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FOREIGN WRITERS ON.
revised and enlarged, of his valuable work, entitled Elements of International Law, in the French language.
In 1845, M. Oppenheim of Heidelberg published a System des Völkerrechts, embracing private as well as public international law—a short popular work, addressed by the author to the public, yet of some pretensions, as systematic, and written avowedly more for jurists and students than for diplomatists.
But of all the recent foreign . writers on international law, whether German, French, or Portuguese, the most correct, concise, truthful, and impartial, is Professor Heffter, of the University of Berlin, in his treatise entitled “Das Europäische Volkerrecht der Gegenwart”“ The European Law of Nations in its Present State ; ” which treatise he had undertaken to compose, jointly with the celebrated M. Gans, but of which, in consequence of the premature death of that distinguished author, he had to write the whole, and which he completed and published so recently as 1844.
We shall next proceed to trace the origin or sources and development of international law, to endeavour to ascertain its basis or fundamental principles, and ultimately to contemplate its great component parts, and mark their distinctive characters.
FARTHER ILLUSTRATIONS OF THE SOURCES AND DEVELOP
MENT OF PUBLIC INTERNATIONAL LAW.
In prosecuting our inquiries in International Law, we do not embrace the rules of general morality or ethics, by which the conduct of mankind, whether as individuals or as nations, may or ought to be governed. We confine our investigation entirely to the rules of coercive or compulsory justice, — to the juridical or legal relations of nations,—to those rules for the conduct of nations to each other, of which the observance may, in consistency with the principles of justice, reciprocity, and general expediency, be compelled by physical force.
Some ingenious and acute Continental, particularly German, philosophers and lawyers, however, dispute the distinction here made, and deny the existence of any law of nations properly so called—that is, coercive or compulsory law, or of anything more than the morality or ethics of nations; because separate independent nations have no superior on earth to whom they are responsible or amenable ; because they acknowledge no supreme legislative power, and have, in relation to each other, no Gesetzgebung, no legislative enactments, and no guarantee, or means of enforcing such enactments. But the conclusion here deduced does not appear to us, by any means, to follow from the premises. It is quite true