Men are gover­ned by various sorts of laws : by natu­ral law ; by divine law, which is that of reli­gion ; by eccle­sias­ti­cal law, other­wise known as canon law, which is that of reli­gious order ; by the law of nations, which can be thought of as glo­bal civil law, in the sense that each peo­ple is a citi­zen of it ; by gene­ral poli­ti­cal law, of which the objec­tive is the human wis­dom that has foun­ded all socie­ties ; by the par­ti­cu­lar poli­ti­cal law, which per­tains to each society ; by the law of conquest,1 based on the fact that one peo­ple has willed, has been able to, or has had to do vio­lence to ano­ther ; by the civil law of each society, by which a citi­zen may defend his pro­perty and his life against any other citi­zen ; and finally by domes­tic law, owing to the fact that a society is divi­ded into various fami­lies, which need their own govern­ment.

There are the­re­fore dif­fe­rent orders of laws ; and the subli­mity of human rea­son consists in pro­perly dis­cer­ning to which of these orders the things that must be deci­ded prin­ci­pally relate, and in not intro­du­cing confu­sion in the prin­ci­ples that must govern men.

[Droit de conquête, in other contexts translated as “right of conquest.”]