Previous Index Next
Page 75
(previous) (Page 000075) (next)

that the oppressive proceedings which had been adopted re-
specting his estate ought to be dropped, and that he ought to
be entreated to return to India.

Clive rose. As to his estate, he said, he would make such
propositions to the Directors as would, be trusted, lead to an
amicable settlement. But there was a still greater ditficulty.
It was proper to tell them that he never would undertake the
government of Bengal while his enemy Sulivan was chairman
of the Company. The tumult was violent. Sulivan could
scarcely obtain a hearing. An overwhelming majority of the
assembly was on Clive’s side. Sulivan wished to try the result
of a ballot. But, according to the by-laws of the Company,
there can be no ballot except on a requisition signed by nine
proprietors; and, though hundreds were present, nine persons
could not be found to set their hands to such a requisition.

Clive was in consequence nominated Governor and Com-
mander-in-chief of the British possessions in Bengal. But he
adhered to his declaration, and refused to enter on his office
till the event of the next election of Directors should be known.
The contest was obstinate; but Clive triumphed. Sulivan,
lately absolute master of the India House, was within a vote of
losing his own seat; and both the chairman and the deputy-
chairman were friends of the new governor.

Such were the circumstances under which Lord Clive sailed
for the third and last time to India. In May, 1765, he reached
Calcutta; and he found the whole machine of government even
more fearfully disorganized than he had anticipated. Meer
Jaffier, who had some time before lost his eldest son Meeran,
had died while Clive was on his voyage out. The English
functionaries at Calcutta had already received from home strict
orders not to accept presents from the native princes. But,
eager for gain, and unaccustomed to respect the commands of
their distant, ignorant, and negligent masters, they again set up
the throne of Bengal to sale. About one hundred and forty

z 3

Previous Index Next