Montesquieu

It is des­po­tic folly that decreed that a father’s fall from favor should entail that of the chil­dren and wives. They are already wret­ched without being cri­mi­nals ; and moreo­ver the prince needs to leave sup­pli­cants bet­ween the accu­sed and him­self to assuage his anger or enligh­ten his jus­tice.

It is a good cus­tom of the Maldives1 that when a lord falls from favor he goes every day to pay his court to the king until he returns to favor : his pre­sence disarms the prince’s anger.

There are des­po­tic sta­tes where it is thought that to speak to a prince for a man fal­len from grace is to vio­late the res­pect due him.2 These prin­ces seem to make every effort to deny them­sel­ves the vir­tue of cle­mency.

Arcadius and Honorius, in the law3 which we have so much dis­cus­sed,4 declare that they will show no mercy to those who dare inter­cede with them for the guilty.5 This law was very bad, since it is bad even in des­po­tism.

The Persian cus­tom that allows anyone who so wishes to leave the king­dom is very good ; and while the oppo­site policy ori­gi­na­ted in des­po­tism where sub­jects were consi­de­red as sla­ves6 and those who left as runa­way sla­ves, never­the­less the Persian prac­tice is very good for des­po­tism, where fear of the flight or with­dra­wal of deb­tors halts or mode­ra­tes the per­se­cu­tions of the pashas and extor­tio­nists.

See François Pyrard.

As today in Persia, on Mr. Chardin’s report : this custom is very old. Cabades, says Procopius, “was put in the castle of oblivion ; there is a law that forbids speaking of those imprisoned there, and even uttering their name.”

Law 5 in the Cod. Ad legem Juliam majestatis.

In chapter viii of this book.

Frederick copied this law in the Constitutions of Naples, book I.

In monarchies, there is usually a law that forbids those who hold public positions from leaving the kingdom without the prince’s permission. This law ought also to be established in republics. But in those which have singular institutions, the interdiction should be general, so one will not take with one, or bring back, foreign ways.