grande and petite robe

The grande robe consisted of magistrates, the petite robe of notaries and advocates. The latter sometimes performed judicial functions, hence their rank was ambiguous. La Bruyère had at one time belonged to the petite robe himself and thus displays a certain professional loyalty. Venality of office was an established principle.

Note from Of The Town, the seventh chapter of 'Characters' by Jean De La Bruyère (1688)

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