Diplomacy: Theory and Practice, 6th ed. – Online updating pages
Chapter 9: Consulates
p. 142, mid-page: ‘It was not until the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries that the state slowly began to assert its control over the consuls and require them to place the national interest first …’. It’s worth adding here that it was in 1649 that English consuls became public servants appointed by the government rather than the merchants. Thereafter, their priorities were political intelligence and reports on shipping movements (warships as well as trading vessels). They were greatly resented by the merchants, often incompetent because the positions were used for patronage purposes, and not always in the right places. See the Introduction to Platt’s Cinderella Service; Fraser, pp. 5, 70-1; and Barbour, the last two in additions to ‘Further reading’ below.
Barbour, V., ‘The Consular Service in the Reign of Charles II’, American Historical Review, vol.33. April 1928
Fraser, Peter, The Intelligence of the Secretaries of State & their Monopoly of Licensed News 1660–1688 (Cambridge at the University Press: 1956)