Front Page Titles (by Subject) CHAPTER XIII: Of compacts made with an enemy by private persons. - The Principles of Natural and Politic Law
CHAPTER XIII: Of compacts made with an enemy by private persons. - Jean-Jacques Burlamaqui, The Principles of Natural and Politic Law 
The Principles of Natural and Politic Law, trans. Thomas Nugent, ed. and with an Introduction by Peter Korkman (Indianpolis: Liberty Fund, 2006).
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- Note On the Text
- Volume 1: The Principles of Natural Law
- Part I: General Principles of Right.
- Chapter I: Of the Nature of Man Considered With Regard to Right: of the Understanding, and Whatever Is Relative to This Faculty.
- Chapter II: Continuation of the Principles Relative to the Nature of Man. of Will and Liberty.
- Chapter III: That Man Thus Constituted, Is a Creature Capable of Moral Direction, and Accountable For His Actions.
- Chapter IV: Further Inquiry Into What Relates to Human Nature, By Considering the Different States of Man.
- Chapter V: That Man Ought to Square His Conduct By Rule; the Method of Finding Out This Rule; and the Foundations of Right In General.
- Chapter VI: General Rules of Conduct Prescribed By Reason. of the Nature and First Foundations of Obligation.
- Chapter VII: Of Right Considered As a Faculty, and of the Obligation Thereto Corresponding.
- Chapter Viii *: of Law In General.
- Chapter IX: Of the Foundation of Sovereignty, Or the Right of Commanding.
- Chapter X: Of the End of Laws; of Their Characters, Differences, &c.
- Chapter XI: Of the Morality of Human Actions. *
- Part II: Of the Law of Nature.
- Chapter I: In What the Law of Nature Consists, and That There Is Such a Thing. First Considerations Drawn From the Existence of God and His Authority Over Us.
- Chapter II: That God, In Consequence of His Authority Over Us, Has Actually Thought Proper to Prescribe to Us Laws Or Rules of Conduct.
- Chapter III: Of the Means By Which We Discern What Is Just and Unjust, Or What Is Dictated By Natural Law; Namely, 1. Moral Instinct, and 2. Reason.
- Chapter IV: Of the Principles From Whence Reason May Deduce the Law of Nature. *
- Chapter V: That Natural Laws Have Been Sufficiently Notified; of Their Proper Characteristics, the Obligation They Produce, &c.
- Chapter VI: Of the Law of Nations.
- Chapter VII: Whether There Is Any Morality of Actions, Any Obligation Or Duty, Antecedent to the Laws of Nature, and Independent of the Idea of a Legislator? 1
- Chapter VIII: Consequences of the Preceding Chapter: Reflections On the Distinctions of Just, Honest, and Useful.
- Chapter IX: Of the Application of Natural Laws to Human Actions; and First of Conscience. †
- Chapter X: Of the Merit and Demerit of Human Actions; and of Their Imputation Relative to the Laws of Nature. *
- Chapter XI: Application of Those Principles to Different Species of Actions, In Order to Judge In What Manner They Ought to Be Imputed.
- Chapter XII: Of the Authority and Sanction of Natural Laws † and 1. of the Good Or Evil That Naturally and Generally Follows From Virtue Or Vice.
- Chapter XIII: Proofs of the Immortality of the Soul. That There Is a Sanction, Properly So Called, In Respect to Natural Law. 1
- Chapter XIV: That the Proofs We Have Alledged Have Such a Probability and Fitness, As Renders Them Sufficient to Fix Our Belief, and to Determine Our Conduct.
- Volume 2: The Principles of Politic Law
- Part I: Which Treats of the Origin and Nature of Civil Society, of Sovereignty In General, of Its Peculiar Characteristic, Limitations, and Essential Parts.
- Chapter I: Containing a Few General and Preliminary Reflections, Which Serve As an Introduction to This and the Following Parts.
- Chaper II: Of the Real Origin of Civil Societies.
- Chapter III: Of the Right of Congruity Or Fitness With Regard to the Institution of Civil Society, and the Necessity of a Supreme Authority: of Civil Liberty; That It Is Far Preferable 1 to Natural Liberty, and That the State Is of All Human Conditions
- Chapter IV: Of the Essential Constitution of States, and of the Manner In Which They Are Formed.
- Chapter V: Of the Sovereign, Sovereignty, and the Subjects.
- Chapter VI: Of the Immediate Source, and Foundation of Sovereignty.
- Chapter VII: Of the Essential Characters of Sovereignty, Its Modifications, Extent, and Limits.
- Chapter VIII: Of the Parts of Sovereignty, Or of the Different Essential Rights Which It Includes.
- Part II: In Which Are Explained the Different Forms of Government, the Ways of Acquiring Or Losing Sovereignty, and the Reciprocal Duties of Sovereigns and Subjects.
- Chapter I: Of the Various Forms of Government.
- Chapter II: An Essay On This Question, Which Is the Best Form of Government?
- Chapter III: Of the Different Ways of Acquiring Sovereignty.
- Chapter IV: Of the Different Ways of Losing Sovereignty.
- Chapter V: Of the Duties of Subjects In General.
- Chapter VI: Of the Inviolable Rights of Sovereignty, of the Deposing of Sovereigns, of the Abuse of the Supreme Power, and of Tyranny.
- Chapter VIII: Of the Duty 1 of Sovereigns.
- Part III: A More Particular Examination of the Essential Parts of Sovereignty, Or of the Different Rights of the Sovereign, With Respect to the Internal Administration of the State, Such As the Legislative Power, the Supreme Power In Matters of Religion,
- Chapter I: Of the Legislative Power, and the Civil Laws Which Arise From It.
- Chapter II: Of the Right of Judging the Doctrines Taught In the State: of the Care Which the Sovereign Ought to Take to Form the Manners of His Subjects.
- Chapter III: Of the Power of the Sovereign In Matters of Religion.
- Chapter IV: Of the Power of the Sovereign Over the Lives and Fortunes of His Subjects In Criminal Cases.
- Chapter V: Of the Power of Sovereigns Over the Bona Reipublicae, 1 Or the Goods Contained In the Commonwealth.
- Part IV: In Which Are Considered the Different Rights of Sovereignty With Respect to Foreign States; the Right of War, and Every Thing Relating to It; Public Treaties, and the Right of Ambassadors.
- Chapter I: Of War In General, and First of the Right of the Sovereign, In This Respect, Over His Subjects.
- Chapter II: Of the Causes of War.
- Chapter III: Of the Different Kinds of War.
- Chapter IV: Of Those Things Which Ought to Precede War.
- Chapter V: General Rules to Know What Is Allowable In War.
- Chapter VI: Of the Rights Which War Gives Over the Persons of the Enemy, and of Their Extent and Bounds.
- Chapter VII: Of the Rights of War Over the Goods of an Enemy.
- Chapter VIII: Of the Right of Sovereignty Acquired Over the Conquered.
- Chapter IX: Of Public Treaties In General.
- Chapter X: Of Compacts Made With an Enemy.
- Chapter XI: Of Compacts With an Enemy, Which Do Not Put an End to the War.
- Chapter XII: Of Compacts Made, During the War, By Subordinate Powers, As Generals of Armies, Or Other Commanders.
- Chapter XIII: Of Compacts Made With an Enemy By Private Persons.
- Chapter XIV: Of Public Compacts Which Put an End to War.
- Chapter XV: Of the Right of Ambassadors.
Of compacts made with an enemy by private persons.
I. It sometimes happens in war, that private persons, whether soldiers or others, make compacts with an enemy. Cicero justly remarks, that if a private person, constrained by necessity, has promised any thing to the enemy, he ought religiously to keep his word. <348>
II. And, indeed, all the principles hitherto established, manifestly prove the justice and necessity of this duty. Besides, unless this be allowed, frequent obstacles would be put to liberty, and an occasion given for massacres, &c.
III. But though these compacts are valid in themselves, yet it is evident that no private person has a right to alienate public property; for this is not allowed even to generals of armies.
IV. With respect to the actions and effects of each individual, though the covenants made with the enemy on these affairs may sometimes be prejudicial to the state, they are binding nevertheless. Whatever tends to avoid a greater evil, though detrimental in itself, ought to be considered as a public good; as for example, when we promise to pay certain contributions to prevent pillage, or the burning of places, &c. Even the laws of the state cannot, without injustice, deprive individuals of the right of providing for their own safety, by imposing too burdensome an obligation on the subjects, entirely repugnant to nature and reason.
V. It is in consequence of these principles that we think a captive bound to perform the promise he has made of returning to prison. Without this he would not be suffered to go home; and it is certainly better for him, and for the state, that he should have this permission for a time, than that he remain always in captivity. It was, therefore, to fulfill his duty, that Re-<349>gulus returned to Carthage, and surrendered himself into the hands of the enemy.
VI. We must judge, in like manner, of the promise by which a prisoner engages not to bear arms against the releaser. In vain would it be objected, that such an engagement is contrary to the duty we owe to our country. It is no way contrary to the duty of a good citizen, to procure his liberty by promising to forbear a thing which it is in the enemy’s power to hinder. His country loses nothing by that, but rather gains; since a prisoner, so long as he is not released, is as useless to it, as if he were really dead.
VII. If a prisoner has promised not to make his escape, he ought certainly to keep his word; even though he was in fetters when he made it. But if a person has given his word, on condition that he should not be confined in that manner, he may break it, if he be laid in irons.
VIII. But here some will ask, whether private men, upon refusing to perform what they have promised to the enemy, may be compelled to it by the sovereign? I answer, certainly: otherwise it would be to no purpose, that they were bound by a promise, if no one could compel them to perform it. <350>