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ry, remitted sixty thousand pounds to London. These charges we believe to have been utterly unfounded. That servants of the Company had ventured, since Clive's departure, to deal in rice, is probable. That if they dealt in rice, they must have gained by the scarcity, is cer'ain. But there is no reason for thinking that ■hey either produced or aggravated au evil which physical causes sufficiently explain. The outcry which was raised against them on this occasion was, we suspect, as absurd as the imputations which, in times of dearth at home, were once thrown by statesmen and judges, and are still thrown by two or three old women, on the corn-factors. It was, however, so loud and so general, that it appears to have imposed on an intellect raised so high above vulgar prejudices as that of Adam Smith.* What was still more extraordinary, these unhappy events greatly increased the unpopularity of Lord Clive. He had been some years in England when the famine took place. None of his measures had the smallest tendency to produce such a calamity. If the servants of the Company had traded in rice, they had done so in direct contravention of the rule which he had laid down, and, while in power, had resolutely enforced. But itv the eyes of his countrymen, he was, as we have said, the Nabob—the Anglo-Indian character personified; and, while he was building and planting in Surrey, he was held responsible for all the effects of a dry season in Bengal.
Parliament had hitherto bestowed very little attention on our Eastern possessions. Since the death of George the Second, a rapid succession of weak administrations, each of which was in turn flattered and betrayed by the court, had held the semblance of power. Intrigues in the palace, riots in the city, and insurrectionary movements in the American colonies, had left them little leisure to study Indian politics. Where they did interfere, their interference was feeble and irresolute. Lord Chatham, indeed, during the short period of his ascendency in the councils of George the Third, had meditated a bold and sweeping measure respecting the acquisitions of the Company. But his plans were rendered abortive by the strange malady which about that time began to overcloud his splendid genius.
At length, in 1772, it was generally felt that Parliament could no longer neglect the affairs of India. The government was stronger than any which had held power since the breach between Mr. Pitt and the great Whig connection in 1761. No pressing question of domestic or European policy required the attention of public men. There was a short and delusive lull between two tempests. The excitement produced by the Middlesex election was over; the discontent of America did not yet threaten civil war; the financial difficulties of the Company brought on a crisis ; the ministers were forced to take up the subject; and the whole storm, which had long been gathering, now broke at once on the head of Clive.
His situation was indeed singularly unfortunate. He was hated throughout the coun
try, hated at the India House, hated, above all, by those wealthy and powerful servants of the Company, whose rapacity and tyranny he had withstood. He had to bear the double odium of his bad and of his good actions—of every Indian abuse, and of every Indian reform. The state of the political world was such, that he could count on the support of no powerful connection. The party to which he had belonged, that of George Grenville, had been hoslile to the government, and yet had never cordially united with the other sections of the Opposition—with the little band who still lb] lowed the fortunes of Lord Chatham, or with the large and respectable body of which Lord Rockingham was the acknowledged leader. George Grenville was now dead: his followers were scattered; and Clive, unconnected with any of the powerful factions which divided the Parliament, could reckon on the votes only of those members who were returned by himself. His enemies, particularly those who were the enemies of his virtues, were unscrupulous, ferocious, implacable. Their malevolence aimed at nothing less than the utter ruin of his fame and fortune. They wished to see hiin expelled from Parliament, to see his spurs chopped off", to see his estate confiscated; and it may be doubted whether even such a result as this would have quenched their thirst for revenge.
Clive's parliamentary tactics resembled his military tactics. Deserted, surrounded, outnumbered, and with every thing at stake, he ■did not even deign to stand on the defensive, but pushed boldly forward to the attack. At an early stage of the discussions on Indian affairs, he rose, and in a lohg and elaborate speech, vindicated himself from a large part of the accusations which had been brought against him. He is said to have produced a great impression on his audience. Lord Chatham, who, now the ghost of his former self, loved to haunt the scene of his glory, was that night under the gallery of the House of Commons, and declared that he had never heard a finer speech. It was subsequently printed under Clive's direction, and must be allowed to exhibit, not merely strong sense and a manly spirit, but talents both for disquisition and declamation, which assiduous culture might have improved into the highest excellence. He confined his defence on this occasion to the measures of his last administration; and succeeded so far, that his enemies thenceforth thought it expedient to direct their attacks chiefly against the earlier part of his life.
The earlier part of his life unfortunately pre* sented some assailable points to their nostility, A committee was chosen by ballot, t* inquir» into the affairs of India; and by thiscommilt-re the whole history of that great revolution which threw down Surajah Dowlah, and raised Meer * laffier, was sifted with malignant care. Cliviwas subjected to the most unsparing examination and cross-examination, and afterwards bitterly complained that he, the Baron of Plassey, had been treated like a sheep-sleal&r. The boldness and ingenuousness ot his replies would alone Suffice to show how alien from hi* nature were the frauds to which, in the conn' •iv 'i
f his Eastern negotiations, he had sometimes escemled. He avowed the arts which he had v^ployed to deceive Onrichund; and resolutely. ..d that he was not ashamed of them, and that, n the same circumstances, he would again act in the s»me manner. He admitted that he had receivei mmense sums from Meer Jatfier; 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!"
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 la* hours, enlightened and impartial men had little ditliculty 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 stales. 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 Jaflier, 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.
Ordinary criminal justice knows nothing of set-off. The greatest desert cannot be pleaded in answer to a charge of the slightest transgression If a man has sold beer on Sunday morning, it is no defence that he has saved the life of a fellow-creature at the risk of his own. If he has harnessed a Newfoundland dog to his little child's carriage, it is no defence that he was wounded at Waterloo. But it is not in this way that we ought to deal with men who, raised far above ordinary restraints, and tried by far more than ordinary temptations, are entilled 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 called 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 hit* tory 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; IVtcr the Great of Russia—how would the best :' them nass surh a scrutiny t History takes
wider views; and the best tribunal for grcal political cases is that tribunal which anticipates the verdict of history'.
Reasonable and moderate men of all parties felt this in Clive's case. They could not pronounce 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 disposed to go to extremities against him. While the inquiry was still in progress, Clive, who had some years before be.en 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 politics, and was visibly affected when the persecuted general spoke of his services and of the way in which they had been requited.
At length the charges came in a definite form before the House of Commons. Burgoyne, chairman of the committee, a man of wit, fashion, and honour, an agreeable dramatic writer, an officer whose courage was never questioned, and whose skill was at that time highly esteemed, appeared as the accuser. The members of the administration took different 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 extraordinary force of argument and language. It is a curious circumstance that, some years later, Thurlow was the most conspicuous champion of Warren Hastings, while Wedderburne was among the most unrelenting persecutors of that great though not faultless statesman. Clive spoke in his own defence at less length and with less art than in the preceding year, but with great energy and pathos. He recounted his great actions and his wrongs; and, after bidding his hearers remember that they were about to decide not only on his honour but on their own, retired from the House.
The Commons resolved that acquisitions made by the arms of the Slate belong to the State alone, and that it is illegal in the servants of the State to appropriate such acqusitions to themselves. They resolved that this wholsome rule appeared to have been systematically 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, obtained large sums from Meer Jaffier. Here the House stopped. They had voted the major and minor of fiurgoyne'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 examp'.'e to the servants of the public, the previous question was put and carried. At length, long alter me sun had risen on an animated debate, Wedderburne moved that Lord Olive had at the same time rendered great and meritorious services to his country, and this motion passed without a division.
The result of this memorable inquiry appears to us, on the whole, honourable to the justice, moderation, and discernment of the Commons. They had, indeed, no great temptation to do wrong. They would have been very bad judges of an accusation brought against Jenkinson or against Wilkes. But the question respecting Olive was not a party question, and the House accordingly acted with the good .-.sense and good feeling which may always be expected from an assembly of English gentlemen, not blinded by faction.
The equitable and temperate proceedings of •he British Parliament were setotTto the greatest advantage by a foil. The wretched government of Louis XV. had murdered, directly or indirectly, almost'every Frenchman who had served his country with distinction in the East l.abourdonnais was flung into the Bastile, and, after years of suffering, left it only to die. Dupleix, stripped of his immense fortune, and (iroken-hearied by humiliating attendance in inieohambers, sank into an obscure grave. L.ally was dragged to the common place of :xecution with a gag between his lips. The Commons of England, on the other hand, treated their living captain with that discriminating justice which is seldom shown except to the dead. They laid down sound general principles; they delicately pointed out where he had deviated from those principles; and they tempered a gentle censure with liberal eulogy. J'he contrast struck Voltaire, always partial to England, and always eager to expose the abuses of the Parliaments of France. Indeed he seems at this time to have meditated a history of the conquest of Bengal. He mentioned his designs to Dr. Moore when that amusing writer visited him at Ferney. Wcdderburne took great interest in the matter, and pressed Olive to furnish materials. Had the plan been carried into execution, we have no doubt that Voltaire 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 sublime theophilanthropy stolen from the New Testament, and put into the mouths of virtuous and philosophical Brahmins.
Olive was now secure in the enjoyment of his fortune and his honours. He was surrounded by attached friends and relations, and he had not yet passed the season of vigorous bodily and 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 attempted to destroy himself. Business and prosperity .had produced a salutary effect on his spirits. In India, ^hUehc was occupied by Brcai.affi5BTESiv." a^ji#TO. while wealth and
rank had still the charm of novelty, he had borne up against his constitutional misery. But he had now nothing to do, and nothing to wish for. His active spirit in an inactive situation drooped and withered like a plant in an uncongenial air. The malignity with which his enemies had pursued hiin, the indignity with which he had been treated by the committee, the censure, lenient as it was, which the House of Commons had pronounced, the knowledge that he was regarded by a larse portion of his countrymen as a cruel and perfidious tyrant, all concurred to irritate and depress him. In the mean time, his temper was tried by acute physical suffering. During his long residence in tropical climates, he had contracted several painful distempers. In order to obtain case he called in ihe help of opjum; and he was gradually enslaved by this treacherous all}-. To the last, however, his genius occasionally flashed through the gloom. It was said that he would sometimes, alter sitting silent and torpid for hours, rouse himself to the discussion of some great question, would display in full vigour all the talents of the soldier and the statesman, and would then sink back into his melancholy repose.
The disputes with America had now become so serious, that an appeal to the sword seemed inevitable; and the ministers were desirous to avail themselves of the services of Clive. Had he still been what he was when he raised the siege of Patna, and annihilated the Dutch army and navy at the mouth of the Ganges, it is not improbable that the resistance of the Colonists would have been put down, and that the inevitable separation would hive been de- « ferred for a few years. But it was too late. His strong mind was fast sinking under many kinds of suffering. On the 22d of November, 1774, he died by his own hand. He had just completed his forty-ninth year.
In the awful close of so m'uch prosperity and glory, the vulgar saw only a confirmation of all their prejudices; and snme 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 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.
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 courage and capacity dissolved the charm. With the defence of Arcot commences that long series of Oriental triumphs which closes the fall of Ghazni. Nor must we forget thai he was only twenty-five years old when, he an
proved himself ripe for military command. This is a rare if not a singular distinction. It is true that Alexander. Conde, and Charles the Twelfth won great battles at a still earlier age; but those princes were surrounded by veteran generals of distinguished skill, to whose suggestions must be attributed the victories of the tiraiiictis, of Rocroi, and of Narva. Clive, an inexperienced youth, had yet more experience than any of those who served under him. He had to form himself, to form his officers, and to form his army. The only man, as far as we recollect, who at an equally early age ever gave equal proof of talents for war, was Napoleon Bonaparte.
From Clive's second visit to India dates the political ascendency of the English in that oBuntry. 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 tei ritory, 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 Anliochus and Tigranes grows dim when compared with the splendour of the exploits which the young
• English adventurer achieved at the head of an army 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, Ueneul was regarded as a place to which Eng
lishmen were sent only to get rich by airy means, in the shortest possible time. He first made dauntless and unsparing war on that gigantic system of oppression, extortion, and cor» ruption. In that war he manfully put to hazard his ease, his fame, and his splendid fortune. The same sense of justice which forbade ut to conceal or extenuate the faults of his earlier days, compels us- to admit that those faults were nobly repaired. If the reproach of the Company and of its servants has been taken away— if in India the yoke of foreign masters, elsewhere the heaviest of all yokes, has been found lighter than that of any native dynasty—if to 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 publie 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 lhe 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 assign a place in the same rank with Lucullus and Trajan. Nor will she deny to the reformer, 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.
LIFE AND WRITINGS OF SIR WILLIAM TEMPLE/
[edinburgh Review For October, 1838.]
Mb. Courtisat 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 parly. 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 litile 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 U'j 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.
We cannot help adding, though we are extremely unwilling to quarrel with Mr. Courtenay about politics, that the book would not be at all the worse if it contained fewer snarls against the Whigs of the present day. Not
* Memoir/ of the Life, Works, and Correspondence of Sir H'illiam TevipU. by the Itisht Hon. TnoM \a PKRE• nlsr. .-urtenav. 2.JJ|JS- *v" Loudon. 183(1.
only are these passages out of place, but seme of them are intrinsically such that they wcule become the editor of a third-rate party newspaper better than a gentleman of Mr. Courtenay's talents and knowledge. For exr.mple, we are told that "it is a remarkable circumstance, familiar to those who are acquainted with history, but suppressed by the new Whigi 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 1 Really, we might as well say that it is a. remarkable circumstance, familiar to people well read in history, but careful'.r suppressed by the clergy of the Established Church, that in the fifteenth cencury 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 wc forbear.
We doubt whether it will be found that the memory of Sir William* Temple owes much to Mr. Couitenay'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 dis* interested than his; but they were men of no eminent ability. Morally, he was above Shaftesbury; intellectually, he was above Russell.
To say of a man that he occupied a high position in times of misgovernment, of 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 out 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 winning* rather than go on doubling the stake,—these seem to us to be the most remarkable feature* of his character. This sort, of modeTai>«n. when united, a.' in him it was, wi'h very ^^