Previous Index Next
Page 91
(previous) (Page 000091) (next)
 
LORD CLIVE. 35

brought on a crisis; the Ministers were forced to take up the
subject; and the whole storm, which had long been gathering,
now broke at once on the head of Clive.

His situation was indeed singularly unfortunate. He was
hated throughout the country, hated at the India House, hated,
above all, by those wealthy and powerful servants of the Com-
pany, whose rapacity and tyranny he had withstood. He had
to bear the double odium of his bad and of his good actions, of
every Indian abuse and of every Indian reform. The state of
the political world was such that he could count on the support
of no powerful connection. The party to which he had be-
longed, that of George Grenville, had been hostile to the
Government, and yet had never cordially united with the other
sections of the Opposition, with the little band which still fol-
lowed the fortunes of Lord Chath-am, or with the large and
respectable body of which Lord Rockingham was the acknow-
ledged leader. George Grenville was now dead: his followers
were scattered; and Clive, unconnected with any of the power-
ful factions which divided the Parliament, could reckon only
on the votes of those members who were returned by himself.
His enemies, particularly those who were the enemies of his
virtues, were unscrupulous, ferocious, implacable. Their ma-
levolence aimed at nothing less than the utter ruin of his fame
and fortune. They wished to see him expelled from Parlia-
ment, to see his spurs chopped off, to see his estate confiscated;
and it may be doubted whether even such a result as this would
have quenched their thirst for revenge.

Clive’s parliamentary tactics resembled his military tactics.
Deserted, surrounded, outnumbered, and with every thing at
stake, he did not even deign to stand on the defensive, but
pushed boldly forward to the attack. At an early stage of the
discussions on Indian affairs he rose, and in a long and ela-
borate speech vindicated himself from a large part of the accu-

sations which had been brought against him. He is said to
r 8

Previous Index Next