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28 LORD CLIVE.

them were boys, at whose ignorance and folly the common
soldiers laughed.

The English triumphed every where. The besiegers of
Trichinopoly were themselves besieged and compelled to capi-
tula.te. Chunda Sahib fell into the hands of the Mahrattas,
and was put to death, at the instigation probably of his com-
petitor, Mahommed Ali. The spirit of Dupleix, however, was
unconquerable, and his resources inexhaustible. From his
employers in Europe he no longer received help or counte-
nance. They condemned his policy. They gave him no pecu-
niary assistance. They sent him for troops only the sweepings
of the galleys. Yet still he persisted, intrigued, bribed, pro-
mised, lavished his private fortune, strained his credit, pro-
cured new diplomas from Delhi, raised up new enemies to the
government of Madras on every side, and found tools even
among the allies of the English Company. But all was in
vain. Slowly, but steadily, the power of Britain continued to
increase, and that of France to decline.

The health of Clive had never been good during his re-
sidence in India; and his constitution was now so much
impaired that he determined to return to England. Before his
departure he undertook a service of considerable difficulty,
and performed it with his usual vigour and dexterity. The
forts of Covelong and Chingleput were occupied by French

garrisons. It was determined to send a force against them.
But the only force available for this purpose was of such a
description that no oflicer but Clive would risk his reputation
by commanding it. It consisted of five hundred newly levied
sepoys, and two hundred recruits who had just landed from
England, and who were the worst and lowest wretches that the
Company's crimps could pick up in the flash-houses of Lon-
don. Clive, ill and exhausted as he was, undertook to make an
army of this undisciplined rabble, and marched with them to
Covelong. A shot from the fort killed one of these extra-

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