First Edition of a Classic Study of International Law and the Laws of Armed Conflict Bynkershoek, Cornelius van [1673-1743]. Quaestionum Juris Publici, Libri Duo, Quorum Primus Est de Rebus Bellicis, Secundus de Rebus Varii Argumenti. Leiden: J.V. Kerckhem, 1737. [xxiv], 384,  pp. Quarto (7-3/4" x 6"). Contemporary calf, rebacked in period style, lettering piece and gilt-edged raised bands to spine, hinges and corners mended, edges rouged. Light rubbing and gatoring to boards, some rubbing to board edges. Title with large copperplate vignette printed in red and black. Light toning to text, somewhat heavier in places, some leaves have light foxing, offsetting to margins of endleaves. A handsome copy. $1,750. * First edition. One of the most important jurists and international lawyers of his time, Bynkershoek was a Dutch jurist who founded the positive school of international law, which favored principles drawn from usage and practice over theorems drawn from natural law. He was also the first to propose the "three-mile limit" rule, which states that a nation may claim sovereignty over adjacent waters to a distance of three miles, the maximum distance of a cannonball fired from a shoreline. Quaestionum Juris Publici is one of his most important works international law. The first and most important part, "De Rebus Bellicus," is one of the first modern assessments of the laws of war. Bynkershoek accepts that war encompasses violence against civilians and non-military targets. As Neff observes, he "candidly pronounced war to be an 'attempt to subjugate the enemy and all that he has by seizing all the power that the sovereign has over the state, that is to say, by exercising complete dominion over all persons and all things contained in that state. (...) [T]he whole state is placed in the legal attitude of a belligerent toward another state, so that every member of the one nation is authorized to commit hostilities against every member of the other, in every place and under every circumstance." Having acknowledged these facts, he goes on to condemn actions against civilians and advocates the fair treatment of prisoners of war. Beginning with Lord Mansfield, scholars have considered this to be Bynkershoek's greatest work. It was reissued in 1930 as a title in the Carnegie Classics of Internat.
Book number 70098