Previous Index Next
Page 27
(previous) (Page 000027) (next)
 
LORD CLIVE. 2]

that of commissary to the troops, with the rank of captain.

The present emergency called forth all his powers. He re-

presented to his superiors that unless some vigorous eflbrt were

made, Trichinopoly would fall, the house of Anaverdy Khan
would perish, and the French would become the real masters
of the whole peninsula of India. It was absolutely necessary
to strike some daring blow. If an attack were made on Arcot,
the capital of the Carnatic, and the favourite residence of the
Nabobs, it was not impossible that the siege of Trichinopoly
would be raised. The heads of the English settlement, now
thoroughly alarmed by the success of Dupleix, and appre-
hensive that, in the event of a new war between France and
Great Britain, Madras would be instantly taken and destroyed,
approved of Clive’s plan, a.nd intrusted the execution of it to
himself. The young captain was put at the head of two
hundred English soldiers, and three hundred sepoys, armed and
disciplined after the European fashion. Of the eight oflicers
who commanded this little force under him, only two had ever
been in action, and four of the eight were factors of the com-
pany, whom Clive’s example had induced to offer their services.
The weather was stormy; but Clive pushed on, through thunder,
lightning, and rain, to the gates of Arcot. The garrison, in a
panic, evacuated the fort, and the English entered it without
a blow.

But Clive well knew that he should not be suffered to retain
undisturbed possession of his conquest. I-Ie instantly began to
collect provisions, to throw up works, and to make preparations
for sustaining a siege. The garrison, which had fled at his
approach, had now recovered from its dismay, and, having been
swollen by large reinforcements from the neighbourhood to a
force of three thousand men, encamped close to the town. At
dead of night, Clive marched out of the fort, attacked the camp
by surprise, slew great numbers, dispersed the rest, and rc-
turned to his quarters without having lost a single man.

3 3

Previous Index Next