by the law of nations, that is, by captivity; for it is the practice of our generals to sell their captives, being accustomed to preserve, and not to destroy them: or by the civil law, which happens when a free person, above the age of twenty, suffers himself to be sold for the sake of sharing the price given for him. The author of the Commentaries on the Laws of England thus combats the reasonableness of all these grounds: * "The conqueror," says he, "according to the civilians, has a right to the life of his captives; and having spared that, has a right to deal with him as he pleases. But when it is an untrue position, when taken generally, that by the law of nature or nations, a man may kill his enemy : he has a right to kill him only in particular cases ; in cases of absolute necessity for self defense ; and it is plain that his absolute necessity did not subsist, since the victory did not actually kill him, but made him prisoner. War itself is justifiable only on principles of self-preservation ; and therefore it gives no other right over prisoners but merely disable them from doing harm to us, by confining their persons : much less can give it a right to kill,