These words, “marque” and “reprisal,” are frequently used as synonymous, but, taken In their strict etymological sense, the latter signifies a “taking in return ;” the former, the passing the frontiers (marches) in order to such takiug. Letters of marque and reprisal are grantable, by the law of nations, whenever the subjects of one state are oppressed and injured by those of another, and justice is denied by that state to which the oppressor belongs; and the party to whom these letters are granted may then seize the bodies or the goods of the subjects of the state to which the offender belongs, until satisfaction be made, wherever they happen to be found. Reprisals are to be granted only in case of a clear and open denial of justice. At the present day, in consequence partly of treaties and partly of the practice of nations, the making of reprisals is confined to the seizure of commercial property on the high seas by public cruisers, or by private cruisers specially authorized thereto. Brown.

More On This Topic

Link to This Definition
Did you find this definition of MARQUE AND REPRISAL, LETTERS OF helpful? You can share it by copying the code below and adding it to your blog or web page.
Written and fact checked by The Law Dictionary