CLASSICS OF INTERNATIONAL LAW
JAMES BROWN SCOTT
Member of the Institute of International Law President of
the American Institute of International Law
FRANCISCI DE VICTORIA
DE INDIS ET DE IVRE BELLI RELECTIONES
Honorary Doctor, Edinburgh, Glasgow, and Oxford Member of
the Institute of International Law Member of the International Court of
Arbritation at The Hague
OCEANA PUBLICATIONS INC.
WILDY & SONS LTD.
NEW YORK, U. S. A. LONDON.
The Carnegie Institution of Washington has undertaken the republication of
the leading classics of International Law and the present volume, containing
the sections De Indis and De Jure Belli extracted from Victoria's
posthumous work entitled Relectiones Theologicae, and published for the
first time in 1557, is edited with an introduction by the distinguished Belgian
publicist, Professor Ernest Nys. The English translation of the introduction
and of the text of Victoria have been made by Mr. John Pawley Bate.
Inasmuch as the various editions of Victoria's writings, including the
portion of them dealing with international law, are faulty, it was thought
advisable to prepare a revised and critical edition of the text of the two
Relectiones. The work was entrusted to Dr. Herbert Francis Wright,
Instructor in Latin in the Catholic University of America, whose edition of the
sections entitled De Indis and De Jure Belli appears in the
The reasons for including Victoria's tractates are sufficiently set forth by
Professor Nys in his introduction, and yet the general editor is unwilling to
allow the volume to go to press without a tribute in passing to the
broad-minded and generous-hearted Dominican, justly regarded as one of the
founders of International Law, and whose two tractates here reproduced are, as
Thucydides would say, a perpetual possession to the international lawyer.
Victoria's claim as a founder of the Law of Nations must unfortunately be based
upon these two readings taken down by a pupil and published after his death,
without the professor's revision and in a very summary form. They are
sufficient, however, to show that International Law is not a thing of our day
and generation or of the Hague Conferences, nor indeed the creation of Grotius,
but that the system is almost as old as the New World.
One reason for undertaking the reprinting of the classics of International
Law is the difficulty of procuring the texts in convenient form for scientific
study; the libraries in the United States have been searched with the result
that few of the earlier works were to be found. Another reason is that some of
the works selected for republication have never been translated into English.
The American publicist is therefore at a disadvantage in consulting works of
admitted authority, and when found they are, as it were, sealed books to all
but trained Latinists. The specialist is thus forced to rely upon summary
statements and references to them to be found in treatises on International
Law, or is driven to examine them in European libraries, often a difficult
task, while the general reader is practically barred from the stores of
knowledge locked up in earlier works on the Law of Nations. The same difficulty
exists in Latin America, Japan, and in a lesser degree in many European
Eminent publicists, European and American, who have been consulted as to the
usefulness of the plan to republish the Classics, have endorsed the project and
have pledged their personal cooperation. The works to be included in the series
have not only been approved but suggested by them, so that the undertaking is
international in scope, in selection, and in execution.
The underlying principle of selection has been to reissue those works which
can be said to have contributed either to the origin or to the growth of
International Law and the term classic has been used in the broad rather than
in the narrow sense, so that no work will be omitted which can be said to have
contributed to the origin or growth of the Law of Nations. The masterpieces of
Grotius will naturally be the central point in the series, but the works of his
leading predecessors and successors will likewise be included. The text of each
author will be reproduced photographically, so as to lay the source before the
reader without the mistakes which might creep into a newly printed text. In the
case of the early authors the photographed text will be accompanied by a
revised text whenever that course shall seem desirable. An Introduction will be
prefixed to each work, giving the necessary biographical details and stating
the importance of the text and its place in International Law; tables of errata
will be added, and notes deemed necessary to clear up doubts and ambiguities or
to correct mistakes in the text will be supplied. Variations in successive
editions of the text published in the author's lifetime will be noted, but
little or nothing in the nature of historical commentary will be furnished.
Each work will be accompanied by an English version made expressly for the
series by a competent translator.
It is hoped that the series will enable general readers as well as
specialists to trace International Law from its faint and unconscious
beginnings to its present ample proportions and to forecast with some degree of
certainty its future development into that law which Mirabeau tells us will one
day rule the world.
JAMES BROWN SCOTT,
WASHINGTON, February 19, 1917.
PAGES 9 TO 53 HAVE NOT BEEN REPRODUCED AS IT IS A
TRANSLATION OF THE FOLLOWING INTRODUCTION INTO FRENCH
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