What can be more barbarous than to see a nation where, by lawful custom, the office of a judge is sold, and judgements are paid for in good ready money, and where justice is by law denied to him who has not the wherewithal to pay for it (113).
An odd essay, which starts off with a fairly pluralist Herodotean catalogue of foreign customs – ranging from eating spiders to circumcising women – and then, after a ramble into the power of women to shape the customs of a country, extols faith in right authority, particularly divine law. One feels Montaigne did not follow the line of his thinking – or rather that he did, and was terrified, backing himself into the corner of authoritarianism as a habitual safe haven.1
- Though one where it is possible – indeed recommended – to obey the letter, but not the spirit, of the law. [↩]