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Published online by Cambridge University Press: 21 May 2009
“The ordinary jus gentium is only a particular law, applicable to a distinct set or family of nations, varying at different times with the change in religion, manners, government, and other institutions, among every class of nations. Hence the international law of the civilized, Christian nations of Europe and America, is one thing; and that which governs the intercourse of the Mohammedan nations of the East with each other, and with Christians, is another and a very different thing. The international law of Christendom began to be fixed about the time of Grotius, when the combined influence of religion, chivalry, the feudal system, and commercial and literary intercourse, had blended together the nations of Europe into one great family. This law does not merely consist of the principles of natural justice applied to the conduct of states considered as moral beings. It may, indeed, have a remote foundation of this sort; but the immediate visible basis on which the public law of Europe, and of the American nations which have sprung from the European stock, has been erected, are the customs, usages, and conventions observed by that portion of the human race in their mutual intercourse”.
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68. Wheaton's International Law was remarkably successful. Between his first American and English editions in 1836 and his death in 1848, Wheaton himself prepared numerous editions in English and French. William Beach Laurence prepared revised American editions of Wheaton in 1855, 1857, 1863, and 1864. Richard Henry Dana, Jr., followed in 1866 with an American edition later chosen by the Carnegie Foundation as the definitive Wheaton for their Classics of International Law in 1936. There were English editions in, at least 1878, 1880, 1889, 1904,1916, and 1929. Revised French editions appeared in 1852, 1858, 1864 and 1878. An Italian edition was published in 1860. Wheaton was translated into Chinese in an 1864 edition and into Japanese in 1865. Wilson, G.G., ‘Henry Wheaton and International Law', in Dana's, R.H. 1936Google Scholar reproduction of the 1866 edition of Wheaton, H., Elements of International Law, pp. 13a–17a. In 1870Google Scholar, Wheaton's book was singled out as enjoying ‘both here [in England] and at home a well deserved eminence’. Abbott, A., ‘European Letter’, 2 Albany LJ (1870) p. 201.Google Scholar As late as 1944, Wheaton was thought to be of current value. Anew English edition, albeit much revised over 108 years, then appeared covering mat part of Wheaton on the laws of war. Keith, A.B., Wheaton's International Law: Vol. 2 7mdash; War (1944).Google Scholar
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