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LORD CLIVE. 11

thousand spectators. It was with reason thought that this
gross violation of public faith absolved the inhabitants of
Madras from the engagements into which they had entered
with Labourdonnais. Clive fled from the town by night in the
disguise of a Mussulman, and took refuge at Fort St. David,
one of the small English settlements subordinate to Madras.

The circumstances in which he was now placed naturally led
him to adopt a profession better suited to his restless and
intrepid spirit than the business of examining packages and
casting accounts. He solicited and obtained an ensign’s com-
mission in the service of the Company, and at twenty-one
entered on his military career. His personal courage, of which
he had, while still a writer, given signal proof by a desperate
duel with a military bully who was the terror of Fort St. David,
speedily made him conspicuous even among hundreds of brave
men. He soon began to show in his new calling other qualities
which had not before been discerned in him, judgment, sagacity,
deference to legitimate authority. He distinguished himself
highly in several operations against the French, and was par
ticularly noticed by Major Lawrence, who was then considered
as the ablest British oflicer in India.

Clive had been only a few months in the army when intelli-
gence arrived that peace had been concluded between Great
Britain and France. Dupleix was in consequence compelled to
restore Madras to the English Company; and the young ensign
was at liberty to resume his former business. He did indeed
return for a short time to his desk. He again quitted it in
order to assist Major Lawrence in some petty hostilities with
the natives, and then again returned to it. While he was thus
wavering between a military and a commercial life, events took
place which decided his choice. The politics of India assumed
a new aspect. There was peace between the English and
French Crowns; but there arose between the English and
French Companies trading to the East a war most eventful and

 

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