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"Then was seen what we believe to be the most frightful of all spectacles, the
HE terms on which Mir Jaffir obtained the co-opera
tion of the Company were not allowed to remain i the insecure form of spoken promises; they were embodie in a solemn treaty of thirteen articles, dated June 1757 sworn to by "God and the Prophet" on one side, and declare on the Holy Gospels and before God, on the other. Colon Clive, Admiral Watson, Governor Drake, and Mr Wat were the signataries on behalf of the Company, whom th bound to "assist Mir Jaffir Khan Behander with all th force to obtain the Soubahship of the provinces of Beng Behar, and Orissa, and further to assist him to the utm against all his enemies whatever, as soon as called upor that end." On his part, the Nawab agreed to an offens
Historical Essays-Warren Hastings, vol. iii.
and defensive alliance with the Company; to possess them of all the effects and factories belonging to the French, whom he was not to permit again to settle in his Soubahdary; to pay the pecuniary compensation already mentioned; to give them several tracts of land within, and 600 yards. extent beyond, the ditch of Calcutta; to give them the zemindary or leasehold of revenue of all land to the south of Calcutta; to maintain their troops when in his service; and not to erect fortifications below the Hooghly. But the fine gold of this agreement soon grew dim. Mir Jaffir had the Company's friendship while he could pay for it; but he soon found that the glove of a friend may cover the mailed hand of a foe. India, at its best, was not the mine of fabulous wealth that covetous Europeans fondly imagined. Foreign invasion and domestic strife had seriously crippled the industrial resources of the country, and hence the payments guaranteed by the treaty fell into arrear. Mir Jaffir was a soldier, not a financier, and he knew not how to meet importunate demands save by fresh exactions from an overburdened people. His troops were mutinous for pay, disquietude was general, and the whole machinery of government was out of gear. Yet the importunities of the Council of Calcutta were unremitting, and their demeanour became such at last as to extort bitter reproaches from the impoverished Prince, whom they professed to treat as the ruler of Bengal. On a threatened invasion by the Shahzada, heir-apparent of the Great Mogul, they furnished, at the Nawab's request, military succour, in accordance with the terms of the alliance, and the Vizier of Oude was repulsed with great loss by Colonel Forde, Clive's favourite lieutenant. These events tended still further to confirm the prestige of British prowess in the eyes of the natives, and to exalt still higher in their own esteem the
handful of intrepid adventurers who had broken in the ivory doors of power. For his services in this campaign Clive was created an Omrah of the viceregal court. By his own account of the transaction, it appears that he demanded an estate to support his new dignity, and the Soubahdar conferred on him a jaghire valued at £27,000 a year.
Meanwhile, on the Coromandel coast, fortune had veered round. Lally, a man of versatile genius and romantic courage, had undertaken to retrieve the losses of the French, and for a time he seemed likely to keep his word. Fort St David surrendered, and Madras was besieged, until relieved by Admiral Pocock, after the battle of Condore, in which the French were signally defeated. Forde then laid siege to Masulipatam, which was taken April 7, 1759, with much booty. Eventually, with a territory extending eighty miles along the coast, and twenty in the interior, it was retained as a permanent possession, with the acquiescence of the Nizam.
If Mir Jaffir had to endure the mortification of appearing, in the sight of his subjects, too much indebted to his foreign allies for military support, and with having mortgaged for it too deeply the immediate revenues of his country, he might at least console himself with the belief that his own pre-eminence and that of his family were
He could hardly have believed that already those in whom he trusted, not wisely but too well, were privily planning how he might be superseded, and his lineal de scendants set aside. There is a letter from Clive to Mr. Pitt, then First Minister, bearing the date of 7th January 1759, wherein he depicts the weakness of the Nawab's administration; hints that they could easily find a pretence for breaking with him; describes his son, Meeran, as so 1 Memoirs of Clive, vol ii chap. x.
inimical to the English ing him with the succession; and that 2000 Europeans would enable the Company to take the sovereignty upon themselves." He then combats the notion of the project being too vast for execution; urges its importance as being the groundwork for still further acquisitions ; and finally appeals to the prospect which the possession of so rich and populous a kingdom would afford of diminishing the national debt. This notable epistle was delivered by Mr Walsh, Clive's private secretary; and that gentleman gives an account of the Minister's observations on the subject, in an official interview. He seemed averse to the enterprise being undertaken in the name of the Crown, lest the objection should arise of the King being likely to obtain thereby an income independent of Parliament. It is probable, moreover, that he discerned the jealousy with which the aristocracy of birth would regard any scheme endangering the exclusiveness of that political ascendancy which they had enjoyed for the threescore years and ten that had elapsed since the Revolution. How easily their jealousy of rival wealth, derived from foreign ventures and possessions was aroused, when fortunes acquired in Asia began to attract notice by emulous display and the purchase of parliamentary influence, was not long afterwards seen.
"that it would be unsafe trust
Clive quitted India in February 1760, to enjoy at home the rest and renown he had earned by his marvellous exploits. The Directors voted him a diamond-hilted sword. George III. created him an Irish peer, and expressed the highest admiration of his conduct and achievements; and Mr Pitt, in his place in Parliament, pronounced upon him one of his most elaborate eulogies. Possessed of an income of £40,000 a year, he expended no little portion of his suddenly acquired wealth in the purchase of rotten
boroughs, and at the head of his nominees, in 1761, he entered the House of Commons.
He had left behind him as President at Calcutta his friend and confidant, but feeble imitator in the ways of aggressive rule, Mr Vansittart. Under this gentleman's guidance the Council concerted a coup d'état for the purpose of deposing the Nawab from the active authority of government, which they designed to put into the hands of his son-in-law, Mir Kasim. Access to the Prince at Moorshedabad was easy and unquestioned, and the visit of the President, attended by a numerous body of troops, excited no surprise. While the escort surrounded the palace to cut off aid or exit, the aged Soubahdar was formally requested to relinquish the reins of administration in favour of his younger and more pliant relative, while retaining the title and income of Nawab. Bewildered by this unexpected blow, and bereft of all means of resistance, Mir Jaffir, it was thought, would have quietly succumbed. But the old man did not forget his dignity. He scornfully repelled the proposal, bitterly denounced the treachery with which he had been treated; and, without hesitation, chose in preference to quit his capital and retire to a private residence at Calcutta, rather than submit to play a nominal part in the Government where he had hitherto been supreme. Addressing the President, he said, "You have thought proper to break your engagements. I would not mine. Had I such designs, I could have raised twenty thousand men, and fought you. My son Meeran forewarned me of all this. Send me either to Lord Clive, or let me go to Mecca; if not, let me go to Calcutta, for I will not stay in this place." His intimacy with Clive led him to imagine that he would do him justice, and he clung to this delusion to the last, leaving him in his will a sum of £60,000.