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A Popular History of France from the Earliest Time

But Dupleix constrained him to remain there


Godeheu, one of the directors

of the Company, and but lately his friend and correspondent. "I come to supersede you, sir," said the new arrival, without any circumstance; "I have full powers from the Company to treat with the English." The cabinet of London had not been deceived as to the importance of Dupleix in India; his recall had been made the absolute condition of a cessation of hostilities. Louis XV. and his ministers had shown no opposition; the treaty was soon concluded, restoring the possessions of the two Companies within the limits they had occupied before the war of the Carnatic, with the exception of the district of Masulipatam, which became accessible to the English. All the territories ceded by the Hindoo princes to Dupleix reverted to their former masters; the two Companies interdicted one another from taking any part in the interior policy of India, and at the same time forbade their agents to accept from the Hindoo princes any charge, honor, or dignity; the most perfect equality was re-established between the possessions and revenues of the two great European nations, rivals in the East as well as in Europe; England gave up some petty forts, some towns of no importance, France ceded the empire of India. When Godeheu signed the treaty, Trichinopoli was at last on the point of giving in. Bussy was furious, and would have quitted the Deccan, which he still occupied, but Dupleix constrained him to remain there; he himself embarked for France with his wife and daughter, leaving in India,
together with his life's work destroyed in a few days by the poltroonery of his country's government, the fortune he had acquired during his great enterprises, entirely sunk as it was in the service of France; the revenues destined to cover his advances were seized by Godeheu.

France seemed to comprehend what her ministers had not even an idea of; Dupleix's arrival in France was a veritable triumph. It was by this time known that the reverses which had caused so much talk had been half repaired. It was by this time guessed how infinite were the resources of that empire of India, so lightly and mean-spiritedly abandoned to the English. "My wife and I dare not appear in the streets of Lorient," wrote Dupleix, "because of the crowd of people wanting to see us and bless us;" the comptroller-general, Herault de Sechelles, as well as the king and Madame de Pompadour, then and for a long while the reigning favorite, gave so favorable a reception to the hero of India that Dupleix, always an optimist, conceived fresh hopes. "I shall regain my property here," he would say, "and India will recover in the hands of Bussy."

He was mistaken about the justice as he had been about the discernment and the boldness of the French government; not a promise was accomplished; not a hope was realized; after delay upon delay, excuse upon excuse, Dupleix saw his wife expire at the end of two years, worn out with suffering and driven to despair; like her, his daughter, affianced for a long time past to Bussy, succumbed beneath the weight of sorrow; in vain did Dupleix tire out the ministers with his views and his projects for India; he saw even the action he was about to bring against the Company vetoed by order of the king. Persecuted by his creditors, overwhelmed with regret for the relatives and friends whom he had involvedin his enterprises and in his ruin, he exclaimed a few months before his death, "I have sacrificed youth, fortune, life, in order to load with honor and riches those of my own nation in Asia. Unhappy friends, too weakly credulous relatives, virtuous citizens, have dedicated their property to promoting the success of my projects; they are now in want. . . . I demand, like the humblest of creditors, that which is my due; my services are all stuff, my demand is ridiculous, I am treated like the vilest of men. The little I have left is seized, I have been obliged to get execution stayed to prevent my being dragged to prison!" Dupleix died at last on the 11th of November, 1763, the most striking, without being the last or the most tragical, victim of the great French enterprises in India.


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