From Herodotus’ Histories (1.133), a supposed custom of the Persians:
Moreover it is their custom to deliberate about the gravest matters when they are drunk; and what they approve in their counsels is proposed to them the next day by the master of the house where they deliberate, when they are now sober and if being sober they still approve it, they act thereon, but if not, they cast it aside. And when they have taken counsel about a matter when sober, they decide upon it when they are drunk.
μεθυσκόμενοι δὲ ἐώθασι βουλεύεσθαι τὰ σπουδαιέστατα τῶν πρηγμάτων· τὸ δ᾿ ἂν ἅδῃ σφι βουλευομένοισι, τοῦτο τῇ ὑστεραίῃ νήφουσι προτιθεῖ ὁ στέγαρχος, ἐν τοῦ ἂν ἐόντες βουλεύωνται, καὶ ἢν μὲν ἅδῃ καὶ νήφουσι, χρέωνται αὐτῷ, ἢν δὲ μὴ ἅδῃ, μετιεῖσι. τὰ δ᾿ ἂν νήφοντες προβουλεύσωνται, μεθυσκόμενοι ἐπιδιαγινώσκουσι.
Tacitus reports a similar custom in the Germania (22):
after washing they take a meal, seated apart, each at his own table: then, arms in hand, they proceed to business, or, just as often, to revelry. To make day and night run into one in drinking is a reproach to no man: brawls are frequent, naturally, among heavy drinkers: they are seldom settled with abuse, more often with wounds and bloodshed; nevertheless the mutual reconciliation of enemies, the forming of family alliances, the appointment of chiefs, the question even of war or peace, are usually debated at these banquets; as though at no other time were the mind more open to obvious, or better warmed to larger, thoughts. The people are without craft or cunning, and expose in the freedom of the occasion the heart’s previous secrets; so every mind is bared to nakedness: on the next day the matter is handled afresh; so the principle of each debating season is justified: deliberation comes when they are incapable of pretence, but decision when they are secure from illusion.
lauti cibum capiunt: separatae singulis sedes et sua cuique mensa, tum ad negotia nec minus saepe ad convivia procedunt armati. diem noctemque continuare potando nulli probrum. crebrae, ut inter vinolentos, rixae raro conviciis, saepius caede et vulneribus transiguntur. sed et de reconciliandis invicem inimicis et iungendis adfinitatibus et adsciscendis principibus, de pace denique ac bello plerumque in conviviis consultant, tamquam nullo magis tempore aut ad simplices cogitationes pateat animus aut ad magnas incalescat. gens non astuta nec callida aperit adhuc secreta pectoris licentia loci; ergo detecta et nuda omnium mens. postera die retractatur1 et salva utriusque temporis ratio est: deliberant, dum fingere nesciunt, constituunt, dum errare non possunt.
And finally Laurence Sterne adds the Shandean variant, further enriched with a Lit de justice pun:
THE ancient Goths of Germany, who (the learned Cluverius is positive) were first seated in the country between the Vistula and the Oder, and who afterwards incorporated the Herculi, the Bugians, and some other Vandallick clans to ’em—had all of them a wise custom of debating every thing of importance to their state, twice, that is,—once drunk, and once sober:——Drunk—that their councils might not want vigour;——and sober—that they might not want discretion.
Now my father being entirely a water-drinker,—was a long time gravelled almost to death, in turning this as much to his advantage, as he did every other thing which the ancients did or said; and it was not till the seventh year of his marriage, after a thousand fruitless experiments and devices, that he hit upon an expedient which answered the purpose;——and that was, when any difficult and momentous point was to be settled in the family, which required great sobriety, and great spirit too, in its determination,——he fixed and set apart the first Sunday night in the month, and the Saturday night which immediately preceded it, to argue it over, in bed with my mother: By which contrivance, if you consider, Sir, with yourself, * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *
These my father, humorously enough, called his beds of justice;——for from the two different counsels taken in these two different humours, a middle one was generally found out which touched the point of wisdom as well, as if he had got drunk and sober a hundred times.
What the reader is to consider is one of the earliest jokes of the novel (chap 4 of volume 1):
——————Shut the door.——————
I was begot in the night betwixt the first Sunday and the first Monday in the month of March, in the year of our Lord one thousand seven hundred and eighteen. I am positive I was.—But how I came to be so very particular in my account of a thing which happened before I was born, is owing to another small anecdote known only in our own family, but now made publick for the better clearing up this point.
My father, you must know, who was originally a Turkey merchant, but had left off business for some years, in order to retire to, and die upon, his paternal estate in the county of ——, was, I believe, one of the most regular men in every thing he did, whether ’twas matter of business, or matter of amusement, that ever lived. As a small specimen of this extreme exactness of his, to which he was in truth a slave, he had made it a rule for many years of his life,—on the first Sunday-night of every month throughout the whole year,—as certain as ever the Sunday-night came,—to wind up a large house-clock, which we had standing on the back-stairs head, with his own hands:—And being somewhere between fifty and sixty years of age at the time I have been speaking of,—he had likewise gradually brought some other little family concernments to the same period, in order, as he would often say to my uncle Toby, to get them all out of the way at one time, and be no more plagued and pestered with them the rest of the month.