Previous Index Next
Page 62
(previous) (Page 000062) (next)

He was not therefore quite so imbecile or quite so depraved as
his predecessor had been. But he had none of the talents or
virtues which his post required; and his son and heir, Meeran,
was another Surajah Dowlah. The recent revolution had un-
settled the minds of men. Many chiefs were in open insur-
rection against the new Nabob. The viceroy of the rich and
powerful province of Oude, who, like the other viceroys of the
Mogul, was now in truth an independent sovereign, menaced
Bengal with invasion. Nothing but the talents and authority
of Clive could support the tottering government. While things
were in this state a ship arrived with despatches which had
been written at the India House before the news of the battle
of Plassey had reached London. The Directors had deter-
mined to place the English settlements in Bengal under a.
government constituted in the most cumbrous and absurd
manner; and, to make the matter Worse, no place in the ar-
rangement was assigned to Clive. The persons who were
selected to form this new government, greatly to their honour,
took on themselves the responsibility of disobeying these pre-
posterous orders, and invited Clive to exercise the supreme au-
thority. He consented ; and it soon appeared that the servants
of the Company had only anticipated the wishes of their em-
ployers. The Directors, on receiving news of Clive’s brilliant
success, instantly appointed him governor of their possessions
in Bengal, with the highest marks of gratitude and esteem.
His power was now boundless, and far surpassed even that
which Dupleix had attained in the south of India. Meer J aflier
regarded him with slavish awe. On one occasion, the Nabob
spoke with severity to a native chief of high rank, whose fol-
lowers had been engaged in a brawl with some of the Com-
pz1n)"s sepoys. “ Are you yet to learn,” he said, “who that
Colonel Clive is, and in what station God has placed him?”
The chief, who, as a famous jester and an old friend ‘of Meer
Jaflirr, could venture to take liberties, answered, “I affront

Previous Index Next