Vattel, Emerich de (āˈmərĭkh də vätĕlˈ) [key], 1714–67, Swiss philosopher and jurist. He served (1746–58) as Saxon minister at Bern and later in the cabinet of Augustus III at Dresden. He is famous for one book, Droit des gens; ou, Principes de la loi naturelle appliqués à la conduite et aux affaires des nations et des souverains (1758; tr. Law of Nations, 1760). This book, founded on the writings of Christian von Wolff, was important chiefly because it supplied a justification for liberal revolution. It also illustrated the growing attention to international law based on natural laws that were superior to positive legislation.
See P. P. Remec, The Position of the Individual in International Law (1960).