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.

. . .


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.

. . .


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?

. . .


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.

. . .(This section argues that principles of the Jewish law also apply to non-Jews (Christians)).


BOOK 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.


. . .  (Deleted section argues every animal has its own way of defending itself.)


II. The observation that all war is not repugnant to the law of nature,   may be more amply proved from sacred history. . . .


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 o£ 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.


. . .  (Long arguement that prohibition on killing does not extend to prohibition on use of violence or death to punish wrongs.)


VI. The arguments against the lawfulness of war, drawn from the Gospel,   are more specious. . . (Long argument that the Christian Gospels also do not support an argument against all war.)


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. 


. . . More of the same—arguments to refute Christian arguments against all violence and all war.


[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.


. . .


 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.


 . . .


 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.


. . .


 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. . . .


 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. . . .


 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. . . .


 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.