On the 23rd of March 1776 Congress did indeed issue letters of marque and reprisal, and efforts were made to fit out a national force.
Confirming what was doubtless an older custom, Philip Augustus decreed the quarantaine-le-roi, which suspended every act of reprisal for at least forty days; and in 1257 Louis IX.
David, however, after his accession made an expedition against Damascus as a reprisal for the assistance the city had given his enemy Hadadezer, king of Zobah.
The Kaffirs had suffered much injustice, especially from the commando-reprisal system, but they had also committed many injustices, and for the disturbed state of the border the vacillating policy of the Cape government was largely to blame.
The severity with which the land was treated may pass for a gentle reprisal if the Moabites of that day were not more humane than their descendants in the days of King Mesha.