Montesquieu
 

VI.11 That when a people is virtuous, few penalties are required

The Roman peo­ple had pro­bity. That pro­bity had such force that often the legis­la­tor nee­ded only to show them the good for it to be fol­lo­wed ; it was as if in lieu of decrees it was enough to give them advice.

The penal­ties of royal laws and the laws of the Twelve Tables were almost all sup­pres­sed under the repu­blic, either by a sequel to the Valerian Law,1 or by a conse­quence of the Porcian Law.2 It was not obser­ved that the repu­blic was for that less well orde­red, and it resul­ted in no rup­ture in poli­ti­cal admi­nis­tra­tion.

This Valerian Law, which for­bade magis­tra­tes any vio­lence against a citi­zen who had appea­led to the peo­ple, impo­sed no other penalty on the man who would vio­late it than to have a mean repu­ta­tion.3

It was made by Valerius Publicola, soon after the expulsion of the kings ; it was twice renewed, both times by magistrates of the same family, as Livy says in book X. It was not a matter of giving it more force, but of perfecting its provisions. Diligentius sanctam [‘a more carefully established law’], says Livy, ibid.

Lex porcia pro tergo civium lata [‘The Porcian law was made to protect the citizens’] ; it was made in year 454 of the foundation of Rome.

Nihil ultra quam improbe factum adjecit [‘It added nothing other than that it be deemed a wicked act’] (Livy).