The Official Presence
Consular officials in Chile served under the same conditions as their counterparts in, for example, Berne. Consular officials handled the day-to-day business. “The official duties of were largely restricted to the regulation of British shipping”: dealing with ships’ papers under Board of Trade regulations, punishing deserters, looking after distressed seamen, and generally overseeing British interests. However, British officials invariably received their appointments because of their business success and position in society, so the position was more often a recognition of status achieved than a step towards its. In addition, consuls or honorary consular officials looked after British interests in some of the outports and mining centers. Though British officials on their own initiative or on Foreign Office instructions made representations on particular matters, they had no measurable effects. Small as the duties at the outports were, the growth of British trade and the presence of small communities of British subjects justified the occasional establishment of new posts.