|Author||Emerich de Vattel|
Published in English
The Law of Nations: Or, Principles of the Law of Nature Applied to the Conduct and Affairs of Nations and Sovereigns (French: Le droit des gens) is a legal treatise on International Law by Emerich de Vattel, published in 1758.
The Law of Nations has been said to have modernized the entire practice of international law.
Swiss editor Charles W.F. Dumas sent Benjamin Franklin three original French copies of the book. Franklin presented one copy to the Library Company of Philadelphia. On December 9, 1775, Franklin thanked Dumas:
It came to us in good season, when the circumstances of a rising State make it necessary to frequently consult the Law of Nations.
It may not be doubted that the very conception of a just government and its duty to the citizen includes the reciprocal obligation of the citizen to render military service in case of need, and the right to compel it. Vattel, Law of Nations, book III, cc. 1 and 2. To do more than state the proposition is absolutely unnecessary in view of the practical illustration afforded by the almost universal legislation to that effect now in force.
Vattel's Law of Nations was translated into English in 1760, based on the French original of 1758. A Dublin translation of 1787 does not include notes from the original nor posthumous notes added to the 1773 French edition. Several other English editions were based on the edition of 1760. However, an English edition from 1793 includes Vattel's later thoughts, as did the London 1797 edition. The 1797 edition has a detailed table of contents and margin titles for subsections.