1911 Encyclopædia Britannica/Confiscation

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CONFISCATION (from Lat. confiscare, to consign to the fiscus, or imperial treasury), in Roman law the seizure and transfer of private property to the fiscus by the emperor; hence the appropriation, under legal authority, of private property to the state; in English law the term embraces forfeiture (q.v.) in the case of goods, and escheat (q.v.) in the case of lands, for crime or in default of heirs (see also Eminent Domain). Goods may also be confiscated by the state for breaches of statutes relating to customs, excise or explosives. In the United States among the “war measures” during the Civil War, acts were passed in 1861 and 1862 confiscating, respectively, property used for “insurrectionary purposes” and the property generally of those engaged in rebellion. The word is used, popularly, of spoliation under legal forms, or of any seizure of property without adequate compensation.