Part of speech: noun

A license to capture the vessels of an enemy: in the phrase letter of marque.

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Usage examples "marque":

  1. At this session Congress passed acts authorizing the President to use the whole land and naval force to meet the necessities of the war thus commenced; to issue to private armed vessels letters of marque; in addition to the volunteer force authorized to be raised, to accept the services of volunteers, to serve during the war; to receive into the service various companies of the different arms; to make a loan of fifty millions of dollars in bonds and notes; and to hold an election for officers of the permanent Government under the new Constitution. - "The Rise and Fall of the Confederate Government, Vol. 1 (of 2)", Jefferson Davis.
  2. Mexican letters of marque had immediately filled the Gulf. - "Romance", Joseph Conrad and F.M. Hueffer.
  3. So also with regard to the prohibition against entering into any treaty, alliance, or confederation, which is coupled with the prohibition against granting letters of marque in the first paragraph of the tenth section. - "Trial of the Officers and Crew of the Privateer Savannah, on the Charge of Piracy, in the United States Circuit Court for the Southern District of New York", A. F. Warburton.