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LORD CLIVE. .33

Great Britain was at hand; and it was therefore thought de-
sirable to send an able commander to the Company's settle-
ments in India. The Directors appointed Clive governor of
Fort St. David. The King gave him the commission of a
lieutenant-colonel in the British army, and in 1755 he again
sailed for Asia.

The first service on which he was employed after his return
to the East was the reduction of the stronghold of Gheriah.
This fortress, built on a craggy promontory, and almost sur-
rounded by the ocean, was the den of a pirate named Angria,
whose barks had long been the terror of the Arabian Gulf.
Admiral Watson, who commanded the English squadron in the
Eastern seas, burned Angria’s fleet, while Clive attacked the
fastness by land. The place soon fell, and a booty of a hun-
dred and fifty thousand pounds sterling was divided among
the conquerors. -

After this exploit, Clive proceeded to his government of
Fort St. David. Before he had been there two months, he
received intelligence which called forth all the energy of his
bold and active mind.

Of the provinces which had been subject to the house of
Tamerlane, the wealthiest was Bengal. No part of India
possessed such natural advantages both for agriculture and for
commerce. The Ganges, rushing through a hundred channels
to the sea, has formed a vast plain of rich mould which, even
under the tropical sky, rivals the verdure of an English April.
The rice fields yield an increase such as is elsewhere unknown.
Spices, sugar, vegetable oils, are produced with marvellous
exuberance. The rivers afford an inexhaustible supply of fish.
The desolate islands along the sea-coast, overgrown by noxious
vegetation, and swarming with deer and tigers, supply the
cultivated districts with abundance of salt. The great stream
which fertilises the soil is, at the same time, the chief’ highway
of Eastern commerce. On its banks, and on those of its tri-

C

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