Book Review: Elements of International Law

Edwin Borchard, Yale Law School


Wheaton's classic Elements of International Law first appeared in 1836, and the famous author made the final changes in 1847. The last American edition was the celebrated one of Dana, called the eighth, unless we except the combined edition of the Elements and Wheaton's History of International Law, published by W. B. Lawrence in 1868-8o in four volumes. In 1878 the English took up the Elements. Boyd's three editions preserved Wheaton's original text, and this was done for the last time in the fourth edition by Atlay in 1904. By reason of the Hague Conventions and the many changes effected in the law and in practice since 1841, Coleman Philipson, the editor of the fifth English edition, 1916, merged Wheaton's text with his own comments and characterized himself properly as co-author. Wheaton's text is even less distinguishable in the two editions (the sixth and seventh), published in 1929 and 1944, by the present editor, Professor Keith, a scholar more especially known for his contributions to English constitutional law. Volume two, which alone is under review, is an exceedingly voluminous work, since it lays under contribution the cumulative efforts of past editors.