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ignorance, and his folly, soon paved the way for the conquests of the English in India. Captain Broome has given a very interesting account of the dissensions, which speedily ensued between the English and the Nawab; the siege and capture of the old fort of Calcutta; the cowardly and disgraceful conduct of many of the principal gentlemen in the service; and the sufferings and cruel fate of those, who were taken and imprisoned in the Black Hole.
The temporary downfall of Calcutta served but to increase its dominion, power, and splendour ; and, under the able rule of Clive, it rose like a phoenix from its ashes. He arrived about the middle of December at Fultah, where the miserable remnant of the Presidency were then assembled, anxiously awaiting succour from Madras. The aspect of affairs was now soon changed. The fleet, which bore the expedition, constituted its main strength: and in this, as in all the early contests of the Company, there is nothing so remarkable as the disparity between the land and sea forces employed. Our power in the East had not at that time taken firm root in the soil: and it was necessary to have at hand the means of transplanting it at any moment to a new settlement. Hence the naval force employed was necessarily much greater in proportion, and even in actual amount of ships and guns, than it has been at any later period of our history.
Five large ships of war, the smallest mounting twenty guns, under two Admirals, with five of the Company's merchantmen as transports and store-ships, formed a force sufficient to have annihilated the whole power of the Nawab, had it consisted in naval strength. But unfortunately the ships could not proceed far up the rivers, and the land-forces of the expedition were inconsiderable, while the strength of the Muhammadans in Bengal was too far removed from the coast to be much affected by our superiority at sea. Suraj-ud-dowlah was however ignorant of this. He knew not the draft of water required for our ships, and his officers were probably equally ignorant;-so much so, that we find them even sinking large piles above the city of Múrshedabad, lest the English ships of war should proceed up the great branch of the Ganges, and then come down the smaller river to Múrshedabad. When we reflect therefore on what was then accomplished in Bengal, we must never lose sight of the great naval power, which we then had here, and the effect of the broadsides that was so rapidly shewn at Calcutta, and even at Chandernagore. The land forces on the other hand were inconsiderable. Clive's whole army at Plassey only amounted to 1,100 Europeans, and 2,100 native troops, with ten field-pieces, against a nominal army of 18,000 horse and 50,000 foot, accompanied by fifty-three pieces of heavy ordnance, which were, however, too unwieldy to be of much real service.
Clive had been early trained in the Madras wars, and had but lately returned from the expedition against Angria, so that he had considerable experience in native warfare; and his stern, forcible and impetuous character led him to despise the armies of the native powers. Though he may be considered to have been on the whole the best leader, that our troops ever bad, in those early days, in India, still we cannot quite subscribe to the opinion of Macaulay, that he exhibited rare talents for war: and the assertion of that talented writer, that Clive was the only man, except Napoleon, who had ever at so early an age, given equal proof of talents for war, can only have arisen from his own want of military experience.
How Clive landed below Budge-Budge; how he lost his route in the jungles, through the ignorance or treachery of his guides; how he was attacked, when sleeping on his post in rear of the fort, by Manik Chund; how he subsequently defeated that officer; and how Strahan, the drunken sailor, took the redoubtable fortress of Budge-Budge-are all detailed in the narrative before us with much spirit and faithfulness.
Calcutta was soon reduced by the fire of the ships. Indeed there is nothing in all this warfare, as far we have yet gone, to equal even the feeble resistance, which our troops experienced in China. Thus the forts of Tannah and Allyghur, which mounted fifty guns, were abandoned without firing a shot; and, although a few rounds were fired from the fort in Calcutta against the advancing squadron, which killed nine men on board the Kent and seven on board the Tiger, yet as soon as the ships “ took up their position, and commenced to return the cannon
ade, the fire from the fort slackened, and the enemy, observing that Clive with the troops had nearly invested the place on the land side, abandoned the defence, and hastened to seek
safety in flight.” This was on the 2nd January, 1757, just fifty years after the death of Aurungzebe and the junction of the two Companies.
A force was next sent up to attack Hugly, and it was equally successful. After battering the town for a whole day, the place was assaulted and taken--the enemy flying, as soon as our men had mounted the breach. Meanwhile, intelligence had been received that war had been declared between France and England, and it was naturally anticipated that the French, who had then a considerable force at Chandernagore, would join with the Nawab at once against us. This led Clive at first
to endeavour to open negociations with the Nawab: and there. appears to be no reason to suppose that any thoughts of permanent conquests were then entertained by the English, or that they would not have been perfectly content, if left alone with the successes which they had already obtained. It was however otherwise destined. The Nawab would not listen to their overtures, and gave orders to march immediately with his whole force to Calcutta. Fortunately no official information had arrived of the breaking out of hostilities between the French and English: and, as the former had then at Chandernagore no man of ability able to seize the crisis of affairs which was at hand, that nation let slip the great opportunity, which was presented to them, of crushing the English by joining the Nawab, and left him single-handed to deal with the haughty islanders.
On the 30th January, the Nawab crossed the river, a few miles above Hugly, with a force of 18,000 horse, 15,000 foot, 1,000 pioneers, forty pieces of heavy cannon, fifty elephants, and a vast assemblage of camp-followers. The position, which Clive took up, had he intended to assail the army of the Nawab, while on its line of march, was a good one: but we cannot see that he properly availed himself of the advantages of his situation. He encamped about half a mile from the river, rather in advance of Perring's redoubt, which stood near the site of the present Chitpore suspension bridge. His head-quartere were thus not far distant from the junction of the Dum Dum, Cossipore, and Barrackpore roads. The army of the Nawab swept round his position; and, although Clive marched out with the greater part of his force, supported by six field-pieces, and commenced a cannonade, yet he effected nothing, and gradually drew off his troops. This was on the 2nd February : and so completely was Clive's position now surrounded, that the followers of the Nawab's camp spread themselves beyond the Mahratta Ditch, and proceeded to plunder the town. A sally from the detachment, posted at Perring's redoubt, quickly stopped the plundering: but mass after mass of the enemy had by this time established themselves in force, and entrenchments had already been commenced a mile and half to the south-east of the British camp, which were in such a state of forwardness as to be able from their batteries to bring a fire of ten heavy guns on Clive's army, when it advanced that day. We are disposed to criticize Clive's conduct in thus permitting the Nawab to get into his rear, between the Mahratta Ditch and the salt-water Lake, and to occupy the whole
plain of Chowringhi, where his cavalry had ample room to act, and to fix his head-quarters in Omichund's garden, within half a mile or less of Perring's redoubt. Had it been Clive's intention not to attack the Nawab's force, when on their line of march, we cannot help thinking, that, had he himself occupied Omichund's garden, it would have been a much better position for his forces; as he would then have been able to debouch, either by the Dum Dum road, or by the two causeways leading to the end of the Salt-water Lake, in any attack he might make on the Muhammadan army. By taking up his position at Cossipore, and abandoning the line of the Mahratta Ditch, he permitted the enemy to avail themselves of the advantages which it afforded them; and when Clive attacked the camp of the Nawab on the 4th, after wandering about on the plain for a considerable time, being bewildered in a fog, he had to lead his men to the attack of the barricade, which the enemy
had formed across the causeways, and was, in so doing, exposed to the fire of the guns, which they had posted along the whole circle of the Mahratta ditch.
Our military readers will at once understand the radical defect in Clive's position and tactics on this occasion, by considering that he had permitted the Nawab's force to get into the interior of the circle; thus he was compelled to act on the circumference, while the troops of the latter had the more easy task of acting on the radius of the circle, with a ready-formed ditch to protect their position. Clive, after moving round the Nawab's position, and forcing an entrance at the barrier on their extreme right, succeeded in gaining the fort about noon, having been harassed by the enemy's cavalry and artillery almost the whole way, and having lost three officers, thirty-nine Europeans, and eighteen sepoys killed, and eighty-two Europeans and thirty-five sepoys wounded-a greater loss than was sustained at Plassey, The greater part of this mischief was done by the enemy's gung, mounted on the ramparts, inside our own ditch. The enemy had, however, suffered very considerably, having, it was said, 1,300 killed and wounded : but possibly this loss was exaggerated. Orme, in his account, could not help seeing, that, had Clive advanced from Perring's redoubt, direct on Omichund's garden, the attack might have been more successful. We think Clive is much to be blamed for this rash proceeding; for he had still the command of the direct road, leading through Perring's redoubt to the fort, by which he returned to his position at Cossipore in the evening, and could, by that road, have easily got within the circle of the Mahratta Ditch, and thus attacked the Nawab in a direct line, instead of leading his men round the circumference of the circle, exposed to the fire of all the guns mounted along its face. Captain Broome says of this attack, that it was altogether“ a dashing affair, and the conception not unworthy of the Heaven-born General who formed it :" but we are doubtful whether he intends to express any great praise of the design, however bold may have been its execution. Although the spirits of our men were damped by the result of this expedition, yet its discouraging effect on the Nawab was much greater. He was astonished and terrified by the courage and intrepidity displayed: and, on the following morning, he sent proposals of peace, and drew off his army to the northward of the Salt-water Lake, to be out of the reach of so daring a foe. A treaty of peace was concluded, on very advantageous terms for the English: and the Nawab on the 11th commenced his march homeward.
Clive immediately turned his attention to an attack on Chandernagore, and sounded the Nawab, as to the views which he entertained of the meditated attack on the French. The Nawab was greatly incensed, and accused the English of breach of faith: but this did not deter Clive from crossing the river on the 18th, and marching against Chandernagore. The Nawab was too much in fear of the English to commence hostilities again in person : but he peremptorily forbade them to commit any act of hostility, and ordered the Governor of Hugly to assist the French. Upon this Clive desisted for the present, and the troops re-crossed the river: but, adds Captain Broome, “ he did not ultimately despair of obtaining the Nawab's consent, for which the English agents, Mr. Watts and Omichund, were directed to apply." Things remained in this uncertain state for some time; and the English Council, who were evidently afraid to act in a hostile manner without the Nawab's consent, endeavored to patch up a treaty of neutrality with the French: but, Chandernagore being subordinate to Pondicherry, a difficulty arose, by which the negociations were broken off. This was unfortunate for the French: as the Affghan invasion, which then occurred in Northern India, alarmed the Nawab, lest an attack should be made on him from that quarter, and induced him to give the English a tacit permission to attack their rivals.
They speedily availed themselves of this permission; and the Tiger, the Kent, and the Salisbury were chosen to attack Chandernagore by water, while Clive attacked by land. The difficulty of getting these large vessels, mounting from fifty to sixty-four guns each, up the river, and placed in position opposite the fort, was