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14 LORD CLIVE.

feudal privileges, all modern nobility, take their source. It is
to this point that we trace the power of those princes who,
nominally vassals, but really independent, long governed, with
the titles of dukes, marquesses, and counts, almost every part
of the dominions which had obeyed Charlemagne.

Such or nearly such was the change which passes‘. on the
Mogul empire during the forty years which followed the death
of Aurungzebe. A succession of nominal sovereigns, sunk in
indolence and debauchery, sauntered away life in secluded
palaces, chewing bang, fondling concubines, and listening to
buffoons. A succession of ferocious invaders descended through
the western passes, to prey on the defenceless wealth of Hin-
dostan. A Persian conqueror crossed the Indus, marched
through the gates of Delhi, and bore away in triumph those
treasures of which the magnificence had astounded Roe and
Bernier, the Peacock Throne, on which the-richest jewels of
Golconda had been disposed by the most skilful hands of
Europe, and the inestimable Mountain of Light, which, after
many strange vicissitudes, lately shone in the bracelet of Run-

jeet Sing, and is now destined to adorn the hideous idol of
Orissa. The Afghan soon followed to complete the work of
devastation which the Persian had begun. The warlike tribes
of Rajpootana. threw off the Mussulman yoke. A band of
mercenary soldiers occupied Rohilcund. The Seiks ruled on
the Indus. The Jauts spread dismay along the J umna. The
highlands which border on the western sea-coast of India
poured forth a yet more formidable race, a race which was long
the terror of every native power, and which, after many despe-
rate and doubtful struggles, yielded only to the fortune and
genius of England. It was under the reign of Aurungzebe
that this wild clan of plunderers first descended from their
mountains; and soon after his death, every corner of his wide
empire learned to tremble at the mighty name of the Mah-
rattas. Many fertile viceroyalties were entirely subdued by

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