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lex talionisthe law of retribution in kind: ‘an eye for an eye, a tooth for a tooth’.
LEX TALIONIS. The law of retaliation an example of which is given in the law
of Moses, an eye for an eye, a tooth for a tooth, &c.
2. Jurists and writers on international law are divided as to the right of one nation punishing with death, by way of retaliation, the citizen's or subjects of another nation; in, the United States no example of such barbarity has ever been witnessed but, prisoners have been kept in close confinement in retaliation for the same conduct towards American prisoners. Vide Rutherf. Inst. b. 2, c. 9; Mart. Law of Nat. b. 8, c. 1, s. 3, note 1 Kent, Com. 93.
3. Writers on the law of nations have divided retaliation into vindictive and amicable: By the former are meant those acts of retaliation which amount to a war; the latter those acts of retaliation which correspond to the acts of the other nation under similar circumstances. Wheat. Intern. Law, pt. 4, c. 1, Sec. 1.