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Meer Jaffier could be upheld on the throne only by the hand which had placed him on it. He was not, indeed, a mere boy; nor had he been so unfortunate as to be born in the purple. He was not therefore quite so imbecile or quite as depraved as his predecessor had been. But he had none of the talent or virtues which his post required; and his son and heir, Meeran, was another Surajah Dowlah. The recent revolution had unsettled the minds of men. Many chiefs were in open insurrection against the new Nabob. The viceroy of the rich and powerful province of Oude, who, like other viceroys of the Mogul, was now in truth an independent sovereign, menaced Bengal with invasion. Nothing but the talents and authority of Clive could support the tottering government. While things were in this state a ship arrived with despatches, which had been written at the India-House before the news of the battle of Plassey had reached London. The Directors had determined to place the English settlements in Bengal under a government constituted in the most cumbrous and absurd manner; and, to make the matter worse, no place in the arrangement was assigned to Clive. The persons who were selected to form this new government, greatly to their honour, took on themselves the responsibility of disobeying these preposterous orders, and invited Clive to exercise the supreme authority. He consented; and it soon appeared that the servants of the Company had only anticipated the wish of their employers. The Directors, on receiving news of Clive's brilliant success, instantly appointed him governor of their possessions in Bengal, with the highest marks of gratitude and esteem. His power was now boundless, and far surpassed even that which Dupleix had attained in the south of India. Meer Jaffer regarded him with slavish awe. On one occasion, the Nabob spoke with severity to a native chief of high rank, whose followers had been engaged in a brawl with some of the Company's sepoys. "Are you yet to learn," he said, "who that Colonel Clive is, and in what station God has placed him?" The chief, who, as a famous jester and an old friend of Meer Jaffier, could venture to take liberties, answered, "I affront the Colonel-I, who never get up in the morning without making three low bows to his jackass!" This was hardly an exaggeration. Europeans and natives were alike at Clive's feet. The English regarded him as the only man who could force Meer Jaffer to keep his engagements with them. Meer Jaffier regarded him as the only man who could protect the new dynasty against turbulent subjects and encroaching neighbours.
It is but instice to say that Clive used his power ably and vigorously for the advantage of his country. He sent forth an expedition against the tract lying to the north of the Carnatic. In this tract the French still had the ascendency; and it was important to dislodge them. The conduct of the enterprise was intrusted to an officer of the name of Forde, who was then little known, but in whom the keen eye of the governor had detected military talents of a high order. The success of the expedition was rapid and splendid.
While a considerable part of triny of Bengal was thus engaged at a distance, a new and formidable danger menaced the western frontier. The Great Mogul was a prisoner at Delhi, in the hands of a subject. His eldest son, named Shah Alum, destined to be the sport, during many years, of adverse fortune, and to be a tool in the hands, first of the Mahrattas, and then of the English, had fled from the palace of his father. His birth was still revered in India. Some powerful princes, the Nabob of Oude in particular, were inclined to favour him. He found it easy to draw to his standard great numbers of the military adventurers with whom every part of the country swarmed. An army of forty thousand men, of various races and religions, Mahrattas, Rohillas, Jauts, and Afghans, was speedily assem bled round him; and he formed the design of overthrowing the upstart whom the English had elevated to a throne, and of establishing his own authority throughout Bengal, Orissa, and Bahar.
Jaffier's terror was extreme; and the only expedient which occurred to him was to purchase, by the payment of a large sum of money, an accommodation with Shah Alum. This expedient had been repeatedly employed by those who, before him, had ruled the rich and unwarlike provinces near the mouth of the Ganges. But Clive treated the suggestion with a scorn worthy of his strong sense and dauntless courage. "If you do this," he wrote, "you will have the Nabob of Oude, the Mahrattas, and many more, come from all parts of the confines of your country, who will bully you out of money till you have none left in your treasury. I beg your excellency will rely on the fidelity of the English, and of those troops which are attached to you." He wrote in a similar strain to the Governor of Patna, a brave native soldier, whom he highly esteemed. "Come to no terms; defend your city to the last. Rest assured that the English are stanch and firm friends, and that they never desert a cause in which they have once taken a part."
He kept his word. Shah Alum had invested Patna, and was on the point of proceeding to storm, when he learned that the Colonel was advancing, by forced marches. The whole army which was approaching consisted of only four hundred and fifty Europeans and two thousand five hundred sepoys. But Clive and his Englishmen were now objects of dread over all the East. As soon as his advanced guard appeared, the besiegers ded before him. A few French adventurers who were about the person of the prince, advised him to try the chance of battle; but in vain. In a few days this great army, which had been regarded with so much uneasiness by the court of Moorshedabad, melted away before the mere terror of the British name.
The conqueror returned in triumph to Fort William. The joy of Meer Jaffier was as unbounded as his fears had been, and led him to bestow on his preserver a princely token of gratitude. The quit-rent which the East India Company was bound to pay to the Nabob for the extensive lands held by them to the south of Calcutta, amounted to near thirty thousand
pounds sterling a year. The whole of this splendid estate, sufficient to support with dignity the highest rank of the British peerage, was now conferred on Clive for life.
This present we think Clive justified in accepting. It was a present which, from its very nature, could be no secret. In fact, the Company itself was his tenant, and, by its acquiescence, signified its approbation of Meer Jaffier's grant.
the European soldiers, who constituted the main strength of the invading army, were killed or taken. The conquerors sat down before Chinsura; and the chiefs of that settlement, now thoroughly humbled, consented to the terms which Clive dictated. They engaged to build no fortifications, and to raise no troops beyond a small force necessary for the police of their factories; and it was distinctly provided that any violation of these covenants should be punished with instant expulsion from Bengal.
But the gratitude of Meer Jaffier did not last long. He had for some time felt that the powerful ally who had set him up might pull him Three months after this great victory, Clive down, and had been looking round for support sailed for England. At home, honours and against the formidable strength by which he rewards awaited him--not indeed equal to his had himself been hitherto supported. He knew claims or to his ambition; but still such as, that it would be impossible to find among the when his age, his rank in the army, and his natives of India any force which would look original place in society are considered, must the Colonel's little army in the face. The be pronounced rare and splendid. He was French power in Bengal was extinct. But the raised to the Irish peerage, and encouraged to fame of the Dutch had anciently been great in expect an English title. George the Third, the Eastern seas; and it was not yet distinctly who had just ascended the throne, received known in Asia how much the power of Hol-him with great distinction. The ministers paid land had declined in Europe. Secret commu- him marked attention; and Pitt, whose innications passed between the court of Moorshe- fluence in the House of Commons and in the dabad and the Dutch factory at Chinsura; and country was unbounded, was eager to mark urgent letters were sent from Chinsura, exhort- his regard for one whose exploits had contriing the government of Batavia to fit out an ex-buted so much to the lustre of that memorable pedition which might balance the power of the period. The great orator had already in Par English in Bengal. The authorities of Batavia, liament described Clive as a heaven-born ge eager to extend the influence of their country-neral,-a man who, bred to the labour of the still more eager to obtain for themselves a share of the wealth which had recently raised so many English adventurers to opulenceequipped a powerful armament. Seven large ships from Java arrived unexpectedly in the Hoogley. The military force on board amounted to fifteen hundred men, of whom about onehalf were Europeans. The enterprise was well-timed.
desk, had displayed a military genius which might excite the admiration of the King of Prussia. There were then no reporters in the gallery; but these words, emphatically spoken by the first statesman of the age, had passed from mouth to mouth, had been transmitted to Clive in Bengal, and had greatly delighted and flattered him. Indeed, since the death of Wolfe, Clive was the only English general of whom his countrymen had much reason to be proud. The Duke of Cumberland had been generally unfortunate; and his single victory having been gained over his countrymen, and used with merciless severity, had been more fatal to his popularity than his many defeats. Con
and personally courageous, wanted vigour and capacity. Granby, honest, generous, and brave as a lion, had neither science nor genius. Sack. ville, inferior in knowledge and abilities to none of his contemporaries, had incurred, unjustly as we believe, the imputation most fatal to the character of a soldier. It was under the command of a foreign general that the British had triumphed at Minden and Warburg. The people, therefore, as was natural, greeted with pride and delight a captain of their own, whose native courage and self-taught skill had placed him on a level with the great tacticians of Germany.
Clive had sent such large detachments to oppose the French in the Carnatic, that his army was now inferior in number to that of the Dutch. He knew that Meer Jaffier secretly favoured the invaders. He knew that he took on himself a serious responsibility, if he attacked the forces of a friendly power; that the Eng-way, versed in the learning of his profession, lish ministers could not wish to see a war with Holland added to that in which they were already engaged with France; that they might disavow his acts; that they might punish him. He had recently remitted a great part of his fortune to Europe, through the Dutch East India Company; and he had therefore a strong interest in avoiding any quarrel. But he was satisfied, that if he suffered the Batavian armament to pass up the river and join the garrison at Chinsura, Meer Jaffier would throw himself into the arms of these new allies, and that the English ascendency in Bengal would be exposed to most serious danger. He took his resolution with characteristic boldness, and was most ably seconded by his officers, particularly by Colonel Forde, to whom the most important part of the operations was intrusted. The Dutch attempted to force a passage. The English encountered them both by land and water. On both elements the enemy had a great superiority of force. On both they were signally defeated. Their ships were taken. Their roops were put to a total rout. Almost all
The wealth of Clive was such as enabled him to vie with the first grandees of England. There remains proof that he had remitted more than a hundred and eighty thousand pounds through the Dutch East India Company, and more than forty thousand pounds through the Engush Company. The aniount which he sent home, through private houses, was also con siderable. He invested great sums ir jewels. then a very common mode of remittance from
India. His purchases of diamonds, at Madras alone, amounted to twenty-five thousand pounds. Besides a great mass of ready money, he had his Indian estate, valued by himself at twenty-seven thousand a year. His whole annual income, in the opinion of Sir John Malcclm, who is desirous to state it as low as possible, exceeded forty thousand pounds; and incomes of forty thousand pounds at the time of the accession of George the Third, were at least as rare as incomes of a hundred thousand pounds now. We may safely affirm that no Englishman who started with nothing, has ever, in any line of life, created such a fortune, at the early age of thirty-four. It would be unjust not to add, that he made a creditable use of his riches. As soon as the battle of Plassey had laid the foundation of his fortune, he sent ten thousand pounds to his sisters, bestowed as much more on other poor friends and relations, ordered his agent to pay eight hundred a year to his parents, and to insist that they should keep a carriage, and settled five hundred a year on his old commander Lawrence, whose means were very slender. The whole sum which he expended in this manner, may be calculated at fifty thousand pounds.
at present; for, then, every share of five han dred pounds conferred a vote. The meetings were large, stormy, even riotous, the debates indecently virulent. All the turbulence of a Westminster election, all the trickery and corruption of a Grampound election, disgraced the proceeding of this assembly on questions of the most solemn importance. Fictitious votes were manufactured on a gigantic scale. Clive himself laid out a hundred thousand pounds in the purchase of stock, which he then divided among nominal proprietors on whom he could depend, and whom he brought down in his train to every discussion and every ballot. Others did the same, though not to quite so enormous an extent.
The interest taken by the public of England in Indian questions was then far greater than at present, and the reason is obvious. At present the writer enters the service young; he climbs slowly; he is rather fortunate, if, at forty-five, he can return to his country, with an annuity of a thousand a year, and with savings amounting to thirty thousand pounds. A great quantity of wealth is made by English functionaries in India; but no single functionary makes a very large fortune, and what is made is slowly, hardly, and honestly earned. Only four or five high political offices are reserved for public men from England. The residencies, the secretaryships, the seats in the boards of revenue and in the Sudder courts, are all filled by men who have given the best years of life to the service of the Company; nor can any talents however splendid, nor any connections however powerful, obtain those lucrative posts for any person who has not entered by the regular door, and mounted by the regular gradations. Seventy years ago, much less money was brought home from the East than in our own time. But it was divided among a very much smaller number of persons, and immense sums
He now set himself to cultivate parliamentary interest. His purchases of land seemed to have been made in a great measure with that view; and after the general election of 1761, he found himself in the House of Commons, at the head of a body of dependants whose support must have been important to any administration. In English politics, however, he did not take a prominent part. His first attachments, as we have seen, were to Mr. Fox; at a later period he was attracted by the genius and success of Mr. Pitt; but finally he connected himself in the closest manner with George Grenville. Early in the session of 1764, when the illegal and impolitic persecution of that worthless demagogue Wilkes had strongly excited the pub-were often accumulated in a few months. Any lic mind, the town was amused by an anecdote, which we have seen in some unpublished memoirs of Horace Walpole. Old Mr. Richard Clive, who, since his son's elevation, had been introduced into society for which his former habits had not well fitted him, presented himself at the levee. The king asked him where Lord Clive was. "He will be in town very soon," said the old gentleman, loud enough to be heard by the whole circle, "and then your majesty will have another vote."
Englishman, whatever his age might be, might hope to be one of the lucky emigrants. If he made a good speech in Leadenhall Street, or published a clever pamphlet in defence of the chairman, he might be sent out in the Com. pany's service, and might return in three or four years as rich as Pigot or as Clive. Thus the India House was a lottery-office, which invited everybody to take a chance, and held out ducal fortunes as the prizes destined for the lucky few. As soon as it was known that there was a part of the world where a lieutenant
an estate as large as that of the Earl of Bath or the Marquis of Rockingham, and where it seemed that such a trifle as ten or twenty thou sand pounds was to be had by any British functionary for the asking, society began to exhibit all the symptoms of the South Sea year-a feverish excitement, an ungovernable impatience to be rich, a contempt for slow, sure, and moderate gains.
But in truth all Clive's views were directed towards the country in which he had so emi-colonel had one morning received, as a present, nently distinguished himself as a soldier and a statesman; and it was by considerations relating to India that his conduct as a public man in England was regulated. The power of the Company, though an anomaly, is, in our time, we are firmly persuaded, a beneficial anomaly. In the time of Clive, it was not merely an anomaly, but a nuisance There was no Board of Control. The Directors were for the most part mere traders, ignorant of general politics, ignorant of the peculiarities of the empire which had so strangely become subject to them. The Court of Proprietors, wherever it chose to interfere, was able to have its way. That court was more numerous as well as powerful than
At the head of the preponderating party it the India House, had long stood a powerful, able, and ambitious director of the name of Sullivan. He had conceived a strong jealousy of Clive, and remembered with bitterness the audacity with which the late Governor of Ben
gal had repeatedly set at naught the authority of the distant Directors of the Company. An apparent reconciliation took place after Clive's arrival; but enmity remained deeply rooted in the hearts of both. The whole body of Directors was then chosen annually. At the election of 1763, Clive attempted to break down the power of the dominant faction. The contest was carried on with a violence which he describes as tremendous. Sullivan was victorious, and hastened to take his revenge. The grant of rent which Clive had received from Meer Jaflier was, in the opinion of the best English lawyers, valid. It had been made by exactly the same authority from which the Company had received their chief possessions in Bengal, and the Company had long acquiesced in it. The Directors, however, most unjustly determined to confiscate it, and Clive was compelled to file a bill in Chancery against them.
his fallen predecessor. The immense popula. tion of his dominions was given up as a prey to those who had made him a sovereign, and who could unmake him. The servants of the Company obtained-not for their employers, but for themselves-a monopoly of almost the whole internal trade. They forced the natives to buy dear and sell cheap. They insulted with perfect impunity the tribunals, the police, and the fiscal authorities of the country. They covered with their protection a set of native dependants who ranged through the provinces spreading desolation and terror wherever they appeared. Every servant of a British factor was armed with all the power of his master, and his master was armed with all the power of the Company. Enormous fortunes were thus rapidly accumulated at Calcutta, while thirty millions of human beings were reduced to the last extremity of wretchedness. They had been accustomed to live under tyranny, but never under tyranny like this. They found the little finger of the Company thicker than the loins of Surajah Dowlah. Under their old masters they had at least one resource: when the evil became insupportable, they rose and pulled down the government. But the English government was not to be so shaken off. That government, oppressive as the most oppressive form of barbarian despotism, was strong with all the strength of civilization. It resembled the government of evil genii, ra
Even despair could not inspire the soft Bengalee with courage to confront men of English breed-the hereditary nobility of mankind, whose skill and valour had so often triumphed in spite of tenfold odds. The unhappy race never attempted resistance. Sometimes they submitted in patient misery. Sometimes they fled from the white man, as their fathers had been used to fly from the Mahratta; and the
carried through silent villages and towns, which the report of his approach had made desolate.
But a great and sudden turn in affairs was at hand. Every ship from Bengal had for some time brought alarming tidings. The internal misgovernment of the province had reached such a point that it could go no further. What, indeed, was to be expected from a body of public servants exposed to temptation such that, as Clive once said, flesh and blood could not bear it;-armed with irresistible power, and responsible only to the corrupt, turbulent, distracted, ill-informed Company, situated at such a distance, that the average interval bether than the government of human tyrants. tween the sending of a despatch and the receipt of an answer was above a year and a half! Accordingly, during the five years which followed the departure of Clive from Bengal, the misgovernment of the English was carried to a point, such as seems hardly compatible with the very existence of society. The Roman proconsul, who, in a year or two, squeezed out of a province the means of rearing marble palaces and baths on the shores of Campania, of drink-palanquin of the English traveller was often ing from amber, of feasting on singing-birds, of exhibiting armies of gladiators and flocks of camelopards-the Spanish viceroy, who, leav- The foreign lords of Bengal were naturally obing behind him the curses of Mexico or Lima, jects of hatred to all the neighbouring powers; entered Madrid with a long train of gilded and to all, the haughty race presented a dauntless coaches and of sumpter-horses, trapped and front. Their armies, every where outnumbered, shod with silver-were now outdone. Cruelty, were everywhere victorious. A succession of indeed, properly so called, was not among the commanders formed in the school of Clive, still vices of the servants of the Company. But maintained the fame of their country. "It must cruelty itself could hardly have produced great- be acknowledged," says the Mussulman histo er evils than were the effect of their unprinci-rian of those times, "that this nation's presence pled eagerness to be rich. They pulled down of mind, firmness of temper, and undaunted their creature, Meer Jaffier. They set up in | bravery, are past all question. They join the his place another Nabob, Meer Cossim. But most resolute courage to the most cautious Meer Cossim had talents and a will; and, prudence: nor have they their equal in the art though sufficiently inclined to oppress his sub- of ranging themselves in battle array and jects himself, he could not bear to see them fighting in order. If to so many military quali ground to the dust by oppressions which yield-fications they knew how to join the arts of go. ed him no profit-nay, which destroyed his vernment-if they exerted as much ingenuity revenue in its very source. The English ac- and solicitude in relieving the people of God, cordingly pulled down Meer Cossim, and set as they do in whatever concerns their military up Meer Jaffier again; and Meer Cossim, after affairs, no nation in the world would be preferrevenging himself, by a massacre surpassing able to them, or worthier of command; but the in atrocity that of the Black Hole, fled to the people under their dominion groan every. dominions of the Nabob of Oude. At every where, and are reduced to poverty and distress. one of these revolutions, the new prince di Oh God! come to the assistance of thine vided among his foreign masters whatever afflicted servants, and deliver them from the could be scraped together from the treasury of oppressions they suffer."
It was impossible, however, that even the military establishment should long continue exempt from the vices which pervaded every other part of the government. Rapacity, luxury, and the spirit of insubordination spread from the civil service to the officers of the army, and from the officers to the soldiers. The evil continued to grow till every messroom became the seat of conspiracy and cabal, and till the sepoys could be kept in order only by wholesale executions.
At length the state of things in Benga! began to excite uneasiness at home. A succession of revolutions, a disorganized administration; the natives pillaged, yet the Company not enriched; every fleet bringing back individuals able to purchase manors and to build stately dwellings, yet bringing back also alarming accounts of the financial prospects of the government; war on the frontier, disaffection in the army, the national character disgraced by excesses resembling those of Verres and Pizarro-such was the spectacle which dismayed those who were conversant with Indian affairs. The general cry was, that Clive, and Clive alone, could save the empire which he had founded.
Clive was on his voyage out. The English functionaries at Calcutta had already receiveď from home strict orders not to accept presents from the native princes. But, eager for gain, and unaccustomed to respect the commands of their distant, ignorant, and negligent masters, they again set up the throne of Bengal for sale. About one hundred and forty thousand pounds sterling were distributed among nine of the most powerful servants of the Company; and, in consideration of this bribe, an infant son of the deceased Nabob was placed on the seat of his father. The news of the ignominious bargain met Clive on his ar rival. In a private letter, written immediately after to an intimate friend, he poured out his feelings in language which, proceeding from a man so daring, so resolute, and so little given to theatrical display of sentiment, seems to us singularly touching. "Alas!" he says, "how is the English name sunk! I could not avoid paying the tribute of a few tears to the departed and lost fame of the British nationirrecoverably so, I fear. However, I do declare, by that great Being who is the searcher of all hearts, and to whom we must be accountable if there be an hereafter, that I am come out with a mind superior to all corruption, and that I am determined to destroy those great and growing evils, or perish in the attempt."
This feeling manifested itself in the strongest manner at a very full General Court of Proprietors. Men of all parties, forgetting their feuds, and trembling for their dividends, exclaimed that Clive was the man whom the cri- The Council met, and Clive stated to them sis required;-that the oppressive proceedings his full determination to effect a thorough rewhich had been adopted respecting his estate form, and to use for that purpose the whole of ought to be dropped, and that he ought to be the ample authority, civil and military, which entreated to return to India. had been confided to him. Johnstone, one of Clive rose. As to his estate, he said, he the boldest and worst men in the assembly, would make such propositions to the Directors made some show of opposition. Clive interas would, he trusted, lead to an amicable set-rupted him, and haughtily demanded whether tlement. But there was a still greater difficulty. It was proper to tell them that he never would undertake the government of Bengal while his enemy Sullivan was chairman of the Company. The tumult was violent. Sullivan could scarcely obtain a hearing. An overwhelming majority of the assembly was on Clive's side. Sullivan wished to try the result of a ballot. But, by the by-laws of the Company, there can be no ballot except on a requisition signed by nine proprietors; and though hundreds were present, nine persons could not be found to set their hands to such a requisi-power to triple his already splendid fortune, to tion
Clive was in consequence nominated Governor and Commander-in-Chief of the British possessions in Bengal. But he adhered to his declaration, and refused to enter on his office till the event of the next election of Directors should be known. The contest was obstinate, but Clive triumphed. Sullivan, lately absolute master of the India House, was within cne vote of losing his own seat; and both the chairman and deputy-chairman were friends of the new governor.
he meant to question the power of the new government. Johnstone was cowed, and disclaimed any such intention. All the faces round the board grew long and pale; and not another syllable of dissent was uttered.
Clive redeemed his pledge. He remained in India about a year and a half; and in that short time effected one of the most extensive, difficult, and salutary reforms that ever was accomplished by any statesman. This was the part of his life on which he afterwards looked back with most pride. He had it in his
connive at abuses while pretending to remove them, to conciliate the good-will of all the English in Bengal, by giving up to their rapacity a helpless and timid race, who knew not where lay the island which sent forth their oppressors; and whose complaints had little chance of being heard across fifteen thousand miles of ocean. He knew that if he applied himself in earnest to the work of reformation, he should raise every bad passion in arms against him. He knew how unscrupulous, how implacable, would be the hatred of those Such were the circumstances under which ravenous adventurers, who, having counted on Lord Clive sailed for the third and last time to accumulating in a few months fortunes sufficient India. In May, 1765, he reached Calcutta, and to support peerages, should find all their hopes be found the whole machine of government frustrated. But he had chosen the good part; more fearfully disorganized than he had anti-and he called up all the force of his mind for cipated. Meer Jather, who had some time be- a battle far harder than that of Plassey At fore lost his eldest son Meeran, had died while first success seemed hopeless; but very soon