Robert Clive

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					       Robert Clive
         Assessing the
    ―Conqueror of India‖




1             Assessing Robert Clive
    Contents
    1.    Early life
    2.    Political situation in India before Clive
    3.    First journey to India (1744-1753)
    4.    The Siege of Arcot (1751)
    5.    Second journey to India (1755-1760)
    6.    The fall and recapture of Calcutta (1756-1757)
    7.    War with Siraj ud-Daula & Plassey
    8.    Further campaigns & Return to England
    9.    Third journey to India : The Imperial Farman
    10.   Attempts at administrative reform
    11.   Retirement and death


2                                                          Assessing Robert Clive
       Major-General Robert Clive, 1st Baron
        Clive of Plassey, KB (29 September
        1725–22 November 1774), also known as
        Clive of India, was a British soldier who
        established the military and political
        supremacy of the East India Company in
        Southern India and Bengal. Together with
        Warren Hastings he was one of the key
        figures in the creation of British India.

3                                         Assessing Robert Clive
    1. Early Life
       Robert Clive was born at Styche, the old family estate, near Market
        Drayton and briefly educated at Merchant Taylors' School in
        London, until his expulsion. From his second speech in the House of
        Commons in 1773, it is known that the estate yielded only £500 a
        year. To supplement this income, his father practised law.
       Teachers despaired of the young Clive. He is reputed to have
        climbed the tower of St Mary's Parish Church in Market Drayton and
        perched on a gargoyle. He also attempted to set up a protection
        racket enforced by a gang of youths.
       If his behaviour generally was bad, in school it was worse - he was
        expelled from three schools, including Market Drayton Grammar
        School.


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    2. India before Clive
       By the mid-eighteenth century the Mughal Empire had become
        divided into a number of successor states. For the forty years since
        the death of the Emperor Aurangzeb in 1707, the power of the
        Emperor had gradually fallen into the hands of his provincial
        viceroys or subahdars.
            The three most powerful were the Nizam of the Hyderabad State in the
             Deccan region (Asaf Jah), of south and central India, who ruled from
             Hyderabad,
            the Nawab of Bengal (Murshid Quli Khan), whose capital was
             Murshidabad,
            and the wazir or Nawab of Awadh (Sa'adat Ali Khan, Burhan ul-Mulk).
             The European Trading companies still acknowledged the sovereignty of
             the Emperor at Delhi, Bahadur Shah I, but their relations with these
             regional rulers were of much greater importance.



5                                                                   Assessing Robert Clive
    The Western traders
         In addition the relationship between the Europeans
          was influenced by a series of wars and treaties on
          mainland Europe. Since the late seventeenth century
          the European merchants had raised bodies of troops
          to protect their commercial interests and latterly to
          influence local politics to their advantage.
         Military power was rapidly becoming as important as
          commercial acumen in securing India's valuable
          trade, and increasingly it was also the means of
          securing riches by another route: the right to collect
          land revenue.


6                                                     Assessing Robert Clive
       After Clive's arrival in India, the rich lands of the
        Coromandel Coast were contested between the French
        Governor General Joseph François Dupleix and the
        British. This rivalry included the British and French
        supporting various factions as Nawab of the remaining
        parts of the Mughal Empire.
       Clive was the first of the "soldier-politicals" (as they
        came to be called) who helped the British gain
        ascendancy in India.
       While the British would later be challenged in the South
        by Tipu Sultan of Mysore, Clive's fame and notoriety
        principally lie in his military conquest of the province of
        Bengal.
7                                                        Assessing Robert Clive
    3. Clive’s first journey to India
    (1744-1753)
       At the age of eighteen, Clive was sent out to Madras
        (now Chennai) as a "factor" or "writer" in the civil service
        of the East India Company.
       On 4 September 1746, Madras was attacked by French
        Forces. Clive and others made their escape and for his
        part in this, Clive was given an ensign's commission.
       In the conflict, Clive's bravery had been noted by Major
        Stringer Lawrence, the commander of the British troops.
        However, the Peace of Aix-la-Chapelle in 1748 forced
        him to return to civil duties for a short time. The conflict
        between the British and the French continued, this time
        in political rather than military terms.

8                                                        Assessing Robert Clive
4. The Siege of Arcot (1751)

       In the conflict that followed, France and Britain remained
        officially at peace. The troops deployed were always
        those of the East India Company and the company could
        only rarely deploy more than a thousand troops. The
        British had been further 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. Clive drew up a
        plan for dividing the enemy's forces, and offered to carry
        it out himself.

9                                                      Assessing Robert Clive
    In the summer of 1751, Chanda Sahib had left Arcot, the capital of
     the Carnatic, to attack Mahommed Ali Wallajah at Tiruchirapalli.
     Clive offered to attack Arcot in order to force Chanda Sahib to raise
     the siege. Madras and Fort St David could supply him with only 200
     Europeans and 300 sepoys and of the eight officers who led them,
     four were civilians like Clive himself, and six had never been in
     action. In addition, the force only had three artillery pieces. The
     initial British assault took the fort at Arcot during a thunderstorm and
     Clive's troops immediately began to fortify the building against a
     siege. Aided by some of the population, Clive was able to make
     sallies against the besieging troops. As the days passed on,
     Chanda Sahib sent a large army led by his son, Raza Sahib and his
     French supporters, who entered Arcot to besiege Clive in the fort.


10                                                              Assessing Robert Clive
    His conduct during the siege made
     Clive famous back home in Europe.
     The Prime Minister Pitt the Elder
     described Clive—who had received
     no formal military training
     whatsoever—as the "heaven-born
     general",. The Court of Directors of
     the East India Company voted him
     a sword worth £700 which he
     refused to receive unless Lawrence
     was similarly honoured. He left
     Madras for home, after ten years'
     absence, early in 1753, but not
     before marrying Margaret
     Maskelyne, the sister of his friend
     Nevil Maskelyne.
11                                          Assessing Robert Clive
 5. Clive’s return
    In July 1755, Clive returned to India to act as deputy governor of
     Fort St. David, a small settlement south of Madras.
    On his way back from leave, Clive (now promoted to Lieutenant-
     Colonel in the King's army) took part in the capture of the fortress of
     Gheriah (today Vijaydurg) a stronghold of the Maratha Admiral Tuloji
     Angre. The action was led by and the English had a several ships
     available, some Royal troops and some Maratha allies. The
     overwhelming strength of the joint British and Maratha forces
     ensured that the battle was won with few losses. A fleet surgeon,
     Edward Ives, noted that Clive refused to take any part of the
     treasure which was divided among the victorious forces (as was the
     custom at the time).



12                                                             Assessing Robert Clive
 6. The fall and recapture of
 Calcutta 1756-1757
    Following this action Clive headed to his post at Fort St. David and it
     was there he received news of twin disasters for the English. Early
     in 1756, Siraj Ud Daulah had succeeded his grand father Alivardi
     Khan as Nawab of Bengal. In June Clive received news, firstly that
     the new Nawab had attacked the English at Kasimbazar and shortly
     afterwards that on 20 June he had taken the fort at Calcutta. The
     losses to the East India Company due to the fall of Calcutta were
     estimated by investors at £2,000,000. Those British who were
     captured were placed in a room which became infamous as the
     Black Hole of Calcutta and, in the stifling summer heat, it is alleged
     123 of the 146 prisoners died due to suffocation or heat stroke.
     While the Black Hole became infamous in Britain, it is debatable
     whether the Nawab was aware of the incident.


13                                                             Assessing Robert Clive
    By Christmas 1756, no response had been received to diplomatic letters to
     the Nawab and so and Clive were dispatched to attack the Nawab's army
     and remove him from Calcutta by force. Their first target was the fortress of
     Baj-Baj which Clive approached by land while Admiral Watson bombarded
     it from the sea. The fortress was quickly taken with minimal British
     casualties. Shortly afterwards on 2 January 1757, Calcutta itself was taken
     with similar ease.
    Approximately a month later, on 3 February 1757, Clive encountered the
     army of the Nawab itself. For two days, the army marched past Clive's
     camp to take up a position east of Calcutta. Sir Eyre Coote, serving in the
     British forces, estimated the enemy's strength as 40,000 cavalry, 60,000
     infantry and thirty cannon. Even allowing for overestimation this was
     considerably more than Clive's force of approximately 2000 infantry,
     fourteen field guns and no cavalry. The British forces attacked on 5
     February 1757 and after an initial assault during which around one tenth of
     the British attackers were killed, the Nawab sought to make terms with Clive
     and surrendered control of Calcutta.

14                                                                  Assessing Robert Clive
 7. War with Siraj ud-Daula
    In spite of his double defeat and the treaty which followed it, the
     Nawab soon resumed the war. As England and France were once
     more at war, Clive sent the fleet up the river against
     Chandernagore, while he besieged it by land. After consenting to
     the siege, the Nawab sought to assist the French, but in vain. The
     capture of their principal settlement in India, next to Pondicherry,
     which had fallen in the previous war, gave the combined forces
     prizes to the value of £140,000.
    Some officials of the Nawab's court formed a confederacy to depose
     him. Jafar Ali Khan (better known as Mir Jafar), the Nawab's
     commander-in-chief, led the conspirators. With Admiral Watson,
     Governor Drake and Mr Watts, Clive made a treaty in which it was
     agreed to give the office of viceroy of Bengal, Bihar and Orissa to
     Jafar, who was to pay a million sterling to the Company for its
     losses in Calcutta and the cost of its troops..

15                                                           Assessing Robert Clive
    Clive employed Umichand, a rich Bengali trader, as an agent
     between Mir Jafar and the British officials. Umichand threatened to
     betray it unless he was guaranteed, in the treaty itself, £300,000. To
     dupe him, a second fictitious treaty was shown him with a clause to
     this effect. Admiral Watson refused to sign this. Clive deposed to the
     House of Commons that, "to the best of his remembrance, he gave
     the gentleman who carried it leave to sign his name upon it; his
     lordship never made any secret of it; he thinks it warrantable in such
     a case, and would do it again a hundred times; he had no interested
     motive in doing it, and did it with a design of disappointing the
     expectations of a rapacious man."
    It is nevertheless cited as an example of Clive's unscrupulousness.



16                                                            Assessing Robert Clive
8. Plassey
    The whole hot season of 1757 was spent in these negostiations. Then in
     the middle of June, Clive began his march from Chandernagore, with the
     British in boats and the sepoys along the right bank of the Hooghly River. It
     was between Siraj ud-Daulah and the English army led by Robert Clive. On
     21 June 1757, Clive arrived on the bank opposite Plassey, in the midst of
     that outburst of rain which ushers in the south-west monsoon of India. His
     whole army amounted to 1,100 Europeans and 2,100 sepoy troops, with
     nine field-pieces.
    The Nawab had drawn up 18,000 horse, 50,000 foot and 53 pieces of
     heavy ordinance, served by French artillerymen. For once in his career
     Clive hesitated, and called a council of sixteen officers to decide,but his
     daring soon re-asserted itself, He did well as a soldier to trust to the dash
     and even rashness that had gained Arcot and triumphed at Calcutta, He
     was fully justified in his confidence in Mir Jafar's treachery to his master, for
     he led a large portion of the Nawab's army away from the battlefield,
     ensuring his defeat.
    Clive lost hardly any European troops; in all 22 sepoys were killed and 50
     wounded. It is curious in many ways that Clive is now best-remembered for
     this battle, which was essentially won by suborning the opposition rather
     than through fighting or brilliant military tactics. Whilst it established British
     military supremacy in Bengal, it did not secure the East India Company's
     control over Upper India, as is sometimes claimed.
17                                                                       Assessing Robert Clive
 The spoils of war?
    Clive entered Murshidabad, and
     established Mir Jafar as Nawab, the
     price which had been agreed
     beforehand for his treachery. When
     taken through the treasury, amid a
     million and a half sterling's worth of
     rupees, gold and silver plate, jewels
     and rich goods, and besought to
     ask what he would, Clive took
     £160,000, a vast fortune for the
     day, while half a million was
     distributed among the army and
     navy (of the East India Company),
     both in addition to gifts of £24,000
     to each member of the Company's
     committee and besides the public
     compensation stipulated for in the
     treaty.
18                                            Assessing Robert Clive
        In this extraction of wealth Clive followed a
         usage fully recognized by the Company,
         although this was the source of future
         corruption which Clive was later sent to India
         again to correct. The Company itself
         acquired a revenue of £100,000 a year, and
         a contribution towards its losses and military
         expenditure of a million and a half sterling.
         Mir Jafar further discharged his debt to Clive
         by afterwards presenting him with the quit-
         rent of the Company's lands in and around
         Calcutta, amounting to an annuity of £27,000
         for life, and leaving him by will the sum of
         £70,000, which Clive devoted to the army.



19                                       Assessing Robert Clive
    While busy with the civil administration, Clive continued to follow up
     his military success. Clive also repelled the aggression of the Dutch,
     and avenged the massacre of Amboyna - the occasion when he
     wrote his famous letter; "Dear Forde, fight them immediately; I will
     send you the order of council to-morrow."
    Meanwhile Clive improved the organization and drill of the sepoy
     army, after a European model, and enlisted into it many Muslims
     from upper India. He re-fortified Calcutta. In 1760, after four years of
     hard labour, his health gave way and he returned to England.
    The long-term outcome of Plassey was to place a very heavy
     revenue burden upon Bengal. The Company sought to extract the
     maximum revenue possible from the peasantry to fund military
     campaigns, and corruption was widespread amongst its officials.



20                                                              Assessing Robert Clive
9. Return to England
    In 1760, the 35-year-old Clive returned to England with a fortune of
     at least £300,000 and the quit-rent of £27,000 a year. In the five
     years of his conquests and administration in Bengal, the young man
     had crowded together a succession of exploits which ― gave peace,
     security, prosperity and liberty under British control…
    The immediate consequence of Clive's victory at Plassey was an
     increase in the revenue demand on Bengal by at least 20%, much
     of which was appropriated by Zamindars and corrupt Company
     Officials, which led to considerable hardship for the rural population,
     particularly during the famine of 1770.
    During the three years that Clive remained in England, he sought a
     political position, chiefly that he might influence the course of events
     in India, which he had left full of promise. He had been well received
     at court, had been made Baron Clive of Plassey, County Clare, had
     bought estates, and had got not only himself, but his friends
     returned to the House of Commons, after the fashion of the time.
21                                                              Assessing Robert Clive
    Clive set himself to reform the home system of the East India Company,
     and in this he was aided by the news of reverses in Bengal. Mir Jafar had
     finally rebelled over certain payments to English officials, and in
     consequence Vansittart, Clive's successor, had put Kasim Ali Khan, the Mir
     Jafar's son-in-law upon the musnud (throne).
    The whole Company's service, Civil and Military, had become mired in
     corruption, demoralized by gifts and by the monopoly of the inland as well
     as export trade, to such an extent that the local people were pauperised,
     and the Company was plundered of the revenues which Clive had acquired
     for them.
    For this Clive himself must bear responsibility, as he had set a very poor
     example during his tenure as Governor. Nevertheless, the Court of
     Proprietors, forced the Directors (who they elected) to hurry Lord Clive to
     Bengal with the double powers of Governor and Commander-in-Chief.


22                                                                 Assessing Robert Clive
 10. Third journey to India
    On 3 May 1765 Clive landed at Calcutta to learn that Mir Jafar had
     died, and had been succeeded by his son, while Kasim Ali had
     induced not only the viceroy of Oudh, but the emperor of Delhi
     himself, to invade Bihar. At The emperor, Shah Alam II, detached
     himself from the league, while the Oudh viceroy threw himself on
     the mercy of the British. Clive had now an opportunity of repeating
     in Hindustan, or Upper India, what he had accomplished in Bengal.
     But he believed he had other work in the exploitation of the
     revenues and resources of rich Bengal itself, making it a base from
     which British India would afterwards steadily grow. Hence he
     returned to the Oudh viceroy all his territory save the provinces of
     Allahabad and , which he presented to the weak emperor.



23                                                            Assessing Robert Clive
    The Imperial Farman In return for the Oudhian provinces Clive secured from the
     Emperor one of the most important documents in British history in India. It appears in
     the records as "firmaund from the King Shah Aalum, granting the dewany of Bengal,
     Behar and Orissa to the Company 1765." This effectively granted title of Bengal to
     Clive. The date was 12 August 1765, the place Benares, the throne an English
     dining-table covered with embroidered cloth and surmounted by a chair in Clive's
     tent. It is all pictured by a Muslim contemporary, who indignantly exclaims that so
     great a "transaction was done and finished in less time than would have been taken
     up in the sale of a jackass". By this deed the Company became the real sovereign
     rulers of thirty million people, yielding a revenue of four millions sterling.
    On the same date Clive obtained not only an imperial charter for the Company's
     possessions in the Carnatic, completing the work he began at Arcot, but a third
     firman for the highest of all the lieutenancies of the empire, that of the Deccan itself.
     This fact is mentioned in a letter from the secret committee of the court of directors to
     the Madras government, dated 27 April 1768. The British presence in India was still
     infinitesimally tiny compared to the number and strength of the princes and people of
     India, but also compared to the forces of their ambitious French, Dutch and Danish
     rivals.




24                                                                            Assessing Robert Clive
    Attempts at administrative reform Having thus founded the
     Empire of British India, Clive sought to have put in place a strong
     administration. The salaries of civil servants were increased, the
     acceptance of gifts from Indians was forbidden, and Clive exacted
     covenants under which participation in the inland trade was
     stopped. Unfortunately this had very little impact in reducing
     corruption, which remained as widespread as ever until the days of
     Warren Hastings.
    Clive's military reforms were more effective. His reorganization of
     the army, divided the whole into three brigades, so as to make each
     a complete force, in itself equal to any single native army that could
     be brought against it. He had not enough British artillerymen,
     however, and refused to train Indians to work the guns.

25                                                             Assessing Robert Clive
 11. Retirement and death
    Clive left India for the last time in February 1767. In 1769, he acquired the
     house and gardens at Claremont near Esher and commissioned Lancelot
     "Capability" Brown to remodel the garden and rebuild the house.
    From 1772, he had to defend his actions against his numerous and vocal
     critics in Britain. Cross-examined by a Parliament suspicious of his vast
     wealth, he claimed to have taken relatively limited advantage of the
     opportunities presented to him.
    Despite his vindication, on 22 November 1774 he committed suicide at his
     Berkeley Square home in London by stabbing himself with a pen-knife.
     Though Clive's suicide has been linked to his history of depression and to
     opium addiction, the likely immediate impetus was excruciating pain
     resulting from illness (which he attempted to abate with opium).
    Clive was awarded the title Baron of Plassey and bought lands in County
     Limerick and County Clare, Ireland. He named part of his lands near
     Limerick City, Plassey.


26                                                                    Assessing Robert Clive

				
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