At an early stage of the proceedings Clive received overtures from Mir Jafar, the commander-in-chief, who offered to aid the English against the Nawab on condition that he should succeed him.
Continuing Clive Establishes British Supremacy in India,
our selection from Lord Clive; the foundation of British rule in India by Sir Alexander Arbuthnot published in 1899. The selection is presented in seven easy 5 minute installments. For works benefiting from the latest research see the “More information” section at the bottom of these pages.
Previously in Clive Establishes British Supremacy in India.
Place: Bengal, India
The terms of the treaty were exceedingly favorable to the company. All the privileges formerly granted to the English were renewed, all trade covered by English passes was freed, all property of the company or of its servants or tenants which had been taken by the Nawab’s officers to servants was to be restored; the English were to fortify Calcutta, and to coin money as they might deem proper. The Nawab, on February 11th, began his return march to his capital, previously commissioning Omichand, in whose garden the late battle had been fought, to propose a treaty of alliance, offensive and defensive, with the English. This treaty was accepted and signed by Clive and Watson, not without some hesitation on the part of the latter, who, the day after the fight in the outskirts of Calcutta, advised Clive to renew his attack. Clive, however, dreaded a combination between the French and the Nawab, and regarded the French settlement at Chandernagor as a serious danger to Calcutta. He had learned, when at Hugli, that war had been again declared between England and France, and before leaving Madras he had been instructed by the government there that, in the event of a war with France again breaking out in Europe, he was to capture Chandernagor.
After the capture of Chandernagor, Clive’s distrust of the Nawab was intensified, not only by the information supplied by Mr. Watts of his intrigues with the French, but by his refusal to allow the passage of a few Sepoys and of supplies of ammunition and stores to the English factory at Kasimbazar. Meanwhile Clive received from Watts information of a plot which had been formed by some of the leading personages at the Nawab’s court to dethrone him. These persons were Raja Dulab Ram, the finance minister; Mir Jafar, the commander-in-chief of the army; and Yar Latif Khan, a man not of the first rank, who would seem to have started the conspiracy, stipulating that, if it succeeded, he should be made nawab. There is some ground, however, for supposing that the original suggestion emanated from Jaggat Seth, a wealthy banker, who had received personal insults from the Nawab. Another person of considerable weight who was also implicated in the plot was Omichand, the wealthy Hindu in whose garden the Nawab’s camp had been pitched on that foggy night in February when Clive marched through it. On that occasion he sustained a somewhat heavy loss, but inflicted a much heavier loss upon the troops of the Nawab, and thereby frightened the latter into treating for peace. At an early stage of the proceedings Clive received overtures from Mir Jafar, the commander-in-chief, who offered to aid the English against the Nawab on condition that he should succeed him. The events which followed included what in some respects were the most brilliant, and were certainly the most questionable, incidents in Clive’s career. While his military reputation, already established by the defense of Arcot, the victory at Kaveripak, and the operations before Trichinopoli, rose higher than ever, and while he developed a capacity for civil and political administration of the highest order, the fame of his exploits was tarnished by a breach of faith which it is impossible to justify, and by the acceptance of large sums of money from the native prince whom he placed upon the throne of Bengal after the deposition of Suraj ud Daulah.
The treaty provided for an offensive and defensive alliance with Mir Jafar; for a prohibition against any resettlement of the French in Bengal, and for the transfer of their factories to the English company; for compensation for English losses at Calcutta, viz., to the company, B#1,000,000; to the European inhabitants, B#500,000; to the native inhabitants, B#200,000; to the Armenians, B#70,000; for the cession of all land within the Mahratta ditch and 600 yards beyond it; for the cession to the company of the Zemidari of the country to the south of Calcutta as far as Kalpi, subject to the payment of the customary rent; for the payment by the Nawab of all English troops sent to his assistance, and for a prohibition against the erection of any new forts below Hugli. Under a supplementary treaty Mir Jafar was to pay B#500,000 to the army and navy and B#120,000 to the members of council.
Mir Jafar’s signature to the treaty was received on June 12th, and Clive’s force at once advanced. On that day all the troops quartered at Calcutta, together with one hundred fifty sailors from the fleet, crossed over to Chandernagor, where they joined the remainder of the force already quartered at the latter place. The Europeans, including the artillery, were sent up the river in two hundred boats, the Sepoys marching by land. On June 13th Clive dispatched to the Nawab a letter which was practically a declaration of war. It arraigned the Nawab for his breach of treaty, and informed him that Clive had determined, with the approbation of all who were charged with the company’s affairs, to proceed immediately to Kasimbazar, and to submit the dispute with the Nawab to the arbitration of Mir Jafar, Raja Dulab Ram, Jaggat Seth, and “others of your highness’ great men.” “If these,” he wrote, “decide that I have deviated from the treaty, then I swear to give up all further claims upon your highness; but if it should appear that your highness has broken faith, then I shall demand satisfaction for all the losses sustained by the English, and all the charges of the army and navy.” The letter ended with an intimation that as the rains were at hand, and it would take many days to receive an answer, the writer would “wait upon the Nawab at his capital to receive satisfaction.” The attitude which Clive adopted was bold and defiant, but, for all that, Clive was by no means free from anxiety.
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