Previous Index Next
Page 61
(previous) (Page 000061) (next)
 
LORD CLIVE. 55

we beg pardon for putting such a supposition even for the sake
of argument,—that the Duke of ‘Wellington had, after the
campaign of 1815, and while he commanded the army of occu-
pation in France, privately accepted two hundred thousand
pounds from Lewis the Eighteenth, as a mark of gratitude for
the great services which his Grace had rendered to the House
of Bourbon; what would be thought of such a transaction?
Yet the statute-book no more forbids the taking of presents
in Europe now than it forbade the taking of presents in
Asia then.

At the same time, it must be admitted that, in Clive’s case,
there were many extenuating circumstances. He considered
himself as the general, not of the Crown, but of the Company.
The Company had, by implication at least, authorised its
agents to enrich themselves by means of the liberality of the
native princes, and by other means still more objectionable.
It was hardly to be expected that the servant should entertain
stricter notions of his duty than were entertained by his
masters. Though Clive did not distinctly acquaint his em-
ployers with what had taken place and request their sanction,
he did not, on the other hand, by studied concealment, show
that he was conscious of having done wrong. On the con-
trary, he avowed with the greatest openness that the Nabob’s
bounty had raised him to aflluence. Lastly, though we think
that he ought not in such a way to have taken any thing, we
must admit that he deserves praise for having taken so little.
He accepted twenty lacs of rupees. It would have cost him
only a word to make the twenty forty. It was a very easy
exercise of virtue to declaim in England against Clive's ra-
pacity; but not one in a hundred of his accusers would have
shown so much self’-command in the treasury of Moorshedabad.

Meer Jaflier could be upheld on the throne only by the hand
which had placed him on it. He was not, indeed, a mere boy ;

nor had he been so unfortunate as to be born in the purple
D 4

Previous Index Next