Note:  Do not rely on this information. It is very old.


Consul, in Roman history, denotes one of the two officers who discharged the regal office in ordinary circumstances after the expulsion from Rome of the Tarquins and the abolition of the name of kings. In an extraordinary crisis the consuls were either superseded by a dictator, or extraordinary powers were given them under the formula "videant consules ne quid respublica detrimenti capiat" ("let the consuls take measures that the commonwealth take no hurt"). In later times the consulship became a merely complimentary office. In modern times the consul is an officer in a foreign port, town, or country, who is accredited by another country to represent its interests and to protect its subjects in such foreign land, and who exercises his functions by permission of the community to which he is accredited. Often the consul is replaced by a vice-consul, who is a native of the country in which he exercises his functions, and is connected with the country which he represents by mercantile transactions or the like. Consulships are of varying importance and emolument, and the duties are various, being of great number and importance where the consul is the only representative of a country. One of his ordinary duties is to report from time to time any circumstances he may observe as likely to affect the well-being, commercial or otherwise, of the country he represents. The title of First Consul was bestowed upon Napoleon the First before his assumption of Imperial rank.