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53 LORD CLIVE.

which occurred to him was to purchase, by the payment of a
large sum of money, an accommodation with Shah Alum. This
expedient had been repeatedly employed by those who, before
him, had ruled the rich and unwarlike provinces near the mouth
of the Ganges. But ‘Clive treated the suggestion with a scorn
worthy of his strong sense and dauntless courage. “ If you do
this,” he wrote, “you will have the Nabob of Oude, the Mah-
rattas, and many more, come from all parts of the confines of
your country, who will bully you out of money till you have
none left in your treasury. I beg your Excellency will rely on
the fidelity of the English, and of those troops which are attached
to you.” He wrote in a similar strain to the governor of Patna,
a brave native soldier whom he highly esteemed. “ Come to no
terms; defend your city to the last. Rest assured that the
English are stanch and firm friends, and that they never desert
a cause in which they have once taken a part.”

He kept his word. Shah Alum had invested Patna, and was
on the point of proceeding to storm, when he learned that the
Colonel was advancing by forced marches. The whole army
which was approaching consisted of only four hundred and fifty
Europeans and two thousand five hundred sepoys. But Clive
and his Englishmen were now objects of dread over all the East.
As soon as his advanced guard appeared, the besiegers fled before
him. A few French adventurers who were about the person of
the prince advised him to try the chance of battle; but in vain.
In a few days this great army, which had been regarded with
so much uneasiness by the court of Moorshedabad, melted away
before the mere terror of the British name.

The conqueror returned in triumph to Fort VVilliam. The
joy of Meer Jatlier was as unbounded as his fears had been,
and led him to bestow on his preserver a princely token of
gratitude. The quit-rent which the East India Company were
bound to pay to the Nabob for the extensive lands held by
them to the south of Calcutta amounted to near thirty thou-

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