restricted access Chapter IX - Of the Rights retained by all Nations after the Introduction of Domain and Property
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chapter ix 319 eigners. If the sovereign does not permit aliens to possess immovable property, nobody has a right to complain of such prohibition; for he may have very good reasons for acting in this manner: and as foreigners cannot claim any right in his territories (§79), they ought not to take it amiss that he makes use of his power and of his rights in the manner which he thinks most for the advantage of the state. And asthesovereign may refuse to foreigners the privilege of possessing immovableproperty, he is doubtless at liberty to forbear granting it except with certain conditions annexed. There exists no natural impediment to prevent foreigners from contracting marriages in the state. But if these marriages are found prejudicial or dangerous to a nation, she has a right, and is even in dutybound to prohibit them, or to subject to certain conditions the permission to contract them: and as it belongs to the nation or to her sovereign to determine what appears most conducive to the welfare of thestate,other nations ought to acquiesce in the regulations which any sovereign state has made on this head. Citizens are almost every-where forbid to marry foreign wives of a different religion; and in many parts of Switzerland a citizen cannot marry a foreign woman, unless he prove that she brings him in marriage a certain sum fixed by the law. chapter ix Of the Rights retained by all Nations after the Introduction of Domain and Property. If an obligation, as we have before observed, gives a right to those things without which it cannot be fulfilled, every absolute, necessary, and indispensable obligation produces in this manner rights equally absolute, necessary, and indefeasible. Nature imposes no obligations on men, without giving them the means of fulfilling them. Theyhaveanabsolute right to the necessary use of those means: nothing can deprive them of that right, as nothing can dispense with their fulfilling their natural obligations.§115. Marriages of aliens.§116. What are the rights of which men cannot be deprived. 320 book ii: nations in relation to other states In the primitive state of communion, men had, without distinction, a right to the use of every thing, as far as was necessary to the discharge of their natural obligations. And as nothing could deprive them of this right, the introduction of domain and property could not take place without leaving to every man the necessary use of things,—that is tosay, the use absolutely required for the fulfilment of his natural obligations. We cannot then suppose the introduction to have taken place without this tacit restriction, that every man should still preserve some right to the things subjected to property, inthosecases,where,withoutthisright, he would remain absolutely deprived of the necessary use of things of this nature. This right is a necessary remnant of the primitive state of communion. Notwithstanding the domain of nations, therefore, each nation still retains some right to what is possessed by others, in those cases where she would find herself deprived of the necessary use of certain things if she were to be absolutely debarred from using them by the consideration of their being other people’s property. We ought carefully toweighevery circumstance in order to make a just application of this principle. I say the same of the right of necessity. We thus call the right which necessity alone gives to the performance of certain actions that are otherwise unlawful, when, without these actions, it is impossible to fulfil an indispensable obligation. But it is carefully to be noted, that, in such a case, the obligation must really be an indispensable one, and the act in question the only means of fulfilling that obligation. If either of these conditions be wanting, the right of necessity does not exist on the occasion . We may see these subjects discussed in treatises on the law of nature, and particularly in that of Mr. Wolf. I confine myself here to a brief summary of those principles whose aid is necessary to us in developing the rights of nations. The earth was designed to feed its inhabitants; and he who is in want of every thing is not obliged to starve because all property is vested in others. When, therefore, a nation is in absolute want of provisions, she may compel her neighbours, who have more than they want for themselves , to supply her with a share of them at a fair price: she may even take it...


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