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several States of Europe, towards the commencement of the thirteenth century, to obtain from each other the privilege of sending Consuls. Martens gives examples, ranging from 1256 to 1201; and Miltitz mentions the existence of a diploma bearing date 9th May, 1190, by which the city of Naples conferred on the merchants of Amalfi the power of naming Consuls to judge in such disputes as might arise amongst them. Whether the so-called table of Amalfi, if it ever existed, was the code by which these judges were guided, is a subject on which Miltitz speculates, but into which we cannot follow him. In Pardessus, and in Reddie, who repeats him, there will be found clear indications of the existence of a Consulate at Genoa in 1250, and at Pisa in 1298; and it seems probable that the trading communities of Spain were not slow, in this and in other respects, to follow the example of their Italian rivals, if, indeed, from their more extensive connections with Phoenicians and Carthaginians in early times, they did not precede them."

"But, though the origin of the Consular office is thus of venerable age, it was not till the beginning of the fifteenth century that the practice of sending Consuls to foreign ports became general; and in many instances, both as between different European States and between these and the partially recognized States in other portions of the globe, it is much more recent. The first foreign Consul appointed by England, according to Tuson, was Leonardo Strozzi, at Pisa in 1485, or as Lindsay, in his History of Merchant Shipping, says, in 1490. Two other Italians were appointed in the earlier part of the following century, one at Candia in 1522 and one at Scio in 1531; and Mr. John Tipton was 'Commissary' at Algiers in 1584.

But it was by the Hanseatic League that the Consular system was chiefly developed; and it is said that, at one time, this great trading body maintained more than a hundred foreign Consuls in different parts of the world."

"Foreign Consuls were originally elected by the merchants of their Nation at the port at which their duties were to be performed. Such was the case with those appointed at Naples by the merchants of Amalfi; and such appears to have been the case also with Lawrence Pomstrat, who was a burgess of Slusa, and was appointed by the merchants, with consent of the magistrates of Aberdeen. But it soon became apparent, that in order to strengthen their authority and give efficacy to their decisions, it was necessary to obtain the approbation of the prince to whom they were subject. Subsequently Governments began to see that it belonged to their interest and their dignity to choose Consuls for themselves; and examples are frequent of their reserving the right of establishing them in treaties."*

Consular officers,

$149. The Consular organization of several the rights and States comprehends four classes of Consular Officers, viz.: Consuls-General, Consuls, ViceConsuls and Consular agents.


Consuls-General exercise their functions over several places and sometimes over a whole State, in which case the functions of Consul-General are sometimes intrusted to the Public Minister accredited to the respective Government. It is sometimes pretended, mostly through the onesided view of the ésprit de corps among members of the Corps Diplomatique, that a Public Minister, to be properly called a diplomatic agent, must be employed about political or State affairs exclusively and not incumbered with affairs of commerce,

* Prof. LORIMER. Vol. I. p. 290, et seq.

the supervision of which belongs exclusively to the attributes of the Consular officer. But it is obvious that commerce, which is the most prominant international concern, can never be regarded as of lesser consequence than the so-called political affairs which from time to time happen to fall more particularly within the range of duties of a diplomatic agent. Trade is as much a matter of State as any other international affair, and being of the utmost concern to every civilized State it unquestionably partakes of an international political nature and is consequently the proper subject of employment for an Ambassador or Public Minister. In negotiating treaties of commerce the Public Minister, who is at the same time Consul-General, has all the advantage of the knowledge and experience of a throughly practical and useful position. *

He who is charged by his Government with the service of the State and to watch over the interests of its subjects or citizens in a foreign country, is certainly a public officer. Whatever may be his rank in the bureaucratic order with regard to other officers of the diplomatic class, and though subordinate to another higher officer accredited as the direct representative of his Government, the Consul is not the less a public functionary of his Government and as such entitled to certain immunities regulated by treaty, provided he be delegated from his country as a bona fide Government official to the State in which he is to exercise his functions by virtue of his exequatur.

Consular officers, having no representative or diplomatic character, have no right of exterritoriality and therefore cannot claim the privileges of exemption which by this fiction of

* PHILLIMORE. Vol. II. p. 269. BLUNTSCHLI. Introd. p. 23.




law are accorded to diplomatic agents who are considered as representing, in a greater or lesser degree, the sovereignty of the State which appoints them. Consular officers who have no diplomatic character whatever, are, when not expressly otherwise stipulated by treaties, amenable, generally speaking, to the civil and criminal jurisdiction of the country in which they reside, their property and effects are subject to the recourse of execution and process of the local Courts, and they may be either punished for their offences by the laws of the State where they reside or be sent back to their own country at the discretion of the Government which they have offended. Consular officers are subject to the payment of taxes and mnnicipal imposts and duties or charges, when not otherwise stipulated by treaty.

But although Consuls do not enjoy the immunities accorded by international usages to diplomatic agents, they are nevertheless entitled to certain rights of comity and to certain privileges of exemption from local and political obligations which cannot be claimed by private individuals.

Their official papers and archives are exempt from seizure and detention and soldiers cannot be quartered in their Consular residence.

The immunities and privileges secured to the Consular officer by treaties are:

1°. The Consular officer, after the granting of an exequatur, may raise the flag and place the arms of his country over his gates and doors.

2o. Inviolability of the Consular office and dwelling.

3°. Inviolability of the archives and papers of the Consulate which are exempted from seizure or detention.

* HALLECK, Edit. Sir Sherston Baker. Vol. I. p. 310. et seq.

4°. If the Consular officer is not a subject or citizen of the country in which his Consulate is situated, and if he do not hold real estate or engage in business in the country of which he has the exequatur, he is exempt from arrest for debts (but not for crimes).

5°. Exemption from liability to appear as a witness, under the same conditions as mentioned under sub-section 4°. In such case the testimony may be taken in writing at his dwelling. If the Consular officer claims this privilege, he should offer to give his evidence in the form prescribed by the convention and should throw no impediment in the way of the proper administration of justice.

6°. Under the same conditions as stated above in sub-sections 4°. and 5°., the Consular officer can be secured by treaty stipulations against liability

to taxation.

7°. Also, under the same conditions as stated above, the Consular officer can be granted exemption from military service.

The right secured to the Consular officer by conventions, are:

1o. The right to correspond officially with local authorities in cases of infraction of treaties.

2o. The right to take depositions at his Consulate.

3°. Jurisdiction over disputes between masters, officers and crew of vessels of his nationality including questions of wages, etc.

4°. The right to reclaim deserters (comp. §§ 44, 110 & 111).

5°. The right to settle salvage claims for damages at sea with regard to vessels of his nationality. 6°. The adjustment of intestate estates within his jurisdiction.

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