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Book IV. dering it more advantageous. Private bribes, to defeat public ends, in Oriental 1757"""^ p0^cs, an engine seldom worked in vain, were applied with some perseverance. When he found the rigid fulfilment of the vast engagements to the English, still peremptorily and urgently claimed, he was not only surprised but exasperated; and began to hope, that some favourable event would deliver him from such obstinate and troublesome associates.* His designs The English were not the parties against whom his animosities were first dis
against the . m ■ 0
Hindu chiefs- played. Aliverdi Khan, aware of the rebellious and turbulent spirit, which almost always reigned among those adventurers from Iran and Turan who commonly rose to the chief command in the armies of the Mahomedan princes in Hindustan, had adopted the sagacious policy of bringing forward the gentle, the less enterprising, and less dangerous Hindus. And he had raised various individuals of that race, to the principal places of power and emolument under his government. Of Ramnarain, whom he entrusted with the important government of Berar, the reader has already received information. Dooloob Ram, another Hindu, held the grand office of Duan, or Superintendant of the Finances. That celebrated family, the Seets of Moorshedabad, who by merchandize and banking had acquired the wealth of princes, and often aided him in his trials, were admitted largely to share in his counsels, and to influence the operations of his government. Aliverdi had recommended the same policy to Suraja Dowla; and that prince had met with no temptation to depart from it.f
Meer Jaffier was placed under the deepest obligations to Dooloob Ram. When he was convicted of malversation in his office, and stood in disgrace with his master, it was Dooloob Ram who had made his peace. f In the late revolution, Dooloob Ram had espoused his interests, when the influence of that minister, and his command of treasure, might have conferred the prize upon another chief. Whether he dreaded the power of the Hindu connexion, or was stimulated with a desire of their wealth, Meer Jaffier resolved to crush them; and with Dooloob Ram, as the most powerful individual, it was prudent to begin. Before the departure of Clive, he had summoned Ramramsing, the Governor of Midnapore, and head of the Spy-office, to repair to the capital to answer for the arrears of his government; but the cautious Hindu, already alarmed, evaded the mandate by sending two of his relations. The Nabob, so by the English now was Jaffier styled, threw both into prison; and easily recon
* Clive's Letter to the Proprietors of E. I. Stock, in 1764, p. 30.
tiled Clive, by informing him, that Ramramsing was an enemy to the English, Chap. V. and had been the agent through whom the correspondence between Suraja' Dowla and Bussy had been carried on. A close connexion had long subsisted between Ramramsing and Dooloob Ram; and the latter, to whose sagacity the designs of Jaffier were not a secret, regarded the present step as a preliminary part of the plan which was laid for his own destruction.
Meantime opposition began to display itself in various parts of the provinces. Disturbances The Rajah of Midnapore took arms upon the news of the detention of his rela- iince! pr°" tives: An insurrection in favour of a son of Sereffraz Khan, whom Aliverdi deposed, was raised at Dacca: In the province of Poorania, the duan of the late governor had raised a creature of his own to the chief command: And Jaffier had resolved on the removal of Ramnarain from the province of Berar. Colonel Clive found the means of reconciling Ramramsing; and, with the assistance of the English, the insurrection at Dacca was easily quelled. But when the troops were drawn out to proceed to Poorania, they refused to march, without payment of their arrears. Clive was preparing to join the Nabob; but his troops, with the prize money distributed among them in consequence of the battle of Plassy, had indulged in such intemperance, that many of the Europeans had died, a still greater proportion were sick, and the army was unable to leave Chandernagor before the 17th of November.
The Nabob's troops were ordered to march on the 6th of October. Partial payments, and other means of overcoming their disobedience were employed till the 7th of November, when the Nabob repaired to the camp. No sooner had he left the city, than his son Meeran, who was to act as Governor, distributed intelligence, that a confederacy was formed, under the authority of the Emperor at Delhi, between Ramnarain, the Subahdar of Oude, and Dooloob Ram, to raise to the government of Bengal the son of a younger brother of Suraja Dowla.* He then commissioned a band of ruffians to enter in the night the palace of the widow of Aliverdi, with whom the mother of Suraja Dowla, and grandmother of the prince, resided. They murdered the child, and sent the two princesses to Dacca. The Nabob, who denied all participation in the action, received from the English, says Mr. Orme, "no reproaches."
Clive arrived at Moorshedabad on the 25th of November, where Dooloob AccommodaRam, who, under pretence of sickness, had refused to accompany Jaffier, Hindu chiefs «
* Orme, ii. 272. Clive, however, (Report, ut supra); and the author of the Seer Mutakhareen (ii. 8), both say that the murdered prince was a brother of Suraja Dowla. VOL. II. Y
Book IV. remained with his troops. On the 3d of December he joined the Nabob at >*~—'Raje Mahl. Cuddum Hussun, who had long been an associate in the pleasures of Jaffier, was destined for the government of Poorania; * and some days had elapsed since he crossed the river into that province, with a body of troops. The terror of the Nabob's army, the intrigues which Cuddum Hussun, by means of letters and spies, was able to raise in the enemy's camp, together with the rawness of the insurgent troops, made them take flight and disperse, upon the very approach of Cuddum Hussun; who took quiet possession of the government, and began immediately to gratify his avarice by the severest exactions.
The mind of the Nabob, now tranquil on account of other quarters, turned itself to the more arduous proceedings which it meditated in Bahar. Clive perceived his opportunity; and refused to proceed with him, unless all the sums, due upon the agreements with the English, were previously discharged. No payments could be made without Dooloob Ram. A reconcilement, therefore, was necessary; and, Clive undertaking for his security, Dooloob Ram joined the camp with 10,000 troops. Twenty-three lacks of rupees were now due: Orders were signed upon the treasury for one half; and tuncaws, that is, orders to the local receivers to make payment out of the revenues as they come in, were granted on certain districts for the remainder.
Clive, however, now stated as objections to the removal of Ramnarain; the strength of his army; the probability that he would receive assistance from the Subahdar of Oude; the risk that the English would be recalled to the defence of their own settlements by the arrival of the French; and the danger lest Ramnarain should bring an army of Mahrattas to his aid. Jaffier was not willing to oppose directly an opinion of Clive; and offered to accept of his mediation; reserving in his mind the use of every clandestine effort to accomplish his own designs. The army began its march to Patna; and was joined by Ramnarain, after receipt of a letter from Clive assuring him that both his person and government should be safe. The intended delays and machinations of the Nabob were cut short, by intelligence that the Subahdar of Oude, with the French party under M. Law and a great body of Mahratta horse, was about to invade the province, and by the actual arrival of a Mahratta chief, who came in the name of the principal Mahratta commanders, to demand the arrears of Chout, amounting to twenty-four lacks of rupees, which were due
* Orme calls him Jaffier's relation; but the author of the Seer Mutakhareen (ii. 9), who had better opportunities of knowing, says he was only the son, by a concubine, of a man who had married Jaffier's sister.
from Bengal. These events produced a speedy accommodation with Ramnarain. Chap. V. The Nabob, indeed, used various efforts to remain behind the English, in order v i^ggTM"* to defeat the securities which that Governor had obtained. But Clive penetrated and disappointed his designs. He even extorted from him another grant, Salt-j>etremoof no small importance to the English treasury. A leading article in the "amelfor the European traffic was the salt-petre produced in Bengal, the whole of which was En6llsh- made in the country on the other side of the Ganges above Patna. This manufacture had in general been farmed for the benefit of the Government; and Clive saw the advantage of obtaining the monopoly for the English. He offered the highest terms which the government had ever received; but the Nabob knew he could not demand from the English the regular presents which he would derive from a renter placed at his mercy; he was not, therefore, inclined to the arrangement; but, after a variety of objections, the necessity of his circumstances compelled him to comply. Clive got back to Moorshedabad on the 15th of May; and, on the same day, received intelligence from the coast of Coromandel, of the arrival of the French fleet, and of the indecisive first engagement between it and the English. A friend to the use which governments commonly make of their intelligence of the events of war, "Clive spread," says Orme, "the news he received, as a complete naval victory; two of the French ships sunk in the fight, instead of one stranded afterwards by a mischance; the rest put to flight, with no likelihood of being able to land the troops which they had brought from Pondicherry." On the 24th Clive departed from Moorshedabad, without waiting for the Commission Nabob. On the 20th of June a ship arrived at Calcutta from England; and brought along with it a commission for new modelling the government. A government, council was nominated consisting of ten; and, instead of one Governor, as in preceding arrangements, four were appointed, not to preside collectively, but each during three months in rotation. The inconvenience of this scheme of government was easily perceived. "But there was another cause," says Mr. Orme, "which operated on opinions more strongly. Colonel Clive had felt and expressed resentment at the neglect of himself in the Company's orders, for no station was marked for him in the new establishment." Convinced that he alone had sufficient authority to overawe the Nabob into the performance of his obligations, the council, including the four gentlemen who were appointed the governors, came to a resolution, highly expressive of their own disinterestedness and patriotism, but full of disregard and contempt for the judgment and autho
Book IV. rity of their superiors.* This high legislative act of the Company they took upon them to set aside, and, with one accord, invited Clive to accept the undivided office of President. With this invitation he assures us, that "he hesitated not one moment to comply." f Moorehe1 ^n tne mean tmie considerable events were preparing at Moorshedabad. On dabad. the approach of Clive and Dooloob Ram, Meeran had thrown the city into violent agitation, by quitting it with demonstrations of fear, summoning all the troops and artillery of the government, and giving it out as his intention to march for the purpose of joining his father. Clive wrote with much sharpness to the Nabob; and Meeran apologized in the most submissive strain. Though inability to discharge the arrears due to the troops, who could with much difficulty be preserved from tumults, compelled the Nabob to delay his proceedings, he was impatient for the destruction of Dooloob Ram; the severity of his despotism increased; and he declared to one of his favourites, who betrayed him, "that if a French force would come into the province he would assist them, unless the English released him from all their claims of money, territory, and exemptions." \ Among the Hindus, who had risen to high employment under the encouraging policy of the late Subahdars, was Nuncomar, who acted
* Mr. Scrafton (Reflections on the Government, &c. of Indostan, p. 115) says, "At this crisis, when military virtue and unanimity were more immediately necessary, the Directors, divided by violent contests among themselves, which certainly did them no honour, were so unfortunate in their judgment, as to appoint four Governors of Bengal, to govern each four months, and left Colonel Clive entirely out of this list. The absurdity of such a system was too apparent to take place," &c.
f Report, ut supra. The influence of the Colonel is depicted by the following anecdote. There was an officer of rank, to whom Jaffier had been often indebted before his elevation, remarkable for his wit. This, from their former intimacy, and a jealousy of present neglect, he did not spare on the Nabob himself. While the armies of the Nabob and of Clive were at Patna, he was one day accused to the Nabob of having permitted a fray between some of his own soldiers and some of Clive's. "It chanced," says the author of the Seer Mutakhareen, ii. 19, "that Mirza Shemseddin himself made his appearance at that very moment: it was in full durbar, and in the hall of audience. The Nawab fixed his eyes upon him, and spoke a few words that seemed to border upon reprimand: 'Sir,' said he, 'your people have had a fray with the Colonel's people: Is your honour to learn who is that Colonel Clive, and in what station heaven has seated him?' 'My Lord Nawab,' answered the Mirza, getting up instantly, and standing bolt-upright before him: 'Me, to quarrel with the Colonel! me! who never get up in the morning, without making three profound bows to his very jack ass! How then could I be daring enough, after that, to fall out with the rider himself!'"
% Orme, ii. 356.