Copyright © The Malta Historical Society, 2005.

Source: Melita Historica : A scientific Review of Maltese History. 5(1971)4(321-333)

[p.321] The Maltese Consulate in Venice during the XVIII Century: A Study in the Manner of Appointment of Maltese Consuls Overseas

Victor Malla-Milanes

The case of Alviso Verviciotti, the Maltese consul in Corfù from 1751 to 1783, provides a suitable starting point. It offers, as will be shown, a definitive interpretation of the procedure adopted by the Order of St. John in accrediting Maltese consuls in foreign cities or maritime ports. [1] On appointing such consuls, the Grandmaster, in strict conformity with the internationally recognised practice, would remit the commission consulaire to the governing body of the receiving-state, either directly, or else, through the Order’s authorised Agent or Receiver, residing in either that particular city, or more likely, in the district comprising that city or port. [2] The receiving-state would then normally furnish the respective consul with an exequatur or placet, a document showing that it has recognised his character, and was declaring him free to discharge his duties, to exercise his functions as consul and to enjoy consular privileges. The commission consulaire has no legal significance until the exequatur has been granted. [3]

            Alviso was the son of Giovanni (Zuanne) Verviciotti, “cittadino di Corfù,” a man of means who owned “sopra l’isola [di Corfù] beni stabili di sua privata ragione,” himself also consul for the Maltese in that island which still formed part of the rapidly decaying Venetian colonial empire. [4] Giovanni had been appointed Maltese consul on September 7, [p.322] 1728 by Grandmaster Manoel de Vilhena and reconfirmed in that office by Emmanuel Pinto on May 15, 1741. [5]

            Writing to Commendatore d’Elci, the Order’s Receiver in Venice, on September 14, 1767 Grandmaster Pinto explains very clearly that without the placet, which is nothing more than a confirmation of the consul’s recognition by the executive authority of the country receiving him, Alviso Verviciotti cannot lawfully enter upon the discharge of his duties. [6] In accordance with the law enacted by the Venetian Senate on May 2, 1739 the Letters Patent had first to be submitted to the Eccellentissimo Pien Collegio which grants the necessary exequatur before consuls or vice-consuls of any foreign city, residing in Venice or in any other subject territory, could start performing their consular duties. Before approval, the Collegio would have to consider the source of origin of the commission consulaire, and “con quale facoltà, prerogative ed espressioni” it had been issued. [7] On May 17, 1751 Alviso had succeeded his father as Maltese consul in Corfù. It is clear, nevertheless, that his appointment had been issued from Malta during his father’s lifetime since we are told by the Venetian Magistracy of Trade, known as the Cinque Savi alla Mercanzia, that his commission consulaire had been signed in order to confirm his election in case of either his father’s untimely death or his father’s renunciation of that office. [8] The Letters Patent was forwarded to the Venetian authorities through the Order’s Receiver in Venice who, for one reason or other, had failed to pass it on, [p.323] together with the Senate’s placet, to Verviciotti. [9] In 1767 Pinto informs this same consul that with regards to his Letters Patent, he was writing to his Receiver in Venice to obtain “il publico assenso, ed rimettervela per porvi in istato di agire con carattere.” [10]

            Apart, presumably, from sheer carelessness, there are two plausible reasons why the exequatur to Alviso’s commission consulaire had taken so long to be issued. Firstly, some kind of misunderstanding between the Maltese and Venetian authorities on the question of consular appointments is very likely to have arisen vis-a-vis the fact that the patente consolare of Alviso’s father had neither been submitted to the Eccellentissimo Pien Collegio nor had it been approved by the Senate, although Zuanne had been performing consular functions up to the time of his death. [11] Secondly, on December 2, 1762 the Venetian Senate had asked the Board of Trade to study whether it was opportune and wise to debar all Venetian subjects from foreign consulates within the Republic and its colonial territories. On December 28 of the following year, the Board submitted its recommendations, upon which the Senate, on January 28, 1764 decreed that “per ragione . . . di consuetudine e di convenienza non si deve far novità alcuna contraria alla prattica.” [12] On October 28, 1767 we find Pinto writing once more to d’Elci:

We have been eagerly looking forward to hearing that Aloisio Verviciotti, Our consul in Corfù, has been given back our patente together with the placet of the Most Serene Government, to be able to exercise the Office which had been entrusted to him; but now that this has been lost, as appears from the petition attached to your letter of September 19, we ordered its renewal and to be addressed to you, first, in order to obtain the opportune consent of the Government, and secondly, to send it to Verviciotti so that he will be in a position to attend legally to the needs of our vassals. [13]

            On March 28 of the following year the Grandmaster writes once again to Alviso, informing him that d’Elci has at long last received from the Most Serene Government “l’Exequatur alla Patente che vi qualifica nostro console.” This makes Verviciotti “persona accreditata” and as such authorised and officially recognised to act legally in that capacity. [14] At last, the Senate had decided “per stringerlo sempre più in quella [p.324] buona intelligenza ed amicizia per la quale si è sempre manifesto quel Gran Maestro molto propenso, ed inclinato a nostro favore ...” [15]

            Alviso Verviciotti’s official recognition as consul was subject to two fundamental conditions, as were all other foreign consuls within the jurisdiction of the Republic. By the Decree of May 2, 1739 the Senate had retained all those rights which, by their very nature, are normally invested in a country’s sovereign authority, namely, “di pratticare contro sudditi a misura delle loro colpe tutti quegli atti che si conoscono di giustizia, e per correggerle e per punirle.” The same Decree continues that “nel caso di qualche delitto si procede senza riserva alcuna à què castighi che saran di giustizia.” [16] The Senate’s Decree of April 2, 1746 which likewise deals with consular privileges and immunities “dal castigo dè communi delitti” is wider in scope and more general. It categorically points out, in precise terms, that neither consuls nor vice-consuls are public representatives vested with public authority; in other words, they had no representative character, and were therefore not entitled to general immunity. As such, all consuls and vice-consuls of foreign cities within the Venetian Republic or subject territories were all equally subject to Venetian law. [17]

            In another letter carrying the same date as that to Verviciotti (March 28, 1767), Pinto writes to his Receiver in Venice:

Con piacere udimmo l’ottenuta esecuzione alla Patente del Nostro Console in Corfù, e con non inferiore la risposta assai graziosa del Senato data all’ufficcio a tale oggetto presentato al medesimo, unitamente colla detta Patente. Li motivi per li quali non avete stimato di fare positiva istanza al Governo circa l’arresto della rota Pollacca predata dalla nostra Fregata, li trovammo ancor noi molto giustificati, onde conveniamo che li debba fare in Corfù il nostro Console, adesso ch’è Persona legittima riconosciuta dal Governo; anzi intendiamo ch’Egli dovrà fare l’istanza senza mettere in compromesso [p.325] il nostro nome, ma soltanto agire come Console della nostra Nazione. [18]

            Alviso Verviciotti’s case defines clearly the practice followed by the Order of St. John in accrediting Maltese consuls in a foreign city. The Maltese consul, as has been shown, derived his authority effectively as much from his government as from the government of the country wherein he was to reside. The former nominated and appointed him; the latter approved that appointment. The two instruments together, the combination of the patente consolare and the placet or exequatur, gave the consul his character and status. [19] The Grandmaster followed this internationally recognised practice solely with regards to Maltese consuls residing in a foreign city: in other words, those consuls entrusted to look after the interests, commercial or otherwise, of Maltese merchants and sea-men outside Malta. [20]

            Before proceeding to the study of the origins of the Maltese consular establishment in Venice and to the examination, when possible, of each of the five Maltese consuls there, something must be said about how a particular individual came to the knowledge of the Grandmaster for consular nomination and appointment. The considerable amount of inedited letters in the Corrispondenza and the Suppliche manuscript volumes tell us how the Grandmaster became aware of the adaptability and suitability of a particular person for the Maltese consulship in a foreign city and of his capability to protect his co-nationals and their interests in the foreign port, to further commercial trade, to better available facilities for merchant shipping and, among other things, to assume responsibility [p.326] for the internal discipline on the vessels. [21] They are a clear indication to the qualities, moral or otherwise, the Grandmaster looked for.

            In medieval times, the consul was a kind of local official elected annually in every great commercial and maritime city by the members of that mercantile community, which for reasons commercial or otherwise, happened to be established there, with the sole purpose of deciding disputes of a nature pertaining to that commercial community. In Malta the office of consul retained a connection, however slightly remote, with the medieval origins of the institution. Though the Grandmaster was the one person responsible, by and large, for the establishment of a Maltese consulate in a particular territory, the latter was, more often than not, [p.327] instituted upon the petitions of Maltese merchants residing in that territory or maritime port.

            After the death of Giuseppe Grixti in 1781 (he had been appointed consul since February 5, 1776), the office of Maltese consul in Terranova remained vacant for three months. His brother Francesco, having soon after, established himself in that city, wrote to the Grandmaster petitioning him to appoint him consul in his brother’s stead. Francesco was a man of means and well versed in commercial business, “e da molti anni . . . . va trafficando, e facendo delli Negozij da questa sua Isola per Terranova, ed ivi tiene diversi feudi, e territori a gabella, oltre le proprie terre, e deve stabilirsi e fare la sua residenza colà . .” [22] On January 15, 1782 a group of thirteen Maltese merchants, or owners of Maltese vessels, testified in front of Notary Francesco Mamo in favour of Grixti as suitable for the office of consul for the Maltese in Terranova:

Attestiamo qualmente il Sig. r Francesco Gristi, è una persona onestissima, quale desidera occupare l’Impiego di Console de’Maltesi in Terra Nuova, vacato per morte del Sig. r Giuseppe Gristi li lui fratello; attestiamo pure il detto Sig. r Francesco Gristi essere abile e capicissimo per esercitar l’impiego da lui desiderato, essendo ben versato non solo nella Mercantile, ma anche circa quello richiede l’impiego di Console in Terra Nuova, ove per più anni fece la sua dimora.

            These qualities were reconfirmed by the Consolato del Mare on 17th January, 1782. The Grandmaster’s fiat prout petitur was issued twelve days later. Grixti was appointed consul on January 19, 1782. [23] A similar petition was forwarded to the Grandmaster by Michele Caporotta, asking him to succeed Pietro Antonio Aurisicchio in the Maltese consulship in Naples. Aurisicchio was believed to have been unable to carry out his consular duties well due to infermity and old age. Commendatore Fra Giuseppe Francone, the Order’s Receiver in Naples, was asked to refer on the whole question, not less on Caporotta’s character and suitability for that office. Francone wrote back on November 3, 1781 declaring:

Siamo stati accertati essere il detto Caporotta persona molto capace, ed accreditata in tutte le occorrenze, che li è convenuto prestare della assistenza ai suoi nazionali Maltesi, come anche molto versato in varij interessi che riguardano il Commercio di sua Nazione.

            [p.328] Caporotta’s petition was granted on the 24th November, 1781. He was appointed consul on the same day. [24] It is relevant here also to mention that in a letter addressed to Commendatore Mirelli, the Order’s Receiver in Venice, Grandmaster de Rohan refers to a petition made by Spiridione Verviciotti, Alviso’s son, which had been attached to Mirelli’s letter dated January 25, 1783. Spiridione had asked the Grandmaster to appoint him consul in Corfù in his father’s stead. De Rohan writes: “Attesa la fedeltà, ed attenzione del defonto e dè suoi antenati, volentieri condescendiamo ad aggrazziarlo.” [25]

            These petitions alone are a clear indication of how meticulous the Grandmaster must have been in matters of selecting the right man and of assessing and ascertaining whether an individual was worthy of, and able to shoulder, consular responsibility. Personal integrity was of utmost importance, as was a thorough knowledge of the particular country’s commercial or maritime laws, customs and tradition, together with a deep acquaintance with everyday commercial traffic. All these the Grandmaster considered a sine qua non for a conscientious execution of consular duties. Great importance was attached to these features because these alone guaranteed the consul liberty and independence of action. Both attestati, or references, stress the strong moral character, personal integrity and reliability of Grixti and Caporotta; both point to the petitioner’s long experience in matters relating to commerce; both emphasise the zeal for helping their co-nationals falling within their consular jurisdiction. These morally edifying personal qualities, coupled with the awareness that consulates promote trade, protect shipping, and safeguard the economic interests of the sending-state, are all reflected in the Maltese commission consulaire. [26]

            According to the Cinque Savi’s relazione to the Senate, dated July 15, 1752, Pietro Zocchi had been the first formally recognised consul [p.329] entrusted in 1722 to watch over the commercial interests of the Maltese in Venice. [27] Before that year there had been no such agent within the Venetian Republic. The Order’s Receivers in Venice, and through them the Order itself, during the pre-consular period used to avail themselves of certain private individuals (un privato personale) who were willing to lend a hand whenever the occasion arose. The last in the list of such private merchants entrusted with the task of assisting Maltese merchants and trade in Venice, was a certain Spinelli, a task, we are told, he was fully qualified to assume. He died in 1718, four years before the official establishment of a Maltese consulate in Venice, in 1722. [28] Spinelli was a Venetian merchant, a man of integrity, of sound moral principles, ideals and. standards, well-known in mercantile and commercial circles for his reliability and full sense of responsibility, “al quale erano diretti, a raccomandati tanto i Bastimenti, quanto le Mercanzie de Maltesi.” [29] With Spinelli’s death (no other merchant had been designated to take over during the years 1718-1722) the spirit of mutual trust between Venetian and Maltese merchants, and within the Maltese mercantile community in Venice itself, so beneficial to, and so essential a condition for, the furtherance of trade, started fading away, until by 1722 it had almost disappeared; witness the “diversi disordini, e sconcerti seguiti nei contratti mercantili.” [30]

            [p.330] On August 11, 1722 Grandmaster Manoel de Vilhena, well aware of this deplorable situation, so detrimental to an island which owes its very subsistance to an uninterrupted commercial intercourse with other maritime cities, appointed Pietro Zocchi, a Venetian merchant, well versed in such business, to fill in this void. [31] The establishment of a Maltese consulate in Venice, the Board of Trade suggested to the Senate, was advisable and expedient, even from the Republic’s own point of view. Apart from the fact that the Religion had always been an “ausiliaria alle Armi pubbliche, negli incontri di Guerra contro gli Ottomani,” [32] the advantages of having a foreign consulate in one’s country were obvious both for its utility to commerce itself and to the Treasury; consulates strengthen commercial ties between one country and another. [33] On September 18, 1722 the Board of Trade reports that Pietro Zocchi, who had petitioned the Doge to allow him to exercise freely his consular authority, [34] seemed well aware as much of the duties entailed in his prospective consulship as of the privileges and exemptions enjoyed by other foreign consuls in Venice. [35] On September 24 of the same year, the Cinque Savi submit to the Senate another relazione on Zocchi’s appointment, wherein they emphasise the ultimate purpose of the newly established Maltese consulate in Venice:

a fine di assistere ai Bastimenti, che con varie e diverse mercanzie di quella Isola capitano in questa Città, et a sudditi Trafficanti di quella Isola. [36]

            The exequatur to Zocchi’s commission consulaire was issued on October 8, 1722. [37] Very little else is known of Pietro Zocchi’s Maltese consulship in Venice, which lasted for only four years. What is certain is that he had done his best to revive Veneto-Maltese trade and see it flourish. Writing to Gio. Batta Zocchi, Pietro’s son, on September 30, [p.331] 1726 de Vilhena explains that his father’s death had meant a great loss both to the Island’s trade in general, and to the Maltese commercial community in Venice in particular. Pietro Zocchi, continues the Grandmaster, had been rendering a great service to both. [38]

            On August 17, 1726, following the death of his father, Gio. Batta Zocchi petitioned the Grandmaster to accredit him Maltese consul in Venice in his father’s stead. On September 30, the Grandmaster wrote back to Gio. Batta telling him that in view of his dedicated help he had offered his father in the conscientious execution of his consular duties, he had thought it wise and expedient to concede to his wishes, and that his Letter-Patent would be forwarded to him through Commendatore Fra K. Pola, the Order’s Receiver in Venice. He strongly advised him to imitate “la condotta del detto vostro Padre,” and to give fresh proof of his good relations with, and exemplary treatment of, Maltese merchants trading in Venice, with the ultimate aim of protecting and promoting not only Maltese commerce but also the interests of the Maltese mercantile community in the Republic. [39] This is, in the words of the famous jurist Bry, “l’attribution première et essentielle des consuls.” [40]

Gio. Batta Zocchi's commission consulaire is dated September 28, 1726 and is reproduced in full below:

FRATER DON ANTONIUS MANOEL DE VILHENA Dei Gratia Sacrae Domus Hospitalis Sancti Joannis Jerosolimitani, et Militaris Ordinis Sacri Sepulchi Dominici Magister humilis, Pauperumque Jesu Christi Custos: Discreto Joanni Baptistae Zocchi Veneto Nobis dilecto Salutem in Domino sempiternam. Cum ex inveterate consuetudine, et regijs privilegijs, et concessionibus Subditi, et Vassalli nostrae Religionis tam huius Insulae Melitae, quam Gaudisij in civitatibus maritimis consulem habere consueverint, et in ista massime civitate Venetiarum, ad quam frequenti navigation accedunt, aliquo probo viro, qui huiusmodi munus pro eorum, negotiorumque commodo, utilique progressu exerceat, summopere infligeant idcirco fide dignorum’Testimonio informati, de morum, et vitae suae honestate, Fideque, ac in rebus agendis experientia, et probitate de nostra certa scientia tenore praesentium Te Joannem Baptista Zocchi absentem tamquam praesentem facimus, creamus, constituimus, et solemniter ordinamus in dicta Civitate Venetiarum Consulem presentorum Subditorum, et Vassallorum nostrorum harum Insularum Melitae, et Gaudisij (durante nostro beneplacito) benefaciendo in eodem, ad [p.332] reddendum scilicet eisdem Iura, ipsoque defendendum cum omni Iurisdictione, auctoritate, et potestate, onereque, honore emolumentis, lucris, privilegijs, et praerogativis, quibus huiusmodi Consules uti, et frui consueverunt, et quovis modo gaudere debent, et possunt. Praecipientes dictis Subditis, et Vassallis nostris in vim fidelitatis, et homagij quo nobis tenentur, ut tibi per Nos, ut praemittitur, Consuli, et ipsorum Judici deputato pareant, et intendant praebeantque consilium, auxilium, et favorem, ac respondeant in his, quae dicti Consulatus Officium concernunt. Supplicante Serenissimum Venetiarum Ducem, rogantesque Excellentissimum Senatum ac quoscumque officij eiusdem Civitatis, ad quos spectare dignoscitur, ut pro observatione privileggiorum dictarum Insularum et antiquae consuetudinis, Te in Consulem admittant, et Iurisdictionem consuetam exercere permittant, praedictosque Subditos, et Vassallos nostros favore, et gratia prosequantur, a Nobis humanitatis Officia, et obsequia, quae pro Viribus praestare poterimus recepturi. In Cuius rei Testimonium Bulla nostra Magistralis in Cera Nigra praesentibus est impressa. Datum Melitae in Conventu nostro Die xxviii Mensis Septembris 1726.

Registrata in Cancelleria.

Baiulus Fr. Emanuel Pinto Vice Cancellarius. [41]

            The Maltese commission consulaire points to the very old tradition of Maltese consular establishments abroad, due primarily to the inextricable, continuous reliance, on the part of the Maltese Islands, upon secure, commercial intercommunication with other Mediterranean maritime cities. [42] The moral qualities of the consul are emphatically underlined: his behaviour, his good way of life, the uprightness and experience in maritime affairs so essential to a conscientious performance of his duties, in being, broadly speaking, of use to the Maltese commercial community in the foreign city, by looking after their needs and rights. The Maltese merchants residing in his consular district should give him the loyalty and pay him the homage which were due to the Grandmaster both as the sovereign lord of the accrediting state and as “Consul General” as Pinto defines himself to Lord Egremont, [43] but which are now being invested upon the appointee as these merchants’ consul and judge: “Let them obey and approve of your advice.” Reference is also [p.333] made to consular powers, jurisdiction, and financial remuneration (“cum omni Jurisdictione, auctoritate et potestate, onereque, honore emolumentis, lucris, privilegijs, et prerogativis ... ”). What is also implied, however implicitly, in the Maltese commission consulaire is the Grand-master’s claim to the absolute and supreme right of consular appointments. The Grandmaster, in his dual capacity as “Head of the Order” and “Head of State” claimed the prerogative of selecting the right person and appointing him either as Maltese consul in a foreign city or consul of any foreign country in Malta. [44] This deep-rooted, assertive, sovereign claim on the part of the Grandmaster is best seen in the case of John Dodsworth, the British consul in Malta from 1743 to 1763. [45]

            On November 16, 1726 Gio. Batta, this time, petitions the Venetian Senate to grant him the exequatur to his Grandmaster’s appointment, declaring:

Io animato dalla Gratia posso con più favore e forza impiegarmi a moltiplicare il commercio de’Bastimenti Maltesi con questa Dominante. [46]

            Refering to this petition, the Venetian Magistracy of Trade, the Cinque Savi alla Mercanzia, on November 27, submitted its recommendations to the “Serenissimo Principe.” [47] Considered from all possible aspects of trade and economy, it is useful, profitable and beneficial, the Board suggested, to have foreign consulates established, encouraged and promoted in one’s country:

Vi tengono il proprio Interesse nell’attrahere, e moltiplicare il negotio delle loro respettive Nationi, per conseguire quella maggior quantità d’utili che dalla maggior affluenza ne suol derivare: il che si denota per lume delle Pubbliche Sapientissime Deliberationi.

            The exequatur was issued to Zocchi’s consular appointment in the following words:

[p.334] Sue Eccellenze Illustrissime hanno admesso al libero esercitio del sudetto Consolato di Malta il prenominato D. no Gio. Batta Zocchi con tutti quegli emolumenti, prerogative e privileggi soliti godersi dai Consoli dell’altre nationi, per il che doveva per tale esser riconosciuto.

            It is dated February 1, 1727 and signed by the Cinque Savi alla Mercanzia, namely, Bernardo Corner, Nero Marcello, Francesco Garzoni, Daniel Braqadim Kv. and Nicolò Tron Kv. [48]

            From the very scanty documentary remains related to Zocchi’s first twenty years of Maltese consulship, it seems that, at first, he had been satisfying the interests of the Maltese commercial community in Venice, the Grandmaster and the Republic of San Marco alike. On July 26, 1728 for example, the Grandmaster had written to him:

Essendoci capitato unito alla vostra dei 12 caduto il noto piego procedente da Lisbona a Noi diretto che avete ricuperato dal Capitano Stefano Enric francese, abbiamo accolto ciò come attestato della vostra attenzione. Desiderosi per tanto di rimostrarvene il gradimento vi assicuriamo profitteremo con piacere delle aperture ci se ne presenteranno, ed intanto preghiamo .... [49]

            The tone of this letter and of another dated July 17, 1730, [50] shows that the accrediting-state must have left evidently grateful to Zocchi not only in keeping with the basic principles of the consular establishment, but also in acting sanely and favourably in the interests of Maltese commerce and navigation, and also, apparently, in improving, as his father had done before him, the commercial cohesion and interchange of the two maritime republics appreciably. However, Gio. Batta’s commendable and exemplary start must have seemingly undergone a radical and severe transformation sometime during the first half of 1752, for on June 10 and August 29 of that year Balio Cevoli, the Order’s Receiver in Venice, is known to have submitted two memoriali to the “Savie dell’Eccellentissimo Collegio,” wherein he stated, in express terms, the Grandmaster’s “just motives” for having had to dismiss Gio. Batta from the office of Maltese Consul in Venice, and to replace him by Agostino Perini. [51] The first memoriale reveals, firstly, that the Grandmaster had been much dissatisfied with the later service Gio. Batta was rendering to the Maltese mercantile community in Venice, [52] secondly, that Zocchi had refused [p.335] either to restitute his commission consulaire to the Grandmaster or to reconsign the Order’s official consular seal to the new consul. [53] The second memoriale unfolds two of the principle motives behind the Grand-master’s revocation of Zocchi’s consular appointment and the urgent need for this consul’s immediate substitution: the first centres round the “indebita resistenza del console gia deposto alla restituzione del Sigillo e Patente”; the second round the fact that

essersi qui trasferito da Trieste parte dell’Equipaggio del Bregantino Maltese del Padron Piero Castagna, e non poter ricevere dal nuovo console quelle assistenze, che gli abbisognano, cosichè .... obbligato a non offettuar la compra di varie merci in questa Piazza, per qual fine, è qua venuto, o resterà insieme cogl’altri nazionali disaminato, per altre simili occasioni, forse imminenti, quando non sian certi di avere gli aiuti soliti .... [54]

            These facts seem, on the other hand, in sharp contradistinction from what is contained in Gia Batta Zocchi’s own confession. He declared he could not possibly think of any plausible reason why he should have had to be so quickly dismissed from the consular office, maintaining that, to his mind, he had not even once failed in any way in the execution of his wide range of protective functions. Maltese merchants and traders residing in, or passing through Venice, had always found in him, he confessed to the Cinque Savi, “un puntual Esecutore alle loro premure, un’attento sostenitore delle loro ragioni, et un appoggio anche in questi Tribunali ... ” [55] Notwithstanding however this affirmation, on September 4, 1752 the Senate’s exequatur was issued, authenticating Agostino Perini’s recognition as Zocchi’s successor to the Maltese consulship in Venice. [56] He had been appointed by Pinto since April 24 on the recommendation of the Receiver Balio Cevoli, whose secretary was an intimate friend of his (the consul’s). [57] In him, we are told, the Grandmaster found all the good qualities of a benevolent, hardworking, [p.336] trustworthy consul. [58] Agostino Perini was a Florentine citizen who had for the past two years established himself in Venice. [59] In Florence, too, he had been for long employed in commercial business and other maritime affairs. But having been almost immersed in debts and consequently completely unable to pay his ever-pressing creditors, he had no other alternative but to leave his native city for San Marco. [60] On November 6 of the same year of his appointment, Perini received the following letter from his Grandmaster:

L’Impiego del Consolato da noi conferitovi per mezzo delle efficaci premure del Venerando Ricevitore Balio Cevoli, speriamo che sarà da voi esercitato quell’attenzione e zelo di cui potrano aver bisogno i nostri Vassalli come vi raccomandiamo, mentre dunque vi assicuriamo aver gradito l’ufffcio di ringrazziamento che ci fate nella prima scrittaci in data delli 23 Settembre. Vi aughuriamo .... [61]

            Agostino Perini voluntarily relinquishes his post sometime early in 1757. This is revealed in a letter dated October 14, 1757 by Grandmaster Pinto to his Receiver in Venice, this time, Commendatore Francesco Maria Boccadiferro, in answer to the latter’s of August 6. [62]

            Very little of real importance is known of the last two occupants of the Maltese consular post in Venice, except for a few points of external significance. Firstly, that Gio. Michele Lamberti had been appointed on October 11, 1757 as Perini’s immediate successor; [63] secondly, that this selection was made on the strength of a petition in Lamberti’s favour by Commendatore Boccadiferro; [64] thirdly, that he was a Venetian merchant; [65] fourthly, that Gio. Michele was succeeded by his son [p.337] Antonio Lamberti twenty-one years later, on December 15, 1778; [66] and lastly, that the Senate’s placet to Antonio’s commission consulaire was issued on September 2, 1780. [67]

            With the advent of the English in Malta in 1800, the Maltese consulate in Venice, not unlike all the other numerous Maltese consular establishments dotting almost the whole Mediterranean littoral and elsewhere, ceased to exist. Care for Maltese mercantile interests and other commercial settlements abroad started being provided for by Great Britain’s wider and better organised consular system. [68]



NOTE: The LIST has been compiled from the first part of A.O.M., Ms. 6429, Consoli Fuori di Malta ed in Malta, where the names, extracted from the manuscript registers in the Bullaria Section of the Archives of the Order of Malta, are entered under each of the various foreign cities or ports.

            The names of those consuls who were still occupying that post during the eighteenth century, but whose commission consulaire had been issued prior to 1700, have not been included in this list, nor are the three Maltese Agents in Marseilles, Gaspare Espanet (21.xii.1747), Domenico Simon (15.x.1756) and Gio. Batta Luigi Ricard (25.x.1775). The date-of-appointment of three consuls, i.e. Nicolò lo Jacomo, Giovanni Pagani and Francesco Piombo, is not recorded in Ms. 6429. According to Ilija Mitic Dubrovacki Konzulat na Malti (Dubrovnik, 1959), Giovanni Pagani had been accredited Maltese consul at Ragusa (Dubrovnik) in 1743.

            The ASTERISK indicates that the date has been given ab Incarnatione, i.e., according to the Calendar followed by the Order of St. John in its official documents, in which the New Year began on 25 March. Thus, for instance, January 13, 1733*  = January 13, 1734.

ABELA, Paolo - Gergenti - 29.viii.1783

ALDINEO, D. Pietro - Gibraltar - 27.xi.1723

ANDRIZZI, Teodoro - Zante - 13.x.1704

ANTENANGELI, Andrea - Gaeta -

ARCUDI, Domenico - Gallipoli - 19.ii.1773*

ARIETTO, Bernardino - Mazzara - 10.vii.1741

ASTRECARENA, Gio. Stefano - Cartagena - 9.iii.1744*

ASTURELLI, Antonio - Cotrone - 25.ii.1777*

AUDRANI, Pietro - Linguadoca - 26.i.1768*

AURAN, Giovanni Luigi - Cartagena - 23.iii.1777*

AURISICCHIO, Giuseppe - Napoli - 12.x.1714

AURISICCHIO, Pietro Antonio - Napoli - 15.iii.1749*

AVILA, Antonio - Catania - 18 v.1773

AYCARDO, Giovanni - Siviglia -

AYCARDO, Giovanni - Siviglia - 22.i.1764*

AYCARDO, Gio. Andrea - Siviglia - 4.iii.1785*

BALDI, Giuseppe - Ancona - 4.ix.1754

BALLETTI, Giacomo - Trieste - 22.i.1740*

BARBERI, Giovanni - Genova - 30.x.1790

BARBERI, Pietro Giuseppe - Genova - 31.vii.1774

BARELA, Ignazio - Alicante -

BARETTI, Paolo - Livorno 13.xi.1793

BARTOLUCCI, Giuseppe - St. Elpidio - 4.iii.1790*

BELLEGGI, Giuseppe - Corneto - 20.iii.1759*

BELLIARDI, (Conte) Paolo - Sinigaglia - 6 iv.1776

BENVISSUTO, D. Guglielmo - Vittoria -


BIAMONTE, Francesco Maria - Civita Vecchia - 8.iii.1729*

BIANCHELLI, Giovan Agostino - Ancona - 18.vii.1732

BILLI, Angelo Maria - Pesaro - 17.i.1782*

BIONDI, Gaspare - Licata - 24.xi.1722

BLANC, Giuseppe Maria - Tolone - 7.viii.1746

BONFANTE, Pietro - Portopalo -

BONICA, Diego - Lipari - 13.ii.1760*

BONIFACIO, Bartolomeo - Castello a Mare (Napoli) - 4.x.1730

BONITO, Giovanni - Puzzuolo - 17.v.1718

BONITO, Lorenzo - Puzzuolo 13.iv.1746

BOSCH, y Boncelo Gioacchino - Majorca - 27.ii.1766*

BRACHIERI, Giovanni Battista - Cadice 29.i.1776*

BRUN, Cognominato - Tolone - 15.i.1766*

BUGLIARELLO, Valerio - Siracusa - 25.ii.1740*

CALCAGNINE, Tommaso - Gaeta - 14.v.1745

CALVI, Gaetano - Avola - 8.viii.1778

CAMPAGNOLI, Giobatista - Porto d’Auzo - 25.v.1759

CAMPOSANI, Francesco - Porto Nettunno - 30.ix.1748

CAMPOSANO, Silvestro Celestino - Porto Nettunno - 19.ix.1720

CANET, Bonaventura - Barcellona - 24.iv.1743

CAPOROTTA, Michele - Napoli - 24.xi.1781

CARDI, Giovan Camillo - Bastia - 7.ix.1710

CARDON, Francesco - Cadice - 4.xii.1742

CARNOVALE, Emanuele - Lipari - 30.iv.1734

CARUANA, Gio. Francesco - Alicante - 30.x.1781

CARUANA, Gio. Francesco - Alicante - 7.ix.1797

CASALON, Enrico - Isole Canane - 19.v.1765

CASALON, Francesco - Isole Canane - 1.viii.1749

CASOTTI, Pietro - Brindisi -

CATAGNA, Francesco - Ragusa - 3.ix.1767

CEBERA, Francesco - Messina - 9.x.1743

CEBERA, Giuseppe - Messina - 31.x.1743

CEBERA, Giuseppe - Messina - 2.xii 1782

CEBERA, Silvestro - Messina

CENTORBI, (Nobile) Francesco - Mazzara 3.xi.1747

CESAREI, Cesareo - Corneto - 3.xi.1747

CIANO, (Barone) D. Salvatore - Vittoria - 27.xi.1780

CIARELLOS, Michele - Sardegna - 25.xii.1783

CINQUANTA, Antonio - Gaeta - 25.iv.1783

CONSOLI, D. Luciano - Mascari - 11.ii.1794*

COSTAN, Giovanni - Veneros - 4.ii.1729*

CURATTOLO, Giacomo - Marsala - 9.i.1771*

D’ADAMO, Antonio - Foggia - 26.ii.1755*

D’ALOY, Pavolo - Mantea - 22.ii.1713*

DA LYMA, Sylveira Domenico - Algarbe - 22.iii.1729*

D’AMICO, Giacomo - Tropea - 30.iv.1712

DANNINO, Bartolomeo - Gibraltar - 8.iii.1763*

DAYDERI, Stefano - Villafranca, Nizza - 11.ii.1759*

DE ALMEIDA, Pizarro Francesco Saverio - Lisbona - 17.iii.1756

DE BARONI, di Chieti Vincenzo - Livorno - 24.x.1797


DE BERTELLET, Luigi - Livorno - 23.iii.1762*

DEBONO, Salvadore - Livorno - 17.vii.1751

DE FRANCESCHI, Francesco Fabiano - Bastia - 27.viii.1794

DE LA DEVESE, (Marchese) Pietro Paolo - Fiume in Croazia - 1.iii.1796*

DE LAS BORDAS, Durand - Cagliari - 15.x.1779

DELLE BUCACHE, Deodato - Ortona, Pescara, St. Vito - 1.ii.1786*

DE LUCA, Saverio - Ischia - 9.x.1792

DE ODDO, Baldassare Vincenzo - Sciacca - 22.iv.1774

DE RES D’OLIVERA, (Capt.) Antonio - Villanova (Portogallo) - 27.xi.1723

DE SANCTIS, Benedetto Maria - Salerno - 21.iii.1779*

DESDIER, Michele —Malaga - 28.xi.1795

DE SOQUET, Giuseppe - Barcellona - 7.i.1796*

DE TARAZONA, Cristoforo - Valenzia - 22.ix.1740

DIFALCO, Antonio - Avola - 27.viii.1745

DIFALCO, Giovanni - Avola - 30.vii.1742

DI FERRO DEI BERARDI, Baldassare - Mazzara - 19.x 1769

DI MARCO, Lazzaro - Palinuro - 12.viii.1742

DI MARRARI, (Dottor) Giuseppe Morabito - Reggio - 28.i.1791*

DI NATALE, Domenico - Roccella (Calabria) - 16.ii.1742*

DI VINCENZO, D. Francesco - Trapani - 27.ix.1700

DODERO, Carlo Maria - Cadice - 2.viii.1759

DORAN, Nicolò - Mudril - 24.i.1729*

FANZELLO, (Dottor) Gioacchino - Sardegna - 12.vii.1768

FATIGATI, (Arciprete) Gennaro - Terracina - 11.viii 1776

FERRARA, Pietro - Agosta - 3.ii.1727*

FERRARI, Tommaso - Salerno - 6.xii.1712

FERRENDINO, Giovanni - Zante - 9.ix.1746

FILLETTI, Lorenzo - Catania - 3.viii.1761

FIOTT, Maniscalco Ferdinando - Napoli - 13.iv.1776

FLEURI DE VAREILLES, Stefano - Malaga -

FONTANA, Carlo - Siracusa - 12.v.1751

FONTANA, Mario - Siracusa - 4.ix.1775

FORTEZZA, Pietro Antonio - Taranto - 14.v.1733

GAGLIARDI, Matteo - Vietri - 1.i,1786*

GAITA, Giuseppe - Noto - 6.x.1743

GATT, Alessio - Terranuova - 15.x.1743

GAY, Giovanni - Denia - 25.x.1757

GARSIA DE QUINTANA, Pietro Emmanuele - Ferrol - 10.v.1775

GAUDIOSO, Giacomo Antonio - Vietri - 16.ii.1742*

GAVARRI, Giobatista - Valenzia - 30 xi.1761

GHINELLI, Fileppo - Sinigaglia - 30.vii.1788

GILIBERT, Antonio - Otranto - 12.v.1769

GILIBERTO, Guolamo (Agente) - Otranto - 20.xii.1780

GIUNTA, (Barone) D. Antonio - Vittoria - 27.11.1743*

GIUNTA, (Barone) Filippo - Vittoria - 13.x.1761

GLORIA, Onofrio - Barcellona - 6 iv.1769

GOBERTI, Pietro - Villafranca, Nizza - 17.x.1750

GONSALVEZ, Matteo - Faro - 18.ii.1729*

GRANARA, Lorenzo Maria - Lisbona - 20.vii.1742

GRASSI, D. Francesco - Mascari - 6.xii.1783


GRASSI, Zaccaria - Genova - 22.x.1743

GRASSO, Alessandro - Mascari - 7.viii.1752

GRASSO, Michele - Iaci Reale -

GRATTAGLIANO, Vito Antonio - Monopoli -

GRIXTI, Francesco - Terranuova - 19.i.1781*

GRIXTI, Giuseppe - Terranuova - 5.ii.1776*

IANNACI, Vincenzo - Castell’ a Mare (Sicilia) -

IMBERT, Agostino - Linguadoca - 15.vii.1777

JULIEN, Luigi - Tolone - 9.v.1773

LABAR, Alfonso - Port’ Ercole - 1.i.1790*

LABAR, Giovanni Antonio - Port’ Ercole 28.ii.1738*

LABBONIA, Serafino - Cotrone - 15.x.1752

LAMBERTI, Antonio - Venezia - 15.xii.1778

LAMBERTI, Giovanni Michele - Venezia - 11.x.1757

LANDI, Tommaso - Messina - 6.ii.1790*

LANGUIDER, Giacomo - Trieste - 22.x.1795

LANGUIDER, Luca Giuseppe - Trieste - 21.vii.1771

LA SALA, Francesco - Malaga - 10.v.1788

LION, Gio, Giacomo - Cartagena - 22.ix.1772

LO JACOMO, Nicolò - Gergenti -

LOMBARDELLI, Antonio - Livorno - 14.iv.1749

LOPEZ, Vito - Otranto - 25.ix.1753

LOSTAN, Giovanni - Veneros - 4.ii.1729*

LUBELLO, Angelo - Licata - 19.vii.1777

MACERONI, (Canonico) D. Angiolo - Terracina - 25.iv.1794

MACHADO, Pietro Giovanni — In Campo di Gibraltar(?) - 20 xi.1753

MAFFEI, Carlo - Trieste -

MANZI, Francesco Antonio - Civita Vecchia - 23.iii.1744*

MANZI, Giovanni - Civita Vecchia - 10.vii.1780

MARABEUF, Francesco - Alicante - 28.vii.1722, 19.x.1744

MARABEUF, Marco - Alicante -

MARGIOTTA, Giuseppe - Gallipoli - 23.i.1726*

MARGIOTTA, Pietro - Gallipoli - 23.vii.1794

MARTELLI, Luigi - Ancona - 8.x.1783

MARZIANI, Gaetano - Catania - 20.viii.1795

MARZIANO, Ascanio - Catania - 30.iii.1779

MARZO, Francesco M. - Mazzara - 20.xii.1780

MASSA, Girolamo - Majorca - 13.x.1742

MASSA, Giuseppe - Modica - 29.iv.1723

MASSARI, Antonio - Ferrara - 8.vii.1770, 19.xii.1776

MAZZA, Giovanni - Sinigaglia 15.x.1752, 13.viii.1773

MAZZA, Leonardo - Foggia - 23.iii.1728*

MENZULLO, (Barone) D. Giuseppe Maria - Mascari - 4.ii.1771*

MERCATI, (Canonico) Demetrio - 23.xi.1787

MERCATI, (Canonico) Francesco - 30.viii.1782

MERIGO, Stefano - Genova - 10.iii.1769*

METTULA, Alfonso - Manfredonia - 17.ii 1727*

MIANI, Michele - Taranto - 14.ii.1769*

MILLER, Giovanni Battista - Fiume - 5.ix.1727

MILLER, Marzio Leopoldo - Fiume - 10.vii.1754


MINUTA, Giacomo - Catania - 20.i.1719*

MOCHOLI, Giobattista - Valenza -

MONDRAGON, Lorenzo Vazquez - Almoria - 18.x.1752

MOSOI, Domenico - Viterbo - 19.iii.1733*

MUGNEROT, Andrea - Majorca - 26.v.1795

MUGNEROT, Nicolò - Majorca - 9.i.1797*

MUSCATO, Giuseppe - Gergenti - 18.x.1768

MUSCATO, Michele - Gergenti - 11.x.1757

MUSCATO, Raimondo - Gergenti - 3.ii.1732*

OCAMPO, Taddeo Alvarez - Cartagena - 30.x.1743

ORECCHIO, Alessandro - Gaeta - 5.iv.1765

ORISINI, Giacinto - Agosta - 12.iii.1756*

PAGANI, Giovanni - Ragusa -

PALADINE, Marco - Vietri - 22.xii.1794

PALMI, Giuseppe - Porto Longone - 12.xii.1795

PALMI, Giuseppe - Porto Ferraio - 24.iv.1779

PALMI, Silvestro - Porto Ferraio - 7.xii.1743

PANAJOTTI, Andrea - Sueta (in Francia) - 25.iv.1739

PANAJOTTI, Antonio - Sueta - 8.v.1762

PASTORFIDO, Michele - Almoria -

PASTORFIDA, Raimondo - Almoria - 19.v.1796

PAVIA, Giovan. Battista - Almoria - 15 xii.1712

PELLEGRINI, Vincenzo - Porto Nettunna - 17.xi.1774

PEPE, Nicolò - Bari - 3.xi.1725

PEREMAS, Buinone - Barcellona -

PERINI, Agostino - Venezia - 24.iv.1732

PETIT, Giacomo - Sciacca - 12.xi.1731

PETROSINO, Giuseppe Romeo - Marsala - 19.vii.1727

PIAR, D. Filippo - Isole Canane - 19.viii.1768

PINTO, Michele - Pisciotta ad Aropolo -

PINTO, Tommaso - Pisciotta ad Aropolo - 25.v.1761

PIOMBO, Francesco - Trapani -

PIOMBO, (Dottor) Leonardo - Trapani - 28.vii.1762

PISONI, Giovanni - Genova - 29.x.1790

PISONI, Giuseppe - Genova - 31.v.1798

PLAKE, Antonio - Malaga - 10.vii.1762

POLITO, Giovanni - Tropea - 30.v.1755

POLITO, Nicola - Tropea - 1.vii.1795

POLLART, Giuseppe - Denia - 18.xi.1729

POUVIER, Angelo Vincenzo - Napoli di Romania -

PRADO, Antonio - Palermo - 14.iv.1778

PRADO, Francesco - Palermo -

PRADO, Giuseppe Palermo - 7.xi.1734

PRAT, Pietro Paolo - Algezira -

REBURATO, Gio. Battista - Siviglia - 15.i.1730*

REBURATO, Gio. Battista - Siviglia -

REBURATO, (Donato) Giobattista - Cadice - 9.iv.1759

RIOLO, (Barone) D. Domenico Milazzo - 6.iii.1783*

RISCHICA Paolo - Avola - 4.iv.1791

RODRIGUEZ, Domenico - Cotrone - 12.iii.1754*


ROMEO, Paolo - Pantallaria - 29.iv.1775

ROSIQUE, Damiano Valentino - Malaga - 9.vii.1730

ROSIQUE, Genesio - Malaga - 26 v.1760

ROSSO, Gio. Batta - Spoccaforno - 3.iv.1743

SACCO, Benedetto - Barcellona - 15.ii.1793*

SAGLIANI, (Canonico) Gio. Batta - Terracina - 19.iv.1739

SAMMUT, Saverio - Licata - 5 ix.1795

SANCHEZ DE CELIS, Antonio - Cadice - 25.x.1757

SAPIENZA, Giacomo - Catania - 7.vii 1745

SCOCCIA, Filippo - Grotte a Mare (Stato Pontificcio nell’Adriatico) - 30.xi.1760

SCORDILI, Giorgio - Zerigo -

SCOTTI, (Donato) Michele - Napoli - 18.viii.1787

SIRACUSA, Nicolò - Pantallaria - 19.ix.1716

SOLER, Francesco Saverio - Alicante - 6.x.1785

SOMMANIATI, Giuseppe - Licata - 4 iv.1769

SOMMELLA, Salvatore - Puzzuolo - 16.iii.1785*

SUPPA, Onofrio - Cotrone - 22.x.1743

SYLVA, Stefano - Gaeta - 25.iv.1724

TERRANOVA, (Notaro) Sebastiano - Agosta - 7.ix.1797

TORREGIANI, Antonio - Sardegna - 8.v.1743

TORREGGIANI, Francesco - Sardegna - 19.ix 1754

VALLACCA, Giorgio - Sardegna - 4.iii.1772*

VERVICIOTTI, Aloisio - Corfù - 17.v.1751

VERVICIOTTI, Giovanni - Corfù - 7.ix.1728

VERVICIOTTI, Spiridione - Corfù - 16.ii.1783

VITALI, Angelo - Licata - 12.ii.1749*

XIMENES DE CAMPO, Salvadore - Malaga - 6.ix.1783

ZAMMIT, Ambrogio - Terranuova - 16.vii.1757

ZANTI, (Notaro) Rosario - Agosta - 7.v.1770

ZAPPULLA, Giovanni - De La Trezza - 16.xi.1796

ZERAFA PACE, Luigi - Scicli - 4.v.1789

ZERAFA PACE, Salvadore - Scicli - 24.v.1782

ZOCCHI, Giovanni Battista - Venezia - 28.ix 1726

Victor Malla-Milanes, B.A.

[1]            The term “Maltese consuls” is used, in this paper, to denote all those persons appointed consuls for the Maltese in any foreign city, irrespective of their citizenship or nationality.

[2]            For the nature and office of the Order’s Receiver see: A[rchives of the] O[rder of] M[alta] 1683, “Trattato dell’Offizio del Ricevitore.”

[3]            Julius I. Puente, “The Nature of the Consular Establishment,” University of Pennsylvania Law Review (January, 1930), p. 332; Luke T. Lee, Consular Law and Practice (Lond., 1961), p. 5.

[4]             A[rchivio di] S[tato], V[enice], C[inque] S[avi] A[lla] M[ercanzia], p[rima] s[erie], b[usta] 601, August 8, 1765. The Maltese consulates at Corfù, Zante and Napoli di Romania derived their importance from the strategic positions of these islands vis-a-vis the Order’s constantly hostile attitude towards the Turk. The following letter written by the Grandmaster to his consuls in Corfù and Zante on April 3, 1708 illustrates this point very well: “Vi scrissimo sotto li 23 del caduto, ma essendo incerti se quando riceveremo risposta di quella nostra, vi replichiamo colla presente che sommamente ci preme aver notitie certe dell’armata Turchesca, del numero di bastimenti, tanto quadri, che Latini, delle militie, che conduce, e del suo disegno. A quest’effetto mandiamo con una barca speronara Padrone Gio. Domenico Lagusi compagno di Pilota della nostra Galera Capitana, nella fedeltà e attività del quale molto confidiamo, e gl’habbiamo ordinato, che se costì vi saranno di detta armata, delle sue forze, e del suo disegno notitie certe se ne ritorni subito à dietro a portar cele, altrimenti: passi (al Zante, e bisognante) sino a Patrasso, Castel Tornese, e Napoli di Romania, perché sommamente ci preme aveva le predette notitie quanto più certe, e quanto più presto sia possibile. Vi raccomandiamo per tanto d’assisterlo in tutto quello che poterte e che conoscerete condurre al nostro intento: ed in caso, che egli dovrà passare davanti ci sarà grato che ci partecipate per qualunque occasione vi si presenterà, quel più che saprete di detta armata, e se alla Vallona, o in altra parte si favi piazza d’arme, col numero delle soldatesche, che si dice trovarvisi adunate, e de magazzini che vi sono, per le provvisioni da guerra e da bocca . . . .” A.O.M., 1469, April 3, 1708. For the history of Corfù see: J. Partsch, Della condizione politica delle Isole Ionie sotto il Dominio Veneto; W. Miller, The Latins in the Levant (Lond., 1908); id, Essays on the Latin Orient (Cambridge, 1921); id, “The Balkan States,” Cambridge Medieval History, IV.

[5]            A.S.V., C.S.A.M., p.s., b. 601, August 8, 1765.

[6]            “Senza della medesima egli non può agire legalmente.” A.O.M., 1523, September 14, 1767.

[7]            A.S.V., C.S.A.M., p.s., filza 83 (1738-1740), c.113a.

[8]            A.S.V., C.S.A.M., p.s., b. 601, August 8, 1765.

[9]            The original nomination bull, on parchment, is preserved in A.S.V., C.S.A.M., p.s., 691. It carries the title “Coadiutoria Consulatus Insula Coreyrensis sive Corfù pro Aloysio, seu Ludo Verviciotti — Die xvii Mensis Maij 1751.”

[10]         A.O.M., 1523, September 14, 1767.

[11]          A.S.V., C.S.A.M., p.s., b.601, August 8, 1765.

[12]          Ibid.

[13]         A.O.M., 1523, Pinto to Receiver d’Elci, Venice, October 28, 1767.

[14]           “Siete in grado,” Pinto could now tell his consul, “di avanzare costà l’istanza per il rilascito della nota Pollacca depredata dalla nostra Fregata.” Ibid., Pinto to Consul Verviciotti, Corfù, March 28, 1768. On August 7, 1765 d’Elci had submitted the following petition to the Venetian Senate: “L’attuale Ricevitore di Malta Commendatore Fr. Ferdinando de Conti d’Elci, incaricato dall’Eminentissimo Suo Signore Gran Maestro, ha l’onore di presentare alla Serenità Vostra, ed a questi Eccellentissimi Padri l’elezione fatta nella Persona di Alvise Verviciotti di Corfù per Console della Nazione Maltese in dett’Isola, essendo rimasto vacante quel Consolato per la morte di Giovanni Verviciotti di lui Padre. Supplice per tanto il medesimo Ricevitore la Serenità Vostra, e questi Eccellentissimi Padri, perché si degnino di ammettere nella consuete forme il nuovo Eletto all’esercizio delle addosategli Incumbenze; e pieno della più profonda venerazione a quest’Augusto Trono s’umilia,’ A.S.V., C.S.A.M., p.s., b.601, August 7, 1765.

[15]          Ibid.

[16]          Ibid., August 8, 1765; and filza 83 (1738-1740), c.113a.

[17]          A.S.V., C.S.A.M., p.s., filza 99, c.107; b.601, August 8, 1765.

[18]         A.O.M., 1523, Pinto to d’Elci, Venice, March 28, 1768.

[19]          Julius I. Puente, “The Nature of the Consular Establishment,” loc. cit., p. 336.

[20]           The only apparent exception to this procedure is the case of Siculo-Maltese consular relationship. This is understandable vis-à-vis the close proximity of the two islands, and the privileges endowed to the Maltese by Spanish and Sicilian monarchs prior to 1530. Cf. A.O.M., 6412, “Privilegi dei diversi Sovrani prima dell’arrivo dei Cavalieri a Malta”; William Eton, Authentic Materials for a History of the People of Malta. Up to the early half of the eighteenth century, Maltese consuls in Sicily needed no exequatur to their commission consulaire. On September 16, 1697 the Sicilian Viceroy decreed that foreign consuls in Sicily could no longer exercise any consular functions unless their proper appointment had been previously approved and the exequatur granted by the Emperor. Consequently, Maltese consuls in Sicilian ports were, at first, finding it difficult to discharge their duties as freely as before, due to the odds and obstacles Sicilian local officials were putting in their way, following the 1697 Ordine Generale. Grandmaster Perellos wrote at once to Fra Don Carlo Riggio, the Order’s Receiver in Sicily, asking him to intercede for Maltese consuls there who were constantly being impeded by local officials from fulfilling their consular obligations towards the Maltese mercantile and commercial community there. To this effect, Pietro Colon, Viceroy of Sicily, issued a second Royal Order on November 28, 1697. Here he clarified certain basic details constituting consular relations between Malta and Sicily: all those Maltese consuls who had already been elected, or were to be elected in the future to discharge their consular duties in Sicilian towns or ports, were to be allowed to exercise these duties freely, and enjoy all consular privileges and immunities enjoyed by their predecessors. The original viceregal proclamation of September 16 had not been meant in any way “per li Consoli della Nazione dell’Isola di Malta, atteso di non esser mai stata detta Isola reputata per straniera, avendo sempre goduto il privileggio d’unità, annessa e dipendente del Regno di Sicilia.” A.O.M., 1702, ff. 267-268; id. 264, f. 160. This privilege re-echoes another similar viceregal proclamation in favour, this time, of a certain Gasparo Augaras Inguanes, Maltese consul at Licata. On August 8, 1482 the Viceroy had decreed that Inguanes was not to be looked upon as an outsider or foreigner, and therefore subject to taxation only in the same way like any other Sicilian citizen: “Lo voliti costringere a pagari comu forestieri non advertendu che è loro chitadinu et comu chitadinu lo aviti ordinatu vostru in la ditta terra.” Being a consul for the Maltese in Sicily, Inguanes was serving the Kingdom like any other Sicilian citizen. A[rchives of the] C[athedral of] M[alta], Vol. 25, pp. 235, 244. Thus the Grandmaster’s commission consulaire alone was sufficient for Maltese consuls to function and be legally recognised in that capacity, within Sicilian grounds. No placet, or Royal approval from the Sicilian Viceroy was required. Times change however. Through a lettera reale of July 17, 1747, addressed to the “Senati, e Giurati della Città e Terre Maritime di questo Regno,” and re-echoing Pietro Colon’s of 1697, it was thus declared: “non permettere che li citati consoli e vice-consoli delle nazioni straniere, quantunque siano dell’approvati da S.M. potessero, ne tampoco dovessero sustituire detti loro impegni, per non tenere per le loro rispettive patenti somigliante facoltà in gradocchè tali sostituiti fossero privi di goder verun autorità, privileggio e esenzione.” Biblioteca Comunale, Palermo, Ms. Qq. F. 110, f. 13. Foreign consuls or vice-consuls residing in the Kingdom of Sicily were no longer to be legally recognised unless they had been previously granted officially the royal approval; nor could these properly-appointed consuls and vice-consuls re-elect their substitutes unauthorised. This attitude seems clearly reflected in Siculo-Maltese consular relations after the 1747 Decree. The Messinese Francesco Cebera was elected consul for the Maltese in Messina on September 9, 1743, succeeding a relative of his Giuseppe Cebera. Seventeen years later he felt the need for requesting the Sicilian viceroy to furnish him with the proper exequatur. Archivio li Stato, Palermo, Real Segreteria, busta 2793 (a. 1760). Here we discovered a note “con la quale viene trasmesso al Vicerè un Memoriale di Francesco Cebera di Messina diretto ad ottenere il R. Exequatur alla Patente di Console di Malta.” So did Francesco Caten, also from Messina, in 1761. Ibid., b. 2803 (a.1761): “Una nota di informazione del Supremo Magistrato del Commercio su un Memoriale di Francesco Caten di Messina diretto ad ottenere il R. Exequatur.” The question of Cebera and Caten is a clear indication that consular relations between Malta and Sicily must have been strained; Malta, in consular matters, started to be looked upon as one of the many other foreign cities.

[21]          Both classificazioni are to be found in A.O.M.

[22]         A.O.M., 1194, f. 52v.

[23]           This attestato was signed in front of notary Francesco Mamo by the following merchants: Michel Angelo Madiona, Giorgio Camilleri, Giuseppe Montenegro, Michele Arico, Giacomo Pellegrino, Giacomo Camensuli, Giovanni Francesco Guillaimier, Gio. Carlo Grech Delicata, Giuseppe Grech, Pietro Felice, Carlo Ciantar, Giuseppe Portanier and Paolo Albanese. Ibid., f. 53.

[24]          Ibid., ff. 145-146.

[25]             A.O.M., 1536, ff. 45v-46r. Spiridione’s commission consulaire is dated February 16, 1783. There are other similar examples. Dottor Antonio Vivarici, the Order’s Consul at Brindisi, is reported to have submitted the following petition to the Grandmaster: “ . . . . come havendo esercitato la carica di Console per lo spatio d’anni cinquanta, ivi hoggi, ritrovandosi d’età setuageneria, per maggiormente accertare la condotta della medesima, trovandosi un suo nipote, Dottor Teodoro Vivarici habbile, et idoneo all’effetto suddetto, supplica percià l’A.V.S. volersi degnare di promovere detto suo nipote alla referita carica che il tutto riceverà a grazia di V.A.S.” (a. 1713). A.O.M., 1186, ff. 325/336. In 1746 Francesco Amodei from Augusta petitioned the Grandmaster thus: “ . . . riverentemente espone aver la brama di esercitar la carica di Console in detta città per la nazione maltese. ” A.O.M., 1188, f. 415.

[26]           At least in one particular instance, the Grandmaster’s claim to the right and freedom of consular choice seemed fettered when faced with outside intervention. Early in 1709, the office of Maltese consul in Syracuse became vacant. Prior to consul Pompeo Tieso’s death, the city’s Senate had already recommended to the Grandmaster a certain Antonio Gauci to succeed Tieso. “Quando Dio disponga della vita di Pompeo Tieso, console attuale di questa Natione in cotesta città,” the Grandmaster promised the Senate of Syracuse, “io non lasserò d’avere tutta l’attenzione alli officij, che le SS.rie VV. si compiacciono di passarni a favore di S. Antonio Gauci.” A.O.M., 1470, January 31, 1709. Yet, in spite of his original promise to the widow Eufemia Tieso that he would have her son succeed Pompeo as Maltese consul in Syracuse (“Siccome molto vi compatiamo, per la perdita che avete fatta dal Consorte; così concorrebbemo volontieri a darvi almeno la consolazione di far succeder il Figlio nell’officio di console di questa Nation. Ma essendo stati prevenuti da cotesto Senato, abbiamo creduto, doverne rimettere l’elezione all’arbitrio del medesimo; al quale per conseguenza potrete ricorere, gia che da noi si farà spedir la Patente a chi da quello ci sarà denotato.” Ibid., June 2, 1709) and of the fact that “diversi padroni di bastiment m’avessera fatto premurose istanze a favor del figlio del defonto Console,” the Grandmaster was forced to accept the Senate’s choice. “Continuando le SS.rie VV. ad interessarsi in favore di Antonio Gauci,” the Grandmaster tells the Senate, “come mi dimostrano colla cortesissima loro delli 9 corrente, ho ordinato, che si spedisca a favor del medesimo la patente di Console di questa Natione.” Ibid., June 15, 1709. Gauci was appointed Maltese consul in Syracuse on June 13, 1709. A.O.M., 513, f. 106v: “Creatio consulis in Civitate Syracusarum, Pn. Deg.n Don Antonio Gauci.” He occupied this consular post for twenty-three years. In 1732 he retired due to old age, advising the Grandmaster to appoint Valerio Bugliarello in his stead. A.O.M., 1492, Ad Antonio Gauci, Siracusa, November 10, 1732.

[27]          Pietro Zocchi is not included in A.O.M., 6429.

[28]          A.S.V., Senato, Roma Ordinaria, Secreta, filza a. 1752, July 15, 1752.

[29]             “Mercante Veneto di probità e di buona fede.” A.S.V., C.S.A.M., n[uova] s[erie], b.24, September 24, 1722.

[30]          Ibid.

[31]           “Per li sudditi suoi Maltese che con Bastimenti capitar possono nella città di Venezia.” Ibid., September 18, 1722. Attached to this relazione are two copies of Zocchi’s Nomination Bull — Patente di Petrum Zocchi, Die xi Mensis Augusti 1722.

[32]          Ibid., September 24, 1722.

[33]          Ibid.

[34]             “Implorando dalla Clemenza del mio Adorato Principe la permissione di tal esercitio, che riesce compatibile con la costanza della mia fede per quest’Augustissima Repubblica.” Ibid., September 18, 1722.

[35]           Ibid.; J. Irizarry y Puente, in his “Functions and Powers of the Foreign Consulate — A Study in Medieval Legal History,” New York University Law Quarterly Review XX (1945), pp. 63-65, specifies clearly and annotates fully the multifarious duties the consul was supposed to assume. Although Puente was writing of medieval consulship, much of what he said applies even to our purpose here.

[36]           A.S.V., C.S.A.M., n.s., b.24, September 24, 1722. The relazione was signed by the three Savi alla Mercanzia, Duodo, Venier and Valier.

[37]           “Con Decreto 8 ottobre 1722 dell’Eccellentissimo Senato fù admesso al esercitio di detta carica.” Ibid., November 6, 1726; “Nel modo appunto s’è pratticato con quelli dell’altre nationi.” Ibid., October 8, 1722.

[38]          Ibid., September 30, 1726.

[39]          Ibid.

[40]          Droit International Public, p. 356.

[41]          A.S.V., C.S.A.M., n.s., b.24, September 30, 1726.

[42]           As far back as the end of the fifteenth century, King Ferdinand the Catholic, in a Royal Charter addressed to John de Nusa, his Sicilian Viceroy, refers to the ancient, unbroken tradition of the Maltese in having a consul in Sicily to look after the commercial affairs of his co-nationals there. A.C.M., 27, pp. 182-184. The Charter is dated January 5, 1499. During the XVIII century alone, Malta had 78 different Maltese consulates in various Mediterranean cities and elsewhere.

[43]          Public Record Office, (London), State Papers, Foreign, 86/2 (1763).

[44]         A.O.M., 1780, f. 56.

[45]           Cf. R. Cavaliero, “John Dodsworth, a Consul in Malta,” Mariners’ Mirror, (November, 1957); Joseph Galea, “English Privateers at Malta and a British Consul’s misfortunes in the XVIII Century,” Scientia XXX, No. 3 (July-September, 1964), pp. 110-127.

[46]             “Imploro però della Sovrana Munificenza d’esser admesso al libero esercitio di detta carica in questa città con tutti li Dritti Soliti à corrispondersi alli Consoli delle altre Nation,” A.S.V., C.S.A.M., n.s., b.24, November 6, 1726.

[47]           The relazione was signed by Alviso Zusto, Francesco Garzin and Nicolò Tron. Ibid., November 27, 1726. The following month the Magistracy of Trade wrote again to the Senate: “Sostituito del Gran Maestro di Malta in Console di quella Natione per la morte di Gio. Pietro Zocchi, Gio. Batta suo Figliolo, e rappresentando il Magistrato de Cinque Savi alla Mercantia nella Scrittura hora letta essere state che in tale incontro osservate le formalità solite benersi; sarà perciò parte del Magistrato stesso il prescrivere quello occorrere, onde esso Gio. Batta Zocchi habbia ad essere admesso all’impiego in conformità viene praticato con li consoli delle altre Nationi. Carlo Maria Paulucci. Notaro Ducal., 1726, 19 Dicembre, in Pregadi.” Ibid.

[48]          Ibid., February 1, 1726 M.V.

[49]         A.O.M.; 1489, Al Console Gio. Batta Zocchi, Venezia, July 26, 1728.

[50]         A.O.M., 1491, Al. Console Gio. Batta Zocchi, Venezia, July 17, 1730.

[51]           A.S.V., Cerimoniali, IV, f. 179v: “Dimissione di quel Console Zocchi e nomina di Agostini Perini in nuovo Console.”

[52]           “I molti motivi che egli (Zocchi) diede all’Eminentissimo Gran Maestro d’esser mal contento di lui, attesi li continui reclami dè suoi Vassalli.” A.S.V.; Collegio, Esposizioni Roma, registro 49, f. 194 v; id., Senato, Roma Ordinaria, Secreta, filza a. 1752, June 10, 1752.

[53]           “Il ritenersi il sigillo da un ministro gia deposto può produrre mille pregiudizij alla Nazione, ed inconvenienzi massimi al buon ordine delle cose.” Ibid.

[54]          A.S.V., Collegio, Esposizioni Roma, registro 49, ff. 194v-195v.

[55]           “Non mai loro mancato nelle più urgenti contingenze, e fino i più abbandonati non hà mai camportato, che facessero una figura mal confacente al lustro della Nazione . .” A.S.V., Senato, Roma Ordinaria, Secreta, filza a.1752, July 15, 1752.

[56]           “Ho letti, e lasciati in copia io Fabio Lio servo umilissimo di VV.EE. à tenor delle inchinate Loro Commissioni al Signor Ricevitore di Malta li due Ufficij del dì 10 corrente consegnandole assieme, come mi è stato prescritto la licenziata Patente di Console per il Perini, et il Sigillo restituito dal Zocchi.” A.S.V., Collegio, Esposizioni Roma, registro 49, f. 198.

[57]          Ibid., ff. 196v-198. “Stretto in amicizia col Segretario del Signor Ricevitore nativo anch’esso di Firenze.” A.S.V., Senato, Roma Ordinaria, Secreta, filza a.1752, July 15, 1752.

[58]           “Esser egli Uomo d’industria.” Ibid.; “In cui trova il Gran Maestro qualità acute, e di sua soddisfazione.” A.S.V., Collegio, Esposizioni Roma, registro 49, ff. 194v-195v.

[59]           Ibid.; A.S.V., Senato, Roma Ordinaria, Secreta, filza a.1752, July 15, 1752. Apparently, Agostino Perini had been referred to in the Grandmaster’s original commission consulaire as a “Venetian citizen.” This had to be corrected before he could be granted the Senate’s placet: “Qualificato egli nella Patente che vi è stata presentata col titolo di cittadino veneto, il che non apparisce verificarsi per esser egli Fiorentino di nascita, potiamo nulla meno assicurarla della prontezza e disposizione nostra nel riconoscerlo ed admetterlo all’esercizio del predetto impiego di Console, ogni volta che sia regolata la Patente, e venga in essa tolto l’equivoco.” Ibid., September 2, 1752.

[60]          Ibid., July 15, 1752.

[61]         A.O.M., 1510, Al Console Agostino Perini, Venezia, November 6, 1752.

[62]           “Con vostra delli 6 agosto ci date conto della rinunzia di cotesto consolato dei nostri Vassalli fatta in vostre mani da Agostino Perini.” A.O.M., 1514, October 14, 1757.

[63]         A.O.M., 6429, sub “Venezia.”

[64]           “Ci chiedete dargli per successore Gio. Michele Lamberti . . . ” A.O.M., 1514, Grandmaster to Boccadiferro, October 14, 1757.

[65]             “Mercante veneto.” Ibid.

[66]           A.S.V., Cerimoniali, V, ff. 87v-88r, “Nomina di Console di Malta a Venezia — Antonio Lamberti.”

[67]           “Si dice al Sig.r Ricevitore di Malta in Uffizio di questo giorno che si ammetterà la Patente del Gran Maestro che sostituisce al defonto console di sua Nazione in questa Città suo figlio Antonio Lamberti alle condizioni degli altri consoli forestieri.” Ibid.

[68]           Alfred Mifsud, “I Nostri Consoli e le Arti ed i Mestieri,” Archivum Melitense III, No. 2-3, p. 75. For a scholarly study of the British consular organisation during the eighteenth century see: D.B. Horn, The British Diplomatic Service 1689-1789, (Oxford, 1961), which is the best of its kind so far. On pages 307-309 of the Barbary Legend (Oxford, 1957), Sir Godfrey Fisher gives a list of British Consuls residing in Algiers, Tunis, Tripoli and Sallee from 1585 to 1714.