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CLIVE, LORD

members of Garrick’s company. She took part, however, in some of the oratorios of Handel, whose friend she was. In 1769, having been a member of Garrick’s company for twenty-two years, she quitted the stage, and lived for sixteen years in retirement at a villa at Twickenham, which had been given her some time previously by her friend Horace Walpole. Mrs Clive had small claim to good looks, but as an actress of broad comedy she was unreservedly praised by Goldsmith, Johnson and Garrick. She had a quick temper, which on various occasions involved her in quarrels, and at times sorely tried the patience of Garrick, but her private life remained above suspicion, and she regularly supported her father and his family. She died at Twickenham on the 6th of December 1785. Horace Walpole placed in his garden an urn to her memory, bearing an inscription, of which the last two lines run:

“The comic muse with her retired
And shed a tear when she expired.”

See Percy Fitzgerald, Life of Mrs Catherine Clive (1888); W. R. Chetwood, General History of the Stage (1749); Thomas Davies, Memoirs of the Life of David Garrick (1784).


CLIVE, ROBERT CLIVE, (1725–1774), the statesman and general who founded the empire of British India, was born on the 29th of September 1725 at Styche, the family estate, in the parish of Moreton Say, Market Drayton, Shropshire. We learn from himself, in his second speech in the House of Commons in 1773, that as the estate yielded only £500 a year, his father followed the profession of the law also. The Clives, or Clyves, were one of the oldest families in the county of Shropshire, having held the manor of that name in the reign of Henry II. One Clive was Irish chancellor of the exchequer under Henry VIII.; another was a member of the Long Parliament; Robert’s father for many years represented Montgomeryshire in parliament. His mother, to whom he was tenderly attached, and who had a powerful influence on his career, was a daughter, and with her sister Lady Sempill co-heir, of Nathaniel Gaskell of Manchester. Robert was their eldest son. With his five sisters, all of whom were married in due time, he ever maintained the most affectionate relations. His only brother survived to 1825.

Young Clive was the despair of his teachers. Sent from school to school, and for only a short time at the Merchant Taylors’ school, which then as now had a high reputation, he neglected his books for perilous adventures. But he was not so ignorant as his biographers represent. He could read Horace in after life; and he must have laid in his youth the foundation of that clear and vigorous English style which marked all his despatches, and made Lord Chatham declare of one of his speeches in the House of Commons that it was the most eloquent he had ever heard. From his earliest years, however, his ambition was to lead his fellows; but he never sacrificed honour, as the word was then understood, even to the fear of death. At eighteen he was sent out to Madras as a “factor” or “writer” in the civil service of the East India Company. The detention of the ship in Brazil for nine months enabled him to acquire the Portuguese language, which, at a time when few or none of the Company’s servants learned the vernaculars of India, he often found of use. For the first two years of his residence he was miserable. He felt keenly the separation from home; he was always breaking through the restraints imposed on young “writers”; and he was rarely out of trouble with his fellows, with one of whom he fought a duel. Thus early, too, the effect of the climate on his health began to show itself in those fits of depression during one of which he afterwards prematurely ended his life. The story is told of him by his companions, though he himself never spoke of it, that he twice snapped a pistol at his head in vain. His one solace was found in the governor’s library, where he sought to make up for past carelessness by a systematic course of study. He was just of age, when in 1746 Madras was forced to capitulate to Labourdonnais during the War of the Austrian Succession. The breach of that capitulation by Dupleix, then at the head of the French settlements in India, led Clive, with others, to escape from the town to the subordinate Fort St David, some 20 m. to the south. There, disgusted with the state of affairs and the purely commercial duties of an East Indian civilian, as they then were, Clive obtained an ensign’s commission.

At this time India was ready to become the prize of the first conqueror who to the dash of the soldier added the skill of the administrator. For the forty years since the death of the emperor Aurangzeb, the power of the Great Mogul had gradually fallen into the hands of his provincial viceroys or subadhars. The three greatest of these were the nawab of the Deccan, or south and central India, who ruled from Hyderabad, the nawab of Bengal, whose capital was Murshidabad, and the nawab or wazir of Oudh. The prize lay between Dupleix, who had the genius of an administrator, or rather intriguer, but was no soldier, and Clive, the first of a century’s brilliant succession of those “soldier-politicals,” as they are called in the East, to whom Great Britain owes the conquest and consolidation of its greatest dependency. Clive successively established British ascendancy against French influence in the three great provinces under these nawabs. But his merit lies especially in the ability and foresight with which he secured for his country, and for the good of the natives, the richest of the three, Bengal. First, as to Madras and the Deccan, Clive had hardly been able to commend himself to Major Stringer Lawrence, the commander of the British troops, by his courage and skill in several small engagements, when the peace of Aix-la-Chapelle (1748) forced him to return to his civil duties for a short time. An attack of the malady which so severely affected his spirits led him to visit Bengal, where he was soon to distinguish himself. On his return he found a contest going on between two sets of rival claimants for the position of viceroy of the Deccan, and for that of nawab of the Carnatic, the greatest of the subordinate states under the Deccan. Dupleix, who took the part of the pretenders to power in both places, was carrying all before him. The British had been weakened by the withdrawal of a large force under Admiral Boscawen, and by the return home, on leave, of Major Lawrence. But that officer had appointed Clive commissary for the supply of the troops with provisions, with the rank of captain. More than one disaster had taken place on a small scale, when Clive drew up a plan for dividing the enemy’s forces, and offered to carry it out himself. The pretender, Chanda Sahib, had been made nawab of the Carnatic with Dupleix’s assistance, while the British had taken up the cause of the more legitimate successor, Mahommed Ali. Chanda Sahib had left Arcot, the capital of the Carnatic, to reduce Trichinopoly, then held by a weak English battalion. Clive offered to attack Arcot in order to force Chanda Sahib to raise the siege of Trichinopoly. But Madras and Fort St David could supply him with only 200 Europeans and 300 sepoys. Of the eight officers who led them, four were civilians like Clive himself, and six had never been in action. His force had but three field-pieces. The circumstances that Clive, at the head of this handful, had been seen marching during a storm of thunder and lightning, frightened the enemy into evacuating the fort, which the British at once began to strengthen against a siege. Clive treated the great population of the city with so much consideration that they helped him, not only to fortify his position, but to make successful sallies against the enemy. As the days passed on, Chanda Sahib sent a large army under his son and his French supporters, who entered Arcot and closely besieged Clive in the citadel.

Macaulay gives the following brilliant account of the siege:—

“Raja Sahib proceeded to invest the fort, which seemed quite incapable of sustaining a siege. The walls were ruinous, the ditches dry, the ramparts too narrow to admit the guns, and the battlements too low to protect the soldiers. The little garrison had been greatly reduced by casualties. It now consisted of 120 Europeans and 200 sepoys. Only four officers were left, the stock of provisions was scanty, and the commander who had to conduct the defence under circumstances so discouraging was a young man of five and twenty, who had been bred as a book-keeper. During fifty days the siege went on, and the young captain maintained the defence with a firmness, vigilance and ability which would have done honour to the oldest marshal in Europe. The breach, however, increased day by day. Under such circumstances, any troops so scantily provided with officers might have been expected to show signs of insubordination; and the danger was peculiarly’ great in a force composed of men differing widely from each other in extraction, colour, language,