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1761.] ELEVATION OF CLIVE TO THE PEERAGE. 63 they cannot be purchased. The most flattering attentions were paid him by royalty itself, as well as by men of the highest rank; while the illustrious Lord Chatham spoke of him in public as a “heaven-born general.” Elevated to the peerage as Baron Clive of Plassey, he did not forget his old acquaintances amid the splendid crowd who pressed around him and courted his intimacy. Upon several of his most deserving friends he conferred liberal annuities, and among these was his old patron Lawrence, whose wealth had by no means kept pace with his deserts.
But Clive soon found himself doomed to experience the hollow nature of mere popular favour. The causes which led to this sudden reversion of feeling require, however, a few preliminary observations, respecting the constitution of that Company of merchant princes who were now being exalted almost to the rank of independent sovereigns. Originally an association of traders, the rules and regulations of this body had been framed exclusively with a view to promote commerce, and to ensure the fair representation in their business meetings of
every individual who contributed a capital of £500 to the funds of the Company. The Court of Proprietors was composed of these last, and from them were elected twenty-four members, whose stock exceeded £2,000 in value, and who formed, when chosen, the Court of Directors. As the proprietors met once a quarter, and possessed the power of making bye-laws on these occasions, it soon became evident that a constitution which might have suited admirably a trading community was not adapted to meet the necessities of a growing empire, The increase of the British domination in India, impressed in various ways the different individuals composing the unwieldy parliaments of Leadenhall Street. The timid trembled, remonstrated, and prophesied inevitable ruin to the funds from the proceedings of Clive and his associates; the bold and ambitious exulted in the splendid visions now dawning upon their view; while a third party, composed of men with envious and carping minds, complained of the honours and fortunes that had accrued to the most deserving of their servants. The natural result of these differences of opinion in the deliberative body being unchecked by the existence of an independent executive, exhibited itself in the ill-judged and selfcontradictory instructions forwarded to the Company's representatives in the East. Obedience to these missives on the part of the local authorities would have been ruin, and therefore their only alternative was to disregard them ; but both reason and experience show that a State can never be well governed which owes its safety to insubordination. ,
The keen statesman-like mind of Clive penetrated at once the nature of these difficulties and discerned their obvious remedy. Before he left India, he addressed a letter to Mr. Pitt, describing the position and probable future of the English in India, while he strongly urged the ministers of the Crown to take matters into their own hands. This communication became public, and excited against the writer the indignation of many at Leadenhall Street, who loved power, and resented the proposal of Clive to deprive them of it.
When the late governor reached England, he found a Mr. Laurence Sullivan, Deputy Chairman of the Court of Directors. This gentleman, from his long residence in India, and undeniable abilities, both deserved and obtained the confidence of the majority among
proprietors: and although originally a supporter and admirer of Clive, he saw in his return home the approach of a powerful rival, who might eventually drive him from the position he had with so much labour acquired. To prevent this, became, henceforward, Mr. Sullivan's chief aim: Clive, he insinuated, was too powerful and too wealthy; the letter to Mr. Pitt appeared a decided act of insubordination, while the acceptance of 1 aarge grant
LEGAL PROCEEDINGS AGAINST CLIVE.
from Meer Jaffier, he characterised as the act of an unfaithful and covetous official bent upon enriching himself at the expense of the Company he served. The Deputy Chairman even hinted to Clive his wish that the latter should take no share in Indian politics, with the tacit understanding, that in that case, his revenue might be enjoyed without molestation.
For a time, the hero of Plassey maintained a prudent reserve, but various circumstances led him finally to break the restrictions which he had imposed upon him. self. The claims of those who, having served under him in India, naturally sought his aid, and invoked his influence at home, tended to bring him into collision with Sullivan, by whom many of Lord Clive's friends were regarded with feelings of personal dislike. Political animosities added fuel to the flame. Mr. Sullivan was a warm supporter of Lord Bute, Clive adhered as firmly to the party of Granville. At length their mutual ill feeling came to a crisis, and Clive strained his influence to the utmost for the purpose of opposing Sullivan's election. His efforts failed, but the attempt drew down upon him the threatened vengeance of the adverse, and now triumphant party. The Court of Directors issued orders, that the Governor of Bengal should pay over to them the rent of the territory or Jaghire, granted to Clive by Meer Jaffier. He appealed against their proceedings to the Courts of Law, a bill was filed in Chancery, and the first lawyers in the country pronounced the ground taken by the directors untenable. At this juncture, however, came disastrous news from the East. Revolutions had broken out at Moorshedabad ; the misconduct of the local authorities was but too palpable; trade suffered materially, and the dividends remained in
consequence unpaid. The proprietors trembled with alarm, they met in full court, and determined that Clive should be entreated to save them. Every inducement was to be offered him. The disputed jaghire should
be restored, the fullest powers accorded. In vain the directors exerted their influence, they were manifestly outvoted, and there remained nothing but to wait with ill-dissembled anxiety for the reply of Clive. In that answer he professed himself willing to accept office upon one condition, the secession of Mr. Sullivan from the management of affairs. The latter thus openly and directly attacked, endeavoured, as was natural, to defend himself. He strove to induce the Court of Proprietors to alter their determination, but his representations met with no success, and finally the directors found themselves compelled to nominate Lord Clive, Governor and Commander-in-chief of Bengal. His opponent, Sullivan, contrived by a hard struggle to retain his seat at the next election, but the party of Clive formed the majority in the upper court, and they willingly acceded to the propositions which he laid before them, namely, that he should retain his jaghire for the ensuing ten years, be permitted to name his own Committee of Council, and recommend the different military officers to be employed under him.
The amount of confidence thus bestowed on Lord Clive was neither misplaced por unnecessary. The affairs of Bengal had, by the mismanagement of the Committee of Council, reached the climax of confusion and disorder; nor, perhaps, could a governor invested only with ordinary powers, have stemmed effectually the torrent of corruption and political folly. In order, however, that the reader may understand the nature of these embarrassments, it will be necessary to take a brief retrospective view of the march of events, during the period that elapsed between the departure of Clive from India in 1759, and his return to it in 1765.
Mr. Vansittart, a Madras civil servant, had been appointed to succeed Clive as Governor of Bengal. With upright intentions and average abilities, this gentleman possessed no knowledge of the province, the affairs of
ATTACK OF PATNA BY THE MOGUL
which he was called upon to administer; and therefore soon found himself under the guidance of the senior members of Council. Among these stood most prominent Mr. Holwell, the survivor of the Black Hole tragedy, who had discharged, during the interim, the functions of governor. The veteran civilian, whose view of public affairs seems to have been a narrow and contracted one, no sooner found himself freed from the checks that the clear judgment and unerring sagacity of Clive ever opposed to the prejudices and antipathies of his counsellors, than he began to give the reins to an old-standing animosity against Meer Jaffier. That wretched potentate was fast sinking under the troubles and difficulties which environed him on every side. Always poor, his revenues had been of late materially diminished, owing to the system of private traffic indulged in by the agents of the Company, and connived at by their superiors of Calcutta. The consequence was, that he could neither meet the demands of the English, nor satisfy his rapacious troops. To add to these embarrassments, he was suddenly called upon to repel an invasion from without. The Shah Zadé, mentioned a few pages back, had succeeded to his father's throne at Delhi, and once more resolved to possess himself of Moorshedabad. This prince, who, on his accession, assumed the lofty appellation of Shah Alim, or King of the World, won over to his side the powerful Nabob of Oude, upon whom he conferred the title of Vizier. With these was allied the Rajah of Purneah, a vassal of Meer Jaffier, who hoped to rise, by the downfall of his liege lord, to the vacant post from which the latter had been ejected.
The Mogul prince attacked Patna, of which Ramnarrain, a faithful ally of the English, was governor. Colonel Calliaud advanced to support the garrison, and encountering the Imperial forces in a pitched battle, defeated them with considerable loss, a disaster which induced Shah Alim to retreat with all possible celerity