De Indis De Jure Belli/Preface
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
Honorary Doctor, Edinburgh, Glasgow, and Oxford Member of the Institute of
International Law Member of the International Court of Arbritation at The
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 present
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 countries.
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