Cyclopædia of Political Science, Political Economy, and the Political History of the United States

Edited by: Lalor, John J.
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New York: Maynard, Merrill, and Co.
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Includes articles by Frédéric Bastiat, Gustave de Molinari, Henry George, J. B. Say, Francis A. Walker, and more.
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EXEQUATUR, a Latin word, which means let this be done. It is a decree by which a sovereign authorizes a foreign consul to exercise within his jurisdiction the functions of his office; a decree which is generally attached to the consul's commission, or written on the back of that document. In most countries there are two kinds of consuls: salaried agents, who are forbidden to engage in trade; and others who are merchants, do not always belong to the country which they represent, and who receive no pay. On this account governments generally have a double formula for their exequaturs, the first for consuls who are officials, the second for consuls who are merchants.


—The form of the exequatur varies with the country; most frequently, as in France, England, Spain, Italy, the United States, and Brazil, it is a letter patent, signed by the chief of the executive power, and countersigned by the minister of foreign affairs. In other countries, such as Denmark, for example, the consul simply receives notice that he has been recognized, and that the necessary orders have been given to the authorities where he resides. In Austria only the word exequatur is written on the original commission.


—The government from which the exequatur is asked has the right to refuse it: the refusal may be based on purely political reasons or on personal motives. The government may also withdraw it if it thinks proper. Whatever be the motives which a government may have for depriving a consul of his exequatur, the consul can only conform exactly to the orders given him by the representative of his country. According to circumstances, he will have to retire with his records, or delegate his powers to another acting ad interim, so that his countrymen may not lose the protection to which they have a right.


—The exequaturs of consuls are generally delivered without charge; there are, however, some exceptions.


—A state of war, or a renewal of diplomatic relations, brings the withdrawal or may bring the renewal of the exequaturs of the belligerent powers; some treaties specify the cases in which the exequatur may be withdrawn.


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