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Consul

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CONSUL The two chief magistrates who were annually elected by the Ro mans were called Consuls. Their powers and functions were the same or nearly the same as those of the kings ; but they were elected and only held office for a year. The original name was Praetor and not consul. The consuls were chosen solely from the Patricians, or order of old nobles, till B.c. 369, when a law was passed which allowed one of the consuls to be chosen from the commons (Plebs). After this time, sometimes both consuls were plebeians. After the establishment of the imperial power in the person of Augustus, the office of consul was little more than honorary ; and the election was transferred from the people to the senate ; and it also became the practice for the consuls to hold office only for a few months, in order that the emperor might gratify others with the honorary title. The Romans reckoned their epochs of time by reference to the foundation of the city, B.c. 753, according to the sera of Varro ; and they marked the particu lar years by the names of the consuls. The first consuls were appointed B.c. 509, or in the year of the city (s.u.c.) 245 : they were L. Junius Brutus and L. Tar quinius Collations. From B.c. 509 there are extant the names of consuls down to A.D. 541. These names were registered in the Roman Fasti, which is the Roman name for the registered list of their ma gistrates; and though there are some dis crepancies in the various authorities from which our complete lists of consuls are compiled, the series is on the whole es tablished by good evidence. The consuls under the Empire were consuls only in name.

The word consul, like many other Roman terms, has passed into the lan guages of Europe, and modern times have witnessed the establishment of a consul ate in France ; the establishment in name, but in nothing else.

The word consul has been used in va rious senses in modern times. The Ge noese had consuli in the factories or ports which they established. [CoLowx, p. 560.] Richelet (Dictionnaire) speaks of a consul as a judge at Paris who settled disputes among merchants : his office lasted only a year. He adds that many of the old counts in France were called consuls. The name was also used in the courts of Provence and Languedoc in the sense of Echevin. CEcunviN.] A modern consul is an officer appointed by a government to reside in some fo reign country, in order to give protection to such subjects of the government or citizens of the state by which he is ap pointed as may have commercial dml mg' in the country where the consul resides, and also to keep his government informed concerning any matters relating to trade which may be of advantage for it to know. To these duties are some times added others with objects more directly political, but into this part of a consul's duty it is not necessary to enter at present, as such functions are assigned to consuls not as such, but in the absence of an ambassador or other political agent. The duties of an English consul, as such, cannot perhaps he better described than by giving the substance of the gene ral instructions with which he is ftir nished by the government on his appoint ment.

His first duty is to exhibit his com mission, either directly, or throufgh the English ambassador, to the authorities of the country to which be is accredited, and to obtain their sanction to his ap pointment: the document whereby this sanction is communicated is called an exequatur ; its issue must precede the commencement of his consular duties, and its possession secures to the consul " the enjoyment of such privileges, im munities, and exemptions as have been enjoyed by his predecessors, and as are usually granted to consuls in the country in which he is to reside." It must be the

particular study of the consul " to be come conversant with the laws and gene ral principles which relate to the trade of Great Britain with foreign parts ; to make himself acquainted with the lan guage and with the municipal laws of the country wherein he resides, and especially with such laws as have any connexion with the trade between the two countries." It is the consul's principal duty "to pro tect and promote the lawful trade and trading interests of Great Britain by every fair and proper means ;" but he is at the same time " to caution all British subjects against carrying on an illicit commerce to the detriment of the revenue and in violation of the laws and regula tions of England, or of the country in which he resides ;" and he is to give to his own government notice of any at tempt at such illicit trading. The con sul is " to give his best advice and as sistance, whenever called upon, to his majesty's trading subjects, quieting their differences, promoting peace, harmony, and good-will amongst them, and con ciliating as much as possible the subjects of the two countries upon all points of difference which may fall under his cog nizance." Should any attempts be made to injure British subjects in person or in property, he is to uphold their rightful interests and the privileges secured to them by treaty. If, in such cases, redress can not be obtained from the local adminis tration, he must apply to the British minister at the court of the country in which he resides, and place the matter in his hands. The consul must transmit to the secretary of state for foreign affairs at the end of every year a return of the trade carried on at the different ports within his consulate, according to a form prescribed. He is also required to send quarterly an account of the market prices of agricultural produce in each week of the preceding three months, with the course of exchange, and any other remarks which he may consider necessary for properly explaining the state of the mar ket for corn and grain. It is further his duty to keep his own government informed as to the appearance of any infectious disease at the place of his residence. The consul is required to afford relief to any distressed British seamen, or other Bri tish subjects thrown upon the coast, or reaching by chance any place within his district, and he is to endeavour to pro cure for such persons the means of re turning to England. He is to furnish intelligence to the commanders of king's ships touching upon the coast where he is, and to obtain for them, when required, supplies of water and provisions, and he is to exert himself to recover all wrecks and stores belonging to king's ships when found at sea, and brought into the port where he resides.

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