Previous Index Next
Page 79
(previous) (Page 000079) (next)
 
LORD CLIVE. 73

liberally remunerating the civil servants of the Company. The
Directors, he knew, were not disposed to sanction any increase
of the salaries out of their own treasury. The only course
which remained open to the governor was one which exposed
him to much misrepresentation, but which we think him fully
justified in adopting. He appropriated to the support of the
service the monopoly of salt, which has formed, down to our
own time, a principal head of Indian revenue; and be divided
the proceeds according to a scale which seems to have been not
unreasonably fixed. He was in consequence. accused by his
enemies, and has been accused by historians, of disobeying his
instructions, of violating his promises, of authorising that very
abuse which it was his special mission to destroy, namely, the
trade of the Company’s servants. But every discerning and
impartial judge will admit, that there was really nothing in
common between the system which he set up and that which
he was sent to destroy. The monopoly of salt had been a source
of revenue to the governments of India before Clive was born.
It continued to be so long after his death. The civil servants
were clearly entitled to a maintenance out of the revenue; and
all that Clive did was to charge a particular portion of the
revenue with their maintenance. He thus, while he put an end
to the practices by which gigantic fortunes had been rapidly
accumulated, gave to every British functionary employed in
the East the means of slowly, but surely, acquiring a compe-
tence. Yet, such is the injustice of mankind, that none of those
acts which are the real stains of his life has drawn on him so
much obloquy as this measure, which was in truth a reform
necessary to the success of all his other reforms.

He had quelled the opposition of the civil service: that of
the army was more formidable. Some of the retrenehments
which had been ordered by the Directors affected the interests
of the military service; and a storm arose, such as even Czesar
would not willingly have faced. It was no light thing to en-

Previous Index Next