Note:  Do not rely on this information. It is very old.


Piracy. The crime of piracy or robbery and depredation on the high seas is an offence against the universal law of society - a pirate being, according to Sir Edward Coke, hostis hvmani generis. As, therefore, he has renounced all the benefits of society and government, and has reduced himself afresh to the savage "state of nature" by declaring war against all mankind, all mankind must declare war against him; so that every community has a right by the rule of self-defence to inflict that punishment upon him which every individual would, in a state of nature, have been otherwise entitled to do for any invasion of his person or personal property. By an early statute of the present reign the crime of piracy is made punishable, at the discretion of the court, by transportation for life or for any term not less than 15 years or to be imprisoned for any term not exceeding three years.