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MODERN TYRANTS AND REVOLUTIONS.

HONORIUS V. entered upon his sovereignty with a lie upon his lips, and closed it in the same manner. As he was passing through Cannes, on his return, from Paris to Monaco, on March 1, 1815, his carriage was stopped by soldiers. These were the sentinels which Napoleon, on landing from Elba, had posted on the road to Italy. On being led into the presence of the Emperor, Honorius received from his former master an invitation to accompany him to Paris; he refused, promising nevertheless to await the commands of the Emperor in his own State, and then he continued his journey. On his arrival at Nice he forgot his promise, and hastened to inform the government that Napoleon had landed in Provence.

The government immediately provided for the security of the frontier, and embarked the English troops which were at Nice for the Port of Hercules. They were relieved in the month of June by an Anglo-Italian regiment in the pay of England, who occupied Monaco until the second treaty of Paris.

By this treaty of Nov. 20, 1815, Monaco was removed from the protection which France had exercised over it for 173 years, the protective right being restored to Sardinia, by whose states the principality was surrounded. In consequence, King Victor Emmanuel I. placed a Sardinian garrison in the fortress of Monaco, and received (Nov. 30, 1816) the homage of the Prince for his domains of Mentone and Roccabruna: a final proof that those were only fiefs received from the house of Savoy, and subject to its sovereign jurisdiction.

The Revolution had deprived the Princes of Monaco of the greater part of their feudal property: at least that which remained was insufficient for their habits of princely life, and their tastes of hereditary luxury; and the little State to which they returned was unable to restore their former splendour; especially in the impoverished condition, caused by the barrier of custom houses, which now separated it from France. The pacific dispositions of the people made them willing to make any necessary sacrifice in behalf of their princes, yet this generosity of feeling was little reciprocated.

The former princes, who were both rich and generous, only levied light customs, of which the produce was used in the public expenses, for the profit of the country, while their presence in the midst of their people was a benefit, and a just subject of rejoicing. But the new Sovereigns, ruined by the Revolution, demanded the reparation of their losses, and that the people, while replenishing their treasuries, should satisfy their thirst for luxury. The customs rose to nearly 90,000 francs, including what came from the tobacco manufactory, and the Port of Monaco. The taxes, constantly increased and multiplied, speedily rose to 300,000 francs.

Honorius V. being resolved to revive all the abuses of the old system, for his own profit, with all the oppressions of feudal power, entered upon his principality, with the idea that it was his private property, and that its inhabitants were his serfs. He considered that goods and people alike belonged to him in this land, where his ancestors had reigned; the restoration must give him back that which the revolution had taken away, if not, he would take it back for himself. Thus he lived, as if he was only acting in the simplest, most legitimate way possible, during the whole twenty-five years of his reign, gorging himself with the public substance, but keeping at a distance from the country he was ruining. During this time Honorius V. only made short sojourns of a few days each among his unhappy people, and then returned to France, with all the riches he could collect.

In Paris, Honorius hoped to be beyond the reach of murmurs, and his people were forbidden under severe penalties to address any petition to him, however oppressive their yoke might be. Meanwhile Monaco was systematically plundered; the property of the communes, hospitals, and churches, and the product of the customs, being alike confiscated to the Prince. This was followed by the sequestration of the public revenues, even to the contents of the poor boxes and collections made in churches. The four mills of the commune, which the old princes and the French government had equally respected, were the next objects seized upon, and the inhabitants were forced to shut up their own mills, without obtaining the least compensation, and commanded to grind their olives in the mills of the Prince, under the severest penalties. Every thing was heavily taxed, both on entering the State, and leaving it; oranges, lemons, grapes, essences, oil, in fact the whole produce of the country; and since France and Sardinia both taxed their importation, the exportation-tax almost reduced their value to nothing.

Not content with levying a tribute upon commerce, Honorius soon seized the monopoly of it. He established at Monaco, a manufactory of linen cloth of every description, cloth which was not so good, and much dearer than that elsewhere, yet none of his subjects were allowed to buy from any other than himself; and the boatmen and fishermen of Monaco, especially, were forced to procure all the sails of their vessels from the Prince's manufactory. The monopoly of gunpowder, pipes, cards, ammunition of every kind, and straw hats, were the next things seized upon. The shambles followed, and then, what was far more trying to his subjects, pollenta, which formed almost the entire sustenance of the lower orders.

Honorius however was still in want of money, so he proceeded to make himself at once the only farmer, miller and baker of his country; in a word, to seize the monopoly of "Cereales," For this purpose he brought from Paris a man who had been an army contractor, to whom he committed the monopoly of the corn, flour and bread of the whole principality, on condition of sharing the profits himself, forbidding his subjects to buy anywhere else. Wanting mills for his purpose, he seized the oil mills of his subjects, paying an indemnity which was a mere mockery, and converting them into flour mills; while in order to construct a road to lead to them, he levied an enormous highway rate, which if any proprietor was unable to pay, his neighbour was obliged to pay for him. From this time all strangers passing through Monaco, as well as the inhabitants, were forced to cat the same bread, which was sold at an exorbitant price, though made from refuse flour, bought at a nominal price in the markets of Marseilles and Genoa, and often so bad as to be quite unwholesome.

Whenever the municipal police of Genoa prohibited the sale of some damaged corn, the prince's contractor immediately bought it up, declaring that it was only too good for the people of Monaco. If any good corn was by chance found in the warehouses at Monaco, it was immediately exported to be re-sold, and worse grain bought in its place. The price of this horrible bread rose till it became double than in any other place; then the people addressed a petition to their prince. His only answer was a threat of severe punishment, and the declaration that he would rule them with a rod of iron, "qu'il ferait peser sur eux un bras de fer."

Any attempts of the unhappy inhabitants to obtain bread from Nice, were frustrated by the cordon of surveillance drawn around the principality, and all such signs of rebellion were immediately punished. Even travellers, passing through Monaco, were forced to give up any provisions they might have, on arriving at the frontiers, and the Sardinian workman on crossing the boundary was not allowed to bring with him even his dinner of the day. If the owner of any boat from a strange port, on entering the Port of Monaco, had left uneaten any part of the loaves of bread with which his vessel was furnished on leaving home, he was taught by the confiscation of his vessel and a fine of 500 francs to calculate better another time.

The surveillance of the police did not end out of doors. Private families were watched, private houses entered, and if the consumption of bread in every house was not equal to that which was expected, its inmates were suspected of obtaining contraband food, and were liable to be arrested.

In order still further to fill up the deficiencies in his treasury, caused by the Revolution, the Prince forced those who had acquired any of the lands which had belonged to his ancestors, to give them up without any indemnity. No one in the principality was allowed to export wood, except the prince himself, and no one was ever allowed to cut down a bough from one of their own olive trees, unless the stroke were authorized by the government, and given in the presence of the officials. No one was allowed to sell their own crops, except at a price fixed by the police, and then the purchaser, instead of paying the sum to the proprietor, was obliged to bring his money to a receiver-general established by the prince, who exacted one per cent, on the sale. In a short time no one was allowed to till their own land or water it, or to prune their own trees, without the permission of the police; and at last no one was permitted to leave their house after 10 o'clock at night, without being furnished with a lanthorn, which was also a pretext for a fine. The taxes became at length too absurd for belief. The birth or death of an animal had to be entered in the public register on the same day, on payment of a fine, and was of course taxed. The tax on the birth of a lamb was 25 centimes.

As petitions or complaints to the Prince were more heavily taxed than any thing else, the police had all their own way, and could oppress the people in any manner they pleased.

The difficulties occasioned by the passport, which every one was obliged to have in order to cross the frontier, made attempts to escape from this oppressed land nearly impossible; and as the State was only two leagues in width, an expenditure of three francs was often necessary, even for an ordinary walk.

Out of a population of 6,500 inhabitants, Honorius contrived to extract an income of 350,000 francs a-year, of which 80,000 served to pay the guards and officials of the government, and the rest was squandered by the Prince himself in France, at a distance of 300 leagues from his unhappy people. For twenty-one years Honorius's tyranny continued, and then with one voice his people gave thanks to God for his death. On the right of the altar, in the last chapel of the parish church at Monaco, is his grave; still an object of abhorrence to his subjects, and bearing the inscription on its surface, which records the falsehood his dying lips commanded to be placed there, "Ci git qui voulut le bien."


Honorius V. left the succession to his brother Florestan Roger Louis de Grimaldi, married in 1816 to Mario Louise Caroline Gilbert, of Metz, a lady who became at once the actual Sovereign, though her husband was the nominal one, and whose mis-government was the cause of the Revolution which ensued.

Florestan himself was a mere nonentity, without cither vices or virtues: utterly unequal to the position to which he was called, he succumbed at once to the imperious character of his wife, from whom he seldom ventured to differ. "He did no wrong himself; nevertheless he allowed others to do it in his name."

Still the accession of Florestan inspired fresh hopes. On his first arrival at Mentone, the people suddenly surrounded his carriage, whilst he was visiting the Governor, and unharnessing the horses, awaited his exit, crying out with one voice, "A bas l'Exclusive! A bas les Monopoles." The Prince overwhelmed with terror, yielded on the spot to this imperious demand, and promised to abolish all the monopolies, especially that of food, and a few days after, the liberty of "Cereales" was actually proclaimed, and the unwholesome bread disappeared, to the advantage both of the health and fortunes of the people. But still the Prince, or rather the Princess, retained the monopoly for the grinding of corn.

People soon found out, that what the government let go with one hand, they seized with the other. The duties on the export of fruits had been so heavy, that the proprietors had been driven to cut down their trees, the merchants to shut up their warehouses, the ship-owners to sink their vessels. These duties were lowered, but only sufficiently to prevent driving the inhabitants to actual despair, and this was the sole concession which the cupidity of the new government allowed them to make. For the rest, there were the same extortions, and the same despotic rule.

The void in the treasury was filled up by expedients, which maintained the amount of the annual civil list at 320,000 francs. Since the State contained only 6,500 inhabitants, this was a taxation of more than 50 francs a-head. Since 1815 more than six millions had been extracted from the State, and expended at Paris, not one centime having been allowed to benefit the country whence it came.

By the treaties of 1815 the Prince of Monaco was bound to give to his principality the same laws which were in force in Sardinia, and the people presented a humble petition to Florestan, begging that he would carry out the conditions of those treaties. To this address he harshly replied, "Je ne veux rien entendre, je suis ici pour gouverner moi-même. Je n'ai besoin de conseil de personne."

Hardly repressing his indignation at such an answer, one of the deputation added, "Toujours est il, prince, que nous sommes heureux, que votre Altesse ait entendu l'expression de nos voeux et de nos besoins." "Vos besoins, je les connais," answered the Prince, cooly turning his back upon the deputation. Henceforward there was nothing left for the people, but patient submission, and the hope of brighter days.

The Prince's visits to Monaco became more and more rare, and when he did appear, it was only to lay some new burden upon his oppressed subjects.

When the Italian crisis came in 1847, the Prince was in Paris, whence the call of duty urged him to hasten immediately to his principality, yet he dared not face his unhappy subjects, or quit Paris, for a voice from the pontifical throne had already announced to Italy that the hour for its emancipation was arrived, and that Pius IX. had begun to grant reforms in Rome.

The principality of Monaco, filled with joy at the thought of coming freedom, turned hopefully towards Charles Albert as its liberator. His birthday, 4th Nov. 1847, was memorable in the history of Mentone, for on that day its streets resounded with cries of "Viva Pio Nono, Viva il Re di Sardaigno.'' This first energetic demonstration was followed up three days afterwards by a procession of the whole population of the town, headed by the dignitaries of the church and the municipal authorities, to the Governor's house, begging him to present their former petition to the Prince of Monaco, that they might henceforward be governed by the same laws and institutions which were in operation in the Sardinian territory. The Governor promised to transmit this petition to the Prince, and second it with his influence. On the 16th a despatch arrived from Paris, in which the Prince promised the desired reforms; but a rumour gaining ground that a second and confidential despatch had come to the government, annulling the first, and ordering the arrest of all malcontents, caused the people, now in the greatest excitement, to surround the government house, demanding to hear the promises of the Prince ratified by his own lips. At length, Florestan, dreading a revolt, decided on leaving Paris, and returning to his State; but, on arriving at Monaco, instead of courageously meeting his subjects, he shut himself up in his palace, and forbade the authorities and people of Mentone to present themselves before him. The people of Roccabruna, equally desirous of reform, were equally forbidden access; and when a month later the deputies of the people, ventured to present an address to the Prince, they were repulsed with violence. This brought public frenzy to a climax: crowds traversed the town with flags flying, singing Italian hymns to Liberty, their complaints mingling with appeals to the honoured name of Charles Albert.

The Prince, for a moment, seemed inclined to yield, and his son, the Duke of Valentinois, was commissioned to enter into a negotiation with the people, but this was soon discovered to be merely a new deception; and the agitation began again by the shipowners being summoned, and reproached by the Prince with being subservient to the rich, to which these brave men replied, "Nous ne faisons qu' un; nos interets et nos voeux sont communs, et nous som-mes unis, voyez vous, comme les cinque doigts de la main. C'a été toujours ainsi, et sera toujours." The irritation of the Prince at this reply, led to the arrest of several of his most influential subjects, even the aged Cure of Mentone being denounced as a factious person, and sent to be examined by the Bishop of Nice, from whom he returned with praises and wishes for "a better fortune." At length, all attempts having failed to induce the Prince to act in a straightforward manner, wearied with concessions which always proved delusive, the people of Mentone and Roccabruna, after 33 years of patient submission, finally threw off the yoke of Monaco, and on the 2nd of March, 1848, unfurled the flag of Italy, and proclaimed .themselves "Free towns under the protection of Sardinia." Thus was brought about a revolution, which though perhaps the smallest, was certainly the most unanimous, which has ever occurred in history. The first care of the provisional government, consisting of 100 inhabitants of the liberated cities, was to send an explanation of what had happened to the courts of France and Sardinia, with a request that their consuls would respect the flag of Italy, which had been adopted by Mentone and Roccabruna. A favorable answer was returned at once from Turin, and after some further explanation, M. Lamartine, then Minister of foreign affairs in France, also recognized their independence. The revolution thus became a "fait accompli," and was celebrated by a Te Deum, which was sung publicly in the parish church of Mentone.

Monaco alone of all his former dominions, was now left to the Prince, who in vain tried to beguile the rest of his subjects back to their allegiance.

The earnest desire of the two free towns was to be united to Piedmont; a wish so unanimous, that during the five days appointed for taking votes on this subject, not one contrary vote was registered. A deputation was sent to Turin, to present the petition to Charles Albert, who received it favourably; and although the calumnies spread by the partizans of the Prince of Monaco, induced the French to interfere, alleging that votes had been bought, and that women and children had signed the petition, they were soon convinced of the injustice of the accusation, and the opposition was withdrawn. The Chamber of Deputies at Turin, decreed that Mentone and Roccabruna should be governed as the other states of the kingdom, and should form an integral part of them. A royal commissioner was sent to organize the two communes, and several of the Sardinian laws were published and put in force. Meantime, the news of the annexation was hailed with the utmost joy, and its influence soon changed the whole aspect of the country. Schools, hospitals, and fountains, were reopened and repaired, agriculture began once more to flourish, and commerce to be profitable.

The only question now raised was as to the amount of the indemnity which should be paid by the towns to their former rulers. "Propose to the Prince a suitable indemnity," was the demand of the French Cabinet to that of Turin, "and if he does not act reasonably, we will abandon his cause." Consequently, Florestan knew that if he refused to listen to the negotiation all would be lost. Every proposition, however, made by Sardinia, as to an annual rent to be paid for Mentone and Roccabruna, or as to the purchase of Monaco itself, was rejected by the Prince, and at length he mentioned conditions, to which it was impossible to accede. On Septr. 22nd, 1852, a deputation sent to Louis Napoleon, then President of the French Republic, met with promises of sympathy and help, and though in the next two years, the question of the annexation of the free towns to Sardinia was almost forgotten, in the great events which followed; France no longer made any opposition to it.

It was desired by the Sardinian government that Monaco itself should be included in the annexation, but this project the Duke of Valentinois was determined to baffle. He had formed a plan for establishing an international bank at Monaco, as a centre for all the provincial commerce of the Mediterranean; and being of determined and enterprising character, he resolved to make a last effort to recover his lost patrimony, and for this purpose made overtures to all the great powers to assist him, even to Austria, the hereditary enemy of his country; but the attention of these powers was too fully engrossed by the political changes then agitating Europe to allow of their espousing his cause. Three years of peace and prosperity had passed, when, despairing of foreign assistance, the Duke of Valentinois once more made an attempt to repossess himself of Mentone. On the 6th of April, 1854, at 6 o'clock in the morning, he arrived at the Hotel de Turin, in a gilt carriage decorated with the royal arms of Monaco, wearing the splendid uniform of the principality, with the emblems of the various orders to which he belonged, and accompanied by two of his principal officers. Here three or four persons meeting him raised the cry of "Vive le Prince," which brought out about thirty men and women, who, taking the horses from the carriage, drew it through the principal street, carrying before it a flag bearing the arms of the Grimaldi family. The alarm had however been given, and on the appearance of the National guard, these few adherents of royalty fled in consternation, leaving him to the anger of the crowd. The Duke descended from his carriage, sword in hand, and such was the exasperation of the people, that he would probably have paid for his temerity by his life, had not the Quarter-master of the Carabineers, with two of his men, arrived in time to rescue him; the Duke then begged to be taken to a place of safety, and was conducted to the barracks. The National Guard and people of Roccabruna hearing of the Duke's arrival, hastened in arms to help the Mentonese. The authorities of Nice being informed of what was going on at Mentone, sent M. de la Marmora, the Commander of the Carabineers, and M. Faraldo, to investigate the affair, and after making the fullest enquiries, both from the people and the Duke himself, they deemed it best, for the safety of the latter, to take him to Nice, and retain him in the Castle of Villa Franca, till the Sardinian government had been informed of his attempt to regain the town.

After this time, Mentone and Roccabruna led a peaceful and free existence for nine years, under the Sardinian protectorate, during which time, both places increased annually in wealth and prosperity. The discovery of Mentone by the English, as a warm and healthful winter residence, brought each year an increasing number of strangers, many of whom have bought land, and built beautiful villas in the neighbourhood. The new road to Sospello and Turin offered an outlet to commerce and native productions, and the freedom from taxes and customs, and consequent increase of profit upon labour, gave an additional stimulus to the native industry.

In 1860 the war in Piedmont led to the cession of Nice to France. It was then left to the people of Mentone and Roccabruna, to choose whether they would remain Italian, or become French; whether they would oppose the annexation to France, or vote for it; and they chose the latter. How far they were led to this step, by the false impression that a union with France would facilitate the exportation of their oranges and lemons; how far they were biassed by their syndic, who had married a French wife, and whose partialities have never been disguised, although he was appointed by the Sardinian government; how far they were influenced by the Partouneaux family, which have long been resident among them, must remain unknown, but it is certain that the people repent bitterly now of what they have done, and repent too late. The renewal of taxation and conscription are among the troubles they have brought back upon themselves.

"We were free, but we took our liberty and trampled it under our feet," is now the repentant cry of many a poor Mentonese.

When Sardinia had given up her claims upon Mentone and Roccabruna, and when the two Communes had given themselves away, it still remained for France to satisfy the claims of their ancient ruler, the Prince of Monaco, who had never yet recognized them as belonging to any other than himself, though they had so long ceased to pay him taxes, or shew deference to his authority. This was done (February 1861) by purchasing his claim upon his unprofitable dominions for £600,000, for which sum he consented to give up everything, except the rock of Monaco itself, with its huge neglected palace, and the title of his ancestors. Even Monaco is now liable to French conscription and taxation, so that the authority of the Prince is reduced to little more than that of a syndic in his own metropolis.