Previous Index Next
Page 18
(previous) (Page 000018) (next)
 
12 LORD CLIVE.

important, a war in which the prize was nothing less than the
magnificent inheritance of the house of Tamerlane.

The empire which Ba.ber and his Moguls reared in the
sixteenth century was long one of the ‘most extensive and
splendid in the World. In no European kingdom was so large
a population subject to a single prince, or so large a revenue
poured into the treasury. The beauty and magnificence of the
buildings erected by the sovereigns of Hindostan amazed even
travellers who had seen St. Peter’s. The innumerable retinues
and gorgeous decorations which surrounded the throne of Delhi
dazzled even eyes which were accustomed to the pomp of
Versailles. Some of the great viceroys who held their posts
by virtue of commissions from the Mogul ruled as many
subjects as the King of France or the Emperor of Germany.
Even the deputies of these deputies might well rank, as to
extent of territory and amount of revenue, with the Grand
Duke of Tuscany, or the Elector of Saxony.

There can be little doubt that this great empire, powerful
and prosperous as it appears on a superficial view, was yet,
even in its best days, far worse governed than the worst
governed parts of Europe now are. The administration was
tainted with all the vices of Oriental despotism, and with all
the vices inseparable from the domination of race over race.
The conflicting pretensions of the princes of the royal house
produced a long series of crimes and public disasters. Am-
bitious lieutenants of the sovereign sometimes aspired to in-
dependence. Fierce tribes of Hindoos, impatient of a foreign
yoke, frequently withheld tribute, repelled the armies of the
government from the mountain fastnesses, and poured down in
arms on the cultivated plains. In spite, however, of much
constant maladministration, in spite of occasional conv

ulsions
which shook the whole frame of society,

this great monarchy,
‘"1 the Whole: Tetalfledy during some generations, an outward

appearance of unity, majesty, and energy. But, throughout

Previous Index Next