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PREFACE - Johann Gottlieb Heineccius, A Methodical System of Universal Law: Or, the Laws of Nature and Nations 
A Methodical System of Universal Law: Or, the Laws of Nature and Nations, with Supplements and a Discourse by George Turnbull. Translated from the Latin by George Turnbull, edited with an Introduction by Thomas Albert and Peter Schröder (Indianapolis: Liberty Fund, 2008).
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The author of this system of the law of nature and nations is so well known, and in so high esteem in the republic of letters, that it would be arrogance in me to say any thing in recommendation of his works. Nor need I make any apology for translating into our language so excellent a book upon a subject of such universal importance. For the knowledge of justice and equity must be owned to be necessary in some degree to every one; but to those, in a particular manner, whose birth and fortunes afford them time and means, and call upon them to qualify themselves for the higher stations in civil society. Man, and the rights and duties of man, are certainly the most proper objects of human study in general. And surely Socrates had reason to say, “That if no man can be fit to undertake a trade, how mean and mechanical soever, without having been educated to it, and bestowed some considerable time upon the learning of it, it must be absurd to think one can be qualified for discharging public trusts and duties, without having taken great pains to instruct themselves in the principles of equity, the ends and interests of civil society, and the nature, spirit, and intention of laws.” I shall only add, that every science hath its elements; and this treatise at least well deserves to be called an excellent introduction to the science of laws. As for the notes and supplements I have added, how far they are necessary, I must leave it to the reader to judge. The greater part of them relates to one question, viz. The origine of civil government, which hath not been set in its true light by any other writer besides him from whom the illustration of this point is here borrowed. The discourse upon the origine and nature of laws, is an attempt to introduce the experimental way of reasoning into morals, or to deduce human duties from internal principles and dispositions in the human mind. And hence certainly must the virtues belonging to man be deduced: hence certainly must the laws relating to the human nature and state be inferred,as Cicero in his excellent treatise of laws, has long ago told us.—Quid sit homini tributum natura, quantam vim rerum optimarum contineat; cujus muneris colendi, efficiendique causa nati, & in lucem editi simus, quae sit conjunctio hominum, & quae naturalis societas inter ipsos;—his enim explicatis fons legum & juris inveniri potest. i.e. “’Tis by discovering the qualities and powers with which men are endued by nature; and the best ends within human reach; the purposes or offices for which we are fitted and made; and the various bonds by which mankind are knit and united together, and thus prompted to, and formed for society.—’Tis only by discovering and unfolding these important matters, that the source of human rights and duties can be laid open.” I have not translated our author’s preface; because it is principally designed to shew that the Roman law can now have no other authority in deciding controversies between independent nations or states, than as it is founded upon principles of natural equity; and it is filled up with an enumeration of the titles in the civil law, some have vainly thought sufficient to determine all questions of this kind, which it would have been of very little use to have attempted to english.
October 28. 1740.