Thomas Jefferson a Founder of our Nation & Influential in Framing our Constitution used his personal copy of 1775 French edition of ‘The Law of Nations or Principles of Natural Law’ by Vattel

Originally Written & Posted Online by CDR Kerchner @ Puzo1.BlogSpot.com:  Sunday, May 2, 2010 @ 12:34 PM

Thomas Jefferson a Founder of our Nation & Influential in Framing our Constitution used his personal copy of 1775 French edition of ‘The Law of Nations or Principles of Natural Law’ by Vattel

Thomas Jefferson a Founder of Our Nation and Influential in the Framing of Our Constitution used his personal copy of 1775 French edition of “The Law of Nations or Principles of Natural Law by Vattel”, newly edited edition by Charles Dumas in 1775, to help write and influence others in the writing of the Founding Documents.The founders and framers were fluent in French, the diplomatic language of the time, many having served as diplomats to France. Thomas Jefferson used his personal copy of the new 1775 French edition of the Vattel’s Law of Nations or Principles of Natural Law to write the Declaration of Independence. He was also very influential in the creation of the U.S. Constitution. Quotations such as “life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness”, “Laws of Nature” and concepts for a new “more perfect” form of government with a written Constitution and independent Judiciary and the sovereignty of the People are right out of Vattel’s Law of Nations or Principles of Natural Law. In 1776 Jefferson was tasked with primary responsibility for drafting the Declaration of Independence and if you read it after first reading Vattel’s Law of Nations, Volume 1, you can see where he got his inspiration for many of the words and concepts. Jefferson was very influential via his correspondence to the Constitutional Convention in Philadelphia Pa in 1787 and in getting the Bill of Rights added. Read Vattel’s Law of Nations, Volume 1 first. Then read the Constitution. We can see in the words of the Constitution the impact of Vattel and the Law of Nations once again in the words therein such as “in order to form a more perfect Union” (perfection of government to serve the people was a prime directive of Vattel). And the title of the book Law of Nations, the preeminent legal treatise of the time, is even mentioned in the Constitution in Article I, Section 8, in the enumerated and limited powers of the new federal republic form of government. The impact of Vattel and Volume 1 of his legal treatise The Law of Nations on his visions for a new form of government on the founders and framers of this nation and its founding documents cannot be overstated. Vattel was the keystone legal source for the new federal government established in 1789 when the new Constitution was ratified, the first of its kind in the world and a beacon of liberty to the rest of the world, with the ratification of the U.S. Constitution.

Jefferson’s personal and well annotated in the margins copy of Vattel’s Law of Nations or Principles of Natural Law 1775 French edition is now in the possession of the Library of Congress. I suspect that this copy was actually one of the 3 copies sent to Benjamin Franklin by Charles Dumas in 1775. Franklin’s personal copy of the 1775 edition was never found in history. We also know that Franklin also had a copy of an earlier edition of Vattel. I suspect he loaned one of the 3 newly received 1775 editions of Vattel to Jefferson for use in the writing of the Declaration of Independence and that is how that copy got to Jefferson. The other two copies of the 1775 edition sent to Franklin ended up with one copy in the Library in Philadelphia for use by the Congress meeting in Philadelphia and the other in library of “College of Massachusetts Bay” in Massachusetts. So maybe I’ve solved the mystery of what happened to the 3rd copy sent by Dumas, Franklin’s personal copy of the 1775 Dumas edition of the Law of Nations or Principles of Natural Law.

Charles Kerchner, Commander USNR (Retired)
Lead Plaintiff, Kerchner v Obama & Congress
http://puzo1.blogspot.com
http://www.protectourliberty.org

P.S. Thomas Jefferson was one of the first founders that I have found a written record of as using the term “natural born Citizen” in his writings. See this account in 1777.

P.P.S.: See more about the founders and framers use of The Law of Nations or Principles of Natural Law to write the founding documents for our Constitutional Republic in the links below. The legal treatise, The Law of Nations or Principles of Natural Law, known as the Law of Nations for short, clearly defined the term “naturel” or “natural born Citizen” as a person born in the country of parents (plural) who were Citizens of the country:
http://countryfirst.bravehost.com/phpBB3/viewtopic.php?f=105&t=1169

1. Benjamin Franklin in 1775 thanked Charles Dumas of the Netherlands for sending him 3 more copies of the newest 1775 French edition of Vattel’s Law of Nations:
http://puzo1.blogspot.com/2010/04/benjamin-franklin-in-1775-thanks.html

2. President George Washington in 1789 consulted Vattel’s legal treatise The Law of Nations as America’s new President:
http://puzo1.blogspot.com/2010/04/george-washington-consulted-legal.html
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Benjamin Franklin in 1775 thanks Charles Dumas of the Netherlands for sending him 3 more copies of the newest edition of Vattel’s Law of Nations

Originally Written & Posted Online by CDR Kerchner @ Puzo1.BlogSpot.com:  Monday, April 26, 2010 @ 8:37 PM

Benjamin Franklin in 1775 thanks Charles Dumas of the Netherlands for sending him 3 more copies of the newest edition of Vattel’s Law of Nations

Another founder of our nation and framer of our Constitution, Benjamin Franklin, was also quite familiar and well versed with the writings of Vattel as early as 1775 when he wrote to Charles Dumas in the Netherlands and thanked him for sending Franklin 3 copies of the newest edition of Vattel (in French). Franklin commented to Dumas that his personal copy was in heavy demand by the other delegates to the Continental Congress meeting in 1775. Dumas had recently edited and published a new addition of Vattel (in the original French) in the Netherlands. Franklin and most of the founders were fluent in French which was the diplomatic language of that time. Dumas also made comments in his writings to Franklin about Vattel’s enlightened writings and vision for a new form of government for a nation where the people were sovereign and the unique opportunity for its application to the affairs in America in the colonies splitting from Great Britain. The words found in our Declaration of Independence mentioning the “Laws of Nature” and the phrase mentioning unalienable rights such as “life, liberty, and pursuit of happiness” are right out of Volume 1 of Vattel. As are the words of seeking a more perfect union in the Preamble of our Constitution were also inspired by the teachings and writings of Vattel. Thus it is quite evident that the founders read and used Vattel extensively. Here is a reprint of the letter from Franklin to Dumas thanking him for sending the books.

Benjamin Franklin to: Charles William Frederic Dumas

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Dear Sir,
Philadelphia, 9 December, 1775.

I received your several favors, of May 18th, June 30th, and July 8th, by Messrs. Vaillant and Pochard;(1) whom if I could serve upon your recommendation, it would give me great pleasure. Their total want of English is at present an obstruction to their getting any employment among us; but I hope they will soon obtain some knowledge of it. This is a good country for artificers or farmers; but gentlemen of mere science in les belles lettres cannot so easily subsist here, there being little demand for their assistance among an industrious people, who, as yet, have not much leisure for studies of that kind.

I am much obliged by the kind present you have made us of your edition of Vattel. It came to us in good season, when the circumstances of a rising state make it necessary frequently to consult the law of nations. Accordingly that copy, which I kept, (after depositing one in our own public library here, and sending the other to the College of Massachusetts Bay, as you directed,) has been continually in the hands of the members of our Congress, now sitting, who are much pleased with your notes and preface, and have entertained a high and just esteem for their author. Your manuscript “Idee sur le Gouvernement et la Royaute” is also well relished, and may, in time, have its effect. I thank you, likewise, for the other smaller pieces, which accompanied Vattel. “Le court Expose de ce qui s’est passe entre la Cour Britannique et les Colonies,” bc. being a very concise and clear statement of facts, will be reprinted here for the use of our new friends in Canada. The translations of the proceedings of our Congress are very acceptable. I send you herewith what of them has been farther published here, together with a few newspapers, containing accounts of some of the successes Providence has favored us with. We are threatened from England with a very powerful force, to come next year against us.(2) We are making all the provision in our power here to oppose that force, and we hope we shall be able to defend ourselves. But, as the events of war are always uncertain, possibly, after another campaign, we may find it necessary to ask the aid of some foreign power.

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Source: http://etext.lib.virginia.edu/etcbin/toccer-new2?id=DelVol02.xml&images=images/modeng&data=/texts/english/modeng/parsed&tag=public&part=459&division=div1

CDR Charles Kerchner
http://puzo1.blogspot.com
http://www.protectourliberty.org
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P.S. See this prior post I made about President George Washington consulting Vattel as America’s new President in 1789:
http://puzo1.blogspot.com/2010/04/george-washington-consulted-legal.html
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P.S.S.  The legal treatise, The Law of Nations or Principles of Natural Law, known as the Law of Nations for short, defined the term “naturel” or “natural born Citizen” as a person born in the country of parents (plural) who were Citizens of the country:
http://countryfirst.bravehost.com/phpBB3/viewtopic.php?f=105&t=1169
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