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f his Eastern negotiations, he had sometimes | wider views; and the best tribunal for great political cases is that tribunal which antici pates the verdict of history.
escended. He avowed the arts which he had mployed to deceive Omichund; and resolutely aid that he was not ashamed of them, and that, n the same circumstances, he would again act in the same manner. He admitted that he had received mmense sums from Meer Jaffier; but he denied that, in doing so, he had violated any obligation of morality or honour. He laid claim, on the contrary, and not without some reason, to the praise of eminent disinterestedness. He described, in vivid language, the situation in which his victory had placed him; a great prince dependent on his pleasure; an opulent city afraid of being given up to plunder; wealthy bankers bidding against each other for his smiles; vaults piled with gold and jewels, thrown open to him alone. By God, Mr. Chairman,” he exclaimed, "at this moment I stand astonished at my own moderation !"
Reasonable and moderate men of all parties felt this in Clive's case. They could not pro nounce him blameless; but they were not disposed to abandon him to that low-minded and rancorous pack who had run him down, and were eager to worry him to death. Lord North, though not very friendly to him, was not dis posed to go to extremities against him. While the inquiry was still in progress, Clive, who had some years before been created a Knight of the Bath, was installed with great pomp in Henry the Seventh's Chapel. He was soon after appointed Lord-Lieutenant of Shropshire. When he kissed hands, George III., who had always been partial to him, admitted him to a private audience, talked to him half an hour on Indian polities, and was visibly affected when the persecuted general spoke of his ser vices and of the way in which they had been requited.
The inquiry was so extensive that the Houses rose before it had been completed. It was continued in the following session. When at length the committee had concluded its labours, enlightened and impartial men had little difficulty in making up their minds as to the result. It was clear that Clive had been guilty of some acts which it is impossible to vindicate without attacking the authority of all the most sacred laws which regulate the intercourse of individuals and of states. But it was equally clear that he had displayed great talents, and even great virtues; that he had rendered eminent services both to his country and to the people of India; and that it was in truth not for his dealings with Meer Jaffier, nor for the fraud which he had practised on Omichund, but for his determined resistance to avarice and tyranny that he was now called in question.
At length the charges came in a definite form before the House of Commons. Bur goyne, chairman of the committee, a man of wit, fashion, and honour, an agreeable drama. tic writer, an officer whose courage was never questioned, and whose skil! was at that time highly esteemed, appeared as the accuser. The members of the administration took dif ferent sides; for in that age all questions were open questions except such as were brought forward by the government, or such as implied some censure on the government. Thurlow, the Attorney-General, was among the assailants. Wedderburne, the Solicitor-General, strongly attached to Clive, defended his friend with ex traordinary force of argument and language. It is a curious circumstance that, some years later, Thurlow was the most conspicuous champion of Warren Hastings, while Wed
Ordinary criminal justice knows nothing of set-off. The greatest desert cannot be pleadedderburne was among the most unrelenting per in answer to a charge of the slightest 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 remem he 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 entitled to a more than ordinary measure of indulgence. Such men should be judged by their contemporaries as they will be judged by posterity. Their bad actions ought not, indeed, to be ca led good; but their good and bad actions ought to be fairly weighed :-and if on the whole the good preponderate, the sentence ought to be one, not merely of acquittal, but of approbation. Not a single great ruler in history can be absolved by a judge who fixes his eye inexorably on one or two unjustifiable acts. Bruce, the deliverer of Scotland; Maurice, the deliverer of Germany; William, the deliverer of Holland; his great descendant, the deliverer of England; Murray, the good regent; Cosmo, the father of his country; Henry IV. of France; Peter the Great of Russia-how would the best them bass such a scrutiny! History takes
The Commons resolved that acquisitions made by the arms of the State belong to the State alone, and that it is illegal in the ser vants of the State to appropriate such acqusi tions to themselves. They resolved that this wholsome rule appeared to have been system. atically violated by the English functionaries in Bengal. On a subsequent day they went a step further, and resolved that Clive had, by means of the power which he possessed as commander of the British forces in India, ohtained large sums from Meer Jaffier. Here the House stopped. They had voted the major and minor of Burgoyne's syllogism, but they shrunk from drawing the logical conclusion. When it was moved that Lord Clive had abused his powers and set an evil example to the servants of the public, the previous ques.ion 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 situa 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 comCommons. 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 Dad 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 de and 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 opi the 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 solpleix, 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. antechambers, sank into an obscure grave. The disputes with America had now become ally 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 that pered a gentle censure with liberal eulogy. the inevitable separation would have been de The 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 writer visited him at Ferney. Wedderburne ook great interest in the matter, and pressed Clive to furnish materials. Had the pian been carried into execution, we have no doubt that Veltaire would have produced a book containing much lively and picturesque narrative, many just and humane sentiments poignantly expressed, many grotesque blunders, many sneers at the Mosaic chronology, much scandal about the Catholic missionaries, and much subline theophilanthropy stolen from the New Testament, and put into the mouths of virtuous and philosophical Brahmins.
In the awful close of so much prosperity and glory, the vulgar saw only a confirmation of all their prejudices; and some men of real piety and talents so far forgot the maxims both of religion and of philosophy, as confidently to ascribe the mournful event to the just vengeance of God and the horrors of an evil conscience. It is with very different feelings that we contemplate the spectacle of a great mind ruined by the weariness of satiety, by the pangs of wounded honour, by fatal diseases, and more fatal remedies.
Clive was now secure in the enjoyment of his forune and his honours. He was sur rounded by attached friends and relations, and he had tot yet passed the season of vigorous bodily aid mental exertion. But clouds had long been gathering over his mind, and now settled on it in thick darkness. From early youth he had been subject to fits of that strange melancholy "which rejoiceth exceedingly and is glad when it can find the grave." While still a writer at Madras, he had twice attempt-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 spirts. In India, while he was occupied by the fall of Ghazni. Nor must we forget that grea affairs, in England, while wealth and he was only twenty-five years old whe he ap
From his first visit to India dates the renown of the English arms in the East. Till he appeared, his countrymen were despised as mere pedlars, while the French were revered as a people formed for victory and command. His
Clive committed great faults; and we have not attempted to disguise them. But his faults, when weighed against his merits, and viewed in connection with his temptations, do not appear to us to deprive him of his right to an honourable place in the estimation of pos terity.
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 gi Twelfth won great battles at a still earlier age; gantic system of oppression, extortion, and cor. but 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 away— to form his army. The only man, as far as we if in India the yoke of foreign masters, elserecollect, 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 terror through the whole plain of Bengal, has succeeded a body of functionaries not more highly distinguished by ability and diligence than by integrity, disinterestedness, and public spirit-if we now see men like Munro, Elphinstone, and Metcalfe, after leading victorious armies, after making and deposing kings, return, proud of their honourable poverty, from a land which once held out to every greedy factor the hope of boundless wealth-the praise is in no small measure due to Clive. His name stands high on the roll of conquerors. But it is found in a better list-in the list of those who have done and suffered much for the happiness of mankind. To the warrior, history will as sign a place in the same rank with Lucullus and Trajan. Nor will she deny to the reform er, a share of that veneration with which France cherishes the memory of Turgot, and with which the latest generation of Hindoos will contemplate the statue of Lord William Bentinck.
From Clive's second visit to India dates the political ascendency of the English in that country. His dexterity and resolution realized, in the course of a few months, more than all the gorgeous visions which had floated before the imagination of Dupleix. Such an extent of cultivated territory, such an amount of revenue, such a multitude of subjects, was never added to the dominion of Rome by the most successful proconsul. Nor were such wealthy spoils ever borne under arches of triumph, down the Sacred Way, and through the crowded Forum, to the threshold of Tarpeian Jove. The fame of those who subdued Antiochus and Tigranes grows dim when compared with the splendour of the exploits which the young English adventurer achieved at the head of an ariny not equal in numbers to one-half of a Roman legion.
From Clive's third visit to India dates the parity of the administration of our Eastern empire. When he landed at Calcutta in 1765, 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 to politicians as an industrious and useful official man, and as an upright and consistent member of Parliament. He has been one of the most moderate, and, at the same time, one of the least pliant members of the Conservative party. His conduct has, on some questions, been so Whigish, that both those who applauded and those who condemned it have questioned his claim to be considered as a Tory. But his Toryism, such as it is, he has held fast to through all changes of fortune and fashion; and he has at last retired from public life, leaving behind him, to the best of our belief, no personal enemy, and carrying with him the respect and good-will of many who strongly dissent from his opinions.
This book, the fruit of Mr. Courtenay's leisure, is introduced by a preface, in which he informs us, that the assistance furnished to him from various quarters "has taught him the superiority of literature to politics for developing the kindlier feelings, and conducing to an agreeable life." We are truly glad that Mr. Courtenay is so well satisfied with his new employment, and we heartily congratulate him on having been driven by events to make an exchange which, advantageous as it is, few people make while they can avoid it. He has little reason, in our opinion, to envy any of those who are still engaged in a pursuit, from which, at most, they can only expect that, by relinquishing liberal studies and social pleasures, by passing nights without sleep, and summers without one glimpse of the beauty of nature, they may attain that laborious, that invidious, that closely watched slavery which is mocked with the name of Power.
The volumes before us are fairly entitled to the praise of diligence, care, good sense, and impartiality; and these qualities are sufficient to make a book valuable, but not quite sufficient to make it readable. Mr. Courtenay has not sufficiently studied the arts of selection and compression. The information with which he furnishes us must still, we apprehend, be considered as so much raw material. To manufacture it will be highly useful, but it is not yet in such a form that it can be enjoyed by the idle consumer. To drop metaphor, we are afraid that this work will be less acceptable to those who read for the sake of reading, than to those who read in order to write.
only are these passages out of place, but scare of them are intrinsically such that they would become the editor of a third-rate party rewspaper better than a gentleman of Mr. Courte nay's talents and knowledge. For example, we are told that "it is a remarkable circumstance, familiar to those who are acquainted with history, but suppressed by the new Whigs, that the liberal politician of the seventeenth century and the greater part of the eighteenth, never extended their liberality to the native Irish or the professors of the ancient religion." What schoolboy of fourteen is ignorant of this remarkable circumstance? What Whig, new or old, was ever such an idiot as to think that it could be suppressed? Really, we might as well say that it is a remarkable circumstance, familiar to people well read in history, but carefully suppressed by the clergy of the Established Church, that in the fifteenth century England was Catholic. We are tempted to make some remarks on another passage, which seems to be the peroration of a speech intended to be spoken against the Reform bill: but we forbear.
We doubt whether it will be found that the memory of Sir William Temple owes much to Mr. Courtenay's researches. Temple is one of those men whom the world has agreed to praise highly without knowing much about them, and who are therefore more likely to lose than to gain by a close examination. Yet he is not without fair pretensions to the most honourable place among the statesmen of his time. A few of them equalled or surpassed him in talents; but they were men of no good repute for honesty. A few may be named whose patriotism was purer, nobler, and more disinterested than his; but they were men of no eminent ability. Morally, he was above Shaftes bury; intellectually, he was above Russell.
To say of a man that he occupied a high position in times of misgovernment, cf corruption, of civil and religious faction, and that, nevertheless, he contracted no great stain, and bore no part in any crime;-that he won the esteem of a profligate court and of a turbulent people, without being guilty of any great subserviency to either, seems to be very high praise; and all this may with truth be said of Temple.
Yet Temple is not a man to our taste. A temper not naturally good, but under strict command,-a constant regard to decorum,--a rare caution in playing that mixed game of skill and hazard, human life, a disposition to be content with small and certain winnings rather than go on doubling the stake,-these seem to us to be the most remarkable features of his character. This sort of moderation. when united, as in him it was, with very con
kind. He could not bear discomfort, bodily or mental. His lamentations when, in the course of his diplomatic journeys, he was put a little out his way, and forced, in the vulgar phrase, to rough it, are quite amusing. He talks of riding a day or two on a bad Westphalian road, of sleeping on straw for one night, of travelling in winter when the snow lay on the ground, as if he had gone on an expedition to the North Pole or to the source of the Nile. This kind of valetudinarian effeminacy, this habit of coddling himself, appears in all parts of his conduct. He loved fame, but not with the love of an exalted and generous mind. He loved it as an end, not at all as a means;-as a personal luxury, not at all as an instrument of advantage to others. He scraped it together and treasured it up with a timid and niggardly thrift; and never employed the hoard in any enterprise, however virtuous and honourable, in which there was hazard of losing one particle. No wonder if such a person did little or nothing which deserves positive blame. But much more than this may justly be demanded of a man possessed of such abilities and placed in such a situation. Had Temple been brought before Dante's infernal tribunal, he would not have been condemned to the deeper recesses of the abyss. He would not have been boiled with Dundee in the crimson pool of Bulicame, or hurled with Danby into the seething pitch of Malebolge, or congealed with Churchill in the eternal ice of Giudecca; but he would per haps have been placed in a dark vestibule next to the shade of that inglorious pontiff
"Che fece per viltate il gran rifiuto."
siderable abilities, is, under ordinary circumstances, scarcely to be distinguished from the highest and purest integrity; and yet may be perfectly compatible with laxity of principle, with coldness of heart, and with the most in tense selfishness. Temple, we fear, had not sufficient warmth and elevation of sentiment to deserve the name of a virtuous man. He did not betray or oppress his country: nay, he rendered considerable service to her; but he risked nothing for her. No temptation which either the King or the Opposition could hold out ever induced him to come forward as the supporter either of arbitrary or of factious measures. But he was most careful not to give offence by strenuously opposing such measures. He never put himself prominently before the public eye, except at conjunctures when he was almost certain to gain, and could not possibly lose ;-at conjunctures when the interest of the state, the views of the court, and the passions of the multitude all appeared for an instant to coincide. By judiciously availing himself of several of these rare moments, he succeeded in establishing a high character for wisdom and patriotism. When the favourable crisis was passed, he never risked the reputation which he had won. He avoided the great offices of state which a caution almost pusillanimous, and confined himself to quiet and secluded departments of public business, in which he could enjoy moderate but certain advantage without incurring envy. If the circumstances of the country became such that it was impossible to take any part in politics without some danger, he retired to his Library and his Orchard; and, while the nation groaned under oppression, or resounded with tumult and with the din of civil arms, amused himself by writing Memoirs and tying up Apricots. His political career bore some resemblance to the military career of Louis XIV. Louis, lest his royal dignity should be compromised by failure, never repaired to a siege, till it had been reported to him by the most skilful officers in his service that nothing could prevent the fall of the place. When this was ascertained, the monarch, in his helmet and cuirass, appeared among the tents, held councils of war, dictated the capitulation, received the keys, and then returned to Versailles to hear his flatterers repeat that Turenne had been beaten at Mariendal, that Condé had been forced to raise the siege of Arras, and that the only warrior whose glory had never been obscured by a single check was Louis the Great! Yet Condé and Turenne will always be con-portant that he should resolutely perform them. sidered captains of a very different order from the invincible Louis; and we must own that many statesmen who have committed very great faults, appear to us to be deserving of more esteem than the faultless Temple. For in truth his faultlessness is chiefly to be ascribed to his extreme dread of all responsibilay--to his determination rather to leave his Country in a scrape than to run any chance of being in a scrape himself. He seems to have been averse from danger; and it must be adinitted that the dangers to which a public man was exposed, in those days of conflicting ty ranny and sedition, were of the most serious
Of course a man is not bound to be a politician any more than he is bound to be a soldier; and there are perfectly honourable ways of quitting both politics and the military profes sion. But neither in the one way of life, nor in the other, is any man entitled to take all the sweet and leave all the sour. A man who belongs to the army only in time of peace,who appears at reviews in Hyde Park, escorts the sovereign with the utmost valour and fidelity to and from the House of Lords, and retires as soon as he thinks it likely that he may be ordered on an expedition-is justly thought to have disgraced himself. Some portion of the censure due to such a holiday-soldier may justly fall on the mere holiday-politician, who flinches from his duties as soon as those du ties become difficult and disagreeable;-thai is to say, as soon as it becomes peculiarly im
But though we are far indeed from consider ing Temple as a perfect statesmen, though we place him below many statesmen who have committed very great errors, we cannot deny that, when compared with his contemporaries, he makes a highly respectable appearance. The reaction which followed the victory of the popular party over Charles the First, had produced a hurtful effect on the national charac ter; and this effect was most discernible in the classes and in the places which had been most strongly excited by the recent Revolution. The deterioration was greater in London than in the country, and was greatest of all in the courtly and