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84 LORD CLIVE.

Smith. What was still more extraordinary, these unhappy
events greatly increased the unpopularity of Lord Clive. He
had been some years in England When the famine took place.
None of his acts had the smallest tendency to produce such a
calamity. If the servants of the Company had traded in rice,
they had done so in direct contravention of the rule which he
had laid down, and, while in power, had resolutely enforced.
But, in the eyes of his countrymen, he was, as We have said,
the N abob, the Anglo-Indian character personified ; and, while
he was building and planting in Surrey, he was held responsible
for all the effects of a dry season in Bengal.

Parliament had hitherto bestowed very little attention on
our Eastern possessions. Since the death of George the
Second, a rapid succession of weak administrations, each of
which was in turn flattered and betrayed by the Court, had
held the semblance of power. Intrigues in the palace, riots in
the capital, and insurrectionary movements in the American
colonies, had left the advisers of the crown little leisure to
study Indian politics. When they did interfere, their inter-
ference was feeble and irresolute. Lord Chatham, indeed,
during the short period of his ascendency in the councils of
George the Third, had meditated a bold attack on the Com-
pany. But his plans were rendered abortive by the strange
malady which about that time began to overcloud his splendid
genius.

At length, in 1772, it was generally felt that Parliament
could no longer neglect the affairs of India. The Government
was stronger than any which had held power since the breach
between Mr. Pitt and the great \'Vhig connection in 1761. No
pressing question of domestic or European policy required the
attention of public men. There was a short and delusive lull
between two tempests. The excitement produced by the Llid-
dlesex election was over; the discontents of America did not
yet threaten civil war; the financial difliculties of the Company

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