On the Law of War and Peace


De Jure Belli ac Pacis


by Hugo Grotius (1583-1645)


Book I


CHAPTER 1: On War and Right


Of War — Definition of War — Right, of Governors and of the governed, and  of equals — Right as a Quality divided into Faculty and Fitness — Faculty  denoting Power, Property, and Credit — Divided into Private and Superior —  Right as a Rule, natural and voluntary — Law of Nature divided — Proofs of  the Law of Nature — Division of Rights into human and divine — Human  explained — Divine stated — Mosaic Law not binding upon Christians.


I. THE disputes arising among those who are held together by no common  bond of civil laws to decide their dissensions, like the ancient  Patriarchs, who formed no national community, or the numerous, unconnected  communities, whether under the direction of individuals, or kings, or  persons invested with Sovereign power, as the leading men in an  aristocracy, and the body of the people in a republican government; the  disputes, arising among any of these, all bear a relation to the  circumstances of war or peace. But because war is undertaken for the sake  of peace, and there is no dispute, which may not give rise to war, it will  be proper to treat all such quarrels, as commonly happen, between nations,  as an article in the rights of war: and then war itself will lead us to  peace, as to its proper end.


II. In treating of the rights of war, the first point, that we have to  consider, is, what is war, which is the subject of our inquiry, and what  is the right, which we seek to establish. Cicero styled war a contention  by force. But the practice has prevailed to indicate by that name, not an  immediate action, but a state of affairs; so that war is the state of  contending parties, considered as such. This definition, by its general  extent, comprises those wars of every description, that will form the  subject of the present treatise. Nor are single combats excluded from this  definition. For, as they are in reality more ancient than public wars, and  undoubtedly, of the same nature, they may therefore properly be  comprehended under one and the same name. This agrees very well with the  true derivation of the word. For the Latin word, Bellum, WAR, comes from  the old word, Duellum, a DUEL, as Bonus from Duonus, and Bis from Duis.  Now Duellum was derived from Duo; and thereby implied a difference between  two persons, in the same sense as we term peace, UNITY, from Unitas, for a  contrary reason. So the Greek word, polemos, commonly used to signify war,  expresses in its original, an idea of multitude. The ancient Greeks  likewise called it lye, which imports a DISUNION of minds; just as by the  term dye, they meant the DISSOLUTION of the parts of the body. Nor does  the use of the word, WAR, contradict this larger acceptation of it. For  though some times it is only applied to the quarrels of states, yet that  is no objection, as it is evident that a general name is often applied to  some particular object, entitled to peculiar distinction. Justice is not  included in the definition of war, because the very point to be decided  is, whether any war be just, and what war may be so called. Therefore we  must make a distinction between war itself, and the justice of it.


III. As the Rights of War is the title, by which this treatise is  distinguished, the first inquiry, as it has been already observed, is,  whether any war be just, and, in the next place, what constitutes the  justice of that war. For, in this place, right signifies nothing more than  what is just, and that, more in a negative than a positive sense; so that  RIGHT is that, which is not unjust. Now any thing is unjust, which is  repugnant to the nature of society, established among rational creatures.  Thus for instance, to deprive another of what belongs to him, merely for  one's own advantage, is repugnant to the law of nature, as Cicero observes  in the fifth Chapter of his third book of offices; and, by way of proof,  he says that, if the practice were general, all society and intercourse  among men must be overturned. Florentinus, the Lawyer, maintains that is  impious for one man to form designs against another, as nature has  established a degree of kindred amongst us. On this subject, Seneca  remarks that, as all the members of the human body agree among themselves,  because the preservation of each conduces to the welfare of the whole, so  men should forbear from mutual injuries, as they were born for society,  which cannot subsist unless all the parts of it are defended by mutual  forbearance and good will. But as there is one kind of social tie founded  upon an equality, for instance, among brothers, citizens, friends, allies,  and another on pre-eminence, as Aristotle styles it, subsisting between  parents and children, masters and servants, sovereigns and subjects, God  and men. So justice takes place either amongst equals, or between the  governing and the governed parties, notwithstanding their difference of  rank. The former of these, if I am not mistaken, may be called the right  of equality, and the latter the right of superiority.


IV. There is another signification of the word RIGHT, different from this,  but yet arising from it, which relates directly to the person. In which  sense, RIGHT is a moral quality annexed to the person, justly entitling  him to possess some particular privilege, or to perform some particular  act. This right is annexed to the person, although it sometimes follows  the things, as the services of lands, which are called REAL RIGHTS, in  opposition to those merely PERSONAL. Not because these rights are not  annexed to persons, but the distinction is made, because they belong to  the persons only who possess some particular things. This moral quality,  when perfect is called a FACULTY; when imperfect, an APTITUDE. The former  answers to the ACT, and the latter to the POWER, when we speak of natural  things.


V. Civilians call a faculty that Right, which every man has to his own;  but we shall hereafter, taking it in its strict and proper sense, call it  a right. This right comprehends the power, that we have over ourselves,  which is called liberty, and the power, that we have over others, as that  of a father over his children, and of a master over his slaves. It  likewise comprehends property, which is either complete or imperfect; of  the latter kind is the use or possession of any thing without the  property, or power of alienating it, or pledges detained by the creditors  till payment be made. There is a third signification which implies the  power of demanding what is due, to which the obligation upon the party  indebted, to discharge what is owing, corresponds. 


VI. Right, strictly taken, is again twofold, the one PRIVATE, established  for the advantage of each individual, the other, SUPERIOR, as involving  the claims, which the state has upon individuals, and their property, for  the public good. Thus the Regal authority is above that of a father and a  master, and the Sovereign has a greater right over the property of his  subjects, where the public good is concerned, than the owners themselves  have. And when the exigencies of the state require a supply, every man is  more obliged to contribute towards it, than to satisfy his creditors.


VII. Aristotle distinguishes aptitude or capacity, by the name of worth or  merit, and Michael of Ephesus, gives the epithet of SUITABLE or BECOMING  to the equality established by this rule of merit.


VIII. [Translator's note: The eighth Section is omitted, the greater part  of it consisting of verbal criticism upon Aristotle's notions of  geometrical and arithmetical justice; a discussion no way conducive to  that clearness and simplicity, so necessary to every didactic treatise.]


IX. There is also a third signification of the word Right, which has the  same meaning as Law, taken in its most extensive sense, to denote a rule  of moral action, obliging us to do what is proper. We say OBLIGING us. For  the best counsels or precepts, if they lay us under no obligation to obey  them, cannot come under the denomination of law or right. Now as to  permission, it is no act of the law, but only the silence of the law it  however prohibits any one from impeding another in doing what the law  permits. But we have said, the law obliges us to do what is proper, not  simply what is just; because, under this notion, right belongs to the  substance not only of justice, as we have explained it, but of all other  virtues. Yet from giving the name of a RIGHT to that, which is PROPER, a  more general acceptation of the word justice has been derived. The best  division of right, in this general meaning, is to be found in Aristotle,  who, defining one kind to be natural, and the other voluntary, calls it a  LAWFUL RIGHT in the strictest sense of the word law; and some times an  instituted right. The same difference is found among the Hebrews, who, by  way of distinction, in speaking, call that natural right, PRECEPTS, and  the voluntary right, STATUTES: the former of which the Septuagint call  dikaomata, and the latter entolas.


X. Natural right is the dictate of right reason, shewing the moral  turpitude, or moral necessity, of any act from its agreement or  disagreement with a rational nature, and consequently that such an act is  either forbidden or commanded by God, the author of nature. The actions,  upon which such a dictate is given, are either binding or unlawful in  themselves, and therefore necessarily understood to be commanded or  forbidden by God. This mark distinguishes natural right, not only from  human law, but from the law, which God himself has been pleased to reveal,  called, by some, the voluntary divine right, which does not command or  forbid things in themselves either binding or unlawful, but makes them  unlawful by its prohibition, and binding by its command. But, to  understand natural right, we must observe that some things are said to  belong to that right, not properly, but, as the schoolmen say, by way of  accommodation. These are not repugnant to natural right, as we have  already observed that those things are called JUST, in which there is no  injustice. Some times also, by a wrong use of the word, those things which  reason shews to be proper, or better than things of an opposite kind,  although not binding, are said to belong to natural right.


We must farther remark, that natural right relates not only to those  things that exist independent of the human will, but to many things, which  necessarily follow the exercise of that will. Thus property, as now in  use, was at first a creature of the human will. But, after it was  established, one man was prohibited by the law of nature from seizing the  property of another against his will. Wherefore, Paulus the Lawyer said,  that theft is expressly forbidden by the law of nature. Ulpian condemns it  as infamous in its own nature; to whose authority that of Euripides may be  added, as may be seen in the verse of Helena:


"For God himself hates violence, and will not have us to grow rich by  rapine, but by lawful gains. That abundance, which is the fruit of  unrighteousness, is an abomination. The air is common to men, the earth  also where every man, in the ample enjoyment of his possession, must  refrain from doing violence or injury to that of another."


Now the Law of Nature is so unalterable, that it cannot be changed even by  God himself. For although the power of God is infinite, yet there are some  things, to which it does not extend. Because the things so expressed would  have no true meaning, but imply a contradiction. Thus two and two must  make four, nor is it possible to be otherwise; nor, again, can what is  really evil not be evil. And this is Aristotle's meaning, when he says,  that some things are no sooner named, than we discover their evil nature.  For as the substance of things in their nature and existence depends upon  nothing but themselves; so there are qualities inseparably connected with  their being and essence. Of this kind is the evil of certain actions,  compared with the nature of a reasonable being. Therefore God himself  suffers his actions to be judged by this rule, as may be seen in the  xviiith chap. of Gen. 25. Isa. v. 3. Ezek. xviii. 25. Jer. ii. 9. Mich.  vi. 2. From. ii. 6., iii. 6. Yet it sometimes happens that, in those  cases, which are decided by the law of nature, the undiscerning are  imposed upon by an appearance of change. Whereas in reality there is no  change in the unalterable law of nature, but only in the things appointed  by it, and which are liable to variation. For example, if a creditor  forgive me the debt, which I owe him, I am no longer bound to pay it, not  because the law of nature has ceased to command the payment of a just  debt, but because my debt, by a release, has ceased to be a debt. On this  topic, Arrian in Epictetus argues rightly, that the borrowing of money is  not the only requisite to make a debt, but there must be the additional  circumstance of the loan remaining undischarged. Thus if God should  command the life, or property of any one to be taken away, the act would  not authorise murder or robbery, words which always include a crime. But  that cannot be murder or robbery, which is done by the express command of  Him, who is the sovereign Lord of our lives and of all things. There are  also some things allowed by the law of nature, not absolutely, but  according to a certain state of affairs. Thus, by the law of nature,  before property was introduced, every one had a right to the use of  whatever he found unoccupied; and, before laws were enacted, to avenge his  personal injuries by force.


XI. The distinction found in the books of the Roman Law, assigning one  unchangeable right to brutes in common with man, which in a more limited  sense they call the law of nature, and appropriating another to men, which  they frequently call the Law of Nations, is scarcely of any real use. For  no beings, except those that can form general maxims, are capable of  possessing a right, which Hesiod has placed in a clear point of view,  observing "that the supreme Being has appointed laws for men; but  permitted wild beasts, fishes, and birds to devour each other for food."  For they have nothing like justice, the best gift, bestowed upon men.


Cicero, in his first book of offices, says, we do not talk of the justice  of horses or lions. In conformity to which, Plutarch, in the life of Cato  the elder, observes, that we are formed by nature to use law and justice  towards men only. In addition to the above, Lactantius may be cited, who,  in his fifth book, says that in all animals devoid of reason we see a  natural bias of self-love. For they hurt others to benefit themselves;  because they do not know the evil of doing willful hurt. But it is not so  with man, who, possessing the knowledge of good and evil, refrains, even  with inconvenience to himself, from doing hurt. Polybius, relating the  manner in which men first entered into society, concludes, that the  injuries done to parents or benefactors inevitably provoke the indignation  of mankind, giving an additional reason, that as understanding and  reflection form the great difference between men and other animals, it is  evident they cannot transgress the bounds of that difference like other  animals, without exciting universal abhorrence of their conduct. But if  ever justice is attributed to brutes, it is done improperly, from some  shadow and trace of reason they may possess. But it is not material to the  nature of right, whether the actions appointed by the law of nature, such  as the care of our offspring, are common to us with other animals or not,  or, like the worship of God, are peculiar to man.


XII. The existence of the Law of Nature is proved by two kinds of  argument, a priori, and a posteriori, the former a more abstruse, and the  latter a more popular method of proof. We are said to reason a priori,  when we show the agreement or disagreement of any thing with a reasonable  and social nature; but a posteriori, when without absolute proof, but only  upon probability, any thing is inferred to accord with the law of nature,  because it is received as such among all, or at least the more civilized  nations. For a general effect can only arise from a general cause. Now  scarce any other cause can be assigned for so general an opinion, but the  common sense, as it is called, of mankind. There is a sentence of Hesiod  that has been much praised, that opinions which have prevailed amongst  many nations, must have some foundation. Heraclitus, establishing common  reason as the best criterion of truth, says, those things are certain  which generally appear so. Among other authorities, we may quote  Aristotle, who says it is a strong proof in our favour, when all appear to  agree with what we say, and Cicero maintains that the con. sent of all  nations in any case is to be admitted for the law of nature. Seneca is of  the same opinion, any thing, says he, appearing the same to all men is a  proof of its truth. Quintilian says, we hold those things to be true, in  which all men agree. We have called them the more civilized nations, and  not without reason. For, as Porphyry well observes, some nations are so  strange that no fair judgment of human nature can be formed from them, for  it would be erroneous. Andronicus, the Rhodian says, that with men of a  right and sound understanding, natural justice is unchangeable. Nor does  it alter the case, though men of disordered and perverted minds think  otherwise. For he who should deny that honey is sweet, because it appears  not so to men of a distempered taste, would be wrong. Plutarch too agrees  entirely with what has been said, as appears from a passage in his life of  Pompey, affirming that man neither was, nor is, by nature, a wild  unsociable creature. But it is the corruption of his nature which makes  him so: yet by acquiring new habits, by changing his place, and way of  living, he may be reclaimed to his original gentleness. Aristotle, taking  a description of man from his peculiar qualities, makes him an animal of a  gentle nature, and in another part of his works, he observes, that in  considering the nature of man, we are to take our likeness from nature in  its pure, and not in its corrupt state.


XIII. It has been already remarked, that there is another kind of right,  which is the voluntary right, deriving its origin from the will, and is  either human or divine.


XIV. We will begin with the human as more generally known. Now this is  either a civil right, or a right more or less extensive than the civil  right. The civil right is that which is derived from the civil power. The  civil power is the sovereign power of the state. A state is a perfect body  of free men, united together in order to enjoy common rights and  advantages. The less extensive right, and not derived from the civil power  itself, although subject to it, is various, comprehending the authority of  parents over children, masters over servants, and the like. But the law of  nations is a more extensive right, deriving its authority from the consent  of all, or at least of many nations.


It was proper to add MANY, because scarce any right can be found common to  all nations, except the law of nature, which itself too is generally  called the law of nations. Nay, frequently in one part of the world, that  is held for the law of nations, which is not so in another. Now this law  of nations is proved in the same manner as the unwritten civil law, and  that is by the continual experience and testimony of the Sages of the Law.  For this law, as Dio Chrysostom well observes, is the discoveries made by  experience and time. And in this we derive great advantage from the  writings of eminent historians.


XV. The very meaning of the words divine voluntary right, shows that it  springs from the divine will, by which it is distinguished from natural  law, which, it has already been observed, is called divine also. This law  admits of what Anaxarchus said, as Plutarch relates in the life of  Alexander, though without sufficient accuracy, that God does not will a  thing, because it is just, but that it is just, or binding, because God  wills it. Now this law was given either to mankind in general, or to one  particular people. We find three periods, at which it was given by God to  the human race, the first of which was immediately after the creation of  man, the second upon the restoration of mankind after the flood, and the  third upon that more glorious restoration through Jesus Christ. These  three laws undoubtedly bind all men, as soon as they come to a sufficient  knowledge of them.


XVI. Of all nations there is but one, to which God particularly vouchsafed  to give laws, and that was the people of Israel, whom Moses thus addresses  in the fourth Chap. of Deuteronomy, ver. 7. "What nation is there so great  who hath God so nigh unto them, as the Lord our God is in all things that  we call upon him for? And what nation is there so great, who have statutes  and judgments so righteous, as all this law, which I set before you this  day!" And the Psalmist in the cxlvii. Psalm, "God shewed his word unto  Jacob, his statutes and ordinances unto Israel. He hath not dealt so with  any nation, and as for his judgments they have not known them." Nor can we  doubt but that those Jews, with whom we may class Tryphon in his dispute  with Justin, are mistaken, who suppose that even strangers, if they wish  to be saved, must submit to the yoke of the Mosaic Law. For a law does not  bind those, to whom it has not been given. But it speaks personally to  those, who are immediately under it. Hear O Israel, and we read everywhere  of the covenant made with them, by which they became the peculiar people  of God. Maimonides acknowledges and proves the truth of this from the  xxxiii. Chapter and fourth verse of Deuteronomy.


But among the Hebrews themselves there were always living some strangers,  persons devout and fearing God, such was the Syrophoenician woman,  mentioned in the Gospel of St. Matthew, xv. zz. Cornelius the Centurion.  Acts. x. the devout Greeks, Acts xviii. 6. Sojourners, or strangers, also  are mentioned. Levit. xxv. 47. These, as the Hebrew Rabbis themselves  inform us, were obliged to observe the laws given to Adam and Noah, to  abstain from idols and blood, and other things, that were prohibited; but  not in the same manner to observe the laws peculiar to the people of  Israel. Therefore though the Israelites were not allowed to eat the flesh  of a beast, that had died a natural death; yet the strangers living among  them were permitted. Deut. xiv. 21. Except in some particular laws, where  it was expressly said, that strangers no less than the native inhabitants  were obliged to observe them. Strangers also, who came from other  countries, and were not subject to the Jewish laws, might worship God in  the temple of Jerusalem, but standing in a place separate and distinct  from the Israelites. I. Kings viii. 41. 2 Mac. iii. 35. John xii 20. Acts  viii. 27. Nor did Elisha ever signify to Naaman the Syrian, nor Jonas to  the Ninevites, nor Daniel to Nebuchadnezzar, nor the other Prophets to the  Tyrians, the Moabites, the Egyptians, to whom they wrote, that it was  necessary for them to adopt the Mosaic Law.


What has been said of the whole law of Moses applies to circumcision,  which was a kind of introduction to the law. Yet with this difference that  the Israelites alone were bound by the Mosaic Law, but the whole posterity  of Abraham by the law of circumcision. From hence we are informed by  Jewish and Greek Historians, that the Idumaeans, or Edomites were  compelled by the Jews to be circumcised. Wherefore there is reason to  believe that the numerous nations, who, besides the Israelites, practiced  circumcision, and who are mentioned by Herodotus, Strabo, Philo, Justin,  Origen, Clemens, Alexandrinus, Epiphanius, and Jerom, were descended from  Ishmael, Esau, or the posterity of Keturah. But what St. Paul says, From.  ii. 14: holds good of all other nations; that the Gentiles, not having the  law, yet doing by nature the things contained in the law, become a law to  themselves. Here the word nature may be taken for the primitive source of  moral obligation; or, referring it to the preceding parts of the Epistle,  it may signify the knowledge, which the Gentiles acquired of themselves  without instruction, in opposition to the knowledge derived to the Jews  from the law, which was instilled into them from their cradle, and almost  from their birth. "So the Gentiles show the work, or the moral precepts of  the law, written in their hearts, their consciences also bearing witness,  and their thoughts the mean while accusing or else excusing one another."  And again in the 26th ver.; "If the uncircumcision keep the righteousness  of the law, shall not his uncircumcision be counted for circumcision?"  Therefore Ananias, the Jew, as we find in the history of Josephus, very  properly taught Tzates, or as Tacitus calls him, Ezates, the Adiabenian,  that even without circumcision, God might be rightly worshipped and  rendered propitious. For though many strangers were circumcised, among the  Jews, and by circumcision bound themselves to observe the law, as St. Paul  explains it in Gal. v. 3.; they did it partly to obtain the freedom of the  country; for proselytes called by the Hebrews, proselytes of  righteousness, enjoyed equal privileges with the Israelites. Num. xv. :  and partly to obtain a share in those promises, which were not common to  mankind, but peculiar to the Jewish people, although it cannot be denied,  that in later ages an erroneous opinion prevailed, that there was no  salvation out of the Jewish pale. Hence we may infer, that we are bound by  no part of the Levitical law, strictly and properly so called; because any  obligation, beyond that arising from the law of nature, must proceed from  the express will of the law-giver. Now it cannot be discovered by any  proof, that God intended any other people, but the Israelites to be bound  by that law. Therefore with respect to ourselves, we have no occasion to  prove an abrogation of that law; for it could never be abrogated with  respect to those, whom it never bound. But the Israelites were released  from the ceremonial part, as soon as the law of the Gospel was proclaimed;  a clear revelation of which was made to one of the Apostles, Acts x. 15.  And the other parts of the Mosaic law lost their peculiar distinction,  when the Jews ceased to be a people by the desolation and destruction of  their city without any hopes of restoration. Indeed it was not a release  from the law of Moses that we, who were strangers to the Commonwealth of  Israel, obtained by the coming of Christ. But as before that time, our  hopes in the goodness of God were obscure and uncertain, we gained the  assurance of an express covenant, that we should be united in one Church  with the seed of Israel, the children of the patriarchs, their law, that  was the wall of separation between us, being broken down. Eph. ii. 14.


XVII. Since then the law given by Moses imposes no direct obligation upon  us, as it has been already shown, let us consider whether it has any other  use both in this inquiry into the rights of war, and in other questions of  the same kind. In the first place, the Mosaic law shows that what it  enjoins is not contrary to the law of nature. For since the law of nature  is perpetual and unchangeable, nothing contradictory to it could be  commanded by God, who is never unjust. Besides the law of Moses is called  in the xix. Psalm an undefiled and right law, and St. Paul, From. vii. 12,  describes it to be holy, just, and good. Its precepts are here spoken of,  for its permissions require a more distinct discussion. For the bare  permission, signifying the removal of an impediment, or prohibition, has  no relation to the present subject. A positive, legal permission is either  full, granting us power to do some particular act without the least  restriction, or less full, only allowing men impunity for certain actions,  and a right to do them without molestation from others. From the  permission of the former kind no less than from a positive precept, it  follows that what the law allows, is not contrary to the law of nature.  But with regard to the latter kind of permission, allowing impunity for  certain acts, but not expressly authorizing them, we cannot so readily  conclude those acts to be conformable to the law of nature. Because where  the words of permission are ambiguous in their meaning, it is better for  us to interpret according to the established law of nature, what kind of  permission it is, than from our conception of its expediency to conclude  it conformable to the laws of nature. Connected with this first  observation there is another, expressive of the power that obtains among  Christian Princes to enact laws of the same import with those given by  Moses, except such as related entirely to the time of the expected  Messiah, and the Gospel then unrevealed, or where Christ himself has in a  general or particular manner established any thing to the contrary. For  except in these three cases, no reason can be devised, why any thing  established by the law of Moses should be now unlawful. In the third place  it may be observed, that whatever the law of Moses enjoined relating to  those virtues, which Christ required of his disciples, should be fulfilled  by Christians now, in a greater degree, from their superior knowledge, and  higher motives. Thus the virtues of humility, patience, and charity are  required of Christians in a more perfect manner than of the Jews under the  Mosaic dispensation, because the promises of heaven are more clearly laid  before us in the Gospel. Hence the old law, when compared with the Gospel,  is said to have been neither perfect nor faultless, and Christ is said to  be the end of the law, and the law our schoolmaster to bring us to Christ.  Thus the old law respecting the Sabbath, and the law respecting tithes,  show that Christians are bound to devote not less than a seventh portion  of their time to divine worship, nor less than a tenth of their fruits to  maintain those who are employed in holy things, or to other pious uses.


CHAPTER 2: Inquiry Into the Lawfulness of War


Reasons proving the lawfulness of War — Proofs from History — Proofs from   general consent — The Law of Nature proved not repugnant to War — War not   condemned by the voluntary Divine Law preceding the Gospel — Objections   answered — Review of the question whether War be contrary to the Law of   the Gospel — Arguments from Scripture for the negative Opinions — Answer   to the Arguments taken from Scripture for the affirmative — The opinions   of the primitive Christians on the subject examined.


I. AFTER examining the sources of right, the first and most general   question that occurs, is whether any war is just, or if it is ever lawful   to make war. But this question like many others that follow, must in the   first place be compared with the rights of nature. Cicero in the third   book of his Bounds of Good and Evil, and in other parts of his works,   proves with great erudition from the writings of the Stoics, that there   are certain first principles of nature, called by the Greeks the first   natural impressions, which are succeeded by other principles of obligation   superior even to the first impressions themselves. He calls the care,   which every animal, from the moment of its birth, feels for itself and the   preservation of its condition, its abhorrence of destruction, and of every   thing that threatens death, a principle of nature. Hence, he says, it   happens, that if left to his own choice, every man would prefer a sound   and perfect to a mutilated and deformed body. So that preserving ourselves   in a natural state, and holding to every thing conformable, and averting   every thing repugnant to nature is the first duty.


But from the knowledge of these principles, a notion arises of their being   agreeable to reason, that part of a man, which is superior to the body.   Now that agreement with reason, which is the basis of propriety, should   have more weight than the impulse of appetite; because the principles of   nature recommend right reason as a rule that ought to be of higher value   than bare instinct. As the truth of this is easily assented to by all men   of sound judgment without any other demonstration, it follows that in   inquiring into the laws of nature the first object of consideration is,   what is agreeable to those principles of nature, and then we come to the   rules, which, though arising only out of the former, are of higher   dignity, and not only to be embraced, when offered, but pursued by all the   means in our power.


This last principle, which is called propriety, from its fitness,   according to the various things on which it turns, sometimes is limited to   a very narrow point, the least departure from which is a deviation into   vice; sometimes it allows a wider scope, so that some actions, even   laudable in themselves, may be omitted or varied without crime. In this   case there is not an immediate distinction between right and wrong; the   shades are gradual, and their termination unperceived; not like a direct   contrast, where the opposition is immediately seen, and the first step is   a transgression of the fixed bounds.


The general object of divine and human laws is to give the authority of   obligation to what was only laudable in itself. It has been said above   that an investigation of the laws of nature implies an inquiry, whether   any particular action may be done without injustice: now by an act of   injustice is understood that, which necessarily has in it any thing   repugnant to the nature of a reasonable and social being. So far from any   thing in the principles of nature being repugnant to war, every part of   them indeed rather favours it. For the preservation of our lives and   persons, which is the end of war, and the possession or acquirement of   things necessary and useful to life is most suitable to those principles   of nature, and to use force, if necessary, for those occasions, is no way   dissonant to the principles of nature, since all animals are endowed with   natural strength, sufficient to assist and defend themselves.


Xenophon says, that every animal knows a certain method of fighting  without any other instructor than nature. In a fragment of Ovid's, called   the Art of Fishery, it is remarked, that all animals know their enemy and   his means of defence, and the strength and measure of their own weapons.   Horace has said, "the wolf attacks with its teeth, the bull with its   horns, and whence is this knowledge derived but from instinct?" On this   subject Lucretius enlarges, observing that "every creature knows its own   powers. The calf butts with its forehead, before its horns appear, and   strikes with all imaginable fury." On which Galen expresses himself in the   following manner, "every animal appears to defend itself with that part of   its body, in which it excels others. The calf butts with its head before   its horns have grown, and the colt strikes with its heel before its hoofs   are hard, as the young dog attempts to bite before his teeth are strong."   The same writer in describing the use of different parts of the body,   says, "that man is a creature formed for peace and war. His armour forms   not an immediate part of his body; but he has hands fit for preparing and   handling arms, and we see infants using them spontaneously, without being   taught to do so." Aristotle in the 4th book, and tenth chapter of the   history of animals, says, "that the hand serves man for a spear, a sword,   or any arms whatever, because it can hold and wield them." Now right   reason and the nature of society which claims the second, and indeed more   important place in this inquiry, prohibit not all force, but only that   which is repugnant to society, by depriving another of his right. For the   end of society is to form a common and united aid to preserve to every one   his own. Which may easily be understood to have obtained, before what is   now called property was introduced. For the free use of life and limbs was   so much the right of every one, that it could not be infringed or attacked   without injustice. So the use of the common productions of nature was the   right of the first occupier, and for any one to rob him of that was   manifest injustice. This may be more easily understood, since law and   custom have established property under its present form. Tully has   expressed this in the third book of his Offices in the following words,   "if every member could have separate feeling, and imagine it could derive   vigour from engrossing the strength of a neighboring part of the body, the   whole frame would languish and perish. In the same manner if every one of   us, for his own advantage, might rob another of what he pleased, there   would be a total overthrow of human society and intercourse. For though it   is allowed by nature for every one to give the preference to himself   before another in the enjoyment of life and necessaries, yet she does not   permit us to increase our means and riches by the spoils of others." It is   not therefore contrary to the nature of society to provide and consult for   ourselves, if another's right is not injured; the force therefore, which   inviolably abstains from touching the rights of others, is not unjust. For   as the same Cicero observes some where in his Epistles, that as there are   two modes of contending, the one by argument, and the other by force, and   as the former is peculiar to man, and the latter common to him with the   brute creation, we must have recourse to the latter, when it is impossible   to use the former. And again, what can be opposed to force, but force?   Ulpian observes that Cassius says, it is lawful to repel force by force,   and it is a right apparently provided by nature to repel arms with arms,   with whom Ovid agrees, observing that the laws permit us to take up arms   against those that bear them.


II. The observation that all war is not repugnant to the law of nature,   may be more amply proved from sacred history. For when Abraham with his   servants and confederates had gained a victory, by force of arms, over the   four Kings, who had plundered Sodom, God approved of his act by the mouth   of his priest Melchisedech, who said to him, "Blessed be the most high   God, who hath delivered thine enemies into thine hand." Gen. xiv. 20. Now   Abraham had taken up arms, as appears from the history, without any   special command from God. But this man, no less eminent for sanctity than   wisdom, felt himself authorized by the law of nature, as it is admitted by   the evidence of Berosus, and Orpheus, who were strangers.


There is no occasion to appeal to the history of the seven nations, whom   God delivered up into the hands of the Israelites to be destroyed. For   there was a special command to execute the judgment of God upon nations   guilty of the greatest crimes. From whence these wars are literally styled   in scripture, Battles of the Lord, as undertaken, not by human will, but   by divine appointment. The xvii. chapter of Exodus supplies a passage more   to the purpose, relating the overthrow which the Israelites, conducted by   Moses and Joshua, made of the Amalekites. In this act, there was no   express commission from God, but only an approval after it was done. But   in the xix. chap. of Deut. ver. 10, 15. God has prescribed general and   standing laws to his people on the manner of making war, by this   circumstance shewing that a war may be just without any; express   commandment from him. Because in the same passage, a plain distinction is   made between the case of the seven nations and that of others. And as   there is no special edict prescribing the just causes for which war may be   undertaken, the determination of them is left to the discovery of natural   reason. Of this kind is the war of Jephthah against the Ammonites, in   defence of their borders. Judd. xi. and the war of David against the same   people for having violated the rights of his Ambassadors. 2 Sam. x. To the   preceding observations may be added, what the inspired writer of the   Epistle to the Hebrews says of Gideon, Barack, Sampson, Jephthah, David,   Samuel, and others, who by faith made war upon kingdoms, prevailed in war   and put whole armies of their enemies to flight. Heb. xi. 33, 34. The   whole tenor of this passage shews, that the word faith implies a   persuasion, that what they did was believed to be agreeable to the will of   God. In the same manner, David is said, by a woman distinguished for her   wisdom, I Sam. xxv. 28. to fight the battles of the Lord, that is to make   lawful and just wars.


III. Proofs of what has been advanced, may be drawn also from the consent   of all, especially, of the wisest nations. There is a celebrated passage   in Cicero's speech for Milo, in which, justifying recourse to force in   defence of life, he bears ample testimony to the feelings of nature, who   has given us this law, which is not written, but innate, which we have not   received by instruction, hearing or reading, but the elements of it have   been engraven in our hearts and minds with her own hand : a law which is   not the effect of habit and acquirement, but forms a part in the original   complexion of our frame: so that if our lives are threatened with   assassination or open violence from the hands of robbers or enemies, any   means of defence would be allowed and laudable. He proceeds, reason has   taught this to the learned, necessity to the barbarians, custom to   nations, and nature herself to wild beasts, to use every possible means of   repelling force offered to their bodies, their limbs and their lives.   Caius and Lawyer says, natural reason permits us to defend ourselves   against dangers. And Florentinus, another legal authority, maintains, that   whatever any one does in defence of his person ought to be esteemed right.   Josephus observes, that the love of life is a law of nature strongly   implanted in all creatures, and therefore we look upon those as enemies,   who would openly deprive us of it.


This principle is founded on reasons of equity, so evident, that even in   the brute creation, who have no idea of right, we make a distinction   between attack and defence. For when Ulpian had said, that an animal   without knowledge, that is without the use of reason, could not possibly   do wrong, he immediately adds, that when two animals fight, if one kills   the other, the distinction of Quintius Mutius must be admitted, that if   the aggressor were killed no damages could be recovered; but if the other,   which was attacked, an action might be maintained. There is a passage in   Pliny, which will serve for an explanation of this, he say s that the   fiercest lions do not fight with each other, nor do serpents bite   serpents. But if any violence is done to the tamest of them, they are   roused, and upon receiving any hurt, will defend themselves with the   greatest alacrity and vigour.


IV. From the law of nature then which may also be called he law of   nations, it is evident that all kinds of war are not to be condemned. In   the same manner, all history and the laws of manners of every people   sufficiently inform us, that war is not condemned by the voluntary law of   nations. Indeed Hermogenianus has said, that wars were introduced by the   law of nations, a passage which aught to be explained somewhat differently   from the general interpretation given to it. The meaning of it is, that   certain formalities, attending war, were introduced by the law of nations,   which formalities were necessary to secure the peculiar privileges arising   out of the law. From hence a distinction, which there will be occasion to   use hereafter, between a war with the usual formalities oĢ the law of   nations, which is called just or perfect, and an informal war, which does   not for that reason cease to be just, or agreeable to right. For some   wars, when made upon just grounds, though not exactly conformable, yet are   not repugnant to the law, as will be explained more fully hereafter. By   the law of the nations, says Livy, provision is made to repel force by   arms; and Florentinus declares, that the law of nations allows us to repel   violence and injury, in order to protect our persons.


V. A greater difficulty occurs respecting the divine voluntary law. Nor is   there any force in the objection that as the law of nature is   unchangeable, nothing can be appointed even by God himself contrary to it.   For this is true only in those things, which the law of nature positively   forbids or commands; no 'n those which are tacitly permitted by the same   law. For acts of that kind, not falling strictly within the general rule,   but being exceptions to the law of nature, may be either forbidden or   commanded. The first objection usually made against the lawfulness of war   is taken from the law given to Noah and his posterity, Gen. ix. 5, 6,   where God thus speaks, "Surely the blood of your lives will I require; at   the hand of every beast will I require it, and at the hand of every man ;   at the hand of every man's brother will I require the life of man. Whoever   sheds man's blood, by man shall his blood be shed; for in the image of God   made he man." Here some take the phrase of requiring blood, in the most   general sense, and the other part, that blood shall be shed in its turn,   they consider as a bare threat, and not an approbation; neither of which   acceptations can be admitted. For the prohibition of shedding blood   extends not beyond the law itself, which declares, THOU SHALT NOT KILL;   but passes no condemnation upon capital punishments or wars undertaken by   public authority.


Neither the law of Moses, nor that given to Noah established any thing   new, they were only a declaratory repetition of the law of nature, that   had been obliterated by depraved custom. So that the shedding of blood in   a criminal and wanton manner is the only act prohibited by those   commandments. Thus every act of homicide does not amount to murder, but   only that, which is committed with a willful and malicious intention to   destroy the life of an innocent person. As to what follows about blood   .being shed in return for blood, it seems to imply not a mere act of   personal revenge, but the deliberate exercise of a perfect right, which   may be thus explained; it is not unjust, according to the principles of   nature that any one should suffer in proportion to the evil he has done,   conformably to the judicial maxim of Rhadamanthus, that if any one himself   suffers what he has done, it is but just and right. The same opinion is   thus expressed by Seneca the father; "it is but a just retaliation for any   one to suffer in his own person the evil which he intended to inflict upon   another." From a sense of this natural justice, Cain knowing himself   guilty of his brother's blood said, "whosoever finds me shall kill me."


But as in those early times, when men were few, and aggressions rare,   there was less occasion for examples, God restrained by an express   commandment the impulse of nature which appeared lawful, he forbad any one   to kill the murderer, at the same time prohibiting all intercourse with   him, even so far as not to touch him.


Plato has established this in his laws, and the same rule prevailed in   Greece, as appears from the following passage in Euripides, "our fathers   of old did well in banishing from their intercourse and sight any one that   had shed another's blood; imposing banishment by way of atonement, rather   than inflicting death." We find Thucydides of the same opinion, "that   anciently lighter punishments were inflicted for the greatest crimes; but   in process of time, as those penalties came to be despised, legislators   were obliged to have recourse to death in certain cases." We may add to   the above instances the remark of Lactantius, that as yet it appeared a   sin to punish even the most wicked men with death.


The conjecture of the divine will taken from the remarkable instance of   Cain, whom no one was permitted to kill passed into a law, so that Lanech,   having perpetrated a similar deed, promised himself impunity from this   example. Gen. iv. 24.


But as before the deluge, in the time of the Giants, the practice of   frequent and wanton murders had prevailed; upon the renewal of the human   race, after the deluge, that the same evil custom might not be   established, God thought proper to restrain it by severer means. The   lenity of former ages was laid aside, and the divine authority gave a   sanction to the precepts of natural justice, that whoever killed a   murderer should be innocent. After tribunals were erected, the power over   life was, for the very best reasons, conferred upon the judges alone.   Still some traces of ancient manners remained in the right which was   granted, after the introduction o the Mosaic Law, to the nearest in blood   to the person killed.


This interpretation is justified by the authority of Abraham, who, with a   perfect knowledge of the law given to Noah, took arms against the four   Kings, fully persuaded that he was doing nothing in violation of that law.   In the same manner Moses ordered the people to fight against Amalekites,   who attacked them ; following in this case the dictates of nature, for he   appears to have had no special communication with God. Exod. xvii. 9.   Besides, we find that capital punishments were inflicted upon other   criminals, as well as murderers, not only among the Gentiles, but among   those who had been impressed with the most pious rules and opinions, even   the Patriarchs themselves. Gen. xxxviii. 24.


Indeed upon comparing the divine will with the light of nature, it was   concluded, that it seemed conformable to justice, that other crimes of   great enormity should be subject to the same punishment as that of murder.   For there are some rights, such as those of reputation, chastity, conjugal   fidelity, submission of subjects to their princes, all of which are   esteemed of equal value with life itself, because on the preservation of   these the peace and comfort of life depend. The violation of any of those   rights is little less than murder itself.


Here may be applied the old tradition found among the Jews, that there   were many laws, which were not ALL mentioned by Moses, given by God to the   sons of Noah as it was sufficient for his purpose, that they should   afterwards be comprehended in the peculiar laws of the Hebrews. Thus it   appears from xviii. chap. of Leviticus, that there was an ancient law   against incestuous marriages, though not mentioned by Moses in its proper   place. Now among the commandments given by God to the children of Noah, it   is said, that death was expressly declared to be the punishment not only   for murder, but for adultery, incest, and robbery, which is confirmed by   the words of Job xxxi. II. The law of Moses too, for the sanction of   capital punishments, gives reasons which operate no less with other   nations, than with the Jewish people. Levit. xviii. 25-30. Psa. ci. 5.   Prov. xx. 8. And particularly respecting murder it is said, the land   cannot be cleansed unless the blood of the murderer be shed. Numb. xxv.   31-33. Besides, it were absurd to suppose that the Jewish people were   indulged with the privilege of maintaining the public safety, and that of   individuals by capital punishments, and asserting their rights by war, and   that other kings and nations were not allowed the same powers. Nor do we   find that those kings or nations were forewarned by the Prophets, that the   use of capital punishments, and that all wars, were condemned by God in   the same manner as they were admonished of all other sins. On the other   hand, can any one doubt, as the law of Moses bore such an express image of   the divine will respecting criminal justice, whether other nations would   not have acted wisely in adopting it for their example? It is certain that   the Greeks, and the Athenians in particular did so. From hence came the   close resemblance which the Jewish bore to the old Athenian law, and to   that of the twelve tables of Rome. Enough has been said, to shew that the   law given to Noah cannot bear the interpretation of those, who derive from   it their arguments against the lawfulness of all war.


VI. The arguments against the lawfulness of war, drawn from the Gospel,   are more specious. In examining which it will not be necessary to assume,   as many do, that the Gospel contains nothing more than the law of nature,   except the rules of faith and the Sacraments: an assumption, which in its   general acceptation is by no means true. It may readily be admitted, that   nothing inconsistent with natural justice is enjoined in the gospel, yet   it can never be allowed, that the laws of Christ do not impose duties upon   us, above those required by the law of nature. And those, who think   otherwise, strain their arguments to prove that many practices forbidden   by the gospel, as concubinage, divorce, polygamy, were made offences by   the law of nature. The light of nature might point out the HONOUR of   abstaining from such practices, but the SINFULNESS of them could not have   been discovered without a revelation of the will of God. Who for instance   would say, that the Christian precept of laying down our lives for others   was an obligation of the law of nature? I John iii. 16. It is said by   Justin the Martyr, that to live according to the bare law of nature is not   the character of a true believer. Neither can we follow those, who,   adopting another meaning of no inconsiderable import, construe the precept   delivered by Christ in his sermon on the mount, into nothing more than an   interpretation of the Mosaic Law. For the words, "you have heard it was   said to them of OLD, but I say to you," which are so often repeated, imply   something else. Those of old were no other than contemporaries of Moses:   for what is there repeated as said to those of OLD are not the words of   the teachers of the law, but of Moses, either LITERALLY, or in THEIR   meaning. They are cited by our Saviour as his express words, not as   interpretations of them: "Thou shalt not kill," Exod. xx. whoever killeth   shall be in danger of Judgment, Levit. xxi. az. Numb. xxxv. 16, 17, 30.   "Thou shalt not commit adultery," Exod. xx. "whosoever shall put away his   wife, let him give her a writing of divorcement." Deut. xxiv 1. "Thou   shalt not forswear thyself, but shalt perform unto the Lord thine oaths."   Exod. xx. 7. Numb. xxx 2. "An eye for an eye, and a tooth for a tooth,"   may be demanded in justice." Levit. xxxiv. 20. Deut. xix. 21. "Thou shalt   love thy neighbour," that is, an Israelite. Levit. xix. 18. "and thou   shalt hate thine enemy," that is, any one of the seven nations to whom   friendship or compassion was forbidden to be shewn. Exod. xxxiv. 11. Deut.   vii. 1. To these may be added the Amalekites, with whom the Israelites   were commanded to maintain irreconcilable war. Exod. xxvii. 18. Deut. xxv.   19.


But to understand the words of our Saviour, we must observe that the law   of Moses is taken in a double sense, either as containing some principles   in common with human laws, such as imposing restraint upon human crimes by   the dread of exemplary punishments. Heb. ii. 2. And in this manner   maintaining civil society among the Jewish people: for which reason it is   called, Heb. vii. 16, the law of a carnal commandment, and From. iii. 17.   the law of works: or it may be taken in another sense, comprehending the   peculiar sanctions of a divine law, requiring purity of mind, and certain   actions, which might be omitted without temporal punishments. In this   sense it is called a spiritual law, giving life to the soul. The teachers   of the law, and the Pharisees considering the first part as sufficient   neglected to instruct the people in the second and more important branch,   deeming it superfluous. The truth of this may be proved, not only from our   own writings, but from Josephus also, and the Jewish Rabbies. Respecting   this second part we may observe, that the virtues which are required of   Christians, are either recommended or enjoined to the Hebrews, but not   enjoined in the same degree and extent as to Christians. Now in both these   senses Christ opposes his own precepts to the old law. From whence it is   clear, that his words contain more than a bare interpretation of the   Mosaic law. These observations apply not only to the question immediately   in hand, but to many others; that we may not rest upon the authority of   the Mosaic law farther than is right.


VII. Omitting therefore the less satisfactory proofs, as a leading point   of evidence to shew that the right of war is not taken away by the law of   the gospel, that passage in St. Paul's Epistle to Timothy may be referred   to, where the Apostle says, "I exhort therefore that, first of all,   supplications, prayers, intercessions, and giving of thanks be made for   all men; for Kings, and for all that are in authority, that we may lead a   quiet and peaceable life, in all godliness and honesty; for this is good   and acceptable in the sight of God our Saviour, who would have all men to   be saved, and to come to the knowledge of the truth." I Eph. ii. 1, 2, 3.   From this passage, the following conclusions may be drawn; in the first   place, that Christian piety in kings is acceptable to God, that their   profession of Christianity does not abridge their rights of sovereignty.   Justin the Martyr has said, "that in our prayers for Kings, we should beg   that they may unite a spirit of wisdom with their royal power," and in the   book called the Constitutions of Clement, the Church prays for Christian   rulers, and that Christian Princes may perform an acceptable service to   God, by securing to other Christians the enjoyment of quiet lives. The   manner in which the Sovereign secures this important end, is explained in   another passage from the same Apostle. From. xiii. 4. "He is the minister   of God to thee for good. But if thou do evil, fear, for he beareth not the   sword in vain; for he is the minister of God, an avenger to execute wrath   upon them, that do evil." By the right of the sword is understood the   exercise of every kind of restraint, in the sense adopted by the Lawyers,   not only over offenders amongst his own people, but against neighboring   nations, who violate his own and his people's rights. To clear up this   point, we may refer to the second Psalm, which although it applies   literally to David, yet in its more full and perfect sense relates to   Christ, which may be seen by consulting other parts of scripture. For   instance, Acts iv. 25. xiii. 33. For that Psalm exhorts all kings to   worship the son of God, shewing themselves, as kings, to be his ministers,   which may be explained by the words of St. Augustine, who says, "In this,   kings, in their royal capacity, serve God according to the divine   commandment, if they promote what is good, and prohibit what is evil in   their kingdoms, not only relating to human society, but also respecting   religion." And in another place the same writer says, "How can kings serve   the Lord in fear, unless they can prohibit and punish with due severity   offences against the law of God? For the capacities in which they serve   God, as individuals, and as kings, are very different. In this respect   they serve the Lord, as kings, when they promote his service by means   which they could not use without regal power.


The same part of the Apostle's writings supplies us with a second   argument, where the higher powers, meaning kings, are said to be from God,   and are called the ordinance of God; from whence it is plainly inferred   that we are to honour and obey the, from motives of conscience, and that   every one who resists him is resisting God. If the word ordinance meant   nothing more than a bare permission, that obedience which the Apostle so   strenuously enjoins would only have the force of an imperfect obligation.   But as the word ordinance, in the original, implies an express commandment   and appointment, and as all parts of the revealed will of God are   consistent with each other, it follows that the obedience of subjects to   sovereigns is a duty of supreme obligation. Nor is the argument at all   weakened by its being said, that the Sovereigns at the time when St. Paul   wrote, were not Christians. For it is not universally true, as Sergius   Paulus, the deputy governor of Cyprus, had long before professed the   Christian religion. Acts xiii. 12. There is no occasion to mention the   tradition respecting Abgarus the King of Edessa's Epistle to our Saviour;   a tradition mingled with falsehood, though, in some measure founded upon   truth. For the question did not turn upon the characters of the Princes,   whether they were godly or not, but whether THEIR holding the kingly   office was repugnant to the law of God. This St. Paul denies, maintaining   that the kingly office, even under all circumstances, was appointed by   God, therefore it ought to be honoured from motives of conscience, which,   properly speaking, are under the controul of God alone. So that Nero, and   King Agrippa whom Paul so earnestly entreats to become a Christian, might   have embraced Christianity, and still retained, the one his regal, and the   other his imperial authority, which could not be exercised without the   power of the sword. As the legal sacrifices might formerly be performed by   wicked Priests; in the same manner regal power would retain its indelible   sanctity, though in the hands of an ungodly man.


A third argument is derived from the words of John the Baptist, who, at a   time when many thousands of the Jews served in the Roman armies, as   appears from the testimony of Josephus and others, being seriously asked   by the soldiers, what they should do to avoid the wrath of God, did not   command them to renounce their military calling, which he ought to have   done, had it been inconsistent with the law and will of God, but to   abstain from violence, extortion, and false accusation, and to be content   with their wages. In reply to these words of the Baptist, so plainly   giving authority to the military profession, many observed that the   injunction of the Baptist is so widely different from the precepts of   Christ, that HE seemed to preach one doctrine and our LORD another. Which   is by no means admissible, for the following reasons. Both our Saviour and   the Baptist made repentance the substance of their doctrine; for the   kingdom of heaven was at hand. By the Kingdom of Heaven is meant a new   law, as the Hebrews used to give the name of Kingdom to their law. Christ   himself says the Kingdom of Heaven began to suffer violence from the days   of John the Baptist. Matt. xi. 12. John is said to have preached the   baptism of repentance for the remission of sins. Mark i. 4. The Apostles   are said to have done the same in the name of Christ. Acts xi. 38. John   requires fruits worthy of repentance, and threatens destruction to those,   who do not produce them. Matt. iii. 8, 10. He also requires works of   charity above the law. Luke iii. 2. The law is said to have continued till   John, that is, a more perfect law is said to have commenced form his   instruction. He was called greater than the prophets, and declared to be   one sent to give the knowledge of salvation to the people by announcing   the gospel. He makes no distinction between himself and Jesus on the score   of doctrine, only ascribing pre-eminence to Christ as the promised   Messiah, the Lord of the Kingdom of Heaven, who would give the power of   the holy spirit to those, who believed in him. In short, the dawning   rudiments of knowledge, which proceeded from the forerunner, were more   distinctly unfolded and cleared up, by Christ himself, the light of the   world.


There is a fourth argument, which seems to have no little weight,   proceeding upon the supposition, that if the right of inflicting capital   punishments were abolished, and princes were deprived for the power of the   sword to protect their subjects against the violence of murderers and   robbers, wickedness would triumphantly prevail, and the world would be   deluged with crimes, which, even under the best established governments,   are with so much difficulty prevented or restrained. If then it had been   the intention of Christ to introduce such an order of things as had never   been heard of, he would undoubtedly by the most express and particular   words, have condemned all capital punishments, and all wars, which we   never read that he did. For the arguments, brought in favor of such an   opinion, are for the most part very indefinite and obscure. Now both   justice and common sense require such general expressions to be taken in a   limited acceptation, and allow us, in explaining ambiguous words, to   depart from their literal meaning, where our strictly adhering to it would   lead to manifest inconvenience and detriment.


There is a fifth argument, maintaining that no proof can be adduced that   the judicial part of the Mosaic Law, inflicting sentence of death, ever   ceased to be in force, till the city of Jerusalem, and the civil polity of   the Jews were utterly destroyed, without hopes of restoration. For in the   Mosaic dispensation no assignable term is named for the duration of the   law; nor do Christ and his Apostles ever speak of its abolition, except in   allusion to the overthrow of the Jewish state. Indeed on the contrary, St.   Paul says, that the High Priest was appointed to judge according to the   law of Moses. Acts xxiv. 3. And Christ himself, in the introduction to his   precepts, declares that he came not to destroy the law, but to fulfil it.   Matt. v. 17. The application of his meaning to the ritual law is very   plain, for it was only the outline and shadow of that perfect body, of   which the Gospel formed the substance. But how is it possible that the   judicial laws should stand, if Christ, according to the opinion of some,   abolished them by his coming? Now if the law remained in force as long as   the Jewish state continued, it follows that the Jewish converts to   Christianity if called to the magisterial office, could not refuse it on   the score of declining to pass sentence of death, and that they could not   decide otherwise than the law of Moses had prescribed.


Upon weighing the whole matter, the slightest ground cannot be discovered   for supposing that any pious man, who had heard those words from our   Saviour himself, would have understood them in a sense different from that   which has been here given. It must however be admitted that, before the   Gospel dispensation permission or impunity was granted to certain acts and   dispositions, which it would neither be necessary nor proper to examine at   present, upon which Christ did not allow his followers to act. Of this   kind was the permission to put away a wife for every offence, and to seek   redress by law for every injury. Now between the positive precepts of   Christ and those permissions there is a difference, but not a   contradiction. For he that retains his wife, and he that forgoes his right   of redress, does nothing CONTRARY to the law, but rather acts agreeably to   the SPIRIT of it. It is very different with a judge, who is not merely   permitted, but commanded by the law to punish a murderer with death,   incurring guilt in the sight of God, if he should act otherwise. If Christ   had forbidden him to put a murderer to death, his prohibition would have   amounted to a contradiction, and it would have abolished the law.


The example of Cornelius the Centurion supplies a sixth argument in favor   of this opinion. In receiving the holy spirit from Christ, he received an   indubitable proof of his justification; he was baptized into the name of   Christ by Peter, yet we do not find that he either had resigned or was   advised by the Apostle to resign his military commission. In reply to   which some maintain, that when instructed by Peter in the nature of the   Christian religion, he must have been instructed to form the resolution of   quitting his military calling. There would be some weight in their answer,   if it could be shown that an absolute prohibition of war is to be found   among the precepts of Christ. And as it can be found nowhere else, it   would have been inserted in its proper place among the precepts of Christ,   that after ages might not have been ignorant of the rules of duty. Nor as   may be seen in the xix. chap, of the Acts of the Apostles and the 19th   ver. is it usual with St. Luke, in cases where the personal character and   situation or converts required an extraordinary change of life and   disposition, to pass over such a circumstance without notice.


The seventh argument is like the preceding, and is taken from the example   of Sergius Paulus, which has been already mentioned. In the history of his   conversion there is not the least intimation of "his abdicating the   magistracy, or being required to do so. Therefore silence respecting a   circumstance, which would naturally and necessarily have been mentioned,   may be fairly taken as a proof that it never existed. The conduct of St.   Paul supplies us with an eighth argument on this subject. When he   understood that the Jews lay in wait for an opportunity to seize and kill   him, he immediately gave information of their design to the commander of   the Roman garrison, and when the commander gave him a guard of soldiers to   protect him on his journey, he made no remonstrance, nor ever hinted   either to the commander or the soldiers that it was displeasing to God to   repel force by force. Yet this is the same Apostle who, as appears from   all his writings, 2 Tim. iv. 2. neither himself neglected nor allowed   others to neglect any opportunity of reminding men of their duty. In   addition to all that has been said, it may be observed, that the peculiar   end of what is lawful and binding, must itself be lawful and binding also.   It is lawful to pay tribute, and according to St. Paul's explanation, it   is an act binding upon the conscience, From. xiii. 3, 4, 6. For the end of   tribute is to supply the state with the means of protecting the good, and   restraining the wicked. There is a passage in Tacitus very applicable to   the present question. It is in the fourth book of his history, in the   speech of Petilius Cerealis, who says, "the peace of nations cannot be   preserved without armies, nor can armies be maintained without pay, nor   pay supplied without taxation." There is a sentiment similar to this of   the historian, in St. Augustin, he says, "for this purpose we pay tribute,   that the soldier may be provided with the necessaries of life."


The tenth argument is taken from that part of the xxv. chap. of the Acts   of the Apostles, where Paul says, "If I have wronged any man, or done any   thing worthy of death, I refuse not to die." From whence the opinion of   St. Paul may be gathered, that, even after the publication of the gospel,   there were certain crimes which justice not only allowed but required to   be punished with death; which opinion St. Peter also maintains. But if it   had been the will of God that capital punishments should be abolished,   Paul might have cleared himself, but he ought not to have left an   impression on the minds of men, that it was at that time equally lawful as   before to punish the guilty with death. Now as it has been proved, that   the coming of Christ did not take away the right of inflicting capital   punishments, it has at the same time been proved, that war may be made   upon a multitude of armed offenders, who can only be brought to justice by   defeat in battle. The numbers, the strength and boldness of the   aggressors, though they may have their weight in restraining our   deliberations, cannot in the least diminish our right.


The substance of the eleventh argument rests not only upon our Saviour's   having abolished those parts of the Mosaic law, which formed a wall of   separation between the Jews and other nations, but upon his allowing the   moral parts to remain, as standing rules, approved by the law of nature,   and the consent of every civilized people, and containing whatever is good   and virtuous.


Now the punishing of crimes, and the taking up arms to avenge or ward off   injuries are among those actions, which by the law of nature rank as   laudable, and are referred to the virtues of justice and beneficence. And   here is the proper place to animadvert slightly upon the mistake of those,   who derive the rights of war, possessed by the Israelites, solely from the   circumstance of God having given them the land of Canaan and commissioned   them to drive out the inhabitants. This may be one just reason, but it is   not the sole reason.


For, prior to those times, holy men guided by the light of nature   undertook wars, which the Israelites themselves afterwards did for various   reasons, and David in particular, to avenge the violated rights of   ambassadors. But the rights, which any one derives from the law of nature,   are no less his own than if God had given them: nor are those rights   abolished by the law of the Gospel.


VIII. Let us now consider the arguments, by which the contrary opinion is   supported, that the pious reader may judge more easily, to which side the   scale inclines.


In the first place, the prophecy of Isaiah is generally alleged, who says   the time shall come, "when nations shall beat their swords into plow-  shares, and turn their spears into pruning hooks. Nation shall not lift up   sword against nation, neither shall they learn war any more." ii. 4. But   this prophecy, like many others, is to be taken conditionally, alluding to   the state of the world that would take place, if all nations would submit   to the law of Christ, and make it the rule of life, to which purpose God   would suffer nothing to be wanting on his part. For it is certain, that if   all people were Christians, and lived like Christians, there would be no   wars, which Arnobius expresses thus, "If all men, knowing that it is not   their corporeal form alone which makes them men, but the powers of the   understanding, would lend a patient ear to his salutary and pacific   instructions, if they would trust to his admonitions rather than to the   swelling pride and turbulence of their senses, iron would be employed for   instruments of more harmless and useful operations, the world enjoy the   softest repose and be united in the bands of inviolable treaties." On this   subject Lactantius, reproaching the Pagans with the deification of their   conquerors, says, "what would be the consequence, if all men would unite   in concord? Which might certainly be brought to pass, if, abandoning   ruinous and impious rage, they would live in justice and innocence." Or   this passage of the prophecy must be understood literally, and, if taken   in that sense, it shews that it is not yet fulfilled, but its   accomplishment must be looked for in the general conversion of the Jewish   people. But, which ever way you take it, no conclusion can be drawn from   it against the justice of war, as long as violent men exist to disturb the   quiet of the lovers of peace. [Translator's note: The remainder of this   section is omitted, Grotius himself stating it to be only a repetition and   enlargement of his arguments immediately preceding it.]


IX. In examining the meaning of written evidence, general custom, and the   opinions of men celebrated for their wisdom have usually great weight; a   practice which it is right to observe in the interpretation of holy   scripture. For it is not likely that the churches, which had been founded   by the Apostles, would either suddenly or universally have swerved from   those opinions, which the Apostles had briefly expressed, in writing, and   afterwards more fully and clearly explained to them with their own lips,   and reduced to practice. Now certain expressions of the primitive   Christians are usually alleged by those who are adverse to all wars, whose   opinions may be considered and refuted in three points of view.


In the first place, from these expressions nothing more can be gathered   than the private opinions of certain individuals, but no public opinion of   the Churches. Besides these expressions for the most part are to be found   only in the writings of Origen, Tertullian and some few others, who wished   to distinguish themselves by the brilliancy of their thoughts, without   regarding consistency in their opinions. For this same Origen says, that   Bees were given by God as a pattern for men to follow in conducting just,   regular, and necessary wars; and likewise Tertulian, who in some parts   seems to disapprove of capital punishments, has said, "No one can deny   that it is good the guilty should be punished." He expresses his doubts   respecting the military profession, for in his book upon idolatry, he   says, it is a fit matter of inquiry, whether believers can take up arms,   or whether any of the military profession can be admitted as members of   the Christian Church. But in his Book entitled, the SOLDIER'S CROWN, after   some objections against the profession of arms, he makes a distinction   between those who are engaged in the army before baptism, and those who   entered after they had made the baptismal vow. "It evidently, says he   alters the case with those who were soldiers before their conversion to   Christianity; John admitted them to baptism, in one instance Christ   approved, and in another Peter instructed a faithful Centurion : yet with   this stipulation, that they must either like many others, relinquish their   calling, or be careful to do nothing displeasing to God." He was sensible   then that they continued in the military profession after baptism, which   they would by no means have done, if they had understood that all war was   forbidden by Christ. They would have followed the example of the   Soothsayers, the Magi, and other professors of forbidden arts, who ceased   to practice them, when they became Christians. In the book quoted above,   commanding a soldier, who was at the same time a Christan, he says, "O   Soldier glorious in God."


The second observation applies to the case of those, who declined or even   refused bearing arms, on account of the circumstances of the times, which   would have required them to do many acts inconsistent with their Christian   calling. In Dolabella's letter to the Ephesians, which is to be found in   Josephus, we see that the Jews requested an exemption from military   expeditions, because, in mingling with strangers, they could not   conveniently have observed the rites of their own laws and, would have   been obliged to bear arms, and to make long marches on the Sabbaths. And   we are informed by Josephus that, for the same reasons, the Jews obtained   their discharge of L. Lentulus. In another part, he relates that when the   Jews had been ordered to leave the city of Rome, some of them inlisted in   the army, and that others, who out of respect to the laws of their   country, for the reasons before mentioned, refused to bear arms, were   punished. In addition to these a third reason may be given, which was that   they would have to fight against their own people, against whom it was   unlawful to bear arms, especially when they incurred danger and enmity for   adhering to the Mosaic law. But the Jews, whenever they could do it,   without these inconveniences, served under foreign princes, previously   stipulating, as we are informed by Josephus, for liberty to live according   to the laws and rules of their own country. Tertullian objects to the   military service of his own times on account of dangers, and   inconveniences very similar to those, which deterred the Jews. In his book   on Idolatry, he says, "it is impossible to reconcile the oath of fidelity   to serve under the banners of Christ, with that to serve under the banners   of the Devil." Because the soldiers were ordered to swear by Jupiter,   Mars, and the other Heathen Gods. And in his book on the Soldier's Crown,   he asks, if the soldier be to keep watch before the temples, which he has   renounced, to sup where he is forbidden by the Apostle, and to guard in   the night the Gods, whom he has abjured in the day ?" And he proceeds with   asking, "f there be not many other military duties, which ought to be   regarded in the light of sins?"


The third point of view, in which the subject is to be considered, relates   to the conduct of those primitive Christians, who, in the ardour of zeal,   aimed at the most brilliant attainments, taking the divine counsels for   precepts of obligation. The Christians, says Athenagoras, never go to law   with those, who rob them.


Salvian says, it was commanded by Christ that we should relinquish the   object of dispute, rather than engage in law suits. But this, taken in so   general an acceptation, is rather by the way of counsel, in order to   attain to a sublimer mode of life, than intended as a positive precept.   Thus many of the primitive Fathers condemned all oaths without exception,   yet St. Paul, in matters of great importance, made use of these solemn   appeals to God. A Christian in Tatian said, "I refuse the office of   Praetor," and in the words of Tertullian, "a Christian is not ambitious of   the Aedile's office." In the same manner Lactantius maintains that a just   man, such as he wishes a Christian to be, ought not to engage in war, nor,   as all his wants can be supplied at home, even to go to sea. How many of   the primitive fathers dissuade Christians from second marriages? All these   counsels are good, recommending excellent attainments, highly acceptable   to God, yet they are not required of us, by any absolute law. The   observations already made are sufficient to answer the objections derived   from the primitive times of christianity.


Now in order to confirm our opinions, we may observe that they have the   support of writers, even of greater antiquity, who think that capital   punishments may be inflicted, and that wars, which rest upon the same   authority, may be lawfully engaged in by Christians. Clemens Alexandrinus   says, that "a Christian, if, like Moses, he be called to the exercise of   sovereign power, will be a living law to his subjects, rewarding the good,   and punishing the wicked." And, in another place, describing the habit of   a Christian, he says, "it would become him to go barefoot, unless he were   a soldier." In the work usually entitled the CONSTITUTIONS OF CLEMENS   ROMANUS, we find that "it is not all killing which is considered unlawful,   but only that of the innocent; yet the administration of judicial   punishments must be reserved to the supreme power alone." But without   resting upon individual authorities, we can appeal to the public authority   of the church which ought to have the greatest weight. From hence it is   evident that none were ever refused baptism, or excommunicated by the   church, merely for bearing arms, which they ought to have been, had the   military profession been repugnant to the terms of the new covenant. In   the CONSTITUTIONS just quoted, the writer speaking of those who, in the   primitive times; were admitted to baptism, or refused that ordinance;   says, "let a soldier who desires to be admitted be taught to forbear from   violence, and false accusations, and to content with his regular pay. If   he promises obedience let him be admitted." Tertullian in his Apology,   speaking in the character of Christians, says, "We sail along with you,   and we engage in the same wars," having little before observed, "we are   but strangers, yet have filled all your cities, your islands, your   castles, your municipal towns, your councils, and even your camps. He had   related in the same book that rain had been obtained for the Emperor   Marcus Aurelius by the prayers of the Christian soldiers. In his book of   the crown, he commends a soldier, who had thrown away his garland, for a   courage superior to that of his brethren in arms, and informs us that he   had many Christian fellow soldiers.


To these proofs may be added the honours of Martyrdom given by the Church   to some soldiers, who had been cruelly persecuted, and had even suffered   death for the sake of Christ, among whom are recorded three of St. Paul's   companions, Cerialis who suffered martyrdom under Decius; Marinus under   Valerian; fifty under Aurelian, Victor, Maurus, and Valentinus, a   lieutenant general under Maximian. About the same time Marcellus the   Centurion, Severian under Licinius. Cyprian, in speaking or Laurentinus,   and Ignatius, both Africans, says, "They too served in the armies of   earthly princes, yet they were truly spiritual soldiers of God, defeating   the wiles of the Devil by a steady confession of the name of Christ, and   earning the palms and crowns of the Lord by their sufferings." And from   hence it is plain what was the general opinion of the primitive Christians   upon war, even before the Emperors became Christians.


It need not be thought surprising, if the Christians of those times were   unwilling to appear at trials for life, since, for the most part, the   persons to be tried were Christians. In other respects too, besides being   unwilling to witness the unmerited sufferings of their persecuted   brethren, the Roman laws were more severe than Christian lenity could   allow of, as may be seen from the single instance of the Silanian decree   of the Senate. Indeed capital punishments were not abolished even after   Constantine embraced and began to encourage the Christian religion. He   himself among other laws enacted one similar to that of the ancient   Romans, for punishing parncides, by sewing them in a sack with certain   animals, and throwing them into the sea, or the nearest river. This law is   to be found in his code under the "title of the murders of parents or   children." Yet in other respects he was so gentle in punishing criminals,   that he is blamed by many historians for his excessive lenity.   Constantine, we are informed by historians, had at that time many   Christians in his army, and he used the name of Christ as the motto upon   his standards. From that time too the military oath was changed to the   form, which is found in Vegetius, and the soldier swore, "By God, and   Christ, and the holy spirit, and the majesty of the Emperor, to whom as   next to God, homage and reverence are due from mankind." Nor out of so   many Bishops at that time, many of Whom suffered the most cruel treatment   for their religion, do we read of a single one, if who dissuaded   Constantine, by the terrors of divine wrath from inflicting capital   punishments, or prosecuting wars, or who deterred the Christians, for the   same reasons, from serving in the armies. Though most of those Bishops   were strict observers of discipline, who would by no means dissemble in   points relating to the duty of the Emperors or of others. Among this   class, in the time of Theodosius, we may rank Ambrose, who in his seventh   discourse says, "there is nothing wrong in bearing arms; but to bear arms   from motives of rapine is a sin indeed," and in his first book of Offices,   he maintains the same opinion, that "the courage which defends one's   country against the incursions of barbarians, or protects one's family and   home from the attacks of robbers, is complete justice." These arguments so   decidedly shew the opinions of the primitive Christians in the support of   just and necessary war, that the subject requires no farther proof or   elucidation.


Nor is the argument invalidated by a fact pretty generally known, that   Bishops and other Christians often interceded in behalf of criminals, to   mitigate the punishment of death, and that any, who had taken refuge in   churches, were not given up, but upon the promise of their lives being   spared. A custom was introduced likewise of releasing all prisoners about   the time of Easter. But all these instances, if carefully examined, will   be found the voluntary acts of Christian kindness, embracing every   opportunity to do good, and not a settled point of public opinion   condemning all capital punishments. Therefore those favours were not   universal; but limited to times and places, and even the intercessions   themselves were modified with certain exceptions.


[Translator's Note: As Grotius has so fully established his argument, it   is unnecessary to review his answer to further objections.]




Book III


 CHAPTER 1: What is Lawful in War.


 What is lawful in war — General Rules derived from the law of nature —  Stratagems and lies — Arrangement of the following parts — First rule, all  things necessary to the end lawful — Right resulting not only from the origin of a war, but from causes growing out of the same — Certain

 consequences justifiable, though not originally lawful — What measures are  lawful against those who furnish an enemy with supplies — Stratagems —  Negative — Positive — Sometimes allowable to use words in a sense different from the general acceptation — A lie according to the true notion of it injurious to the rights of others — Falsehood allowable in order to deceive children or madmen — Any one addressing another without intentions to deceive, not answerable for the misconceptions of a third person — A person not answerable for the willful mistakes of those to whom he speaks — The fictitious threats of a person in authority — Fiction allowable in order to save the lives of the innocent, or to promote other equally important purposes — Deception lawful against an enemy, but not including promises, or oaths — To forbear using this privilege an act of

 generosity and Christian simplicity — Not allowable to urge others to what is unlawful for them, but not for us to do — Allowable to use the services of deserters.


I. HAVING, in the preceding books, considered by what persons, and for what causes, war may be justly declared and undertaken, the subject  necessarily leads to an inquiry into the circumstances, under which war may be undertaken, into the extent, to which it may be carried, and into

 the manner, in which its rights may be enforced. Now all these matters may  be viewed in the light of privileges resulting simply from the law of nature and of nations, or as the effects of some prior treaty or promise. But the actions, which are authorised by the law of nature, are those that

 are first entitled to attention.


 II.  In the first place, as it has occasionally been observed, the means  employed in the pursuit of any object must, in a great degree, derive the complexion of their moral character from the nature of the end to which they lead. It is evident therefore that we may justly avail ourselves of

 those means, provided they be lawful, which are necessary to the attainment of any right. RIGHT in this place means what is strictly so called, signifying the moral power of action, which any one as a member of society possesses. On which account, a person, if he has no other means of

 saving his life, is justified in using any forcible means of repelling an  attack, though he who makes it, as for instance, a soldier in battle, in doing so, is guilty of no crime. For this is a right resulting not properly from the crime of another, but from the privilege of self- defence, which nature grants to every one. Besides, if any one has SURF and UNDOUBTED grounds to apprehend imminent danger from any thing belonging to another, he may seize it without any regard to the guilt or innocence of that owner. Yet he does not by that seizure become the proprietor of it. For that is not necessary to the end he has in view. He may DETAIN it as a precautionary measure, till he can obtain satisfactory assurance of security.


 Upon the same principle any one has a natural right to seize what belongs to him, and is unlawfully detained by another: or, if that is impracticable, he may seize something of equal value, which is nearly the same as recovering a debt. Recoveries of this kind establish a property in

 the things so reclaimed; which is the only method of restoring the equality and repairing the breaches of violated justice. So too when punishment is lawful and just, all the means absolutely necessary to enforce its execution are also lawful and just, and every act that forms a part of the punishment, such as destroying an enemy's property and country by fire or any other way, falls within the limits of justice proportionable to the offence.


 III. In the second place, it is generally known that it is not the ORIGIN only of a just war which is to be viewed as the principal source of many of our rights, but there may be causes growing out of that war which may give birth to additional rights. As in proceedings at law, the sentence of

 the court may give to the successful litigant other rights besides those belonging to the original matter of dispute. So those who join our enemies, either as allies or subjects, give us a right of defending ourselves against THEM also. So too a nation engaging in an unjust war,  the injustice of which she knows and ought to know, becomes liable to make good all the expences and losses incurred, because she has been guilty of occasioning them. In the same manner those powers, who become auxiliaries in wars undertaken without any reasonable grounds, contract a degree of

 guilt and render themselves liable to punishment in proportion to the injustice of their measures. Plato approves of war conducted so far, as to compel the aggressor to indemnify the injured and the innocent.


 IV. In the third place, an individual or belligerent power may, in the

prosecution of a lawful object, do many things, which were not in the    contemplation of the original design, and which in THEMSELVES it would not    be lawful to do. Thus in order to obtain what belongs to us, when it is    impossible to recover the specific thing, we may take more than our due,    under condition of repaying whatever is above the real value. For the same    reason it is lawful to attack a ship manned by pirates, or a house    occupied by robbers, although in that ship, or that house there may be    many innocent persons, whose lives are endangered by such attack.


 But we have had frequent occasion to remark, that what is conformable to    right taken in its strictest sense is not always lawful in a moral point    of view. For there are many instances, in which the law of charity will    not allow us to insist upon our right with the utmost rigour. A reason for    which it will be necessary to guard against things, which fall not within    the original purpose of an action, and the happening of which might be    foreseen: unless indeed the action has a tendency to produce advantages,    that will far outweigh the consequences of any accidental calamity, and    the apprehensions of evil are by no means to be put in competition with    the sure hopes of a successful issue. But to determine in such cases    requires no ordinary penetration and discretion. But wherever there is any    doubt, it is. always the safer -way to decide in favour of another's    interest, than to follow the bent of our own inclination. "Suffer the    tares to grow, says our divine teacher. least in rooting up the tares you    root up the wheat also."


 The general destruction, which the Almighty, in right of his supreme    Majesty, has sometimes decreed and executed, is not a rule, which we can    presume to follow. He has not invested men, in the exercise of power, with    those transcendent sovereign rights. Yet he himself,


 notwithstanding the unchangeable nature of his sovereign will, was    inclined to spare the most wicked cities, if ten righteous persons could    be found therein. Examples like these may furnish us with rules to decide,    how far the rights of war against an enemy may be exercised or relaxed.


 V. It frequently occurs as a matter of inquiry, how far we are authorised    to act against those, who are neither enemies, nor wish to be thought so,    but who supply our enemies with certain articles. For we know that it is a    point, which on former and recent occasions has been contested with the    greatest animosity; some wishing to enforce with all imaginary rigour the    rights of war, and others standing up for the freedom of commerce.


 In the first place, a distinction must be made between the commodities    themselves. For there are some, such as arms for instance, which are only    of use in war; there are others again, which are of no use in war, but    only administer t o luxury; but there are some articles, such as money,    provisions, ships and naval stores, which are of use at all times both in    peace and war.


 As to conveying articles of the first kind, it is evident that any one    must be ranked as an enemy, who supplies an enemy with the means of    prosecuting hostilities. Against the conveyance of commodities of the    second kind, no just complaint can be made.- And as to articles of the    third class, from their being of a doubtful kind, a distinction must be    made between the times of war and peace. For if a power can not defend    itself, but by intercepting the supplies sent to an enemy, necessity will    justify such a step, but upon condition of making restoration, unless    there be some additional reasons to the contrary. But if the conveyance of    goods to an enemy tends to obstruct any belligerent power in the    prosecution of a lawful right, and the person so conveying them possesses    the means of knowing it; if that power, for instance, is besieging a town,    or blockading a port, in expectation of a speedy surrender and a peace,    the person, who furnishes the enemy with supplies, and the means of    prolonged resistance, will be guilty of an aggression and injury towards    that power. He will incur the same guilt, as a person would do by    assisting a debtor to escape from prison, and thereby to defraud his    creditor. His goods may be taken by way of indemnity, and in discharge of    the debt. If the person has not yet committed the injury, but only    intended to do so, the aggrieved power will have a right to detain his    goods, in order to compel him to give future security, either by putting    into his hands hostages, or pledges; or indeed in any other way. But if    there are evident proofs of injustice in an enemy's conduct the person who    supports him in such a case, by furnishing him with succours, will be    guilty not barely of a civil injury, but his giving assistance will amount    to a crime as enormous, as it would be to rescue a criminal in the very    face of the judge. And on that account the injured power may proceed    against him as a criminal, and punish him by a confiscation of his goods.


 These are the reasons, which induce belligerent powers to issue    manifestoes, as an appeal to other states, upon the justice of their    cause, and their probable hopes of ultimate success. This question has    been introduced under the article, which refers to the law of nature, as    history supplies us with no precedent to deduce its establishment from the    voluntary law of nations.


 We are informed by Polybius, in his first book, that the Carthaginians    seized some of the Romans, who were carrying supplies to their enemies,    though they afterwards gave them up, upon the demand of the Romans.    Plutarch says that when Demetrius had invested Attica, and taken the    neighbouring towns of Eleusis and Rhamnus, he ordered the master and pilot    of a ship, attempting to convey provisions into Athens, to be hanged, as    he designed to reduce that city by famine: this act of rigour deterred    others from doing the same, and by that means he made himself master of    the city.


 VI. Wars, for the attainment of their objects, it cannot be denied, must    employ force and terror as their most proper agents. But a doubt is    sometimes entertained, whether stratagem may be lawfully used in war. The    general sense of mankind seems to have approved of such a mode of warfare.    For Homer commends his hero, Ulysses, no less for his ability in military    stratagem, than for his wisdom. Xenophon, who was a philosopher as well as    a soldier and historian, has said, that nothing can be more useful in war    than a well-timed stratagem, with whom Brasidas, in Thueydides agrees,    declaring it to be the method from which many great generals have derived    the most brilliant reputation. And in Plutarch, Agesilaus maintains, that    deceiving an enemy is both just and lawful. The authority of Polybius may    be added to those already named; for he thinks, that it shews greater    talent in a general to avail himself of some favourable opportunity to    employ a stratagem, than to gain an open battle. This opinion of poets,    historians, and philosophers is supported by that of Theologians. For    Augustin has said that, in the prosecution of a just war, the justice of    the cause is no way affected by the attainment of the end, whether the    object be accomplished by stratagem or open force, and Chrysostom, in his    beautiful little treatise on the priestly office, observes, that the    highest praises are bestowed on those generals, who have practised    successful stratagems. Yet there is one circumstance, upon which the    decision of this question turns more than upon any opinion even of the    highest authority, and that is, whether stratagem ought to be ranked as    one of those evils, which are prohibited under the maxim OF NOT DOING    EVIL, THAT GOOD MAY ENSUE, or to be reckoned as one of those actions,    which, though evil IN THEMSELVES, may be so modified by particular    occasions, as to lose their criminality in consideration of the good, to    which they lead.

    VII. There is one kind of stratagem, it is proper to remark, of a    negative, and another of a positive kind. The word stratagem, upon the    authority of Labeo, taken in a negative sense, includes such actions, as    have nothing criminal in them, though calculated to deceive, where any    one, for instance, uses a degree of dissimulation or concealment, in order    to defend his own property or that of others. So that undoubtedly there is    something of harshness in the opinion of Cicero, who says there is no    scene of life, that will allow either simulation, or dissimulation to be    practised. For as you are not bound to disclose to others all that you    either know or intend; it follows that, on certain occasions, some acts of    dissimulation, that is, of concealment may be lawful. This is a talent,    which Cicero, in many parts of his writings, acknowledges that it is    absolutely necessary for statesmen to possess. The history of Jeremiah, in    the xxxviiith chapter of his prophecy, furnishes a remarkable instance of    this kind. For when that prophet was interrogated by the king, respecting    the event of the siege, he prudently, in compliance with the king's    orders, concealed the real matter from the nobles, assigning a different,    though not a false reason for the conference, which he had had. In the    same manner, Abraham called Sarah, his sister, an appellation used    familiarly at that time to denote a near relation by blood, concealing the    circumstance of her being his wife.


 VIII. A stratagem of a positive kind, when practised in actions, is called    a feint, and when used in conversation it receives the name of a lie or    falsehood. A distinction is made by some, between these two kinds of    stratagems, who say, that words are signs of our ideas, but actions are    not so. But there is more of truth in the opposite opinion, that words of    themselves unaccompanied by the intention of the speaker, signify nothing    more than the inarticulate cries would do of any one labouring under    grief, or any other passion: which sounds come under the denomination of    actions, rather than of speech. But should it be said that being able to    convey to others the conceptions of his mind, by words adapted to the    purpose, is a peculiar gift of nature, by which man is distinguished from    other parts of the animated creation, the truth of this cannot be denied.


 To which we may add that such communication may be made not only by words,    but by signs or gestures, like those used to the dumb; it makes no    difference, whether those signs or gestures have any natural connection    with the thing they are intended to signify, or whether such a connection    is only assigned to them by custom. Equivalent to such signs or gestures    is handwriting, which may be considered, as a dumb language, deriving its    force not merely from the words used, and the particular form of the    letters, but from the real intention of the writer, to be gathered from    thence: — to be gathered either from the resemblance between the    characters and the intentions, as in the Egyptian hieroglyphics, or from    pure fancy, as among the Chinese.      Here likewise another distinction is necessary to be applied in the same    manner, as was done before, in order to remove all ambiguity in using the    term Of THE LAW OF NATIONS. For it was there said, that the laws    established by independent and separate states, whether or no those laws    implied any mutual obligations, were denominated the LAW OF NATIONS. So    that words, gestures, and signs, made use of to convey a meaning, imply an    obligation, in all the persons concerned, to receive and employ them in    their common acceptation. But the employment of OTHER MEANS, coming under    NONE OF THOSE DESCRIPTIONS, cannot be construed into a violation of any    social contract, although some may be deceived thereby. It is the REAL    NATURE of the actions that is here spoken of, and not the ACCIDENTAL    circumstances attending them: such actions for instance, as occasion no    mischief; or if they do so, there is no guilt, where there is no    treacherous design.   


 We have an instance of the former kind in the conduct of our Saviour, who,    on the way to Emmaus, pretended to the disciples, that he was going    further; here was a harmless stratagem, unless we interpret the words, as    expressive of his intention to have gone further, if he had not been    prevented by their efforts and entreaties to detain him. And in another    part of the sacred history it is said, that he intended to have passed by    the Apostles on the sea, that is, he intended to have done it, had he not    been so earnestly importuned by them to go into the ship. There is another    instance too in the conduct of Paul, who circumcised Timothy, though he    knew the Jews would conclude from thence, that the ordinance of    circumcision, which in reality had been abolished, was still binding upon    the descendants of Israel, and that Paul and Timothy were of the same    opinion. Whereas Paul had no such intention, but only hoped, by that    means, to open for himself and Timothy a way to more familiar intercourse    with the Jews. Neither could an ordinance of that kind, when the divine    obligation was repealed, any longer be deemed of such importance, nor    could the evil of a temporary error, resulting from thence, and afterwards    to be corrected, be regarded as equivalent to the opportunity, which Paul    thought to gain, of making it conducive to the introduction of Christian    truth.


 The Greek Fathers have given the name of ECONOMY, or MANAGEMENT to    stratagems of this kind. On this subject there is an admirable sentiment    in Clement of Alexandria, who, in speaking of a good man, says that "he    will do many things for the benefit of his neighbour alone, which he would    not otherwise have undertaken,"


 One of these stratagems was practised by the Romans, who, during the time    that they were besieged in the Capitol, threw some loaves of bread into    the enemy's camp, that it might not be supposed they were pressed by    famine. The feigned flight, which Joshua ordered his people to make, to    assist him in his designs upon Ai, affords an instance of a stratagem of    the second kind; the ensuing mischiefs of which may be considered, as some    of the effects of lawful war. The ORIGINAL DESIGN of that pretended flight    does not at all affect the question. The enemy took it for a proof of    fear; and he was at liberty to do so, without debarring the other of his    right to march this way, or that, with an accelerated or retarded motion,    with a shew of courage, or an appearance of fear, as he might judge it    most expedient.    


  History furnishes us with innumerable examples of deceptions practised    with success upon an enemy, by assuming his arms, ensigns, colours, or    uniforms; all which may be justified upon the same principle. For all    these are actions, which any one may avail himself of at his pleasure, by    departing from the usual course of his military system. For such points of    'discipline and system depend upon the will and fancy of the military    commanders in each state, rather than upon any invariable custom, equally    binding upon all nations.


 IX. Those signs, by which the daily intercourse of life is maintained,    form a subject of more weighty discussion, with which the consideration of    lies or falsehood is necessarily interwoven.      All stratagems of this kind are so direct a violation of all moral    principle, both in their nature and consequences, that almost every page    of the revealed will of God declares their condemnation. Solomon describes    a righteous, that is, a good man, as one, who holds every false word in    detestation, deprecating the least appearance of deception: and the    Apostle's injunction accords with these sentiments, instructing his    disciples not to lie to one another.


 Nor is it in the high standard of perfection alone, which the divine    records present, that such a recommendation of fair, open, and sincere    dealing is to be found. It is the theme of praise with poets and    philosophers, and the angry hero of the Grecian poet declares, that he    detests the man, as an infernal being, who utters one thing with his    tongue, while he conceals another in his heart. But making some allowance    for poetic fiction-we find even the grave, sober, and discerning,    Stagirite describing falsehood, as a vile, and abominable refuge, and    painting truth as a lovely object, that must extort the warmest praise.


 These are all great and high authorities in favour of open dealing. Yet    there are names of no less weight, both among sacred and profane writers,    whose opinions are a vindication of stratagems, when used upon PROPER    occasions. One writer speaks of a case, where stratagem may be used, even    for the benefit of the person, on whom it is practised, and adduces the    instances of a physician, who, by means of a deception, overcame the    perverseness of a patient, and wrought a salutary cure.


 X. To reconcile such a variety of discordant opinions, it may be necessary    to devise some way of examining falsehood both in its more extensive, and    more confined acceptation. Nor is speaking an untruth, UNAWARES, to be    considered in the nature of a lie, but the falsehood, which comes within    the limits here defined, is the KNOWN and DELIBERATE UTTERANCE of any    thing contrary to our real conviction, intention, and understanding.


 Words, or signs, importing the same meaning as words, are generally taken    for conceptions of the mind, yet it is no lie for any man to utter a    falsehood, which he believes to be true; but the propagation of a truth,    which any one believes to be false, IN Him amounts to a lie. There must be    in the use of the words therefore an INTENTION to deceive, in order to    constitute a falsehood in the proper and common acceptation. Consequently,    when any one single word, or the whole tenour of a discourse, admits of    more significations than one, either by the use of some popular phrase,    some term of art, or intelligible figure of speech, in that case if the    speaker's intention correspond with any one of those meanings, he cannot    be charged with using falsehood, although it is possible that a hearer may    take his words in a very different sense. It is true that using such an    ambiguous method of speaking on ALL OCCASIONS is not to be approved of,    though there are particular circumstances under which it may be reconciled    with honour and justice. In communicating knowledge, for instance, there    is no harm in using a metaphor, an irony, or an hyperbole, figures of    speech, tending either to adorn or to elucidate a subject. There are cases    too, where by this doubtful mode of expression it may be proper to avoid    an urgent and impertinent question. There is an instance of the former    kind in our Saviour's saying, that "our friend Lazarus sleepeth," where    the disciples understood him, as if he were speaking of the refreshing    rest of an ordinary sleep: and when he spoke of restoring the temple,    which he meant his own body, he knew that the Jews applied what he said to    the MATERIAL EDIFICE Of the Temple. In the same manner he frequently    addressed the multitudes in parables, which they could not understand by    barely hearing, without that docility of mind, and attention, which the    subject required. Profane history too furnishes us with an example of the    second kind, in the conduct of Vitellius, who, as Tacitus informs us, gave    Narcissus doubtful and ambiguous answers, in order to avoid his urgent    questions; as any explicit declaration might have been attended with    danger.


 On the other hand, it may happen to be not only censurable, but even    wicked to use such a manner of speaking, where either the honour of God or    the welfare of mankind is concerned, or indeed any matter, which demands    explicit avowals, and open dealing. Thus in contracts every thing    necessary to their fulfillment ought to be fully disclosed to those    concerned. There is an apposite expression of Cicero, who says, that every    degree of deception ought to be banished from all contracts, and there is    in the old Athenian Laws a proverb, conformable to this, which says, there    must be nothing, but open dealing in markets.


 XI. In strictness of speech such ambiguity is excluded from the notion of    a lie. The common notion of a lie therefore is something spoken, written,    marked, or intimated, which cannot be understood, but in a sense different    from the real meaning of the speaker. But a lie, in this stricter    acceptation, having some thing unlawful in its very nature, necessarily    requires that a distinction should be made between it and that latitude of    expression already explained. And if this acceptation be properly    considered, at least according to the opinion prevailing in all nations,    it seems, that no other explanation of it is necessary to be given, except    that it is a violation of the existing and permanent rights of the person,    to whom a discourse, or particular signs, are directed. It is a violation    of the rights of ANOTHER; for it is evident, that no one can utter a    falsehood with a view to impose upon himself. The rights here spoken of    are peculiarly connected with this subject. They imply that liberty of    judgment, which men are understood, by a kind of tacit agreement, to owe    to each other in their mutual intercourse. For this, and this alone is    that mutual obligation, which men intended to introduce, as soon as they    began to use speech, or other signs of equal import. For without such an    obligation the invention of those signs would have been perfectly    nugatory. It is requisite too, that at the time a discourse is made, such    a right or obligation should remain in full force.


 A right may indeed have existed and afterwards have become obsolete, owing    to the rise or occurrence of some new right: which is the case with a    debt, that may be released by acquittance, or nonperformance of a    condition. It is farther requisite, to constitute a VIOLATION OF THIS    RIGHT, that the ensuing injury should immediately affect the PERSON    ADDRESSED: as in contracts, there can be no injustice, but what affects    one of the parties, or persons concerned.


 And perhaps under the head of this right, it may not be improper to assign    a place to that TRUE SPEAKING, which Plato, following Simonides, classes    with justice, in order to form a more striking contrast with that    falsehood, so often prohibited in Scripture, by the name of false witness    to, or against, our neighbour, and which Augustin, in defining a lie,    calls an intention to deceive. Cicero also in his offices lays down truth,    as the basis of justice.


 The right to a discovery of the whole truth may be relinquished by the    express consent of the persons, who are engaged in a treaty: the one may    declare his intention not to disclose certain points, and the other may    allow of this reserve. There may be also a tacit presumption, that there    are just reasons for such reserve which may perhaps be necessary out of    regard to the rights of a third person: rights which, in the common    judgment of all sober men, may be sufficient to counterbalance any    obligation in either of the persons engaged in the treaty to make a full    disclosure of his views and sentiments. These principles, duly considered,    will supply many inferences to reconcile any seeming contradiction in the    opinions, that have been advanced.


 XII. In the first place, many things may be said to madmen, or children,    the LITERAL MEANING of which may not be true, without incurring the guilt    of willful falsehood. A practice which seems to be allowed by the common    sense of all mankind. Quintilian, speaking of the age of puerility, says,    it is a period of life, when many useful truths may be taught in the dress    of fiction. Another reason given is, that as children and madmen possess    no perfect power of judging, impositions of that kind can do no injury to    their rights, in such respects.


 XIII. Secondly, when a conversation is addressed to any one, who is not    thereby deceived, although a third person, not immediately addressed, may    misconceive the matter, there is no willful falsehood in the case. No    WILFUL FALSEHOOD towards the person addressed: because he feels no greater    injury from thence, than an intelligent hearer would do from the recital    of a fable, or the use of a metaphor, irony, or hyperbole in speech. It    cannot be said that an injury is done to the person, who accidentally and    cursorily hears a matter, and misconceives it: for being no way concerned,   there is no obligation due to him. As he misconceives a thing addressed to   ANOTHER, and not to HIMSELF, he must take upon his own head all the   consequences of the mistake. For, properly speaking, the discourse, WITH   RESPECT TO HIM, IS no discourse, but an inexpressive sound that may   signify one thing as well as another. So that there was nothing wrong in   the conduct of Cato the Censor, who made a false promise of assistance to   his confederates, nor in that of Flaccus, who informed others that   Aemilius had taken the enemy's city by storm, although the enemy were   deceived by it. Plutarch mentions an instance of the same kind in the life   of Agesilaus. Here no communication was made to the enemy, and the   prejudice he sustained was an accidental thing no way unlawful in itself,   either to be wished for or procured.


 XIV. In the third place, whenever it is certain that the person, on whom a   deception is practised, discovers that the intent of it was to do him a   service; he will not feel it as a grievance, nor can it come -under the   strict denomination of a lie or falsehood. It will be no more an INJURY,   than it would be a THEFT in any one, presuming upon an owner's consent, to   take something belonging to that owner, in order to convert it to his use   in a very beneficial way. For in cases of notorious certainty, a   PRESUMPTION may be taken for express consent. But it is evident that no   man would CONSENT to receive an INJURY.    


From hence it appears, that a person is guilty of no treachery, who uses   unfounded or fictitious motives to console a friend in distress, as Arria   did to Paetus upon the death of his son, of which there is an account in   Pliny's Epistles, or in a general, who in a perilous situation should   avail himself of false intelligence, to encourage his troops, by which   perhaps a victory might be gained.


 It may be observed likewise, that the injury done to the freedom of   judgment is, in such a case, of less consequence, because it is but   momentary, and the real fact is soon discovered.


 XV. There is a fourth case, which bears a near affinity to those above   mentioned, and that is, when any one, possessing preeminent authority,   orders another, in a subordinate capacity, to execute some device or   stratagem, conducive either to his individual, or to the public welfare.   Which Plato seems to have had particularly in view, in allowing those in   authority to avail themselves of pretexts, or stratagems. The same writer   is very correct in his notion of not making such a device a characteristic   of that authority, which belongs to the supreme being. For all such   devices, however justifiable they may be in CERTAIN CASES, strongly betray   that imperfection, which is inseparable from all human systems.  


The stratagem, which Joseph employed to obtain further discoveries without   making himself known to his brethren, is much commended by Philo, as a   mark of great policy, when, contrary to the convictions and feelings of   his own mind, he accused them of being spies, and afterwards charged them   with theft. It was by a stratagem of the same kind, that Solomon gave   proof of his inspired wisdom, when he used the FICTITIOUS threat of   dividing the living child in order to discover the real mother.


 XVI. The fifth case, which allows a stratagem to be practised, is that,   where it may be the ONLY means of saving the life of an innocent person,   of obtaining some object of equal importance, or of diverting another from   the perpetration of some horrid design. The heathen poet has given a   beautiful illustration of this in his praises of Hypermnestra, whose   conduct he calls "a splendid stratagem, ennobling the virgin to all   posterity."


 XVII. It is evident that many writers of acknowledged wisdom, and sober   judgment, have carried the point farther than has been done in this   treatise, in allowing the use of false representations to an enemy. In   cases, where public enemies are concerned, they maintain, that it is   lawful to deviate from those strict rules of avowing and disclosing all   our intentions, which they prescribe, on all other occasions. Such is the   opinion of Plato and Xenophon among the Greeks, of Philo among the Jews,   and Chrysostom among Christians. It may not perhaps be amiss to cite, in   this place, the message sent by the men of Jabesh Gilead to the Ammonites,   by whom they were besieged, and also that of the prophet Elisha, and at   the same time to mention the conduct of Valerius Laevinus, who boasted of   having killed Pyrrhus.


 The third, the fourth and fifth observations above made, may be   illustrated from what is said by Eustratus, Archbishop of Nice, "An able   and upright counsellor is not obliged to disclose the whole truth: for   there may be occasions, when it may be necessary for him to recommend the   means of deceiving an enemy, or to employ some stratagem towards a friend,   where it may turn to his advantage."


 XVIII. What has been said of false speaking must be understood as applied   to affirmative declarations, which can be prejudicial to no persons, but   public enemies: it can by no means be taken to include promises. For   promises confer upon the person, to whom they are made, a peculiar right   to claim their full performance. And this is a rule, which must take   place, even between public enemies; a rule to which existing hostilities   are not allowed to form an exception. It is a maxim proper to be enforced   in TACIT, as well as in EXPRESS agreements: as when a parley or conference   is demanded, there is always an IMPLIED promise, that both sides shall   attend it with perfect safety. But these are points reserved for the   discussion of another part of this treatise.


 XIX. It will be necessary to repeat an observation made before, with   respect to oaths, both of the affirmative and promissory kind, where it   was maintained that they exclude all exceptions, all mental reservations   towards the person, to whom they are made, being regarded not merely as a   solemn transaction with that individual, but as a steadfast appeal to God.   Such an appeal to the supreme being demands the performance of an oath,   even if it gave the individual no right to the same.


 At the same time it was observed, that a sworn declaration is not like one   of any other kind, where an application of terms different from their   usual meaning may supply the speaker with an excuse for evading their   import. But truth requires every declaration and promise to be made in   terms, which it is supposed that every man of integrity and clear judgment   will understand, spurning at the impious thought, that men may be deceived   by oaths, as children are by toys and trifles.


 XX. Some nations and individuals indeed have rejected the use of those   stratagems, which even the law of nature allows to be employed as a means   of self-defence against an enemy. But they did so, not from any opinion of   their unlawfulness, but from a noble loftiness of mind, and from a   confidence in their own strength. Aelian has preserved a saying of   Pythagoras, "that there are two things, in which man approaches nearest to   God, in always speaking the truth, and doing good to others." Aristotle,   somewhere in his Ethics, calls speaking truth, the freedom of a great   soul, and Plutarch says, that falsehood is the qualification of a slave.   But an adherence to truth, in simplicity of heart, is not the only duty   required of Christians, in this respect, they are commanded to abstain   from all vain discourse, as having for their example him, in whose mouth   there was found no guile.


 XXI. With respect to the actions of men, there is another rule which may   properly come under this head, and that is, the unlawfulness of urging or   persuading any one to do an unlawful act. For instance, no subject has a   right to lift his hand against his sovereign, to deliver up a town without   public authority, or to despoil his neighbour of his goods. It would be   unlawful then to encourage the subject of an enemy, as long as he   continues his subject, to do any of these acts. For the person, who urges   another to do a wicked act, makes himself a partner in his guilt. Nor can   it be received as a just answer, that urging a subject to the perpetration   of such a deed is nothing more than employing the lawful means of   destroying an enemy. For though it may be necessary and just to destroy   him, if possible, yet that is not the way, in which it should be done.   Augustin has well observed, that it makes no difference whether any one   should commit a crime himself, or employ another as his instrument.


 But employing the spontaneous offers of a deserter's not contrary to the   laws of war, and is a very different action from that of seducing a   subject from his allegiance.