- Robert Clive, 1st Baron Clive
"Clive of India" redirects here. For the film, see Clive of India (film)."Robert Clive" redirects here. For other uses, see Robert Clive (disambiguation).
Major-General The Right Honourable
The Lord Clive
Lord Clive in Military Uniform. The Battle of Plassey is shown behind him. Governor of the Presidency of Fort William In office
Preceded by Roger Drake
Succeeded by Henry Vansittart In office
Preceded by Henry Vansittart Succeeded by Harry Verelst Personal details Born 29 September 1725
Market Drayton, Shropshire, England
Died 22 November 1774(aged 49)
Westminster, London, England
Nationality British Alma mater Merchant Taylors' School Military service Nickname(s) Clive of India Allegiance Kingdom of Great Britain Service/branch British Army Years of service 1746–1774 Rank Major-General Unit British East India Company Commands Commander-in-Chief of India Battles/wars War of the Austrian Succession
Battle of Madras
Second Carnatic War
Siege of Arcot
Battle of Arnee
Battle of Chingleput
Seven Years' War
Battle of Chandannagar
Battle of Plassey
Major-General Robert Clive, 1st Baron Clive, KB (29 September 1725 – 22 November 1774), also known as Clive of India, was a British officer who established the military and political supremacy of the East India Company in Bengal. He is credited with securing India, and the wealth that followed, for the British crown. Together with Warren Hastings he was one of the key figures in the creation of British India.
- 1 Early life
- 2 First journey to India (1744-1753)
- 3 Second journey to India (1755-1760)
- 4 Third journey to India
- 5 Retirement and death
- 6 Family
- 7 Legacy
- 8 References
- 9 Bibliography
- 10 External links
Robert Clive was born at Styche, the Clive family estate, near Market Drayton in Shropshire. To supplement the £500 which the family estate earned every year, his father practised law. The Clives, or Clyves, were one of the oldest families in the county of Shropshire. They held the manor of that name in the reign of Henry II. Members of the family include an Irish chancellor of the exchequer under Henry VIII, and a member of the Long Parliament. Robert's father for many years represented Montgomeryshire in parliament. His mother was the daughter of Nathaniel Gaskell of Manchester. Robert was their eldest son of thirteen children; he had seven sisters and five brothers.
As a boy, Clive is reputed to have climbed the tower of St Mary's Parish Church in Market Drayton and perched on a gargoyle, frightening those down below. He also attempted to set up a protection racket enforced by a gang of youths who vandalized the establishments of merchants who did not cooperate.
Clive was expelled from three schools, including Market Drayton Grammar School and Merchant Taylors' School in London. Despite his lack of scholarship, he eventually developed a distinctive writing style, and a speech in the House of Commons was described by William Pitt as the most eloquent he had ever heard.
Political situation in 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 soobedars. The two most powerful were 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 Awadh state was under constant pressure from Hindu Maratha states and the Nepal Hindu state. Another Muslim monarch, the Nizam of Hyderabad, was a vassal of the Hindu Marathas and also under pressure from the Hindu Polygar states. This left the Muslim monarch of Bengal, among the richest states of South Asia, and the only truly independent Muslim power in South Asia with the ability to project power against the British. However, Bengal in a precarious situation. Bengal was a kingdom ruled by a Muslim king, surrounded by hostile Hindu powers and weakened by dissensions among the officialdom and the banking community.
The relationship between the Europeans in India 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 used to appropriate territory and to collect land revenue.
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. The British and French supported 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 ascendency in India by installing rulers beholden to himself and to Britain. Clive's notoriety and fame lay principally in his political and military conquest of Bengal.
First journey to India (1744-1753)See also: First Carnatic War
At the age of eighteen, Clive was sent out to Madras as a "factor" or "writer" in the service of the East India Company. After running aground, his ship was detained in Brazil for nine months while repairs were completed. This enabled him to learn Portuguese, which he often found of use later. At this time the East India Company had a small settlement at Fort St. George near the village of Madraspatnam.
On 4 September 1746, Madras was attacked by French Forces led by La Bourdonnais as part of the War of the Austrian Succession. After several days of bombardment the British forces surrendered and the French entered the city. It was originally planned that the town would be restored to the British after negotiation but this was opposed by Dupleix, then the head of the French settlements in India. The prolonged negotiations led Clive and others to make their escape to Fort St David (at Cuddalore), some 20 miles (32 km) to the south. For his part in this, Clive was given an ensign's commission. The siege was eventually lifted when Mughal troops arrived to relieve the city.
In the conflict, Clive's bravery had been noted by Major Stringer Lawrence, the commander of the British troops. However, after the Peace of Aix-la-Chapelle in 1748 he returned to civil duties. Several months later, in early 1749, he was called upon to assist Lawrence in an expedition to Tanjore, where the rajah had requested assistance recovering his throne from a usurper. Clive distinguished himself during the siege of Devakottai when he led a small force in the storming of an embankment which was very nearly wiped out. Clive then returned once more to civilian duties, acting as a commissary for the company's European troops.
He was, however, afflicted with some sort of nervous disorder, and was sent north to Bengal to recuperate. The conflict between the British and the French continued, this time in political rather than military terms. When Clive returned two years later the political scene had shifted and the powerful positions of Nawab of the Carnatic and Nizam of Hyderabad were both taken by rulers who were strongly sympathetic to the French cause as a result of actions in the Second Carnatic War. Chanda Sahib had been made Nawab of the Carnatic with Dupleix's assistance, while the British had taken up the cause of the previous incumbent, Mohammed Ali Khan Walajah. Dupleix was "rewarded with... territory said to yield an annual revenue of over 350,000 rupees" and in addition, he was made part of the Mughal hierarchy.
The Siege of Arcot (1751)Main article: Siege of Arcot
In the summer of 1751, Chanda Shahib had left Arcot, the capital of the Carnatic, to attack Mohammed Ali Khan Walajah at Trichinopoly. 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.
The historian Macaulay wrote a century later of the siege:
"... the commander who had to conduct the defence...was a young man of five and twenty, who had been bred as a book-keeper... Clive...had made his arrangements, and, exhausted by fatigue, had thrown himself on his bed. He was awakened by the alarm, and was instantly at his post.... After three desperate onsets, the besiegers retired behind the ditch. The struggle lasted about an hour...the garrison lost only five or six men." 
The contemporary Tuzuk-e Walajahi states that Clive received assistance from two thousand Maratha horse under the command of Madina Ali Khan and Yunus Khan, two sardars (commanders) of Mohammed Ali Walajah. This reinforcement proved a turning point, and Clive and Major Lawrence were able to bring the campaign to a successful conclusion. In 1754, the first of the provisional Carnatic treaties was signed between Thomas Saunders, the Company's resident at Madras, and M. Godeheu, the French commander. Mohammed Ali Khan Walajah was recognized as Nawab, and both nations agreed to equalize their possessions. When war again broke out in 1756, during Clive's absence in Bengal, the French obtained successes in the northern districts, and it was Mohammed Ali Khan Walajah's efforts which drove them from their settlements. The Treaty of Paris (1763) formally confirmed Mohammed Ali Khan Walajah as Nawab of the Carnatic. It was a result of this action and the increased British influence that in 1765 a firman (decree) came from the Emperor of Delhi, recognizing the British possessions in southern India.
His conduct during the siege made Clive famous in Europe. The Prime Minister William Pitt the Elder described Clive, who had received no formal military training whatsoever, as the "heaven-born general", endorsing the generous appreciation of his early commander, Major Lawrence. 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 who was afterwards well known as Astronomer Royal.
Second journey to India (1755-1760)Further information: Great Britain in the Seven Years War
In July 1755, Clive returned to India to act as deputy governor of Fort St. David, a small settlement south of Madras. He arrived after having lost a considerable fortune en route, as the Doddington, the lead ship of his convoy from England, was wrecked near Port Elizabeth, losing a chest of gold coins belonging to Clive worth £33,000. Nearly 250 years later in 1998, illegally salvaged coins from Clive's treasure chest were offered for sale, and in 2002 a portion of the coins were given to the South African government after protracted legal wrangling.
Clive, now promoted to Lieutenant-Colonel in the King's army took part in the capture of the fortress of Gheriah, a stronghold of the Maratha Admiral Tuloji Angre. The action was led by Admiral James Watson 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 divided among the victorious forces as was custom at the time.
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 grandfather Alivardi Khan as Nawab of Bengal. In June Clive received news that the new Nawab had attacked the English at Kasimbazar and shortly afterwards on 20 June he had taken the fort at Calcutta. The losses to the East India Company because of the fall of Calcutta were estimated by investors at £2,000,000. Those British who were captured were placed in a punishment cell which became infamous as the Black Hole of Calcutta and, in the stifling summer heat, it is alleged 123 of the 146 prisoners died as a result of suffocation or heat stroke. While the Black Hole became infamous in Britain, it is debatable whether the Nawab was aware of the incident.
By Christmas 1756, as no response had been received to diplomatic letters to the Nawab, Admiral Charles Watson 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 540 British infantry, 600 Royal Navy sailors, 800 sepoys, fourteen field guns and no cavalry. The British forces attacked the Nawab's camp on the nearly morning hours of 5 February 1757. In this battle, unofficially called the 'Calcutta Gauntlet', Clive marched his small force through the entire Nawab's camp, despite being under heavy fire from all sides. By noon, Clive's force broke through the besieging camp and arrived safely at Fort William. During the assault, around one tenth of the British attackers became casualties. Clive reported 57 killed and 137 wounded. While technically not a victory in military terms, the sudden British assault intimidated the Nawab so much that he sought to make terms with Clive and surrendered control of Calcutta on 9 February by promising to compensate the East India Company for damages suffered and to restore privileges.
War with Siraj Ud Daulah
As Britain and France were once more at war, Clive sent the fleet up the river against the French colony of Chandernagore, while he besieged it by land. There was a strong incentive to capture the colony, as capture of a previous French settlement near Pondicherry had yielded the combined forces prizes to the value of £140,000. After consenting to the siege, the Nawab unsuccessfully sought to assist the French. Some officials of the Nawab's court formed a confederacy to depose him. Jafar Ali Khan also known as Mir Jafar, the Nawab's commander-in-chief, led the conspirators. With Admiral Watson, Governor Drake and Mr Watts, Clive made a gentlemen's agreement in which it was agreed to give the office of viceroy of Bengal, Bihar and Orissa to Mir Jafar, who was to pay a million sterling to the Company for its losses in Calcutta and the cost of its troops, half a million to the British inhabitants of Calcutta, £200,000 to the native inhabitants, and £70,000 to its Armenian merchants.
Clive employed Umichand, a rich Bengali trader, as an agent between Mir Jafar and the British officials. Umichand threatened to betray Clive unless he was guaranteed, in the agreement itself, £300,000. To dupe him a second fictitious agreement was shown to him with a clause to this effect. Admiral Watson refused to sign it. Clive deposed later 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.
PlasseyMain article: Battle of Plassey
The whole hot season of 1757 was spent in negotiations with the Nawab of Bengal. 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. During the rainy season, the Hooghly is fed by the overflow of the Ganges to the north through three streams, which in the hot months are nearly dry. On the left bank of the Bhagirathi, the most westerly of these, 100 miles above Chandernagore, stands Murshidabad, the capital of the Mughal viceroys of Bengal. Some miles farther down is the field of Plassey, then an extensive grove of mango trees. On 21 June 1757, Clive arrived on the bank opposite Plassey, in the midst of the first outburst of monsoonal rain. 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, as he put it, "whether in our present situation, without assistance, and on our own bottom, it would be prudent to attack the Nawab, or whether we should wait till joined by some country (Indian) power." Clive himself headed the nine who voted for delay; Major Eyre Coote led the seven who counselled immediate attack. But, either because his daring asserted itself, or because of a letter received from Mir Jafar, Clive was the first to change his mind and to communicate with Major Eyre Coote. One tradition, followed by Macaulay, represents him as spending an hour in thought under the shade of some trees, while he resolved the issues of what was to prove one of the decisive battles of the world. Another, turned into verse by Sir Alfred Lyall, pictures his resolution as the result of a dream. However that may be, he did well as a soldier to trust to the dash and even rashness that had gained Arcot and triumphed at Calcutta since retreat, or even delay, might have resulted in defeat. After heavy rain, Clive's 3,200 men and the nine guns crossed the river and took possession of the grove and its tanks of water, while Clive established his head-quarters in a hunting lodge. On 23 June, the engagement took place and lasted the whole day, during which remarkably little actual fighting took place. Gunpowder for the cannons of the Nawab were not well protected from rain. That impaired those cannons. Except the 40 Frenchmen and the guns which they worked, the Indian side could do little to reply to the British cannonade (after a spell of rain) which, with the 39th Regiment, scattered the host, inflicting on it a loss of 500 men. Clive had already made a secret agreement with some aristocrats in Bengal like Jagat Seth, Mir Jafar etc. Clive restrained Major Kilpatrick, for he trusted to Mir Jafar's abstinence, if not desertion to his ranks, and knew the importance of sparing his own small force. 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. That would come only seven years later in 1764 at the Battle of Buxar, where Sir Hector Munro defeated the combined forces of the Mughal Emperor and the Nawab of Oudh in a much more closely fought encounter.
Siraj Ud Daulah fled from the field on a camel, securing what wealth he could. He was soon captured by Mir Jafar's forces, and later executed by the assassin Mohammadi Beg. Clive entered Murshidabad, and established Mir Jafar as Nawab, the price which had been agreed beforehand for his treachery. Clive was 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, and provided gifts of £24,000 to each member of the Company's committee, as well as the public compensation stipulated for in the treaty.
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.
While busy with the civil administration, Clive continued to follow up his military success. He sent Major Coote in pursuit of the French almost as far as Benares. He dispatched Colonel Forde to Vizagapatam and the northern districts of Madras, where that officer won the Battle of Condore, pronounced by Broome "one of the most brilliant actions on military record".
He came into direct contact, for the first time, with the Great Mughal himself, a meeting which would prove beneficial in his later career. Shah Alam, when shahzada, or heir-apparent, quarrelled with his father, the emperor Alamgir II, and he united with the viceroys of Oudh and Allahabad for the conquest of Bengal. He advanced as far as Patna, which he besieged with 40,000 men. Mir Jafar, in terror, sent his son to its relief, and implored the aid of Clive. Major Caillaud defeated the prince's army and dispersed it. 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. "It appeared", wrote a contemporary on the spot, "as if the soul was departing from the Government of Bengal". He had been formally made Governor of Bengal by the Court of Directors at a time when his nominal superiors in Madras sought to recall him to their help there. But he had discerned the importance of the province even during his first visit to its rich delta, mighty rivers and teeming population. Clive selected some able subordinates, notably a young Warren Hastings, who, a year after Plassey, was made Resident at the Nawab's court.
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. Mir Jafar was compelled to extortion on a vast scale in order to replenish his treasury, which had been emptied by the Company's demand for an indemnity of 2.8 crores of rupees (£3 million).
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. He financially supported his parents and sisters, while also providing Major Lawrence, the commanding officer who had early encouraged his military genius, with a stipend of £500 a year. In the five years of his conquests and administration in Bengal, the young man had crowded together a succession of exploits which led Lord Macaulay, in what that historian termed his "flashy" essay on the subject, to compare him to Napoleon Bonaparte, declaring that "[Clive] gave peace, security, prosperity and such liberty as the case allowed of to millions of Indians, who had for centuries been the prey of oppression, while Napoleon's career of conquest was inspired only by personal ambition, and the absolutism he established vanished with his fall." Macaulay's ringing endorsement of Clive seems more controversial today, as some would argue that his[clarification needed] own ambition and desire for personal gain set the tone for the administration of Bengal until the Permanent Settlement 30 years later. 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 himself as well as a few friends returned to the House of Commons.
Clive set himself to reform the home system of the East India Company, and began a bitter dispute with the chairman of the Court of Directors, Mr Sullivan, whom in the end, he defeated. In this he was aided by the news of reverses in Bengal. Mir Jafar had finally rebelled over payments to English officials, and Clive's successor had put Kasim Ali Khan, Mir Jafar's son-in-law upon the musnud (throne). After a brief tenure, Kasim Ali had fled, ordering Walter Reinhardt Sombre (known to the Muslims as Sumru), a Swiss mercenary of his, to butcher the garrison of 150 English at Patna, and had disappeared under the protection of his brother, the Viceroy of Oudh. 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 Indians were pauperised, and the Company was plundered of the revenues which Clive had acquired for them. For this Clive himself must bear much responsibility, as he had set a very poor example during his tenure as Governor. Nevertheless, the Court of Proprietors, forced the Directors to hurry Lord Clive to Bengal with the double powers of Governor and Commander-in-Chief.
Third journey to India
On 3 May 1765 Clive landed at Calcutta to learn that Mir Jafar had died, leaving him personally £70,000. Mir Jafar was succeeded by his son Kasim Ali, though not before the government had been further demoralized by taking £100,000 as a gift from the new Nawab; while Kasim Ali had induced not only the viceroy of Oudh, but the emperor of Delhi himself, to invade Bihar. At this point a mutiny in the Bengal army occurred, which was a grim precursor of the Indian rebellion of 1857, but on this occasion it was quickly suppressed by blowing the sepoy ringleader from a gun. Major Munro, "the Napier of those times", scattered the united armies on the hard-fought field of Buxar. 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. He might have secured what is now called Uttar Pradesh, and have rendered unnecessary the campaigns of Wellesley and Lake. 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 Kora, which he presented to the weak emperor.
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, effectively granting title of Bengal to Clive. It appears in the records as "firmaund from the King Shah Aalum, granting the dewany of Bengal, Behar and Orissa to the Company 1765." 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 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. Clive had this in mind when he penned his last advice to the directors, as he finally left India in 1767:
"We are sensible that, since the acquisition of the dewany, the power formerly belonging to the soubah of those provinces is totally, in fact, vested in the East India Company. Nothing remains to him but the name and shadow of authority. This name, however, this shadow, it is indispensably necessary we should seem to venerate."
Attempts at administrative reform
Having thus founded the Empire of British India, Clive sought to 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 widespread until the days of Warren Hastings. Clive's military reforms were more effective. He put down a mutiny of the English officers, who chose to resent the veto against receiving presents and the reduction of batta (extra pay) at a time when two Maratha armies were marching on Bengal. His reorganization of the army, on the lines of that which he had begun after Plassey, neglected during his absence in England, subsequently attracted the admiration of Indian officers. He divided the whole army into three brigades, making each a complete force, in itself equal to any single Indian army that could be brought against it. He had not enough British artillerymen, however, and would not make the mistake of his successors, who trained Indians to work the guns, which were later turned against the British.
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.
In 1772 Parliament opened an inquiry into the Company's practices in India. Clive's political opponents turned these hearings into attacks on Clive. Questioned about some of the large sums of money he had received while in India, Clive pointed out that they were not contrary to accepted company practice, and defended his behavior by stating "I stand astonished at my own moderation" given opportunities for greater gain. The hearings highlighted the need for reform of the Company, and a vote to censure Clive for his actions failed. Later in 1772 Clive was invested in the Order of the Bath, and was appointed Lord Lieutenant of Shropshire.
Clive continued to be involved in ongoing Parliamentary discussions on company reforms, during which General John Burgoyne, one of Clive's most vocal enemies, pressed the case in 1773 that some of Clive's gains were made at the expense of the Company and the government. Clive again made a spirited defense of his actions, and closed his testimony by stating "Take my fortune, but save my honour." The vote that followed completely exonerated Clive, who was commended for the "great and meritorious service" he rendered to the country. Immediately thereafter Parliament began debating the Regulating Act of 1773, which significantly reformed the East India Company's practices.
On 22 November 1774 Clive committed suicide at his Berkeley Square home in London by stabbing himself with a penknife. 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 (he was known to suffer from gallstones) which he had been attempting to abate with opium. He had recently been offered command of British forces in North America which he had turned down.
Clive was awarded an Irish peerage and was created Baron Clive of Plassey co Clare; he bought lands in County Limerick and County Clare, Ireland, naming part of his lands near Limerick City, Plassey. Following Irish independence, these lands became state property. In the 1970s a technical college, which later became University of Limerick, was built at Plassey.
Robert Clive married Margaret Maskelyne (d. 28 December 1817) on 18 February 1753, sister of the Rev. Dr Nevil Maskelyne, fifth Astronomer Royal, in Madras. They had six children:
- Edward Clive, 1st Earl of Powis (b. 7 March 1754–16 May 1839)
- Rebecca Clive (bapt 10 October 1760 Moreton Say, married Lt-Gen John Robinson, MP (d. 1798) in 1780 and died December 1795).
- Margaret Clive (bapt 18 September 1763, d. June 1814)
- Elizabeth Clive (bapt 18 November 1764)
- Charlotte Clive
- Robert Clive (14 August 1769–28 July 1833), Lt-Col.
- Robert Clive's desk from his time at Market Drayton Grammar School is on display at Market Drayton museum complete with his carved initials.
- Robert Clive's pet Aldabra Giant Tortoise died on Thursday, 23 March 2006 in the Kolkata zoo. The tortoise, whose name was "Adwaita" (meaning the "The One and Only" in Bengali), appeared to be 150–250 years old. Adwaita had been in the zoo since the 1870s and the zoo's documentation showed that he came from Clive's estate in India
- A statue of Clive stands in the main Square in the market town of Shrewsbury.
- Clive is a Senior Girls house at the Duke of York's Royal Military School, where, as at Welbeck college, all houses are named after prominent military figures.
- Clive Road, in West Dulwich, London commemorates Baron Clive despite being so named close to a century after his death. Following the completion of the relocation of The Crystal Palace from Hyde Park to what is now Upper Norwood in 1854, the West End of London and Crystal Palace Railway was opened on 10 June 1854 to cope with crowds visiting the Crystal Palace. This led to a huge increase in employment in the area and a subsequent increase in the building of residential properties. Many of the new roads were named after eminent figures in Britain's imperial history, such as Robert Clive.
- There is a settlement named after Clive in the Hawke's Bay province of New Zealand.
- The movie Clive of India was released in 1935, and starred Ronald Colman, Loretta Young, and Colin Clive, his descendant.
- 'Clive' is a house at Merchant Taylors' School, Northwood where he was a student for seven years before his expulsion. Members can be distinguished by their red striped ties.
- ^ Chris Roberts, Heavy Words Lightly Thrown: The Reason Behind Rhyme, Thorndike Press,2006 (ISBN 0-7862-8517-6)
- ^ Arbuthnot, Alexander John; Clive, Robert (1899). Lord Clive. Longman's, Green & Co. pp. 295.
- ^ Treasure, Geoffrey (2002). Who's Who in Early Hanoverian Britain, 1714-1789. Stackpole Books. pp. 196. ISBN 0811716430.
- ^ Pitt on Clive's Eloquence
- ^ a b DNB, Robert Clive, p. 110
- ^ Keay, John, The Honourable Company—A History of the English East India Company, HarperCollins, London, 1991, ISBN 0-00-217515-0 (page 289).
- ^ Thomas Babington Macaulay, "Lord Clive," Essays (London), 1891, pp.511–13 (First published in the Edinburgh Review, Jan. 1840).
- ^ Burhan ibn Hasan, Tuzak-i-Walajahi Part I (Madras), 1934, p.xii.
- ^ "Sailing Ship "Dodington" (history)". Dodington Family. http://www.dodingtonfamily.org/shipdodingtonnotes.htm. Retrieved 10 July 2008.
- ^ Russell, Alec (9 October 1997). "South Africa seeks its share of Clive's treasure trove". The Telegraph. http://www.telegraph.co.uk/htmlContent.jhtml?html=/archive/1997/10/09/wsaf09.html. Retrieved 23 November 2008. [dead link]
- ^ Keay, John, The Honourable Company—A History of the English East India Company, HarperCollins, London, 1991, ISBN 0-00-217515-0 (page 269).
- ^ H.E. Busteed, Echoes from Old Calcutta (Calcutta), 1908, pp.30–56.
- ^ Calcutta Conquest
- ^ a b P.J. Marshall, Bengal: The British Bridgehead (Cambridge), 1988, pp.78–83,144.
- ^ a b "Clive of India's tortoise dies". BBC News. 23 March 2006. http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/world/south_asia/4837988.stm. Retrieved 10 July 2008.
- ^ Harvey p.160
- ^ a b Oxford Dictionary of National Biography
- ^ Darby, W., (1967), Dulwich: A Place in History, p.20, (William Darby: Dulwich)
- ^ "Colin Clive, Actor Dies in Hollywood. Star of Screen and Stage, 37, Scored First Hit as Stanhope in 'Journey's End'. Made Debut Here in 1930. Appeared in 'Clive of India,' a Picture Based on Life of His Ancestor Descendant of Empire Builder Played Frankenstein Role.". New York Times. June 26, 1937.
This article incorporates text from a publication now in the public domain: Chisholm, Hugh, ed (1911). Encyclopædia Britannica (11th ed.). Cambridge University Press.
- Burhan Ibn Hasan Tuzak-I-Walajahi (University of Madras) 1934
- H.E.Busteed Echoes from Old Calcutta (Calcutta) 1908
- Harrington, Jack (2010), Sir John Malcolm and the Creation of British India, ch. 6, New York: Palgrave Macmillan., ISBN 978-0-230-10885-1
- Harvey, Robert A Few Bloody Noses: The American Revolutionary War. Constable & Robinson, 2004.
- Harvey, Robert. Clive: The life and Death of a British Emperor. Hodder and Stoughton, 1998.
- A. Mervyn Davies Clive of Plassey (London) 1939
- Michael Edwardes The Battle of Plassey and the Conquest of Bengal (London) 1963
- Mark Bence-Jones Clive of India (London) 1974
- Thomas Babington Macaulay "Lord Clive" Essays (London: Longman's, Green & Co.) 1891 pp502–547.
- P.J. Marshall Bengal, The British Bridgehead: Eastern India 1740–1828 (Cambridge) 1988
"Clive, Robert". Dictionary of National Biography. London: Smith, Elder & Co. 1885–1900. http://books.google.com/books?id=h8UcAQAAIAAJ&pg=PA108#v=onepage&f=false.
- Archival material relating to Robert Clive, 1st Baron Clive listed at the UK National Register of Archives
- "Lord Clive," an essay by Thomas Babington Macaulay (January 1840)
Military offices Preceded by
Honorary titles Preceded by
The Earl of Powis
Lord Lieutenant of Shropshire
The Lord Clive
Lord Lieutenant of Montgomeryshire
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Peerage of Ireland Preceded by
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