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LORD CLIVE. 33

themselves on the earth before the passers-by, and, with loud
wailings, implored a handful of rice for their children. The
Hoogley every day rolled down thousands of corpses close to
the porticoes and gardens of the English conquerors. The
very streets of Calcutta Were blocked up by the dying and the
dead. The lean and feeble survivors had not energy enough to
bear the bodies of their kindred to the funeral pile or to the
holy river, or even to scare away the jackals and vultures, who
fed on human remains in the face of day. The extent of the
mortality was never ascertained ; but it was popularly reckoned
by millions. This melancholy intelligence added to the excite-
ment which already prevailed in England on Indian subjects.
The proprietors of East India stock were uneasy about their
dividends. All men of common humanity were touched by the
calamities of our unhappy subjects; and indignation soon began
to mingle itself with pity. It was rumoured that the Company's
servants had created the famine by engrossing all the rice of
the country; that they had sold grain for eight, ten, twelve
times the price at which they had bought it; that one English
functionary who, the year before, was not worth a hundred
guineas, had, during that season of misery, remitted sixty
thousand pounds to London. These charges we believe to
have been unfounded. That servants of the Company had
ventured, since Clive’s departure, to deal in rice, is probable.
That, if they dealt in rice, they must have gained by the
scarcity, is certain. But there is no reason for thinking that
they either produced or aggravated an evil which physical
causes sufliciently explain. The outcry which was raised
against them on this occasion was, we suspect, as absurd as the
imputations which, in times of dearth at home, were once
thrown by statesmen and judges, and are still thrown by two
or three old women, on the corn factors. It was, however, so
loud and so general that it appears to have imposed even on an

intellect raised so high above vulgar prejudices as that of Adam
I 2

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