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WHEATON'S “ Elements of International Law” was first published in 1836, in two editions, one appearing in Philadelphia, and the other in London. The third edition came out in 1846, in Philadelphia. In 1848, a French edition of the work was published at Leipsic and Paris ; and in 1853 a second French edition was brought out at the same places. In 1857, an edition in English (called the sixth) was edited by Mr. W. B. Lawrence, and published at Boston. A second edition, by the same editor, appeared in 1863. The next edition, published in 1864, was a translation of the work into Chinese, and was executed by order of the Chinese Government. The edition after that was edited by Mr. R. H. Dana, and appeared in 1866; and since that time, there being no other edition in the English language, the work has been long out of print. The present edition was undertaken at the suggestion of the publishers, there being no apparent probability of any new edition being brought out, either in England or America. The great value of Mr. Wheaton's treatise, and the importance of international law at the present moment, must be its justification.

The original text of the author having, as Mr. Dana says in his preface, “become, by the death of Mr. Wheaton, unalterable,” it is here reproduced as left by him, and the numbering of the sections adopted by Mr. Dana has been preserved for the sake of convenience. The notes of the present edition are entirely original, and are not taken from those of any previous edition. It has of course been necessary to refer to many of the same events and judicial decisions discussed by the previous editors, and without this the work would have been utterly incomplete; but, where their notes have been used, reference is made to them as to any other work. .

The notes to this edition are interspersed throughout the text, but, being printed in a different type, the reader can have no difficulty in distinguishing the original work from that for which the present editor is responsible. All footnotes added to this edition are enclosed in brackets. A new Appendix has been added, containing the English and American statute law of Naturalization, Extradition, and Foreign Enlistment; the English Naval Prize Act, the Treaty of Washington, and extracts from the most important treaties relating to the Black Sea, the Dardanelles, and Bosphorus, and Turkish affairs, which are now so prominently before the public. An entirely new and full Index has been compiled, by which it is hoped that anything in the work may be readily found.

It has been the aim of the present editor to bring the work down to the present time, by recording in the notes the most important diplomatic transactions; the leading decisions of English, American, and Continental Courts; and the opinions of the most eminent publicists which have appeared since the date of the last edition issued by the author himself. For this purpose the English parliamentary papers and law reports, the American diplomatic correspondence and the decisions of the Supreme and other Courts of the United States, the writings of the most eminent modern authors on the subject, and other authoritative sources of international law have been consulted, and referred to throughout.

The editor begs to acknowledge the debt of gratitude which he owes to Mr. Hertslet for the publication of his “Map of Europe by Treaty,” the use of which has immensely facilitated his labours.

In cases where the interests of England and America have been in conflict, the editor has endeavoured, and hopes he has succeeded, in taking an impartial view of the controversy; and he also ventures to hope that this edition may be as useful to Americans as to Englishmen.

The editor has also endeavoured to keep the work within the smallest limits consistent with anything like completeness, and if the reader should be of opinion that important topics have either been omitted or been dealt with too shortly, it is hoped that this may be partially excused by the accessible form in which the work is presented. The editor also pleads the difficulty of selecting the most important points from the immense mass of materials furnished by recent times, as an excuse for

any omissions. For those who may wish to pursue any particular topic further, the references in the foot-notes have been made as full as possible.

In conclusion, it is hoped that the undoubted value of Mr. Wheaton's work will compensate those who read it for the shortcomings of the additions to it.



9th February, 1878.


The object of the Author in the following attempt to collect the rules and principles which govern, or are supposed to govern, the conduct of States, in their mutual intercourse in peace and in war, and which have therefore received the name of International Law, has been to compile an elementary work for the use of persons engaged in diplomatic and other forms of public life, rather than for mere technical lawyers, although he ventures to hope that it may not be found entirely useless even to the latter. The great body of the rules and principles which compose this law is commonly deduced from examples of what has occurred or been decided, in the practice and intercourse of nations. These examples have been greatly multiplied in number and interest during the long period which has elapsed since the publication of Vattel's highly appreciated work; a portion of human history abounding in fearful transgressions of that law of nations which is supposed to be founded on the higher sanction of the natural law (more properly called the law of God), and at the same time rich in instructive discussions in cabinets, courts of justice, and legislative assemblies, respecting the nature and extent of the obligations between independent societies of men called States. The principal aim of the Author has been to glean from these sources the general principles which may fairly be considered to have received the assent of most civilized and Christian nations, if not as invariable rules of conduct, at least as rules which they cannot disregard without general obloquy and the hazard of provoking the hostility of other communities who may be injured by their violation. Experience

shows that these motives, even in the worst times, do really afford a considerable security for the observance of justice between States, if they do not furnish that perfect sanction annexed by the lawgiver to the observance of the municipal code of any particular State. The knowledge of this science has, consequently, been justly regarded as of the highest importance to all who take an interest in political affairs. The Author cherishes the hope that the following attempt to illustrate it will be received with indulgence, if not with favour, by those who know the difficulties of the undertaking.

BERLIN, January 1, 1836.

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