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LORD CLIVE. 51

have produced a crowd of imitators. Now, we will not discuss
this point on any rigid principles of morality. Indeed, it is
quite unnecessary to do so: for, looking at the question as a
question of expediency in the lowest sense of the word, and
using no arguments but such as Machiavelli might have em-
ployed in his conferences with Borgia, we are convinced that
Clive was altogether in the wrong, and that he committed, not
merely a crime, but a blunder. That honesty is the best
policy is a maxim which we firmly believe to be generally cor-
rect, even with respect to the temporal interest of individuals;
but with respect to societies, the rule is subject to still fewer
exceptions, and that for this reason, that the life of societies is
longer than the life of individuals. It is possible to mention
men who have owed great worldly prosperity to breaches of
private faith; but we doubt whether it be possible to mention
a state which has on the whole been a gainer by a breach of
public faith. The entire history of British India is an illus-
tration of the great truth, that it is not prudent to oppose per-
fidy to perfidy, and that the most eflicient weapon with which
men can encounter falsehood is truth. During a long course of
years, the English rulers of India, surrounded by allies and
enemies whom no engagement could bind, have generally acted
with sincerity and uprightness ; and the event has proved that
sincerity and uprightness are wisdom. English valour and
English intelligence have done less to extend and to preserve
our Oriental empire than English veracity. All that we could
have gained by imitating the doublings, the evasions, the fic-
tions, the perjuries which have been employed against us, is as
nothing, when compared with what we have gained by being
the one power in India on whose word reliance can be placed.
No oath which superstition can devise, no hostage IlOW(3V'(f['
precious, inspires a hundredth part of the confidence which is
produced by the “yea, yea,” and “nay, nay,” of a British
envoy No fastness, however strong by art or nature, gives to
n 2

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