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rights and obligations both of belligerents and neutrals, and for more accurate knowledge touching collateral mercantile considerations generally. But inquiries thus induced are sometimes difficult to satisfy, or, at any rate, to answer with the promptitude and sufficiency desired by men of affairs. Treatises there are on International Law, it is true, and there are also works readily accessible, both on Shipping and on Marine Insurance, more numerous still; but with respect to the first-named treatises, they are for the most part so interlarded with the views and opinions of learned theorists, both ancient and modern, and amplified with various international considerations of a purely political character, as to be much more valuable to the student of International Law than for purposes of ready mercantile reference.
Of relative essays of a more practical kind there are few indeed, and of these the writers are more to be congratulated for their research than for the appreciation which they have shown of the importance of dissecting and classifying its results.
The works on Shipping and Marine Insurance, on the other hand, dealing as they do with these important subjects as a whole, naturally do not class by themselves questions in connexion with the subject of warlike exigencies; but subdivide and discuss them, in common with others not specially relating to war, under various heads. Besides which, such treatises, however valuable in other respects, mostly possess the already indicated common tendency to give more consideration to the risks and liabilities generally attendant on maritime transactions, than to those which have become comparatively uninteresting during several generations of freedom from hostile capture.
The practical inquirer is ordinarily quite indifferent to the views, however otherwise interesting, of the learned Grotius, the erudite Puffendorf and Bynkershoek, and the various other publicists of bygone days. He wants rather to be succinctly informed as to his position under international law as it stands; and as a rule, indeed, he does not greatly care whether this law be good or bad. But to inform himself fully respecting it he is compelled to read and collate reviews of the three several subjects-law of nations, shipping, and marine insurance; and he has at present no opportunity to turn to any one work in which these three important considerations are treated collectively.
Any such reference can, perhaps, be dispensed with altogether so long as no warlike cloud shows itself on the political horizon. But the attitude of mutual watchfulness which is so marked a characteristic of some international relations at the present time, can scarcely be regarded as a satisfactory assurance of permanent peace. And as it is not solely the condition but almost as much the rumour
of war which emphasises the need of a work of the above comprehensive kind, this work I have now endeavoured to provide.
I should, perhaps, rather have said that I have failed to discover any such. Consequently, in the endeavour to submit a system of classification and arrangement calculated to meet the requirements already referred to, I have been thrown on my own resources. To deficiencies in these, then, must be attributed any imperfection of which the reader may become aware, and for which I trust I may receive his kind indulgence.
I desire to record my indebtedness to the following works which, amongst the many referred to, have been found especially valuable, viz. :
Wheaton's International Law.