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86 LORD CLIVE.

have produced a great impression on his audience. Lord
Chatham who, now the ghost of his former self, loved to haunt
the scene of his glory, was that night under the gallery of the
House of Commons, and declared that he had never heard at
finer speech. It was subsequently printed under Clive’s direc-
tion, and, when the fullest allowance has been made for the
assistance which he may have obtained from literary friends,
proves him to have possessed, not merely strong sense and a.
manly spirit, but talents both for disquisition and declamation
which assiduous culture might have improved into the highest
excellence. He confined his defence on this occasion to the
measures of his last administration, and succeeded so far that
his enemies thenceforth thought it expedient to direct their
attacks chiefly against the earlier part of his life.
The earlier part of his life unfortunately presented some
assailable points to their hostility. A committee was chosen by
ballot to inquire into the afl'airs'of' India; and by this committee
the whole history of that great revolution which threw down
Surajah Dowlah and raised Meer Jaffier was sifted with ma-
lignant care. Clive was subjected to the most unsparing
examination and cross-examination, and afterwards bitterly
complained that he, the Baron of Plassey, had been treated like
a sheep—stealer. The boldness and ingenuousness of his replies
would alone suflice to show how alien from his nature were the
frauds to which, in the course of his eastern negotiations, he
had sometimes descended. He avowed the arts which he had
employed to deceive Omichund, and resolutely said that he was
not ashamed of them, and that, in the same circumstances, he
would again act in the same manner. He admitted that he had
received immense sums from Meer J aflier; but he denied that,
in doing so, he had violated any obligation of morality or
honour. I-Ie laid claim, on the contrary, and not without some
reason, to the praise of eminent disinterestedness. He described
in vivid language the situation in which his victory had placed

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