Montesquieu

Since men are wicked, the law is obli­ged to assume they are bet­ter than they are. Thus the depo­si­tion of two wit­nes­ses suf­fi­ces in the punish­ment of all cri­mes. The law belie­ves them as if they were spea­king through the mouth of truth. We also deem that any child concei­ved during mar­riage is legi­ti­mate : the law has confi­dence in the mother as if she were chas­tity itself. But using the rack against cri­mi­nals is not in a for­ced case like these. We see today a very well-orde­red nation1 rejec­ting it without detri­ment. It is the­re­fore not inhe­rently neces­sary.2

So many able men and so many excel­lent minds have writ­ten against this prac­tice that I dare not speak after them. I was about to say that it could be appro­priate under des­po­tic govern­ments, where any­thing that ins­pi­res fear is a more natu­ral part of the govern­ment’s resour­ces ; I was about to say that sla­ves among the Greeks and the Romans………. But I hear the voice of nature crying out against me.

The English nation.

The citizens of Athens could not be subjected to torture (Lisias, Orationes, Against Argoratus) except for the crime of lese-majesty. The torture was applied thirty days after the condemnation (Chirius Fortunatianus, Artis rhetoricæ, book II). There was no preparatory torture. As for the Romans, Laws 3 and 4 ad legem Juliam majestatis shows that birth, dignity, and the profession of the militia guaranteed against torture, with the exception of the case of lese-majesty. See the wise restrictions which the laws of the Visigoths placed on this practice.