Front Page Titles (by Subject) CHAPTER XVII: Of Neuters in War. - The Rights of War and Peace (2005 ed.) vol. 3 (Book III)
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CHAPTER XVII: Of Neuters in War. - Hugo Grotius, The Rights of War and Peace (2005 ed.) vol. 3 (Book III) 
The Rights of War and Peace, edited and with an Introduction by Richard Tuck, from the Edition by Jean Barbeyrac (Indianapolis: Liberty Fund, 2005). Vol. 3.
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Of Neuters in War.
I.From Neuters nothing is to be taken but upon extream Necessity, and with restoring the full Value.I. It may seem needless for us to treat of those that are not engaged in the War, when it is manifest that the Right of War cannot affect them; but because, upon Occasion of War, many Things are done against them on Pretence of Necessity, it may be proper here, briefly to repeat what we have already mentioneda before, that the Necessity must be really extream, to give any Right to another’s Goods. That it is requisite, that the Proprietor be not himself in the like Necessity. When real Necessity urges us to take, we should then take no more than what it requires. That is, if the bare keeping of it be enough, we ought to leave the Use of it to the Proprietor; and if the Use be necessary, we ought not to consume it; and if we cannot help consuming it, we ought to return the full Value of it.
II.Examples of Abstinence, and some Precepts.II. 1. Moses, when he was obliged of Necessity to pass with the Israelites through the Country of the Edomites, he first offers to go through the Highway, and not to touch their Fields or Vineyards, and if they should want Water they would pay for it, Numb. xx. 17. The same did the Generals of the most renowned Probity amongst the Greeks and Romans. The Greeks, in1Xenophon, under Clearchus, promise the Persians to march without doing any Damage; and if they would sell them Provisions, they would not by Force take Meat or Drink from any one.
2. Dercyllides, in the same Xenophon,2led his Army through neutral Countries, without any Injury to the Confederates. Livy3 tells us of King Perseus, He returned into his own Kingdom, through Pthiotis, Achaia, and Thessaly, without any Damage to the Country. And Plutarch, of the Army under Agis the Spartan, They were a Sight to all the Cities of Greece,4marching through Peloponnesus inoffensively, civilly, and almost without any Noise. Thus Velleius says of Sylla,5You would think he came into Italy, not as a revengeful General, but as a Peace-maker, he marched his Army so quietly through Calabria and Apulia, with such particular Care of the Fruits, the Fields, the Cities, and the Men, as far as Campania.6 And Tully, of Pompey the Great, Whose Legions so marched into Asia, as not only the Hands of so great an Army, but not even so much as their Feet, could be said to have done the least Damage to any one that was peaceable. And Frontinus,7 of Domitian, When he built Forts on the Frontiers of Ubii, he ordered the Fruits of those Places which he was to intrench, to be appraised and paid for; and the Fame of that particular Act of Justice, gained him the Credit of all Men. And Lampridius, of Severus’s Parthian Expedition,8He managed it with so much Discipline, and so great a Reverence to his own Person, that his Men seemed rather Senators than Soldiers: The Tribunes so ready, the Captains so modest, the Soldiers so friendly, that wheresoever they came, the Country People, for so many and extraordinary Benefits, honoured him as a God. The Panegyrist speaks9 of the Goths, Huns, and Alani,<681> that served under Theodosius, No Noise, no Confusion, no Plundering was there, as from Barbarians; but if their Provisions happened to fall short, they bore it patiently, and proportioned every one’s Allowance to their Numbers. And Claudian attributes the same to Stilico.
And11Suidas to Belisarius.
3. This was brought about by those famous Warriors, by taking great12 Care to provide for the Subsistence of their Army, by paying their Troops well, and by observing a strict Discipline, whose chief Law13Ammianus says is, That the Countries of those at Peace with us should not be wasted. And in Vopiscus,14Let no one dare to take away a Chicken of another Man’s, let none touch a Sheep, let none pluck a Grape, let none tread down the Corn, and let none demand Oil, Salt, or Wood. And so in Cassiodore,15Let them live with the Provincials according to the Civil<682> Law, neither let them grow Insolent, because they are armed; for the Shields of our Army ought to protect those who wear none. To which we may add that in the sixth Book of Xenophon’s Expedition,16We must not pretend to compel a State at Peace with us to give any Thing against their Will.
4. From which Passages we may best understand that Advice of the great Prophet, even of him that was more than a Prophet, Luke iii. 14. Offer Violence to no Man,17accuse no Man falsly, and18be content with your Wages. To which agrees that of Aurelian in Vopiscus in the aforequoted Place,19Let him be content with his Allowance, let him live rather on the Spoil of the Enemy, than the Tears of the Provincials. Neither may any one think that this is only finely spoken, but not to be practised. For neither would so holy a Man (as St. John) advise, or wise Law-Makers command what they believed not possible to be done. Lastly,20 What has been done we must necessarily own possible to be done. Therefore we have brought several Examples. To which we may add, that remarkable one21 which Frontinus mentions out of Scaurus, that an Apple Tree full of Fruit standing within the Compass of the Ground where the Camp was pitched, was the next Day, after the Army was gone, found with its Fruit untouched.
5. Livy22 relating how insolently the Roman Soldiers behaved in their Camp at Sucro, and that some of them in the Night-time pillaged the Neighbouring Country that was at Peace, adds this as the Reason, that all Things were done loosely and disorderly, without any regard to military Discipline. There is also another remarkable Place in the same Author, describing Philip’s March through the Country of the Denthelatae; They23were indeed Allies (says he) but the Macedonians being in great Necessity plundered them, as if it had been the Enemy’s Country; for robbing every where, they first laid waste great Houses, then some Towns, to the great Dishonour of the King, who heard his Confederates in vain calling upon the Gods and him for Assistance. Tacitus24 says Pelignus very much blasted his Reputation, for that he preyed more upon the Allies, than Enemies. And the same Author observes,25 that the Soldiers of Vitellius were scandalously slothful throughout all Italy, and only<683> dreadful to those that entertained them. And in Cicero’s Oration against Verres, one of the Heads of the Accusation was this,26You have taken Care to have the peaceable Cities of our Allies and Friends plundered and wasted.
6. And here I cannot omit the Opinion of some Divines, which I hold to be very right, that the King who does not give his Soldiers their just Pay, stands not only engaged to the Soldiers, but to his Subjects and Neighbours for the27 Damages consequent thereupon, which the Soldiers, compelled by pure Want and Necessity, have done them.
III.What is the Duty of Neuters to those that are engaged in War.III. 1. On the other Side, it is the Duty1 of those that are not engaged in the War, to sit still and do nothing, that may strengthen him that prosecutes an ill Cause, or to hinder the Motions of him that hath Justice on his Side, as we have saida before. But in a dubious Causeb to behave themselves alike to both Parties; as in suffering them to pass through their Country, in supplying them with Provisions, and not relieving the Besieged. The Corcyreans in Thucydides2 tell the Athenians, if they would really be Neuters, they should either forbid the Corinthians to raise Men in the Country of Attica, or suffer them to do so too. The Romans3 objected against Philip King of the Macedonians, that he had doubly broke the Alliance, first that he had injured the Confederates of the Romans, and then that he had assisted their Enemies with Men and Money. T. Quinctius urges the same in a Conference4 with Nabis. You say, I have not directly violated my League of Friendship with you. How often would you have me convince you that you have? But to sum up all in a few Words, by what Means may Friendship be broken? Certainly by these two chiefly, if you treat our Allies as Enemies, or if you join our Enemies.
2. Agathias tells us, he is an Enemy who does what pleases an Enemy; and Procopius5 looks upon him to be in the Enemy’s Army, who supplies them with Things that are properly useful in War. Thussaid Demosthenes of old,6He that invents, or prepares these Things, by which I may be taken, is mine Enemy, tho’ he neither strikes me, nor throws a Dart at me. M. Acilius7 told the Epirots, who indeed had not assisted Antiochus with Soldiers, but were accused of having furnished him with Money, he could not tell whether he should account them Enemies or Neuters. And L. Aemilius8 the Praetor complains of the Teii, that they had victualled the Enemy’s Fleet, and promised them Wine, declaring, that unless they did the like to the Roman Fleet, he should hold them as Enemies. Plutarch mentions a Saying of Augustus Caesar,9That City has forfeited her Pretensions to Peace, that entertains the Enemy.
3. It would also be very advantageous to make an Alliance with both Parties, so as with their full Consent we might sit still in Quiet, and might be permitted to do common Offices of Humanity promiscuously to them both. Livy says,10It becomes those that are Friends to both Parties, to desire Peace, and not to engage on either Side. Archidamus King of Sparta, observing the Aeleans inclining to side with the Arcadians, writ a Letter to them, with only this in it: It is good to be quiet.<684>
[a ]B. ii. ch. 2. § 10.
[1 ]De Exped. Cyr. Lib. II. Cap. III. § 13. Edit. Oxon.
[2. ]Xenophon, Hist. Graec. Lib. III. Cap. I. § 8.
[3. ]Triduum, non plus, &c.Livy, Lib. XLI. Cap. XXVII. Num. 6.
[4. ]Plutarch, Vit. Agid. p. 801. D. The same Author relates the same of Flaminius, in the Life of that famous Roman General. Grotius.
[5. ]Putares Sullam venisse in Italiam, &c.Velleius Paterculus, Lib. II. Cap. XXV. Num. 1.
[6. ]Cujus [Pompeii] legiones sic in Asiam, &c. Orat. pro Leg. Manil. (Cap. XIII.) The same Pompey being informed, that his Soldiers committed Disorders in Sicily, during their March, ordered their Swords to be sealed up in their Scabbards, and punished those who were found to have broken the Seals. Plutarch, Vit. Pomp. (p. 624. A.) Grotius.
[7. ]Quum in finibus Ubiorum castella, &c.Frontinus, Stratagem. Lib. II. Cap. XI. Num. 7.
[8. ]Quam [Parthicam expeditionem] tanta disciplina, &c.Lampridius, Vit. Alex. Sever. Cap. L.
[9. ]Nullus tumultus, nulla confusio, &c.Latin Pacat. Panegyr. (Cap. XXXII. Panig. ult. 1. XII.) There are many Things in Cassiodorus upon the Moderation of the Goths, in Regard to the Subject in Question; for Instance, Var. V. 10, 11, 13. Theodorick their King prescribes it to them in these Words. Illud tamen necessario commonentes, ut venientium nullus provenire possit excessus nec possessorum segetes aut prata vastetis—Quia ideo exercituales gratanter subimus expensas, ut ab armatis custodiatur intacta civilitas Lib. V. Epist. XXVI. Athalarick, another King of the Goths, praises a Senator, whom he recommends, upon that Account. Arma ejus nulla possessorum damna senserunt. Lib. IX. Epist. XXV. Grotius.
[10. ]Claudian, in prim. Consulat. Stilich. Lib. I. ver. 162. & seq.
[11. ]See Suidas, upon the Word Belisarius.Procopius, that famous Captain’s Companion, and the Witness of his Actions often praises his Moderation. The Reader need only see the fine Speech he ascribes to him, addressed to his Soldiers upon that Head near Sicily, when he went into Africa, Vandalic. Lib. I. (Cap. XII.) and the Manner in which he says Belisarius conducted himself in his march thro’ that Country, Ibid. (Cap. XVII.) But I must add here another entire Passage, wherein the Historian gives his Hero the highest Praise on that account. “ Belisarius, ” says he, “took so much Care of the Country People, that they never suffered any Violence from the Armies he commanded. On the contrary their Passage enriched them all, contrary to all Appearance, because they sold their Provisions and Wares to the Soldiers at their own Price. When the Corn was ripe, the Cavalry were hindered from spoiling it, and as to the Fruits, he would not suffer a single Apple to be gathered from a Tree.” Gotthic. Lib. III. (Cap. I.) Nicetas praises the Germans for acting in the same Manner in their Expedition to the Holy Sepulchre. Vit. Manuel Comnen. (Lib. I. Cap. IV.) Nicephorus Gregorias relates also, that the good Discipline of the Venetians, and their Greatness of Soul, attended with Justice and Equity, was much admired upon this Account. Not one, says he, of their whole Army, would take any Thing without paying for it, Lib. IX. (p. 188. Edit. Colon. 1616.) Grotius.
[12. ]The Roman Generals, as Pliny observes, took special Care, that Commerce should not be interrupted during the War: Curve Romani Duces primam semper in bellis commerciorum habuere curam? Hist. Natur. Lib. XXVI. Cap. IV. Care should be taken that the Soldier may have wherewithal to buy, in order to prevent his being forced to think of pillaging; as Cassiodorus says very well: Habeat, quod emat, ne cogatur cogitare, quod auferat. Var. IV. 13. See the same Author, V. 10. and 13. Grotius.
[13. ]He ascribes this Maxim to the Emperor Julian, who gives for the Reason of it, the Danger of the Soldiers committing Ravages, and thereby obliging the People, who suffer them, to break the Peace: Adserens [Caesar] pacatorum terras non debere caleari, ne, ut saepe contigit, per incivilitatem militis occurentia vastantis abruptè foedera frangerentur. Lib. XVIII. Cap. II. p. 205. Edit. Vales. Gron. The Author refers here in a little Note to another Place in Ammianus Marcellinus, Lib. XXI. He had probably in his Thoughts the Exhortation of the same Emperor to his Soldiers, in an Harangue, where he animates them to march against Constantius. He represents to them, to induce them not to plunder and use the Provincials ill, that this Moderation had contributed more to their past Glory, than the Victories they had obtained over their Enemies: Illud sane obtestor & rogo, observate ne impetu gliscentis ardoris in privatorum damna quisquam vestrum exsiliat sed cogitans [I do not know whether the Copists should not have put cogitans for cogitantes in this Place: It is more natural to think, that the Emperor intended to refer this to the Soldiers, and to let them make the Reflection to themselves: The Fault might besides have easily crept in:] Quodhaud ita nos illustrarunt hostium innumerae strages, ut indemnitas Provinciarum & salus, exemplis virtutum pervulgatae. Cap. V. p. 293, 294. Edit. Vales. Gron.
[14. ]It is in a Letter writ by Aurelian before he was Emperor, to his Lieutenant General: Nemo pullum alienum rapiat, ovem nemo contingat. Uvam nullus auferat, segetem nemo deterat: Oleum, sal, lignum,nemo exigat, &c. Vit. Aurelian, Cap. VII.
[15. ]Ita tamen ut milites tibi commissi vivant cum Provincialibus Jure Civili, nec, insolescat animus, qui se sentit armatum: Quia clypeus ille exercitus nostri quietem debet praestare Paganis. Var. VII. 4. Our Author had writ the last Words in this Manner: But in three Editions, which I have, I find Romanis, and I do not observe that the Editors or Commentators have noted any various Reading. The Opposition indeed is more just in following the Correction, which our Author seems to have intended. But the hard and incorrect Style of Cassiodorus gives Reason to believe it not necessary.
[16. ]De Exped. Cyr. Lib. VI. Cap. II. § 4. Edit. Oxon.
[17. ]The Term of the Original (συκοϕαντει̑ν) may be rendered to plunder, to take by Force, as it is used in the Greek Version, Job xxxv. 9. Psalm cxix. 122. Proverbs xiv. 31. xxii. 16. xxviii. 3. Ecclesiast. iv. 1. and Leviticus xix. 11. The common Version translates the same Word by defraudare,Luke xix. 8. Grotius.
[18. ]St. Ambrose says upon this Passage, that the Custom of paying Troops was established to prevent their pillaging: Docens, idcirco stipendia constituta militiae, ne dum sumtus quaeritur, praedo grassetur. Comment. in Luc. Lib. II. Cap. III. (p. 1647. Edit. Paris. 1569.) A Thought which St. Austin has copied, Serm. XIX. De verbis Domin. secund. Matth. There are some fine Ordinances upon this Head in Gregorius Turonensis, Lib. II. Cap. XXXVII. in the Capitularies ofCharles and his Successors, Lib. V. Tit. CLXXXIX. in the Councils of France, Vol. II. in the Capitularies of Lewis the Debonair II. 14. See also LexBajoariorum, Tit. II. 5. Frederick I. Emperor of Germany, decreed by a Law of Military Discipline, that if a Soldier should set the Farm or House of such as live in Peace on Fire, he should be branded in the Forehead, and turned out of the Army after having been well bastinadoed. Gunther expresses this Regulation in his Ligurinus thus:
(Lib. VII. p. 385. Edit. Reuber.) Grotius.
[19. ]Annonâ suâ contentus sit. De praeda hostis, non de lachrymis Provincialium, habeat. Vit. Aurel. Cap. VII.
[20. ]Guicciardin Reasons in this Manner, Hist. Lib. XVI. Grotius.
[21. ]Universi quoque exercitus, &c. Strateg. Lib. IV. Cap. III. Num. 13. See, in regard to Scaurus, who is himself the General and Writer here spoken of, Gerard. John Vossius, De Historicis Latin. Lib. I. Cap. IX. The Author refers here to what Spartian relates, of the rigorous Manner in which Pescennius Niger punished the stealing of a Cock, Cap. X.
[22. ]Omnia libidine ac licentia militum, nihil institutio ac disciplina militiae, aut imperio eorum qui praeerant, gerebatur, Lib. XXVIII. (Cap. XXIV. Num. 9.)
[23. ]Socii erant: Sed propter inopiam, haud secus quam hostium fines Macedones populati sunt. Rapiendo enim passim, villas primùm, dein quosdam vicos etiam evastarunt; non sine magno pudore Regis, quum sociorum voces, nequicquam Deos Sociales nomenque suum implorantes, audiret, Lib. XL. (Cap. XII. Num. 10, 11.)
[24. ]Dum socios magis, quam hostes, praedatur.—Quod ubi turpi fama divulgatum, &c. Annal. Lib. XII. (Cap. XLIX. Num. 2.)
[25. ]Per omnia Italiae municipia desides, tantum hospitibus metuendos, &c. Hist. Lib. III. (Cap. II. Num. 2.)
[26. ]Tu in iisdem locis Legatus Quaestorius, &c. In Verr. Lib. I. Cap. XXI. Grotius.
[27. ]See above B. II. Chap. XXI. § 2.
[1 ]See what is said upon Pufendorf, Law of Nature and Nations, B. VIII. Chap. VI. § 7. Note 2.
[a ]Ch. 1. of this B. §5.
[b ]See a singular Instance in Paruta, B. 8.
[2. ]Lib. I. Cap. XXXV.
[3. ]Dupliciter ab eo [Philippo] foedus, &c.Livy, Lib. XXX. Cap. XLII. Num. 8.
[4. ]Vos tamen, inquis, vestramque, Idem, Lib. XXXIV. Cap. XXXII. Num. 14, 15.
[5. ]On the contrary, as the same Historian makes Queen Amalasontha say in a Letter to the Emperor Justinian, that not only joining a Prince with Arms in the Field, but to supply him publickly with all Necessaries of War, is being a Friend and Ally. Gotthic. Lib. I. (Cap. III.) Grotius.
[6. ]Philipp. III. p. 46.
[7. ]Militem tamen nullum Antiocho dederant [Epirotae] pecunia juvisse cum insimulabantur—Iis, &c.Livy, Lib. XXXVI. Cap. XXXV. Num. 8, 9.
[8. ]Et juvisse eos [Tejos] commeatu, &c. Idem, Lib. XXXVII. Cap. XXVIII. Num. 2.
[9. ]In Brut. p. 1011. D.
[10. ]Pacem utrique parti, quod medios deceat amicos, optent; bello se non interponant.Livy, Lib. XXXV. (Cap. XLVIII. Num. 9.) Καλὸν ἡσυχία. [ApudPlutarchumApophtheg. p. 219. A.]