Montesquieu

Monarchical govern­ment has a big advan­tage over repu­bli­can govern­ment : busi­ness being conduc­ted by one man alone, there is more dili­gence in the exe­cu­tion. But as this dili­gence could dege­ne­rate into rapi­dity, the laws will intro­duce a cer­tain slow­ness. They must not only favor the nature of each cons­ti­tu­tion, but also to cor­rect the abu­ses that might result from that very nature.

Cardinal de Richelieu would have one avoid, in monar­chies, the annoyan­ces of judi­cial bodies,1 which create dif­fi­culties about eve­ry­thing.2 Even if that man had not had des­po­tism in his heart, he would have had it in his head.

The bodies which serve as repo­si­tory of the laws never obey bet­ter than when they pro­ceed deli­be­ra­tely, and bring to the prince’s busi­ness the kind of reflec­tion one can hardly expect from the court’s lack of unders­tan­ding of the laws of the state, or from the pre­ci­pi­ta­tion of its coun­cils.3

What would have become of the fai­rest monar­chy on earth if magis­tra­tes, through their plod­ding, their objec­tions, their entrea­ties, had not che­cked the course even of their kings’ vir­tues, when these monarchs, consul­ting nothing but their great souls, would have rewar­ded beyond mea­sure ser­vi­ces dis­pen­sed with a cou­rage and fide­lity which also was beyond mea­sure ?

[Compagnies : “applies to certain dignified bodies established by authority of the king to dispense justice. Parlements the court of accounts, etc., are sovereign or superior compagnies. Other venues where there are several officers are subaltern compagnies.” (Furetière.)]

Political Testament.

Barbaris cunctatio servilis, statim exequiregium videtur [‘With barbarians, indecision is proper to slaves, prompt action king-like’] (Tacitus, Annals, book V [in fact, book VI, ch. 32]).