Privateer Ellison Firebrandt pursues the ships of Earth's enemies under a letter of marque
. But when he stumbles across an extraordinary woman who knows the secrets to a new type of engine that every government wants for its own ends, he and his crew get swept into a maelstrom of galactic proportions!
In this vein, several maritime analysts identify from the early 1600s onward a distinction--evident first in the British case and later in the American--between vessels termed "privateers" and others called "letters of marque." (74) A captain of one of the latter held an actual letter of marque, authorizing him to arm his ship for security during long voyages.
Put differently, the "letter of marque" had an offensive character lacking among PMSCs.
(18) At its core, the letter of marque
serves both military and law enforcement functions.
In this situation, the merchant would secure a letter of marque
and reprisal and arm his ship more heavily than typical of a transport, but, unlike a dedicated privateer, he would also transport goods.
In the first Letter of Marque
the ambiguity of the narrator's position had resolved, very clearly, into an Anglo-Indian orthodoxy.
For example, a public vessel outfitted by the Massachusetts State Navy petitioned to "be furnished with a Commission for a Letter of Marque
." (168) Similarly, public vessels such as "packets, dispatch boats, and cargo carriers" would petition the Commonwealth for "letters of marque"; Continental vessels observed "the same procedure." (169) Even if "letters of marque and reprisal" referred only to the licensing of private vessels, it still gave Congress the power to control the tactical and strategic use of privateers.
(84) Presumably, the Framers understood the phrases "Letters of Marque and Reprisal" and "Rules concerning Captures on Land and Water" in section 8 of Article I to embody the meanings imputed to "reprisal," "letter of marque
," and "prize" in American legal usage and international law circa 1787, colored especially by the Framer's own experiences with letters of marque and reprisal during the American Revolution and immediately afterwards under the Articles of Confederation.
If, for example, a French vessel seized a British ship, then a letter of marque
could be granted that would allow the legal seizure of an item of like value from any French vessel on the high seas.
Patrick O'Brian's The Letter of Marque
. I'm halfway through his 21-novel cycle, which is brilliantly, passionately, eccentrically and strangely beautiful--the style of a male Jane Austen.
A patent is to an inventor what a letter of marque
and reprisal was to a privateer: a government-granted right to search out and claim prizes.
The distinction between a pirate and a privateer is a fine one separated by a thin letter of marque
(as provided for in the U.S.