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A Popular History of France from the Earliest Time

Was preparing to rejoin Dupleix


of Pondicherry's dream. The

war still continued in the Carnatic: Mahomet Ali, Tchunda Sahib's rival, had for the last six months been besieged in Trichinopoli; the English had several times, but in vain, attempted to effect the raising of the siege; Clive, who had recently entered the Company's army, was for saving the last refuge of Mahomet Ali by a bold diversion against Arcot, the capital of the Carnatic. To him was given the command of the expedition he had suggested. In the month of September, 1751, he made himself master of Arcot by a surprise. The Hindoo populations, left to themselves, passed almost without resistance from one master to another. The Europeans did not signalize by the infliction of punishment the act of taking possession. Clive was before long attacked in Arcot by Tchunda Sahib, who was supported by a French detachment. He was not in a position to hold the town; so he took refuge in the fort, and there, for fifty days, withstood all the efforts of his enemies. Provisions fell short; every day the rations were becoming more insufficient; but Clive had managed to implant in his soldiers' hearts the heroic resolution which animated him. "Give the rice to the English," said the sepoys; "we will be content with the water in which it is boiled." A body of Mahrattas, allies of the English, came to raise the siege. Clive pursued the French on their retreat, twice defeated Tchunda Sahib, and, at last effecting a junction with the Governor-General Lawrence, broke the investment of
Trichinopoli, and released Mahomet Ali. Tchunda Sahib, in his turn shut up in Tcheringham, was delivered over to his rival by a Tanjore chieftain in whom he trusted; he was put to death; and the French commandant, a nephew of Law's, surrendered to the English. Two French corps had already been destroyed by Clive, who held the third army prisoners. Bussy was carrying on war in the Deccan, with great difficulty making head against overt hostilities and secret intrigues. The report of Dupleix's reverses arrived in France in the month of September, 1752.

[Illustration: Death of the Nabob of the Carnatic----174]

The dismay at Versailles was great, and prevailed over the astonishment. There had never been any confidence in Dupleix's projects, there had been scarcely any belief in his conquests. The soft-hearted inertness of ministers and courtiers was almost as much disgusted at the successes as at the defeats of the bold adventurers who were attempting and risking all for the aggrandizement and puissance of France in the East. Dupleix secretly received notice to demand his recall. He replied by proposing to have M. de Bussy nominated in his place. "Never was so grand a fellow as this Bussy," he wrote. The ministers and the Company cared little for the grandeur of Bussy or of Dupleix; what they sought was a dastardly security, incessantly troubled by the enterprises of the politician and the soldier. The tone of England was more haughty than ever, in consequence of Clive's successes. The recall of Dupleix was determined upon.

The Governor of Pondicherry had received no troops, but he had managed to reorganize an army, and had resumed the offensive in the Carnatic; Bussy, set free at last as to his movements in the Deccan, was preparing to rejoin Dupleix. Clive was ill, and had just set out for England: fortune had once more changed front. The open conferences held with Saunders, English Governor of Madras, failed in the month of January, 1754; Dupleix wished to preserve the advantages he had won; Saunders refused to listen to that. The approach of a French squadron was signalled; the ships appeared to be numerous. Dupleix was already rejoicing at the arrival of unexpected aid, when, instead of an officer commanding the twelve hundred soldiers from France, he saw the apparition of M.


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