restricted access Chapter I - Of Peace, and the Obligation to cultivate it
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651 the LAW of NATIONS u b o o k i v u Of the Restoration of Peace; and of Embassies chapter i Of Peace, and the Obligation to cultivate it. Peace is the reverse of war: it is that desirable state in which every one quietly enjoys his rights, or, if controverted, amicably discusses them by force of argument. Hobbs has had the boldness to assert that war is the natural stateof man.Butif,by“thenaturalstateof man,”weunderstand (as reason requires that we should) that state to which he is destined and called by his nature, peace should rather be termed his natural state. For it is the part of a rational being to terminate his differences by rational methods; whereas it is the characteristic of the brute creation to decide theirs by force.* Man, as we have already observed (Prelim. §10), alone * Nam cum sint duo genera decertandi, unum per disceptationem, alterum per vim,—cumque illud proprium sit hominis, hoc belluarum,—confugiendum est ad posterius, si uti non licet superiore. [[“For, since there are two ways of settling a dispute: first, by discussion, second by physical force; and since the former is a char-§1. What peace is. 652 book iv: restoration of peace; embassies and destitute of succours, would necessarily be a very wretchedcreature. He stands in need of the intercourse and assistance of his species, in order to enjoy the sweets of life, to develop his faculties, and live in a manner suitable to his nature. Now, it is in peace alone that all these advantages are to be found: it is in peace that men respect, assist, and love each other: nor would they ever depart from that happy state, if they were not hurried on by the impetuosity of their passions, and blinded by the gross deceptions of self-love. What little we have said of the effects of war will be sufficient to give some idea of its various calamities ; and it is an unfortunate circumstance for the human race, that the injustice of unprincipled men should so often render it inevitable. Nations who are really impressed with sentiments of humanity,— who seriously attend to their duty, and are acquainted with their true and substantial interests,—will never seek to promote their own advantage at the expense and detriment of other nations: however intent they may be on their own happiness, they will ever be careful to combine it with that of others, and with justice and equity. Thus disposed, theywill necessarily cultivate peace. If they do not live together in peace, howcan they perform those mutual and sacred dutieswhichnatureenjoinsthem? And this state is found to be no less necessary to their happiness than to the discharge of their duties. Thus the law of nature every way obliges them to seek and cultivate peace. That divine law has no other end in view than the welfare of mankind: to that object all its rules and all its precepts tend: they are all deducible from this principle,thatmenshould seek their own felicity; and morality is no more than the art of acquiring happiness. As this is true of individuals, it is equally so of nations, as must appear evident to any one who will but take the trouble of reflecting on what we have said of their common and reciprocal duties in the first chapter of the second book. This obligation of cultivating peace binds the sovereign by a double tie. He owes this attention to his people, on whom war would pour a torrent of evils; and he owes it in the most strict and indispensablemanacteristic of man, and the latter of the brute, we must resort to force only in case we may not avail ourselves of discussion.”]] Cicero, de Offic. lib. i. cap. 2.§2. Obligation of cultivating it.§3. The sovereign ’s obligation to it. chapter i 653 ner, since it is solely for the advantage and welfare of the nation that he is intrusted with the government (Book I. §39). He owes the same attention to foreign nations, whose happiness likewise is disturbed by war. The nation’s duty in this respect has been shewn in the preceding chapter ; and the sovereign, being invested with the public authority, is at the same timecharged withallthedutiesof thesociety,orbodyof thenation (Book I. §41). The nation or the sovereign ought not only to refrain, on their own part, from disturbing that peace which is so salutary to mankind: they are moreover bound to...


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Subject Headings

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