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Ambassador

power, government, country, sent, time, authority, independent, ambassadors and word

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AMBASSADOR (directly from the French Ambassadeur), is the term com monly used to designate every kind of diplomatic minister or agent. The word ambassador is sometimes written with an E, a form which the English always use in the word Embassy. Spelman derives Ambassador from Ambactns, a word used by Cresar (Gallic War, vi. 15, Ambac tos clientesque '). The various forms in which the word Ambassador has been written are collected in Webster's English Dictionary, art. Ernbassador: An ara bassador may be defined to be a person sent by one sovereign power to another to treat upon affairs of state. The necessity of employing such means of communica tion between independent communities is obvious, and there is hardly an instance of a people in so rude a state of society as to be ignorant of the functions of an ambassador, and of the respect which is due to his office. In modern states however, whatever may be the form of government, ambassadors are generally named by the person who has the supreme executive power. In the United States of North America, the President names an ambassador, but the appointment must be confirmed by the Sometimes the power of appointing and sending ambassa dors has been delegated to a subordinate executive officer, as it was to the viceroy of Naples, the Governor of Milan, and the Spanish Governor-General of the Netherlands. It is exercised by every power which can make war and peace, and accordingly is possessed by the East India Company. Embassies were an ciently sent only on particular occasions, with authority to transact some specific business ; as, for instance, to negotiate a treaty of peace or alliance, or to complain of wrongs and demand redress. But great changes were gradually introduced in the political condition of Europe. The several states which had risen to import ance, although independent of one an other, were bound together by numerous ties, and with the extension of commerce, the intercourse between them became so great, and their interests so complicated, that it was found expedient for them to keep up a more regular communication ; and with this view it became customary for one power to have its ambassador residing constantly at the court or capital city of another.

Among the ordinary functions of an am or, the following are the most important :—Ist, to conduct negotiations on behalf of his country ; the extent of his authority in this respect is marked and limited by the power which he has received from home; he has, however, according to modern usage, no authority to conclude any engagement definitively, the treaty which he has negotiated having no binding power, till it has been form ally ratified by his government; 2ndly, to watch over the accomplishment of all existing engagements ; and 3rdly, to take care generally that nothing is done within the territories of the state, nor any treaty entered into with other powers, by which the honour or interests of his country can be affected, without informing his govern ment of such measures.

An ambassador has also certain duties to perform towards private individuals of his own nation : such as to provide them with passports, where they are required ; to present them at court, if they produce the requisite testimonials ; to protect them from violence and injustice ; and if any manifest wrong has been done, or if jus tice has been refused them, to exert him self to obtain redress, and to secure for them the full benefit of the laws; and, lastly, to assist them in maintaining their rights in courts of justice, as well by cer tifying what is the law of his country upon the point in dispute, as by the authentication of private documents, which is usually confined in practice to such as have been previously authenti cated at the foreign office of his own government, and thence transmitted to him.

It is now the established usage of European countries and of those parts of North America which were colonized by Europeans and have become independent states, to send ambassadors to one another. The sending of an ambassador by any state implies that such state is also will ing to receive an ambassador. It is only, however, in time of peace that this inter change of ambassadors regularly takes place. In time of war, a hostile power cannot claim to have its ambassadors received, unless they are provided with a safe-conduct or passport; and the grant ing of these is merely a matter of discre tion. It is, in all cases, requisite that the ambassador should be provided with the proofs of his authority ; these are con tained in an instrument, called his Letters of Credence, or Credentials, delivered to him by his own government, and ad dressed to that of the state to which he is sent. A refusal to receive an ambassa • dor properly accredited, if made without sufficient cause, is considered a gross in sult to the power that he represents. But if one of several competitors for the sove reign power in any country, or if a pro vince which has revolted and asserts its independence, scuds an ambassador to a sovereign state, such state, if it receives the ambassador, thereby recognises the competitor in the one case to be actually the sovereign, and the revolted province, in the other, to be actually independent. Though this may be the general prin ciple, the practice is somewhat differ ent. In such cases, consuls are gene rally first sent; and when a government has been established for some time de facto, as it is termed, that is, in fact, it is usual with states who have sent con suls to send ministers also in due time, even though the mother country, to which the revolted states belong, may not have recognised their independence. This was done by the British government and others in the case of the South American states, whose independence Spain has not yet recognised.

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