Research Subjects: Government & Politics

The Laws of War: Extracts from "A Précis Of The Laws Of The Modern Nations Of Europe Based On Treaties And On Custom."

By George Frederic de Martens. (Georg Friedrich von Martens,)
Professor of the laws of nature and of nations at the university of Gottingue.

Second edition. Gottingue 1801
In the Preface the author explains that he has had to rewrite the first edition to take account of the changes caused by the wars of the Revolution. He hopes that affairs have reached the stage when international laws and treaties will be observed again.

Translated by: Susan Howard

Taken from the Gallica website

Link: De Martens

The majority of the Book concerns international law and diplomacy in general. I have only translated the two chapters which relate to the conduct of a war. The table of contents is page XIX.

Translators note:

“The French language seems to offer particular difficulties for this type of writing. It is easy to become obscure in wishing to avoid being long-winded. Many French writers, otherwise esteemed, seem to have proved this. An author who is not French by birth has, in this respect, some claim to the indulgence of the reader.” – de Martens

This is a document written by a legal and diplomatic expert; I have attempted to put it into readable English, chiefly by splitting up the sentences, but where I am not sufficiently sure of the meaning to paraphrase I have left a sentence in literal form. I have omitted those footnotes which only refer to other works on the subjects and left in those which provide examples or references to specific incidents. Words in italics are largely technical terms which were in italics in the original, or which do not translate easily.

Anyone who wishes to study the matter in more detail should consult the original. Feel free to point out any errors in the translation.


Placed on the Napoleon Series: August 2005


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