Front Page Titles (by Subject) ADVERTISEMENT - The Law of Nations, Or, Principles of the Law of Nature, Applied to the Conduct and Affairs of Nations and Sovereigns, with Three Early Essays on the Origin and Nature of Natural Law and on Luxury (LF ed.)
ADVERTISEMENT - Emer de Vattel, The Law of Nations, Or, Principles of the Law of Nature, Applied to the Conduct and Affairs of Nations and Sovereigns, with Three Early Essays on the Origin and Nature of Natural Law and on Luxury (LF ed.) 
The Law of Nations, Or, Principles of the Law of Nature, Applied to the Conduct and Affairs of Nations and Sovereigns, with Three Early Essays on the Origin and Nature of Natural Law and on Luxury, edited and with an Introduction by Béla Kapossy and Richard Whitmore (Indianapolis: Liberty Fund, 2008).
About Liberty Fund:
Liberty Fund, Inc. is a private, educational foundation established to encourage the study of the ideal of a society of free and responsible individuals.
The copyright to this edition, in both print and electronic forms, is held by Liberty Fund, Inc.
Fair use statement:
This material is put online to further the educational goals of Liberty Fund, Inc. Unless otherwise stated in the Copyright Information section above, this material may be used freely for educational and academic purposes. It may not be used in any way for profit.
- A Note On the Texts
- English Editions of the Law of Nations
- Three Essays By Vattel
- The Law of Nations
- Preliminaries Idea and General Principles of the Law of Nations.
- Book I: Of Nations Considered In Themselves
- Chapter I: Of Nations Or Sovereign States.
- Chapter II: General Principles of the Duties of a Nation Towards Itself.
- Chapter III: Of the Constitution of a State, and the Duties and Rights of the Nation In This Respect.
- Chapter IV: Of the Sovereign, His Obligations, and His Rights.
- Chapter V: Of States Elective, Successive Or Hereditary, and of Those Called Patrimonial.
- Chapter VI: Principal Objects of a Good Government; and First to Provide For the Necessities of the Nation.
- Chapter VII: Of the Cultivation of the Soil.
- Chapter VIII: Of Commerce.
- Chapter IX: Of the Care of the Public Ways of Communication, and the Right of Toll.
- Chapter X: Of Money and Exchange.
- Chapter XI: Second Object of a Good Government,—to Procure the True Happiness of the Nation.
- Chapter XII: Of Piety and Religion.
- Chapter XIII: Of Justice and Polity.
- Chapter XIV: The Third Object of a Good Government,—to Fortify Itself Against External Attacks.
- Chapter XV: Of the Glory of a Nation.
- Chapter XVI: Of the Protection Sought By a Nation, and Its Voluntary Submission to a Foreign Power.
- Chapter XVII: How a Nation May Separate Itself From the State of Which It Is a Member, Or Renounce Its Allegiance to Its Sovereign When It Is Not Protected.
- Chapter XVIII: Of the Establishment of a Nation In a Country.
- Chapter XIX: Of Our Native Country, and Several Things That Relate to It.
- Chapter XX: Of Public, Common, and Private Property.
- Chapter XXI: Of the Alienation of the Public Property, Or the Domain, and That of a Part of the State.
- Chapter XXII: Of Rivers, Streams, and Lakes.
- Chapter XXIII: Of the Sea.
- Book II: Of a Nation Considered In Its Relations to Others
- Chapter I: Of the Common Duties of a Nation Towards Others, Or of the Offices of Humanity Between Nations.
- Chapter II: Of the Mutual Commerce Between Nations.
- Chapter III: Of the Dignity and Equality of Nations,—of Titles,—and Other Marks of Honour.
- Chapter IV: Of the Right to Security, and the Effects of the Sovereignty and Independence of Nations.
- Chapter V: Of the Observance of Justice Between Nations.
- Chapter VI: Of the Concern a Nation May Have In the Actions of Her Citizens.
- Chapter VII: Effects of the Domain, Between Nations.
- Chapter VIII: Rules With Respect to Foreigners.
- Chapter IX: Of the Rights Retained By All Nations After the Introduction of Domain and Property.
- Chapter X: How a Nation Is to Use Her Right of Domain, In Order to Discharge Her Duties Towards Other Nations, With Respect to the Innocent Use of Things.
- Chapter XI: Of Usucaption and Prescription Among Nations.
- Chapter XII: Of Treaties of Alliance, and Other Public Treaties.
- Chapter XIII: Of the Dissolution and Renewal of Treaties.
- Chapter XIV: Of Other Public Conventions,—of Those That Are Made By Subordinate Powers,—particularly of the Agreement Called In Latin Sponsio,—and of Conventions of Sovereigns With Private Persons.
- Chapter XV: Of the Faith of Treaties.
- Chapter XVI: Of Securities Given For the Observance of Treaties.
- Chapter XVII: Of the Interpretation of Treaties.
- Chapter XVIII: Of the Mode of Terminating Disputes Between Nations.
- Book III: Of War
- Chapter I: Of War,—its Different Kinds,— and the Right of Making War.
- Chapter II: Of the Instruments of War,—the Raising of Troops, &c.—their Commanders, Or the Subordinate Powers In War.
- Chapter III: Of the Just Causes of War.
- Chapter IV: Of the Declaration of War,— and of War In Due Form.
- Chapter V: Of the Enemy, and of Things Belonging to the Enemy.
- Chapter VI: Of the Enemy’s Allies—of Warlike Associations— of Auxiliaries and Subsidies.
- Chapter VII: Of Neutrality—and the Passage of Troops Through a Neutral Country.
- Chapter VIII: Of the Rights of Nations In War,—and First, of What We Have a Right to Do, and What We Are Allowed to Do, to the Enemy’s Person In a Just War.
- Chapter IX: Of the Right of War, With Regard to Things Belonging to the Enemy.
- Chapter X: Of Faith Between Enemies,—of Stratagems, Artifices In War, Spies, and Some Other Practices.
- Chapter XI: Of the Sovereign Who Wages an Unjust War.
- Chapter XII: Of the Voluntary Law of Nations, As It Regards the Effects of Regular Warfare, Independently of the Justice of the Cause.
- Chapter XIII: Of Acquisitions By War, and Particularly of Conquests.
- Chapter XIV: Of the Right of Postliminium.
- Chapter XV: Of the Right of Private Persons In War.
- Chapter XVI: Of Various Conventions Made During the Course of the War.
- Chapter XVII: Of Safe-conducts and Passports,—with Questions On the Ransom of Prisoners of War.
- Chapter XVIII: Of Civil War.
- Book IV: Of the Restoration of Peace; and of Embassies
- Chapter I: Of Peace, and the Obligation to Cultivate It.
- Chapter II: Treaties of Peace.
- Chapter III: Of the Execution of the Treaty of Peace.
- Chapter IV: Of the Observance and Breach of the Treaty of Peace.
- Chapter V: Of the Right of Embassy, Or the Right of Sending and Receiving Public Ministers.
- Chapter VI: Of the Several Orders of Public Ministers,—of the Representative Character,—and of the Honours Due to Ministers.
- Chapter VII: Of the Rights, Privileges, and Immunities of Embassadors and Other Public Ministers.
- Chapter VIII: Of the Judge of Embassadors In Civil Cases.
- Chapter IX: Of the Embassador’s House and Domestics.
- Additional Essays
- Essay On the Foundation of Natural Law and On the First Principle of the Obligation Men Find Themselves Under to Observe Laws 1
- Dissertation On This Question: “can Natural Law Bring Society to Perfection Without the Assistance of Political Laws?”
- Dialogue Between the Prince of ****and His Confidant, On Certain Essential Elements of Public Administration
- Biographical Sketches of Authors Referred to By Vattel
In undertaking this new edition of Monsieur De Vattel’s treatise, it was not my intention to give what might strictly be called a new translation. To add the author’s valuable notes from the posthumous edition printed at Neuchatel in 1773,—to correct some errors I had observed in the former version,—and occasionally to amend the language where doubtful or obscure,—were the utmost limits of my original plan. As I proceeded, however, my alterations became more numerous: but whether they will be acknowledged as amendments, it must rest with the reader to determine. Even if his decision should be more favourable than I have any reason to expect, I lay no claim to praise for my humble efforts, but shall esteem myself very fortunate if I escape the severity of censure for presenting the work to the public in a state still so far short of perfection. Conscious of its defects, I declare with great sincerity—
.... Veniam pro laude peto,—laudatus abunde,
Non fastiditus si tibi, lector, ero.
May 1, 1797.
“I ask forgiveness not praise,—I will be praised in full, if you don’t despise me, reader” (Ovid, Tristia I, VII).