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ment, a proceeding which, in our mind, no emergency could justify..
This was the condition of affairs when Suraj-a-Doula commanded his army, amounting to upwards of 55,000 men, with a large park of artillery, to advance against the English towards the plains of Plassey. The order was at once obeyed; and Clive, who had been assured that Meer Jaffier would come over and join him with his large division, saw no symptom of such a move. He had, moreover, intelligence that Bussy, with a disciplined force, was moving to the nabob's aid. The rains too were at hand, and the coun. cil at Madras were imploring bim to return, as all there were in alarm, daily expecting to be besieged by a French armament, known to be on its way from Europe. In this predica ment, Clive made a false step; for the first and last time of his life he called a council of war. His whole force consisted of 3,000 men, one-third of them English, the rest sepoys, and his artillery consisted of eight sixpounders and a howitzer. The ques. tion which he propounded was, “ Whether, in our present situation, without assistance, and on our own bottom, it would be prudent to attack the nabob; or whether we should wait till joined by some country power ?" Clive spoke first, and voted for delay; he was joined by eight others, and seven were for an immediate attack, so that the council, which was composed of sixteen officers, was nearly divided. The question was regarded as definitely settled, and Clive retired to a grove, where, resting under a tree, he re. volved the matter again in his mind for a whole hour, and then, regardless of the decision of the council, and of his own expressed opinion, announced his intention of attacking the enemy. No one describes a battle better than Mr. Gleig, and we therefore transcribe from his pages the triumph of Plassey :
“At dawn of day on the 22nd, the army began to cross the river ; by four in the afternoon the last division was safely across. No halt ensued. The boats being towed against the stream with great labour, the infantry and guns pushed forward; and after a march of fifteen miles, the whole bivouacked, about three in the morning of the 23rd, in a grove, or small wood, not far from Plassey.
“ Clive's intelligence had led him to expect that the enemy were in position at Cossimbogue. A rapid march bad, however, carried them on to Plassey, where they occupied the line or entrenched camp, which, during the siege of Chandernagore, Roydullub bad thrown up, and scarcely were the British troops lain down, ere the sound of drums, clarions, and cymbals warned them of the proximity of danger. Picquets were immediately pushed forward, and sentinels planted, and for an hour or two longer the weary soldiers and camp-followers were permitted to rest.
“ Day broke at last, and forth from their entrenched camp the bosts of Suraj-a-Doulah were seen to pour. 40,000 foot, armed, some with matchlocks, others with spears, swords, and bows, overspread the plain ; fifty pieces of cannon moved with them, each mounted upon a sort of wheeled-platform, which a long team of white oxen dragged, and an elephant pushed onwards from the rere. The cavalry numbered 15,000; and it was observed that in respect both of their horses and equipments, they were very superior to any which Clive and the soldiers of the Carnatic had seen on their own side of India. The fact was, that this force consisted almost entirely of Rajpoots, or Patans, soldiers from their childhood, and individually brave and skilful with their weapons. But among them, not less than among the infantry, the bond of discipline was wanting ; and placing no reliance one upon the other, their very multitude became to them a source of weakness. On the other hand, Clive's small, but most pliable army, stood silent as the grave." It consisted of about 1,000 Europeans, inured to toil, and indifferent to danger, and of
* Two agreements were prepared, one written on red paper, promising all that Omichund had asked-the other, on white paper, giving him nothing. Admiral Watson signed the latter, but refused to sign the other, to which, however, his name was affixed by the committee. The Hindoo was deceived, and when, after the battle of Plassey, he claimed his reward, he was told, “ The red treaty is a sham, you are to have nothing." The wretched man fell into the arms of an attendant, never uttered a complaint, became an idiot, and shortly after died. It is but right to add, that Clive never could see anything wrong in the transaction, and that his biographer, Sir John Malcolm, defends it.
2,000 sepoys, who trained in the same these Clive first directed an attack to school, had imbibed no small share of be made, and though they resisted the same spirit. Of these Europeans a stoutly, he drove them from a redoubt portion of Adlercron's regiment con- in which they were established, and stituted perhaps the flower. The name seized their guns. With the apparent of Adlercron has long since ceased to design of preventing this, the nabob's be had in remembrance ; but the gallant people again sallied forth ; but they 39th still carry with them, wherever came on this time in a confused mass, they go, a memorial of that day-the and a well-directed fire from the English word “Plassey," and the proud motto, guns first checked and then turned “ Primus in Indis” standing emblazoned them. Advantage was promptly taken upon their colours, beside many a similar of the panic, no respite was given to record of good service performed in the fugitives, for the victors entering Spain and in the south of France. with them, pell-mell into their camp, soon
"The battle of Plassey began at day- converted the retreat into a flight. In break, and was continued for many an hour from the first moment of the hours, with a heavy cannonade on the English beyond the exterior of the grove, part of the enemy, to which the guns of a battle, on which may be said to have the English warmly replied. The fire hung the destinies of India, was deof the latter told at every sound ; that cided.-Gleig's Life of Clive, pp. 81-82. of the former was much more noisy than destructive, partly because Clive As the battle was closing, Clive obsheltered his men behind a mud fence served a dense body of troops, on the which surrounded the grove, partly enemy's left, moving obliquely towards because the nabob's artillerists were as
his right. unskilful as their weapons were cum
They made no communicabrous. No decisive movement was, how
tion, and were fired on as they apever, made on either side, for Clive felt proached. When the engagement was himself too weak in numbers to act on quite over, horsemen came in, announcthe offensive; besides, he still expected ing that this was Meer Jaffier's corps, that Meer Jaffier would come over to and that he sent his congratulations to him, and, until some indication of the the victors. On the following morning anticipated move were given, he did not that chieftain entered the camp; but consider that he would be justified in he was obviously uneasy, and appeared quitting his ground. The nabob's
conscious of his duplicity; for he was troops, on the other hand, were such as
to observed to change colour when the the ablest general could not pretend to manæuvre under fire, and able genera's guard turned out to receive him. were wholly wanting to them.“ Under Clive, however, soon calmed his fears. these circumstances Clive, whom ex- He received him with open arms, and cessive fatigue had worn out, lay down hailed him as Nabob of Bengal, Bahar, and slept, although not until he had and Ovissa. Such was the battle of given directions that, in the event of Plassey, which forms the first great any change occurring, he should be era in the history of British India. immediately called. Accordingly, about Fought under circumstances of great noon, one of his people awoke him, and
discouragement, it achieved for us the said that the enemy were retiring. He started up; the day, it appeared, being
richest district of Hindostan, estabovercast, a heavy shower had followed,
lished England as a recognised power, which so damaged the enemy's powder, and spread the terror of her arms that their artillery became in a great throughout the provinces of the Mogul degree useless; and as they trusted en. empire, then tottering to its fall. tirely to their superiority in that arm, Mr. Wilson's work, now completed, they no longer ventured to keep the ineets, we are quite sure, the expectafield. In a moment, Clive gave the tions of the public. We much regret word to advance. There was one littlo
that he did not re-write the history of band attached to the nabob's force which served him in good stead that
the period embraced by Mill; but he day. It consisted of about forty French
has done the next best thing, by cor. soldiers, European and native, the re- recting the errors and fancies of that mains of the garrison of Chandernagore, much-biassed author, in his well-conwith four light field-pieces. Against sidered notes.
CHAPTER IV.—THE EARTHQUAKE AND ITS CONSEQUENCES.
LESTER now proceeded to discuss with him their future proceedings in this affair. Like a straightforward Englishman, he proposed to go at once and offer a large sum to the Pasha in exchange for so insignificant a part of his possessions; but this plan Manouk rejected at once. He was aware that Cyllene had spoken truly when she said that Kosreff was sufficiently wealthy to despise any amount of gold which he would offer; and, on the contrary, the prudent Turk feared it might but be the means of bringing the Greek slave under the notice of her master, which would prove most fatal to their hopes. He was unable, however, at the moment, to offer any other suggestion, except to decide that they should go together day by day to the palace, towards night. fall, there to wait with patience and the utmost watchfulness, till they were favoured by some such lucky chance as that which had brought Manouk in contact with the Armenian doctor
Lester acceded to this arrangement much against his will, but he could not doubt that the Turk was the best judge in this matter ; nor did he waver in his determination to trust to his guidance entirely, from their want of success the first night that they kept watch near the splendid prison of the young Greek slave. Not a single individual appeared outside the walls during the long hours that they spent hovering round them, and even the adventurous Englishman despaired of ever being able to penetrate into the enclosure, unless, indeed, by stratagem. Next day, Ma nouk proposed that he should precede his companion in their unpromising enterprise, in order that being alone he might be less liable to excite sus. picion, and would, perhaps, find means to prepare some subtle plan in which Lester could assist him when he ar. rived. Regardless of the burning heat, he therefore set out at noon, along with the indefatigable cat; and it was not till the sun was sinking,
with that strange rapidity which characterises its setting in the East, that the Englishman prepared to follow him.
The day had been one of heat, such as he had not yet felt even in Asia, and it seemed to him, as he mounted, and began to ride slowly over the plain, that his horse shared with him. self the langour and weariness which the heavy sultriness of the air never fails to produce. Behind him the flaming sun was going down in a shroud of fire, and its last bright rays swept unobstructed over the monotonous expanse of the barren, desolate waste, which stretched out before him, unde. viating in hue, and presenting not a single object which could attract the eye. There is something most oppressive in the atmosphere of the desert, in its silence of lifelessness, where there is not a leaf to fustle in the wind, or insect to flit murmuring by, which must be actually felt to be understood; and Lester was fully under its influence, as he rode on buried in thought; but suddenly his horse snorted viodently, reared up, and then remained motionless, with his ears laid back as though in terror. The Englishman hastily looked up, and himself became transfixed with surprise : either he was the victim of a singular hallucination, or a most extraordinary spectacle was, indeed, present before him.
At a considerable distance from the spot where he stood, he could distinctly perceive a number of gigantic figures, veiled each one in a thin white shroud, who were gliding slowly and majestically over the plain—too dim and va. pour-like to admit of any positive form being distinguished, and yet sufficiently substantial to cast a long shadow behind them. These monstrous phantoms appeared to be engaged in the mazes of a mystic dance: they certainly were performing the strangest evolutions-turning round slowly, ad. vancing towards one another, receding again, then seeming to bend forward in a solemn salutation, and at times
one would suddenly sink down into the earth, and disappear altogether! Lester remained in utter bewilderment, looking on this strange sigbt. He certainly was not dreaming ; but what then was it which he saw ? Could it be that some gigantic city lay buried beneath that plain, and that these were the ghosts of Titans performing a funeral dance over its invisible remains ? He felt enraged at himself as this wild supposition crossed his brain ; and he instantly set spurs to his horse, determined to face the shrouded giants on their own ground, and ascertain what they really were.
To his horror, one of them appeared anxious to do him honour, by coming forward with its gliding. step to meet him, and again the horse reared and plunged, refusing to advance; but the great white figure continued to approach till within a few yards of the perplexed Englishman, when it suddenly sunk down and melt. ed away, though, happily, revealing its own nature in the act; for it covered himself and his horse so completely with a fine white dust, that he comprehended at once that his Titanic pban. toms were only so many sand-spoutsone of the most common phenomena of the Asiatic plains, but which, though he had often heard described, he never could have conceived in this strange, ghost-like form, had he not beheld it. Somewhat relieved, he now proceeded on his way, watching the long columns of sand as they rose and fell; but his adventures were not over; he was destined to witness another most strik ing sight peculiar to those countries, but happily more rare, because so terrible.
He had advanced to within a stone's throw of the palace of Kosreff Pasha, when suddenly he felt his horse reel under him, and stagger as if about to fall. Hastily dismounting to ascer. tain the cause of this, he was himself violently thrown down, he scarce knew how, and when he rose, he found it impossible to stand upright. The horse had flung himself down, and Lester was fain to follow his example ; and then looking round, he perceived that the whole plain was in motion, rising and falling like the undulating waves of the sea, and he even became con. scious that the mountains round him were rocking from side to side. Though it was the first time he had ever felt an
earthquake, Lester could not doubt that these unnatural appearances proceeded from that alone; for there is something peculiar in the indescribable feeling which is caused on the human mind by this convulsion of nature, which nothing else can produce. There is something most ominous in this shaking of the world's foundations that causes a sensation of horrible insecurity, even where the actual danger is not great.
Lester was obliged to remain prostrate while the phenomena worked : first he could feel, as it were, a long shudder thrill the whole earth, like that which agitates the mortal frame when the dread of something supernatural is upon it; then a deep groan seemed to burst from its labour. ing bosom, as though drawn from it by very agony of heart. For one moment the great fabric of creation lay intensely still, and then it was seized with a tremendous convulsion, during which it it appeared to be shaken to the very centre by a prolonged quivering, exactly as though the awful footsteps of one most mighty were passing over it. When these had gone by, it seemed to sink exhausted, only heaving once or twice, like the last sobs of a child that has been hushed to rest before it relapsed into its wonted tranquillity.
During this spasm of the earth, Lester lay stunned and bewildered; and now that it was over, he could hear the deep-booming echoes far off in the mountains, as the huge rocks it had shattered came thundering down on one another ; whilst a loud crash quite close to him announced that it had taken effect also on the palace of the haughty pasha Raising himself with some difficulty, he looked anxiously towards it, and perceived that not only a large portion of the building had been destroyed, but that almost the whole of one side of the wall, a moment before so impervious, had been thrown down, and not lay flat on the ground, as though it had been built of cards, and blown down by a breath of wind. Through the large opening thus suddenly formed, he obtained a view of the beautiful gardens, where the scared and terror stricken women were rushing wildly to and fro- whilst from the pavilions, terrible cries resounded, which an. nounced that more than one disaster
had taken place. Lester was not with. dwells in a man's own soul, by which out trepidation as to the possibility of he finds a taskmaster, ready to chain his young charge being one of the the heart and the intellect, and to bind sufferers, but he felt convinced, at the him down, as though with iron links, same time, that if she had escaped the to his own most vile destructive work, effects of the earthquake, the confu- day by day, and hour by hour—to this sion resulting from it would singularly Kosreff Pasha was as a bound and facilitate her liberation, of which he hired servant, but the earthquake had had begun almost to despair. In this loosened his grasp of the human beings opinion he was confirmed by Manouk, he had purchased as his own. who had been coming towards him Lester and Manouk had spent about when the shock took place, and an hour in their place of concealment, who now joined him—he assured him keeping their eyes carefully fixed on the that the convulsion was quite over door which the rough hand of the con(for, any person habitually resident in vulsion had fashioned for them. Night these countries can generally tell from had now completely set in, but, fortusurrounding appearances what course nately for their enterprise, there was they are likely to pursue)-and he a full moon rapidly ascending the declared he had not a doubt that heavens, and giving forth a light so Cyllene would take advantage of the clear and vivid, that it was, for all destruction of the wall to effect her practical purposes, as efficient as that escape; he proposed, therefore, that of day. For some time past, silence they should hasten to conceal them. and quiet seemed to have been restored selves among the ruins, to wait till she within the pasha's domain, and the should find an opportunity of stealing pleasure-grounds appeared to be altofrom the garden, for it would have gether deserted—but, as they gazed, been too hazardous, even amid the suddenly a light figure was seen to flit noise and confusion, for themselves to through the trees, more like the gleam. penetrate within it.
ing of a moonbeam than a human Having taken up their position be being, and, with a single bound, it hind a large fragment of the wall, sprung from the interior of the garden, they remained some time listening and stood on the portion of the wall of to the shouts and vociferations with which the upper stones only had been in. From these they gathered that removed in the shock-it was a young the proud possessor of all this beau. girl, delicate and fragile, with a fair, tiful domain had not himself alto sweet face, to which early suffering gether escaped the power of the earth. had given a grave expression, ill-suited quake-(Kosreff Pasha was, in fact, to her years; she remained in her elelamed for life-and Lester found vated position for one moment, whilst ample food for reflection in the strange she glanced all round with a wild spectacle of this palace of pleasures startled look it was painful to witness, stricken down by the fierce wrath of so full was it of inexpressible terror; nature, sent at once to release the then, clasping her hands, and looking fettered slaves, and chastise him who up to heaven, she darted down from was in fact the greatest slave amongst the stones, and fled over the plain with them all ! their master, the sworn extraordinary speed, her white robes servant of luxury.
glancing in the moonlight, and her It may, indeed, afford ground for long hair floating behind her like a speculation to determine what slavery golden veil. really is that it is not the chain. It needed not Manouk's exclaing down of the mortal body, the mation of “ Cyllene !" to send Lester binding of hand and foot, is very in pursuit of this flying form, and evident, since from the prisons of both together followed in her steps as great men how many a noble soul fast as they could—but they found it has come forth through the gates and no easy matter even to keep her in the bars, to roam over the world un sight. It was evident that the poor fettered and free, proclaiming great young girl, utterly bewildered in her truths, and boldly flinging down the dread of the consequences, should her strongholds of evil-but there is that flight be discovered by her tyrants, captivity which was once led captive, had not a thought but that of placing that bitter servitude to the sin that as great a distance between herselt