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Second was the steady ally of Maria Theresa. The house of
Bourbon took the opposite side. Though England was even
then the first of maritime powers, she was not, as she has since
become, more than a match on the sea for all the nations of the
world together; and she found it difficult to maintain a contest
against the united navies of France and Spain. In the eastern
seas France obtained the ascendency. Labourdonnais, governor
of Mauritius, a man of eminent talents" and virtues, conducted
an expedition to the continent of India in spite of the opposition
of the British fleet, landed, assembled an army, appeared before
Madras, and compelled the town and fort to capitulate. The
keys were delivered up ; the French colours were displayed on
Fort St. George; and the contents of the Company’s ware-
houses were seized as prize of war by the conquerors. It was
stipulated by the capitulation that the English inhabitants
should be prisoners of war on parole, and that the town should
remain in the hands of the French till it should be ransomed.
Labourdonnais pledged his honour that only a moderate ransom
should be required.

But the success of Labourdonnais had awakened the jealousy
of his countryman, Dupleix, governor of Pondicherry. Dupleix,
moreover, had already begun to revolve gigantic schemes, with
which the restoration of Madras to the English was by no
means compatible. He declared that Labourdonnais had gone
beyond his powers; that conquests made by the French arms
on the continent of India were at the disposal of the governor
of Pondicherry alone ; and that Madras should be rased to the
ground. . Labourdonnais was compelled to yield. The anger
which the breach of the capitulation excited among the English
was lllCI‘8{lS€(l by the ungenerous manner in which Dupleix
treated the principal servants of the Company. The Governor
and several of the first gentlemen of Fort St. George were
carried under a guard to Pondicherry, and conducted through
the town in a triumphal procession under the eyes of fifty


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