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f his Eastern negotiations, he had sometimes / wider views; and the best tribunal for grcal descended. He avowed the arts which he had political cases is that tribunal which antici*mployed to deceive Omichund; and resolutely pates the verdict of history. *aid that he was not ashamed of them, and that, Reasonable and moderate men of all parties in the same circumstances, he would again act felt this in Clive's case. They could not proin the same manner. He admitted that he had nounce him blameless; but they were not disreceive .mmense sums from Meer Jatfier; but posed to abandon him to that low-minded and he denied that, in doing so, he had violated rancorous pack who had run him down, and any obligation of morality or honour. He laid were eager to worry him to death. Lord North, claim, on the contrary, and not without some though not very friendly to him, was not dis. reason, to the praise of eminent disinterested- posed to go to extremities against him. While
He described, in vivid language, the the inquiry was still in progress, Clive, who situation in which his victory had placed him; had some years before been created a Knight -a great prince dependent on his pleasure; of the Bath, was installed with great pomp in an opulent city afraid of being given up to Henry the Seventh's Chapel. He was soon p!under; wealthy bankers bidding against each after appointed Lord-Lieutenant of Shropshire other for his smiles; vaults piled with gold When he kissed hands, George III., who had and jewels, thrown open to him alone. “By always been partial to him, admitted him to a God, Mr. Chairman," he exclaimed, “at this private audience, talked to him half an hour moment I stand astonished at my own modera- on Indian politics, and was visibly affected tion !"
when the persecuted general spoke of his serThe inquiry was so extensive that the Houses vices and of the way in which they had been rose before it had been completed. It was con- requited. tinued in the following session. When at At length the charges came in a definite length the committee had concluded its la- form before the House of Commons. Bur. bours, enlightened and impartial men had little goyne, chairman of the committee, a man of difficully in making up their minds as to the wit, fashion, and honour, an agreeable drama. result. It was clear that Clive had been guilty tic writer, an officer whose courage was never of some acts which it is impossible to vindi- questioned, and whose skill was at that time cate without attacking the authority of all the highly esteemed, appeared as the accuser. most sacred laws which regulate the inter- The members of the administration took difcourse of individuals and of states. But it was ferent sides; for in that age all questions were equally clear that he had displayed great ta- open questions except such as were brought lents, and even great virtues; that he had ren- forward by the government, or such as implied dered eminent services both to his country and some censure on the government. Thurlow, the to the people of India; and that it was in truth Attorney-General, was among the assailants. not for his dealings with Meer Jaffier, nor for Wedderburne, the Solicitor-General, strongly the fraud which he had practised on Omi- attached to Clive, defended his friend with ex. chund, but for his determined resistance to traordinary force of argument and language. avarice and tyranny that he was now called in It is a curious circumstance that, some years question.
later, Thurlow was the most conspicuous Ordinary criminal justice knows nothing of champion of Warren Hastings, while Wedset-off
. The greatest desert cannot be pleaded derburne was among the most unrelenting perin answer to a charge of the slightesi trans. secutors of that great though not faultless gression. If a man has sold beer on Sunday statesman. Clive spoke in his own defence morning, it is no defence that he has saved the at less length and with less art than in the life of a fellow-creature at the risk of his own. preceding year, but with great energy and paIf he has harnessed a Newfoundland dog to thos. He recounted his great actions and his his little child's carriage, it is no defence that wrongs; and, after bidding his hearers rememhe was wounded at Waterloo. But it is not in ber that they were about to decide not only on this way that we ought to deal with men who, his honour but on their own, retired from the raised far above ordinary restraints, and tried House. by far more than ordinary temptations, are en- The Commons resolved that acquisitions titled to a more than ordinary measure of in- made by the arms of the State belong to the dulgence. Such men should be judged by their State alone, and that it is illegal in the ser. contemporaries as they will be judged by pos- vants of the State to appropriate such acqusiterity. Their bad actions ought not, indeed, to tions to themselves. They resolved that this be called good; but their good and bad actions wholsome rule appeared to have been systemought to be fairly weighed ;-and if on the atically violated by the English functionaries whole the good preponderate, the sentence in Bengal. On a subsequent day they went vught to be one, not merely of acquittal, but of a step further, and resolved that Clive had, by approbation. Not a single great ruler in his means of the power which he possessed as tory can be absolved by a judge who fixes his commander of the British forces in India, oh eye inexorably on one or two unjustifiable acts. tained large sums from Meer Jaffer. Here Bruce, the deliverer of Scotland; Maurice, the the House stopped. They had voted the major deliverer of Germany; William, the deliverer and minor of Burgoyne's syllogism, but they of Holland; his great descendant, the deliverer shrunk from drawing the logical conclusion. of England; Murray, the good regent; Cosmo, When it was moved that Lord Clive had the father of his country; Henry IV. of France; abused his powers and set an evil example to Peter the Great of Russia-how would the best the servants of the public, the previous question i them dass such a scrutiny! History takes / was put and carried. At length, long after the
sun had risen on an animated debate, Wedder- | rank had still the charm of novelty, he had burne moved that Lord Clive had at the same borne up against his constitutional misery. time rendered great and meritorious services But he had now nothing to do, and nothing to to his country, and this motion passed without wish for. His active spirit in an inactive situ. a division.
ation drooped and withered like a plant in an The result of this memorable inquiry ap- uncongenial air. The malignity with which pears to us, on the whole, honourable to the his enemies had pursued him, the indignity justice, moderation, and discernment of the with which he had been treated by the com. Commons. They had, indeed, no great tempta- mittee, the censure, lenient as it was, which tion to do wrong. They would have been very the House of Commons had pronounced, the bad judges of an accusation brought against knowledge that he was regarded by a large Jenkinson or against Wilkes. But the ques- portion of his countrymen as a cruel and pertion respecting Clive was not a party question, fidious tyrant, all concurred to irritate and deand the House accordingly acted with the good press him. In the mean time, his temper was sense and good feeling which may always be tried by acute physical suffering. During his expected from an assembly of English gentle long residence in tropical climates, he had men, not blinded by faction.
contracted several painful distempers. In or. The equitable and temperate proceedings of der to obtain ease he called in the help of opiche British Parliament were set off to the great- um; and he was gradually enslaved by this est advantage by a foil. The wretched govern- treacherous ally. To the last, however, his ment of Louis XV. had murdered, directly or genius occasionally flashed through the gloom. indirectly, almost every Frenchman who had It was said that he would sometimes, after sitserved. his country with distinction in the East. ting silent and torpid for hours, rouse himself Labourdonnais was flung into the Bastile, and, to the discussion of some great question, would after years of suffering, left it only to die. Du- display in full vigour all the talents of the sol. pleix, stripped of his immense fortune, and dier and the statesman, and would then sink broken-hearted by humiliating attendance in back into his melancholy repose. intechambers, sank into an obscure grave. The disputes with America had now become Lally was dragged to the common place of so serious, that an appeal to the sword seemed execution with a gag between his lips. The inevitable; and the ministers were desirous Commons of England, on the other hand, treat to avail themselves of the services of Clive. ed their living captain with that discriminating Had he still been what he was when he raised justice which is seldom shown except to the the siege of Patna, and annihilated the Dutch dead. They laid down sound general princi- army and navy at the mouth of the Ganges, it ples; they delicately pointed out where he had is not improbable that the resistance of the deviated from those principles; and they tem-Colonists would have been put down, and thai pered a gentle censure with liberal eulogy. the inevitable separation would have been deThe contrast struck Voltaire, always partial to ferred for a few years. But it was too late. His England, and always eager to expose the strong mind was fast sinking under many abuses of the Parliaments of France. Indeed kinds of suffering. On the 22d of November, he seems at this time to have meditated a his- 1774, he died by his own hand. He had just tory of the conquest of Bengal. He mentioned completed his forty-ninth year. his designs to Dr. Moore when that amusing In the awful close of so much prosperity writer visited him at Ferney. Wedderburne and glory, the vulgar saw only a confirmation look great interest in the matter, and pressed of all their prejudices; and some men of real Clive to furnish materials. Had the plan been piety and talents so far forgot the maxims both carried into execution, we have no doubt that of religion and of philosophy, as confidently to Voltaire would have produced a book contain- ascribe the mournful event to the just vening much lively and picturesque narrative, geance of God and the horrors of an evil conmany just and humane sentiments poignant science. It is with very different feelings that ly expressed, many grotesque blunders, many we contemplate the spectacle of a great mind sneers at the Mosaic chronology, much scan- ruined by the weariness of satiety, by the pangs dal about the Catholic missionaries, and much of wounded honour, by fatal diseases, and sublime theophilanthropy stolen from the New more fatal remedies. Testament, and put into the mouths of virtuous Clive committed great faults; and we have and philosophical Brahmins.
not atteinpted to disguise them. But his faults, Clive was now secure in the enjoyment of when weighed against his merits, and viewed his fortune and his honours. He was sur- in connection with his temptations, do not aprounded by attached friends and relations, and pear to us to deprive him of his right to an he had not yet passed the season of vigorous honourable place in the estimation of pos bodily and mental exertion. But clouds had terity. long been gathering over his mind, and now From his first visit to India dates the renown setiled on it in thick darkness. From early of the English arms in the East. Till he apyouth he had been subject to fits of that strange peared, his countrymen were despised as mere melancholy “which rejoiceth exceedingly and pedlars, while the French were revered as a is glad when it can find the grave." While people formed for victory and command. His still a writer at Madras, he had twice attempl- courage and capacity dissolved the charm. ed to destroy himself. Business and prospe- With the defence of Arcot commences that rity had produced a salutary effect on his long series of Oriental triumphs which closes spirits. In India, while he was occupied by the fall of Ghazni. Nor must we forget that great affairs, in England, while wealth and I he was only twenty-five years old when he an
proved himself ripe for military command. lishmen were sent only to get rich by any This is a rare if not a singular distinction. It means, in the shortest possible time. He first is true that Alexander, Condé, and Charles the made dauntless and unsparing war on that giTwelfth won great battles at a still earlier age; gantic system of oppression, extortion, and corbut those princes were surrounded by veteran ruption. In that war he manfully put to hazard generals of distinguished skill, to whose sug- his ease, his fame, and his splendid fortune. gestions must be attributed the victories of the The same sense of justice which forbade us Granicus, of Rocroi, and of Narva. Clive, an to conceal or extenuate the faults of his earlier inexperienced youth, had yet more experience days, compels us to admit that those faults than any of those who served under him. He were nobly repaired. If the reproach of the Comhad to form himself, to form his officers, and pany and of its servants has been taken awayto form his army. The only man, as far as we if in India the yoke of foreign masters, else. recollect, who at an equally early age ever where the heaviest of all yokes, has been found gave equal proof of talents for war, was Napo- lighter than that of any native dynasty—if to leon Bonaparte.
that gang of public robbers which once spread From Clive's second visit to India dates the terror through the whole plain of Bengal, has political ascendency of the English in that succeeded a body of functionaries not more country. His dexterity and resolution realized, highly distinguished by ability and diligence in the course of a few months, more than all than by integrity, disinterestedness, and public the gorgeous visions which had floated before spirit-if we now see men like Munro, Elphinthe imagination of Dupleix. Such an extent stone, and Metcalfe, after leading victorious of cultivated territory, such an amount of reve- armies, after making and deposing kings, renue, such a multitude of subjects, was never turn, proud of their honourable poverty, from added to the dominion of Rome by the most a land which once held out to every greedy successful proconsul. Nor were such wealthy factor the hope of boundless wealth-the praise spoils ever borne under arches of triumph, is in no small measure due to Clive. His name down the Sacred Way, and through the crowd- stands high on the roll of conquerors. But it is ed Forum, to the threshold of Tarpeian Jove. found in a better list-in the list of those who The fame of those who subdued Antiochus and have done and suffered much for the happiness Tigranes grows dim when compared with the of mankind. To the warrior, history will assplendour of the exploits which the young sign a place in the same rank with Lucullus English adventurer achieved at the head of an and Trajan. Nor will she deny to the reformarmy not equal in numbers to one-half of a er, a share of that veneration with which Roman legion.
France cherishes the memory of Turgot, and From Clive's third visit to India dates the with which the latest generation of indoos x parity of the administration of our Eastern will contemplate the statue of Lord William
empire. When he landed at Calcutta in 1765, Bentinck. Bengal was regarded as a place to which Eng.
LIFE AND WRITINGS OF SIR WILLIAM TEMPLE."
[EDINBURGH REVIEW FOR OCTOBER, 1838.)
MR. COURTENAY has long been well known only are these passages out of place, but scue to politicians as an industrious and useful offi- of them are intrinsically such that they would cial man, and as an upright and consistent become the editor of a third-rate party rews. member of Parliament. He has been one of paper better than a gentleman of Mr. Courtethe most moderate, and, at the same time, one nay's talents and knowledge. For example, of the least pliant members of the Conservative we are told that “it is a remarkable circumparty. His conduct has, on some questions, stance, familiar to those who are acquainted been so Whigish, that both those who ap- with history, but suppressed by the new Whigs, plauded and those who condemned it have that the liberal politician of the seventeenth questioned his claim to be considered as a century and the greater part of the eighteenth, Tory. But his Toryism, such as it is, he has never extended their liberality to the native held fast to through all changes of fortune and Irish or the professors of the ancient religion.” fashion; and he has at last retired from public What schoolboy of fourteen is ignorant of this life, leaving behind him, to the best of our remarkable circumstance? What Whig, new belief, no personal enemy, and carrying with or old, was ever such an idiot as to think that him the respect and good-will of many who it could be suppressed? Really, we might as strongly dissent from his opinions.
well say that it is a remarkable circumstance, This book, the fruit of Mr. Courtenay's lei- familiar to people well read in history, but sure, is introduced by a preface, in which he carefully suppressed by the clergy of the informs us, that the assistance furnished to Established Church, that in the fifteenth cen. him from various quarters “has taught him tury England was Catholic. We are tempted the superiority of literature to politics for de to make some remarks on another passage, veloping the kindlier feelings, and conducing which seems to be the peroration of a speech to an agreeable life.” We are truly glad that intended to be spoken against the Reform bill: Mr. Courtenay is so well satisfied with his new but we forbear. employment, and we heartily congratulate him We doubt whether it will be found that the on having been driven by events to make an memory of Sir William Temple owes much to exchange which, advantageous as it is, few Mr. Courtenay's researches. Temple is one people make while they can avoid it. He has of those men whom the world has agreed to little reason, in our opinion, to envy any of praise highly without knowing much about those who are still engaged in a pursuit, from them, and who are therefore more likely to which, at most, they can only expect that, by lose than to gain by a close examination. Yet relinquishing liberal studies and social plea- he is not without fair pretensions to the most sures,-by passing nights without sleep, and honourable place among the statesmen of his summers without one glimpse of the beauty of time. A few of them equalled or surpassed nature,-they may attain that laborious, that him in talents; but they were men of no good invidious, that closely watched slavery which repute for honesty. A few may be named whose is mocked with the name of Power.
patriotism was purer, nobler, and more disThe volumes before us are fairly entitled interested than his; but they were men of no to the praise of diligence, care, good sense, and eminent ability. Morally, he was above Shaftesimpartiality; and these qualities are sufficient bury; intellectually, he was above Russell. to make a book valuable, but not quite suffi- To say of a man that he occupied a high cient to make it readable. Mr. Courtenay has position in times of misgovernment, of cornot sufficiently studied the arts of selection and ruption, of civil and religious faction, and that, compression. The information with which he nevertheless, he contracted no great stain, and furnishes us must still, we apprehend, be con- bore no part in any crime ;-that he won the sidered as so much raw material. To manu-esteem of a profligate court and of a turbulent facture it will be highly useful, but it is not yet people, without being guilty of any great subin such a form that it can be enjoyed by the scrviency to either,-seems to be very high idle consumer. To drop metaphor, we are praise; and all this may with truth be said of afraid that this work will be less acceptable to Temple. those who read for the sake of reading, than to Yet Temple is not a man to our taste. A those who read in order to write.
temper not naturally good, but under strict We cannot help adding, though we are ex-command,-a constant regard to decorum,--a tremely unwilling to quarrel with Mr. Cour- rare caution in playing that mixed game of tenay about politics, that the book would not skill and hazard, human life,-a disposition to be at all the worse if it contained fewer snarls be content with small and certain winnings against the Whigs of the present day. Not rather than go on doubling the stake,-these
seem to us to be the most remarkable features Memoirs of the Life, Works, and Correspondence of of his character. This sort of moderation, Sir William Temple. By the Right Hon. THOMAS PEREOBINE COURTENAY. 2 vols. Gvo. London. 1836. when united, as in him it was, with very con
siderable abilities, is, under ordinary circum- | kind. He could not bear discomfort, bodily or stances, scarcely to be distinguished from the mental. His lamentations when, in the course highest and purest integrity; and yet may be of his diplomatic journeys, he was put a little perfectly compatible with laxity of principle, out his way, and forced, in the vulgar phrase, with coldness of heart, and with the most in- to rough it, are quite amusing. He talks of tense selfishness. Temple, we fear, had not riding a day or two on a bad Westphalian road, sufficient warmth and elevation of sentiment of sleeping on straw for one night, of travelling to deserve the name of a virtuous man. He in winter when the snow lay on the ground, as did not betray or oppress his country: nay, he if he had gone on an expedition to the North rendered considerable service to her; but he | Pole or to the source of the Nile. This kind risked nothing for her. No temptation which of valetudinarian effeminacy, this habit of codeither the King or the Opposition could hold dling himself, appears in all parts of his conout ever induced him to come forward as the duct. He loved fame, but not with the love of supporter either of arbitrary or of factious an exalted and generous mind. He loved it as measures. But he was most careful not to give an end, not at all as a means ;-as a personal offence by strenuously opposing such measures. luxury, not at all as an instrument of advantage He never put himself prominently before the to others. He scraped it together and treasured public eye, except at conjunctures when he it up with a timid and niggardly thrist; and was almost certain to gain, and could not pos- never employed the hoard in any enterprise, sibly lose ;-at conjunctures when the interest | however virtuous and honourable, in which of the state, the views of the court, and the there was hazard of losing one particle. No passions of the multitude all appeared for an wonder if such a person did little or nothing instant to coincide. By judiciously availing which deserves positive blame. But much himself of several of these rare moments, he more than this may justly be demanded of a succeeded in establishing a high character for man possessed of such abilities and placed in wisdom and patriotism. When the favourable such a situation. Had Temple been brought crisis was passed, he never risked the reputa- before Dante's infernal tribunal, he would not tion which he had won. He avoided the great have been condemned to the deeper recesses offices of state which a caution almost pusilla- of the abyss. He would not have been boiled nimous, and confined himself to quiet and se- with Dundee in the crimson pool of Bulicame, cluded departments of public business, in or hurled with Danby into the seething pitch which he could enjoy moderate but certain ad- of Malebolge, or congealed with Churchill in vantage without incurring envy. If the cir- the eternal ice of Giudecca; but he would per. cumstances of the country became such that haps have been placed in a dark vestibule next it was impossible to take any part in politics to the shade of that inglorious pontiffwithout some danger, he retired to his Library
“ Che fece per viltate il gran rifiuto." and his Orchard; and, while the nation groaned under oppression, or resounded with tumult Of course a man is not bound to be a politiand with the din of civil arms, amused him- cian any more than he is bound to be a soldier; self by writing Memoirs and tying up Apricots. and there are perfectly honourable ways of His political career bore some resemblance to quitting both politics and the military profesthe military career of Louis XIV. Louis, lest sion. But neither in the one way of life, nor his royal dignity should be compromised by in the other, is any man entitled to take all the failure, never repaired to a siege, till it had sweet and leave all the sour. A man who been reported to him by the most skilful ofli- belongs to the army only in time of peace, cers in his service that nothing could prevent who appears at reviews in Hyde Park, escorts the fall of the place. When ihis was ascer- the sovereign with the utmost valour and tained, the monarch, in his helmet and cuirass, fidelity to and from the House of Lords, and reappeared among the tents, held councils of tires as soon as he thinks it likely that he may war, dictated the capitulation, received the be ordered on an expedition-is justly inought keys, and then returned to Versailles to hear to have disgraced himself. Some portion of his flatterers repeat that Turenne had been the censure due to such a holiday-soldier may beaten at Mariendal, that Condé had been justly fall on the mere holiday-politician, who forced to raise the siege of Arras, and that the flinches from his duties as soon as those duonly warrior whose glory had never been ob- ties become difficult and disagreeable ;-thai is scured by a single check was Louis the Great! to say, as soon as it becomes peculiarly imYet Condé and Turenne will always be con- portant that he should resolutely perform them. sidered captains of a very different order from But though we are far indeed from considerthe invincible Louis; and we must own that ing Temıle as a perfect statesmen, though we many statesmen who have committed very place him below many statesmen who have great faults, appear to us to be deserving of committed very great errors, we cannot deny more esteem than the faultless Temple. For that, when compared with his contemporaries, iu truth his faultlessness is chiefly to be as he makes a highly respectable appearance. cribed to his extreme dread of all responsibi. The reaction which followed the victory of the lavy;--to his determination rather to leave his popular party over Charles the First, had procountry in a scrape than to run any chance of duced a hurtful effect on the national characbeing in a scrape himself. He seems to have ter; and this effect was most discernible in the been averse from danger; and it must be ad- classes and in the places which had been most iniited that the dangers to which a public man strongly excited by the recent Revolution. The was exposed, in those days of conflicting ty- deterioration was greater in London than in the ranny and sedition, were of the most serious country, and was greatestof all in the courtly and