Intro Chap 1, 2

Chap 1: Works on Natural Jurisprudence

  • Jurisprudence is the science that inquires into the general principles of the laws of all nations.

Hugo Grotius

  • Hugo Grotius was the first to give the world a regular system of natural jurisprudence.
    • His On the Laws of War and Peace, with all its imperfections, is perhaps the most complete work on jurisprudence to this day.
    • It is a sort of casuistical book for sovereigns and states.
    • It determines in what cases:
      • war may justly be made, and
      • how far war may be carried on.
  • States have no common sovereign.
    • They are with respect to one another in a state of nature [Hume, Book 3, Treatise].
    • War is their only method of redressing injuries.
  • He determines war to be lawful when the state receives an injury which would be redressed by an equitable civil magistrate.
  • This naturally led him to inquire into:
    • the constitution of states and the principles of civil laws,
    • the rights of sovereigns and subjects,
    • the nature of crimes, contracts, property, and
    • whatever else was the object of law.
  • Books 1 & 2 of Grotius’ treatise are a complete system of jurisprudence.
  • Mr. Hobbes was the next writer of note after Grotius.
    • He hated the Church.
    • The bigotry of his times led him to think that the Church’s dominance on men’s consciences caused the dissensions and civil wars in England during the times of Charles I and Cromwell.
    • He tried to establish a moral system:
      • where men’s consciences would be subjected to the civil power, and
      • which represented the magistrate’s will as the only proper rule of conduct.
  • He says that before society’s establishment, mankind was in a state of war.
    • To avoid the ills of a natural state, men entered into contract to obey one common sovereign who should determine all disputes.
    • Obedience to his will constituted civil government.
    • Without obedience, there could be no virtue.
      • Consequently it too was the foundation and essence of virtue.
  • The divines thought themselves obliged to oppose this pernicious doctrine concerning virtue.
  • They attacked it by showing that a state of nature was not a state of war, but that society might subsist without civil institutions, though not so harmoniously.
  • They tried to show that man in this state has certain rights such as:
    • a right to his body
    • the fruits of his labour, and
    • the fulfillment of contracts.

Samuel von Puffendorf

  • Samuel von Puffendorf wrote his large treatise with this design.
    • The sole intention of its first part is to confute Hobbes.
    • Though in reality it only treats of the laws in a state of nature, or by what means succession to property was carried on, as there is no such state existing.
  • The next who wrote on this subject was the Baron de Cocceii, a Prussian.
    • His works have five volumes.
    • Many of them are very ingenious and distinct, especially those about laws.
    • In the last volume, he gives an account of some German systems.
  • Besides these, there are no other notable systems on jurisprudence.

Chap. 2: the Division of the Subject

  • Jurisprudence is the theory of the general principles of law and government.
  • The four great objects of law are:
    • justice
    • police
    • revenue, and
    • arms.
  • The object of justice is the security from injury.
  • It is the foundation of civil government.
  • The objects of police are:
    • the cheapness of commodities,
    • public security and
    • cleanliness, if the two last were not too minute for a lecture of this kind.
  • Under this head we will consider the opulence of a state.
  • The magistrate who spends his time and labour in the state’s business should be compensated for it.
    • Some fund must be raised for defraying government expenses.
    • Hence the origin of revenue.
  • The levying of revenue, [4] which must come from the people by taxes, duties, etc.
    • In general, the most insensible way of raising of revenue from the people should be preferred.


  • The best police cannot give security unless the government can defend themselves from foreign injuries and attacks.
    • This is the fourth thing appointed by law.
    • Under this are:
      • the different kinds of arms with their advantages and disadvantages
      • the constitution of standing armies, militias, etc.


  • After these will be considered the laws of nations, under which are comprehended:
    • the demands which one independent society may have upon another,
    • the privileges of aliens, and
    • proper grounds for making war.


Words: 721


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