walls; and the duke of Alva strongly blamed prosper Colonna for having granted terms of capitulation to the garrison of a castle, who had refused to treat of a surrender until the cannon had been employed against them. — Edit. A.D. 1797.

9. See his life.

10. But it is not lawful to employ menaces of every kind in order to induce the governor or commandant of a town to surrender. There are some, against which nature revolts with horror. Louis the Eleventh, being engaged in the siege of St. Omer, and incensed at the long resistance he experienced, informed the governor, Philip, son of Antony, the Bastard of Burgundy, that if he did not surrender the place, his father (who was a prisoner in Louis's hands) should be put to death in his sight. Philip replied that he would feel the most poignant regret to lose his father, but that his honour was still dearer to him, and that he was too well acquainted with the king's disposition, to apprehend that he would disgrace himself by the perpetration of so barbarous a deed. — Hist. of Louis XI. book viii — Edit. A.D. 1797.

11. See Simler, de Repub. Helvet.

12. Book iii. ch. xi. § xi.

13. Cyrus, Belisarius, &c.

14. Cyrus proposed to the king of Assyria, that both parties should reciprocally spare the cultivators of the soil, and make war only against those who appeared in arms: — and the proposal was agreed to. Xenoph. Cyrop. lib. v. cap. 4.

15. Epist. Pet. Arrag. apud Petr. de Vineis.

16. In 1593, the council of the Netherlands, at the persuasion of the count de Fuentes, resolved no longer to observe towards the United Provinces that moderation which humanity renders so necessary in war. They gave orders for putting to death every man who should be made prisoner, and, under the same penalty, prohibited the payment of any contributions to the enemy. But the complaints of the nobility and clergy, and still more the murmurs of the military, who saw themselves exposed to an infamous death in case of falling into the enemy's hands, obliged the Spaniards to re-establish those indispensable usages, which in the words of Virgil {Ain. x. 532}, are called belli commercia, — the ransom or exchange of prisoners, and the payment of contributions to avert pillage and devastation. The ransom of each prisoner was then settled at a month's pay. — Grotius, Hist. of Netherlands, book iii.

17. See Anson's Voyage round the World. {P. 382, 383. Lond, Ed. 4 to 1756.}

18. Hist. of France, Reign of Charles VI.

19. See Livy, lib, ii. cap. xii, — Cicero, pro P. Sextio. Valer, Max. lib. iii. cap. iii. — Plutarch, in Poplicol.

20. Grotius, lib. iii. cap. 4, § xv ii. n. i.

21. Justin, lib. ii. cap, xi.

22. See the dialogue between Julius Cæsar and Cicero, in the Mélanges de Litérature et Poésies. — Farrudge, sultan of Egypt, sent to Timur-bec an ambassador, accompanied by two villains, who were to assassinate that conqueror during the audience. This infamous plot being discovered, "It is not," said Timur, "the maxim of kings to put ambassadors to death: but as to this wretch, who under the sacred barb of religion, is a monster of perfidy and corruption, it would be a crime to suffer him and his accomplices to live." Pursuant, therefore, to that passage of the Koran which says that "treachery falls on the traitor's own head," he ordered him to be dispatched with the same poniard with which he had intended to perpetrate the abominable deed. The body of the traitor was then committed to the flames, as an example to others. The two assassins were only condemned to suffer the amputation of their noses and ears; Timur contenting himself with this punishment, and forbearing to put them to death, because he wished to send them back with a letter to the sultan. — {Petis de la Croix.} Hist, of Timur-bec, book v. chap. xxiv. {p. 313 Ed. Edif. 1723}

23. Book iii. chap. iv. § xv.

24. Oude gar tauta se chiritti menuomen, all d pos me toson pathos emin diabolen enegke — Plut. in Pyrr.

25. Sed communis exempli et fidei ergo visum est, uti te salvum velimus; ut esset, quem armis vincere possemus. — Aun Gell. Noct Attic lib. iii. cap. viii.

26. Armis belia, non venenis, geri debere. — Valer. Maxim. lib. vi. ch. v. num. i.

27. Non fraude, neque occultis, sed palam, et armatum, — populum Romanum hostes suos ulcisci. — Tacit. Annal. lib. ii. cap. lxxxviii.

28. Quint. Curt. lib, iv. cap. xi. num. xviii.

29. Nec Antigonum, nec quemquam ducum, sic velle vincere, ut ipse in se exemplum pessimum statuat. — Justin. lib. xiv. cap. i. num. xii.

30. Quem quidem [Bessum] cruci adfixum videre festino, omnibus regibus gentibusque fidel, quam violavit, meritas pœnas solventum. — Q. Curt. lib. vi. ch. iii. num. xiv.

31. Grotius, book iii. ch. iv. § xvi.

32. Grotius, ibid. § xvii.

(163) But, in modern warfare, whatever may be the necessary practice in starving the besieged fortress into a surrender, we have instanced the English supplying the French army with medicine, to prevent the progress of a destructive disorder, although, If a petty policy were allowed to prevail, such an indulgence of humane feeling might appear injudicious (ante). — C.

33. The laws of justice and equity are not to be less respected even in time of war. The following I quote as a remarkable instance; — Alcibiades, at the head of an Athenian army, was engaged in the siege of Byzantium, then occupied by a Lacedæmonian garrison; and finding that he could not reduce the city by force, he gained over some of the inhabitants, who put him in possession of it. One of the persons concerned in this transaction was Anaxilaus, a citizen of Byzantium, who, being afterwards brought to trial for it at Lacedæmon, pleaded in his defence, that, in surrendering the city, he had not acted through ill-will to the Lacedæmonians, or under the influence of a bribe, but with a view to save the women and children, whom he saw perishing with famine; for Clearchus, who commanded the garrison, had given to the soldiers all the corn that was found in the city. The Lacedæmonians, with a noble regard to justice, and such as seldom prevails on similar occasions, acquitted the culprit, observing that he had not betrayed, but saved the city, and particularly attending to the circumstance of his being a Byzantine, not a Lacedæmonian. — Xenoph. His. Græc. lib. i. cap. iii. — Edit. A.D. 1797.

34. Watteville's Hist. of the Helvetic Confederacy, vol. i. p. 126.

35. In the year 1743.

36. Timur-bec made war on Joseph Sofy, king of Carezem, and subdued his kingdom. During the course of the war, that great man proved himself to be possessed of all that moderation and politeness which is thought peculiar to our modern warriors. Some melons being brought to him whilst he was besieging Joseph in the city of Eskiskus, he resolved to send a part of them to his enemy, thinking it would be a breach of civility not to share those new fruits with that prince when so near him: and accordingly he ordered them to be put into a gold basin, and carried to him. The king of Carezem received this instance of politeness in a brutal manner; He ordered the melons to be thrown into the fossé, and gave the basin to the city gate-keeper. — La Croix. His. of Timur-bec, book v. ch. xxvii. — Edit. A.D. 1797.

37. On this subject, let us notice a trait of Charles XII. of Sweden, in which sound reason and the most exalted courage are equally conspicuous. That prince, being engaged in the siege of Thorn in Poland, and frequently walking round the city, was easily distinguished by the cannoneers, who regularly fired upon him as soon as they saw him make his appearance. The principal officers of his army, greatly alarmed at their sovereign's danger, wished to have information sent to the governor, that, if the practice was continued, no quarter should be granted either to him or to the garrison. But the Swedish monarch would never permit such a step to be taken, telling his officers that the governor and the Saxon cannoneers were perfectly right in acting as they did, that it was himself who made the attack upon them, and that the war would be at an end if they could kill him; whereas they would reap very little advantage even from killing the principal officers of his army. — Histoire du Nord, p. 26. Edit. A.D. 1797.


§ 160. Principles of the right over things belonging to the enemy.(164)

A STATE taking up arms in a just cause has a double right against her enemy, — 1. a right to obtain possession of her property withheld by the enemy; to which must be added the expenses incurred in the pursuit of that object, the charges of the war, and the reparation of damages: for, were she obliged to bear those expenses and losses, she would not fully recover her property, or obtain her due. 2. She has a right to weaken her enemy, in order to render him incapable of supporting his unjust violence (§ 138) — a right to deprive him of the means of resistance. Hence, as from their source, originate all the rights which war gives us over things belonging to the enemy. I speak of ordinary cases, and of what particularly relates to the enemy's property. On certain occasions, the right of punishing him produces new rights over the things which belong to him, as it also does over his person. These we shall presently consider.

§ 161. The right of seizing on them.

We have a right to deprive our enemy of his possessions, of every thing which may augment his strength and enable him to make war. This every one endeavours to accomplish in the manner most suitable to him. Whenever we have an opportunity, we seize on the enemy's property, and convert it to our own use: and thus, besides diminishing the enemy's power, we augment our own, and obtain at least a partial indemnification or equivalent, either for what constitutes the subject of the war, or for the expenses and losses incurred in its prosecution: — in a word, we do ourselves justice.

§ 162. What is taken front the enemy by way of penalty.

The right to security often authorizes us to punish injustice or violence. It is an additional plea for depriving an enemy of some part of his possessions. This manner of chastising a nation is more humane than making the penalty to fall on the persons of the citizens. With that view, things of value may be taken from her, such as rights, cities, provinces. But all wars do not afford just grounds for inflicting punishment. A nation that has with upright intentions supported a bad cause, and observed moderation in the prosecution of it, is entitled rather to compassion than resentment from a generous conqueror: and in a doubtful cause we are to suppose that the enemy sincerely thinks himself in the right. (Prelim. § 21); Book III. § 40.) The only circumstance, therefore, which gives an enemy the right to punish his adversaries, is their evident injustice, unsupported even by any plausible pretext, or some heinous outrage in their proceedings: and, on every occasion, he ought to confine the punishment to what his own security and the safety of nations require. As far as consistent with prudence, it is glorious to obey the voice of clemency: that amiable virtue seldom fails of being more useful to the party who exerts it, than inflexible rigour. The clemency of Henry the Great was of singular advantage in co-operating with his valour, when that good prince found himself compelled to conquer his own kingdom. Those who would have continued his enemies if only subdued by arms, were won by his goodness, and became affectionate subjects.

§ 163. What is withheld from him, in order to oblige him to give just satisfaction.

In fine, we seize on the enemy's property, his towns, his provinces, in order to bring him to reasonable conditions, and compel him to accept of an equitable and solid peace. Thus much more is taken from him than he owes, more than is claimed of him: but this is done with a design of restoring the surplus by a treaty of peace. The king of France1 was, in the last war, known to declare that he aimed at nothing for himself: and by the treaty of Aix-la-Chapelle, he actually restored all his conquests.

§ 164. Booty.

As the towns and lands taken from the enemy are called conquests, all movable property taken from him comes under the denomination of booty. This booty naturally belongs to the sovereign making war, no less than the conquests; for he alone has such claims against the hostile nation as warrant him to seize on her property and convert it to his own use.(165) His soldiers, and even his auxiliaries, are only instruments which he employs in asserting his right. He maintains and pays them, Whatever they do is in his name, and for him. Thus, there is no difficulty, even with regard to the auxiliaries. If they are not associates in the war, it is not carried on for their benefit; and they have no more right to the booty than to the conquests. But the sovereign may grant the troops what share of the booty he pleases. At present most nations allow them whatever they can make on certain occasions when the general allows of plundering, — such as the spoil of enemies fallen in the field of battle, the pillage of a camp which has been forced, and sometimes that of a town taken by assault. In several services, the soldier has also the property of what he can take from the enemy's troops when he is out on a party, or in a detachment, excepting artillery, military stores, magazines, and convoys of provisions and forage, which are applied to the wants and use of the army. This custom being once admitted in an army, it would be injustice to exclude the auxiliaries from the right allowed to the national troops. Among the Romans, the soldier was obliged to bring in to the public stock all the booty he had taken. This the general caused to be sold; and, after distributing a part of the produce among the soldiers, according to rank, he consigned the residue to the public treasury.

§ 165. Contributions.

Instead of the custom of pillaging the open country and defenceless places, another mode has been substituted, which is at once more humane, and more advantageous to the belligerent sovereign — I mean that of contributions. Whoever carries on a just war has a right to make the enemy's country contribute to the support of his army, and towards defraying all the charges of the war. Thus, he obtains a part of what is due to him; and the enemy's subjects, by consenting to pay the sum demanded, have their property secured from pillage, and the country is preserved. But a general who wishes to enjoy an unsullied reputation, must be moderate in his demand of contributions, and proportion them to the abilities of those on whom they are imposed. An excess in this point does not escape the reproach of cruelty and inhumanity: although there is not so great an appearance of ferocity in it as in ravage and destruction, it displays a greater degree of avarice or greediness. Instances of humanity and moderation cannot be too often quoted. A very commendable one occurred during those long wars which France carried on in the reign of Louis XIV. The sovereigns, seeing it was their mutual interest as well as duty to prevent ravage, made it a practice, on the commencement of hostilities, to enter into treaties for regulating the contributions on a supportable footing: they determined the extent of hostile territory in which each might demand contributions, the amount of them, and the manner in which the parties sent to levy them were to behave. In these treaties it was expressed, that no body of men under a certain number should advance into the enemy's country beyond the limits agreed on, under the penalty of being treated as freebooters. By such steps they prevented a multitude of disorders and enormities, which entail ruin on the people, and generally without the least advantage to the belligerent sovereigns. Whence comes it that so noble an example is not universally imitated?

§ 166. Waste and destruction.

If it is lawful to take away the property of an unjust enemy in order to weaken or punish him, (§§ 161, 162), the same motives justify us in destroying what we cannot conveniently carry away. Thus, we waste a country, and destroy the provisions and forage, that the enemy may not find a subsistence there: we sink his ships when we cannot take them or bring them off. All this tends to promote the main object of the war: but such measures are only to be pursued with moderation, and according to the exigency of the case. Those who tear up the vines and cut down the fruit-trees are looked upon as savage barbarians, unless when they do it with a view to punish the enemy for some gross violation of the law of nations. They desolate a country for many years to come, and beyond what their own safety requires. Such conduct is not dictated by prudence, but by hatred and fury.

§ 167. Ravaging and burning.

On certain occasions, however, matters are carried still farther: a country is totally ravaged, towns and villages are sacked, and delivered up a prey to fire and sword. Dreadful extremities, even when we are forced into them! Savage and monstrous excesses, when committed without necessity! There are two reasons, however, which may authorize them, — 1. the necessity of chastising an unjust and barbarous nation, of checking her brutality, and preserving ourselves from her depredations. Who can doubt that the king of Spain and the powers of Italy have a very good right utterly to destroy those maritime towns of Africa, those nests of pirates, that are continually molesting their commerce and ruining their subjects? But what nation will proceed to such extremities merely for the sake of punishing the hostile sovereign? It is but indirectly that he will feel the punishment: and how great the cruelty, to ruin an innocent people in order to reach him! The same prince whose firmness and just resentment was commended in the bombardment of Algiers, was, after that of Genoa, accused of pride and inhumanity. 2. We ravage a country and render it uninhabitable, in order to make it serve us as a barrier, and to cover our frontier against an enemy whose incursions we are unable to check by any other means. A cruel expedient, it is true: but why should we not be allowed to adopt it at the expense of the enemy, since, with the same view, we readily submit to lay waste our own provinces?

The czar Peter the Great, in his flight before the formidable Charles the Twelfth, ravaged an extent of above fourscore leagues of his own empire, in order to check the impetuosity of a torrent which he was unable to withstand. Thus, the Swedes were worn down with want and fatigue; and the Russian monarch reaped at Pultowa the fruits of his circumspection and sacrifices. But violent remedies are to be sparingly applied: there must be reasons of suitable importance to justify the use of them. A prince who should, without necessity, imitate the czar's conduct, would be guilty of a crime against his people: and he who does the like in an enemy's country, when impelled to it by no necessity, or induced by feeble reasons, becomes the scourge of mankind. In the last century, the French ravaged and burnt the Palatinate.2 All Europe resounded with invectives against such a mode of waging war. It was in vain that the court attempted to palliate their conduct, by alleging that this was done only with a view to cover their own frontier: — that was an end to which the ravaging of the Palatinate contributed but little: and the whole proceeding exhibited nothing to the eyes of mankind but the revenge and cruelty of a haughty and unfeeling minister.

§ 168. What things are to be spared.

For whatever cause a country is ravaged, we ought to spare those edifices which do honour to human society, and do not contribute to increase the enemy's strength, — such as temples, tombs, public buildings, and all works of remarkable beauty. What advantage is obtained by destroying them? It is declaring one's self an enemy to mankind, thus wantonly to deprive them of these monuments of art and models of taste; and in that light Belisarius represented the matter to Tittila, king of the Goths.3 We still detest those barbarians who destroyed so many wonders of art, when they overran the Roman empire. However just the resentment with which the great Gustavus was animated against Maximilian, duke of Bavaria, he rejected with indignation the advice of those who wished him to demolish the stately palace of Munich, and took particular care to preserve that admirable structure.

Nevertheless, if we find it necessary to destroy edifices of that nature in order to carry on the operations of war, or to advance the works in a siege, we have an undoubted right to take such a step. The sovereign of the country, or his general, makes no scruple to destroy them, when necessity or the maxims of war require it. The governor of a besieged town sets fire to the suburbs, that they may not afford a lodgment to the besiegers. Nobody presumes to blame a general who lays waste gardens, vineyards, or orchards, for the purpose of encamping on the ground, and throwing up an entrenchment. If any beautiful production of art be thereby destroyed, it is an accident, an unhappy consequence of the war; and the general will not be blamed, except in those cases when he might have pitched his camp elsewhere without the smallest inconvenience to himself.

§ 169. Bombarding towns.

In bombarding towns, it is difficult to spare the finest edifices. At present we generally content ourselves with battering the ramparts and defences of a place. To destroy a town with bombs and red-hot balls, is an extremity to which we do not proceed without cogent reasons. But it is nevertheless warranted by the laws of war, when we are unable by any other mode to reduce an important post, on which the success of the war may depend, or which enables the enemy to annoy us in a dangerous manner. It is also sometimes practised when we have no other means of forcing an enemy to make war with humanity, or punishing him for some instance of outrageous conduct. But it is only in cases of the last extremity, and with reluctance, that good princes exert a right of so rigorous a nature. In the year 1694, the English bombarded several maritime towns of France, on account of the great injury done to the British trade by their privateers. But the virtuous and noble-minded consort of William the Third did not receive the news of these exploits with real satisfaction. She expressed a sensible concern that war should render such acts of hostility necessary, — adding that she hoped such operations would be viewed in so odious a light, as to induce both parties to desist from them in future.4

§ 170. Demolition of fortresses.

Fortresses, ramparts, and every kind of fortification are solely appropriated to the purposes of war: and in a just war, nothing is more natural, nothing more justifiable, than to demolish those which we do not intend to retain in our own possession. We so far weaken the enemy, and do not involve an innocent multitude in the losses which we cause him. This was the grand advantage that France derived from her victories in a war in which she did not aim at making conquests.

§ 171. Safe guards.

Safe-guards are granted to lands and houses intended to be spared, whether from pure favour, or with the proviso of a contribution. These consist of soldiers, who protect them against parties, by producing the general's orders. The persons of these soldiers must be considered by the enemy as sacred: he cannot commit any hostilities against them, since they have taken their station there as benefactors, and for the safety of his subjects. They are to be respected in the same manner as an escort appointed to a garrison, or to prisoners of war, on their return to their own country.

§ 172. General rule of moderation respecting the evil which may be done to an enemy.

What we have advanced is sufficient to give an idea of the moderation which we ought to observe, even in the most just war, in exerting our right to pillage and ravage the enemy's country. Except the single case in which there is question of punishing an enemy, the whole is reducible to this general rule, — All damage done to the enemy unnecessarily, every act of hostility which does not tend to procure victory and bring the war to a conclusion, is a licentiousness condemned by the law of nature.

§ 173. Rule of the voluntary law of nations on the same subject.

But this licentiousness is unavoidably suffered to pass with impunity, and to a certain degree, tolerated, between nation and nation. How then shall we, in particular cases, determine with precision to what lengths it was necessary to carry hostilities, in order to bring the war to a happy conclusion? And even if the point could be exactly ascertained, nations acknowledge no common judge: each forms her own judgment of the conduct she is to pursue in fulfilling her duties. If you once open a door for continual accusations of outrageous excess in hostilities, you will only augment the number of complaints, and inflame the minds of the contending parties with increasing animosity; fresh injuries will be perpetually springing up; and the sword will never be sheathed till one of the parties be utterly destroyed. The whole, therefore, should, between nation and nation, be confined to general rules, independent of circumstances, and sure and easy in the application. Now the rules cannot answer this description, unless they teach us to view things in an absolute sense, — to consider them in themselves and in their own nature. As, therefore, with respect to hostilities against the enemy's person, the voluntary law of nations only prohibits those measures which are in themselves unlawful and odious, such as poisoning, assassination, treachery, the massacre of an enemy who has surrendered and from whom we have nothing to fear; — so the same law, in the question now before us, condemns every act of hostility which, of its own nature, and independently of circumstances, contributes nothing to the success of our arms, and does not increase our strength or weaken that of the enemy: and, on the other hand, it permits or tolerates every act which in itself is naturally adapted to promote the object of the war, without considering whether such act of hostility was unnecessary, useless, or superfluous, in that particular instance, unless there be the clearest evidence to prove that an exception ought to have been made in the case in question: for where there is positive evidence, the freedom of judgment no longer exists. Hence, the pillaging of a country, or ravaging it with fire, is not, in a general view of the matter, a violation of the laws of war: but if an enemy of much superior strength treats in this manner a town or province which he might easily keep in his possession as a means of obtaining an equitable and advantageous peace, he is universally accused of making war like a furious barbarian. Thus the wanton destruction of public monuments, temples, tombs, statues, paintings, &c., is absolutely condemned, even by the voluntary law of nations, as never being conducive to the lawful object of war. The pillage and destruction of towns, the devastation of the open country, ravaging, setting fire to houses, are measures no less odious and detestable on every occasion when they are evidently put in practice without absolute necessity, or at least very cogent reasons. But as the perpetrators of such outrageous deeds might attempt to palliate them under pretext of deservedly punishing the enemy, — be it here observed, that the natural and voluntary law of nations does not allow us to inflict such punishments, except for enormous offences against the law of nations: and even then, it is glorious to listen to the voice of humanity and clemency, when rigour is not absolutely necessary. Cicero condemns the conduct of his countrymen in destroying Corinth to avenge the unworthy treatment offered to the Roman ambassadors, because Rome was able to assert the dignity of her ministers without proceeding to such extreme rigour.

(164) See, in general, Grotius, ch. 5; Home on Captures; Marten's L. Nat. 287; and the modern decisions, 1 Chitty's Commercial Law, 377-437; and Chitty's Law of Nations, per tot. And as to the legal right of embargo and capture, as it affects commerce, and exceptions, as respects small fishing vessels, 1 Chitty's C.L. 426. But, that exemption is matter of forbearance, rather than of right, and seems analogous to husbandmen and cultivators of land being usually spared, see Vattel § 147, ante 352; and see YoungJacob, and Johorea, 1 Rob. Rep. 19. as to fishing-boats and fishermen, per Sir W. Scott.

Questions respecting captures and prices, or even imprisonment of the person incident to the seizure as prize, cannot in general become the subject of litigation, directly, in any of the municipal courts of this country, but must be investigated in a prize court, which, in this country, is holden under a distinct authority from that of the court of Admiralty, viz. under a special commission from the king, who would otherwise preside in person over prize questions: and from such commission there is usually an appeal to the king in council; see cases in note (165), post, 365. — C.

1. The peace was become absolutely necessary to him; and he had, in return for his few conquests, Louisbourg, with all its dependencies, which were of more importance to him. [Note by the former translator.]

(165) That they belong to the king., unless delegated to a subject, see further, post, § 202, page 391. But to the king for the benefit of the community, and not as his own private property. Id. Ibid. In case a territory of a foreign sovereign, or a part of it, be captured. the sovereign of the conquering state is entitled to all the property there of the conquered sovereign; Advocate General v. Amerchuynd, Knapp's Rep. of Cases before the Privy Council, 329; and the same case establishes that there is no distinction, in this respect, between the public and private property of an absolute monarch; and that, therefore, money in the hands of the banker of a prince, whose territories have been conquered by the British, may be recovered on an information by the English attorney-general from the banker. Decided in Privy Council, reversing the judgment of the court below at Bombay. See Holt's case, Ni. Pri. 113; Lindo v. Rodney, Douglas, 313; Cauxx v. Eden, Douglas, 594; Elphinstone v. Bedreechund, Knapp's Rep. 316; Chitty's Gen. Practice, 2. n. (b), 16 n. (e), Id. 818. But to this rule there is an exception, as regards any trust which may be enforced in a court of equity; Pearson v. Belcher, 4 Ves. 627;Chaloner v. Samson, 1 Bro. pl. 149; and see Hill v. Reardon, 2 Russell's Rep. 608, qualifying 2 Sim. & Stu. Rep. 437-451; Chitty's Gen. Practice, 818. When the property seized is under £100, the claim may be settled in the prize court, summarily, and without a formal suit; but not so, if it be even a trifle above that amount. The Mercurius, 5 Rob. 127.

In the case of Elphinstone v. Bedreechund, Knapp's Rep. 316, where the members of the provisional government of a recently conquered country had seized the property of a native, who had been refused the benefit of the articles of capitulation of a fortress, of which he was the governor, but who had been permitted to reside under military surveillance in his own house in the city, in which the seizure was made, and which was at a distance from the scene of actual hostilities, it was held that such seizure must be regarded in the light of a hostile seizure, and that, therefore, a municipal court had no jurisdiction on the subject. And it was further considered, in the same case, that the circumstance that, at the time of the seizure, the city where it was made had been, for some months previously, in the undisturbed possession of the provisional government, and that courts of justice, under the authority of that government, were sitting in it for the administration of justice, did not alter the character of the transaction; and that, consequently, whatever might be the legality of the capture, or hostile seizure, still the party had mistaken his remedy in prosecuting it in the supreme court of Bombay. — C.

2. In 1674, and a second time, much more dreadfully, in 1689.

3. See his letter in Procopius. It is quoted by Grotius, lib. iii. cap. xxii. § ii. note xi.

4. Histoire de Guillaume III. liv. vi. tom. ii. p. 66.


§ 174. Faith to be sacred between enemies.

THE faith of promises and treaties is the basis of the peace of nations, as we have shown in an express chapter (Book II. Ch. XV.) It is sacred among men, and absolutely essential to their common safety. Are we then dispensed from it towards an enemy? To imagine that between two nations at war every duty ceases, every tie of humanity is broken, would be an error equally gross and destructive. Men, although reduced to the necessity of taking up arms for their own defence, and in support of their rights, do not therefore cease to be men. They are still subject to the same laws of nature: — otherwise there would be no laws of war. Even he who wages an unjust war against us is still a man: we still owe him whatever that quality requires of us. But a conflict arises between our duties towards ourselves, and those which connect us with other men. The light to security authorises us to put in practice, against this unjust enemy, every thing necessary for repelling him, or bringing him to reason. But all those duties, the exercise of which is not necessarily suspended by this conflict, subsist in their full force: they are still obligatory on us, both with respect to the enemy and to all the rest of mankind. Now, the obligation of keeping faith is so far from ceasing in time of war by virtue of the preference which the duties towards ourselves are entitled to, that it then becomes more necessary than ever. There are a thousand occasion, even in the course of the war, when, in order to check its rage, and alleviate the calamities which follow in its train, the mutual interest and safety of both the contending parties requires that they should agree on certain points. What would become of prisoners of war, capitulating garrisons, and towns that surrender, if the word of an enemy were not to be relied on? War would degenerate into an unbridled and cruel licentiousness: its evils would be restrained by no bounds; and how could we ever bring it to a conclusion and re-establish peace? If faith be banished from among enemies, a war can never be terminated with any degree of safety, otherwise than by the total destruction of one of the parties. The slightest difference, the least quarrel, would produce a war similar to that of Hannibal against the Romans, in which the parties fought, not for this or that province, not for sovereignty or for glory, but for the very existence of their respective nations.1 Thus it is certain that the faith of promises and treaties is to be held sacred in war as well as in peace, between enemies as well as between friends.(166)

§ 175. What treaties are to be observed between enemies.

The conventions, the treaties made with a nation, are broken or annulled by a war arising between the contracting parties, either because those compacts are grounded on a tacit supposition of the continuance of peace, or because each of the parties, being authorized to deprive his enemy of what belongs to him, takes from him those rights which he had conferred on him by treaty. Yet here we must except those treaties by which certain things are stipulated in case of a rupture, — as, for instance, the length of time to be allowed on each side for the subjects of the other nation to quit the country, — the neutrality of a town or province, insured by mutual consent, &c. Since, by treaties of this nature, we mean to provide for what shall be observed in case of a rupture, we renounce the right of cancelling them by a declaration of war.

For the same reason, all promises made to an enemy in the course of a war are obligatory. For when once we treat with him whilst the sword is unsheathed, we tacitly but necessarily renounce all power of breaking the compact by way of compensation or on account of the war, as we cancel antecedent treaties, otherwise it would be doing nothing, and there would be an absurdity in treating with the enemy at all.

§ 176. On what occasions they may be broken.

But conventions made during a war are like all other compacts and treaties, of which the reciprocal observance is a tacit condition (Book II. § 202): we are no longer bound to observe them towards an enemy who has himself been the first to violate them. And even where this is a question of two separate conventions which are wholly unconnected with each other, — although we are never justifiable in using perfidy on the plea of our having to do with an enemy who has broken his word on a former occasion, we may nevertheless suspend the effect of a promise in order to compel him to repair his breach of faith; and what we have promised him may be detained by way of security, till he has given satisfaction for his perfidy. Thus, at the taking of Namur, in 1695, the King of England caused Marshal Boufflers to be put under arrest, and, notwithstanding the capitulation, detained him prisoner, for the purpose of obliging France to make reparation for the infractions of the capitulations of Dixmude and Deinse.2

§ 177. Of lies.

Good-faith consists not only in the observance of our promises, but also in not deceiving on such occasions as lay us under any sort of obligation to speak the truth. From this subject arises a question which has been warmly debated in former days, and which appeared not a little intricate at a time when people did not entertain just or accurate ideas respecting the nature of a lie. Several writers, and especially divines, have made truth a kind of deity, to which, for its own sake, and independently of its consequences, we owe a certain inviolable respect. They have absolutely condemned every speech that is contrary to the speaker's thoughts: they have pronounced it to be our duty, on every occasion when we cannot be silent, to speak the truth according to the best of our knowledge, and to sacrifice to their divinity our dearest interests rather than be deficient in respect to her. But philoterests, of more accurate ideas and more profound penetration have cleared up that notion, so confused, and so false in its consequences. They have acknowledged that truth in general is to be respected, as being the soul of human society, the basis of all confidence in the mutual intercourse of men, — and, consequently, that a man ought not to speak an untruth, even in matters of indifference, lest he weaken the respect due to truth in general, and injure himself by rendering his veracity questionable even when he speaks seriously. But in thus grounding the respect due to truth on its effects, they took the right road, and soon found it easy to distinguish between the occasions when we are obliged to speak the truth, or declare our thoughts, and those when there exists no such obligation. The appellation of lies is given only to the words of a man who speaks contrary to his thoughts, on occasions when he is under an obligation to speak the truth. Another name (in Latin, falsiloquium3) is applied to any false discourse to persons who have no right to insist on our telling them the truth in the particular case in question.

These principles being laid down, it is not difficult to ascertain the lawful use of truth or falsehood towards an enemy on particular occasions. Whenever we have expressly or tacitly engaged to speak truth, we are indispensably obliged to it by that faith of which we have proved the inviolability. Such is the case of conventions and treaties: — it is indispensably necessary that they should imply a tacit engagement to speak the truth; for it would be absurd to allege that we do not enter into any obligation of not deceiving the enemy under colour of treating with him: — it would be downright mockery, — it would be doing nothing. We are also bound to speak the truth to an enemy on all occasions when we are naturally obliged to it by the laws of humanity, — that is to say, whenever the success of our arms, and the duties we owe to ourselves, do not clash with the common duties of humanity, so as to suspend their force in the present case, and dispense with our performance of them. Thus, when we dismiss prisoners, either on ransom or exchange, it would be infamous to point out the worst road for their march, or to put them in a dangerous one; and should the hostile prince or general inquire after a woman or child who is dear to him, it would be scandalous to deceive him.

§ 178. Stratagems and artifices in war.

But when, by leading the enemy into an error, either by words in which we are not obliged to speak truth, or by some feint, we can gain an advantage in the war, which it would be lawful to seek by open force, it cannot be doubted that such a proceeding is perfectly justifiable. Nay, since humanity obliges us to prefer the gentlest methods in the prosecution of our rights — if, by a stratagem, by a feint void of perfidy, we can make ourselves masters of a strong place, surprise the enemy, and overcome him, it is much better, it is really more commendable, to succeed in this manner, than by a bloody siege or the carnage of a battle.4 But the desire to spare the effusion of blood will by no means authorize us to employ perfidy, the introduction of which would be attended with consequences of too dreadful a nature, and would deprive sovereigns, once embarked in war, of all means of treating together, or restoring peace (§ 174).

Deceptions practised on an enemy, either by words or actions, but without perfidy, — snares laid for him consistent with the rights of war, — are stratagems, the use of which has always been acknowledged as lawful, and had often a great share in the glory of celebrated commanders. The king of England (William III) having discovered that one of his secretaries regularly sent intelligence of every thing to the hostile general, caused the traitor to be secretly put under arrest, and made him write to the duke of Luxembourg that the next day the allies would make a general forage, supported by a large body of infantry with cannon: and this artifice he employed for the purpose of surprising the French army at Steinkirk. But, through the activity of the French general, and the courage of his troops, though the measures were so artfully contrived, the success was not answerable.5

In the use of stratagems, we should respect not only the faith due to an enemy, but also the rights of humanity, and carefully avoid doing things the introduction of which would be pernicious to mankind. Since the commencement of hostilities between France and England, an English frigate is said to have appeared off Calais, and made signals of distress, with a view of decoying out some vessel, and actually seized a boat and some sailers who generously came to her assistance.(167) If the fact be true, that unworthy stratagem deserves a severe punishment. It tends to damp a benevolent charity, which should be held so sacred in the eyes of mankind, and which is so laudable even between enemies. Besides, making signals of distress is asking assistance, and, by that very action, promising perfect security to those who give the friendly succour. Therefore the action attributed to that frigate implies an odious perfidy.

Some nations (even the Romans) for a long time professed to despise every kind of artifice, surprise, or stratagem in war; and others went so far as to send notice of the time and place they had chosen for giving battle.6 In this conduct there was more generosity than prudence, Such behaviour would, indeed, be very laudable, if, as in the frenzy of duels, the only business was to display personal courage. But in war, the object is to defend our country, and by force to prosecute our rights which are unjustly withheld from us: and the surest means of obtaining our end are also the most commendable, provided they be not unlawful and odious in themselves.7 The contempt of artifice, stratagem, and surprise, proceeds often, as in the case of Achilles, from a noble confidence in personal valour and strength; and it must be owned that when we can defeat an enemy by open force, in a pitched battle, we may entertain a better-grounded belief that we have subdued him and compelled him to sue for peace, than if we had gained the advantage over him by surprise, — as Livy§ makes those generous senators say, who did not approve of the insincere mode of proceeding which had been adopted towards Persius, Therefore, when plain and open courage can secure the victory, there are occasions when it is preferable to artifice, because it procures to the state a greater and more permanent advantage.

§ 179. Spies.

The employment of spies is a kind of clandestine practice or deceit in war. These find means to insinuate themselves among the enemy, in order to discover the state of his affairs, to pry into his designs, and then give intelligence to their employer. Spies are generally condemned to capital punishment, and with great justice, since we have scarcely any other means of guarding against the mischief they may do us (§ 155). For this reason, a man of honour, who is unwilling to expose himself to an ignominious death from the hand of a common executioner, ever declines serving as a spy; and, moreover, he looks upon the office as unworthy of him, because it cannot be performed without some degree of treachery The sovereign, therefore, has no right to require such a service of his subjects, unless, perhaps, in some singular case, and that of the highest importance. It remains for him to hold out the temptation of a reward, as an inducement to mercenary souls to engage in the business. If those whom he employs make a voluntary tender of their services, or if they be neither subject to, nor in any wise connected with the enemy, he may unquestionably take advantage of their exertions, without any violation of justice or honour. But is it lawful, is it honourable, to solicit the enemy's subjects to act as spies and betray him? To this question the following section will furnish an answer.

§ 180. Clandestine seduction of the enemy's people.

It is asked, in general, whether it be lawful to seduce the enemy's men, for the purpose of engaging them to transgress their duty by an infamous treachery? Here a distinction must be made between what is due to the enemy, notwithstanding the state of warfare, and what is required by the internal laws of conscience and the rules of propriety. We may lawfully endeavour to weaken the enemy by all possible means (§ 138), provided they do not affect the common safety of human society, as do poison and assassination (§ 155). Now, in seducing a subject to turn spy, or the governor of a town to deliver it up to us, we do not strike at the foundation of the common safety and welfare of mankind. Subjects acting as spies to an enemy, do not cause a fatal and unavoidable evil: it is possible to guard against them to a certain degree; and as to the security of fortresses, it is the sovereign's business to be careful in the choice of the governors to whom he intrusts them. Those measures, therefore, are not contrary to the external law of nations; nor can the enemy complain of them as odious proceedings. Accordingly, they are practised in all wars. But are they honourable, and compatible with the laws of a pure conscience? Certainly no; and of this the generals themselves are sensible, as they are never heard to boast of having practised them. Seducing a subject to betray his country, engaging a traitor to set fire to a magazine, tampering with the fidelity of a governor, enticing him, persuading him to deliver up the town intrusted to his charge, is prompting such persons to commit detestable crimes. Is it honourable to corrupt our most inveterate enemy, and tempt him to the commission of a crime? If such practices are at all excusable, it can be only in a very just war, and when the immediate object is to save our country, when threatened with ruin by a lawless conqueror. On such an occasion (as it should seem) the guilt of the subject or general who should betray his sovereign when engaged in an evidently unjust cause, would not be of so very odious a nature. He who himself tramples upon justice and probity, deserves in his turn to feel the effects of wickedness and perfidy.8 And if ever it is excusable to depart from the strict rules of honour, it is against such an enemy and in such an extremity. The Romans, whose ideas concerning the rights of war were in general so pure and elevated, did not approve of such clandestine practices. They made no account of the consul Cæpio's victory over Viriatus, because it had been obtained by means of bribery. Valerius Maximus asserts that it was stained with a double perfidy;9 and another historian says that the senate did not approve of it.10

§ 181. Whether the offers of a traitor may be accepted.

It is a different thing merely to accept of the offers of a traitor, we do not seduce him; and we may take advantage of his crime, while at the same time we detest it. Fugitives and deserters commit a crime against their sovereign; yet we receive and harbour them by the rights of war, as the civil law expresses it.11 If a governor sells himself, and offers for a sum of money to deliver up his town, shall we scruple to take advantage of his crime, and to obtain without danger what we have a right to take by force? But, when we feel ourselves able to succeed without the assistance of traitors, it is noble to reject their offers with detestation. The Romans, in their heroic ages, in those times when they used to display such illustrious examples of magnanimity and virtue, constantly rejected with indignation every advantage presented to them by the treachery of any of the enemy's subjects. They not only acquainted Pyrrhus with the atrocious design of his physician, but also refused to take advantage of a less heinous crime, and sent back to the Falisci, bound and fettered, a traitor who had offered to deliver up the king's children.12

But when intestine divisions prevail among the enemy, we may without scruple hold a correspondence with one of the parties, and avail ourselves of the right which they think they have to injure the opposite party. Thus, we promote our own interests, without seducing any person, or being in anywise partakers of his guilt. If we take advantage of his error, this is doubtless allowable against an enemy.

§ 182. Deceitful intelligence.

Deceitful intelligence is that of a man who feigns to betray his own party, with a view of drawing the enemy into a snare. If he does this deliberately, and has himself made the first overtures, it is treachery, and an infamous procedure: but an officer, or the governor of a town, when tampered with by the enemy, may, on certain occasions, lawfully feign acquiescence to the proposal with a view to deceive the seducer: an insult is offered to him in tempting his fidelity; and to draw the tempter into the snare, is no more than a just vengeance. By this conduct he neither violates the faith of promises nor impairs the happiness of mankind: for criminal engagements are absolutely void, and ought never to be fulfilled; and it would be a fortunate circumstance if the promises of traitors could never be relied on, but were on all sides surrounded with uncertainties and dangers. Therefore a superior, on information that the enemy is tempting the fidelity of an officer or soldier, makes no scruple of ordering that subaltern to feign himself gained over, and to arrange his pretended treachery so as to draw the enemy into an ambuscade. The subaltern is obliged to obey. But when a direct attempt is made to seduce the commander-in-chief, a man of honour generally prefers, and ought to prefer, the alternative of explicitly and indignantly rejecting so disgraceful a proposal.13

1. De salute ceriatum est.

(166) To this doctrine, the prohibition of subjects of belligerent states having commercial contracts with each other, and the prohibition in Great Britain of contracts of ransom, constitute exceptions, post. 403-4 4. C.

2. Histoire de Guillaume III tom. ii. p.

3. Falsiloquium, false speaking, untruth, falsehood.

4. There was a time when those who were taken in attempting to surprise a town, were put to death. In 1597, prince Maurice attempted to take Venloo by surprise: the attempt failed; and some of his men, being made prisoners on the occasion, "were condemned to death, — the mutual consent of the parties having introduced that new rule, in order to obviate dangers of this kind." (Grotius Hist. of the Disturb, in the Netherlands.) Since that time, the rule has been changed: at present, military men who attempt to surprise a town in time of open war, are not, in case of being taken, treated in a different manner from other prisoners: and this custom is more consonant to reason and humanity. Nevertheless, if they were in disguise, or had employed treachery, they would be treated as spies; and this is, perhaps, what Grotius means; for I do not, in any other instance, find that such severity was used towards troops who were simply come to surprise a town in the silence of the night. It would be quite another affair, if such an attempt were made in time of profound peace; and the Savoyards, who were taken in the escalade of Geneva, deserved the punishment of death which was inflicted on them. [See page 321.]

5. Mémoires de Feuquléres, tom. iii. p. 87.

(167) See an instance of similar baseness, Baumann, 1 Rob. Rep. 245; ante, § 69, page 321. — C.

6. This was the practice of the ancient Gauls. See Livy. — It is said of Achilles, that he was for fighting openly, and not of a disposition to conceal himself in the famous wooden horse, which proved fatal to the Trojans: — Ille non, inclosus equo Minervæ Sacra mentito, male feriatos Troas, et lætam Priami choreis Falleret aulam; Sed palam captis gravis. Hor. lib. iv. od. 6

7. Virg. Æn. ii. 390. § Tit Liv. lib. xlii. cap. 47

8. Xenophon very properly expresses the reasons which render treachery detestable, and which authorize us to repress it by other means than open force. "Treachery," says he, "is more dreadful than open war, in proportion as it is more difficult to guard against clandestine plots than against an open attack: it is also more odious, because men engaged in overt hostilities may again treat together, and come to a sincere reconciliation; whereas nobody can venture to treat with or repose any confidence in a man whom he has once found guilty of treachery." — Hist. Graw. lib. ii. cap. 3.

9. Viriati etiam cædes duplicem perdiæ accusationem recepit, in amicis, quod eorum manibus interemptus est, in Q. Servilio Caepione consule, qula is sceleris hujus, auctor, impunita te promissa, full, victoriamque non meruit sed emit. — Lib. ix. cap. 6. — Although this instance seems to belong to another head (that of assassination), I nevertheless quote it here, because it does not appear, from other authors, that Cæpio had induced Viratus's soldiers to assassinate him. Among others, see Eutropius, lib. vi. cap. 8.

10. Quæ victoria, qula empta erat, a senatu non probata. Auctor de Viris Illust. cap. 71.

11. Transfugam jure belli recipimus. Digest 1. xli. tit. 1, de adquir. Rer. Dom. leg. 51.

12. Eâdem fide indicatum Pyrrho regi medicum vitæ ejus insidiantem; eâdem Faliscis vinctum traditum proditorem liberorum regis. Tit. Liv. lib. xlii. cap. 47

13. When the duke of Parma was engaged in the siege of Bergen-op-zoom, two Spanish prisoners, who were confined in a fort near the town, attempted to gain over a tavern-keeper, and an English soldier, to betray that fort to the duke. These men, having acquainted the governor with the circumstance, received orders from him to feign acquiescence; and, accordingly, having made all their arrangements with the duke of Parma for the surprisal of the fort, they gave notice of every particular to the governor. He, in consequence, kept himself prepared to give a proper reception to the Spaniards, who fell into the snare, and lost near three thousand men on the occasion. — Grotius, Hist, of the disturb, in the Netherlands, book i.


§ 183. An unjust war gives no right whatever.

HE who is engaged in war derives all his right from the justice of his cause. The unjust adversary who attacks or threatens him, — who withholds what belongs to him, — in a word, who does him an injury, — lays him under the necessity of defending himself, or of doing himself justice, by force of arms; he authorizes him in all the acts of hostility necessary for obtaining complete satisfaction. Whoever therefore takes up arms without a lawful cause, can absolutely have no right whatever: every act of hostility that he commits is an act of injustice.

§ 184. Great guilt of the sovereign who undertakes it.

He is chargeable with all the evils, all the horrors of the war: all the effusion of blood, the desolation of families, the rapine, the acts of violence, the ravages, the conflagrations, are his works and his crimes. He is guilty of a crime against the enemy, whom he attacks, oppresses, and massacres without cause: he is guilty of a crime against his people, whom he forces into acts of injustice, and exposes to danger, without reason or necessity, — against those of his subjects who are ruined or distressed by the war, — who lose their lives, their property, or their health, in consequence of it: finally, he is guilty of a crime against mankind in general, whose peace he disturbs, and to whom he sets a pernicious example. Shocking catalogue of miseries and crimes! dreadful account to be given to the King of kings, to the common Father of men! May this slight sketch strike the eyes of the rulers of nations, — of princes and their ministers! Why may not we expect some benefit from it? Are we to suppose that the great are wholly lost to all sentiments of honour, of humanity, of duty, and of religion? And, should our weak voice, throughout the whole succession of ages, prevent even one single war, how gloriously would our studies and our labour be rewarded!

§ 185. His obligations.

He who does an injury is bound to repair the damage, or to make adequate satisfaction if the evil be irreparable, and even to submit to punishment, if the punishment be necessary, either as an example, or for the safety of the party offended, and for that of human society. In this predicament stands a prince who is the author of an unjust war. He is under an obligation to restore whatever he has taken, — to send back the prisoners at his own expense, — to make compensation to the enemy for the calamities and losses he has brought on him, — to reinstate ruined families, — to repair, if it were possible, the loss of a father, a son, a husband.

§ 186. Difficulty of repairing the injury he has done.

But how can he repair so many evils? Many are in their own nature irreparable. And as to those which maybe compensated by an equivalent, where shall the unjust warrior find means to furnish an indemnification for all his acts of violence? The prince's private property will not be sufficient to answer the demands. Shall he give away that of his subjects? — It does not belong to him. Shall he sacrifice the national lands, a part of the state? — But the state is not his patrimony (Book I. § 93): he cannot dispose of it at will. And, although the nation be, to a certain degree, responsible for the acts of her ruler, — yet (exclusive of the injustice of punishing her directly for faults of which she is not guilty), if she is responsible for her sovereign's acts, that responsibility only regards other nations, who look to her for redress (Book I. § 40, Book II. §§ 81, 82): but the sovereign cannot throw upon her the punishment due to his unjust deeds, nor despoil her in order to make reparation for them. And, were it even in his power, would this wash away his guilt and leave him a clear conscience? Though acquitted in the eyes of the enemy, would he be so in the eyes of his people? It is a strange kind of justice which prompts a man to make reparation for his own misdeeds at the expense of a third person: this is no more than changing the object of his injustice. Weigh all these things, ye rulers of nations! and, when clearly convinced that an unjust war draws you into a multitude of iniquities which all your power cannot repair, perhaps you will be less hasty to engage in it.

§ 187. Whether the nation and the military are bound to any thing.

The restitution of conquests, of prisoners, and of all property that still exists in a recoverable state, admits of no doubt when the injustice of the war is acknowledged. The nation in her aggregate capacity, and each individual particularly concerned, being convinced of the injustice of their possession, are bound to relinquish it, and to restore every thing which they have wrongfully acquired. But, as to the reparation of any damage, are the military, the generals, officers and soldiers, obliged in conscience to repair the injuries which they have done, not of their own will, but as instruments in the hands of their sovereign? I am surprised that the judicious Grotius should, without distinction, hold the affirmative.1 It is a decision which cannot be supported, except in the case of a war so palpably and indisputably unjust, as not to admit a presumption of any secret reason of state that is capable of justifying it, — a case in politics which is nearly impossible. On all occasions susceptible of doubt, the whole nation, the individuals, and especially the military, are to submit their judgment to those who hold the reins of government, — to the sovereign: this they are bound to do by the essential principles of political society, and of government.

What would be the consequence, if, at every step of the sovereign, the subjects were at liberty to weigh the justice of his reasons, and refuse to march to a war which might to them appear unjust? It often happens that prudence will not permit a sovereign to disclose all his reasons. It is the duty of subjects to suppose them just and wise, until clear and absolute evidence tells them the contrary. When, therefore, under the impression of such an idea, they have lent their assistance in a war which is afterwards found to be unjust, the sovereign alone is guilty: he alone is bound to repair the injuries. The subjects, and in particular the military, are innocent: they have acted only from a necessary obedience. They are bound, however, to deliver up what they have acquired in such a war, because they have no lawful title to possess it. This I believe to be the almost unanimous opinion of all honest men, and of those officers who are most distinguished for honour and probity. Their case, in the present instance, is the same as that of all those who are the executors of the sovereign's orders. Government would be impracticable if every one of its instruments was to weigh its commands, and thoroughly canvass their justice before he obeyed them. But, if they are bound by a regard for the welfare of the state to suppose the sovereign's orders just, they are not responsible for them.

1. De Jure Belli et Pacis, lib. iii. cap. x.


§ 188. Nations not rigidly to enforce the law of nature against each other

ALL the doctrines we have laid down in the preceding chapter are evidently deduced from sound principles, — from the eternal rules of justice: they are so many separate articles of that sacred law, which nature, or the Divine Author of nature, has prescribed to nations. He alone whom justice and necessity have armed, has a right to make war; he alone is empowered to attack his enemy, to deprive him of life, and wrest from him his goods and possessions. Such is the decision of the necessary law of nations, or of the law of nature, which nations are strictly bound to observe. (Prelim § 7): it is the inviolable rule that each ought conscientiously to follow. But, in the contests of nations and sovereigns who live together in a state of nature, how can this rule be enforced? They acknowledge no superior. Who then shall be judge between them, to assign to each his rights and obligations, — to say to the one, "You have a right to take up arms, to attack your enemy, and subdue him by force;" — and to the other, "Every act of hostility that you commit will be an act of injustice; your victories will be so many murders, your conquests rapines and robberies?" Every free and sovereign state has a right to determine, according to the dictates of her own conscience, what her duties require of her, and what she can or cannot do with justice (Prelim. § 16). If other nations take upon themselves to judge of her conduct, they invade her liberty, and infringe her most valuable rights (Prelim. § 15); and, moreover, each party, asserting that they have justice on their own side, will arrogate to themselves all the rights of war, and maintain that their enemy has none, that his hostilities are so many acts of robbery, so many infractions of the law of nations, in the punishment of which all states should unite. The decision of the controversy, and of the justice of the cause, is so far from being forwarded by it, that the quarrel will become more bloody, more calamitous in its effects, and also more difficult to terminate. Nor is this all: the neutral nations themselves will be drawn into the dispute, and involved in the quarrel. If an unjust war cannot, in its effect, confer any right, no certain possession can be obtained of any thing taken in war, until some acknowledged judge (and there is none such between nations) shall have definitively pronounced concerning the justice of the cause: and things so acquired will ever remain liable to be claimed, as property carried off by robbers.

§ 189. Why they ought to admit the voluntary law of nations.

Let us then leave the strictness of the necessary law of nature to the conscience of sovereigns; undoubtedly they are never allowed to deviate from it. But, as to the external effects of the law among men, we must necessarily have recourse to rules that shall be more certain and easy in the application, and this for the very safety and advantage of the great society of mankind. These are the rules of the voluntary law of nations (Prelim. § 21). The law of nature, whose object it is to promote the welfare of human society, and to protect the liberties of all nations, — which requires that the affairs of sovereigns should be brought to an issue, and their quarrels determined and carried to a speedy conclusion, — that law, I say, recommends the observance of the voluntary law of nations, for the common advantage of states, in the same manner as it approves of the alterations which the civil law makes in the rules of the law of nature, with a view to render them more suitable to the state of political society, and more easy and certain in their application. Let us, therefore, apply to the particular subject of war the general observation made in our Preliminaries (§ 28) — a nation, a sovereign, when deliberating on the measures he is to pursue in order to fulfil his duty, ought never to lose sight of the necessary law, whose obligation on the conscience is inviolable: but in examining what he may require of other states, he ought to pay a deference to the voluntary law of nations, and restrict even his just claims by the rules of that law, whose maxims have for their object the happiness and advantage of the universal society of nations. Though the necessary law be the rule which he in variably observes in his own conduct, he should allow others to avail themselves of the voluntary law of nations.

§ 190. Regular war, as to its effects, is to be accounted just on both sides.

The first rule of that law, respecting the subject under consideration, is, that regular war, as to its effects, is to be accounted just on both sides. This is absolutely necessary, as we have just shown, if people wish to introduce any order, any regularity, into so violent an operation as that of arms, or to set any bounds to the calamities of which it is productive, and leave a door constantly open for the return of peace. It is even impossible to point out any other rule of conduct to be observed between nations, since they acknowledge no superior judge.

Thus, the rights founded on the state of war, the lawfulness of its effects, the validity of the acquisitions made by arms, do not, externally and between mankind, depend on the justice of the cause, but on the legality of the means in themselves, — that is, on everything requisite to constitute a regular war. If the enemy observes all the rules of regular warfare (see Chap, III. of this Book), we are not entitled to complain of him as a violator of the law of nations. He has the same pretensions to justice as we ourselves have; and all our resource lies in victory or an accommodation.

§ 191. Whatever is permitted to one party, is so to the other.

Second rule. — The justice of the cause being reputed equal between two enemies, whatever is permitted to the one in virtue of the state of war, is also permitted to the other. Accordingly, no nation, under pretence of having justice on her side, ever complains of the hostilities of her enemy, while he confines them within the limits prescribed by the common laws of war. We have, in the preceding chapters, treated of what is allowable in a just war. It is precisely that, and no more, which the voluntary law equally authorizes in both parties. That law puts things between both on a parity, but allows to neither what is in itself unlawful: it can never countenance unbridled licentiousness. If, therefore, nations transgress those bounds, — if they carry hostilities beyond what the internal and necessary law permits in general for the support of a just cause, — far be it from us to attribute these excesses to the voluntary law of nations: they are solely imputable to a depravation of manners, which produces an unjust and barbarous custom. Such are those horrid enormities sometimes committed by the soldiery in a town taken by storm.

§ 192. The voluntary law gives no more than

3. We must never forget that this voluntary law of nations, which is admitted only through necessity, and with a view to avoid greater evils (§§ 188, 189), does not, to him who takes up arms in an unjust cause, give any real right that is capable of justifying his conduct and acquitting his conscience, but merely entitles him to the benefit of the external effect of the law, and to impunity among mankind. This sufficiently appears from what we have said in establishing the voluntary law of nations. The sovereign, therefore, whose arms are not sanctioned by justice, is not the less unjust, or less guilty of violating the sacred law of nature, although that law itself (with a view to avoid aggravating the evils of human society by an attempt to prevent them) requires that he be allowed to enjoy the same external rights as justly belong to his enemy. In the same manner, the civil law authorizes a debtor to refuse payment of his debts in a case of prescription: but he then violates his duty: he takes advantage of a law which was enacted with a view to prevent the endless increase of lawsuits; but his conduct is not justifiable upon any grounds of genuine right.

From the unanimity that in fact prevails between states in observing the rules which we refer to the voluntary law of nations, Grotius assumes for their foundation an actual consent on the part of mankind, and refers them to the arbitrary law of nations. But, exclusive of the difficulty which would often occur in proving such agreement, it would be of no validity except against those who had formerly entered into it. If such an engagement existed, it would belong to the conventional law of nations, which must be proved by history, not by argument, and is founded on facts, not on principles. In this work we lay down the natural principles of the law of nations. We deduce them from nature itself; and what we call the voluntary law of nations consists in rules of conduct and of external right, to which nations are, by the law of nature, bound to consent; so that we are authorized to presume their consent, without seeking for a record of it in the annals of the world; because, even if they had not given it, the law of nature supplies their omission, and gives it for them. In this particular, nations have not the option of giving or withholding their consent at pleasure: the refusal to give it would be an infringement of the common rights of nations (Prelim. § 21).

This voluntary law of nations, thus established, is of very extensive use, and is far from being a chimera, an arbitrary or groundless fiction. It flows from the same source, and is founded on the same principles, with the natural and necessary law. For what other reason does nature prescribe such and such rules of conduct to men, except because those rules are necessary to the safety and welfare of mankind? But the maxims of the necessary law of nations are founded immediately on the nature of things, and particularly on that of man, and of political society. The voluntary law of nations supposes an additional principle, — the nature of the great society of nations, and of their mutual intercourse. The necessary law enjoins to nations what is absolutely indispensable, and what naturally tends to their perfection and common happiness. The voluntary law tolerates what cannot be avoided without introducing greater evils.


§ 193. How war is a method of acquisition.

IF it be lawful to carry off things belonging to an enemy, with a view of weakening him (§ 160), and sometimes of punishing him (§ 162), it is no less lawful in a just war to appropriate them to our own use, by way of compensation, which the civilians term expletio juris (§ 161). They are retained as equivalent for what is due by the enemy, for the expenses and damages which he has occasioned, and even (when there is cause to punish him) as a commutation for the punishment he has deserved. For, when I cannot obtain the individual thing which belongs or is due to me, I have a right to an equivalent, which, by the rules of expletive justice, and in moral estimation, is considered as the thing itself. Thus, according to the law of nature, which constitutes the necessary law of nations, war, founded on justice, is a lawful mode of acquisition.

§ 194. Measure of the right it gives.

But that sacred law does not authorize even the acquisitions made in a just war, any farther than as they are approved by justice, — that is to say, no farther than is requisite to obtain complete satisfaction in the degree necessary for accomplishing the lawful ends we have just mentioned. An equitable conqueror, deaf to the suggestions of ambition and avarice, will make a just estimate of what is due to him, — that is to say, of the thing which has been the subject of the war (if the thing itself is no longer recoverable), and of the damages and expenses of the war, — and will retain no more of the enemy's property than what is precisely sufficient to furnish the equivalent. But if he lias to do with a perfidious, restless, and dangerous enemy, he will, by way of punishment, deprive him of some of his towns or provinces, and keep them to serve as a barrier to his own dominions. Nothing is more allowable than to weaken an enemy who has rendered himself suspected and formidable. The lawful end of punishment is future security. The conditions necessary for rendering an acquisition, made by arms, just and irreproachable before God and our own conscience, are these, — justice in the cause, and equity in the measure of the satisfaction.

§ 195. Rules of the voluntary law of nations.

But nations cannot, in their dealings with each other, insist on this rigid justice. By the rules of the voluntary law of nations, every regular war is on both sides accounted just, as to its effects (§ 190); and no one has a right to judge a nation respecting the unreasonableness of her claims, or what she thinks necessary for her own safety (Prelim. § 23). Every acquisition, therefore, which has been made in regular warfare, is valid according to the voluntary law of nations, independently of the justice of the cause and the reasons which may have induced the conqueror to assume the property of what he has taken. Accordingly, nations have ever esteemed conquest a lawful title; and that title has seldom been disputed, unless where it was derived from a war not only unjust in itself, but even destitute of any plausible pretext.

§ 196. Acquisition of movable property.(168)

The property of movable effects is vested in the enemy from the moment they come into his power; and if he sells them to neutral nations, the former proprietor is not entitled to claim them. But such things must be actually and truly in the enemy's power, and carried to a place of safety. Suppose a foreigner, coming into our country, buys a portion of the booty which a party of enemies have just taken from us: our men, who are in pursuit of this party, may very justly seize on the booty which that foreigner was over precipitate in buying. On this head, Grotius quotes from De Thou the instance of the town of Lierre in Brabant, which having been captured and recaptured on the same day, the booty taken from the inhabitants was restored to them, because it had not been twenty-four hours in the enemy's hands.1 This space of twenty-four hours, together with the practice observed at sea,2 is an institution of the law of nations established by agreement or custom, and is even a civil law in some states. The natural reason of the conduct adopted towards the inhabitants of Lierre is, that the enemy being taken as it were in the fact, and before they had carried off the booty, it was not looked upon as having absolutely become their property, or been lost to the inhabitants. Thus, at sea, a ship taken by the enemy may be retaken and delivered by other ships of her own party, as long as she has not been carried into some port, or into the midst of a fleet: her fate is not decided, nor is the owner's property irrecoverably lost, until the ship be in a place of safety with regard to the enemy who has taken her, and entirely in his power. But the ordinances of every state may make different regulations on this head between the citizens,3 with a view either to prevent disputes, or to encourage armed vessels to retake merchant ships that have fallen into the enemy's hands.

The justice or injustice of the cause does not here become an object of consideration. There would be no stability in the affairs of mankind, no safety in trading with nations engaged in war, if we were allowed to draw a distinction between a just and an unjust war, so as to attribute lawful effects to the one which we denied to the other. It would be opening a door to endless discussions and quarrels. This reason is of such weight, that, on account of it, the effects of a public war, at least with regard to movables, have been allowed to expeditions which deserved no other name than that of predatory enterprises, though carried on by regular armies. When, after the wars of the English in France, the grandes Compagnies ranged about Europe, sacking and pillaging wherever they came, none of the sufferers was ever known to claim the booty which those plunderers had carried off and sold. At present, it would be in vain to claim a ship taken by the Barbary corsairs, and sold to a third party, or retaken from the captors; though it is very improperly that the piracies of those barbarians can be considered as acts of regular war. We here speak of the external right: the internal right and the obligations of conscience undoubtedly require, that we should restore to a third party the property we recover from an enemy who had despoiled him of it in an unjust war, — provided he can recognise that property, and will defray the expenses we have incurred in recovering it. Grotius quotes many instances of sovereigns and commanders who have generously restored such booty, even without requiring any thing for their trouble or expense.4 But such conduct is pursued only in cases where the booty has been recently taken. It would be an impracticable task, scrupulously to seek out the proprietors of what has been captured a long time back; and moreover they have, no doubt, relinquished all their right to things which they had no longer any hope of recovering. Such is the usual mode of thinking with respect to captures in war, which are soon given up as irrecoverably lost.

§ 197. Acquisition of immovables, — or conquest.(169)

Immovable possessions, lands, towns, provinces, &c., become the property of the enemy who makes himself master of them: but it is only by the treaty of peace, or the entire submission and extinction of the state to which those towns and provinces belonged, that the acquisition is completed, and the property becomes stable and perfect.

§ 198. How to transfer them validly.

Thus, a third party cannot safely purchase a conquered town or province, till the sovereign from whom it was taken has renounced it by a treaty of peace, or has been irretrievably subdued, and has lost his sovereignty: for, while the war continues, — while the sovereign has still hopes of recovering his possessions by arms, — is a neutral prince to come and deprive him of the opportunity by purchasing that town or province from the conqueror? The original proprietor cannot forfeit his rights by the act of a third person; and if the purchaser be determined to maintain his purchase, he will find himself involved in the war. Thus, the king of Prussia became a party with the enemies of Sweden, by receiving Stettin from the hands of the king of Poland and the czar, under the title of sequestration.5 But, when a sovereign has, by a definitive treaty of peace, ceded a country to the conqueror, he has relinquished all the right he had to it; and it were absurd that he should be allowed to demand the restitution of the country by a subsequent conqueror, who wrests it from the former, or by any other prince, who has purchased it, or received it in exchange, or acquired it by any title whatever.

§ 199. Conditions on which a conquered town is acquired.

The conqueror, who takes a town or province from his enemy, cannot justly acquire over it any other rights than such as belonged to the sovereign against whom he has taken up arms. War authorizes him to possess himself of what belongs to his enemy: if he deprives him of the sovereignty of that town or province, he acquires it such as it is, with all its limitations and modifications. Accordingly, care is usually taken to stipulate, both in particular capitulations and in treaties of peace, that the towns and countries ceded shall retain all their liberties, privileges, and immunities. And why should they be deprived of them by the conqueror, on account of his quarrel with their sovereign? Nevertheless, if the inhabitants have been personally guilty of any crime against him, he may, by way of punishment, deprive them of their rights and privileges. This he may also do if the inhabitants have taken up arms against him, and have thus directly become his enemies. In that case, he owes them no more than what is due from a humane and equitable conqueror to his vanquished foes. Should he purely and simply incorporate them with his former states, they will have no cause of complaint.

Hitherto I evidently speak of a city or a country which is not simply an integrant part of a nation, or which does not fully belong to a sovereign, but over which that nation or that sovereign has certain rights. If the conquered town or province fully and perfectly constituted a part of the domain of a nation or sovereign, it passes on the same footing into the power of the conqueror. Thenceforward united with the new state to which it belongs, — if it be a loser by the change, that is a misfortune which it must wholly impute to the chance of war. Thus if a town which made part of a republic or a limited monarchy, and enjoyed a right of sending deputies to the supreme council or the general assembly of the states, be justly conquered by an absolute monarch, she must never more think of such privileges: they are what the constitution of the new state to which she is annexed does not permit.

§ 200. Lands of private persons.

In the conquests of ancient times, even individuals lost their lands. Nor is it matter of surprise that in the first ages of Rome such a custom should have prevailed. The wars of that era were carried on between popular republics and communities. The state possessed very little, and the quarrel was in reality the common cause of all the citizens. But at present war is less dreadful in its consequences to the subject: matters are conducted with more humanity: one sovereign makes war against another sovereign, and not against the unarmed citizens. The conqueror seizes on the possessions of the state, the public property, while private individuals are permitted to retain theirs. They suffer but indirectly by the war; and the conquest only subjects them to a new master.

§ 201. Conquest of the whole state.(170)

But if the entire state be conquered, if the nation be subdued, in what manner can the victor treat it, without transgressing the bounds of justice? What are his rights over the conquered country? Some have dared to advance this monstrous principle, that the conqueror is — that he may dispose of it as his property, — that he may treat it as he pleases, according to the common expression of treating a state as a conquered country; and hence they derive one of the sources of despotic government. But, disregarding such writers, who reduce men to the state of transferable goods or beasts of burthen, — who deliver them up as the property of patrimony of another man, — let us argue on principles countenanced by reason and conformable to humanity.

The whole right of the conqueror is derived from justifiable self-defence (§§ 3, 26, 28), which comprehends the support and prosecution of his rights. When, therefore, he has totally subdued a hostile nation, he undoubtedly may, in the first place, do himself justice respecting the object which had given rise to the war, and indemnify himself for the expenses and damages he has sustained by it: he may, according to the exigency of the case, subject the nation to punishment, by way of example; he may even, if prudence so require, render her incapable of doing mischief with the same ease in future. But, for the attainment of these different objects, he is to prefer the gentlest methods, — still bearing in mind that the doing of harm to an enemy is no further authorized by the law of nature, than in the precise degree which is necessary for justifiable self-defence, and reasonable security for the time to come. Some princes have contented themselves with imposing a tribute on the conquered nation, — others, with depriving her of some of her rights, taking from her a province, or erecting fortresses to keep her in awe: others, again, confining their quarrel to the sovereign alone, have left the nation in the full enjoyment of all their rights, — only setting over her a new sovereign of their own appointment.

But if the conqueror thinks proper to retain the sovereignly of the conquered state, and has a right to retain it, the same principles must also determine the manner in which he is to treat that state. If it is against the sovereign alone that he has just cause of complaint, reason plainly evinces that he acquires no other rights by his conquest than such as belonged to the sovereign whom he has dispossessed: and, on the submission of the people, he is bound to govern than according to the laws of the state. If the people do not voluntarily submit, the state of war still subsists.

A conqueror who has taken up arms, not only against the sovereign, but against the nation herself, and whose intention it was to subdue a fierce and savage people, and once for all to reduce an obstinate enemy, — such a conqueror may with justice lay burthens on the conquered nation, both as a compensation for the expenses of the war, and as a punishment. He may, according to the degree of indocility apparent in their disposition, govern them with a tighter rein, so as to curb and subdue their impetuous spirit: he may even, if necessary, keep them for some time in a kind or slavery. But this forced condition ought to cease from the moment the danger is over, — the moment the conquered people are become citizens: for then the right of conquest is at an end, so far as relates to the pursuit of those rigorous measures, since the conqueror no longer finds it necessary to use extraordinary precautions for his own defence and safety. Then at length every thing is to be rendered conformable to the rules of a wise government and the duties of a good prince.

When a sovereign, arrogating to himself the absolute disposal of a people whom he has conquered, attempts to reduce them to slavery, he perpetuates the state of warfare between that nation and himself. The Scythians said to Alexander the Great, "There is never any friendship between the master and slave: in the midst of peace the rights of war still subsist."6 Should it be said, that in such a case there may be peace, and a kind of compact by which the conqueror consents to spare the lives of the vanquished, on condition that they acknowledge themselves his slaves, — he who makes such an assertion, is ignorant that war gives no right to take away the life of an enemy who has laid down his arms and submitted (§ 140). But let us not dispute the point: let the man who holds such principles of jurisprudence, keep them for his own use and benefit: he well deserves to be subject to such a law. But men of spirit, to whom life is nothing, less than nothing, unless sweetened with liberty, will always conceive themselves at war with that oppressor, though actual hostilities are suspended on their part through want of ability. We may, therefore, safely venture to add, that if the conquered country is to be really subject to the conqueror as to its lawful sovereign, he must rule it according to the ends for which civil government has been established. It is generally the prince alone who occasions the war, and consequently the conquest. Surely it is enough that an innocent people suffer the calamities of war: must even peace itself become fatal to them? A generous conqueror will study to relieve his new subjects, and mitigate their condition: he will think it his indispensable duty. "Conquest (says an excellent man) ever leaves behind it an immense debt, the discharge of which is absolutely necessary to acquit the conqueror in the eye of humanity."7

It fortunately happens, that, in this particular as in every thing else, sound policy and humanity are in perfect accord. What fidelity, what assistance, can you expect from an oppressed people? Do you wish that your conquest may prove a real addition to your strength, and be well affected to you? — treat it as a father, as a true sovereign. I am charmed with the generous answer recorded of an ambassador from Privernum. Being introduced to the Roman senate, he was asked by the consul — "if we show you clemency, what dependence can we have on the peace you are come to sue for?" "If (replied the ambassador) you grant it on reasonable conditions, it will be safe and permanent: otherwise, it will not last long." Some took offence at the boldness of this speech; but the more sensible part of the senate approved of the Privernian's answer, deeming it the proper language of a man and a freeman. "Can it be imagined (said those wise senators) that any nation, or even any individual, will longer continue in an irksome and disagreeable condition, than while compelled to submit to it? If those to whom you give peace receive it voluntarily, it may be relied on: what fidelity can you expect from those whom you wish to reduce to slavery?"8 "The most secure dominion," said Camillus, "is that which is acceptable to those over whom it is exercised."9

Such are the rights which the law of nature gives to the conqueror, and the duties which it imposes on him. The manner of exerting the one, and fulfilling the other, varies according to circumstances. In general, he ought to consult the true interests of his own state, and by sound policy to reconcile them, as far as possible, with those of the conquered country. He may, in imitation of the kings of France, unite and incorporate it with his own dominions. Such was the practice of the Romans: but they did this in different modes according to cases and conjunctures. At a time when Rome stood in need of an increase of population, she destroyed the town of Alba, which she feared to have as a rival: but she received all its inhabitants within her walls, and thereby gained so many new citizens. In after times the conquered cities were left standing, and the freedom of Rome was given to the vanquished inhabitants. Victory could not have proved so advantageous to those people as their defeat.

The conqueror may likewise simply put himself in the place of the sovereign whom he has dispossessed. Thus the Tartars have acted in China: the empire was suffered to subsist in its former condition, except that it fell under to dominion of a new race of sovereigns.

Lastly, the conqueror may rule his conquest as a separate state, and permit it to retain its own form of government. But this method is dangerous: it produces no real union of strength; it weakens the conquered country, without making any considerable addition to the power of the victorious state.

§ 202. To whom the conquest belongs.(171)

It is asked, to whom the conquest belongs, — to the prince who has made it, or to the state? This question ought never to have been heard of. Can the prince, in his character of sovereign, act for any other end than the good of the state? Whose are the forces which he employs in his wars? Even if he made the conquest at his own expense, out of his own revenue or his private and patrimonial estates, does he not make use of the personal exertions of his subjects in achieving it? Docs he not shed their blood in the contest? But, supposing even that he were to employ foreign or mercenary troops, does he not expose his nation to the enemy's resentment? Does he not involve her in the war? And shall he alone reap all the advantages of it? Is it not for the cause of the state, and of the nation, that he takes up arms? The nation, therefore, has a just claim to all the rights to which such war gives birth.

If the sovereign embarks in a war, of which his own personal interests are the sole ground, — as, for instance, to assert his right of succession to a foreign sovereignty, — the question then assumes a new face. In this affair the state is wholly unconcerned: but then the nation should be at liberty either to refuse engaging in it, or to assist her prince, at her own option. If he is empowered to employ the national force in support of his personal rights, he should, in such case, make no distinction between these rights and those of the state. The French law, which annexes to the crown all acquisitions made by the king, should be the law of all nations.(171)

§ 203. Whether we are to set at liberty a people whom the enemy had unjustly conquered.

It has been observed (§ 196) that we may be obliged, if not externally, yet in conscience, and by the laws of equity, to restore to a third party the booty we have recovered out of the hands of an enemy who had taken it from him in an unjust war. The obligation is more certain and more extensive, with regard to a people whom our enemy had unjustly oppressed. For a people thus spoiled of their liberty, never renounce the hope of recovering it. If they have not voluntarily incorporated themselves with the state by which they have been subdued, — if they have not freely aided her in the war against us, — we certainly ought so to use our victory, as not merely to give them a new master, but to break their chains. To deliver an oppressed people is a noble fruit of victory: it is a valuable advantage gained, thus to acquire a faithful friend. The canton of Schweitz, having wrested the country of Glaris from the house of Austria, restored the inhabitants to their former liberties; and Glaris, admitted into the Helvetic confederacy, formed the sixth canton.10 (172)

(168) See further, as to the effect of capture, as to movables and immovables, and the doctrine of postliminium, and the principle on which it is in general founded, post. 392, §§ 204, 205; and the other authorities and modern decisions, Marten's L.N. 290-293; 1 Chitty's Commercial Law, 414-435; and Id. Index, tit. Postliminium.

As to removables captured in a land war, some writers on the law of nations state it to be merely requisite that the property shall have been twenty-four hours in the enemy's power, after which they contend, that the right of postliminium is completely divested, so that immediately after the expiration of that time, they may be alienated to neutrals, as indefeasible property. Others contend, that the property must have been brought infra Præsidia, that is, within the camps, towns, ports, or fleets of the enemy; and others have drawn lines of an arbitrary nature. Marten's L.N. 290-1; 2 Wooddeson's Vin. L. 444, § 34.

With respect to maritime captures, a more absolute and certain species of possession has been required. In the case of Flad Oyen. 1 Rob. Rep. 134; Atcheson's Rep. 8, n. 9; and 8 Term Rep. 270, in notes. Sir Wm Scott said, "By the general practice of the law of nations, a sentence of condemnation is at present deemed generally necessary; and a neutral purchaser in Europe, during war, does look to the legal sentence of condemnation as one of the title-deeds of the ship, if he buys a prize-vessel. I believe there is no instance in which a man, having purchased a prize-vessel of a belligerent, has thought himself secure in making that purchase, merely because that ship had been in the enemy's possession twenty-four hours, or carried infra præsidia. At any rate, the rule of condemnation is the general rule applied by England." So that, by the general law of nations, if a vessel be retaken before condemnation, by any ship of the nation of which the original owner is a subject, although even four years after the capture he has a right to have the same restored to him, subject to his paying certain salvage to the re-captor. See Goss and Withers, 2 Burr. 683; Constant Mary, 3 Rob. Rep. 97; The Huldah Id. 235 Assivedeo v. Cambridge, 10 Mod. 79. And such sentence of condemnation must also have been pronounced by a court of competent jurisdiction, and in the country either of the enemy himself, or of some ally, and not in a neutral country. Flad Oyen, 1 Rob. Rep. 134; Havelock v. Rockwood, Atchesons Rep. 8, n. 9.

But if, after the time of the enemy's transferring his prize to a neutral, a peace be concluded between that enemy and the state from whose subject the prize was taken, then the transfer to the neutral becomes valid and perfect even though there was no legal condemnation, for, as observed by Vattel the right of postliminium no longer exists after the conclusion of peace. And see Sir W. Scott's decision on that point, in Schooner Sophie, 6 Rob. Rep. 142.

In cases arising between British subjects with one another, and also in cases arising between such subjects and those of her allies, peculiar modifications of the general law of nations were introduced or acknowledged by Great Britain. Thus, it was established by several acts of parliament (13 Goo. 2, c. 4; 17 Geo. 2, c. 34; 19 Geo, 2, c. 34; 43 Geo. 3, c. 160. and see Hamilton v. Mendes, 2 Burr. 1198; 1 Bla. Rep 27), that the maritime right of postliminium shall subsist even to the end of the war; and, therefore, the ships or goods of the subjects of this country, taken at sea by an enemy, and afterwards retaken, even at any indefinite period of time, and whether before or after sentence of condemnation, are in general to be restored to the original proprietors, but subject to certain specified exceptions, and, in general, also subject to the payment of salvage to the re-captor. 1 Chitty's Com L. 434-6; and see Franklin. 4 Rob. Rep. 147; 1 Edward's Rep, 279, the Two Friends, 1 Rob. Rep. 271; Cornu v. Blackburne, Dougl. 648. {Muller v. The Resolution, 2 Dall. Rep. 1.}

In the absence of express stipulations with allies. Sir Wm. Scott observed, "I understand that the actual rule of the English maritime law is this: — viz., that the maritime law of England having adopted a most liberal rule of restitution with respect to the re-captured property of its own subjects, gives the benefit of that rule to its allies, till it appears that they act towards British property on a less liberal principle. In such a case it adopts their rule, and treats them according to their own measure of justice." — Santa Cruz, 1 Rob. Rep. 49. — C.

1. Grotius, de Jure Belli et Pacis, lib. iii. cap. vi. § iii. n. vii.

2. See Grotius, ibid, and in the text.

3. Grotius, ibid.

4. Grotius, lib. iii. cap. xvi.

(169) See further as to postliminium, post, chap. xiv; and the case of Bredes Lust, 5 Rob. Rep. 233-251. — C.

5. By the treaty of Schwedt, October 6, 1713.

(170) When a country has been conquered by the British, or any other arms, and having become a dominion of the king in right of his crown, the conquered inhabitants, once received by the conqueror, become his subjects, and are universally to be regarded in that light, and not as enemies or aliens. Elphinstone v. Bedreechund, Knapp's Re, 338;Campbell v. Hall, 23 State Trials, p. 322; and Cowper, 205; and Fabrigas v. Moslyn, Cowp. Rep. 165.

But statutes previously passed do not in general extend to a conquered country: see 2 Merivale's Rep. 156; 4 Modern Rep. 222; 1 Chitty's Com. L. 639, 640; 1 Bla. Com. 102-3. As to the application of the laws of England to her foreign possessions, see Gardiner v. Pell, 1 Jac. & Walk. 27; and Id. 30, n. (a) — C.

6. Inter dominum et servum nulla amicitia est: etiam in pace, belli tamen jura servantur. — Q Curt. lib. vii. cap. viii.

7. Montesquieu, in his Spirit of Laws.

8. Quid, si pœnam (inquit consul) remittimus vobis, qualem nos pacem vobiscum habituros speremus? Si bonam dederitis, inquit, et fidam et perpetuam; si malam, haud diuturnam. Tum vero minari, nec id ambigue Privernatem, quidam, et illis vocibus ad rebellandum incitari pacatos populos. Pars melior senatus ad meliora responsa trahere, et dicere viri et liberi vocem auditam: an credi posse ullum populum, aut hominem denique, in ea conditione cujus eum pœniteat, diutius quam necesse sit, mansurum? Ibi pacem esse fidam, ubi voluntarii pacati sint; neque eo loco, ubi servitutem esse velint, fidem sperandam esse. — Tit. Liv. lib viii. cap. xxi.

9. Certe id firmissimum longe imperium est, quo obdedientes gaudent. — Tit. Liv. lib. viii. cap. xiii.

(171) Ante, 365, s. 1664, and note (165).

10. Histoire de la Confederation Helvetique, par M. de Watteville, liv. iii. under the year 1351.

(172) As nations are independent of each other, and acknowledge no superior (ante, in several places), there is, unfortunately, no sovereign power among nations to uphold or enforce the international law; no tribunal to which the oppressed can appeal, as of right against the oppressor; and consequently, if either nation refuse to give effect to the established principles of international law, the only redress is by resorting to arms, and enforcing the performance of the national obligation and this is the principle of just war. So, there is no regular international or even municipal court to adjudicate upon questions of lawful capture or prize. And in Great Britain, no municipal court, whether of common law or equity, can take cognizance of any questions arising out of hostile seizure; nor can any question respecting the infraction of treaties be directly agitated beforecourts of law, any more than questions respecting booty acquired in a continental inland war. In general, in all states, this is a jurisdiction assumed only by the sovereign in whom the right or power of declaring war and peace, and modifying their terms, is vested, excepting in some cases of particular facts, where the king has thought fit to act with the concurrence of his nation at large, instead of proceeding only upon his prerogative. In Great Britain, the king usually, by a special commission, delegates his power to decide upon question of capture and prize to the chief judge of the Admiralty Court, but quite separate from his ordinary jurisdiction, with an appeal to the Privy Council; and before that tribunal alone con any question of capture or prize be discussed; (Elphinstone v. Bedreechund, Knapp's Rep. Privy Council, 316 to 361; Le Caux v. Eden, Dougl. 594; Hill v. Reardon, 2 Russell's Rep. 608;) and not in an action at law or court of equity, excepting in the case of a trust. Id. ibid; and Faith v. Pearson, Holt's Cas. Ni. Pri. 113. Therefore, where the members of the provisional government of a recently conquered country seized the property of a native of it, who had been refused the benefit of the articles of capitulation of a fortress of which he had been the governor, but had been permitted to reside, under military surveillance, in his own house in the city in which the seizure was made, and which was at a considerable distance from the scene of actual hostilities; it was held by the House of Lords, in England, that the seizure having been made flagrante et nondum cessante bello, must be regarded in the light of a hostile seizure, and that a municipal court had no jurisdiction on the subject; (Elphinstone v. Bedreechund, Knapp's Rep. 316 to 361; and see Hill v. Reardon, 2 Sim. & Stu. 431; but which on one point, respecting a trust, was afterwards overruled in Chancery; Id. 2 Russ. 608;) and per Lord Tentereden —; We think the proper character of the transaction was that of a hostile seizure, made, if not flagrante, yet nondum cessante bello, regard being had both to the time, the place, and the person; and, consequently, that the municipal court had no jurisdiction to adjudge upon the subject: but that, if any thing was done amiss, — recourse could only be had to the government for redress. We shall therefore recommend it to his majesty to reverse the judgment of the Supreme Court of Bombay ." — id. page 360-1. — Again, it has been held that the circumstances that a recently conquered city, where a seizure of the property of a native is made by the members of a provisional government during time of war, had been some months previously in the undisturbed possession of that government, and that courts for the administration of justice were then sitting in it, under the authority of that government, do not alter the character of the transaction, so as to make it a subject of cognisance by a municipal court." — id, 316. — And there is no distinction, in this respect, between the public and private property of an absolute monarch; and, therefore, money in the hands of the banker of an absolute monarch, whose territory has been conquered by the British, may be recovered from the banker, on an information, on behalf of the crown.Advocate-General of Bombay v. Amerchund, Knapp's Rep. 329, note; Elphinstone v. Bedreechund, Knapp's Rep. 357.

As the capture, in general, belongs to the sovereign of the state (although, by municipal regulations, the actual captors may acquire some subordinate rights), it also follows that no British subject can maintain an action against the captor. Caux v. Eden, 2 Dougl. 573. In a state resulting from a state of war, if property be seized under an erroneous supposition that it belongs to the enemy, it may be liberated by the proper authorities; but no action can be maintained against the party who has taken it, in a court of law.Caux v. Eden, 2 Dougl. 573; Elphinstone v. Bedreechund, Knapp's Rep. 357. If an English naval commander seize any movable as enemies' property, that turns out clearly to be British property, he forfeits his prize to the Prize Court (sometimes confounded with the Court of Admiralty), and that court awards the return of it to the party from whom it was taken, The Court of Admiralty is the proper tribunal for the trial of questions of prize or no prize, and it exercises this jurisdiction as a court of prize, under a commission from his majesty: and if it makes an unsatisfactory determination, an appeal lies to his majesty in council; for, the king reserves the ultimate right to decide on such questions by his own authority, and does not commit their determination to any municipal court of justice.

Booty taken under the colour of military authority, falls under the same rule. If property be taken by an officer under the supposition that it is the property of a hostile state, or of individuals, which ought to be confiscated, no municipal court can judge of the propriety or impropriety of the seizure: it can be judged of only by an authority delegated by his majesty, and by his majesty, ultimately, assisted by the lords in council. There are no direct decisions on such questions, because, as was stated by Lord Mansfield, inLindo v. Rodney, they are cases of rare occurrence. Elphinstone v. Bedreechund, Knapp's Rep. 340, 357-8; Caux v. Eden. Dougl. 592; Lindo v. Rodney, Id. 313.

For these reasons, it is usual, when questions of importance between two sovereigns, or their subjects, arise, by particular treaty, to constitute a tribunal for that special purpose; and municipal statutes have been passed in England in aid of such treaty. Thus, by additional articles of the definitive treaty of peace between Great Britain and France, of the 30th May 1814, certain conventions were made for indemnifying British subjects for the confiscation of their property by the French revolutionary government, and certain commissioners were appointed between the two countries, to examine and decide upon such British claims; and the statute 59 Geo., 3, c. 51, was passed with the same object; and such claims were adjudicated upon between the two countries. It was held, however, that these conventions and treaties and the act for carrying the same into effect, did not exclude the jurisdiction of a court of equity to examine and enforce equities attaching upon the compensation in the hands of the person in whose favour the award of the commissioners had been made; (Hill v. Reardon, 2 Russell's Rep. 609, overruling S.C. in 2 Sim. & Stu. 437;) and it was holden that, where a person, in whose favour an adjudication under such conventions has been made by the commissioners or by the Privy Council is affected by a trust or by fraud, a court of equity has jurisdiction to enforce the trust or relieve against the fraud (id. ibid.); and the same principle would, no doubt, be extended to cases of capture or prize. — C.


§ 204. Definition of the right of postliminium(173)

THE right of postliminium is that in virtue of which persons and things taken by the enemy are restored to their former state, on coming again into the power of the nation to which they belonged.(174)

§ 205. Foundation of this right.

The sovereign is bound to protect the persons and property of his subjects, and to defend them against the enemy. When, therefore, a subject, or any part of his property, has fallen into the enemy's possession, should any fortunate event bring them again into the sovereign's power, it is undoubtedly his duty to restore them to their former condition, — to re-establish the persons in all their rights and obligations, to give back the effects to the owners, — in a word, to replace every thing on the same footing on which it stood previous to the enemy's capture.

The justice or injustice of the war makes no difference in this case, — not only because, according to the voluntary law of nations, the war, as to its effects, is reputed just on both sides, but likewise because war, whether just or not, is a national concern; and, if the subjects who fight or suffer in the national cause, should, after they have, either in their persons or their property, fallen into the enemy's power, be, by some fortunate incident, restored to the hands of their own people, there is no reason why they should not be restored to their former condition. It is the same as if they had never been taken. If the war be just on the part of their nation, they were unjustly captured by the enemy; and thus nothing is more natural than to restore them as soon as it becomes possible. If the war be unjust, they are under no greater obligation to suffer in atonement for its injustice than the rest of the nation. Fortune brings down the evil on their heads when they are taken: she delivers them from it when they escape. Here, again, it is the same as if they never had been captured. Neither their own sovereign, nor the enemy, has any particular right over them. The enemy has lost by one accident what he had gained by another.

§ 206. How it takes effect.

Persons return, and things are recovered, by the right of postliminium, when, after having been taken by the enemy, they come again into the power of their own nation (§ 204). This right, therefore, takes effect as soon as such persons or things captured by the enemy fall into the hands of soldiers belonging to their own nation, or are brought back to the army, the camp, the territories of their sovereign, or the places under his command.

§ 207. Whether it takes effect among the allies.

Those who unite with us to carry on a war are joint parties with us: we are engaged in a common cause; our right is one and the same; and they are considered as making but one body with us. Therefore, when persons or things captured by the enemy are retaken by our allies or auxiliaries, or in any other manner fall into their hands, this, so far as relates to the effect of the right, is precisely the same thing as if they were come again into our own power; since, in the cause in which we are jointly embarked, our power and that of our allies is but one and the same. The right of postliminium therefore takes effect among those who carry on the war in conjunction with us; and the persons and things recovered by them from the enemy are to be restored to their former condition.(175)

But, does this right take place in the territories of our allies? Here a distinction arises. If those allies make a common cause with us, — if they are associates in the war, — we are necessarily entitled to the right of postliminium in their territories as well as in our own: for, their state is united with ours, and together with it, continues but one party in the war we carry on. But if, as in our times is frequently the practice, an ally only gives us a stated succour stipulated by treaty, and does not himself come to a rupture with our enemy, between whose state and his own, in their immediate relations, peace continues to be observed, — in this case, only the auxiliaries whom he sends to our assistance are partakers and associates in the war; and his dominions remain in a state of neutrality.

§ 208. Of no validity in neutral nations.

Now, the right of postliminium does not take effect in neutral countries: for, when a nation chooses to remain neuter in a war, she is bound to consider it as equally just on both sides, so far as relates to its effects, — and, consequently, to look upon every capture made by either party as a lawful acquisition. To allow one of the parties, in prejudice to the other, to enjoy in her dominions the right of claiming things taken by the latter, or the right of postliminium, would be declaring in favour of the former, and departing from the line of neutrality.

§ 209. What things are recoverable by this right.(176)

Naturally, every kind of property might be recovered by the right of postliminium; and there is no intrinsic reason why movables should be excepted in this case, provided they can be certainly recognised and identified. Accordingly, the ancients, on recovering such things from the enemy, frequently restored them to their former owners.1 But the difficulty of recognising things of this nature, and the endless disputes which would arise from the prosecution of the owners' claims to them, have been deemed motives of sufficient weight for the general establishment of a contrary practice. To these considerations we may add, that, from the little hope entertained of recovering effects taken by the enemy and once carried to a place of safety, a reasonable presumption arises that the former owners have relinquished their property. It is therefore with reason thatmovables or booty are excepted from the right of postliminium, unless retaken from the enemy immediately after his capture of them; in which case, the proprietor neither finds a difficulty in recognising his effects, nor is presumed to have relinquished them. And, as the custom has once been admitted, and is now well established, there would be an injustice in violating it (Prelim, § 26). Among the Romans, indeed, slaves were not treated like other movable property: they, by the right of postliminium, were restored to their masters, even when the rest of the booty was detained. The reason of this is evident: for, as it was at all times easy to recognise a slave, and ascertain to whom he belonged, the owner, still entertaining hopes of recovering him, was not supposed to have relinquished his right.

§ 210. Of those persons who cannot return by the right of postliminium.(177).

Prisoners of war, who have given their parole, — territories and towns which have submitted to the enemy, and have sworn or promised allegiance to him, — cannot of themselves return to their former condition by the right of postliminium: for, faith is to be kept even with enemies (§ 174).

§ 211. They enjoy this right when retaken.

But if the sovereign retakes those towns, countries, or prisoners, who had surrendered to the enemy, he recovers all his former rights over them, and is bound to re-establish them in their pristine condition (§ 205). In this case, they enjoy the right of postliminium without any breach of their word, any violation of their plighted faith. The enemy loses by the chance of war a right which the chance of war had before given him. But, concerning prisoners of war, a distinction is to be made. If they were entirely free on their parole, the single circumstance of their coming again into the power of their own nation does not release them, — since, even if they had returned home, they would still have continued prisoners. The consent of the enemy who had captured them, or his total subjugation, can alone discharge them. But, if they have only promised not to effect their escape, — a promise which prisoners frequently make in order to avoid the inconveniences of a jail, — the only obligation incumbent on them is, that they shall not, of themselves, quit the enemy's country, or the place assigned for their residence. And if the troops of their party should gain possession of the place where they reside, the consequence is, that, by the right of war, they recover their liberty, are restored to their own nation, and reinstated in their former condition.(178)

§ 212. Whether this right extends to their property alienated by the enemy.

When a town, reduced by the enemy's arms, is retaken by those of her own sovereign, she is, as we have above seen, restored to her former condition, and reinstated in the possession of all her rights. It is asked whether she thus recovers such part of her property as had been alienated by the enemy while he kept her in subjection. In the first place, we are to make a distinction between movable property not recoverable by the right of postliminium (§ 202), and immovables. The former belongs to the enemy who gets it into his hands, and he may irrecoverably alienate it. As to immovables, let it be remembered that the acquisition of a town taken in war is not fully consummated till confirmed by a treaty of peace, or by the entire submission or destruction of the state to which it belonged (§ 197). Till then, the sovereign of that town has hopes of retaking it, or of recovering it by a peace. And from the moment it returns into his power, he restores it to all its rights (§ 205), and consequently it recovers all its possessions, as far as in their nature they are recoverable. It therefore resumes its immovable possessions from the hands of those persons who have been so prematurely forward to purchase them. In buying them of one who had not an absolute right to dispose of them, the purchasers made a hazardous bargain; and if they prove losers by the transaction, it is a consequence to which they deliberately exposed themselves. But if that town had been ceded to the enemy by a treaty of peace, or was completely fallen into his power by the submission of the whole state, she has no longer any claim to the right of postliminium; and the alienation of any of her possessions by the conqueror is valid and irreversible; nor can she lay claim to them, or, in me sequel, some fortunate revolution should liberate her from the yoke of the conqueror. When Alexander made a present to the Thessalians of the sum due from them to the Thebans (see § 77), he was so absolutely master of the republic of Thebes, that he destroyed the city and sold the inhabitants.

The same decisions hold good with regard to the immovable property of individuals, prisoners or not, which has been alienated by the enemy while he was master of the country. Grotius proposes the question with respect to immovable property possessed in a neutral country by a prisoner of war.2 But, according to the principles we have laid down, this question is groundless: for, the sovereign who makes a prisoner in war, has no other right over him than that of detaining his person until the conclusion of the war, or until he be ransomed (§§ 148, &c.); but he acquires no right to the prisoner's property, unless he can seize on it. It is impossible to produce any natural reason why the captor should have a right to dispose of his prisoner's property, unless the prisoner has it about him.

§ 213. Whether a nation that has been entirely subdued can enjoy the right of postliminium.

When a nation, a people, a state, has been entirely subdued, it is asked whether a revolution can entitle them to the right of postliminium. In order justly to answer this question, there must again be a distinction of cases, If that conquered state has not yet acquiesced in her new subjection, has not voluntarily submitted, and has only ceased to resist from inability, — if her victor has not laid aside the sword of conquest and taken up the sceptre of peace and equity, — such a people are not really subdued: they are only defeated and oppressed; and, on being delivered by the arms of an ally, they doubtless return to their former situation (§ 207). Their ally cannot become their conqueror; he is their deliverer; and all the obligation of the party delivered is to reward him. If the subsequent conqueror, not being an ally to the state of which we speak, intends to keep it under his own jurisdiction as the reward of his victory, he puts himself in the place of the former conqueror, and becomes the enemy of the state which the other had oppressed: that state may lawfully resist him, and avail herself of a favourable opportunity to recover her liberty. If she had been unjustly oppressed, he who rescues her from the yoke of the oppressor ought generously to reinstate her in the possession of all her rights (§ 203).

The question changes with regard to a state which has voluntarily submitted to the conqueror. If the people, no longer treated as enemies, but as actual subjects, have submitted to a lawful government, they are thenceforward dependent on a new sovereign; or, being incorporated with the victorious nation, they become a part of it, and share its fate. Their former state is absolutely destroyed; all its relations, all its alliances are extinguished (Book II. § 203). Whoever, then, the new conqueror may be, that afterwards subdues the state to which these people are united, they share the destiny of that state, as a part shares the fate of the whole. This has been the practice of nations in all ages, — I say, even of just and equitable nations, — especially with regard to an ancient conquest. The most moderate conqueror confines his generosity in this particular to the restoration of the liberties of a people who have been but recently subdued, and whom he does not consider as perfectly incorporated, or well cemented by inclination, with the state which he has conquered.

If the people in question shake off the yoke and recover their liberty by their own exertions, they regain all their rights; they return to their former situation; and foreign nations have no right to determine whether they have shaken off the yoke of lawful authority, or burst the chains of slavery. Thus, the kingdom of Portugal, — which had been seized on by Philip II. king of Spain, under pretence of an hereditary right, but in reality by force and the terror of his arms, — re-established the independency of her crown, and recovered her former rights, when she drove out the Spaniards, and placed the duke of Braganza on the throne.

§ 214. Right of postliminium for what is restored at the peace.

Provinces, town, and lands, which the enemy restores by the treaty of peace, are certainly entitled to the right of postliminium: for the sovereign, in whatever manner he recovers them, is bound to restore them to their former condition, as soon as he regains possession of them (§ 205). The enemy, in giving back a town at the peace, renounces the right he had acquired by arms. It is just the same as if he had never taken it; and the transaction furnishes no reason which can justify the sovereign in refusing to reinstate such town in the possession of all her rights, and restore her to her former condition.

§ 215. and for things ceded to the enemy.

But whatever is ceded to the enemy by a treaty of peace, is truly and completely alienated. It has no longer any claim to the right of postliminium, unless the treaty of peace be broken and cancelled.

§ 216. The right of postliminium does not exist after a peace.

And as things not mentioned in the treaty of peace remain in the condition in which they happen to be at the time when the treaty is concluded, and are, on both sides, tacitly ceded to the present possessor, it may be said, in general, that the right of postliminium no longer exists after the conclusion of the peace. That right entirely relates to the states of war.

§ 217. Why always in force for prisoners.

Nevertheless, and for this very reason, there is an exception to be made here in favour of prisoners of war. Their sovereign is bound to release them at the peace (§ 154). But, if he cannot accomplish this, — if the fate of war compels him to accept of hard and unjust conditions, — the enemy, who ought to set the prisoners at liberty when the war is terminated, and he has no longer any thing to fear from them (§§ 150, 153), continues the state of war with respect to them, if he still detains them in captivity, and especially if he reduces them to slavery (§ 152). They have therefore a right to effect their escape from him, if they have an opportunity, and to return to their own country, equally as in war time; since, with regard to them, the war still continues. And in that case, the sovereign, from his obligation to protect them, is bound to restore them to their former condition (§ 205).

§ 218. They are free even by escaping into a neutral country.

Further, those prisoners who are, without any lawful reason, detained after the conclusion of peace, become immediately free, when, once escaped from captivity, they have even reached a neutral country: for, enemies are not to be pursued and seized on neutral ground (§ 132); and whoever detains an innocent prisoner after the peace, continues to be his enemy. This rule should and actually does obtain among nations who do not admit and authorize the practice of enslaving prisoners of war.

§ 219. How the rights and obligations of prisoners subsist.

It is sufficiently evident from the premises, that prisoners are to be considered as citizens who may one day return to their country: and, when they do return, it is the duty of the sovereign to re-establish them in their former condition. Hence it clearly follows, that the rights of every one of those prisoners, together with his obligations (or the rights of others over him), still subsist undiminished, — only the exertion of them is, for the most part, suspended during the time of his captivity.

§ 220. Testament of a prisoner of war.

The prisoner of war therefore retains a right to dispose of his property, particularly in case of death: and, as there is nothing in the state of captivity which can in this latter respect deprive him of the exercise of his right, the testament of a prisoner of war ought to be valid in his own country, unless rendered void by some inherent defect.

§ 221. Marriage.

With nations which have established the indissolubility of the marriage ties, or have ordained that they should continue for life unless dissolved by the judgment of a court, those ties still subsist, notwithstanding the captivity of one of the parties, who, on his return home, is, by postliminium, again entitled to all his matrimonial rights.

§ 222. Regulations respecting postliminium, established by treaty or custom.

We do not here enter into a detail of what the civil laws of particular nations have ordained with respect to the right of postliminium: we content ourselves with observing that such local regulations are obligatory on the subjects of the state alone, and do not affect foreigners. Neither do we here examine what has been settled on the head by treaties: those particular compacts establish merely a conventional right, which relates only to the contracting parties. Customs confirmed by long and constant use are obligatory on those nations who have given a tacit consent to them; and they are to be respected, when not contrary to the law of nature: but those which involve an infringement of that sacred law are faulty and invalid; and, instead of conforming to such customs, every nation is bound to use her endeavours to effect their abolition. Among the Romans the right of postliminium, was in force, even in times of profound peace, with respect to nations with which Rome had neither connections of friendship, lights of hospitality, nor alliance.3 This was because those nations were, as we have already observed, considered in some measure as enemies. The prevalence of milder manners has almost everywhere abolished that remnant of barbarism.

(173) See, in general, 1 Chitty's Commercial Law, 430 to 435; Id. Index, tit. Postliminium. — C.

(174) See ante, s. 196, page 385, note (168), as to movables and ships. — C.

(175) As to the general rule in the absence of treaty, see Santa Cruz, 1 Rob. Rep. 49; ante, 385, n. (168). But, in general, the precise rule is fixed by treaty between allies. Id ibid — C.

(176) As to movables and ships, ante, 384, n. — C.

1. See several instances in Grotius, book iii, ch. xvi § 2.

(177) In general, as regards countries of persons taken by a belligerent state, who were not the subjects of that state during any preceding part of the same war, a different rule prevails than that laid down by Vattel, sect, 211; for, the law of postliminium implies that the party claiming it returns to his previous character. And he who, during the whole war, has been the subject of the enemy alone, must be considered, when he falls into the hands of the rival state, not as returning to a previous character, but as acquiring a character absolutely new. Upon this principle was decided an important question in the case of Boedes Lust, 5 Rob. Rep. 233; and on the same principle it was established that, if a neutral have but just set his foot on the colony of an enemy for a few hours before its capture; but if it be proved that he went there for the purpose of settling, then his property will be subject to condemnation, as if he were a native enemy. And see the Dianna. 5 Rob. Rep. 60. — C.

(178) See note (177) ante.

2. Lib. iii. cap. ix. § vi.

3. Digest, lib. xlix. de Capt. et Postlim. leg. v. § ii.


§ 223. Subjects cannot commit hostilities without the sovereign's order.

THE right of making war, as we have shown in the first chapter of this book, solely belongs to the sovereign power, which not only decides whether it be proper to undertake the war, and to declare it, but likewise directs all its operations, as circumstances of the utmost importance to the safety of the state. Subjects, therefore, cannot of themselves take any steps in this affair; nor are they allowed to commit any act of hostility without orders from their sovereign. Be it understood, however, that under the head of "hostilities," we do not mean to include self-defence. A subject may repel the violence of a fellow-citizen when the magistrate's assistance is not at hand; and with much greater reason may he defend himself against the unexpected attacks of foreigners.

§ 224. That order may be general or particular.

The sovereign's order, which commands acts of hostility, and gives a right to commit them, is either general or particular. The declaration of war, which enjoins the subjects at large to attack the enemy's subjects, implies a general order. The generals, officers, soldiers, privateers-men, and partisans, being all commissioned by the sovereign, make war by virtue of a particular order.

§ 225. Source of the necessity of such an order.

But, though an order from the sovereign be necessary to authorize the subjects to make war, that necessity wholly results from the laws essential to every political society, and not from any obligation relative to the enemy. For, when one nation takes up arms against another, she from that moment declares herself an enemy to all the individuals of the latter, and authorizes them to treat her as such. What right could she have in that case to complain of any acts of hostility committed against her by private persons without orders from their superiors? The rule, therefore, of which we here speak, relates rather to public law in general, than to the law of nations properly so called, or to the principles of the reciprocal obligations of nations.

§ 226. Why the law of nations should have adopted this rule.

If we confine our views to the law of nations, considered in itself, — when once two nations are engaged in war, all the subjects of the one may commit hostilities against those of the other, and do them all the mischief authorized by the state of war. But, should two nations thus encounter each other with the collective weight of their whole force, the war would become much more bloody and destructive, and could hardly be terminated otherwise than by the utter extinction of one of the parties. The examples of ancient wars abundantly prove the truth of this assertion to any man who will for a moment recall to mind the first wars waged by Rome against the popular republics by which she was surrounded. It is therefore with good reason that the contrary practice has grown into a custom with the nations of Europe, — at least with those that keep up regular standing armies or bodies of militia. The troops alone carry on the war, while the rest of the nation remain in peace. And the necessity of a special order to act is so thoroughly established, that, even after a declaration of war between two nations, if the peasants of themselves commit any hostilities, the enemy shows them no mercy, but hangs them up as he would so many robbers or banditti. The crews of private ships of war stand in the same predicament: a commission from their sovereign or admiral can alone, in case they are captured, insure them such treatment as is given to prisoners taken in regular warfare.

§ 227. Precise meaning of the order.

In declarations of war, however, the ancient form is still retained, by which the subjects in general are ordered, not only to break off all intercourse with the enemy, (179) but also to attack him. Custom interprets this general order. It authorizes, indeed, and even obliges every subject, of whatever rank, to secure the persons and things belonging to the enemy, when they fall into his hands; but it does not invite the subjects to undertake any offensive expedition without a commission or particular order.

§ 228. What private persons may undertake, presuming on the sovereign's will.

There are occasions, however, when the subjects may reasonably suppose the sovereign's will, and act in consequence of his tacit command. Thus, although the operations of war are by custom generally confined to the troops, if the inhabitants of a strong place, taken by the enemy, have not promised or sworn submission to him, and should find a favourable opportunity of surprising the garrison, and recovering the place for their sovereign, they may confidently presume that the prince will approve of this spirited enterprise. And where is the man that shall dare to censure it? It is true, indeed, that, if the townsmen miscarry in the attempt, they will experience very severe treatment from the enemy. But this does not prove the enterprise to be unjust, or contrary to the laws of war. The enemy makes use of his right, of the right of arms, which authorizes him to call in the aid of terror to a certain degree, in order that the subjects of the sovereign

with whom he is at war may not be willing to venture on such bold undertakings, the success of which might prove fatal to him. During the last war, the inhabitants of Genoa suddenly took up arms of their own accord, and drove the Austrians from the city: and the republic celebrates an annual commemoration of that event by which she recovered her liberty.

§ 229. Privateers.

Persons fitting out private ships to cruise against the enemy acquire the property of whatever captures they make, as a compensation for their disbursements, and for the risks they run: but they acquire it by grant from the sovereign, who issues out commissions to them. The sovereign allows them either the whole or a part of the capture: this entirely depends on the nature of the contract he has made with them.

As the subjects are not under an obligation of scrupulously weighing the justice of the war, which indeed they have not always an opportunity of being thoroughly acquainted with, and respecting which they are bound, in case of doubt, to rely on the sovereign's judgment (§ 187), — they unquestionably may with a safe conscience serve their country by fitting out privateers, unless the war be evidently unjust. But, on the other hand, it is an infamous proceeding on the part of foreigners, to take out commissions from a prince, in order to commit piratical depredations on a nation which is perfectly innocent with respect to them. The thirst of gold is their only inducement;

nor can the commission they have received efface the infamy of their conduct, though it screens them from punishment. Those alone are excusable, who thus assist a nation whose cause is undoubtedly just, and that has taken up arms with no other view than that of defending herself from oppression. They would even deserve praise for their exertions in such a cause, if the hatred of oppression, and the love of justice, rather than the desire of riches, stimulated them to generous efforts, and induced them to expose their lives or fortunes to the hazards of war.

§ 230. Volunteers.

The noble view of gaining instruction in the art of war, and thus acquiring a greater degree of ability to render useful services to their country, has introduced the custom of serving as volunteers even in foreign armies; and the practice is undoubtedly justified by the sublimity of the motive. At present, volunteers, when taken by the enemy, are treated as if they belonged to the army in which they fight. Nothing can be more reasonable: they in fact join that army, and unite with it in supporting the same cause; and it makes little difference in the case, whether they do this in compliance with any obligation, or at the spontaneous impulse of their own free choice.

§ 231. What soldiers and subalterns may do.

Soldiers can undertake nothing without the express or tacit command of their officers. To obey and execute, is their province, — not to act at their own discretion: they are only instruments in the hands of their commanders. Let it be remembered here, that, by a tacit order, I mean one which is necessarily included in an express order, or in the functions with which a person is intrusted by his superior. What is said of soldiers must also in a proper degree be understood of officers, and of all who have any subordinate command, wherefore, with respect to things which are not intrusted to their charge, they may both be considered as private individuals, who are not to undertake any thing without orders. The obligation of the military is even more strict, as the martial law expressly forbids acting without orders; and this discipline is so necessary that it scarcely leaves any room for presumption. In war, an enterprise which wears a very advantageous appearance, and promises almost certain success, may nevertheless be attended with fatal consequences. It would be dangerous, in such a case, to leave the decision to the judgment of men in subordinate stations, who are not acquainted with all the views of their general, and who do not possess an equal degree of knowledge and experience; it is therefore not to be presumed that he intends to let them act at their own discretion. Fighting without orders is almost always considered, in a military man, as fighting contrary to orders, or contrary to prohibition. There is, therefore, hardly any case, except that of self-defence, in which the soldiers and inferior officers may act without orders. In that one case, the orders may safely be presumed; or rather, the right of self-defence naturally belongs to every one, and requires no permission. During the siege of Prague, in the last war, a party of French grenadiers made a sally without orders and without officers, — possessed themselves of a battery, spiked a part of the cannon, and brought away the remainder into the city. The Roman severity would have punished those men with death. The famous example of the consul Manlius is well known, who, notwithstanding the victory gained by his son, caused capital punishment to be inflicted on him for having engaged the enemy without orders.1 But the difference of times and manners obliges a general to moderate such severity. The mareschal Bellisle publicly reprimanded those brave grenadiers, but secretly caused money to be distributed among them, as a reward for their courage and alacrity. At another famous siege in the same war, that of Coni, the private men of some battalions that were stationed in the fosses, made, of their own accord, during the absence of their officers, a vigorous sortie, which was attended with success. Baron Leutrum was obliged to pardon their transgression, lest he should damp an ardour on which the safety of the place entirely depended. Such inordinate impetuosity should nevertheless be checked as far as possible; since it may eventually be productive of fatal consequences. Avidius Cassius inflicted capital punishment on some officers of his army, who had, without orders, marched forth at the head of a handful of men, to surprise a body of three thousand enemies, and had succeeded in cutting them to pieces. This rigour he justified, by saying that there might have been an ambuscade, — dicens, evenire potiusse ut essent insidiœ, &c.2

§ 232. Whether the state is bound to indemnify the subjects for damages sustained in war.(180)

Is the state bound to indemnify individuals for the damages they have sustained in war? We may learn from Grotius that authors are divided on this question.3 The damages under consideration are to be distinguished into two kinds, — those done by the state itself or the sovereign, and those done by the enemy. Of the first kind, some are done deliberately and by way of precaution, as, when a field, a house, or a garden, belonging to a private person, is taken for the purpose of erecting on the spot a town rampart, or any other piece of fortification, — or when his standing corn or his storehouses are destroyed, to prevent their being of use to the enemy. Such damages are to be made good to the individual, who should bear only his quota of the loss.(181) But there are other damages, caused by inevitable necessity, as, for instance, the destruction caused by the artillery in retaking a town from the enemy. These are merely accidents, — they are misfortunes which chance deals out to the proprietors on whom they happen to fall. The sovereign, indeed, ought to show an equitable regard for the sufferers, if the situation of his affairs will admit of it: but no action lies against the state for misfortunes of this nature, — for losses which she has occasioned, not wilfully, but through necessity and by mere accident, in the exertion of her rights. The same may be said of damages caused by the enemy. All the subjects are exposed to such damages: and woe to him on whom they fall! The members of a society may well encounter such risk of property, since they encounter a similar risk of life itself. Were the state strictly to indemnify all those whose property is injured in this manner, the public finances would soon be exhausted; and every individual in the state would be obliged to contribute his share in due proportion, — a thing utterly impracticable. Besides, these indemnifications would be liable to a thousand abuses, and there would be no end of the particulars. It is therefore to be presume that no such thing was ever intended by those who united to form a society.

But it is perfectly consonant to the duties of the state and the sovereign, and, of course, perfectly equitable, and even strictly just, to relieve, as far as possible, those unhappy sufferers who have been ruined by the ravages of war,(182) as likewise to take care of a family whose head and support has lost his life in the service of the state, There are many debts which are considered as sacred by the man who knows his duty, although they do not afford any ground of action against him.4

(179) Hence it is illegal to have any commercial intercourse with an enemy, or even to pay him a just debt, during war. Grotius, b. iii. c. iv. § 8; Bynkershoek, b. i. c. iii.; Dr. Phillimore on Licenses, 5; The Hoop, 1 Rob. Rep. 198; Potts v. Bell, 8 Term Rep. 548; Wilson v. Patteson, 7 Taunt. 439; 3 Merlv. R. 469; 2 Ves. & Bea. 323; {Scholefield v. Eichelberger. 7 Pet. S.C. Rep. 586.} To this general rule there are sometimes exceptions. {The U. States vBarker, Paine's C.C. Rep. 157}. Thus Great Britain permitted commercial intercourse with some of her plantations, whilst under capture by the French, because she expected to recover them back. See observations in The Hoop, 1 Rob. Rep. 209; but these exceptions are in general carried on under orders in council and licenses. — C. (See The William Penn, 3 Wash. C.C. Rep. 4848.)

1. Til. Liv. lib. viii. cap. vii.

2. Volcatius Gallicanus, quoted by Grotius, book HI, chap. xviii. § i. n. 6.

(180) On the conclusion of the late war between Great Britain and France, it was stipulated that the latter should make compensation for the amount of the confiscations of British property, subject to certain qualifications; and commissioners were appointed by each state to examine and adjudicate upon the claims, and as regarded Great Britain, the regulating act, 59 G. 3, c. xxxi. was passed. See discussion in Hill v. Reardon, 2 Russell's Rep. 608. — C.

3. Lib. iii. cap. xx. § viii.

(181) It is legal to take possession of these for the benefit of the community, and no action lies for compensation, nor is any recoverable, unless given by act of parliament. 4 Term Rep. 382. — C.

(182) See note (180), p. 402.

4. It is in general the indispensable duty of every sovereign to adopt the most efficacious measures for the protection of his subjects engaged in war, in order that they may suffer by it as little as possible, instead of voluntarily exposing them to greater evils. During the wars in the Netherlands, Philip the Second prohibited the release or exchange of prisoners of war. He forbade the peasants, under pain of death, to pay any contributions with a view to purchase an immunity from pillage and conflagration;(183) and, under the same penalty, prohibited the use of safeguards and protections. In opposition to this barbarous ordinance, the states-general adopted measures fraught with consummate wisdom. They published an edict, in which, after having described the destructive consequences of the Spanish barbarity, they exhorted the Flemings to attend to their own preservation, and threatened to retaliate on all who should obey the cruel ordinance of Philip. By such conduct they put an end to the dreadful proceedings to which it had given birth. — Edit. A.D. 1797

(183) Our enactments against ransoming ships or property taken by an enemy are in the same spirit; (22 Geo. 2, c. 25); 43 Geo. 3, c. 165); Geo. 3, c. 72) Marshall on Insurance, 431; but exceptions in cases of extreme necessity may be allowed by the court of Admiralty. Id. Ibid.


§ 233. Truce and suspension of arms.

WAR would become too cruel and destructive, were all intercourse between enemies absolutely broken off. According to the observation of Grotius,1 there still subsists a friendly intercourse in war, as Virgil2 and Tacitus3 have expressed it. The occurrences and events of war lay enemies under the necessity of entering into various conventions. As we have already treated in general of the observance of faith between enemies, it is unnecessary for us in this place to prove the obligation of faithfully acting up to those conventions made in war: it therefore only remains to explain the nature of them. Sometimes it is agreed to suspend hostilities for a certain time; and, if this convention be made but for a very short period, or only regards some particular place, it is called a cessation or suspension of arms. Such are those conventions made for the purpose of burying the dead after an assault or a battle, and for a parley, or a conference between the generals of the hostile armies. If the agreement be for a more considerable length of time, and especially if general, it is more particularly distinguished by the appellation of a truce. Many people use both expressions indiscriminately.

§ 234. Does not terminate the war.

The truce of suspension of arms does not terminate the war; it only suspends its operations.

§ 235. A truce is either partial or general.

A truce is either partial or general. By the former, hostilities are suspended only in certain places, as between a town and the army besieging it. By the latter, they are to cease generally, and in all places, between the belligerent powers. Partial truces may also admit of a distinction with respect to acts of hostility, or to persons; that is to say, the parties may agree to abstain from certain acts of hostility during a limited time, or two armies may mutually conclude a truce or suspension of arms without regard to any particular place.

§ 236. General truce for many years.

A general truce, made for many years, differs from a peace in little else than in leaving the question which was the original ground of the war still undecided. When two nations are weary of hostilities, and yet cannot agree on the point which constitutes the subject of their dispute, they generally have recourse to this kind of agreement. Thus, instead of peace, long truces only have usually been made between the Christians and the Turks, — sometimes from a false spirit of religion; at other times, because neither party were willing to acknowledge the other as lawful owners of their respective possessions.

§ 237. By whom theae agreements may be concluded.

It is necessary to the validity of an agreement, that it be made by one who possesses competent powers. Every thing done in war is done by the authority of the sovereign, who alone has the right of both of undertaking the war, and directing its operations, (§ 4) But, from the impossibility of executing every thing by himself he must necessarily communicate part of his power to his ministers and officers. The question, therefore, is, to determine what are the things of which the sovereign reserves the management in his own hands, and what those are which he is naturally presumed to intrust to the ministers of his will, to the generals and other officers employed in military operations. We have above (Book II. § 207) laid down and explained the principle which is to serve as a general rule on this subject. If the sovereign has not given any special mandate, the person commanding in his name is held to be invested with all the powers necessary for the reasonable and salutary exercise of his functions, — for every thing which naturally follows from his commission. Every thing beyond that is reserved to the sovereign, who is not supposed to have delegated a greater portion of his power than is necessary for the good of his affairs. According to this rule, a general truce can only be concluded by the sovereign himself, or by some person on whom he has expressly conferred a power for that purpose. For, it is by no means necessary to the success of the war, that a general should be invested with such an extensive authority: it would exceed the limits of his functions, which consist in directing the military operations in the place where he has the command, and not in regulating the general interests of the state. The conclusion of a general truce is a matter of so high importance, that the sovereign is always presumed to have reserved it in his own hands. So extensive a power suits only the viceroy or governor of a distant country, for the territories under him; and even in this case, if the truce be for a number of years, it is natural to suppose the sovereign's ratification necessary. The Roman consuls, and other commanders, had a power to grant general truces for the term of their commission; but, if that term was considerable, or the truce made for a longer time, it required the ratification of the senate and people. Even a partial truce, when for a long time, seems also to exceed the ordinary powers of a general; and he can only conclude it under a reservation of its being ratified by the sovereign authority.

But, as to partial truces for a short period, it is often necessary, and almost always proper, that the general should have a power to conclude them: — it is necessary, when he cannot wait for the sovereign's consent; it is proper on those occasions when the truce can only tend to spare the effusion of blood, and to promote the mutual advantage of the contracting parties. With such a power, therefore, the general or commander in chief is naturally supposed to be invested. Thus, the governor of a town, and the general besieging it, may agree on a cessation of arms, for the purpose of burying the dead, or of coming to a parley: they may even settle a truce for some months on condition that the town, if not relieved within that time, shall surrender, &c. Conventions of this kind only tend to mitigate the evils of war, and are not likely to prove detrimental to any one.

§ 238. The sovereign's faith engaged in them.

All these truces and suspensions of arms are concluded by the authority of the sovereign, who consents to some of them in his own person, and to others through the ministry of his generals and officers. His faith is pledged by such agreements, and he is bound to enforce their observance.

§ 239. When the truce

The truce binds the contracting parties from the moment of its being concluded, but cannot have the force of a law, with regard to the subjects on both sides, till it has been solemnly proclaimed: and, as an unknown law imposes no obligation, the truce does not become binding on the subjects until duly notified to them. Hence, if, before they can have obtained certain information of its being concluded, they commit any act contrary to it — any act of hostility — they are not punishable. But, as the sovereign is bound to fulfil his promises, it is incumbent on him to cause restitution to be made of all prizes taken subsequent to the period when the truce should have commenced. The subjects, who, through ignorance of its existence, have failed to observe it, are not obliged to offer any indemnification, any more than their sovereign, who was unable to notify it to them sooner; the non-observance of the truce, in this case, is merely an accident, not imputable to any fault on his part or on theirs. A ship being out at sea at the time when the truce is published, meets with a ship belonging to the enemy, and sinks her: as there is no guilt in this case, she is not liable to pay any damage. If she has made a capture of the vessel, all the obligation she lies under is to restore the prize, as she must not retain it in violation of the truce. But those who should, through their own fault, remain ignorant of the publication of the truce, would be bound to repair any damage they had caused, contrary to its tenor. The simple commission of a fault, and especially of a slight one, may, to a certain degree, be suffered to pass with impunity; and it certainly does not deserve to be punished with equal severity as a premeditated transgression: but it furnishes no plea against the obligation to repair the damages accruing. In order, as far as possible, to obviate every difficulty, it is usual with sovereigns, in their truces as well as in their treaties of peace, to assign different periods for the cessation of hostilities, according to the situation and distance of places.

§ 240. Publication of the truce.

Since a truce cannot be obligatory on the subjects unless known to them, it must be solemnly published in all the places where it is intended that it should be observed.

§ 241. Subjects contravening the truce.

If any of the subjects, whether military men or private citizens, offend against the truce, this is no violation of the public faith; nor is the truce thereby broken. But the delinquents should be compelled to make ample compensation for the damage, and severely punished. Should their sovereign refuse to do justice, on the complaints of the party injured, he thereby becomes accessory to the trespass, and violates the truce.

§ 242. Violation of the truce.

Now, if one of the contracting parties, or any person by his order, or even with his simple consent, commits any act contrary to the truce, it is an injury to the other contracting party: the truce is dissolved; and the injured party is entitled immediately to take up arms, not only for the purpose of renewing the operations of the war, but also of avenging the recent injury offered to him.

§ 243. Stipulation of a penalty against the infractor.

Sometimes a penalty on the infractor of the truce is reciprocally stipulated; and then the truce is not immediately broken on the first infraction. If the party offending submits to the penalty, and repairs the damage, the truce still subsists, and the offended party has nothing further to claim. But, if an alternative has been agreed on, viz. that, in case of an infraction, the delinquent shall suffer a certain penalty, or the truce shall be broken, it is the injured party who has the choice of insisting on the penalty or taking advantage of his right to recommence hostilities: for, if this were left at the option of the infractor, the stipulation of the alternative would be nugatory, since, by refusing to submit to the penalty simply stipulated, he would break the compact, and thereby give the injured party a right to take up arms again. Besides, in cautionary clauses of this kind, the alternative is not supposed to be introduced in favour of him who fails in his engagements; and it would be absurd to suppose that he reserves to himself the advantage of breaking them by his infraction rather than undergo the penalty. He might as well break them at once openly. The only object of the penal clause is to secure the truce from being so easily broken; and there can be no other reason for introducing it with an alternative, than that of leaving to the injured party a right, if he thinks fit, to dissolve a compact from which the behaviour of the enemy shows him he has little security to expect.

§ 244. Time of the truce.

It is necessary that the time of the truce be accurately specified, in order to prevent all doubt or dispute respecting the period of its commencement, and that of its expiration. The French language, extremely clear and precise, for those who know how to use it with propriety, furnishes expressions which bid defiance to the most subtle chicanery. The words "inclusively" and "exclusively" banish all ambiguity which may happen to be in the convention, with regard to the two terms of the truce — its beginning and end. For instance, if it be said that "the truce shall last from the first of March inclusively, until the fifteenth of April, also inclusively," there can remain no doubt; whereas, if the words had simply been, "from the first of March until the 15th of April," it might be disputed whether those two days, mentioned as the initial and final terms of the truce, were comprehended in the treaty or not: and indeed authors are divided on this question. As to the former of those two days, it seems, beyond all question, to be comprised in the truce: for, if it be agreed, that there shall be a truce from the first of March, this naturally means that hostilities shall cease on the first of March. As to the latter day, there is something more of doubt, — the expression "until" seeming to separate it from the time of the armistice. However, as we often say "until" such a day "inclusively," the word "until" is not necessarily exclusive, according to the genius of the language. And as a truce which spares the effusion of human blood, is no doubt a thing of a favourable nature, perhaps the safest way is to include in it the very day of the term. Circumstances may also help to ascertain the meaning: but it is very wrong not to remove all ambiguity, when it may be done by the addition of a single word.

In national compacts, the word "day" is to be understood of a natural day, since it is in this meaning that a day is the common measure of time among nations. The computation by civil days owes its origin to the civil law of each nation, and varies in different countries. The natural day begins at sunrise, and lasts twenty-four hours, or one diurnal revolution of the sun. If, therefore, a truce of a hundred days be agreed on, to being on the first of March, the truce begins at sunrise on the first of March, and is to continue a hundred days of twenty-four hours each. But, as the sun does not rise at the same hour throughout the whole year, the parties, in order to avoid an overstrained nicety, and a degree of chicanery unbecoming that candour which should prevail in conventions of this kind, ought certainly to understand that the truce expires, as it began, at the rising of the sun. The term of a day is meant from one sun to the other, without quibbling or disputing about the difference of a few minutes in the time of his rising. He who, having made a truce for a hundred days, beginning on the twenty-first of June, when the sun rises about four o'clock, should, on the day the truce is to end, take up arms at the same hour, and surprise his enemy before sunrise, would certainly be considered as guilty of a mean and perfidious chicanery.

If no term has been specified for the commencement of the truce, the contracting parties, being bound by it immediately on its conclusion (§ 239), ought to have it published without delay, in order that it may be punctually observed: for, it becomes binding on the subjects only from the time when it is duly published with respect to them (Ibid.); and it begins to take effect only from the moment of the first publication, unless otherwise settled by the terms of the agreement.

§ 245. Effects of a truce, what is allowed, or not, during its continuance. 1st Rule: — Each party may do at home what they have a

The general effect of a truce is that every act of hostility shall absolutely cease. And, in order to obviate all dispute respecting the acts which may be termed hostile, the general rule is, that, during the truce, each party may, within his own territories, and in the places where he is master, do whatever he would have a right to do in time of profound peace. Thus, a truce does not deprive a sovereign of the liberty of levying soldiers, assembling an army in his own dominions, marching troops within the country, and even calling in auxiliaries, or repairing the fortifications of a town which is not actually besieged. As he has a right to do all these things in time of peace, the truce does not tie up his hands. Can it be supposed that, by such a compact, he meant to debar himself from executing things which the continuation of hostilities could not prevent him from doing?

§ 246. 2d Rule: — Not to take advantage of the truce in doing what hostilities would have prevented.

But to take advantage of the cessation of arms in order to execute without danger certain things which are prejudicial to the enemy, and which could not have been safety undertaken during the continuance of hostilities, is circumventing and deceiving the enemy with whom the compact has been made; it is a breach of the truce. By this second general rule we may solve several particular cases.

247. For instance, continuing the works of a siege, or repairing breaches.

The truce concluded between the governor of a town and the general besieging it, deprives both of the liberty of continuing their works. With regard to the latter, this is manifest, — his works being acts of hostility. But neither can the governor, on his part, avail himself of the armistice, for the purpose of repairing the breaches or erecting new fortifications. The artillery of the besiegers does not allow him to carry on such works with impunity during the continuance of hostilities: it would therefore be detrimental to them that he should employ the truce in this manner: and they are under no obligation of submitting to be so far imposed upon: they will with good reason consider such an attempt as an infraction of the truce. But the suspension of arms does not hinder the governor from continuing within his town such works as were not liable to be impeded by the attacks or fire of the enemy. At the last siege of Tournay, after the surrender of the town, an armistice was agreed on; during the continuance of which, the governor permitted the French to make all the necessary preparations for attacking the citadel, to carry on their works, and erect their batteries, — because the governor, on his part, was in the mean time busily employed within, in clearing away the rubbish with which the blowing up of a magazine had filled the citadel, and was erecting batteries on the ramparts. But all this he might have performed with little or no danger, even if the operations of the siege had commenced; whereas the French could not have carried on their works with such expedition, or made their approaches and erected their batteries without losing a great number of men. There was therefore no equality in the case; and, on that footing, the truce was entirety in favour of the besiegers: and, in consequence of it, the capture of the citadel took place sooner, probably by a fortnight, than it would otherwise have happened.

§ 248. or introducing succours.

If the truce be concluded either for the purpose of settling the terms of the capitulation or of waiting for the orders of the respective sovereigns, the besieged governor cannot make use of it as a convenient opportunity to introduce succours or ammunition into the town: for, this would be taking an undue advantage of the armistice for the purpose of deceiving the enemy — a conduct which is inconsistent with candour and honesty. The spirit of such a compact evidently imports that alt things shall remain as they were at the moment of its conclusion.

§ 249. Distinction of a particular case.

But this is not to be extended to a suspension of arms agreed on for some particular circumstance, as, for instance, burying the dead. In this case, the truce is to be interpreted, with a view to its immediate object. Accordingly, the firing ceases, either in all quarters, or only in a single point of attack, pursuant to agreement, that each party may freely carry off their dead: and during this intermission of the cannonade, it is not allowable to carry on any works which the firing would have impeded. This would be taking an undue advantage of the armistice, and consequently a violation of it. But it is perfectly justifiable in the governor, during such a cessation of hostilities, silently to introduce a reinforcement in some quarter remote from the point of attack. If the besieger, lulled by such an armistice, abates in his vigilance, he must abide the consequences. The armistice of itself does not facilitate the entrance of that reinforcement.

§ 250. Retreat of an army during a suspension of hostilities.

Likewise, if an army in a bad position proposes and concludes an armistice for the purpose of burying the dead after a battle, it cannot pretend, during the suspension of arms, to extricate itself from its disadvantageous situation, and to march off unmolested, in sight of the enemy. This would be availing itself of the compact in order to effect a purpose which it could not otherwise have accomplished. This would be laying a snare; and conventions must not be converted into snares. The enemy, therefore, may justly obstruct the motions of that army the moment it attempts to quit its station: but, if it silently files off in the rear, and thus reaches a safer position, it will not be guilty of a breach of faith; since nothing more is implied by a suspension of arms for the burial of the dead, than that neither party shall attack the other whilst this office of humanity is performing. The enemy, therefore, can only blame his own remissness: — he ought to have stipulated, that, during the cessation of hostilities, neither party should quit their post: or it was his business vigilantly to watch the motions of the hostile army and on perceiving their design, he was at liberty to oppose it. It is a very justifiable stratagem to propose a cessation of arms for a particular object, with a view of lulling the enemy's vigilance, and covering a design of retreating.

But, if the truce be not made for any particular object alone, we cannot honourably avail ourselves of it in order to gain an advantage, as, for instance, to secure an important post, or to advance into the enemy's country, The latter step would indeed be a violation of the truce; for, every advance into the enemy's country is an act of hostility.

§ 251. 3d Rule: — Nothing to be attempted in contested places, but every thing to be left as it was.

Now, as a truce suspends hostilities without putting an end to the war, every thing must, during the continuance of the truce, be suffered to remain in its existing state, in all places of which the possession is contested: nor is it lawful, in such places, to attempt any thing to the prejudice of the enemy. This is a third general rule.

§ 252. Places quitted or neglected by the enemy.

When the enemy withdraws his troops from a place, and absolutely quits it, his conduct sufficiently shows that he does not intend to occupy it any longer: and in this case we may lawfully take possession of it during the truce. But if, by any indication, it appears that a post, an open town, or a village, is not relinquished by the enemy, and that, though he neglects to keep it guarded, he still maintains his rights and claims to it, the truce forbids us to seize upon it. To take away from the enemy what he is disposed to retain, is an act of hostility.

§ 253. Subjects inclined to revolt against their prince not to be received during the truce.

It is also an undoubted act of hostility to receive towns or provinces inclined to withdraw from the sovereignty of the enemy, and give themselves up to us. We therefore cannot receive them during the continuance of the truce, which wholly suspends all hostile proceedings.

§ 254. much less to be solicited to treason.

Far more unlawful it is, during that period, to instigate the subjects of the enemy to revolt, or to tamper with the fidelity of his governors and garrisons. These are not only hostile proceedings, but odious acts of hostility (§ 180). As to deserters and fugitives, they may be received during the truce, since they are received even in time of peace, when there is no treaty to the contrary. And, even if such a treaty did exist, its effect is annulled, or at least suspended, by the war which has since taken place.

§ 255. Persons or effects of enemies not to be seized during the truce.

To seize persons or things belonging to the enemy, when he has not, by any particular fault on his side, afforded us grounds for such seizure, is an act of hostility, and consequently not allowable during a truce.

§ 256. Right of postliminium during the truce.

Since the right of postliminium is founded only on the state of war (Chap. XIV. of this Book), it cannot take effect during the truce, which suspends all the acts of war, and leaves every thing in its existing state (§ 251). Even prisoners cannot during that season withdraw from the power of the enemy, in order to recover their former condition: for the enemy has a right to detain them while the war continues; and it is only on its conclusion that his right over their liberty expires(§ 148).

§ 257. Intercourse allowed during a truce.

During the truce, especially if made for a long period, it is naturally allowable for enemies to pass and repass to and from each other's country, in the same manner as it is allowed in time of peace, since all hostilities are now suspended. But each of the sovereigns is at liberty, as he would be in time of peace, to adopt every precaution which may be necessary to prevent this intercourse from becoming prejudicial to him. He has just grounds of suspicion against people with whom he is soon to recommence hostilities. He may even declare, at the time of making the truce, that he will admit none of the enemy into any place under his jurisdiction.

§ 258. Persons detained by unsurmountable obstacles after the expiration of the truce.

Those who, having entered the enemy's territories during the truce, are detained there by sickness or any other unsurmountable obstacle, and thus happen to remain in the country after the expiration of the armistice, may in strict justice be kept prisoners: it is an accident which they might have foreseen, and to which they have of their own accord exposed themselves; but humanity and generosity commonly require that they should be allowed a sufficient term for their departure.

§ 259. Particular conditions added to truces.

If the articles of truce contain any conditions either more extensive or more narrowly restrictive than what we have here laid down, the transaction becomes a particular convention. It is obligatory on the contracting parties, who are bound to observe what they have promised in due form: and the obligations thence resulting constitute a conventional right, the detail of which is foreign to the plan of this work.

§ 260. At the expiration of the truce, the war is renewed without any fresh declaration.

As the truce only suspends the effects of war (§ 233), the moment it expires, hostilities may be renewed without any fresh declaration of war; for every one previously knows that from that instant the war will resume its course; and the reasons for the necessity of a declaration are not applicable to this case (§ 51).

But a truce of many years very much resembles a peace, and only differs from it in leaving the subject of the war still undecided. Now, as a considerable lapse of time may have effected a material alteration in the circumstances and dispositions of both the parties, — the love of peace, so becoming in sovereigns, the care they should take to spare their subjects' blood, and even that of her enemies, — these dispositions, I say, seem to require that princes should not take up arms again at the expiration of a truce in which all military preparatives had been totally laid aside and forgotten, without making some declaration which may invite the enemy to prevent the effusion of blood. The Romans have given us an example of this commendable moderation, They had only made a truce with the city of Veii; and the enemy even renewed hostilities before the stipulated time was elapsed. Nevertheless, at the expiration of the term, the college of the feciales gave it as their opinion that the Romans should send to make a formal demand of satisfaction, previous to their taking up arms again.4

§ 261. Capitulations; and by whom they may be concluded.

The capitulations on the surrender of towns are among the principal conventions made between enemies during the course of war. They are usually settled between the general of the besieging army and the governor of the besieged town, both acting in virtue of the authority annexed to their respective posts or commissions.

We have elsewhere (Book II. Chap. XIV.) laid down the principles of that authority which is vested in the subordinate powers, together with general rules to aid in forming a decision respecting it. All this has recently been recapitulated in a few words, and particularly applied to generals and other military commanders in chief (§ 237). Since the general of an army, and the governor of a town, must naturally be invested with all the powers necessary for the exercise of their respective functions, we have a right to presume that they possess those powers: and that of concluding a capitulation is certainly one of the number, especially when they cannot wait for the sovereign's order. A treaty made by them on that subject is therefore valid, and binds the sovereigns in whose name and by whose authority the respective commanders have acted.

§ 262. Clauses contained in them.

But let it be observed, that, if those officers do not mean to exceed their powers, they should scrupulously confine themselves within the limits of their functions, and forbear to meddle with things which have not been committed to their charge. In the attack and the defence, in the capture or the surrender of a town, the possession alone is the point in question, and not the property and right: the fate of the garrison is also involved in the transaction. Accordingly, the commanders may come to an agreement respecting the manner in which the capitulating town shall be possessed: the besieging general may promise that the inhabitants shall be spared, and permitted to enjoy their religion, franchises, and privileges: and, as to the garrison, he may allow them to march out with their arms and baggage, with all the honours of war, — to be escorted and conducted to a place of safety, &c. The governor of the town may deliver it up at discretion, if reduced to that extremity by the situation of affairs: he may surrender himself and his garrison prisoners of war, or engage, that, for a stipulated time, or even to the end of the war, they shall not carry arms against the same enemy, or against his allies: and the governor's promise is valid and obligatory on all under his command, who are bound to obey him while he keeps within the limits of his functions (§ 23).

But, should the besieging general take on him to promise that his sovereign shall never annex the conquered town to his own dominions, or shall, after a certain time, be obliged to restore if, he would exceed the bounds of his authority, in entering into a contract respecting matters which are not intrusted to his management. And the like may be said of a governor who in the capitulation should proceed to such lengths as for ever to alienate the town which he commands, and to deprive his sovereign of the right to retake it, — or who should

promise that his garrison shall never carry arms, not even in another war. His functions do not give him so extensive a power. If, therefore, in the conferences for a capitulation, either of the hostile commanders should insist on conditions which the other does not flunk himself empowered to grant, they have still one expedient left, which is, to agree to an armistice, during which every thing shall continue in its present state, until they have received orders from higher authority.

§ 263. Observance of capitulations, and its utility.

At the beginning of this chapter we have given the reasons why we thought it unnecessary to prove in this place that all these conventions made during the course of the war, are to be inviolably adhered to. We shall therefore only observe, with respect to capitulations in particular, that, as it is unjust and scandalous to violate them, so the consequences of such an act of perfidy often prove detrimental to the party who has been guilty of it. What confidence can thenceforward be placed in him? The towns which he attacks will endure the most dreadful extremities, rather than place any dependence on his word. He strengthens his enemies by compelling them to make a desperate defence; and every siege that he is obliged to undertake will become terrible. On the contrary, fidelity attracts confidence and affection; it facilitates enterprises, removes obstacles, and paves the way to glorious successes. Of this, history furnishes us a fine example in the conduct of George Basle, general of the imperialists in 1602, against Battory and the Turks, The insurgents of Battory's party having gained possession of Bistrith, otherwise called Nissa, Baste recovered the town by a capitulation, which in his absence was violated by some German soldiers, but, being informed of the transaction on his return, he immediately hanged up all the soldiers concerned, and out of his own purse paid the inhabitants all the damages they had sustained. This action had so powerful an influence on the minds of the rebels, that they all submitted to the emperor, without demanding any other surely than the word of General Baste.5

§ 264. Promises made to the enemy by individuals.

Individuals, whether belonging to the army or not, who happen singly to fall in with the enemy, are, by the urgent necessity of the circumstance, left to their own discretion, and may, so far as concerns their own persons, do every thing which a commander might do with respect to himself and the troops under his command. If, therefore, in consequence of the situation in which they are involved, they make any promise, such promise (provided it do not extend to matters which can never lie within the sphere of a private individual) is valid and obligatory, as being made with competent powers. For, when a subject can neither receive his sovereign's orders nor enjoy his protection, he assumes his natural rights, and is to provide for his own safety by any just and honourable means in his power.(184) Hence, if that individual has promised a sum for hisransom, the sovereign, so far from having a power to discharge him from his promise, should oblige him to fulfil it. The good of the state requires that faith should be kept on such occasions, and that subjects should have this mode of saving their lives or recovering their liberty.(185)

Thus, a prisoner who is released on his parole, is bound to observe it with scrupulous punctuality; nor has the sovereign a right to oppose such observance of his engagement: for, had not the prisoner thus given his parole, he would not have been released.

Thus, also, the country people, the inhabitants of villages or defenceless towns, are bound to pay the contributions which they have promised in order to save themselves from pillage.(186)

Nay, more, a subject would even have a right to renounce his country, if the enemy, being master of his person, refused to spare his life on any other condition: for, when once the society to which he belongs is unable to protect and defend him, he resumes his natural rights. And besides, should he obstinately refuse compliance, what advantage would the state derive from his death? Undoubtedly, while any hope remains, while we have yet any means of serving our country, it is our duty to expose ourselves and to brave every danger for her sake. I here suppose that we have no alternative but that of renouncing our country, or perishing without any advantage to her. If by our death we can serve her, it is noble to imitate the heroic generosity of the Decii. But an engagement to serve against our country, were it the only means of saving our life, is dishonourable, and a man of spirit would submit to a thousand deaths, rather than make so disgraceful a promise.

If a soldier, meeting an enemy in a by-place, makes him prisoner, but promises him his life or liberty on condition of his paying a certain ransom, this agreement is to be respected by the superiors: for, it does not appear that the soldier, left entirely to himself on that occasion, has in any particular exceeded his powers. He might, on the other hand, have thought it imprudent to attack that enemy, and, under that idea, have suffered him to escape. Under the direction of his superiors, he is bound to obey: when alone, he is left to his own discretion. Procopius relates the adventure of two soldiers, the one a Goth and the other a Roman, who, being fallen together into a pit, mutually promised each other that their lives should be spared: and this agreement was approved by the Goths.6

1. Lib. iii. cap. xxi. § i.

2. — Belli commercia Turnus
Sustulit ista prior. — Æn. x. 532.

3. Ann. lib. xiv. cap. xxxiii.

4. Tit. Liv. lib. iv. cap. 30.

5. Sully's Memoirs, by M. de l'Ecluse, vol. iv. p. 179.

(184) In general, all contracts in favour of alien enemies are, in Great Britain, void, both at law and in equity; (Williamson v. Patterson, 7 Taunton's Rep. 439, 1 J.B. Moore, 333 S.C.; 2 Ves. & B. 332; ante, 321, n (a),); unless the enemy come into this country sub salvo conductu, or live here by the king's license; (Cowp. 163; 6 Term Rep. 23; 2 Ves. & Beam 332.) And a bill drawn abroad by an alien enemy on a British subject here, and endorsed during war to a British subject voluntarily resident in the hostile country, cannot be enforced by the latter after peace has been restored, because it was illegal in its concoction; Williamson v. Patterson, ubi supra; 3 Bos. & Pul. 113; 3 Maule & Sel. 533.} But, upon the principle above laid down by Vattel, it was decided that where two British subjects were declared prisoners in France, and one of them drew a bill in favour of the other on a third British subject, resident in England, and such payee endorsed the same in France to an alien enemy — it was held that the transaction was legal, and that the alien's right of action was only suspended during the war; and that, on the return of peace, he might recover the amount from the acceptor; for, otherwise, such persons would sustain great privations during their detention: and, for the same reason, it is no objection to an action on such bill, that it is brought as to part in trust for an alien enemy. Antoine v. Moorshead, 6 Taunt. 237, 447, 1 Marsh. Rep. 558, S.C. Danbug v. Moorshead, 6 Taunt, 332. — C.

(185) See the same principle and reasoning, ante § 174, p. 371-2. This doctrine, as to ransom, and ransom-bills, is recognised as part of the law of nations, in 4 Bla. Com. 67; 1 Chitty's Com L., 32, 4428. But the ransoming of any ships, or merchandise on board the same, and taken by an enemy of Great Britain, is absolutely prohibited by the English statutes, (22 Geo. 3, c. 25; 43 Geo. c, c. 150; 45 Geo. 3, c. 72;) except in cases of extreme necessity, continuing to be allowed by the Court of Admiralty; and all contracts for ransom, contrary to those statutes, are declared void, and subjected to a penalty of £500. See Marshall on Insurances, 431. These ransom acts are to be considered as remedial laws, and must be construed liberally to met the mischief. Havelock v. Rockwood, 6 Term. Rep. 277: Anthon v. Fisher, 2 Dougl. 649, n.; Woodward v. Larkins, 3 Esp. R. 266. And see decisions, Corme v. Blackburne, 2 Dougl. 641; Webb v. Brooks, 3 Taunt. 6; Yeats v. Hall, and Kelly v. Grant, 1 Term. Rep. 73,76. And where the master of a British ship, captured by an American, induced the latter to release the vessel, on the former drawing a blll on England for £1000, by way of ransom, and the payment of which he countermanded in time, he was even allowed to recover from his owners compensation in the nature of salvage, for his services — morally speaking, constituting a perfidious breach of faith, Ship London, 2 Dodson's Rep. 74. — C.

(186) Same point, ante, 403, in note — C.

6. Hist. Goth. lib. ii. cap. I. quoted by Puffendorf, book viii. chap. vii. 14.


§ 265. Nature of safe-conducts and passports.(187)

SAFE-CONDUCTS and passports are a kind of privilege insuring safety to persons in passing and repassing, or to certain things during their conveyance from one place to another. From the usage and genius of the (French) language, it appears that the term "passport" is used, on ordinary occasions, when speaking of persons who lie under no particular exception as to passing and repassing in safety, and to whom it is only granted for greater security, and in order to prevent all debate, or to exempt them from some general prohibition. A safe-conduct is given to those who otherwise could not safely pass through the places where he who grants it is master, — as, for instance, to a person charged with some misdemeanour, or to an enemy. It is of the latter that we are here to treat.

§ 266. From what authority they emanate.

All safe-conducts, like every other act of supreme command, emanate from the sovereign authority: but the prince may delegate to his officers the power of granting safe-conducts; and they are invested with that power either by an express commission, or by a natural consequence of the nature of their functions. A general of an army, from the very nature of his post, can grant safe-conducts: and, as they are derived, through mediately, from the sovereign authority, the other generals or officers of the same prince are bound to respect them.

§ 267. Not transferable from one person to another.

The person named in the safe-conduct cannot transfer his privilege to another: for he does not know whether it be a matter of indifference to the grantor of the safe-conduct that another person should use it in his stead: and, so far from presuming that to be the case, he is even bound to presume the contrary, on account of the abuses which might thence result; and he cannot assume to himself any further privilege than was intended for him. If the safe-conduct is granted, not for persons, but for certain effects, those effects may be removed by others besides the owner. The choice of those who remove them is indifferent, provided there do not lie against them any personal exception sufficient to render them objects of just suspicion in the eye of him who grants the safe-conduct, or to exclude them from the privilege of entering his territories.

§ 268. Extent of the promised security.

He who promises security by a safe-conduct, promises to afford it wherever he has the command, — not only in his own territories, but likewise in every place where any of his troops may happen to be: and he is bound, not only to forbear violating that security either by himself or his people, but also to protect and defend the person to whom he has promised it, to punish any of his subjects who have offered him violence, and oblige them to make good the damage.1

§ 269. How to judge of the right derived from a safe-conduct.

As the right arising from a safe-conduct proceeds entirely from the will of him who grants it, that will is the standard by which the extent of the right is to be measured; and the will is discoverable in the object for which the safe-conduct was granted. Consequently, a person who has barely obtained permission to go away, does not thence derive a right to come back again; and a safe-conduct, granted for the simple passage through a country, does not entitle the bearer to repass through it on his return. When the safe-conduct is granted for a particular business, it must continue in force until that business is concluded, and the person has had time to depart: if it is specified to be granted for a journey, it will also serve for the person's return, since both passage and return are included in a journey. As this privilege consists in the liberty of going and coming in safety, it differs from a permission to settle in any particular place, and consequently cannot give a right to stop anywhere for a length of time, unless on some special business, in consideration of which the safe-conduct was asked and granted.

§ 270. Whether it includes baggage and domestics.

A safe-conduct given to a traveller, naturally includes his baggage, or his clothes, and other things necessary for his journey, with even one or two domestics, or more, according to the rank of the person. But, in all these respects, as well as in the others which we have just noticed above, the safest mode, especially when we have to do with enemies or other suspected persons, is, to specify and distinctly enumerate the particulars, in order to obviate every difficulty. Accordingly, such is the practice which at present prevails; and, in granting safe-conducts, it is the custom expressly to include the baggage and domestics.

§ 271. Safe-conduct granted to the father does not include his family.

Though a permission to settle anywhere, granted to the father of a family, naturally includes his wife and children, it is otherwise with a safe-conduct; because it seldom happens that a man settles in a place without having his family with him; whereas, on a journey, it is more usual to travel without them.

§ 272. Safe-conduct given in general, to any one and his retinue.

A safe-conduct, granted to a person for himself and his retinue, cannot give him a right of bringing with him persons justly suspected by the state, or who have been banished, or have fled from the country on account of any crime; nor can it serve as a protection to such men: for, the sovereign who grants a safe-conduct in those general terms, does not suppose that it will be presumptuously abused for the purpose of bringing persons into his territories who have been guilty of crimes, or have particularly offended him.

§ 273. Term of the safe-conduct.

A safe-conduct, given for a stated term, expires at the end of the term specified therein; and the bearer, if he does not retire before that time, may be arrested, and even punished, according to circumstances, especially if he has given room for suspicion by an affected delay.

§ 274. A person forcibly detained beyond the term.

But, if forcibly detained, as by sickness so as to be unable to depart in time, a proper respite should be allowed him; for a promise of security has been made to him: and, though it was made only for a limited time, it is not by any fault of his own that he has been prevented from departing within the term. The case is different from that of an enemy coming into our country during a truce: to the latter we have made no particular promise; he, at his own peril, takes advantage of a general liberty allowed by the suspension of hostilities. All we have promised to the enemy is to forbear hostilities for a certain time; and, at the expiration of that term, it is a matter of importance to us that we be at liberty to let the war freely take its course, without being impeded by a variety of excuses and pretexts.

§ 275. The Safe-conduct does not expire at the death of him who gave it.

The safe-conduct does not expire at the decease or deposition of him who granted it; for it was given in virtue of the sovereign authority, which never dies, and whose efficacy exists independent of the person intrusted with the exercise of it. It is with this act as with other ordinances of the public power; their validity or duration does not depend on the life of him who enacted them, unless, by their very nature, or by express declaration, they are personally confined to him.

§ 276. How it may be revoked.

The successor, nevertheless, may revoke a safe-conduct, if he has good reasons for the revocation. Even he who has granted it may, in like case, revoke it: nor is he always obliged to make known his reasons. Every privilege, when it becomes detrimental to the state, may be revoked, — a gratuitous privilege, purely and simply, — a purchased privilege, on giving an indemnification to the parties concerned. Suppose a prince or his general is preparing for a secret expedition; — must he suffer any person, under cover of a safe-conduct, antecedently obtained, to come and pry into his preparatives, and give the enemy intelligence of them? But a safe-conduct is not to be converted into a snare; if it be revoked, the bearer must be allowed time and liberty to depart in safety. If he, like any other traveller, be detained for some time, in order to prevent his carrying intelligence to the enemy, no ill-treatment is to be offered him; nor is he to be kept longer than while the reasons for his detainder subsist.

§ 277. Safe-conduct with the clause, for such time as

If a safe-conduct contains this clause — "For such time as we shall think fit," it gives only a precarious right, and is revocable every moment: but, until it has been expressly revoked, it remains valid. It expires on the death of him who gave it, who, from that moment, ceases to will the continuation of the privilege. But it must always be understood that, when a safe-conduct expires in this manner, the bearer is to be allowed a proper time for his safe departure.

§ 278. Conventions relating to the ransom of prisoners.

After having discussed the right of making prisoners of war, — the obligation of the captor to release them at the peace, by exchange or ransom, — and that of their sovereign to obtain their liberty, — it remains to consider the nature of those conventions whose object is the deliverance of these unfortunate sufferers. If the belligerent sovereigns have agreed on a cartel for the exchange or ransom of prisoners, they are bound to observe it with equal fidelity as any other convention. But if (as was frequently the practice in former times) the state leaves to each prisoner, at least during the continuance of the war, the care of redeeming himself — such private conventions present a number of questions, of which we shall only touch on the principal ones.

§ 279. The right of demanding a ransom may be transferred.

He who has acquired a lawful right to demand a ransom from his prisoner, may transfer his right to a third person. This was practised in the last ages. It was frequent for military men to resign their prisoners, and transfer all the lights they had over them into other hands. But as the person who takes a prisoner is bound to treat him with justice and humanity (§ 150), he must not, if he wishes that his conduct should be free from censure, transfer his right, in an unlimited manner, to one who might make an improper use of it: when he has agreed with his prisoner concerning the price of his ransom, he may transfer to whom he pleases the right to demand the stipulated sum.

§ 280. What may annul the convention made for the rate of the ransom.

When once the agreement is made with a prisoner for the price of his ransom, it becomes a perfect contract, and cannot be rescinded under pretence that the prisoner is discovered to be richer than was imagined: for it is by no means necessary that the rate should be proportioned to the wealth of the prisoner, since that is not the scale by which we measure the right to detain a prisoner of war (§§ 148, 153). But it is natural to proportion the price of the ransom to the prisoner's rank in the hostile army, because the liberty of an officer of distinction is of greater consequence than that of a private soldier or an inferior officer, if the prisoner has not only concealed, but disguised his rank, it is a fraud on his part, which gives the captor a right to annul the compact.

§ 281. A prisoner dying before payment of ransom.

If a prisoner, having agreed on the price of his ransom, dies before payment, it is asked whether the stipulated sum be due, and whether the heirs are bound to pay it? They undoubtedly are, if the prisoner died on the possession of his liberty: for, from the moment of his release, in consideration of which he had promised a sum, that sum becomes due, and does not at all belong to his heirs. But if he had not yet obtained his liberty, the price which was to have been paid for it is not a debt on him or his heirs, unless he had made his agreement in a different manner; and he is not reputed to have received his liberty until the moment when he is perfectly free to depart at pleasure, — when neither the person who held him prisoner, nor that person's sovereign, opposes his release and departure.

If he has only been permitted to lake a journey, for the purpose of prevailing on his friends or his sovereign to furnish him with the means of ransoming himself, and dies before he is possessed of his full liberty, before he is finally discharged from his parole, nothing is due for his ransom.

If, after having agreed on the price, he is detained in prison till the time of payment, and there dies in the interim, his heirs are not bound to pay the ransom — such an agreement, being on the part of the person who held him prisoner, no more than a promise of giving him his liberty on the actual payment of a certain sum. A promise of buying and selling does not bind the supposed purchaser to pay the price of the article in question, if it happens to perish before the completion of the purchase. But if the contract of sale be perfect, the purchaser must pay the price of the thing sold, though it should happen to perish before delivery, provided there was no fault or delay on the part of the vendor. For this reason, if the prisoner has absolutely concluded the agreement for his ransom, acknowledging himself, from that moment, debtor for the stipulated sum, — and is, nevertheless, still detained, no longer indeed as a prisoner, but a surety for the payment, — the price of the ransom is due, notwithstanding the circumstance of his dying in the interim.

If the agreement says that the ransom shall be paid on a certain day, and the prisoner happens to die before that day, the heirs are bound to pay the sum agreed on: for the ransom was due; and the appointed day was assigned merely as the term of payment.

§ 282. Prisoner released on condition of procuring the release of another.

From a rigid application of the same principles, it follows that a prisoner, who has been released on condition of procuring the release of another, should return to prison, in case the latter happens to die before he has been able to procure him his liberty. But certainly such an unfortunate case is entitled to lenity; and equity seems to require that this prisoner should be allowed to continue in the enjoyment of that liberty which has been granted to him, provided he pays a fair equivalent for it, since he is now unable to purchase it precisely at the price agreed on.

§ 283. Prisoner retaken before he has paid his former ransom.

If a prisoner, who has been fully set at liberty, after having promised but not paid his ransom, happens to be taken a second time, it is evident that, without being exempted from the payment of his former ransom, he will have to pay a second, if he wishes to recover his liberty.

§ 284. Prisoner rescued before he has received his liberty.

On the other hand, though the prisoner has agreed for the price of his ransom, if, before the execution of the compact, — before he is set at liberty in virtue of it, — he be retaken and delivered by his own party, he owes nothing. I here evidently suppose that the contract for his ransom was not completed, and that the prisoner had not acknowledged himself debtor for the sum agreed on. The person who held him prisoner had, as it were, only made him a promise of selling, and he had promised to purchase; but the purchase and sale had not actually passed into effect; the property was not actually transferred.

§ 285. Whether the things which a prisoner has found means to conceal, belong to him.

The property of a prisoner's effects is not vested in the captor, except so far as he seizes on those effects at the time of his capture. Of this there is no doubt, in these modern times, when prisoners of war are not reduced to slavery. And, even by the law of nature, the property of a slave's goods does not, without some other reason, pass to the master of the slave. There is nothing in the nature of slavery which can of itself produce that effect. Though a man obtains certain rights over the liberty of another, does it thence follow that he shall have a right over his property also? When, therefore, the enemy has not plundered his prisoner, or when the latter has found means to conceal something from the captor's search, whatever he has thus saved still continues to be his own property, and he may employ it towards the payment of his ransom. At present, even the plundering of prisoners is not always practised: the greedy soldier sometimes proceeds to such lengths: but an officer would think it an indelible slain on his character, to have deprived them of the smallest article. A party of private French troopers, who had captured a British general at the battle of Rocoux, claimed no right to any thing belonging to their prisoner, except his arms alone.

§ 286. Hostages given lot the release of a prisoner.

The death of the prisoner extinguishes the captor's right. Wherefore, if any person is given as a hostage in order to procure a prisoner's enlargement, he ought to be released the moment the prisoner dies; and, on the other hand, if the hostage dies, his death does not reinstate the prisoner in the possession of his liberty. The reverse of this is true, if the one, instead of being simply a hostage for the other, had been substituted in his stead.

(187) As to these, and Mediterranean passes and licenses in general, see 1 Chitty's Commercial Law, 492 — C.

1. At the famous interview at Peronne, Charles duke of Burgundy, exasperated to find that Louis XI. had engaged the people of Liege to take up arms against him, paid no respect to the safe conduct which he had granted to that prince. If Louis had plotted and negotiated their defection while he was at Peronne, Charles would have been justifiable in disregarding a safe-conduct of which an improper use had been made. But the French monarch had dispatched agents to Ghent for that purpose, before there was any question of the meeting at Peronne; and Charles, in the transports of blind resentment, excited by the disagreeable and unexpected intelligence, committed a flagrant breach of the law of nations.


§ 287 Foundation of the sovereign's rights against the rebels.

IT is a question very much debated, whether a sovereign is bound to observe the common laws of war towards rebellious subjects who have openly taken up arms against him? A flatterer, or a prince of a cruel and arbitrary disposition, will immediately pronounce that the laws of war were not made for rebels, for whom no punishment can be loo severe. Let us proceed more soberly, and reason from the incontestable principles above laid down. In order clearly to discover what conduct the sovereign ought to pursue towards revolted subjects, we must, in the first place, recollect that all the sovereign's rights are derived from those of the state or of civil society, from the trust reposed in him, from the obligation he lies under of watching over the welfare of the nation, of procuring her greatest happiness, of maintaining order, justice, and peace within her boundaries (Book I. Chap. IV). Secondly, we must distinguish the nature and degree of the different disorders which may disturb the state, and oblige the sovereign to take up arms, or substitute forcible measures instead of the milder influence of authority.

§ 288. Who are rebels.

The name of rebels is given to all subjects who unjustly take up arms against the ruler of the society, whether their view be to deprive him of the supreme authority, or to resist his commands in some particular instance, and to impose conditions on him.

§ 289. Popular commotion, insurrection. sedition.

A popular commotion is a concourse of people who assemble in a tumultuous manner, and refuse to listen to the voice of their superiors, whether the design of the assembled multitude be levelled against the superiors themselves, or only against some private individuals. Violent commotions of this kind take place when the people think themselves aggrieved: and there is no order of men who so frequently give rise to them as the tax-gatherers. If the rage of the malcontents be particularly levelled at the magistrates, or others vested with the public authority, and they proceed to a formal disobedience or acts of open violence, this is called a sedition. When the evil spreads, — when it infects the majority of the inhabitants of a city or province, and gains such strength that even the sovereign himself is no longer obeyed, — it is more usual more particularly to distinguish such a disorder by the name of insurrection.

§ 290. How the sove-

All these violences disturb the public order, and are state crimes, even when arising from just causes of complaint. For violent measures are forbidden in civil society: the injured individuals should apply to the magistrate for redress, and if they do not obtain justice from that quarter, they may lay their complaints at the foot of the throne. Every citizen should even patiently endure evils, which are not insupportable, rather than disturb the public peace. A denial of justice on the part of the sovereign, or affected delays can alone excuse the furious transports of a people whose patience has been exhausted, — and even justify them, if the evils be intolerable, and the oppression great and manifest. But what conduct shall the sovereign observe towards the insurgents? I answer, in general, — such conduct as shall at the same time be the most consonant to justice, and the most salutary to the state. Although it be his duty to repress those who unnecessarily disturb the public peace, he is bound to show clemency towards unfortunate persons, to whom just causes of complaint have been given, and whose sole crime consists in the attempt to do themselves justice: they have been deficient in patience rather than fidelity. Subjects who rise against their prince without cause deserve severe punishment: yet, even in this case, on account of the number of the delinquents, clemency becomes a duty in the sovereign. Shall he depopulate a city, or desolate a province, in order to punish her rebellion? Any punishment, however just in itself, which embraces loo great a number of persons, becomes an act of downright cruelty. Had the insurrection of the Netherlands against Spain been totally unwarrantable, universal detestation would still attend the memory of the duke of Alva, who made it his boast that he had caused twenty thousand heads to be struck off by the hands of the common executioner. Let not his sanguinary imitators expect to justify their enormities by the plea of necessity. What prince ever suffered more outrageous indignities from his subjects than Henry the Great, of France? Yet, his victories were ever accompanied by a uniform clemency; and that excellent prince at length obtained the success he deserved: he gained a nation of faithful subjects; whereas the duke of Alva caused his master to lose the United Provinces. Crimes, in which a number of persons are involved, are to be punished by penalties which shall equally fall on all the parties concerned: the sovereign may deprive a town of her privileges, at least, till she has fully acknowledged her fault; as to corporal punishment, let that be reserved for the authors of the disturbances, — for those incendiaries who incite the people to revolt. But tyrants alone will treat, as seditious, those brave and resolute citizens who exhort the people to preserve themselves from oppression, and to vindicate their rights and privileges: a good prince will commend such virtuous patriots, provided their zeal be tempered with moderation and prudence. If he has justice and his duty at heart, — if he aspires to that immortal and unsullied glory of being the father of his people, let him mistrust the selfish suggestions of that minister who represents to him as rebels all those citizens who do not stretch out their necks to the yoke of slavery, — who refuse tamely to crouch under the rod of arbitrary power.

§ 291. He is bound to perform the promises he has made to the rebels.

In many cases, the safest, and at the same time the most just method of appeasing seditions, is to give the people satisfaction. And if there existed no reasons to justify the insurrection (a circumstance which, perhaps, never happens), even in such case, it becomes necessary, as we have above observed, to grant an amnesty where the offenders are numerous. When the amnesty is once published and accepted, all the past must be buried in oblivion; nor must any one be called to account for what has been done during the disturbances: and, in general, the sovereign, whose word ought ever to be sacred, is bound to the faithful observance of every promise he has made, even to rebels, — I mean, to such of his subjects as have revolted without reason or necessity. If his promises are not inviolable, the rebels will have no security in treating with him: when they have once drawn the sword, they must throw away the scabbard, as one of the ancients expresses it; and the prince, destitute of the more gentle and salutary means of appeasing the revolt, will have no other remaining expedient than that of utterly exterminating the insurgents. These will become formidable through despair; compassion will bestow succours on them; their party will increase, and the state will be in danger. What would have become of France, if the leaguers had thought it unsafe to rely on the promises of Henry the Great? The same reasons which should render the faith of promises inviolable and sacred between individual and individual, between sovereign and sovereign, between enemy and enemy (Book II. §§ 163, 218, &c. and Book III. § 174), subsist in all their force between the sovereign and his insurgent or rebellious subjects. However, if they have extorted from him odious conditions, which are inimical to the happiness of the nation, or the welfare of the state, — as he has no right to do or grant any thing contrary to that grand rule of his conduct, which is at the same time the measure of his power, he may justly revoke any pernicious concessions which he has been obliged to make, provided the revocation be sanctioned by the consent of the nation, whose opinion he must take on the subject, in the manner and forms pointed out to him by the constitution of the state. But this remedy is to be used with great reserve, and only in matters of high importance, lest the faith of promises should be weakened and brought into disrepute.1

When a party is formed in a state, who no longer obey the sovereign, and are possessed of sufficient strength to oppose him, — or when, in a republic, the nation is divided into two opposite factions, and both sides take up arms, — this is called a civil war. Some writers confine this term to a just insurrection of the subjects against their sovereign, to distinguish that lawful resistance from rebellion, which is an open and unjust resistance. But what appellation will they give to a war which arises in a republic torn by two factions, — or in a monarchy, between two competitors for the crown? Custom appropriates the term of "civil war" to every war between the members of one and the same political society. If it be between part of the citizens on the one side, and the sovereign, with those who continue in obedience to him, on the other, — provided the malcontents have any reason for taking up arms, nothing further is required to entitle such disturbance to the name of civil war, and not that of rebellion. this latter term is applied only to such an insurrection against lawful authority as is void of all appearance of justice. the sovereign, indeed, never fails to bestow the appellation of rebels on all such of his subjects as openly resist him: but, when the latter have acquired sufficient strength to give him effectual opposition, and to oblige him to carry on the war against them according to the established rules, he must necessarily submit to the use of the term "civil war."

§ 293. A civil war produces two independent parties.

It is foreign to our purpose in this place to weigh the reasons which may authorize and justify a civil war: we have elsewhere treated of the cases wherein subjects may resist the sovereign (Book I. Chap IV). Setting, therefore, the justice of the cause wholly out of the question, it only remains for us to consider the maxims which ought to be observed in a civil war, and to examine whether the sovereign in particular is, on such an occasion, bound to conform to the established laws of war.

A civil war breaks the bands of society and government, or, at least, suspends their force and effect: it produces in the nation two independent parties, who consider each other as enemies, and acknowledge no common judge. Those two parties, therefore, must necessarily be considered as thenceforward constituting, at least for a time, two separate bodies, two distinct societies. Though one of the parties may have been to blame in breaking the unity of the state and resisting the lawful authority, they are not the less divided in fact. Besides, who shall judge them? who shall pronounce on which side the right or the wrong lies? On earth they have no common superior. They stand therefore in precisely the same predicament as two nations, who engage in a contest and, being unable to come to an agreement, have recourse to arms.

§ 294. They are to observe the common laws of war.

This being the case, it is very evident that the common laws of war, — those maxims of humanity, moderation, and honour, which we have already detailed in the course of this work, — ought to be observed by both parties in every civil war. For the same reasons which render the observance of those maxims a matter of obligation between state and state, it becomes equally and even more necessary in the unhappy circumstance of two incensed parties lacerating their common country. Should the sovereign conceive he has a right to hang up his prisoners as rebels, the opposite party will make reprisals:2 — if he does not religiously observe the capitulations, and all other conventions made with his enemies, they will no longer rely on his word: — should he burn and ravage, they will follow his example; the war will become cruel, horrible, and every day more destructive to the nation. The duke de Montpensier's infamous and barbarous excesses against the reformed party in France are too well known: the men were delivered up to the executioner, and the women to the brutality of the soldiers. What was the consequence? the Protestants became exasperated; they look vengeance of such inhuman practices; and the war, before sufficiently cruel as a civil and religious war, became more bloody and destructive. Who could without horror read of the savage cruelties committed by the Baron Des Adrets? By turns a Catholic and a Protestant, he distinguished himself by his barbarity on both sides. At length it became necessary to relinquish those pretensions to judicial authority over men who proved themselves capable of supporting their cause by force of arms, and to treat them, not as criminals but as enemies. Even the troops have often refused to serve in a war wherein the prince exposed them to cruel reprisals. Officers who had the highest sense of honour, though ready to shed their blood in the field of battle for his service, have not thought it any part of their duty to run the hazard of an ignominious death. Whenever, therefore, a numerous body of men think they have a right to resist the sovereign, and feel themselves in a condition to appeal to the sword, the war ought to be carried on by the contending parties in the same manner as by two different nations: and they ought to leave open the same means for preventing its being carried to outrageous extremities, and for the restoration of peace.

When the sovereign has subdued the opposite party, and reduced them to submit and sue for peace, he may except from the amnesty the authors of the disturbances, — the heads of the party: he may bring them to a legal trial, and punish them, if they be found guilty. He may act in this manner particularly on occasion of those disturbances in which the interests of the people are not so much the object in view as the private aims of some powerful individuals, and which rather deserve the appellation of revolt than ofcivil war. Such was the case of the unfortunate duke of Montmorency: — he took up arms against the king, in support of the duke of Orleans; and being defeated and taken prisoner at the battle of Castelnaudari, he lost his life on a scaffold, by the sentence of the parliament of Toulouse. If he was generally pitied by all men of worth and sentiment, it was because they viewed him rather as an opponent to the exorbitant power of an imperious minister, than as a rebel against his sovereign, — and that his heroic virtues seemed to warrant the purity of his intentions.3

§ 295. The effects of civil war distinguished according to cases.

When subjects take up arms without ceasing to acknowledge the sovereign, and only for the purpose of obtaining a redress of their grievances, there are two reasons for observing the common laws of war towards them: — First, an apprehension lest the civil war should become more cruel and destructive by the insurgents making retaliation, which, as we have already observed, they will not fail to do, in return for the severities exercised by the sovereign. 2. The danger of committing great injustice by hastily punishing those who are accounted rebels. The flames of discord and civil war are not favourable to the proceedings of pure and sacred justice: more quiet times are to be waited for. It will be wise in the prince to keep his prisoners, till, having restored tranquillity, he is able to bring them to a legal trial.

As to the other effects which the law of nations attributes to public war, see Chap. XII. of this Book, and particularly the acquisition of things taken in war, — subjects who take up arms against their sovereign without ceasing to acknowledge him, cannot lay claim to the benefit of those effects. The booty alone, the movable property carried off by the enemy, is considered as lost to the owners; but this is only on account of the difficulty of recognising it, and the numberless inconveniences which would arise from the attempt to recover it. All this is usually settled in the edict of pacification, or the act of amnesty.

But, when a nation becomes divided into two parties absolutely independent, and no longer acknowledging a common superior, the state is dissolved, and the war between the two parties stands on the same ground, in every respect, as a public war between two different nations. Whether a republic be split into two factions, each maintaining that it alone constitutes the body of the state, — or a kingdom be divided between two competitors for the crown, — the nation is severed into two parties, who will mutually term each other rebels. Thus there exist in the state two separate bodies, who pretend to absolute independence, and between whom there is no judge (§ 293). They decide their quarrel by arms, as two different nations would do. The obligation to observe the common laws of war towards each other is therefore absolute, — indispensably binding on both parties, and the same which the law of nature imposes on all nations in transactions between state and state.

§ 296. Conduct to be observed by foreign nations.

Foreign nations are not to interfere in the internal government of an independent state. (Book II. § 54, &c.) It belongs not to them to judge between the citizens whom discord has roused to arms, nor between the prince and his subjects: both parties are equally foreigners to them, and equally independent of their authority. They may, however, interpose their good offices for the restoration of peace; and this the law of nature prescribes to them. (Book II. Ch. I.) But, if their mediation proves fruitless, such of them as are not bound by any treaty, may, with the view of regulating their own conduct, take the merits of the cause into consideration, and assist the party which they shall judge to have right on its side, in case that party requests their assistance or accepts the offer of it: they are equally at liberty, I say, to do this, as to espouse the quarrel of one nation embarking in a war against another. As to the allies of the state thus distracted by civil war, they will find a rule for their conduct in the nature of their engagements, combined with the existing circumstances. Of this we have treated elsewhere. (See Book n. Chap. XII and particularly §§ 196 and 197.)

1. An instance of this occurs in the transactions which took place after the insurrection at Madrid, in 1766. At the requisition of the Cortes, the king revoked the concessions which he had been obliged to make to the insurgent populace, but he suffered the amnesty to remain in force.

2. The prince of Condé, commander of Louis XIII.'s forces against the reformed party, having hanged sixty-four officers whom he had made prisoners during the civil war, the Protestants resolved upon retaliation; and the duke de Rohan, who commanded them, caused an equal number of Catholic officers to he hanged. See Memoires de Rohan. The duke of Alva made it a practice to condemn to death every prisoner he took from the confederates in the Netherlands, They, on their part, retaliated, and at length compelled him to respect the law of nations and the rules of war in his conduct toward them. Grotius, Ann. lib. ii.

3. See the historians of the reign of Louis XIII.



§ l. What peace is.

PEACE is the reverse of war: it is that desirable state in which every one quietly enjoys his rights, or, if controverted, amicably discusses them by force of argument. Hobbes has had the boldness to assert, that war is the natural state of man. But if, by "the natural state of man," we understand (as reason requires that we should) that state to which he is destined and called by his nature, peace should rather be termed his natural state. For, it is the part of a rational being to terminate his differences by rational methods; whereas, it is the characteristic of the brute creation to decide theirs by force.1 Man, as we have already observed (Prelim. § 10), alone and destitute of succours, would necessarily be a very wretched creature. He stands in need of the intercourse and assistance of his species, in order to enjoy the sweets of life, to develop his faculties, and live in a manner suitable to his nature. Now, it is in peace alone that all these advantages are to be found: it is in peace that men respect, assist, and love each other: nor would they ever depart from that happy state, if they were not hurried on by the impetuosity of their passions, and blinded by the gross deceptions of self-love. What little we have said of the effects will be sufficient to give some idea of its various calamities; and it is an unfortunate circumstance for the human race, that the injustice of unprincipled men should so often render it inevitable.

§ 2. Obligation of cultivating it.

Nations who are really impressed with sentiments of humanity, — who seriously attend to their duty, and are acquainted with their true and substantial interests, — will never seek to promote their own advantage at the expense and detriment of other nations: however intent they may be on their own happiness, they will ever be careful to combine it with that of others, and with justice and equity. Thus disposed, they will necessarily cultivate peace. If they do not live together in peace, how can they perform those mutual and sacred duties which nature enjoins them? And this state is found to be no less necessary to their happiness than to the discharge of their duties. Thus, the law of nature every way obliges them to seek and cultivate peace. That divine law has no other end in view than the welfare of mankind: to that object all its rules and all its precepts lend: they are alt deducible from this principle, that men should seek their own felicity; and morality is no more than the art of acquiring happiness. As this is true of individuals, it is equally so of nations, as must appear evident to any one who will but take the trouble of reflecting on what we have said of their common and reciprocal duties, in the first chapter of the second book.

§ 3. The sovereign's obligation to it.

This obligation of cultivating peace binds the sovereign by a double tie. He owes this attention to his people, on whom war would pour a torrent of evils; and he owes it in the most strict and indispensable manner, since it is solely for the advantage and welfare of the nation that he is intrusted with the government. (Book I. § 39.) He owes the same attention to foreign nations, whose happiness likewise is disturbed by war. The nation's duty in this respect has been shown in the preceding chapter; and the sovereign, being invested with the public authority, is at the same time charged with all the duties of the society, or body of the nation. (Book I. § 41.)

§ 4. Extent of this duty

The nation or the sovereign ought not only to refrain, on their own part, from disturbing that peace which is so salutary to mankind: they are, moreover, bound to promote it as far as lies in their power, — to prevent others from breaking it without necessity, and to inspire them with the love of justice, equity, and public tranquillity, — in a word, with the love of peace. It is one of the best offices a sovereign can render to nations, and to the whole universe. What a glorious and amiable character is that of peace-maker! Were a powerful prince thoroughly acquainted with the advantages attending it, — were he to conceive what pure and effulgent glory he may derive from that endearing character, together with the gratitude, the love, the veneration, and the confidence of nations, — did he know what it is to reign over the hearts of men, — he would wish thus to become the benefactor, the friend, the father of mankind; and in being so, he would find infinitely more delight than in the most splendid conquests. Augustus, shutting the temple of Janus, giving peace to the universe, and adjusting the disputes of kings and nations, — Augustus, at that moment, appears the greatest of mortals, and, as it were, a god upon earth.

§ 5. Of the disturbers of the public peace.

But those disturbers of the public peace, — those scourges of the earth, who, fired by a lawless thirst of power, or impelled by the pride and ferocity of their disposition, snatch up arms without justice or reason, and sport with the quiet of mankind and the blood of their subjects, — those monstrous heroes, though almost deified by the foolish admiration of the vulgar, are in effect the most cruel enemies of the human race, and ought to be treated as such. Experience shows what a train of calamities war entails even upon nations that are not immediately engaged in it. War disturbs commerce, destroys the subsistence of mankind, raises the price of all the most necessary articles, spreads just alarms, and obliges all nations to be upon their guard, and to keep up an armed force. He, therefore, who without just cause breaks the general peace, unavoidably does an injury even to those nations which are not the objects of his arms; and by his pernicious example he essentially attacks the happiness and safety of every nation upon earth. He gives them a right to join in a general confederacy for the purpose of repressing and chastising him, and depriving him of a power which he so enormously abuses. What evils does he not bring on his own nation, lavishing her blood to gratify his inordinate passions, and exposing her to the resentment of a host of enemies! A famous minister of the last century has justly merited the indignation of his country, by involving her in unjust or unnecessary wars. If by his abilities and indefatigable application, he procured her distinguished successes in the field of battle, he drew on her, at least for a time, the execration of all Europe.

§ 6. How far war may be continued.

The love of peace should equally prevent us from embarking in a war without necessity, and from persevering in it after the necessity has ceased to exist. When a sovereign has been compelled to take up arms for just and important reasons, he may carry on the operations of war till he has attained its lawful end, which is, to procure justice and safety. (Book III § 28.)

If the cause be dubious, the just end of war can only be to bring the enemy to an equitable compromise (Book III. § 38); and consequently the war must not be continued beyond that point. The moment our enemy proposes or consents to such compromise, it is our duty to desist from hostilities.

But if we have to do with a perfidious enemy, it would be imprudent to trust either his words or his oaths. In sucli case, justice allows and prudence requires that we should avail ourselves of a successful war, and follow up our advantages, till we have humbled a dangerous and excessive power, or compelled the enemy to give us sufficient security for the time to come.

Finally, if the enemy obstinately rejects equitable conditions, he himself forces us to continue our progress till we have obtained a complete and decisive victory, by which he is absolutely reduced and subjected. The use to be made of victory has been shown above. (Book III. Chap. VIII., IX., XIII.)

§ 7. Peace the end of war.

When one of the parties is reduced to sue for peace, or both are weary of the war, then thoughts of an accommodation are entertained, and the conditions are agreed on. Thus peace steps in and puts a period to the war.

§ 8. General effects of peace.

The general and necessary effects of peace are the reconciliation of enemies and the cessation of hostilities on both sides. It restores the two nations to their natural state.

1. Nam cum sint duo genera decertandi, unum per disceptationem, alterum per vim, — cumque illud proprium sit hominis, hoc belluarum, — confuglendum est ad posterius, si ut non licet superiore. Cicero, de Offic. lib. i. cap. 11.


§ 9. Definition of a treaty of peace.(188)

WHEN the belligerent powers have agreed to lay down their arms, the agreement or contract in which they stipulate the conditions of peace, and regulate the manner in which it is to be restored and supported, is called the treaty of peace.

§ 10. By whom it may be concluded.

The same power who has the right of making war, of determining on it, of declaring it, and of directing its operations, has naturally that likewise of making and concluding the treaty of peace.(189) These two powers are connected together, and the latter naturally follows from the former. If the ruler of the state is empowered to judge of the causes and reasons for which war is to be undertaken, — of the time and circumstances proper for commencing it, — of the manner in which it is to be supported and carried on, — it is therefore his province also to set bounds to its progress, to point out the time when it shall be discontinued, and to conclude a peace. But this power does not necessarily include that of granting or accepting whatever conditions he pleases, with a view to peace. Though the state has intrusted to the prudence of her ruler the general care of determining on war and peace, yet she may have limited his power in many particulars by the fundamental laws. Thus, Francis the First, king of France, had the absolute disposal of war and peace: and yet the assembly of Cognac declared that he had no authority to alienate any part of the kingdom by a treaty of peace. (See Book I. § 265.)

A nation that has the free disposal of her domestic affairs, and the form of her government, may intrust a single person, or an assembly, with the power of making peace, although she has not given them that of making war. Of this we have an instance in Sweden, where, since the death of Charles XII., the king cannot declare war without the consent of the states assembled in diet; but he may make peace in conjunction with the senate. It is less dangerous for a nation to intrust her rulers with this latter power, than with the former. She may reasonably expect that they will not make peace till it suits with the interest of the state. But their passions, their own interest, their private views, too often influence their resolutions where there is question of undertaking a war. Besides, it must be a very dangerous peace, indeed, that is not preferable to war, whereas, on the other hand, to exchange peace for war is always very hazardous.

When a prince, who is possessed only of limited authority, has a power to make peace, as he cannot of himself grant whatever conditions he pleases, it is incumbent on those who wish to treat with him on sure grounds, to require that the treaty of peace be ratified by the nation, or by those who are empowered to perform the stipulations contained in it. If, for instance, any potentate, in negotiating a treaty of peace with Sweden, requires a defensive alliance or guarantee as the condition, this stipulation will not be valid, unless approved and accepted by the diet, who alone have the power of carrying it into effect. The kings of England are authorized to conclude treaties of peace and alliance; but they cannot, by those treaties, alienate any of the possessions of the crown without the consent of parliament. Neither can they, without the concurrence of that body, raise any money in the kingdom; wherefore, whenever they conclude any subsidiary treaty, it is their constant rule to lay it before the parliament, in order that they may be certain of the concurrence of that assembly to enable them to make good their engagements. When the emperor Charles V. required of Francis the First, his prisoner, such conditions as that king could not grant without consent of the nation, he should have detained him till the states-general of France had ratified the treaty of Madrid, and Burgundy had acquiesced in it: thus he would not have lost the fruits of his victory by an oversight which appears very surprising in a prince of his abilities.

§ 11. Alienations made by a treaty of peace.

We shall not repeat here what we have said on a former occasion concerning the alienation of a part of the state (Book I. §§ 263, &c.) or of the whole state. (Ibid. §§ 68, &c.) We shall therefore content ourselves with observing, that, in case of a pressing necessity, such as is produced by the events of an unfortunate war, the alienations made by the prince, in order to save the remainder of the state, are considered as approved and ratified by the mere silence of the nation, when she has not, in the form of her government, retained some easy and ordinary method of giving her express consent, and has lodged an absolute power in the prince's hands. The states-general are abolished in France by disuse, and by the tacit consent of the nation. Whenever, therefore, that kingdom is reduced to any calamitous exigency, it belongs to the king alone to determine by what sacrifices he may purchase peace: and his enemies will treat with him on a sure footing. It would be a vain plea on the part of the people, to say that it was only through fear they acquiesced in the abolition of the states-general. The fact is, that they did acquiesce, and thereby suffered the king to acquire all the powers necessary for contracting with foreign states in the name of the nation. In every state there must necessarily be some power with which other nations may treat on secure grounds. A certain historian1says, that, "by the fundamental laws, the kings of France cannot, to the prejudice of their successors, renounce any of their rights, by any treaty, whether voluntary or compulsory." The fundamental laws may indeed withhold from the king the power of alienating, without the nation's consent, what belongs to the state; but they cannot invalidate an alienation or renunciation made with that consent.2

And if the nation has permitted matters to proceed to such lengths that she now has no longer any means of expressly declaring her consent, her silence alone, on such occasions, is in reality a tacit consent. Otherwise there would be no possibility of treating on sure grounds with such a state; and her pretending thus beforehand to invalidate all future treaties would be an infringement of the law of nations, which ordains that all states should retain the means of treating with each other (Book I, § 262), and should observe their treaties. (Book II. §§ 163, 269, &c.)

It is to be observed, however, that in our examination whether the consent of the nation be requisite for alienating any part of the state, we mean such parts as are still in the nation's possession, and not those which have fallen into the enemy's hands during the course of the war: for, as these latter are no longer possessed by the nation, it is the sovereign alone, if invested with the full and absolute administration of the government, and with the power of making war and peace, — it is he alone, I say, who is to judge whether it be expedient to relinquish those parts of the state, or to continue the war for the recovery of them. And even though it should be pretended that he cannot by his own single authority make any valid alienation of them, — he has, nevertheless, according to our supposition, that is, if invested with full and absolute power, — he has, I say, a right to promise that the nation shall never again take up arms for the recovery of those lands, towns, or provinces, which he relinquishes: and this suffices for securing the quiet possession of them to the enemy into whose hands they are fallen.

§ 12. How the sovereign may in a treaty dispose of what concerns individuals.

The necessity of making peace authorizes the sovereign to dispose of the property of individuals; and the eminent domain gives him a right to do it (Book I. § 244). He may even, to a certain degree, dispose of their persons, by virtue of the power which he has over all his subjects. But as it is for the public advantage that he thus disposes of them, the state is bound to indemnify the citizens who are sufferers by the transaction. (Ibid.)

§ 13. Whether a king, being a prisoner of war, can make peace.

Every impediment by which the prince is disabled from administering the affairs of government, undoubtedly deprives him of the power of making peace. Thus a king cannot make a treaty of peace during his minority, or while in a state of mental derangement: this assertion does not stand in need of any proof: but the question is, whether a king can conclude a peace while he is a prisoner of war, and whether the treaty thus made be valid? Some celebrated authors3 here draw a distinction between a monarch whose kingdom is patrimonial, and another who has only the usufructus of his dominions. We think we have overthrown that false and dangerous idea of a patrimonial kingdom (Book I. §§ 68, &c.), and evidently shown that the notion ought not to be extended beyond the bare power with which a sovereign is sometimes intrusted, of nominating his successor, of appointing a new prince to rule over the state, and dismembering some parts of it, if he thinks it expedient; — the whole, however, to be uniformly done for the good of the nation, and with a view to her greater advantage. Every legitimate government, whatever it be, is established solely for the good and welfare of the state. This incontestable principle being once laid down, the making of peace is no longer the peculiar province of the king; it belongs to the nation. Now it is certain that a captive prince cannot administer the government, or attend to the management of public affairs. How shall he who is not free command a nation? How can he govern it in such manner as best to promote the advantage of the people, and the public welfare? He does not, indeed, forfeit his rights; but his captivity deprives him of the power of exercising them, as he is not in a condition to direct the use of them to its proper and legitimate end. He stands in the same predicament as a king in his minority, or labouring under a derangement of his mental faculties. In such circumstances, it is necessary that the person or persons whom the laws of the state designate for the regency should assume the reins of government. To them it belongs to treat of peace, to settle the terms on which it shall be made, and to bring it to a conclusion, in conformity to the laws.

The captive sovereign may himself negotiate the peace, and promise what personally depends on him: but the treaty does not become obligatory on the nation till ratified by herself, or by those who are invested with the public authority during the prince's captivity, or, finally, by the sovereign himself after his release.

But, if it is a duty incumbent on the state to use her best efforts for procuring the release of the most inconsiderable of her citizens who has lost his liberty in the public cause, the obligation is much stronger in the case of her sovereign, whose cares, attention, and labours are devoted to the common safety and welfare. It was in fighting for his people that the prince, who has been made prisoner, fell into that situation, which, to a person of his exalted rank, must be wretched in the extreme: and shall that very people hesitate to deliver him at the expense of the greatest sacrifices? On so melancholy an occasion, they should not demur at any thing short of the very existence of the state. But, in every exigency, the safety of the people is the supreme law; and, in so severe an extremity, a generous prince will imitate the example of Regulus, That heroic citizen, being sent back to Rome on his parole, dissuaded the Romans from purchasing his release by an inglorious treaty, though he was not ignorant of the tortures prepared for him by the cruelty of the Carthaginians.4

§ 14. Whether peace can be made with an usurper

When an unjust conqueror, or any other usurper, has invaded the kingdom, he becomes possessed of all the powers of government when once the people have submitted to him, and, by a voluntary homage, acknowledged him as their sovereign. Other states, as having no right to intermeddle with the domestic concerns of that nation, or to interfere in her government, are bound to abide by her decision, and to look no farther than the circumstances of actual possession. They may, therefore, broach and conclude a treaty of peace with the usurper. They do not thereby infringe the right of the lawful sovereign: it is not their business to examine and judge of that right: they leave it as it is, and only look to the possession in all the affairs they have to transact with that kingdom, pursuant to their own rights and those of the nation whose sovereignty is contested. But this rule does not preclude them from espousing the quarrel of the dethroned monarch, and assisting him, if he appears to have justice on his side: they then declare themselves enemies of the nation which has acknowledged his rival, as, when two different states are at war, they are at liberty to assist either party whose pretensions appear to be best founded.

§ 15. Allies included in the treaty of peace.

The principal in the war, the sovereign in whose name it has been carried on, cannot justly make a peace without including his allies, — I mean those who have given him assistance without directly taking part in the war. This precaution is necessary, in order to secure them from the resentment of live enemy: for though the latter has no right to take offence against his adversary's allies, whose engagements were purely of a defensive nature, and who have done nothing more than faithfully execute their treaties (Book III. § 101) — yet it too frequently happens that the conduct of men is influenced by their passions rather than by justice and reason. If the alliance was not of prior date to the commencement of the war, and was formed with a view to that very war, — although these new allies do not engage in the contest with all their force, nor directly as principals, they nevertheless give to the prince against whom they have joined, just cause to treat them as enemies. The sovereign, therefore, whom they have assisted, must not omit including them in the peace.

But the treaty concluded by the principal is no farther obligatory on his allies than as they are willing to accede to it, unless they have given him full power to treat for them. By including them in his treaty, he only acquires a right, with respect to his reconciled enemy, of insisting that he shall not attack those allies on account of the succours they have furnished against him, — that he shall not molest them, but shall live in peace with them as if nothing had happened.

§ 16. Associates to treat each for himself.

Sovereigns who have associated in a war, — all those who have directly taken part in it, — are respectively to make their treaties of peace, each for himself. Such was the mode adopted at Nimeguen, at Ryswick, and at Utrecht. But the alliance obliges them to treat in concert. To determine in what cases an associate may detach himself from the alliance, and make a separate peace, is a question which we have examined in treating of associations in war (Book III. Chap. VI.), and of alliances in general (Book II. Chap. XII. and XV.).

§ 17. Mediation.

It frequently happens that two nations, though equally tired of the war, do nevertheless continue it merely from a fear of making the first advances to an accommodation, as these may be imputed to weakness; or they persist in it from animosity, and contrary to their real interests. On such occasions, some common friends of the parties effectually interpose, by offering themselves as mediators. There cannot be a more beneficent office, and more becoming a great prince, than that of reconciling two nations at war, and thus putting a stop to the effusion of human blood: it is the indispensable duty of those who have the means of performing it with success. This is the only reflection we shall here make on a subject we have already discussed (Book II. § 328).

§ 18. On what footing peace may be concluded.

A treaty of peace can be no more than a compromise. Were the rules of strict and rigid justice to be observed in it, so that each party should precisely receive every thing to which he has a just title, it would be impossible ever to make a peace. First, with regard to the very subject which occasioned the war, one of the parties would be under a necessity of acknowledging himself in the wrong, and condemning hie own just pretensions: which he will hardly do, unless reduced to the last extremity. But if he owns the injustice of his cause, he must at the same time condemn every measure he has pursued in support of it: he must restore what he has unjustly taken, must reimburse the expenses of the war, and repair the damages. And how can a just estimate of all the damages be formed: What price can be set on all the blood that has been shed, the loss of such a number of citizens, and the ruin of families! Nor is this all. Strict justice would further demand, that the author of an unjust war should suffer a penalty proportioned to the injuries for which he owes satisfaction, and such as might insure the future safety of him whom he attacked. How shall the nature of that penalty be determined, and the degree of it be precisely regulated? In fine, even he who had justice on his side may have transgressed the bounds of justifiable self-defence, and been guilty of improper excesses in the prosecution of a war whose object was originally lawful: here then are so many wrongs, of which strict justice would demand reparation. He may have made conquests and taken booty beyond the value of his claim. Who shall make an exact calculation, a just estimate of this? Since, therefore, it would be dreadful to perpetuate the war, or to pursue it to the utter ruin of one of the parties, — and since, however just the cause in which we are engaged, we must at length turn our thoughts towards the restoration of peace, and ought to direct all our measures to the attainment of that salutary object, — no other expedient remains than that of coming to a compromise respecting all claims and grievances on both sides, and putting an end to all disputes by a convention as fair and equitable as circumstances will admit of. In such conventions, no decision is pronounced on the original cause of the war, or on those controversies to which the various acts of hostility might give rise; nor is either of the parties condemned as unjust, — a condemnation to which few princes would submit; — but, a simple agreement is formed, which determines what equivalent each party shall receive in extinction of all his pretensions.

§ 19. General effect of the treaty of peace.

The effect of the treaty of peace is to put an end to the war, and to abolish the subject of it. It leaves the contracting parties no right to commit any acts of hostility on account either of the subject itself which had given rise to the war, or, of any thing that was done during its continuance: wherefore they cannot lawfully take up arms again for the same subject. Accordingly, in such treaties, the contracting parties reciprocally engage to preserve perpetual peace: which is not to be understood as if they promised never to make war on each other for any cause whatever. The peace in question relates to the war which it terminates: and it is in reality perpetual, inasmuch as it does not allow them to revive the same war, by taking up arms again for the same subject which had originally given birth to it.

A special compromise, however, only extinguishes the particular means to which it relates, and does not preclude any subsequent pretensions to the object itself, on other grounds. Care is therefore usually taken to require a general compromise, which shall embrace not only the existing controversy, but the very thing itself which is the subject of that controversy: stipulation is made for a general renunciation of all pretensions whatever to the thing in question: and thus, although the party renouncing might in the sequel be able to demonstrate by new reasons that the thing did really belong to him, his claim would not be admitted.

§ 20. Amnesty.

An amnesty is a perfect oblivion of the past; and the end of peace being to extinguish all subjects of discord, this should be the leading article of the treaty: and accordingly, such is at present the constant practice. But though the treaty should be wholly silent on this head, the amnesty, by the very nature of the peace, is necessarily implied in it.

§ 21. Things not mentioned in the treaty.

As each of the belligerent powers maintains that he has justice on his side, — and as their pretensions are not liable to be judged by others (Book III. § 188), — whatever state things happen to be in at the time of the treaty is to be considered as their legitimate state; and if the parties intend to make any change in it, they must expressly specify it in the treaty. Consequently all things not mentioned in the treaty are to remain on the same footing on which they stand at the period when it is concluded. This is also a consequence of the promised amnesty. All damages caused during the war are likewise buried in oblivion; and no action can be brought for those of which the treaty does not stipulate the reparation: they are considered as having never happened.

§ 22. Things not included in the compromise or amnesty.

But the effect of the compromise or amnesty cannot be extended to things which have no relation to the war that is terminated by the treaty. Thus, claims founded on a debt, or on an injury which had been done prior to the war, but which made no part of the reasons for undertaking it, still stand on their former footing, and are not abolished by the treaty, unless it be expressly extended to the extinction of every claim whatever. The case is the same with debts contracted during the war, but for causes which have no relation to it, — or with injuries done during its continuance, but which have no connection with the state of warfare.

Debts contracted with individuals, or injuries which they may have received from any other quarter, without relation to the war, are likewise not abolished by the compromise and amnesty, as these solely relate to their own particular object, — that is to say, to the war, its causes, and its effects. Thus, if two subjects of the belligerent powers make a contract together in a neutral country, or if the one there receives an injury from the other, — the performance of the contract, or the reparation of the injury and damage, may be prosecuted after the conclusion of the treaty of peace.

Finally, if the treaty expresses that all things shall be restored to the state in which they were before the war, this clause is understood to relate only to immovable possessions, and cannot be extended to movables, or booty, which immediately becomes the property of the captors, and is looked on as relinquished by the former owners on account of the difficulty of recognising it, and the little hope they entertain of ever recovering it.

§ 23. Former treaties, mentioned and confirmed in the new, are a part of it.

When the last-made treaty mentions and confirms other treaties of prior date, these constitute a part of the new one, no less than if they were literally transcribed and included in it: and any new articles relating to former conventions are to be interpreted according to the rules which we have laid down in a preceding part of this work (Book II. Chap. XVII. and particularly § 286).

(188) Upon the subject of treaties in general, and their construction, see ante, book ii. ch. xii. p. 192-274. Whilst examining the sections of Vattel relative to treaties, it will be found advisable to read the modern treaties, which are collected in Chitty's Commercial Law, latter part of vol. 2. — C.

(189) Ante, 292-2; and see Hoop, 1 Rob. Rep. 196, Id.; 1 Chitty's Com. L. 378. — C.

1. The abbé de Choisi, Hist. de Charles V. p. 492.

2. The renunciation made by Anne of Austria, consort of Louis the Thirteenth, was good and valid, because it was confirmed by the general assembly of the Cortes, and registered in all the offices. The case was otherwise with that made by Anna Theresa, which was not sanctioned by those formalities — consequently, not stamped with the national approbation, and the character of a law of the state. The cardinals who examined this affair by order of the pope, whom Charles II. had consulted, paid no regard to Maria Theresa's renunciation, as not deeming it of sufficient force to invalidate the laws of the country, and to supersede the established custom. — Memoirs of M. de St. Philippe, vol. i. p. 29. — Ed. A.D. 1797.

3. See Wolf. Jus Gent. § 982.

4. See Tit. Liv. Epitom. lib. xviii. and other historians.


§ 24. When the obligation of the treaty commences.

A TREATY of peace becomes obligatory on the contracting parties from the moment of its conclusion, — the moment it has passed through all the necessary forms: and they are bound to have it carried into execution without delay.1 From that instant all hostilities must cease, unless a particular day has been specified for the commencement of the peace. But this treaty does not bind the subjects until it is duly notified to them. The case is the same in this instance as in that of a truce (Book II. § 239). If it should happen that military men, acting within the extent of their functions and pursuant to the rules of their duty, commit any acts of hostility before they have authentic information of the treaty of peace, it is a misfortune, for which they are not punishable: but the sovereign, on whom the treaty of peace is already obligatory, is bound to order and enforce the restitution of all captures made subsequent to its conclusion: he has no right whatever to retain them.

§ 25. Publication of the peace.

And in order to prevent those unhappy accidents, by which many innocent persons may lose their lives, public notice of the peace is to be given without delay, at least to the troops. But at present, as the body of the people cannot of themselves undertake any act of hostility, and do not personally engage in the war, the solemn proclamation of the peace may be deferred, provided that care be taken to put a stop to all hostilities: which is easily done by means of the generals who direct the operations, or by proclaiming an armistice at the head of the armies. The peace of 1735, between the emperor and France, was not proclaimed till long after. The proclamation was postponed till the treaty was digested at leisure, — the most important points having been already adjusted in the preliminaries. The publication of the peace replaces the two nations in the state they were in before the war. It again opens a free intercourse between them, and reinstates the subjects on both sides in the enjoyment of those mutual privileges which the state of war had suspended. On the publication, the treaty becomes a law to the subjects: and they are thenceforward bound to conform to the regulations stipulated therein. If, for instance, the treaty imports that one of the two nations shall abstain from a particular branch of commerce, every subject of that nation, from the time of the treaty's being made public, is obliged to renounce that commerce.

§ 26. Time of the execution.

When no particular time has been assigned for the execution of the treaty, and the performance of the several articles, common sense dictates that every point should be carried into effect as soon as possible: and it was, no doubt, in this light that the contracting parties understood the matter. The faith of treaties equally forbids all neglect, tardiness, and studied delays, in the execution of them.

§ 27. A lawful excuse to be admitted.

But in this affair, as in every other, a legitimate excuse, founded on a real and insurmountable obstacle, is to be admitted; for nobody is bound to perform impossibilities. The obstacle, when it does not arise from any fault on the side of the promising party, vacates a promise which cannot be made good by an equivalent, and of which the performance cannot be deferred to another time. If the promise can be fulfilled on another occasion, a suitable prolongation of the time must be allowed. Suppose one of the contracting nations has, by the treaty of peace, promised the other a body of auxiliary troops: she will not be bound to furnish them, if she happen to stand in urgent need of them for her own defence. Suppose she has promised a certain yearly quantity of corn: it cannot be demanded at a time when she herself labours under a scarcity of provisions; but, on the return of plenty, she is bound to make good the quantity in arrear, if required.

§ 28. The promise is void when the party to whom it was made has himself hindered the performance of it.

It is further held as a maxim, that the promiser is absolved from his promise, when, after he has made his preparations for performing it according to the tenor of his engagement, he is prevented from fulfilling it, by the party himself to whom it was made. The promisee is deemed to dispense with the fulfilment of a promise of which he himself obstructs the execution. Let us therefore add, that if he who had promised a thing by a treaty of peace was ready to perform it at the time agreed on, or immediately and at a proper time if there was no fixed term, — and the other party would not admit of it, the promisor is discharged from his promise: for the promisee, not having reserved to himself a right to regulate the performance of it at his own pleasure, is accounted to renounce it by not accepting of it in proper season and at the time for which the promise was made. Should he desire that the performance be deferred till another time, the promisor is in honour bound to consent to the prolongation, unless he can show by very good reasons that the promise would then become more inconvenient to him.

§ 29. Cessation of contributions.

To levy contributions is an act of hostility which ought to cease as soon as peace is concluded (§ 24). Those which are already promised, but not yet paid, are a debt actually due; and, as such, the payment may be insisted on. But, in order to obviate all difficulty, it is proper that the contracting parties should clearly and minutely explain their intentions respecting matters of this nature; and they are generally careful to do so.

§ 30. Products of the thing restored or ceded.

The fruits and profits of those things which are restored by a treaty of peace are due from the instant appointed for carrying it into execution: and if no particular period has been assigned, they are due from the moment when the restitution of the things themselves was agreed to: but those which were already received or become payable before the conclusion of the peace, are not comprised in the restitution; for the fruits and profits belong to the owner of the soil; and, in the case in question, possession is accounted a lawful title. For the same reason, in making a cession of the soil, we do not include in that cession the rents and profits antecedently due. This Augustus justly maintained against Sextus Pompey, who, on receiving a grant of the Peloponnesus, claimed the imposts of the preceding years.2

§ 31. In what condition things are to be restored.

Those things, of which the restitution is, without further explanation, simply stipulated in the treaty of peace, are to be restored in the same state in which they were when taken: for the word "restitution" naturally implies that every thing should be replaced in its former condition. Thus, the restitution of a thing is to be accompanied with that of all the rights which were annexed to it when taken. But this rule must not be extended to comprise those changes which may have been the natural consequences and effects of the war itself and of its operations. A town is to be restored in the condition it was in when taken, as far as it still remains in that condition at the conclusion of the peace. But if the town has been razed or dismantled during the war, that damage was done by the right of arms, and is buried in oblivion by the act of amnesty. We are under no obligation to repair the ravages that have been committed in a country which we restore at the peace; we restore it in its existing state, but, as it would be a flagrant perfidy to ravage that country after the conclusion of the peace, the case is the same with respect to a town whose fortifications have escaped the devastation of war: to dismantle it previous to the restoration would be a violation of good faith and honour. If the captor has repaired the breaches, and put the place in the same state it was in before the siege, he is bound to restore it in that state. If he has added any new works, he may indeed demolish these: but if he has razed the ancient fortifications, and constructed others on a new plan, it will be necessary to come to a particular agreement respecting this improvement, or accurately to define in what condition the place shall be restored. Indeed this last precaution should in every case be adopted, in order to obviate all dispute and difficulty. In drawing up an instrument solely intended for the restoration of peace, it should be the object of the parties to leave, if possible, no ambiguity whatever, — nothing which may have a tendency to rekindle the flames of war. I am well aware, however, that this is not the practice of those who value themselves now-a-days on their superior abilities in negotiation: on the contrary, they study to introduce obscure or ambiguous clauses into a treaty of peace, in order to furnish their sovereign with a pretext for broaching a new quarrel and taking up arms again on the first favourable opportunity. How contrary such pitiful finesse is to the faith of treaties, we have already observed (Book II, § 231): it is a disparagement of that candour and magnanimity which should beam forth in all the actions of a great prince.

§ 32. The interpretation of a treaty of peace is to be against the superior party.(190)

But, as it is extremely difficult wholly to avoid ambiguity in a treaty, though worded with the greatest care and the most honourable intentions, — and to obviate every doubt which may arise in the application of its several clauses to particular cases, — recourse must often be had to the rules of interpretation. We have already devoted an entire chapter to the exposition of those important rules:3 wherefore, instead of entering at present into tedious repetitions, we shall confine ourselves to a few rules more particularly adapted to the special case before us, — the interpretation of treaties of peace. 1. In case of doubt, the interpretation goes against him who prescribed the terms of the treaty: for as it was in some measure dictated by him, it was his own fault if he neglected to express himself more clearly: and by extending or restricting the signification of the expressions to that meaning which is least favourable to him, we either do him no injury, or we only do him that to which he has wilfully exposed himself; whereas, by adopting a contrary mode of interpretation, we would incur the risk of converting vague or ambiguous terms into so many snares to entrap the weaker party in the contract, who has been obliged to subscribe to what the stronger had dictated.

§ 33. Names of ceded countries.

2. The names of countries ceded by treaty are to be understood according to the usage prevailing at the time among skilful and intelligent men: for it is not to be presumed that weak or ignorant persons should be intrusted with so important a concern as that of concluding a treaty of peace; and the articles of a contract are to be understood of what the contracting parties most probably had in contemplation, since the object in contemplation is the motive and ground of every contract.

§ 34. Restoration not to be understood of those who have voluntarily given themselves up.

3. The treaty of peace naturally and of itself relates only to the war which it terminates. It is, therefore, in such relation only, that its vague clauses are to be understood. Thus, the simple stipulation of restoring things to their former condition does not relate to changes which have not been occasioned by the war itself: consequently, this general clause cannot oblige either of the parties to set at liberty a free people who have voluntarily given themselves up to him during the war. And as a people, when abandoned by their sovereign, become free, and may provide for their own safety in whatever manner they think most advisable (Book I. § 202) — if such people, during the course of the war have voluntarily, and without military compulsion, submitted and given themselves up to the enemy of their former sovereign, the general promise of restoring conquests shall not extend to them. It were an unavailing plea, to allege that the party who requires all things to be replaced on their former footing may have an interest in the independence of the former of those people, and that he evidently has a very great one in the restoration of the latter. If he wished to obtain things which the general clause does not of itself comprise, he should have clearly and specifically expressed his intentions relative to them. Stipulations of every kind may be inserted in a treaty of peace; but if they bear no relation to the war which it is the view of the contracting parties to bring to a conclusion, they must be very expressly specified; for the treaty is naturally understood to relate only to its own particular object.

1. It is an essential point to neglect none of the formalities which can insure the execution of the treaty, and prevent new disputes. Accordingly, care must be taken to have it duly recorded in all the proper offices and courts. M. Van Benningen, writing to the Grand Pensionary De Witt, in 1662, thus observes — "The articles and conditions of this alliance contain various matters of different natures, the majority of which fall under the cognisance of the privy council, — several under that of the civil tribunals, the parliaments, &c. — escheatage, for instance, which comes under the cognisance of des comptes [exchequer]. Thus, the treaty must be recorded in all those different places." This advice was followed; and the states-general required that the treaty conducted the same year should be recorded in all the parliaments of the kingdom. See the king's reply on this subject, in his letter to the Count D'Estrades, page 399. — Edit A.D. 1797.

2. Applan, de Bell. Civ. lib. v., quoted by Grotius, lib. ii. cap. 20, § 22.

(190) As to the construction of treaties in general, see Book II. Chap. XVII. § 262, ante, 244. — C.

3. Book II. Chap. XVII. ante, 244-274.


§ 35. The treaty of peace binds the nation and successors.

THE treaty of peace concluded by a lawful power is undoubtedly a public treaty, and obligatory on the whole nation (Book II. § 154). It is likewise, by its nature, a real treaty; for if its duration had been limited to the life of the sovereign, it would be only a truce, and not a treaty of peace. Besides, every treaty which, like this, is made with a view to the public good, is a real treaty (Book II. § 198). It is therefore as strongly binding on the successors as on the prince himself who signed it, since it binds the state itself, and the successors can never have, in this respect, any other rights than those of the state.

§ 36. It is to be faithfully observed.

After all we have said on the faith of treaties and the indispensable obligation which they impose, it would be superfluous to use many words in showing how religiously treaties of peace in particular should be observed both by sovereigns and people. These treaties concern and bind whole nations; they are of the highest importance; the breach of them infallibly rekindles the flames of war; — all which considerations give additional force to the obligation of keeping our faith, and punctually fulfilling our promises.

§ 37. The plea of fear or force does not dis-

We cannot claim a dispensation from the observance of a treaty of peace, by alleging that it was extorted from us by fear, or wrested from us by force. In the first place, were this plea admitted, it would destroy, from the very foundations, all the security of treaties of peace; for there are few treaties of that kind, which might not be made to afford such a pretext, as a cloak for the faithless violation of them. To authorize such an evasion would be a direct attack on the common safety and welfare of nations: — the maxim would be detestable, for the same reasons which have universally established the sacredness of treaties (Book II. § 220). Besides, it would generally be disgraceful and ridiculous to advance such a plea. At the present day, it seldom happens that either of the belligerent parties perseveres to the last extremity before he will consent to a peace. Though a nation may have lost several battles, she can still defend herself: as long as she has men and arms remaining, she is not destitute of all resource. If she thinks fit, by a disadvantageous treaty, to procure a necessary peace, — if by great sacrifices she delivers herself from imminent danger or total ruin, — the residue which remains in her possession is still an advantage for which she is indebted to the peac