THE History of Mentone is in fact that of Monaco, with which it has been linked in almost all the varied vicissitudes of its fortune, and the history of Monaco is scarcely more than that of the Grimaldi family, who have been its rulers, and whose good and bad qualities have been like a thermometer of the prosperity of the State, ever since it sprang into existence.

Until towards the commencement of the 13th century Monaco was only a deserted rock, at the foot of which, ships, coasting along the shores of Liguria and Provence, were wont to seek a refuge from the storm.

According to Dionysius of Halicarnassus, and other writers, Hercules built a temple to his own honour on this spot, after a victory over the ancient Ligurian inhabitants of the territory; ("Monoeci similiter arcem et portum ad perennem sui memoriam consecravit,") which temple was served by a single priest, a hermit, a monk, (Monachus), whence some derive the name. Others believe that the name was due to the Phocians, who gave this temple the distinctive title of μονος οικος.

Long before the city of Monaco existed, the ancient Portus Herculis at its foot was known and valued. Here Augustus Caesar embarked for Genoa, on his way to Rome, after having set up his victorious trophies at La Turbia. "Aggeribus socer Alpinis atque arce Monoeci descendens."

The neighbourhood of the Port became the scene of the combats between Otho and Vitellius, and there Fabius Valens, a general of Vitellius, lauded the troops intended for the support of Marius Maturius, against a Gallic rebellion. In 286 the emperor Maximin returned by this way from his expedition against the Bogandes, a fact recorded by Claudius in the words, "Tu modo Galliae oppida illustraveras; jam summas arces Monoeci Herculis praeteribas."

The scattered Ligurian village, which occupied these shores, were constantly pillaged and destroyed by the Saracens, who in 814 took possession of the heights of Esa, Turbia, and St. Agnese, whence they descended from their mountain castles to ravage the neighbourhood, the Portus Monoeci itself falling entirely into their hands, and lying utterly waste during the 8th, 9th, and 10th centuries. At length among the Christian champions who appeared to do battle in their behalf, was a noble knight of Genoa, called Giballino Grimaldi, who after a great victory over the Saracens, was welcomed as a deliverer by the inhabitants, and received the lands along this beautiful gulf, as the reward of his valour. This was the beggining of the Grimaldi rule, and the first cause of the Genoese power in Monaco. All the land of the Ligurian Riviera, from Monaco to Porto Venere, was afterwards granted in fief to the Genoese by the emperor Frederick 1st; a grant which was recognised by their neighbour Count Raymond, of Provence, in a charter which gave them "Podium et montem Monaci, cum suis pertinenciis ad incastellandum." This cession was again renewed by the emperor Henry IV, on condition that the Genoese would build a castle at Monaco, for the better defence of the Christians against the Saracens. Hitherto no building had occupied the heights of Monaco, except a chapel, which had been built on the site of the ancient temple in 1078, by two inhabitants of La Turbia; but in consequence of this, on the 6th of June, 1191, three galleys from Genoa, containing a number of noble Genoese citizens, with one Fulco di Castello at their head, and followed by galleys laden with timber, iron, and other materials for building, disembarked at Monaco, when having defined their rights, in the presence of the imperial commissioners, by making the circuit of the desolate rock with olive boughs, they built a fortress, with four towers and circular walls, around which a new town soon began to spring up. The cession of Monaco to Genoa was ratified by the emperor Frederick II, on condition that its fortifications should be always at the service of the empire.

From 1270 to 1340, Monaco, an almost impregnable citadel, served as a refuge to the Guelfs and Ghibelines alternately, the former being represented by the Grimaldis, the latter by the Spinolas. Each party twice besieged the other within its walls, and each was twice supplanted by its opponents. On the Christmas Eve, however, of 1306, while all the inhabitants were celebrating the solemn midnight-mass, Charles Grimaldi, contrived to enter Monaco disguised as a monk, and having cut the throats of the sentinels, to let in his accomplices. From this period, with the exception of eleven years (1327—1338) the place remained in the hands of the Grimaldis, of whom Rabclla Grimaldi bought a formal investment of his rights from Genoa, for 1200 gold florins.

In 1346, Charles (Grimaldi) 1st, bought part of Mentone from Emmanuel Vento of Genoa, and Roccabruna from Guiglielmo Lascaris, Count of Ventimiglia, for 16,000 florins, to which his title of Prince was recognized in 1353. The rest of Mentone was bought by another branch of the Grimaldi family. In 1357, the Genoese, jealous of its rising importance, besieged Monaco by sea and land, and obliged it to surrender, but the exile of the Grimaldis on this occasion only lasted for a few months.

It may not be uninteresting to give a list of the earlier Princes of Monaco, merely noting the principal events of each reign.

1346. Charles 1st. First recognized Prince of Monaco, who was besieged by Genoa, and took refuge at Nice, whence he soon returned in triumph.

1363. Regnier. A brave warrior mixed up in papal politics. He first took part with Urban VI, and seized the anti-papal cardinals on their way to Avignon, as they passed through Mentone; but afterwards he changed his polities, and did equal service to the anti-Pope Clement VII. Monaco was seized and taken during his reign by Jean Grimaldi, Baron de Beuil, and his brother Louis, but not content with this conquest, they attacked Ventimiglia also, where they were both taken prisoners, and Monaco was restored to Regnier by the Genoese in 1401. Regnier was Prince of Monaco alone; his brother Charles inherited Mentone, with the title of Conseigneur. 1407. Ambroise.

1424. Jean I. As Genoa had fallen into the hands of the Viscontis, this prince, with the Conseigneur of Mentone and Roccabruna, found it prudent to espouse their cause. As a reward he received the command of the Genoese fleet, with the title of Admiral, in which capacity he gained a great victory over the Venetians, when 28 galleys and 42 transport vessels were taken, and 3000 men were killed. Returning to Genoa covered with glory, he received the sister of Doge Thomaso Fregosa in marriage. On the expulsion of the Milanese, Jean Grimaldi was so afraid that the Genoese, in order the better to strengthen their power, might take part of his dominions away from him, that he offered the suzerainty of his outlying possessions of Roccabruna and the half of Mentone, to Louis, Duke of Savoy, to whom he did homage in 1448. From this time the Grimaldis continually did homage to the Dukes of Savoy, for their domain of Mentone and Roccabruna, presenting themselves before them, bare-headed, without boots or spurs, and receiving again the investiture of their lands as fiefs of Savoy, by the outward sign of a sword, and a kiss on the mouth, according to ancient custom. This fact was alleged as a reason for the late revolution of 1849, when Mentone and Roccabruna deserted from the government of the Princes of Monaco, and placed themselves under the protection of the King of Sardinia, declaring that they only appealed to their true Sovereign, from his provincial governor. 1454. Catalan.

1457. Lambert. This prince received Ventimiglia as the reward of services rendered to Francesco Sforza, the new Lord of Milan. But after his death, refusing allegiance to his successor Galeazzo, he was besieged in Monaco by the Duke of Savoy, ally of Genoa; but after two months blockade, agreed to the terms of a capitulation, which resulted in peace. Lambert bought from his cousins, Honorius and Luca Grimaldi, the rights which they retained over Mentone, and thus re-united all that had belonged to the Monaco Grimaldis before 1346, when the territory was divided on the death of Charles I.

1493. Jean II. This prince was made lieutenant of the Riviera, by Charles VIII of France, whose cause he espoused. He was murdered by his brother Lucien in 1505.

1505. Lucien. During the government of this prince, Genoa shook off the yoke of France, which caused many of its principal families to take flight and seek a refuge in Monaco. This led to a blockade of the town by the Genoese, which lasted five months, at the end of which time, aided by the troops of the Duke of Savoy, who occupied the heights of La Turbia, Lucien was able to make such a successful resistance, that the Genoese raised the siege. Emboldened by this triumph, Monaco shook off the yoke of the Republic. In 1515 Lucien bought from Anne de Lascaris, Countess of Villars, the feudal rights which her family still retained over Mentone, and died in 1523, murdered by his nephew Bartholomew Doria, of Dolceaqua, in the palace of Monaco.

1523. Honorius I. Augustino Grimaldi, Bishop of Grasse, became the guardian of this prince during his minority, and in order the better to avenge himself on the murderers of his brother Lucien, he deserted Francis I. of France, and swore allegiance to the emperor Charles V., whence began the Spanish protection of Monaco. Charles V. paid the Grimaldis a visit in 1529 at Monaco, where they had already received Pope Adrian VI. in 1522. On the death of Augustino in 1532, Stefano Grimaldi succeeded to the guardianship of the prince. He restored the Church of St. Nicholas and enlarged the palace, where he received Pope Paul III. on his way to the council of Nice. Prince Honorius himself was remarkable for his bravery, wisdom, and valour.

1581. Charles II., protected by Spain, was the first prince who refused to do homage to the Dukes of Savoy, for Mentone and Roccabruna, which he was consequently declared to have forfeited, after a solemn trial in 1583.

1589. Hercules, relying on the protection of Spain, persisted in refusing to do homage to Savoy for Mentone and Roccabruna. From this time the protection which Spain had granted to the Grimaldi family, became a yoke over their possessions. Hence the remains of the Spanish language which are still perceptible in the more remote parts of the principality. Hercules, being accused by some of the inhabitants of Monaco of dishonouring their daughters, was summarily thrown into the sea by them and drowned, in 1604.

1604. Honorius II. Advantage was taken by Philip III. of Spain of the minority of this prince, to introduce a fixed Spanish garrison into Monaco, but on his coming of age, he determined to shake off the Spanish yoke; and having placed Monaco under the protection of France, by a treaty with Richelieu at Peronne, he contrived to surprise the Spanish garrison by night and expel them for ever. The government of this sovereign, which lasted 58 years, was wise and paternal, and his death was the cause of universal mourning; but the foreign tyranny still continued, the only difference being that Monaco was occupied by a French instead of a Spanish garrison. Honorius was succeeded by his grandson.

1662. Louis I. This prince, equally remarkable for his own vices, and for the severe laws which he drew up to guard the virtue of his subjects, was made ambassador from France to Rome, where he was so ruined by his luxurious mode of living, that in order to replenish his coffers, he forced his subjects to relinquish their rights over the oil-mills which belonged to them; a usurpation of which the Princes of Monaco till very recently continued to take advantage. Louis died at Rome.

1701. Antoine, who in 1714, after an appeal on the part of the Duke of Savoy to the Assembly General of Utrecht, which referred it to the Courts of France and England, was obliged to renew the homage due from the Princes of Monaco to the Dukes of Savoy, for Mentone and Roccabruna. This prince had no sons, but married his eldest daughter Louise Hippolyte Grimaldi to Jacques de Torigny, Count de Matignon, who consented to bear the arms and name of Grimaldi, and who, by the marriage contract, was appointed the successor of Antoine, contrary to the law regulating fiefs of the empire, by which women have no right of succession. Antoine was the only Prince of Monaco, except Honorius II., who devoted himself to the welfare of his people, and the only one who was really regretted by them.

1731. Louise Hippolyte. The Count de Matignon, entitled by his marriage contract to succeed his father-in-law, came to take possession, of Monaco; but the people refused to accept him as their ruler, and conferred the sovereign title upon the Princess Louise Hippolyte. The Count yielded to this manifestation of the popular will, and retired to Paris. In consequence of the authority with which she was invested, the Princess, in 1731, did homage to Charles Emmanuel III. for the fiefs of Mentone and Roccabruna, after the manner of her ancestors, but died within the year. In her became extinct the ancient house of the Monaco Grimaldis. She was succeeded by her eldest son. 1731. Honorius III. of Grimaldi Matignon, who did homage to King Victor Amadeus III. for the fiefs of Mentone and Roccabruna. The marriage of this prince gave a curious example of the aristocratic bondage which preceded the French Revolution. Falling passionately in love with the beautiful Catarina do Brignole, niece of the Doge of Genoa, he demanded her hand of her father, and his proposals being favourably received, a deputy was sent to fetch the bride from Genoa to the Port of Hercules. A question, however, of etiquette which arose on her arrival, was near putting an end to every thing; and this was, whether the bride should land to meet the prince, or, whether the prince should go on board to meet the bride. As neither would yield, the Countess mother declared that she should carry her daughter back to Genoa, when after a furious discussion, she was at length induced to agree to a flying bridge being thrown from the galley to the shore, on which the prince and his fiancée both agreed to advance half-way. Honorius had two sons, Honorius IV., who married Louise d'Aumont, Duchess of Mazarin, and Joseph, who married a daughter of the Marechal de Choiseul.

The French Revolution, in its general overthrow of governments, did not pass over that of Monaco. Early in 1790, a deputation was sent to Honorius III., representing the grievances of the people, and demanding a municipality with popular suffrage. His only answer was to hurry back to his state, resolved to crush the new ideas in the bud, but the attitude of the people was so threatening on his arrival, that he was thankful to grant all they demanded, and to return to France as quickly as possible.

A year afterwards, imagining that the Revolution had passed over, he withdrew the concessions which fear had forced from him, and made the yoke of his absolute power weigh more heavily upon his people than ever. It was not long before the French army crossed the Var, took possession of Nice, and proclaimed the abolition of the feudal system in the possessions of the Prince of Monaco, who was thus deprived of his sovereignty. Prince Honorius III. was a man of intelligence and distinction, but of dissolute manners; a prince celebrated for his magnificence, but detested for his tyranny, he died at Paris in 1795.

Incorporated with France by a decree of the Convention of the 15th February, 1793, and comprised in the department of the Maritime Alps, the ex-principality of Monaco followed the revolutionary movement in all its phases, only remaining free from its sanguinary excesses. The people burnt Pope Pius VI. in effigy in the Piazza of Monaco, yet, only a few months later, when the vessel which bore his remains, was forced by a tempest to seek shelter in the Port of Hercules, all the town came together like one man to do him honour, and his coffin was deposited in the principal church, where funeral honours were rendered to him. A similar welcome was given 13 years later to the living Pius VII., when he passed through Mentone in 1814, on his return to Rome from exile.

When the European powers, united at Paris, were dividing the empire, which victory had given to Napoleon, the tiny principality of Monaco seemed at first to be forgotten, and likely to be restored as part of Nice to the house of Savoy, to whom all the territory of the Republic of Genoa was given up. But, by a strange exception, due, it is said, to the interested intervention of Talleyrand, a line was allowed to be inserted in the 8th article of the treaty, which declared that "the principality of Monaco should be replaced in the relations in which it existed before the 1st of January 1792."

By this unexpected exception in their favour, the house of Matignon-Grimaldi recovered the sovereignty which it had lost for twenty-one years; the article of the treaty of Peronne, which placed their State under the protection of France, being maintained by the Powers.

The new Prince Honorius IV. (oldest son of Honorius III.) was incapacitated from governing by illness, and his duties devolved on his brother Joseph, who was justly popular with the inhabitants. Unfortunately his rule was of short duration; the government fell into the hands of his nephew, the Duke of Valentinois, who took the name of Honorius V. of fatal memory.

The tranquillity of this reign and of that which followed, though unmoved by the sufferings of the people, was long and seriously disturbed by another cause, which was no less than the appearance of a rival branch of the Grimaldi family, who laid claim to the throne of Monaco, and whose rights, never wholly disproved, are still believed in by many persons.

The direct male line of Grimaldi had become extinct in the year 1748, in the person of Honoré François, Archbishop of Besançon. This personage had however before yielded his rights to his niece Louise-Hippolyte, Countess of Goyon Matignon, who was enabled by the virtues of her father Antoine, and the love and gratitude with which he had inspired his subjects, to succeed to his Sovereignty in 1731, in spite of the law which prohibited females from inheriting, if any agnats, that is to say, males descended from males of the family, were still in existence.

At the time, however, that Louise Hippolyte took possession of her sovereignty, two agnat branches of the families were still in existence, one nearly related, the issue of Gaspard Grimaldi, Marquis of Cagnes, the other more distantly, the issue of Luchetto Grimaldi, Seigneur della Pietra, who lived in the 15th century.

When Louise Hippolyte took possession, the Marquis of Cagnes was too young to contend with her in behalf of his rights, and no one could be found who was willing to act for him; afterwards he grew up too indolent to support his own cause; but on Jan. 12, 1761, one of his sons, the Marquis of Sauveur Gaspard, addressed a protestation to the court of France against what he called the usurpation of the Counts of Matignon. In 1774 he renewed this protest at Vienna before the aulic council, where his pretensions were taken into consideration.

It was placed beyond dispute that the fiefs of Monaco, Mentone, and Roccabruna, were true imperial fiefs, and consequently that Louise Hippolyte de Grimaldi, married to Count Jacques de Matignon, could not have taken possession without violating the well-known laws which regulated the succession in all fiefs of this kind. No further notice was taken at the time of the application of the Marquis Sauveur Gaspard, and 15 years later the French revolution swept away, for the time, both the dispute and the cause of it.

After the restoration, this branch of the house of Grimaldi, revived their claims. Thus on Jan. 21, 1841, before King Charles Albert could give to Prince Florestan the investiture of Mentone and Roccabruna, the Marquis Charles Philippe Auguste de Cagnes, at that time residing at Saint Marcellin in France, addressed a memorial to the Sardinian government to justify his rights of preference, and to demand the suspension of the infeudation. The king, being doubtless of opinion that this infeudation, which was only a repetition of those which had already taken place in 1716, 1733, 1775, 1812, 1816, could not injure the rights of the Marquis if they were well founded, did not think it right to yield to his request, and conferred the investiture in question upon Prince Florestan. The Marquis de Cagnes formally protested against the validity of this act, in a note which he sent on Jan. 16, 1842, to the Cabinet of Turin, but the feeling excited in his favour was of short duration, and though this branch of the house of Grimaldi have never ceased to assert their rights to the sovereignty of Monaco, the descendants of Louise Hippolyte still enjoy it.