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Vattel, Emer (* 1714.04.25 † 1767.12.28)
Vattel, Emer (* 1714.04.25 † 1767.12.28)
CC BY-NC-SA 4.0

Vattel, Emer (* 1714.04.25 † 1767.12.28)

Basic Overview Data

Born
1714.04.25, Couvet
Died
1767.12.28, Neuchâtel
Confession
Protestant, Calvinist
Institutional Affiliation
No learned institutional affiliation
Keyword Filters
law of nations, Wolffian
VIAF:
Important Family Relations:
Father, David de Vattel (1680 - 1730), Pastor
Mother, Marie de Montmollin (1685 - 1741),
Wife, Marie Anne Rose, baronne de Chêne de Ramelot (? - 1796.03.31),
Son, Charles Adolphe Maurice de Vattel (1765.01.30 - 1827),
Canonical URL:

Biography:

Emer de Vattel was born on 25 April 1714 in Couvet, in the Principality of Neuchâtel and Valangin, which was under Prussian rule since 1707. He studied philosophy at the University of Basel from 1728 to 1731, and theology at the Academy of Geneva from 1733 to 1736. It is unclear whether he attended Jean-Jacques Burlamaqui’s courses on natural law. It is striking that he never mentions the latter in his writings. His early interest in Leibniz was probably aroused under the influence of Louis Bourguet (1678-1742), who gave private lectures on philosophy, law and mathematics in Neuchâtel and who is known as an expert on Leibniz. From 1737 onwards, Vattel participated in the Swiss debates about Leibniz’ doctrine of pre-established harmony, and in this context, he also took notice of the German controversies concerning the so-called Leibniz-Wolffian philosophy and of Wolff’s early Latin writings (Zurbuchen, 1998). His first book, Défense du système Leibnitien (1741), earned him an invitation to the court of the king of Prussia, Frederick II. Vattel failed however to obtain the diplomatic position he hoped for, and the king did not take up his father’s project to establish an Academy in Neuchâtel. In 1743, Vattel went to Dresden, where he was promised employment by Count Heinrich von Brühl, first minister for Elector Friedrich August II of Saxony (who as August III was also the king of Poland), who in the ongoing war of the Austrian Succession sided with Austria and Great Britain against Prussia. While expecting a position, Vattel returned to Neuchâtel, writing essays and studying the works of Wolff. These essays, first published in 1746 as Pièces diverses, avec quelques lettres de morale et d’amusemens, included the Essai sur le fondement du droit naturel and the Dissertation sur cette question: Si la loi naturelle peut porter la société à sa perfection, sans le secours des loix politiques? Vattel dedicated the second edition of this work – published in 1747 under a slightly different title – to Count von Brühl.

In the same year, the Elector of Saxony sent him as diplomatic representative (Legationsrat) to Bern. This employment secured Vattel a modest annual payment but did not relieve him of financial hardship, nor was he fully occupied. He spent much time in Neuchâtel during the next ten years and began to work on the law of nature and nations. He was in close contact with Jean Henri Samuel Formey (1711-1797), who had been his host in Berlin in 1742-43. At that time, Formey was pastor and professor of philosophy at the Collège français. Later, he became the perpetual secretary of the Prussian Academy. The two became close friends, and their correspondence lasted from 1743 to 1767 (Bandelier, ed., 2012). Vattel welcomed Formey’s project to introduce Wolff’s law of nature (published in eight volumes, 1740-1748) to the French speaking public and encouraged him to present it in a style the latter would appreciate. He himself focused on the law of nations. While awaiting Formey’s publication, Vattel also studied Wolff’s law of nature and wrote down his critical observations on it in 1753. A revised version of the latter only appeared in 1762 as Questions de droit naturel et observations sur le traité du droit de la nature de M. le baron de Wolff. His masterpiece, Le droit des gens, was completed in 1756. It was printed in Neuchâtel in 1757, though the title page says London, 1758. In the same year, Elie Luzac published in Leiden a counterfeit edition of the work, under a slightly different title. Two pirated editions of books III-IV of Le droit des gens appeared in 1758 as Mémoires politiques concernant la guerre and Le droit de la guerre (Alimento, 2017, 2019; Stapelbroek, 2021). As a result of the publication of the Droit des gens, the Elector of Saxony appointed Vattel to the Chancellery of the Privy Council and called him to Dresden. Along the way, Vattel was informed that the ministers of the Elector were still in Prague. He joined them and remained there until the Elector (who remained king of Poland until the end of the war) called him to Warsaw, where he arrived in 1760. In the same year, he published his Mélanges de littérature, de morale et de politique (1760), which include the reflections on Rousseau’s second Discourse that he had published in the Journal Helvétique in 1755 (English transl. Kapossy and Whatmore, 2008). Following the Peace of Hubertusburg in 1763, he eventually went to Dresden where the brother of the Elector, who had died on October 5, 1763, made him private advisor to the government of Saxony. He married Marie Anne Rose de Chêne de Ramelot in 1764. Due to ill health, he returned to Neuchâtel, where he died on December 28, 1767. He had one son, Charles Adolphe Maurice.

Comment on main natural law works:

Prior to dealing with the law of nations, which became the major object of his studies, Vattel wrote two works on questions related to the law of nature. The first one is the Essai sur le fondement du droit naturel (English transl. in The Law of Nations, henceforth LN, 2008, pp. 747-71), in which he deals with the foundation of natural law on the one hand, and with the principle which obliges man to comply with natural law on the other. While he borrows the distinction between passive and active obligation from Wolff’s Philosophia practica universalis, his overall aim consists in refuting the thesis that the principle of obligation would consist in God’s will, which Barbeyrac defended in his reply to the Jugement d'un anonyme [Leibniz], published as an appendix to the 1718 edition of Les devoirs de l’homme et du citoyen.

The second work is Questions de droit naturel et observations sur le traité du droit de la nature de M. le baron de Wolff. Vattel presents critical commentaries on a great number of arguments Wolff developed in his Jus naturae methodo scientifica pertractatum (1740-48), with the aim to improve the science of natural law, but without questioning Wolff’s authority in this field. The work attests Vattel’s attentive reading of his predecessor’s extensive work.

In his main work, Vattel deals with the law of nations. He explains in the ‘Preface’ that he originally planned to secure Christian Wolff’s Jus gentium methodo scientifica pertractatum (1749) a reception in the polite world. As he saw it, this required detaching the law of nations from the other parts of Wolff’s system and thereby getting rid of the formal method of geometry. He later decided however to compose a different work, which also comprised the duties of a nation towards itself which Wolff had dealt with in the chapters on universal public law in the Jus naturae. This decision is reflected in the structure of his work, which first deals with nations considered in themselves (book I) before turning to the relationships between nations (book II) and to war and peace (books III-IV). By detaching the law of nations from Wolff’s other works, Vattel further contributed to the transformation of the law of nations into an independent discipline.

He defines the law of nations as ‘the science which teaches the rights subsisting between nations or states, and the obligations corresponding to these rights’ (Preliminaries, §6). He considers states as moral persons, and as such they are the exclusive subjects of the law of nations. The essential property of the latter is sovereignty, which adopts an internal as well as an external dimension. While the former is essential for a nation to govern itself, the latter implies its liberty and independence from other nations. In consequence, Vattel insists that no state has the right to interfere in the government of another, and that states – a small republic no less than the most powerful kingdom, as he famously stated – are equal under the law of nations. Since Vattel conceived the law of nations as a set of legal norms ensuring the coexistence of sovereign states independent of each other, his treatise is held to express in mature form what is now called ‘classic international law’. Despite his insistence on the nations’ liberty and independence, he aimed at the same time to show that states are not only obliged mutually to respect their rights necessary for governing themselves, but also to give assistance to each other if this does not imperil their own preservation and security.

Following Grotius and Wolff, Vattel defends a dualist account of the law of nations by distinguishing the natural or necessary from the voluntary law of nations. He insists that both these laws are established by nature, and that they are thus distinct from the arbitrary law of nations, which proceeds from the will or consent of nations. Variations of the latter are treaty law (founded by express engagements) and customary law (resting on tacit consent).

Comment on profile’s conception of natural law:

Vattel’s attempt to establish the law of nations as an independent discipline has long been taken as a shift to positivism (Remec 1960). Long shadows have also been cast by Carl Schmitt’s verdict that Le droit des gens marked a decisive break with the medieval and early modern just war theory, deprived the law of nations of its claim to universality and transformed it into the Jus publicum Europaeum. While the innovative character of Vattel’s foundation of the law of nations surely needs to be acknowledged, it is equally important to highlight the continuity of his thought with the tradition of modern natural law. The latter is attested by the definition of the law of nations on the one hand, and by the dualism of the necessary and the voluntary law of nations on the other.

Concerning the former, Vattel argues that the necessary law of nations arises from the application of the law of nature to states.  As he points out in a note at the beginning of his main work (LN, 2008, Preliminaries, §5, p. 69), the study of the science of the law of nations presupposes an acquaintance with the science of the law of nature, that is, the laws nature imposes on individual man. He then briefly explains that the latter can be deduced from the study of the nature of man and of things in general, and he also points out that the obligation to comply with the rules discovered by reason is founded in the desire of happiness. He had already developed these ideas in the Essai sur le fondement du droit naturel, in which he defines natural jurisprudence as the science “which teaches us what is naturally good or bad in man” (§3, p. 747). This has to be distinguished from moral science or ethics, a discipline that teaches man how he should direct his faculties “to practice what is good, and avoid what is bad” (ibid.).

The main topics of the essay are the foundation of natural law and the principle which compels man to practice what is prescribed by natural law. The foundation consists in the source from which the rules and precepts are derived, and this is ‘the essence and nature of man and things in general’ (§6). These rules can be known by reason, and then be confirmed by experience. As principle of obligation, Vattel identifies man’s well-being, expediency, or advantage, which stems from a basic desire, viz., self-love, or the desire of happiness, or perfection of our internal and external condition (§§20-21). To make this claim plausible, Vattel insists on the distinction between active and passive obligation, which he borrows from Wolff’s Philosophia practica universalis. Whereas passive obligation is the “moral necessity to act or not to act” in a certain way, active obligation is “the connection of the motive with the action” (§12). And this general motive, he argues, returns ultimately to real or perceived expediency. Despite the importance he ascribes to self-love, or the desire of happiness, Vattel does not deny that man is a social animal. In his view, Grotius’ proposition to adopt sociability as foundation of natural law is reasonable, provided that one understands that the duty to follow the laws which govern the natural society among men (§23) ultimately derives from self-love.

While Vattel’s definition of obligation is clearly indebted to Wolff, the bulk of the Essai consists in a refutation of Barbeyrac’s account of obligation in his commentaries to Pufendorf’s and Grotius’ works and in his reply to the Jugement d'un anonyme [Leibniz]. Against Barbeyrac’s argument that moral necessity can only stem from a superior, who has the power to restrict our freedom, Vattel maintains that men would be obliged to follow the precepts of natural law “even by setting aside the will of God, because they are praiseworthy and useful” (§29, p. 760). He also concedes, however, that there might be a path of reconciliation between the opposing positions by recognizing that the will of God would undoubtedly add great weight to this obligation and could be considered if not as a basic principle, nevertheless as a legitimate and solid foundation (§29). This detailed discussion of the arguments put forward by Barbeyrac in defense of Pufendorf’s account of the obligatory force of natural law clearly shows that within the École romande du droit naturel Vattel’s affiliation was with Burlamaqui. The latter defended a similar theory of obligation, and also aimed to reconcile a rationalist and a voluntarist account of obligation in the Principes du droit naturel (published in 1747, that is, one year after Vattel’s Essai), and one is tempted to take this as confirmation that Vattel did indeed attend Burlamaqui’s courses on natural law when he studied in Geneva.

In Le droit des gens Vattel introduces an argument by analogy for establishing the law of nations. Thus, he maintains that just like an individual man is subject to the law of nature, “the entire nation, whose common will is but the result of the united wills of the citizens, remains subject to the law of nature” (LN, 2008, §5). Originally, the law of nations is nothing else than the law of nature applied to nations (§6). Referring to the definition of the law of nations as the science which teaches the obligations and rights of nations, he points out that the obligations men and whole nations lie under precede their rights, the latter being “the power of doing what is morally possible, that is, what is proper and consistent with duty" (§3). He further insists that the duties imposed on men in virtue of the “universal society of the human race”, which is a “necessary consequence of the nature of man”, are not made void by any convention or private associations. Therefore, if men unite in civil society and form a separate state or nation, they remain obliged to perform their duties towards the rest of mankind, the only difference being that once they have submitted their will to the body of the society, the state and its rulers have to fulfill the duties towards strangers, and other states (§11). By pointing to the natural or universal society of mankind, Vattel aims at showing that nations are not only obliged to promote their own happiness and perfection and to mutually respect their rights, but that they are also bound to contribute everything in their power to the happiness and perfection of all the others (§11).

The continuity of Vattel’s thought with the tradition of modern natural law is further attested by his reliance on the dualist account of the law of nations that was introduced by Grotius and further developed by Wolff, who emphasized the Grotian tradition against the naturalist account of the law of nations as it was defended by Hobbes and notably Pufendorf and his followers. Following Wolff, Vattel distinguishes the natural or necessary from the voluntary law of nations. In contradistinction to his predecessor, who derived the latter from the idea of a civitas maxima, he founds it on the presumed consent of nations necessary for the sake of maintaining the common rights of all nations (Preface, p. 14-16). Despite his disagreement with Wolff concerning the foundation of the voluntary law of nations, he subscribes to the latter’s distinction between internal and external right (Preliminaries, §17). Thus, he maintains that what nations may do by internal right is stated in the necessary law of nations, which corresponds to the immutable laws of justice, while the voluntary law indicates what nations may do by external right and what they must tolerate through necessity (Preliminaries, §20). The dualism between the necessary and the voluntary law of nations plays a key role in the domain of war. Thus, Vattel argues that while according to the necessary law only one of the parties has a just cause for waging war, a war proper (that is, a war officially declared and waged by a sovereign) must be considered just on both sides regarding its legal effects. In consequence, jus in bello rules are binding on both parties, whether or not they have justice on their side (Zurbuchen, 2017, pp. 272-75).

The immediate success and lasting influence of Le droit des gens have much to do with the fact that in contrast to his predecessors in the field, Vattel decidedly avoided to use classical sources for establishing the rules of the law of nations. Instead, he relied on general principles and demonstration and used examples taken from modern history to illustrate his doctrine. Drawing on the various materials scattered in the literature that he relied on, he produced a manual of state governance and international relations for the use of sovereigns, ministers, and diplomats. Considering Europe as a kind of republic united for the maintenance of order and liberty, he advised them on a great number of issues such as the law of the territory and the sea, commercial relationships, treaty law, diplomatic relations, the settling of disputes between nations, the rules of neutrality during war, or the lawful conduct in war. While his treatise has long been acknowledged as a classic of international law, new dimensions of his thought have been brought to the fore in the growing number of historical, legal and philosophical studies accounting for the contexts in which Le droit des gens was written and discussed since the time of the American and French revolutions. More recently, the legacy of Vattel’s treatise has become a major object of study (Hunter, 2013; Chetail, 2014; Stapelbroek and Trampus, 2019; Schröder, 2021).

Academic Data

Studies

1728 - 1731, Theology, University of Basel
1733 - ../1738, Philosophy, possibly natural law, Academy of Geneva[Jean-Jacques Burlamaqui]

Travels

1742 - 1743, Prussia (Berlin 1742.03.xx - 1743), Saxony (Dresden 1743 - 1743.09.xx)
1746 - 1747.03, Saxony (Dresden - )

Professional Data

Career

1747 - 1759, Legationsrat (Diplomatic representative) in Bern, on behalf of Friedrich August II, Elector of Saxony
1759 - 1763, Member of the Chancellery of the Privy Council, Court of Friedrich August II, Elector of Saxony (who as August III was also the king of Poland)
1763 - 1767, Private advisor, The government of Saxony (after the death of Friedrich August II, Elector of Saxony)

Printed Sources

Books:

Le droit des gens, ou Principes de la loi naturelle, appliqués à la conduite et aux affaires des Nations et des Souverains, 2 vols. (London [in fact: Neuchâtel, Abraham Droz], 1758): Digital version
     - Edition 1758, 2 vols. (The Hague: Benjamin Gibert, 1758)
          - Vol. 1: Digital version
          - Vol. 2: Digital version
     - Edition 1758, 3 vols. (London: publisher unknown)
     - Edition 1758, 2 tomes in 1 vol. (Leiden: aux dépens de la Compagnie): Digital version
     - Edition 1763, 3 vols. (London: publisher unknown)

Later editions in French
     - Edition 1773, 2 vols. (Neuchâtel: Société typographique)
          - Vol. 1: Digital version
          - Vol. 2: Digital version
     - Edition 1774, 3 vols. (Neuchâtel: Société typographique)
     - Edition 1775, 2 vols. (Amsterdam: E. van Harrevelt)
          - Vol. 1: Digital version
     - Edition 1777, 3 vols. (Neuchâtel: Société typographique)
     - Edition 1777 (Neuchâtel: Société typographique)
     - Edition 1783, 2 vols. (Nîmes: Buchet)
     - Edition 1802, 3 vols. (Lyon: Robert et Gauthier): Digital version
     - Edition 1820 (Paris: Janet et Cotelle): Digital version
     - Edition 1820, 2 vols. (Lyon: Rey et Gravier, Blache)
     - Edition 1830, 2 vols. (Paris, Rio de Janeiro: J. P. Aillaud, Souza)
          - Vol 1: Digital version
          - Vol 2: Digital version
     - Edition 1835-38, 3 vols. (Paris: J. P. Aillaud)
          - Vol. 1: Digital version
          - Vol. 2: Digital version
          - Vol. 3: Digital version
     - Edition 1838-39, 2 vols. (Paris: Rey et Gravier)
          - Vol. 1: Digital version
          - Vol. 2: Digital version
     - Edition 1863, 3 vols. (Paris: Guillaumin): Digital version

Le droit de la guerre, ou Principes de la loi naturelle, appliqués à la conduite et aux affaires des Nations et des Souverains (Amsterdam-Leiden, 1758) [book III-IV of Le droit des gens]: Digital version

Mémoires politiques concernant la guerre, ou Principes de la loi naturelle appliqués à la conduite et aux affaires des Nations et des Souverains (Frankfurt-Leipzig, 1758) [book III-IV of Le droit des gens]: Digital version

Editions in English (England and Ireland)
The law of nations, or Principles of the law of nature, applied to the conduct of Nations and Sovereigns, a work tending to display the true interests of powers, 2 tomes in 1 vol. (London: J. Coote, J. Newbery, J. Richardson, S. Crowder, 1759/60): Digital version
     - Edition 1787 (Dublin: Luke White): Digital version
     - Edition 1792 (Dublin: Luke White)
     - Edition 1793 (London: G. G.-J. Robinson)
     - Edition 1797 (London: G. G.-J. Robinson)
          - Republication (Indianapolis, IN: Liberty Fund, 2008): Digital version
     - Edition 1811 (London: W. Clarke)
     - Edition 1812 (London: W. Clarke)
     - Edition 1834, [transl. Joseph Chitty] (London: Sweet): Digital version

Editions in English (United States of America)
The law of nations, or Principles of the law of nature, applied to the conduct of Nations and Sovereigns, a work tending to display the true interests of powers (New York: Messrs. Berry and Rogers, 1787): Digital version

The law of nations, or Principles of the law of nature, applied to the conduct of Nations and Sovereigns (New York: S. Campbell, 1797).
     - Edition 1805 (Northampton: T. M. Pomroy): Digital version
     - Edition 1817 (Philadelphia: A. Small)
     - Edition 1820 (Northampton: S. Butler)
     - Edition 1829 (Philadelphia: P. H. Nicklin & T. Johnson)
     - Edition 1833, [transl. Joseph Chitty, with additional notes by Edward D. Ingraham](Philadelphia: T. & J. W. Johnson, 1833): Digital version
     - Edition 1835 (Philadelphia: P. H. Nicklin & T. Johnson): Digital version
     - Edition 1839 (Philadelphia: T. Johnson)
     - Edition 1844 (Philadelphia: T. Johnson): Digital version
     - Edition 1849 (Philadelphia: T. Johnson)
     - Edition 1852 (Philadelphia: T. Johnson)
     - Edition 1853 (Philadelphia: T. Johnson)
     - Edition 1854 (Philadelphia: T. Johnson): Digital version
     - Edition 1883 (Philadelphia: T. & J.W. Johnson): Digital version

Editions in Spanish
El derecho de gentes, ó principios de la ley natural, aplicados á la conducta, y á los negocios de las naciones y de los soberanos, [transl. Manuel Pascual Hernández], 4 vols. (Madrid: Sancha, 1820)
     - Edition 1822, [transl. Lucas Miguel Otarena], 3 vols. (Madrid: Ibarra)
     - Edition 1822, [transl. J. B. J. G.], 4 vols. (Burdeos: Lawalle)
     - Edition 1824, [transl. Lucas Miguel Otarena], 4 vols. (Paris: Casa de Masson e hijo)
     - Edition 1834, 2 vols., [transl. Manuel Pascual Hernández], (Madrid: D. L. Amarita)
     - Edition 1836, 4 vols. (Paris: Leiconte)

Derecho natural y de jentes aplicado a la conducta y a los negocios de las naciones y de los soberanos, 2 vols. (Madrid: Sociedad Central, 1840).
     - Edition 1846, 3 vols. (Madrid: R. Campuzano)

Edition in German
Völkerrecht; oder: gründliche Anweisung wie die Grundsäze des natürlichen Rechts auf das Betragen und auf die Angelegenheiten der Nationen und Souveräne angewendet werden müsen: Ein Werk welches Anleitung giebt, das wahre Interesse souveräner Mächte zu entdecken, [transl. Johann Philip Schulin], 3 vols. (Frankfurt and Leipzig: publisher unknown, 1760):
     - Vol. 1: Digital version
     - Vol. 2: Digital version
     - Vol. 3: Digital version

Editions in Italian
Il diritto delle genti, ovvero principii del diritto naturale applicati alla condotta e agli affari delle nazioni e de’ sovrani, [transl. Lodovico Antonio Loschi], 3 vols. (Lione [in fact: Venezia]: Giovanni Gatti, 1781-83)
          - Vol. 1: Digital version
          - Vol. 2: Digital version
     - Edition 1804-05, 3 vols. (Bologna: Fratelli Masi)
     - Edition 1854, [partial transl. of book I by Terenzio Sacchi] (Naples: P. Adrosio): Digital version

Editions in Greek
Αποσπάσματα εκ των του κυρίου Βαττέλλου περί Δικαίου των Εθνών, [transl. of book III, chap. 7-8 by Spyridon Skouphos] (Nauplia: Τυπογραφείο της Διοικήσεως, 1825).

Το Δίκαιο των Εθνών, ή αρχαί του φυσικού νόμου, Προσηρμοσμένου εις τήν διαγωγήνa και εις τά πράγματα τών Εθνών καί τών Κυριαρχών, [transl. Georgios Rallis], 2 vols. (Nauplia: Τόμπρα, 1831).

Contemporary Editions
Le droit des gens, ou Principes de la loi naturelle appliqués à la conduite et aux affaires des nations et des souverains. Reproduction of the edition 1758 and English translation by Charles G. Fenwick, 3 vols., The Classics of International Law (Washington, Carnegie Institution of Washington, 1916). [Reprint: Geneva: Slatkine Reprints, 1983].

Le droit des gens, ou Principes de la loi naturelle, appliqués à la conduite et aux affaires des Nations et des Souverains, 2 vols. (London [in fact: Neuchâtel, Abraham Droz], 1758): Digital version

The Law of Nations, Or, Principles of the Law of Nature, Applied to the Conduct and Affairs of Nations and Sovereigns, with Three Early Essays on the Origin and Nature of Natural Law and on Luxury [English translation of: Dissertation sur cette question…, and of: Essai sur le fondement du droit naturel], ed. and with an Introduction by Béla Kapossy and Richard Whatmore (Indianapolis: Liberty Fund, 2008), [a republication of the 1797 translation]: Digital version

The Law of Nations; or, Principles of the Law of Nature, applied to the Conduct and Affairs of Nations and Sovereigns. From the French of Monsieur de Vattel. From the New Edition by Joseph Chitty, with additional notes and references by Edward D. Ingraham (Philadelphia: T. & J.W. Johnson & C., 1883): Digital version

Prawo narodów czyli zasady prawa naturalnego zastosowane do postȩpowania i spraw narodów i monarchów, trans. Bohdan Winiarski, 2 vols. (Warsaw, Państwowe Wydawnictwo Naukowe, 1958).

Das Völkerrecht oder Grundsätze des Naturrechts, angewandt auf das Verhalten und die Angelegenheiten der Staaten und Staatsoberhäupter, 1758, trans. Wilhelm Euler, Klassiker des Völkerrechts, vol. 3 (Tübingen: J.C.B. Mohr, 1959).

[A nearly complete list of the editions and translations of Le droit des gens from the 18th to the 19th century, which comprises further useful comments, has been established by Fiocchi Malaspina 2017, pp. 261-72: Open access


Periodica and Compiled Works:

Dissertation sur cette question: Si la loi naturelle peut porter la société à sa perfection, sans le secours des loix politiques, in: Pièces diverses, avec quelques lettres de morale et d’amusemens (Paris: Briasson, 1746).
     - Edition 1747: Le loisir philosophique ou pièces diverses de philosophie, de morale et d’amusement (Dresden, Georges Conrad Walther), p. 3-70: Digital version
     [English translation] The Law of Nations (Indianapolis: Liberty Fund, 2008), p. 775-781.

Essai sur le fondement du droit naturel, et sur le premier principe de l’obligation où se trouvent tous les hommes, d’en observer les loix, in: Pièces diverses, avec quelques lettres de morale et d’amusemens (Paris: Briasson, 1746).
     - Edition 1747: Le loisir philosophique ou pièces diverses de philosophie, de morale et d’amusement (Dresden, Georges Conrad Walther), p. 71-94: Digital version
     [English translation] The Law of Nations (Indianapolis: Liberty Fund, 2008), p. 747-771.

Mélanges de littérature et de politique (Neuchâtel: chez les éd. du Journal helvétique, 1760).
     [English translation] ed. Béla Kapossy and Richard Whatmore in History of European Ideas 34 (2008), p. 77-103.

Questions de droit naturel et observations sur le traité du droit de la nature de M. le baron de Wolff [1753] (Berne: Société typographique, 1762): Digital version


Ego-Documents and Biographical Materials:

Denina, Carlo, abbot of Rovello, Wattel [sic!], in: La Prusse littéraire sous Frédéric II, vol. 3 (Berlin: Hartmann, 1791), p. 464.

Béguelin, Éd[ouard], En souvenir de Vattel, in: Recueil de travaux offert par la Faculté de droit de l’Université de Neuchâtel à la Société suisse des juristes à l'occasion de sa réunion à Neuchâtel, 15-17 septembre 1929 (Neuchâtel: Université, 1929), p. 33-176.

[Ostervald, Frédéric Samuel], Abrégé de la vie de M. de Vattel, in: Le Droit des gens (Neuchâtel, Société typographique, 1773), vol. 2, p. I-VI.
 

Correspondence
Bandelier, André (ed.), Emer de Vattel à Jean Henri Samuel Formey: correspondances autour du 'Droit des gens' (Paris: Champion, Geneva: Slatkine, 2012).

5 autograph letters (1757-1758) addressed by Vattel to the republic of Berne and to Chrétien-Guillaume de Lamoignon de Malesherbes, as well as an undated mémoire in Alimento, Antonella, “Tra strategie editoriali e progettualità reformista”, in: Rivista storica italiana 129/1 (2017), p. 536-573 [These documents are related to Vattel’s interest in obtaining permission to sell Le droit des gens in France and to his worries about the pirated edition published in Leiden].

Manuscript Sources

Manuscripts:

-

Direct Personal Connections:

1741, Jean Henri Samuel Formey, Berlin
1733, Jean-Jacques Burlamaqui, Geneva
xxxx, Louis Bourguet, Neuchâtel
Mikkel Munthe Jensen, Last Update:  21.07.2022