SPONSIONS, international law. Agreements or engagements made by certain public officers, as generals or admirals, in time of war, either without authority, or by exceeding the limits of authority under which they purport to be made.
     2. Before these conventions can have any binding authority on the state, they must be confirmed by express or tacit ratification. The former is given in positive terms and in the usual forms; the latter is justly implied from the fact of acting under the agreement as if bound by it, and from any other circumstance from which an assent may be fairly presumed. Wheat. Intern. Law, pt. 3, c. 2, Sec. 3; Grotius, de Jur. Bel. ac Pac. 1. 2, c. 15, Sec. 16; Id. 1. 3, c. 22, 1-3: Vattel, Law of Nat, B. 2, c. 14, 209- 212; Wolff, 1156.

A Law Dictionary, Adapted to the Constitution and Laws of the United States. By John Bouvier. Published 1856.
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Burlamaqui defined "public treaties" to "mean such agreements as can be made only by public authority, or those which sovereigns, considered as such, make with each other, concerning things, which direcdy concern the welfare of the state." (24) This accords with Grotius, whose earlier definition also distinguished treaties from "contracts of private persons," "contracts of kings which are concerned with private affairs," and sponsions. (25) According to Grotius, treaties may establish the same rights as the law of nature or lay out equal or unequal commitments on all sorts of topics involving sovereign relations.
For we shall hunt in vain among sponsions and interdicts [bread and butter law suits] for magicians and plagues and oracles and stepmothers more cruel than any in tragedy, and other subjects still more unreal than these.