Montesquieu

Xenophon, in the book On Revenues, would have rewards given to those pre­fects of com­merce who dis­patch trials the most qui­ckly. He felt the need for our consu­lar juris­dic­tion. The Romans in the late empire had this type of juris­dic­tion for navi­ga­tors.1

Affairs of com­merce are lar­gely free from for­ma­li­ties. They are eve­ry­day acts, which others of the same nature must fol­low each day. It must the­re­fore be pos­si­ble to decide them every day. Such is not the case with acts of life that greatly affect the future but occur rarely. One hardly mar­ries more than once ; one does not make dona­tions and wills every day ; one attains majo­rity only once.

Plato says that in a city where there is no mari­time trade, only half as many civil laws are nee­ded,2 and that is very true. Commerce intro­du­ces into a sin­gle coun­try dif­fe­rent sorts of peo­ple, and a large num­ber of conven­tions, types of assets, and means of acqui­si­tion.

Thus, in a com­mer­cial city, there are fewer jud­ges and more laws.

Law 7, Theodesianus code, De naviculariis.

Laws, book VIII.