LETTER OF MARQUE AND REPRRISAL, War. A commission granted by the government to a private individual, to take the property of a foreign state, or of the citizens or subjects of such state, as a reparation for an injury committed by such state, its citizens or subjects. A vessel loaded with merchandise, on a voyage to a friendly port, but armed for its own defence in case of attack by an enemy, is also called a letter of marque. 1 Bouly-Paty, tit. 3, s. 2, p. 300.

2. By the constitution, art. 1, s. 8, cl. 11, congress has power to grant letters of marque and reprisal. Vide Chit. Law of Nat. 73; 1 Black. Com. 251; Vin. Ab. Prerogative, N a; Com. Dig. Prerogative, B 4; Molloy, B. 1, c. 2, s. 10; 2 Wooddes. 440; 6 Rob. Rep. 9; 5 Id. 360; 2 Rob. Reb. 224. And vide Reprisal.