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LORD CLIVE. 53

implored the mercy which he had never shown. Meer J aflier
hesitated; but his son Meeran, a youth of seventeen, who in
feebleness of brain and savageness of nature greatly resembled
the wretched captive, was implacable. Surajah Dowlah was
led into a secret chamber, to which in a short time the ministers
of death were sent. In this act the English bore no part ; and
Meer Jaflier understood so much of their feelings, that he
thought it necessary to apologize to them for having avenged
them on their most malignant enemy.

The shower of wealth now fell copiously on the Company
and its servants. A sum of eight hundred thousand pounds
sterling, in coined silver, was sent down the river from Moor-
shedabad to Fort William. The fleet which conveyed this
treasure consisted of more than a hundred boats, and per-
formed its triumphal voyage with flags flying and music play-
ing. Calcutta, which a few months before had been desolate,
was now more prosperous than ever. Trade revived; and the
signs of aflluence appeared in every English house. As to
Clive, there was no limit to his acquisitions but his own mode-
ration. The treasury of Bengal was thrown open to him.
There were piled up, after the usage of Indian princes, im-
mense masses of coin, among which might not seldom be de-
tected the florins and byzants with which, before any European
ship had turned the Cape of Good Hope, the Venetians pur-
chased the stuffs and spices of the East. Clive walked between
heaps of gold and silver, crowned with rubies and diamonds,
and was at liberty to help himself. He accepted between two
and three hundred thousand pounds.

The pecuniary transactions between Meer Jaflier and Clive
were sixteen years later condemned by the public voice, and
severely criticized in Parliament. They are vehemently de-
fended by Sir John Malcolm. The accusers of the victorious
general represented his gains as the wages of corruption, or as

plunder extorted at the point of the sword from a helpless
D 3

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