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your country, who will bully you out time felt that the powerful ally who of money till you have none left in had set him up might pull him down, your treasury. I beg your Excellency and had been looking round for supwill rely on the fidelity of the English, port against the formidable strength by and of those troops which are attached which he had himself been hitherto to you.” He wrote in a similar strain supported. He knew that it would be to the governor of Patna, a brave na- impossible to find among the natives tive soldier whom he highly esteemed. of India any force which would look " Come to no terms ; defend your city the Colonel's little army in the face. to the last. Rest assured that the The French power in Bengal was exEnglish are stanch and firm friends, tinct. But the fame of the Dutch had and that they never desert a cause in anciently been great in the Eastern which they have once taken a part.” seas; and it was not yet distinctly
He kept his word. Shah Alum had known in Asia how much the power of invested Patna, and was on the point Holland had declined in Europe. Seof proceeding to storm, when he learned cret communications passed between that the Colonel was advancing by the court of Moorshedabad and the forced marches. The whole army Dutch factory at Chinsurah ; and urwhich was approaching consisted of gent letters were sent from Chinsurah, only four hundred and fifty Europeans exhorting the government of Batavia and two thousand five hundred sepoys. to fit out an expedition which might But Clive and his Englishmen were now balance the power of the English in objects of dread over all the East. As Bengal. The authorities of Batavia, soon as his advanced guard appeared, eager to extend the influence of their the besiegers fled before him. A few country, and still more eager to obtain French adventurers who were about the for themselves a share of the wealth person of the prince advised him to try which had recently raised so many the chance of battle ; but in vain. In a English adventurers to opulence, few days this great army, which had equipped a powerful armament. Seven been regarded with so much uneasiness large ships from Java arrived unexby the court of Moorshedabad, melted pectedly in the Hoogley. The miliaway before the mere terror of the tary force on board amounted to fifBritish name.
teen hundred men, of whom about one The conqueror returned in triumph half were Europeans. The enterprise to Fort William. The joy of Meer was well timed. Clive had sent such Jaffier was as unbounded as his fears large detachments to oppose the French had been, and led him to bestow on in the Carnatic that his army was now his preserver a princely token of gra- inferior in number to that of the Dutch. titude. The quit-rent which the East He knew that Meer Jaffier secretly faIndia Company were bound to pay to voured the invaders. He knew that the Nabob for the extensive lands held he took on himself a serious responby them to the south of Calcutta sibility if he attacked the forces of a amounted to near thirty thousand friendly power ; that the English mipounds sterling a year. The whole of nisters could not wish to see a war this splendid estate, sufficient to sup- with Holland added to that in which port with dignity the highest rank of they were already engaged with the British peerage, was now conferred France ; that they might disavow his on Clive for life.
acts : that they might punish him. This present we think Clive justified He had recently remitted a great part in accepting. It was a present which, of his fortune to Europe, through the from its very nature, could be no se- Dutch East India Company ; and he cret. In fact, the Company itself was had therefore a strong interest in his tenant, and, by its acquiescence, avoiding any quarrel. But he was sasignified its approbation of Meer Jaf- tisfied that, if he suffered the Batavian fier's grant.
armament to pass up the river and to But the gratitude of Meer Jaffier join the garrison of Chinsurah, Meer did not last long. He had for somel Jaffier would throw himself into tho arms of these new allies, and that the spoken by the first statesman of the English ascendency in Bengal would age, had passed from mouth to mouth, be exposed to most serious danger. had been transmitted to Clive in BenHe took his resolution with charac- gal, and had greatly delighted and flatteristic boldness, and was most ably se- tered him. Indeed, since the death of conded by his officers, particularly by Wolfe, Clive was the only English Colonel Forde, to whom the most im- general of whom his countrymen had portant part of the operations was in- much reason to be proud. The Duke trusted. The Dutch attempted to force of Cumberland had been generally una passage. The English encountered fortunate; and his single victory, having them both by land and water. On both been gained over his countrymen and elements the enemy had a great supe- used with merciless severity, had been riority of force. On both they were more fatal to his popularity than his signally defeated. Their ships were many defeats. Conway, versed in the taken. Their troops were put to a total learning of his profession, and personrout. Almost all the European soldiers, ally courageous, wanted vigour and who constituted the main strength of capacity. Granby, honest, generous, the invading army, were killed or taken. and as brave as a lion, had neither The conquerors sat down before Chin- science nor genius. Sackville, inferior surah; and the chiefs of that settle-in knowledge and abilities to none of ment, now thoroughly humbled, con- his contemporaries, had incurred, unsented to the terms which Clive dic-justly as we believe, the imputation tated. They engaged to build no for- most fatal to the character of a soldier. tifications, and to raise no troops beyond It was under the command of a foreign a small force necessary for the police of general that the British had triumphed their factories ; and it was distinctly at Minden and Warburg. The people provided that any violation of these co-| therefore, as was natural, greeted with venants should be punished with instant pride and delight a captain of their own, expulsion from Bengal.
whose native courage and self-taught Three months after this great victory, skill had placed him on a level with Clive sailed for England. At home, the great tacticians of Germany. honours and rewards awaited him, not The wealth of Clive was such as indeed equal to his claims or to his am-enabled him to vie with the first granbition, but still such as, when his age, his dees of England. There remains proof rank in the army, and his original place that he had remitted more than a hunin society are considered, must be pro- dred and eighty thousand pounds nounced rare and splendid. He was through the Dutch East India Comraised to the Irish peerage, and en- pany, and more than forty thousand couraged to expect an English title. pounds through the English Company. George the Third, who had just as- The amount which he had sent home cended the throne, received him with through private houses was also congreat distinction. The ministers paid siderable. He had invested great sums him marked attention; and Pitt, whose in jewels, then a very common mode of influence in the House of Commons remittance from India. His purchases and in the country was unbounded, was of diamonds, at Madras alone, amounted eager to mark his regard for one whose to twenty-five thousand pounds. Beexploits had contributed so much to sides a great mass of ready money, he the lustre of that memorable period. had his Indian estate, valued by himThe great orator had already in Par- self at twenty-seven thousand a year. liament described Clive as a heaven- His whole annual income, in the opinion born general, as a man who, bred to of Sir John Malcolm, who is desirous to the labour of the desk, had displayed a state it as low as possible, exceeded forty military genius which might excite the thousand pounds; and incomes of forty admiration of the King of Prussia. thousand pounds at the time of the There were then no reporters in the accession of George the Third were at gallery; but these words, emphatically least as rare as incomes of a hundred
thousand pounds now. We may safely | he had so eminently distinguished himaffirm that no Englishman who started self as a soldier and a statesman ; and with nothing has ever, in any line of it was by considerations relating to Life, created such a fortune at the early India that his conduct as a public man age of thirty-four.
in England was regulated. The power It would be unjust not to add that of the Company, though an anomaly, Clive made a creditable use of his is in our time, we are firmly persuaded, riches. As soon as the battle of Plassey a beneficial anomaly. In the time of had laid the foundation of his fortune, Clive, it was not merely an anomaly, he sent ten thousand pounds to his but & nuisance. There was no Board sisters, bestowed as much more on of Control. The Directors were for other poor friends and relations, or the most part mere traders, ignorant dered his agent to pay eight hundred of general politics, ignorant of the pea year to his parents, and to insist that culiarities of the empire which had they should keep a carriage, and settled strangely become subject to them. five hundred a year on his old com- The Court of Proprietors, wherever it mander Lawrence, whose means were chose to interfere, was able to have its vers slender. The whole sum which way. That Court was more numerous, Clive expended in this manner may be as well as more powerful, than at precalculated at fifty thousand pounds. sent ; for then every share of five hun
He now set himself to cultivate Par- dred pounds conferred a vote. The liamentary interest. His purchases of meetings were large, stormy, even land seem to have been made in a riotous, the debates indecently virulent. great measure with that view, and, all the turbulence of a Westminster after the general election of 1761, he election, all the trickery and corruption found himself in the House of Com- of a Grampound election, disgraced mons, at the head of a body of depen- the proceedings of this assembly on dents whose support must have been questions of the most solemn importimportant to any administration. In ance Fictitious votes were manu. English politics, however, he did not factured on a gigantic scale. Clive take a prominent part. His first at- himself laid out a hundred thousand tachments, as we have seen, were to pounds in the purchase of stock, which Mr. Fox; at a later period he was at-he then divided among nominal protracted by the genius and success of prietors on whom he could depend, and Mr. Pitt; but finally he connected him- whom he brought down in his train to self in the closest manner with George every discussion and every ballot. Grenville. Early in the session of 1764, Others did the same, though not to when the illegal and impolitic perse- quite so enormous an extent. cution of that worthless demagogue The interest taken by the public of Wilkes had strongly excited the pub- England in Indian questions was then lic mind, the town was amused by an far greater than at present, and the anecdote, which we have seen in some reason is obvious. At present a writer unpublished memoirs of Horace Wal- enters the service young; he climbs pole. Old Mr. Richard Clive, who, slowly; he is fortunate if, at forty-five, since his son's elevation, had been in- he can return to his country with an troduced into society for which his annuity of a thousand a year, and former habits had not well fitted him, with savings amounting to thirty presented himself at the levee. The thousand pounds. A great quantity King asked him where Lord Clive of wealth is made by English functionwas. “He will be in town very aries in India; but no single functionsoon,” said the old gentleman, loud ary makes a very large fortune, and enough to be heard by the whole cir- what is made is slowly, hardly, and cle," and then your Majesty will have honestly earned. Only four or five another vote.”
high political offices are reserved for But in truth all Clive's views were public men from England. The resi. directed towards the country in which dencies, the secretaryships, the seats
in the boards of revenue and in the chosen annually. At the clection of Sudder courts are all filled by men 1763, Clive attempted to break down who have given the best years of life the power of the dominant faction. to the service of the Company ; nor The contest was carried on with a can any talents however splendid or violence which he describes as treany connections however powerful ob- mendous. Sulivan was victorious, and tain those lucrative posts for any per- hastened to take his revenge. The son who has not entered by the regular grant of rent which Clive had received door, and mounted by the regular from Meer Jaffier was, in the opinion gradations. Seventy years ago, less of the best English lawyers, valid. money was brought home from the It had been made by exactly the same East than in our time. But it was authority from which the Company divided among a very much smaller had received their chief possessions in number of persons, and immense sums Bengal, and the Company had long were often accumulated in a few months. acquiesced in it. The Directors, howAny Englishman, whatever his age ever, most unjustly determined to conmight be, might hope to be one of the fiscate it, and Clive was forced to file a lucky emigrants. If he made a good bill in chancery against them. speech in Leadenhall Street, or pub- But a great and sudden turn in lished a clever pamphlet in defence of affairs was at hand. Every ship from the chairman, he might be sent out in Bengal had for some time brought the Company's service, and might re- alarming tidings. The internal misturn in three or four years as rich as i government of the province had reached Pigot or as Clive. Thus the India House such a point that it could go no furwas a lottery-office, which invited her. What, indeed, was to be exeverybody to take a chance, and held pected from a body of public servants out ducal fortunes as the prizes de- exposed to temptation such that, as stined for the lucky few. As soon as Clive once said, flesh and blood could it was known that there was a part of not bear it, armed with irresistible the world where a lieutenant-colonel power, and responsible only to the had one morning received as a present corrupt, turbulent, distracted, ill inan estate as large as that of the Earl formed Company, situated at such a of Bath or the Marquess of Rocking- distance that the average interval beham, and where it seemed that such tween the sending of a despatch and à trifle as ten or twenty thousand the receipt of an answer was above a pounds was to be had by any British year and a half ? Accordingly, durfunctionary for the asking, society be- ing the five years which followed the gan to exhibit all the symptoms of the departure of Clive from Bengal, the South Sea year, a feverish excitement, misgovernment of the English was caran ungovernable impatience to be rich, ried to a point such as seems hardly a contempt for slow, sure, and mode compatible with the very existence of rate gains.
society. The Roman proconsul, who, At the head of the preponderating in a year or two, squeezed out of a party in the India House, had long province the means of rearing marble stood a powerful, able, and ambitious palaces and baths on the shores of director of the name of Sulivan. He Campania, of drinking from amber, of had conceived a strong jealousy of feasting on singing birds, of exhibiting Clive, and remembered with bitterness armies of gladiators and flocks of the audacity with which the late cainelopards; the Spanish viceroy, who, governor of Bengal had repeatedly set leaving behind him the curses of at nought the authority of the distant Mexico or Lima, entered Madrid with Directors of the Company. An ap- a long train of gilded coaches, and of parent reconciliation took place after sumpter-horses trapped and shod with Clive's arrival; but enmity remained silver, were now outdone. Cruelty, deeply rooted in the hearts of both. indeed, properly so called, was not The whole body of Directors was then among the vices of the servants of the
Company. But cruelty itself could government. But the English governhardly have produced greater evils ment was not to be so shaken off. than sprang from their unprincipled That government, oppressive as the eagerness to be rich. They pulled most oppressive form of barbarian desdown their creature, Meer Jaffier. potism, was strong with all the strength They set up in his place another Na of civilisation. It resembled the governbob, named Meer Cossim. But Meer ment of evil Genii, rather than the Cossim had parts and a will; and, government of human tyrants. Even though sufficiently inclined to oppress despair could not inspire the soft Benhis subjects himself, he could not bear galee with courage to confront men of to see them ground to the dust by op- English breed, the hereditary nobility pressions which yielded him no profit, of mankind, whose skill and valour nay, which destroyed his revenue in had so often triumphed in spite of the very source. The English accord-tenfold odds. The unhappy race never ingly pulled down Meer Cossim, and attempted resistance. Sometimes they set up Meer Jaffier again; and Meer submitted in patient misery. Sometimes Cossim, after revenging himself by a they fled from the white man, as their massacre surpassing in atrocity that fathers had been used to fly from the of the Black Hole, fled to the do- Mahratta; and the palanquin of the minions of the Nabob of Oude. At English traveller was often carried every one of these revolutions, the new through silent villages and towns, which prince divided among his foreign mas- the report of his approach had made ters whatever could be scraped to- desolate. gether in the treasury of his fallen The foreign lords of Bengal were predecessor. The immense population naturally objects of hatred to all the of his dominions was given up as a neighbouring powers; and to all the prey to those who had made him a haughty race presented a dauntless sovereign, and who could unmake him. front. The English armies, every The servants of the Company obtained, where outnumbered, were every where not for their employers, but for them- victorious. A succession of commandselves, a monopoly of almost the whole ers, formed in the school of Clive, still internal trade. They forced the na- maintained the fame of their country. tives to buy dear and to sell cheap. “ It must be acknowledged,” says the They insulted with impunity the tri- Mussulman historian of those times, bunals, the police, and the fiscal au- “ that this nation's presence of mind, thorities of the country. They covered firmness of temper, and undaunted with their protection a set of native bravery, are past all question. They dependents who ranged through the join the most resolute courage to the provinces, spreading desolation and most cautious prudence; nor have they terror wherever they appeared. Every their equals in the art of ranging themservant of a British factor was armed selves in battle array and fighting in with all the power of his master ; order. If to so many military qualifiand his master was armed with all cations they knew how to join the arts the power of the Company. Enor- of government, if they exerted as much mous fortunes were thus rapidly ac- ingenuity and solicitude in relieving cumulated at Calcutta, while thirty the people of God, as they do in whatmillions of human beings were re-ever concerns their military affairs, no duced to the extremity of wretchedness. nation in the world would be preferThey had been accustomed to live able to them, or worthier of command. under tyranny, but never under tyranny But the people under their dominion like this. They found the little finger groan every where, and are reduced to of the Company thicker than the loins poverty and distress. Oh God! come of Surajah Dowlah. Under their old to the assistance of thine afflicted sermasters they had at least one resource: vants, and deliver them from the opwhen the evil became insupportable, pressions which they suffer." the people rose and pulled down the It was impossible, however, that