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ject which my experience and study of this interesting branch of the law of nations have shown to be necessary.

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* DOMINICK Albert AZUNI, was born at Sassari, in the island of Sardinia. This island is about 700 Italian miles in circumference; its greatest length is 175 miles, and its greatest breadth, about 100. Its principal towns are, Cagliari and Sassari, each containing an university, and about 30,000 inhabitants. M. Azuni, in 1802, published at Paris, A Geographical, and Natural History of Sardinia, in two volumes 8vo, a work of considerable merit, and containing much interesting information of an important island, but little known to the generality of readers.

His other works are, 1. An universal Dictionary of Mercantile Jurisprudence, in 4to, printed at Nice, 1786, and 1788 ; 2. A 5th vol. 4to, containing The perfect Mentor of Merchants, printed at Trieste, in 1796; 3. A Dissertation on the Mariner's Compass, read before the Academy of Florence, in 1795, and reprinted, with additions, at Venice, in 1797....T.

THE

TRANSLATOR'S PREFACE.

MARITIME Commerce, while it connects the civilized nations of the world together by the ties of mutual interest, augments the means of their prosperity and happiness, and multiplies the sources of individual enjoyment, renders them, at the same time, more dependent on each other. Physical and moral causes, of the most irresistible nature, have induced the people of the United States to engage, with unexampled ardour, in commercial pursuits. This commerce, that gives animation and vigour to all the operations of industry, and without which the people would sink into indolence, or become ignorant and ferocious, as it draws them nearer to foreign countries, exposes them also to the influence of those conflicts which agitate the

of distant nations. For it is one of the many evils of war, that its action is not confined to the immediate parties in the contest, but strikes, with greater or less forcę, all who come within its reach.

repose

Vol. I.

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Remote from the great theatre of political and military ambition, the United States are happily exempt from that direct pressure which might compel them to take part in the wars of Europe ; and they are impelled by interest and policy, to observe a perfect neutrality between the belligerent nations of that continent. To maintain this fortunate and advantageous position, for a long period of time, will be attended with no little difficulty, and may require consummate prudence and address. The surest guide, in this embarrassing situation, is a clear and accurate acquaintance with the principles by which the intercourse between belligerents and neutrals is to be regulated. Whatever relates, therefore, to the maritime law of Europe, or which can throw light on the obscure and dubious path of neutral conduct, cannot fail of being interesting to the people of America.

Notwithstanding the great importance of the subject, the most distinguished writers on the law of nations, GROTIUS, PUFFENDORF, WOLFIUS, VATTEL, and others, have passed it over with very slight attention, deterred, perhaps, by the variety of delicate and difficult questions, to which it gave rise. The nature of sovereignty, the rights of war and peace, the functions and privileges of anbassadors ; the laws of negotiation, the formation of treaties,

and the rules of their interpretation ; these, and

many other subjects, have been discussed by them with great learning and ability ; but they appear to have been inattentive to the changes produced in the interests and affairs of nations, by the extension of navigation and

of commerce has succeeded to the age of chivalry, and the influence of this new spirit is to be discovered in all the political transactions of Europe. The cases which give rise to the discussion of neytral and belligerent rights, have been increased and infinitely diversified ; and in proportion to the progress of refinement and civilization, belligerent nations have been more disposed to listen to the voice of reason and justice, and to examine and respect the claims of neutrals, whose rights have been infringed by the operations of war. Appeals to the law of nations by neutral states, who are generally the weakest, are listened to with more attention than in former times. For it is not true, as some have pretended, because, law and right are sometimes disregarded, or trodden under foot by military power, that law and justice are empty names; and that a science, which teaches the reciprocal duties of sovereign states, is a vain and useless study. Such a theory would confound all ideas of right and wrong, and subvert the whole system of morality and jurisprudence. If well founded, it would equally apply to individuals, and to a large class of moral duties which do not come under the cognisance of municipal law, and are not enforced by its sanctions. The very existence of social intercourse, depends on the observance of many rules of conduct, which are left to the conscience of each member of society, and his own sense of moral obligation. If a knowledge of these duties, if the precepts of morality and religion, have no influence in restraining men from acts of injustice, the volumes which contain the lessons of wisdom, and the maxims of sages, might be destroyed as useless lore; public instructors might abandon their schools ; the teachers of the sublime doctrines of revelation, might cease to exercise their sacred functions, and mankind be left to the blind impulse of aptite and passion, unrestrained by any law but that of force. Interest, and a regard to reputation, it is true, often impel individuals to the practice of virtue, when purer and nobler motives are unfelt, or disregarded. But the observance of justice and good faith, is equally the interest of nations; and, whatever may be the secret views of crafty and unprincipled ministers or sovereigns, they seldom fail, in all their public declarations, to pay homage to the law of nature and nations, to acknowledge its authority, and to appeal to its principles as the rule

commerce.

The age

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