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CONSISTORY COURTS—CONSOLS

are placed in order all the others; on the left of the pope stands the chief cardinal deacon; the chief cardinal priest comes next to the last cardinal bishop, and the last cardinal priest next to the last cardinal deacon. As in the old imperial consistorium, the cardinals assemble in the hall of the consistory, and there await the pope, who takes his place upon his throne; in former days he used first to give audience to those cardinals who had to submit certain matters to him, after which the doors were shut and the consistory became secret.

Authorities.—Bouix, De Curia romana, pt. ii. c. 1 (Paris, 1859); Plattenberg, Notitia congregationum, cap. 3 (Hildesheim, 1693); Cardinal de Luca, Theatrum veritatis, lib. xv. p. 2 (Rome, 1671).  (A. Bo.*) 

CONSISTORY COURTS, those ecclesiastical courts wherein the ordinary jurisdiction of the bishop is exercised (see Consistory). They exist in every diocese of England. Consistory courts were established by a charter of William I., which appointed the cognizance of ecclesiastical causes in a distinct place or court from the temporal. The officer who exercises jurisdiction in a consistory court is known as the chancellor (q.v.), and he is appointed by patent from the bishop or archbishop. All jurisdiction, both contentious and voluntary, is committed to him under two separate offices, those of official principal and vicar-general; the distinction between the two offices is that the official principal usually exercises contentious jurisdiction and the vicar-general voluntary jurisdiction. (In the province of York there is an official principal of the chancery court and a vicar-general of the diocese.) Since about the middle of the 19th century consistory courts have been shorn of much of their importance. Before the year 1858 consistory courts exercised concurrently with the courts of their respective provinces jurisdiction over matrimonial and testamentary matters. This jurisdiction was taken away by the Court of Probate Act 1857 and the Matrimonial Causes Act 1857. They had also corrective jurisdiction over criminous clerks, but this was abrogated by the Church Discipline Act 1840. The principal business of consistory courts is now the dispensing of faculties. The procedure in such is strictly forensic, for all applications for faculties, though they may be unopposed, are commenced by citation, calling on all who may have an interest to oppose. From the consistory courts an appeal lies to the provincial courts, i.e. the arches court of Canterbury and the chancery court of York. Also, by the Clergy Discipline Act 1892, a clergyman may be prosecuted and tried in a consistory court for immoral acts or conduct. Under this act, either party may appeal either to the provincial court or to the king in council against any judgment of a consistory court.

CONSOLATION (Fr. consolation, Lat. consolatio, from consolari, to assuage, comfort, console), in general, the soothing of disappointment or grief. The word is applied equally to the action of consoling, to the state of being consoled, and to the instruments by which comfort is brought. Thus we speak of a person making attempts at consolation, of receiving consolation, and e.g. of the consolations of religion. In the sense of compensation for loss, the word “consolation” has had a variety of adaptations. Of its use in ecclesiastical Latin, in this sense, Du Cange gives various instances. Thus the synod of Angers (453) decreed that those clerics “qui sunt caelibes, nonnisi a sororibus aut amatis aut matribus consolentur”; consolatio was also the name given, e.g., to the evening meal given to monks after the regular collation “by way of consolation” and to certain payments made to members of chapters over and above the revenues of their benefices. In an analogous sense we use the word in such combinations as “consolation prize,” “consolation race,” “consolation stakes,” meaning such as are open only to competitors who have not won in any preceding “event.” Consolation is also the name of a French gambling game, so called because it is usually played on and about race-courses after the races have been run and the players have presumably lost. The necessary implements are a board divided into sections numbered from 1 to 6, upon which the players place their stakes, and a die which is shaken in a box and thrown on

the board. The banker, usually a professional gambler, pays five times the money on the winning number and pockets the rest. His chances of winning are overwhelming, as the die is never thrown until a stake has been placed upon all six compartments.

CONSOLE (a French form, supposed to be an abbreviation of consolidé, from Lat. consolidare, to strengthen), the architectural term given to a corbel (q.v.) placed on end, i.e. in which the height is greater than the projection. The console brackets which carry the cornice of a Roman doorway, and are described by Vitruvius as ancones (see Ancon), are among the best examples. The word is, however, more familiar in its connexion with furniture. The console-table was originally so called because the slab was supported upon a scroll-shaped bracket, or upon legs which in form and contour answered roughly to the idea of a bracket. A console-table has a front and two sides; the back, which remains unornamented, always stands against the wall. Since this piece of furniture was first introduced in the 17th century it has undergone many mutations of form. It has been flat and oblong, oval and bombé; but, save during the Empire period, it has rarely been severe. The console-table—the slab of which is often of marble-lends itself with peculiar adaptability to ornament, and, especially during the first half of the 18th century which was its most distinguished and, artistically, its most satisfactory period, it was often of extreme grace and elegance. France was always its natural home, and the Mobilier National and the great French palaces still contain many extremely ornate examples, in which fruits and flowers, wreaths and scrolls, gildings and inlayings produce gorgeous yet homogeneous effects. Until the reign of Louis XVI. console-tables were almost invariably gilded, but they then began to be painted usually in gris-perle, and by degrees they came to be manufactured in rose-wood and mahogany. Although much used in England the console has never been thoroughly acclimatized there; that it has always retained a foreign flavour is indicated by the fact that, unlike most other pieces of furniture, it has failed to commend itself to any but the richer classes.

CONSOLIDATION ACTS. To “consolidate” (Lat. consolidare, from con-, together, and solidus, firm) is to press compactly together, put on a firm basis, and especially bring together into one strong whole. The practice of legislating for small portions of a subject only at a time, which is characteristic of the English parliament, produces as a necessary consequence great confusion in the statute law. The acts relating to any subject of importance or difficulty will be found to be scattered over many years, and through the operation of clauses partially repealing or amending former acts, the final sense of the legislature becomes enveloped in unintelligible or contradictory expressions. Where opportunity offers, the law thus expressed in many statutes is sometimes recast in a single statute, called a Consolidation Act. Among such are acts dealing with the customs, stamps and stamp duties, public health, weights and measures, sheriffs, coroners, county courts, housing, municipal corporations, libraries, trustees, copyhold, diseases of animals, merchant shipping, friendly societies, &c. These observations apply to the public general acts of the legislature. On the other hand, in settling private acts, such as those relating to railway and canal enterprise, the legislature always inserted certain clauses founded on reasons of public policy applicable to the business in question. To avoid the necessity of constantly re-enacting the same principles in private acts, their common clauses were embodied in separate statutes, and their provisions are ordered to be incorporated in any private act of the description mentioned therein. Such are the Lands Clauses Acts, the Companies Clauses Acts and the Railways Clauses Acts.

CONSOLS, an abbreviation of consolidated annuities, a form of British government stock which originated in 1751. Consols now form the larger portion of the funded debt of the United Kingdom. In the progress of the national debt it was deemed expedient, on grounds which have been much questioned, instead of borrowing at various rates of interest, according to the state of the market or the need and credit of the government, to offer