restricted access A Note on the Texts
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xxi a note on the texts English Editions of The Law of Nations Vattel’s Law of Nations was translated anonymously into Englishseveral times in the eighteenth century. The first edition of 1760 was based on the French original Droit des gens of 1758. A Dublin translation of 1787 is remarkably fluent and elegant, but it does not include the substantive notes of the original nor, more importantly, the notes added to the posthumous French edition of 1773 and intended by Vattel for a second edition he did not live to complete. Several English editions, including the 1916 Classics of International Lawedition,aresimilarlyflawedandbased on the edition of 1760. However, two English editions from the end of the eighteenth century include Vattel’s later thoughts. One, from 1793, contains a pagination error. This has been corrected in the revised version , London 1797, and the latter forms the basis for the present edition. The 1797 edition has the benefit of a detailed table of contents and margin titles for subsections. There is no modern edition of The Law of Nations, but facsimiles of the popular nineteenth-century editions by the London barristerJoseph Chitty have appeared in recent times. These annotated editions (first in 1834) and their reissue with further notes by Edward Ingraham (first in 1852) were based on the 1797 London edition. Chitty helpfullyidentified the notes that distinguished the 1797 edition from the earlier English translation. He sought, however, to add much more to the text, as he explained in a preface written in Chancery Lane in November 1833: Many years have elapsed since the original work was published, long before the invaluable decisions of Sir William Scott, Sir C. Robinson, and Sir John Nichol, and other eminent Judges in the Courts of Ad- xxii a note on the texts miralty, and Prize and other Courts; and the last edition upon which any care was bestowed, was published in a.d. 1797; since which time, and especially during the last general war, many most important rules respecting the Law of Nations were established. The object of thepresent Editor has, therefore, been to collect and condense, in numerous notes, the modern rules and decisions, and to fortify the positions in the text by references to other authors of eminence, and by which he hopes that this edition will be found of more practical utility, without interfering with the text, or materially increasing its size. In consequence, Chitty’s text is overloaded with legal citations based on the case law of the sea that emerged in the Napoleonic era. Vattel’swork had become a textbook for law students in both Britain and North America. Some of Chitty’s notes remain useful and have on occasion been incorporated into the editorial apparatus for this edition. The present edition includes new footnotes, elucidating dates, events, works, and persons referred to by Vattel. Posthumous additions to the French edition of 1773, which were then translated in the edition of 1797, are identified as such in the new notes. Translations of Vattel’s Latin citations have come from the best modern editions, particularly from the Loeb Classical Library. For each translation, reference to the edition used can be found in the bibliography of authors cited. In cases where no translation could be found, or where the context of Vattel’s work required an amended translation, the editors undertook the translation, and this is signaled in the text by “trans. Eds.” All of the preceding new material has been added to the 1797 text as numbered notes or as double squarebracketed inserts within Vattel’s original notes. Chitty lamented in 1833 that “he proposed to form an Index, so as to render the work more readily accessible; but, in that desire, he has been overruled by the publishers.” The present edition adds bibliographical and biographical details of authors cited inthe text,followingupVattel’s own sometimes obscure references. The bibliography of authors cited includes and explains the short titles employed byVattelinhisfootnotes. Page breaks in the 1797 edition have been indicated in the body of the text by the use of angle brackets. For example, page 112 begins after . a note on the texts xxiii Three Essays by Vattel The first two essays included here, Essay on the Foundation of Natural Law1 and Can Natural Law Bring Society to Perfection Without the Assistance of Political Laws?2 date from the early and formative phase of Vattel’s career and anticipate many of the themes of The Law of Nations. Both...


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Subject Headings

  • International law.
  • War (International law).
  • Natural law.
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