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towers. Rajah Sahib had thus no course but to attempt to take the place by storm, and his assault is well described by Mr. Gleig :
made so bold a defence, that he beat them off, and at daylight on the following morning had the happiness to see his troops returning with the guns and stores.
The occupation of Arcot operated precisely as Clive had anticipated. The nabob detached a large force from before Trichinopoly, and his son, Rajah Sahib, approached with ten thousand men, of whom one hundred and fifty were French soldiers, to regain his father's capital :
• For fifty days be pressed the siege with all the vigour of which an Indian general was capable. A constant fire of musketry from the houses on the glacis swept the ramparts. Heavy guns battered in the breach, until they brought down a wide extent of wall, and the utmost vigilance was exerted in order to prevent supplies of provisions from being conveyed into the place. Clive, on his part, was indefatigable, and the devoted courage of his handful of troops passes all praise. Indeed here, as, in our own time, in the noble defence of Jellalabad, European and native rivalled each other in heroism and endurance. It was during the height of this siege that an instance of self-devotion on the part of the native soldiers occurred, of which the memory can never fade away The stock of rice beginning to fail, the sepoys waited upon Clive, and besought him that he would restrict his issues to their European comrades. All that they desired, or, indeed, would accept, was the water in which the grain had been boiled; and upon this thin gruel they sustained the labours of the siege for many days.” — Gleig's Life of Clive, p. 36.
« The 14th of November is a day kept holy by the worshippers of Mohammed, in honour of the murder of the brothers, Hassar and Hossur, two of the most illustrious of the saints and martyrs in their calendar. The festival is observed in Hindostan with an exceed. ing fervour, the devotees deepening the sentiment by the free use of bang, an intoxicating drug, of which one of the effects is either to stupify altogether, or to inflame the individual who is under its influence into madness. Rajah Sahib fixed this day for his final assault on the citadel of Arcot, in the well-grounded conviction that numbers who, under ordinary circumstances, might have done their duty, and no more, would, when inspired by the combined influence of religious zeal and intoxication, force their way through all opposition, or perish in the attempt. He could not, however, conceal his purpose from Clive, who made every necessary disposition to thwart it, and who lay down to rest only after he had seen that all was in readiness for the storm. It came with the dawn of the morning, and lasted in its fury about an hour. Four columns advanced to the attack of four different points, two assailing the breaches, two endeavouring to force open the gates. The latter process they attempted by driving before them elephants, having their foreheads covered with plates of iron; the former they executed, some by passing over the ruins which choked the ditch, others endeavouring to cross where the water was deep, upon a raft. The elephants, galled by the musketry of the garrison, turned round, and trampled upon their own people. The assailants who endeavoured to clamber over the fallen masses of rubbish, were cut down by discharges from behind the parapet; and Clive, directing with bis own hand a field-piece at the raft, cleared it in a moment. In a word, the enemy was repulsed at every point, in spite of the frantic efforts of those who led them, and drew off, leaving not fewer than four hundred dead bodies in the ditch, or scattered over the piece of ground which interposed between it and the bottom of the wall.
“ Clive's loss in this encounter was very trilling. It amounted to no more than five or six men ; and well was it for him that the casualties did not prove more serious. His corps, originally small, had become so reduced by hard service, that there remained to meet this
An offer was made to Clive, of a large sum, if he would surrender the town; but this was rejected with scorn. The besieged, too, made several bold sallies, and though some lives were sacrificed, which could ill be spared, the spirit of our soldiers was sustained, and the natives were impressed with a high idea of their valour. There was a Mahratta chief named Morari Rou, who, with six thousand horse, was hovering on the frontiers of the Carnatic, waiting the issue of the siege of Trichinopoly, to see which side he would take. Clive contrived to communicate with him, and, struck with admiration of the English, the Mahratta agreed to assist them; and his standards were soon seen from the
aras were soon seen from the
final assault no more than eighty European and one hundred and twenty sepoy soldiers; while the whole of his officers, with but a solitary exception, were placed hors de combat. Perhaps, too, he had reason to be thankful that the enemy, discouraged by the extent of their losses, and fearful of an attack from the Mahrattas in their rear, did not renew the attempt. They continued, however, throughout the day, and until the night was far advanced, to harass him with a constant musketry-fire from the houses, which they intermitted only for an hour or two, in order to bury their dead. But this suddenly ceased about one or two o'clock in the morning of the 15th, when intelligence came in that they had retreated; and a patrol sent out to ascertain whether the case were so, brought back a report that not a man remained in the town.”-Ibid, pp. 37-8.
The immediate results of this achievement were of the greatest importance. It established the reputation of the English, attached to their interests many of the wavering native princes, and led to the rapid overthrow of the French power in the Carnatic. On the evening of his triumph, Clive received a reinforcement from Madras, and, aided by the Mahrattas, he lost no time in following the enemy, whom he again defeated at Arnee. The French contingents suffered severely in that battle ; and a regiment of sepoys, six hundred strong, who were in their service, deserted with their arms, and joined Clive. The Ma. hommedan Governor of Arnee also joined him, with the force under his command. Other successes followed with, as it seemed, hardly the intervention of a halt. Clive also levelled to the ground a column which Dupleix had erected, commemorative of the foundation of the French empire in the East, together with a town which he had built around it, and called by his name. He then advanced to the relief of Tri. chinopoly, and aided his superior offi. cer, Major Lawrence, in delivering it from a long blockade. M. Law, the French engineer, who directed the siege, retired with the force under his command; but, being pursued, was, after some skirmishing, compelled to capitulate. On one of these last occasions, when attacked at night, in the village of Samiaveram, Clive had more than a single escape. The French,
in making the attack, had placed in their van forty English deserters, who answered the challenge of the English sentries, and thus took them by surprise. As Clive sprang from his mattress, a musket-ball struck the chest on which he lay; and at the close of the affair, one of the deserters, while speaking about submission, “ fired at him," says Mr. Gleig, “and killed two non-commissioned officers, on whose shoulders he leant, loss of blood hav. ing rendered him unable to stand upright."
It is to the honour of Dupleix, that amidst these sore disasters he did not despair. His great ally, Chunda Sahib had perished; the European force, on which he most relied, was gone; and he was deprived of almost every stronghold which he had possessed in the Carnatic. Still he was not without resources, and he availed himself of them with admirable ability. He had one friend, and he was well acquainted with the courts and politics of India. It is true that the new Nabob of the Carnatic was the nominee of the English; but the ruling prince of the Deccan had gained his throne by means of the courage and military skill of M. Bussy, the agent of Dupleix, by whose influence he was now altogether swayed. Dupleix made every effort to in. duce the Soubahdur of the Deccan, as this prince was called, to dethrone the new-made nabob of the Carnatic, who had been heretofore regarded as his dependent. He also freely expended his private fortune in intriguing with our allies; and it accordingly became known that he was likely to re-appear with fresh vigour in the field. When this intelligence was conveyed to Europe, the rival companies both expressed extreme aversion to the renewal of a war. Their commercial profits had woefully decreased; and, as in comparison with this, they cared little for territory or renown, they anxiously applied to their respective governments to have an arrangement concluded which should secure them peace. In consequence of this, a negotiation was entered on, and the result was, that Dupleix was superseded, and a treaty signed which was most advantageous to the English. This abrupt and unlooked-for termination of all his ambitious hopes was rendered the more galling to Dupleix, by his reception in
France. He received little acknow. ledgment for his stupendous exertions, and no remuneration for his large personal losses. It appeared, by his ac. counts, that he had advanced about £400,000 sterling during the war, being partly his own money, and partly funds borrowed from the French mer. chants of Pondicherry, on his bonds. This the French East India Company refused to pay, on the ground that he had exceeded his authority; and when he commenced a lawsuit to enforce his rights, the ministry interfered, quashed the proceedings in the king's name, and awarded to him the iniquitous satisfaction of letters of protection against his creditors. He lived for a while in retirement, and died unnoticed. Such was the career of Dupleix, the ablest of the French in India ; and it brings painfully but forcibly to our mind, that of our own Asiatic states. man, Hastings, whom he resembled in the largeness of his views, in self-sacrifice and energetic zeal, and, we blush to say it, in the character of his
English, too, had a more immediate, and a still more formidable enemy, in a first-rate native power, the Nabob of Bengal. Under these circumstances, Clive was given the commission of a lieutenant-colonel by the Crown, and appointed to the command of an artillery and infantry force, with which he embarked for India in 1755. His orders were to act, in the first place, against the French in the Deccan, but soon after his arrival he was compelled to proceed to Bengal, to avenge one of the foulest acts of cruelty which ever stained the annals of mankind, and which, it is well to remark, led almost directly to the establishment of our dominion in India.
The Carnatic had hitherto been the theatre of our Eastern conflicts; the scene was now to change to Bengal, the richest, most populous, and most powerful of all the subdivisions of the Mogul empire. Suraj-u-Doulah, the young nabob of that province, was rash, ignorant, and unfeeling. He threatened to extirpate the English, and thought that it would be as easy to accomplish as to express his wish, “ For," said he, “there are not ten thousand men in all Europe, and how can they retaliate ?" On some pretext for being displeased, this prince moved his powerful army towards Calcutta, and as he approached the gates, the governor, the few military, and all who could, fled to the ships in terror, a terror not unfounded. When the last boat had pushed off, the nabob's troops were entering the town, and there were still one hundred and nine. ty Europeans who had no means of escape. These took refuge in the fort, where they were assailed by the nabob's troops, to whom, after a gal. Jant but vain defence, they were compelled to surrender. Their number was now reduced to one hundred and forty-six, and, as the evening drew on, the guards marched them to a small chamber, which had served as the prison of the fortress, and was called the black-hole. It was a room eighteen feet by fourteen, ill-ventilated by two small windows, which were barred
The affairs of the company in India being now regarded as in a highly prosperous condition, Clive returned to England," where, though he had but the rank of captain, and bad not yet attained his twenty-eighth year, he was received with public honours, entertained at corporation dinners, and presented by the court of directors with a diamond-hilted sword, which, with a becoming modesty he declined to accept, until his senior officer, the veteran Lawrence, had received another. He had amassed a considerable fortune,f but he embarked in an election contest, and his habits were in other respects so expensive, that he would in all probability have been soon embarrassed, were it not that, after an interval of two years, he was called on to return to India. War had again broken out between France and England, and the former, repining at the advantages she had lost, was de termined to encourage and support her agents in their efforts to restore and extend her influence in the East. The
* He had just before married, in Madras, Miss Margaret Maskelyne, a sister of the celebrated astronomer-royal.
† His first application of it was to pay off a mortgage, which pressed heavily on his father's property.
with iron, and which opened into a verandah. Mr. Holwell, who was a member of council, and the chief of the English there, remonstrated against the cruelty of forcing them into so small an apartment, but the officer of the guard threatened to cut down any man who refused to enter, and the prisoners, seeing that it was useless to resist, suffered themselves to be packed in, which being done with difficulty, the door was locked. The night was the 19th of June, and was even more sultry than is usual at that time of the year there. Many of the prisoners were suffering from their woundssome others, soldiers, were inflamed with arrack, which they had been drinking in the fort. The horrors all endured are too dreadful to be detailed. They tried to burst the door, and seek relief from the scimitars of the guards. Mr. Holwell offered one of the inferior officers, who showed some sympathy for their fate, 1,000 rupees, if he could get them distributed into two apart, ments. He went to try; but on his return said, that the nabob was asleep, and that no change could be made
The sum was now doubled, and he tried again, but returning, he said that nothing could be done, that the nabob was still asleep, and that nobody could dare to waken him. There was now no hope. The air was pestilential, some were suffocated, others were trampled to death, and there was a frantic struggle to get near the windows. The officer who had been before appealed to, forced in some skins of water through the bars, but this seemed only to increase their misery. The contests for the liquid were fear. ful; and the soldiers without, with a demon feeling, held up lights to see and enjoy the gestures of the combat ants. Some sought, by incentives, to tempt the guards to fire upon them; others were raving mad; and midst this wailing scene, the only cry that was not one of horror, was that of prayer. At two o'clock, only fifty were alive ; and when Sarajah awoke, at six in the morning, and gave orders for the door to be opened, only twenty-three were taken out alive, ghastly and insensible
It is said that the nabob did not actually mean to cause so dreadful a ca. tastrophe. Possibly he did not much consider all the horrors which would follow; but it is quite plain that he
VOL. XXXII.-NO, cxcii.
gave the order for imprisonment; for when he awoke in the morning, his first question had reference to the sufferers, inquiring in what condition they were ; and even then his hardened indifference to their fate showed his cruelty. When Mr. Holwell, who was one of the survivors, was brought into his presence, weak and scarcely sensible, he expressed no regret for his sufferings, no sorrow for those who had perished, but proceeded sternly to interrogate him on the far more interesting topic of the treasure which he supposed was concealed in the fort. Mill, with an air of liberality which so often appears in his work, just when it ought not, throws the blame of the transaction on the English themselves, on the ground that they had no business to have so confined a prison. It was, no doubt, large enough for all the purposes of the English factory at that time.
As soon as the news of this massacre, and of the fall of Calcutta, reached Madras, it was determined in council there, to prepare an expedition forthwith, to retake the possessions of the English, and avenge their wrongs. After some delay, arising out of personal feelings and jealousies between the company's and the king's service, an armament was fitted out, consisting of 900 Europeans and 1,500 sepoys, with a fleet of five ships under the command of Admiral Watson, and the control of the whole was confided to Clive. The force was small, considering the powerful despot it was destined to assail ; but Clive said that his Europeans “ were full of spirit and of resentment," and he had no doubt of their success. On the 2nd of January, 1757, they retook Calcutta, which had been abandoned by the nabob, who was concentrating his troops at some distance from that town. Although his army amounted to 40,000 men, Clive determined to make a night attack upon his camp. Owing to some errors in the execution of this plan, he was not successful, but was obliged to retire with a considerable loss; still the effort was so daring, and the cou. rage exhibited by his men so remarkable, that the movement had all the influence of a victory. The nabob sought rather to negotiate than to fight; and although Clive had no reliance on his character, he conceived
himself bound, in the critical positionceive such a monster must hare been, in which he was placed, to treat with well hated. His tyranny had rendered him, if it were practicable. A com him unpopular with most of the lead. pact was accordingly made, by which ers in his court and camp, and his great advantages were conferred upon exactions had set many of the men of the English. Clive, however, seems wealth against him. There was one to have relied but little on the stability feature in the Mogul polity which con. of this peace ; for, in communicating tributed a good deal to the insecurity the details of it to the directors, he of an unjust ruler. While the admi. observes, “ that it cannot be expected nistration of justice, and every military that the princes of this country, whose appointment, was kept in the hands of fidelity is always to be suspected, will the Mussulmans, all that related to remain firin to their engagements and finance was abandoned to the Hindoos. promises from principle only." There They were the conductors of money was great reason for the caution con- arrangements, the bankers in large veyed in these remarks ; for it after- towns, the money-lenders in the vil. wards appeared that the seal had not lages. “I prefer Hindoos as manabeen put to the treaty, before the na- gers and renters, to those of my own bob was engaged in making overtures religion," said Ameer-ul-Omra, the to the French, to assist him in expel minister of the nabob of the Carnatic, ling the English from Bengal. This “because a Mahommedan is like a was a contingency on which Clive bad sieve, and a Hindoo like a sponge. counted ; and his first object after Whatever you put into the one runs making peace with the nabob, was to through ; the other retains it all, and march against the French factory at you may recover it any moment by the Chandernagore, where they had a thriv. application of a little pressure." This ing establishment, and a force about pressure, however, very much disequal to his own. He claimed the posed its victims to aid in conspiracies, nabob's agreement to this proceeding, and their influence was usually great. on the ground that the English and the Amongst those who had suffered by French were then at war. The nabob the fall of Calcutta was a native tried hard to evade giving his assent, banker, named Omichund, who was but, after some correspondence, Clive artful and avaricious, and who hoped, advanced against this place, and took by political intrigues, to replace his it by storm. In this expedition he losses. He was mainly the channel acted on his own responsibility, disre- through which Clive communicated garding orders from Madras, which with the disaffected in the nabob's recalled him there. He was aware of camp. Their wish vas to set the the efforts which the French govern. latter aside, and to make Meer Jaffier, ment were making for the recovery the commander-in-chief of his army, of their influence in the East; he their ruler in his stead. The latter knew that M. Bussy, with a European took an undecided part, evidently and a large native force, was at no wishing to adhere to his master until great distance from Bengal; and he he saw that he could desert him with clearly saw that a French and Eng- safety. It was also plain that Omilish power could not co-exist in chund was not to be depended on, for India; he therefore concluded that after having stipulated for an enor. he was consulting the interest of mous reward, under the pame of comEngland, and the honor of her arms, pensation, he told the English that in assailing her ablest enemy, while unless they secured him the further he could do so to advantage. On sum of £300,000, as recompense for effecting this conquest, he made his agency, he would go over to Suraj. the further discovery that the nabob a-Doulah, and apprise him of the conwas actually in treaty with M. Bussy. spiracy. “ Promise him," said Clive, He then determined to incur the fur. “all he asks, and draw up any form ther responsibility of declaring war of engagement which shall satisfy him, against this prince, and of taking part and secure us against his treachery." in a conspiracy to dethrone him. “He This was done in a manner, which, if is," said Clive, “a villain, and either it be at all defensible, certainly shows he or we must be upset." Suraj-a. that Clive was not over scrupulous. Doulah was, as we may easily con. The expedient was a fictitious agree