THE LAW OF NATURE AND NATIONS: OR, A GENERAL SYSTEM OF THE MOST IMPORTANT PRINCIPLES OF MORALITY, JURISPRUDENCE, AND POLITICS.

(London: Printed for J. and J. Bonwicke et al. 1749). 400 x 250 mm. (15 3/4 x 9 3/4"). 10 p.l., 75, [1], 883, [1] pp., [11] leaves.Written in Latin by the Baron Pufendorf ; done into English by Basil Kennet ; to which is prefix'd, M. Barbeyrac's prefatory discourse . . . done into English by Mr. Carew, of Lincoln's-Inn ; to which are now added, all the large notes of M. Barbeyrac, translated from his fourth and last edition, together with large tables to the whole. Fifth Edition, carefully corrected.

Contemporary sprinkled calf, rebacked and recornered, raised bands, brown morocco label, newer endpapers. Title page with ink owner inscription of Albert Johnson, dated 1937. ESTC T141113. Boards somewhat stained and rubbed, with a couple of small patches evidencing insect activity, but the restored binding solid. One leaf with upper corner torn away (no loss to text), occasional faint browning or other trivial imperfections, but an excellent copy internally, clean and crisp.

This is the most complete English edition of a landmark in the history of natural and international law, an important Enlightenment treatise that was inspired by the concepts put forth by Grotius and Hobbes, but a study that gives them a new warmth and humanity, as well as emphasizing the role of the divine. In this work, which first appeared in Latin in 1672 and in English in 1703, Pufendorf begins with the notion that moral sense is the essence of what makes us human, and that (contrary to Hobbes' view) peace, not war, is our natural condition. He grants humanity free will, and believes that our wills incline us toward the good. The natural law which allows us to recognize what is just, he believes, is inspired by the divinity. Applying principles such as the right of self-defense or the duty of keeping promises, Pufendorf deduces how specific laws should justly carry these notions into effect. He discusses civil law, including such topics as marriage law and the rights and duties of the father; government, including the duties and proper powers of monarchs and ministers; and international affairs, including treaties and war. He believes that humane conduct of international relations should be the rule throughout the world, not just between Christian and Christian. Born in Saxony, Samuel Pufendorf (1632-94) taught law first in Heidelberg and then in Lund, receiving the title of Baron from the king of Sweden before his death.
(CBJ1763)