MARKET DRAYTON: Geographical and Historical information from the year 1824.
"MARKET DRAYTON (or DRAYTON MAGNA, or DRAYTON in HALES, or DRAYTON), a parish and market town in the Drayton division of the hundred of Bradford North. 18 miles north-east of Shrewsbury, and 154 north-west of London. LAT. 2. 58 N. LONG. 2. 35 W. It is a vicarage in charge, in the diocese of Coventry and Lichfield, the deanery of Newport, and archdeaconry of Salop. 747 houses, 3,700 inhabitants.
Market Drayton is situated in the north-eastern extremity of the county on the borders of Staffordshire. It is a neat little town, and is watered by the river Tern. Though no coins, pavements, or other monuments of antiquity have been discovered either in or near it, it is nevertheless strongly conjectured that this town was one of the Roman stations. Its parish church, dedicated to St. Mary, and built in the reign of King Stephen was thoroughly repaired in 1787 after having been stripped of its Gothick honours. The steeple is, to all appearance, of later date than the body of the church, as the former needed no repair, when the latter was in ruins.
Previously to the introduction of canals, Market Drayton had one of the greatest markets in the district. The wharf at Stone, in Staffordshire, drew much of its trade. There is a manor Factory of paper, and another of hair, for chair bottoms, &c.
Near this town, during the heat of the desolating wars between the houses of York and Lancaster, a battle was fought, which proved very disastrous to the gentry of Cheshire for though the victory was not decisive on either side, the contest continued so long, and with so much animosity, that great numbers of both parties were slain.
The Duke of York had long opposed the measures of the reigning monarch, Henry the sixth, and was strongly suspected of having designs upon the throne. The King at length calling a council, desired that some measures might be taken towards a perfect reconciliation of all parties; promising, upon his salvation, (an oath not usual with him) so to receive the Duke of York and his friends, that all discontent should be removed. Messages were accordingly despatched to the Duke, and all others of his party; commanding them, upon urgent affairs of the realm, and upon his royal promise of safe conduct, to repair to his court at London, at a day appointed. The Duke of York, in consequence of this summons, came with 400 men well equipped, and lodged at his house, called Baynard's Castle; the Earl of Salisbury, with 600 men, lodged at his house, called the Harbour. The Duke of Exeter, and the Doke of Somerset, with 800 men, were lodged within Temple Bar; the Earl of Northumberland, Lord Egremont, and Lord Clifford, with 1,500 men, were lodged in Holborn; and the Earl of Warwick, with 600 men, were lodged at the Grey Friars, in London.
On the 17th of March, the King and the Queen came to London and were lodged at the Bishop's Palace. The Mayor with five hundred well appointed men, rode all day long round the city, for the purpose of preserving the King's peace. The lords lodging within the city, held their council at Black Friars, the others' at the Chapter-house in Westminster. The Archbishop of Canterbury, and others of the most able prelates, interceded so effectually between both these parties, that it was at length agreed that all grievances should be forgotten and forgiven, and that all should be obedient to the King. Besides this general agreement, there were some particular articles to be performed by the Duke of York, and the Earls of Salisbury and Warwick, which were afterwards ratified under the great seal of England, on the 24th of March, in the 36th year of King Henry's reign. A solemn procession was made to St. Paul's, at which the King was present with his crown on his head; before him, arm in arm, went the Duke of Somerset, and the Earl of Salisbury, the Duke of Exeter, and the Earl of Warwick, and so on, one of the one, and one of the other party, till they were all marshalled. Behind the King, came the Queen, led by the Duke of York. After divine service, they returned to the court, with all the appearances of sincere reconciliation, but soon after a quarrel occured between a servant of the Earl of Warwick, and a courtier, who, in the course of the encounter was dangerously wounded. The Earl's domestick fled, and the King's servants seeing that their companion was hurt, and that the offender had escaped, watched the Earl as he was coming from the council-table and attacked him. Many of his attendants were wounded, but the Earl procuring a wherry, escaped to London. The Queen immediately commanded the Earl to be committed to the Tower, but he, foreseeing the danger, departed for Yorkshire, and acquainted the Duke of York, and his father, the Earl of Salisbury, of the late occurrences, advising them to provide against the approaching storm. He himself hastened to Calais, and in his quality of Lord Admiral, taking with him all the King's ships that were in readiness, scoured the seas, and meeting with five large Carricks, three of Genoa, and two of Spain, after a battle which lasted two days, succeeded in capturing them, and returned to Calais, after having unloaded their freight, he found his prize worth ten thousand pounds, in staple commodities, besides the ships and prisoners.
In the mean time, the Earl of Salisbury with about 5,000 men, marched through Lancashire in his way to the King, intending to inform his Majesty of the affront which bad been offered to his son, and the inveterate malice which the queen discovered against him, The Queen, with the Dukes of Buckingham, and Somerset, bearing of his coming, gave orders to Lord Audley to use means to apprehend him, His Lordship immediately levied ten thousand men in Cheshire, and in a plain called Bloor-heath, about two miles from Drayton, waited to give battle to the Earl; there being but a small brook of no great depth between them [the River Tern].
Early in the morning the Earl made a seeming retreat, which Lord Talbot perceiving, immediately ordered his troops to pass the river; but before they could be reduced to order, the Earl with his full force, fell upon them, slew about 2,400 men, among whom were Lord Audley, and most of those who had passed the river, and dispersed the rest: Sir John and Sir Thomas Nevin, the Earl of Salisbury's sons were severely wounded, and being taken prisoners, were sent with Sir Thomas Harrington, who was travelling into the north, towards Chester,
Drayton has fairs on the Wednesday before Palm Sunday, Wednesday before June 22, September 19, October 24. Market on Wednesday. See appendix. The celebrated Lord Clive, the founder of the present noble family of Powis, was born at Styche, near Drayton. He was the son of Richard Clive, Esq., and nearly related to Sir Edward Clive, one of the judges of the court of common pleas; and received his education first at the free school at Drayton; and afterwards at Dr. Stirling's school, at Hempsted, in Hertfordshire. During the years devoted to education, he exhibited no taste for literature, but was characterised by a daring and adventurous spirit, almost incapable of restraint, and destitute of fear. His ruling passion began early to display itself by his learning the manual exercise of a serjeant who was recruiting in the town. On his quitting school, he was sent as a writer in the East India Company's service, to Madras, whither he arrived in the year 1744. In 1746, Madras surrendered to the French, and all the company's servants were made prisoners. The French commander in chief refusing to ratify the terms of the capitulation, the British considered themselves justified in breaking their parole; and among others, Mr. Clive, disguised as a Moor, made his escape. Being much more attached to the camp than to the counting house, and war being at that time more cultivated in India than commerce, it was not long before this young merchant had a favourable opportunity of exchanging his pen for a pair of colours. At the siege of Pondicherry, by Admiral Boscawen, in 1748, Mr. Clive, being then an ensign in the company's troops, first distinguished himself, and on the first of September, when the French were repulsed in a sally with a considerable loss, Captain Brown, who defended the second trench, being mortally wounded, his post was afterwards gallantly sustained by Ensign Clive. In 1749, Admiral Boscawen assisted the company in obtaining a settlement from the King of Tanjore, at Devi Cottah, and that fort being attacked by a strong body of troops under the command of Major Lawrence, was carried by storm. In this affair, Mr. Clive solicited the command of the forlorn hope, though out of his turn. This request was granted, and in the head of about 30 British troops and 700 sepoys, he advanced to storm the breach. The sepoys instantly fled, but Lieutenant Clive, with his handful of men, pushed on, and had scarcely arrived at the breach, when the enemy rushed upon them with so much fury that three only, with their commander, escaped instant destruction. The whole column of European troops then advanced to the attack; Lieutenant Clive being still in the first division; and the fort was reduced. The character given of our hero, by that excellent officer Major Lawrence, from whom Mr. Clive always acknowledged that he learnt the art of war, well deserves to be inserted here, 'Mr. Clive is a man of undaunted resolution, of a cool temper, and a presence of mind that never leaves him even in the greatest danger. Born a soldier; for without a military education of any sort, or much conversing with any of the profession, from his judgment and good sense, he led an army like an experienced officer and a good soldier, with a prudence that warranted success. This young man's early genius (continues the Major) surprized and engaged my attention as well before, as at the siege of Devi Cottah, where he behaved with courage and judgment, much beyond what could have been expected from his years; and his success afterwards confirmed what I had said to many people concerning him.'
The reduction of Devi Cottah was followed by immediate peace, and Mr. Clive reassumed, for a time, his mercantile capacity.
In 1750, the French having the year before taken the city of Arcot, and invaded the kingdom of Tanjore, as auxiliaries to Chunda Saib, the usurping nabob of Arcot, the English under Major Lawrence took the field, in support of Mahomed Allee Cawn, the rightful sovereign, and at Vilanure joined the viceroy Nazirzing, whose army consisted of 300,000 fighting men, 800 pieces of cannon, and 1,300 elephants. On the 24th of March the armies engaged, and victory declared for the viceroy and the English; the French retreating to Pondicherry, with the loss of 11 cannon, In this expedition Mr. Clive acted as commissary of the army.
In 1751, Mahomed Allee Cawn, being joined by the English, was defeated by Chunda Saib, near Volcanda; a panick having seized the English battalion, from which their officers (particularly Captain Dalton and Lieutenant Clive) endeavoured in vain to recover them. In July, Chunda Saib, having driven his competitor entirely out of the Carnatic, Lieutenant Clive was sent from St. David's with a detachment and a convoy of stores, to relieve Verdachellum, the only fort that acknowledged the nabob, and which was then invested by a neighbouring Polygar, or Lord. His troops the lieutenant easily defeated, and entered Verdachellum without any loss.
But as he was returning to Fort St. David's, attended by 12 sepoys and some servants, he was surrounded by the Polygar's troops, who killed seven of the sepoys; and Mr. Clive saved himself by the swiftness of his horse, from a party of Cavalry that pursued him several miles.
The French being still superior to the English before Trichinopoly, where they in a manner invested Mahomed Allee Cawn, the presidency sent thither another reinforcement of 100 Europeans, and 50 sepoys, under Mr. Clive; who had now obtained the commission of captain. The French endeavoured in vain to intercept him, being defeated in a skirmish; but still, though the English battalion was augmented to 600, the French had 900, and Chunda Saib's troops were ten times the number of the Nabob's, whose treasures also were exhausted, and his revenues daily cut off, or exacted by the enemy.
Captain Clive, at his return to St. David's, proposed to attack Arcot, as the only means to draw off Chunda Saib from Trichinopoly. He offered to lead the expedition, and it was immediately undertaken. Major Lawrence says, 'This expedition was attended with uncommon success, which some people were pleased to term fortunate and lucky; but in my opinion, from the knowledge I had of the gentleman, he deserved, and might expect from his conduct, every thing as it fell out.'
The Captain marched from Madras on the 26th of August, at the head of 210 Europeans, and 500 sepoys, with only eight officers; six of whom had never seen service before; and yet with this small force, and three field pieces, he undertook and effected the conquest of a large province; a conquest which in many respects may be compared to that of Valencia, in Spain, by the great Earl of Peterborough.
On the 31st they halted within ten miles of Arcot, the capital of the province, 60 miles from the coast. The garrison of 1,200 men immediately abandoned the fort, and next day the English took possession of that and the city, in the sight of 100,000 of the inhabitants, who gazed on them with respect and admiration. In the fort were eight pieces of cannon, and effects to the value of £50,000 belonging to the country merchants, to whom they were punctually restored; and near 4,000 persons who inhabited the fort, were permitted to remain in their habitations unmolested. This judicious generosity conciliated the principal inhabitants to the English, and afterwards contributed to save the place, by the intelligence that was given to the Captain by the country people.
On Sep. 4th, Captain Clive marched out in pursuit of the fugitive garrison, who, on his approach, retreated to some hills in their rear. On the 6th, he marched out again, and in a smart skirmish, defeated the enemy, who now amounted to 2,000; and on the 14th, the Captain surprized them in their camp, and totally routed them, without losing a man.
The French, and Chunda Saib, being determined, if possible, to regain this important place, sent thither, on the 23rd of September, 8,000 men, horse and foot, commanded by Rajah Saib Chunda Saib's son; but they were followed by a detachment under Captain Killpatrick, sent to support Mr. Clive. Being now on the point of being closely besieged in a large and ruinous fort, the Captain, on the 24th, made a vigorous sally, in which he drove the French from their guns, which, however, he could not carry off. In this sally, a sepoy, from a window, levelling his piece at Captain Clive, was perceived by Lieutenant Trenwith, who pulled the Captain aside; upon which the sepoy changed his aim, and shot the Lieutenant dead. The French artillery being arrived from Pondicherry, a practicable breach was made of fifty feet. Lieutenant Innis, who was sent with a reinforcement, was surrounded and defeated. However, 6,000 Morattoes, who were encamped within 30 miles, offered the garrison their assistance. Upon this, Rajah Saib, having made, another breach to the south west, was determined to storm the fort; but in all his attacks he was bravely repulsed. One of the gates being attempted to be forced open by elephants, with large pieces of iron fixed to their forehead, these animals turned from the musketry, and trampled on those who conducted them. The storm to the north-west was carried on with a mad kind of intrepidity, heightened by the inebriation of eating bang, a plant which occasions stupefaction or the most desperate rage. But in this the Moors were thrice repulsed, by the small arms and cannon: At the south-west breach they were equally unsuccessful; having embarked 70 men on a raft, to cross the ditch, which raft was destroyed by a field piece, fired by Captain Clive himself; and all the men were drowned. After this, the enemy retreated and disappeared, having had about four hundred killed and wounded. The garrison then consisted of only 80 Europeans, and 126 sepoys, officers included.
On the 19th, Captain Clive (having been reinforced by Captain Killpatrick's detachment, and 600 Morattoes) took the field; and on the 3rd of December, engaged Rajah Saib and the French in the plains of Araxi, 20 miles south of Arcot; and after an engagement of five hours, totally defeated them, taking the military chest, &c. Conjeveram being repossessed, and its pagoda garrisoned by the French, Captain Clive, on the 14th, summoned it to surrender, and in three days took it, after making a breach. In this attack, Lieuteuant Bulkeley was shot through the head, close by Captain Clive's side. After destroying the defences of Conjeveram, and sending part of his army to Arcot, the Captain returned with the remainder to Madras, from whence he proceeded to Fort St. David's, and arrived there before the year was expired.
In the mean time the French were carrying on their approaches against Trichinopoly, having been supplied with battering cannon from Carical; but their batteries were too distant to make any impression upon the walls, or among the English and their sepoys; who encamped close to the west, as did the Nabob's cavalry to the south of the town. It is remarkable that all the cannon balls which the besieged fired, had the English mark, being the same which were as ineffectually thrown away by our ships against Pondicherry, as they were now by our enemies against Trichinopoly.
In January, 1752, Rajah Saib, with a considerable force, marched within nine miles of Madras and plundered the English gentlemen's country seats, at St. Thomas's mount. After these hostilities, the Moors returned to Conjeveram, garrisoned its pagoda, and threatened to attack the fort of Ponomalee. Captain Clive took the field the 2nd of February, with 380 Europeans, 1,300 sepoys, and six field pieces. The enemy had 400 Europeans, 2,500 horse, and 2,000 sepoys, with a large train of artillery; yet on the English advancing to storm their fortified camp, they suddenly quitted it, and marched towards Arcot, on the first of March, at sun set. Here, notwithstanding their advantageous situation, they were attacked by the English in front and rear, and before morning driven from their guns, with the loss of 50 Europeans, 300 sepoys, 60 prisoners, 8 pieces of canuon, &c. Of the English 40 Europeans, and 30 sepoys were killed.
Correpaule surrendered immediately; but soon after Captain Clive had orders to repair, with all his troops, to Fort St. David, the presidency having determined to send them to Trichinopoly. In his way thither, he came to the spot where the viceroy Nazirzing had been defeated, in 1750, by the French, and in memory of which, M. Dupleix had here planned a new town, with a monumental pillar, &c., both which Captain Clive demolished. The enemy were now dispersed, their horse disbanded, and the French were recalled to Pondicherry. Thus the Captain, by his valour and conduct, recovered to Mahomed Allee Cawn an extent of country 60 miles long and 80 broad, the annual revenues of which were £160,000 sterling.
The troops took the field again on the 18th of March, and Major Lawrence, who was just returned from England, resumed the command. Captain Gingin commanded at Trichinopoly: the Major and Captain Clive, in their march to join him were attacked on the 28th, by the French and Chunda Saib's troops, but the former retreated in half an hour, and the General of the latter being killed, they also fled. Major Lawrence arrived that night at Trichinopoly, and took the command of the whole united army consisting of 1,200 Europeans, and Topasses, [a tawny race of foot Soldiers, descended from Portuguese, marrying natives] and 1,200 sepoys; with the Nabob's troops and those of his allies. The enemy avoided an attack by retreating; upon which Captain Clive was sent with a detachment to cut off their supplies, and on the 7th of April he stormed a mud fort, where they had a large magazine of grain. After this the Captain took possession of a village, and two pagodas, near which the enemy's convoys must pass. On M. d'Auteul's marching with a reinforcement from Pondicherry, Captain Clive marched on the 14th to intercept him. In the meantime M. Law sent a detachment to surprise the pagodas; but the Captain had regained his camp that very night; M. d'Auteul having retreated. About four iu the morning, on the lesser pagoda being attacked, the French, by the means of some deserters, having been mistaken by the advanced guard for a reinforcement, Captain Clive starting out of his sleep, joined the French Sepoys, who were then firing at random, and thinking them his own troops began in the country language, to reprimand them. On this, one of the officers, suspecting him to be an Englishman, cut at him with his sword; but by advancing forward, the Captain parried the blow, receiving it near the hilt; and one of his own officers coining up, killed the French Sepoy, and disengaged him. He then joined his own troops, and attacked the pagoda, which was then occupied by the French, and the deserters. They fought desperately, killing several of the assailants. At length, the French commander being slain, Captain Clive advanced to parley with them, leaning on two serjeants, as he was faint with loss of blood. Their leader, an Irishman, instantly fired at him, and though the ball missed the Captain it killed one of the serjeants. This the French disavowed, and immediately afterwards surrendered at discretion. On the 15th of May, Captain Clive attacked, and the next day took Pitchanda, making the garrison prisoners of war. On the 27th, the Captain was sent with a detachment to attack the French near Volcanda, and the governor of that fort refusing them protection, M. d'Auteul's whole party, consisting of 100 Europeans, 400 sepoys, and 300 of horse, surrendered themselves prisoners of war. The booty here made, amounted to £10,000 sterling. Chunda Saib, being thus deprived of his allies, surrendered himself to Monachjee, the Tanjarine general, who, in violation of the most sacred oaths, without consulting the nahob, or Major Lawrence, ordered him to be beheaded on the third of June. The head was sent to the nabob, and then being tied to the neck of a camel, was carried five times round the walls of Trichinopoly, attended by 100,000 spectators. [M. Dopleix in his " Memoirs," falsely asserts that Major Lawrence himself ordered the death of Chanda Saib, though that calumny had been clearly confuted before.]
The same day M. Law, with the rest of the French, who had been some tine besieged in the pagoda of Seringham, surrendered themselves also prisoners of war, amounting in the whole to 820 French, and 2,000 sepoys; and than Mahomed Allee Cawn was reinstated by Major Lawrence, and Captain Clive, in the nabobship of the Carnatic. In this war, the English had not 50 men killed.
The French, however, still retained Ginjee, and some other places to the northward. Here, therefore, the war still continued, and on the 26th of July, the English under Major Kineer in an attack on the French, were repulsed. After this, the French advancing near to Fort St. David were totally defeated on the 26th of August, by Major Lawrence. In September and October, Chinglapel, [forty five miles south-west of Madras] and Cobelong, [twenty wiles south of Madras, within musket shot of the sea] two strong forts were, at the nabob's request, besieged and taken by Captain Clive; and at the close of the year, he embarked for England, universally acknowledged as the man who, by his example, first roused his countrymen from their lethargy, and by his prudence, courage, and activity, had principally contributed to raise their reputation. In October, 1758, he arrived in England, where, in reward of his services, he was presented by the directors with a rich sword, set with diamonds; an incitement to future services, and a prelude to greater rewards!
In 1756, Captain Clive being appointed governor of Fort St. David's, with the rank of lieutenant colonel in the king's troops, returned to India; and an intended expedition against the viceroy Salabatzing being rendered abortive by the loss of the Doddington Indiaman, in which the company had sent their plan, another expedition was undertaken in 1756, against the pirate Angria.
Geria, the capital of that potentate's dominions, hitherto deemed impregnable, was attacked and taken, on the 18th of February, and his treasure and effects, amounting to £125,000, were divided amongst the captors. The admiral and the colonel, at their return to Madras, received information of the loss of Calcutta, and of the barbarity of Surajah Dowlah. The monster having taken that city, the English prisoners to the amount of 146, of whom a Mr. Holwell was one, were by his order confined in the black hole prison. It was about eight o'clock in the evening, when these unhappy men, worn out by fatigue and continual action, were thrust, on a close sultry night, into a dungeon, only about eighteen feet square; shut up to the east and south, the only quarters from whence air could reach them, by dead walls, and by a wall and a door to the north; open only by two windows, strongly barred with iron, from which they could receive scarcely any circulation of fresh air.
They had been but a few minutes confined before every one fell into a perspiration so profuse, that no idea can be formed of it. This produced a raging thirst, which increased in proportion as the body was drained of its moisture. Various experiments were tried to give more room and air. Every man was stripped, and every hat put in motion; they several times sat down on their hams; but at each time several of the poor creatures fell, and were instantly suffocated, or trod to death.
Before nine o'clock, every man's thirst became intolerable, and respiration difficult. Efforts were repeatedly made to force the door; but still in vain. Many insults were used to the guards to provoke them to fire in upon the prisoners; who grew outrageous, and many of them delirious. " Water, water," became the general cry. Some water was brought: but these supplies, like sprinkling water on fire; only served to raise and feed the flames. The confusion became general and horrid from the cries and ravings for water; and some were trampled to death. This scene of misery proved entertainment to the miserable wretches without, who supplied them with water that they might have the satisfaction of seeing them fight for it, as they phrased it; and held up lights to the bars, that they might lose no part of the inhuman diversion.
Before eleven o'clock, most of the gentlemen were dead, and one third of the whole. Thirst grew intolerable: but Mr. Holwell kept his mouth moist by sucking the perspiration out his shirt sleeves and catching the drops as they fell, like heavy rain, from his head and face. By half an hour after eleven, most of the living were in an outrageous delirium. They found that water heightened their uneasiness; and "Air, air," was the general cry. Every insult that could be devised against the guard,- all the opprobrious names that the viceroy and his officers could be loaded with were repeated to provoke the guard to fire upon them. Every man had eager hopes to meet the first shot! A general prayer arose to heaven, to hasten the approach of the flames of a conflagration that had broken out to the right and left of them, and put a period to their misery ! Some expired on others; while a steam arose as well from the living as the dead, which was exceedingly offensive.
About two in the morning, they crowded so much to the windows that many died standing, unable to fall by the throng and equal pressure all around. When the day broke, the stench arising from the dead bodies was insufferable. At that juncture, the Soubah, who had received an account of the havock death had made amongst them, sent one of his officers to enquire if the chief survived. Mr. Holwell was shewn to him; and about six o'clock, an order came for their release. Thus had they remained in this infernal prison, from eight at night till six in the morning, when the poor remains of 146 souls, being only 23, came out alive; but most of them in a high putrid fever. The dead bodies were dragged out of the hole by the soldiers, and thrown promiscuously into the ditch of an unfinished ravelin, which was afterwards filled with earth.
Admiral Watson and Colonel Clive determined to revenge the cruelties inflicted on their countrymen at Calcutta. After a tedious passage they arrived at Bengal on the 6th of December. Busbudgia fort was attacked and taken December 30th; Tanna fort abandoned January the 1st, 1757; and fort William, the affecting scene of the Soubah's cruelty, surrendered to the Kent and Tiger the next day. The city of Huegley, 60 miles above Calcutta, was taken and destroyed on the 11th; and on the 2nd of February, the Soubah's army, consisting of 10,000 horse and 15,000 foot, was attacked and defeated by Colonel Clive, who had only 969 Europeans and 1,600 sepoys. This accelerated a peace which was signed on the 9th. On the 24th of March, the French fort of Chandenagore was taken, after a vigorous defence, by the ships and troops; and thus in a few days the viceroy was humbled, and the French power broken. Surajah Dowlah's perfidy, however, soon occasioned fresh hostilities, and completed his ruin; as he was totally defeated by Colonel Clive on the 23rd of June, in the famous battle of Plassey, and the next day the conqueror, in a triumphal manner, entered Muxadaab, and placed Jaffier Allee Cawn, one of the principal generals, on the throne. His rival was soon after taken, and privately put to death by Jaffier's son.
Thus in about a fortnight, in a great and populous state, was a revolution effected, by which the French were driven out of Bengal, and all its dependencies, and more solid profit was reaped by the English East India Company, with few men, in a short campaign, than had been gained by crowned heads and numerous armies in those bloody wars which have almost drained the veins of Europe to the lowest ebb. If a Justin or Curtius had been living in these times, what would they have said to find the glory of Alexander the great, outrivalled by a British subject? Alexander invaded India with an army of 120,000 horse and foot; but the places he took, and the conquests he made, were attended with no difficulty. Porus fell into his hands, and he restored to him his kingdom. A private subject of Great Britain has done an act as brave and great: his few soldiers would have followed him to the utmost limits of the globe; yet Alexander conld not prevail upon his army to pass the Ganges, and attack Aggamenes.
The whole sum agreed to be paid by the new Soubah was £2,962,500 sterling, for the English company, inhabitants, troops, and sailors.
Admiral Watson died at Calcutta, greatly lamented, on the 16th of August. Colonel Clive happily survived to enjoy, in his native country, the honour and the fortune be had acquired. He commanded in Bengal, the two succeeding years, from whence, in 1758, he sent two thirds of his force for the security of Madras, at that time threatened, and soon after, for 67 days, unsuccessfully besieged by the French. In June that year the Colonel received from England, the commission of President of the council at Calcutta; in other words, of Governor of Bengal. His services were also rewarded by the viceroy, Jaffier Allee Cawn, with a grant of about £27,000 a year. He was honoured also by the Mogul, with the dignity of an Omrah of the empire; and the large districts which the company acquired by his influence, produced near £600,000 a year.
In October, 1759, seven Dutch ships, with troops on board, arrived in the Ganges from Batavia, with a view, no doubt, of dividing the English forces, or of expelling them entirely from Bengal. In this they were clandestinely encouraged by the Soubah. However, at Governor Clive's desire, the Soubah was prevailed upon to forbid their sailing up the river: but they, disregarding his orders, and disembarking their troops, the seven Dutch ships were attacked on the 24th of November, and six of them taken by the Calcutta, Duke of Dorset, and Hardwicke, East Indiamen. The other, which escaped, was intercepted by the Oxford, and Royal George; and the day following, their troops also were totally defeated, near Chandenagore, by Colonel Forde. This immediately brought the Dutch to terms; and, on the council at Hughley discovering the proceedings of their ships, acknowledging themselves the aggressors and agreeing to pay costs and damages, their vessels and prisoners were restored.
The English at Bengal, had the more reason to be jealous of the Dutch, as the Shah Zadda, a son of the late Mogul, and undoubted heir of the Mogul empire, had set up pretensions to the Soubahship of Bengal and invaded the provinces on the side of Patna, with a numerous army. But Colonel Clive joined the Soubah, preserved Patna, and drove the prince beyond the river Kurrumnassa [the boundary of the province.] The prince frequently wrote to the colonel, offering any terms to the company and himself, on condition the English would quit the Soubah, and join his arms; but the colonel gave him no encouragement
In January, 1760, Mr. Clive, till then a lieutenant colonel; was advanced to the rank of colonel in the King's troops; and on the 8th of February, he resigned the government to Mr. Holwell, and embarked for England, where, on September the 2nd, he was presented by the University of Oxford, with the honorary degree of L.L.D., and on the 24th, the thanks of the general quarterly court of directors and proprietors, were unanimously given to him, together with Admiral Pococke and Colonel Lawrence, for their great and glorious services in the East Indies.
Soon after the colonel's arrival, the following verses appeared in the papers:-
Great as from Porus' conquest Philip's son,
Glorious as Cortez from new Indies won;
'Midst trumpet's loud acclaim, and cannon's roar,
Welcome illustrious Clive to Britain's shore!
From eastern dawning, bright as Phoebus' rays,
We now behold thy full meridian blaze;
Proud of that chief, at whose impetuous course
Old Ganges trembled to his distant source,
Who like fam'd Warwick, master of the crown
On loftiest nabobs look'd superior down;
And made the fierce Mogul, with conscious fear,
Start as of yore, when Kouli Khan was near.
To thee her safety twice Bengalia owes,
Alike from Indian and Batavian foes;
Hence in no dungeon now her sons remain,
Nor of a new Amboyna's fate complain.
And see with wreaths by glorious toils acquir'd
Kind Heav'n rewards the genius it inspir'd,
And gives thee all thy fondest wish could claim,
Unenvy'd fortune, and unsully'd fame;
Thy aged sire's embrace, thy sov'reign's praise,
And from a stranger muse unpurchas'd lays.
[It should be remembered, that after our losses and disgraces in Europe and America, in the years 1756 and 1757, the GREAT COMMONER, in a speech which he made in the house of Commons, reflecting on our Generals and Admirals for rashness, cowardice, and misbehaviour, said, 'he must indeed except from this too general reflection one commander who might truly be styled, a heaven taught genius !']
In the parliament which met at Westminster, November 3rd, 1761, Colonel Clive was elected for the borough of Shrewsbury; and on the 1st of December he was advanced to an Irish peerage, by the title of Lord Clive, Baron of Plessey. In 1764, fresh disturbances arising in Bengal, and affairs there being looked upon as desperate, all eyes were turned upon his Lordship, as the only man who could again retrieve them: and this arduous task he readily undertook; every thing at home being settled to his satisfaction, and full powers, civil and military, being entrusted to him abroad. He was accordingly again appointed to the presidency, or government of Bengal; and after being honoured by his Majesty with the knighthood of the Bath, and the rank of Major General, he set sail for India, in the Kent, on the 4th of June. The season being so far advanced, his Lordship had the misfortune to lose his passage, and therefore did not arrive at Calcutta till the 3rd of May, 1765. Before his arrival, affairs had taken such a turn, that the easy task devolved upon him, of settling terms with the country powers, which be rendered very advantageous to the country company, who had now the disposal of all the revenues of Bengal, Bahar, and Orissa, deducting only about £300,000, for the use of the Emperor. Lord Clive then set about the more arduous undertaking of reforming the abuses among the company's servants; he put the army establishment upon a better footing, and introduced some good regulations into the conduct of the private trade, which, nevertheless, were not so strict as to prevent oppressions among the natives,
In 1765, Lord Clive returned to England, having contributed to the prosperity of the company, in a most unexampled manner. Six years after this, a resolution was moved in the House of Commons, to the following import, viz., 'That in the acquisition of his wealth, Lord Clive had abused the powers with which he had been entrusted.'
General Burgoyne said he looked upon the deposing Surajah Dowlah, and bringing about a revolution in favour of Jaffier, in the year 1756, to be the origin of all those subsequent evils, which had operated to the temporary distress, if not total destruction, of the company; he enlarged upon the perfidy used to bring about that revolution; stated the fictitious treaty forged in order to elude the payment of the stipend promised to Omichund, (a black merchant and confidant of Surajah Dowlah, whom Lord Clive and the select committee in India, prevailed upon to join in a scheme to dethrone his master,) exposed the conduct of Lord Clive, in causing Admiral Watson's name to be signed, contrary to the Admiral's express inclination, to this treaty; and added, 'that the perfidy of Omichund was of the blackest dye, and, as to the proceedings of the select Committee in India, I will allow them to be (said the general ironically) of the whitest kind. The general concluded by proposing the above resolution, and if it met with the approbation of the house, he should move that persons who acquired sums of money by presents or otherwise in India (if they acquired such sums by virtue of their acting in a publick capacity) should make restitution.
His Lordship in his defence, began by soliciting the indulgence of the house to a few facts which had been partially stated; and as he was pleading for what was dearer to him than life, his reputation, he hoped the Committee would patiently hear him. He then went through one of the reports of the secret Committee, and quoted those different passages which concerned himself. His Lordship was very particular in examining the report; and in answer to those different pnssages which accused him of appropriating part of the revenues of Bengal, he read extracts of the nabob's letter to him, as president of the select Committee, of the Committee's letter to the directors, and finally the directors' letter of approbation to him. His Lordship afterwards observed, that, trained in the school of war and politicks as he had been for 20 years, he was now in the school of philosophy; and if patience was a virtue, he had no doubt of being very virtuous indeed. He enlarged very fully on the misconduct of the directors, and after arraigning in the severest terms the unpardonable remissness of former administrations, in neglecting the affairs of the India company, he declared that the mismanagement abroad was founded upon mismanagement at home. He then entered very particularly into the malevolence and artifice of his enemies and, to prove the zeal with which one of them attacked him, he read part of a conversation between the late Deputy Chairman and one of the first Clerks of the India House, in which the late Deputy Chairman, Sir George Colebrooke, says these remarkable words, 'I want to mark the man;' (meaning his Lordship.) Lord Clive proceeded to exculpate himself, and declared be went out to India the last time, promising not to add a shilling to his fortune, either directly or indirectly; which promise he declared to God he had religiously kept.
His Lordship ironically complimented the vast extent of abilities of Lord North, in limiting the continuence of the territorial acquisitions in the company's possession to 6 years. He said he might call his Lordship, the lion of government, and the India company the jackall, or lion's provider; that he had already seized upon three quarters; and no doubt but when, the lion had been out hunting, and was returning hungry, that the remaining quarter would be seized also; that he stood there an independent man, ready to give government every honourable assistance; that he would do, and farther would not be expected of him. With respect to the East India company, he lamented their situation; that they had long been tampered with by quacks, even till they were reduced to an absolute consumption, and had thrown themselves upon Parliament, as the only and true physician that could effect a cure.
His Lordship remarked that for these two years past, the directors, either through ignorance or design, had kept the affairs of the company a secret: that they had rioted at taverns, dissolved in dissipation and luxury, and had venison, turtle, and other choice viands, in, and out of season, with Burgundy, Claret, and old Hock; that they entirely neglected their duty; and employed a man to think for them, (Mr. Wilks) to whom they allowed £400 per annum, and that many of their orders were so absurd and contradictory that their own servants were almost justified in refusing obedience to them. I left India (continued his Lordship,) in 1760, in profound peace, in which it was, likely to remain. The expense of the Military at that time, though heavy, was nothing equal to what it is now; I expected it would, instead, of increasing, have been reduced. Much virulence and malevolence have been employed against me; and it is with real concern I find myself reduced to the sad necessity of being the herald of my own fame. I have served my country, and that company faithfully; and, had I been employed by the crown, I should not have been in the situation I am in at present. I should have been differently rewarded; no, retrospect would have been had to sixteen years past, and I should not have been forced to plead for what is dearer than life, my reputation. My situation, Sir, has not been an easy one for these twelve mouths past, and though my conscience never could accuse me, yet I felt for my friends who were involved in the same censure as myself. Sir, not a stone has been left unturned, where the least probability could arise of discovering something of a criminal nature against me.
The two committees, Sir, seem to have bent the whole of their enquiries to the conduct of their humble servant, the Baron of Plassey; and I have been examined by the select committee, more like a sheep stealer than a member of this house. I am sure, Sir, if I had any sore places about me; they would have been found; they have probed to the bottom; no lenient plaisters have been applied to heal. No, Sir, they were all of the blister kind, prepared with Spanish flies and other provocatives. The publick records have been ransacked for proofs against me; and the late deputy chairman, of the India company, a worthy member of this house, has been very assiduous indeed, so assiduous in my affairs, that really, Sir, it appears he has entirely neglected his own. As the heads upon Temple bar have tumbled down, and as there is no probability of their being replaced (for jacobitism seems at an end; at least there has been great alteration in men's sentiments within these ten years,) I would propose, Sir, that my head, by way of preeminence, be put upon the middle pole, and his Majesty having granted me these honours, it is proper they should be supported. What think you then, of my having the late chairman and deputy on each side.
I will now, Sir, crave leave to say a word to the proposed regulations of the noble lord. I agree with hire, Sir, that the annual direction has been in a great measure, the cause of the great distress of the India company; and I also agree that every proprietor should possess £1000 stock, and be in possession twelve months before he can be qualified to vote. His lordship then expatiated on the great temptations in India; said that the country had been governed by a set of boys, and numberless abuses had been committed; that with respect to the Mottut, he never heard of it until last summer, when he was in Shropshire; but though a sum of £5000 was of little moment where the receipts amounted to four or five millions, yet great abuses have been made of it; that, as to jaghires, they are as commonly given by princes in that country, as pensions, lottery tickets and other douceurs, are by the ministers in this.
I must beg leave to observe to the house, that presents were allowed and received from the earliest time of the direction. They have continued to be received uninterruptedly for the space of 150 years; and men, Sir, who have sat in the direction themselves, have at several times received presents. This the direction must know; but I am firmly of opinion that in honourable cases, presents are not improper to be received; but when for dishonourable purposes, then, Sir, I hold them to be highly improper. In the early part of my. life, my labours were without emolument or laurels, and I hope the house cannot think but that I ought to be rewarded for my services to my country in the latter part of it. When I was employed by the company, their affairs abroad were in a condition much to be lamented. Misfortunes attended them in every part of their settlements, and the nabob looked with a jealous eye upon the small privileges and possessions they then enjoyed; and though small, in danger every day of being wrested from them. Fear and weakness of power sought for protection from the dangers that surrounded them. In this critical situation I was called forth, and it pleased God to make me the instrument of their deliverance. In the various battles and attacks in which I was employed, I had the good fortune to succeed; nor were such schemes and undertakings entered upon without the previous provocation of the country powers. The treachery of Surajah Dowlah was for ever in our eye, and his perfidy was never at rest; nor did we attack Chandenagore till the treaty on his behalf was first violated. After these conquests, Sir, and acquisitions gained for the company, I returned home. They approved in the highest degree, of what I had done; and as a token of their approbation they presented me with a rich sword, set with diamonds. This, certainly, Sir, was no mark of their opinion that I had either violated treaties, or disobeyed their orders. Nor did their commendation and good opinion of my services terminate here. As soon as troubles broke out in that country, and when the news of the terrible disaster of the taking of Calcutta from us arrived to the ear of the company, they immediately sent to me, and requested that I would go once more to India, to protect and secure their possessions, that my presence alone would effect it; and they should rest secured through the good opinion they entertained of me, that success would accompany me, and that I should be the means of putting their affairs again into a prosperous situation. I did not hesitate a moment to accept the offer. I went abroad, resolving not to benefit myself one single shilling at my return: and I strictly and religiously adhered to this resolution. When I arrived there, I subdued Angria, a very powerful prince. I retook Calcutta, with an inconsiderable army. Surajah Dowlah had at all times betrayed a disposition to break the treaty; and when an army was sent under the command of M. Dupree, which might have proved fatal to us, I do not hesitate to say, that we bribed the general of that army, who immediately wrote to the nabob to let him know that the English were invincible; and upon a second request from the nabob to M. Dupree that he would march with his army, and destroy the English, his answer was couched in the same terms. He said, that he always found the English invincible: and it would have been the height of imprudence to hazard an attack. By such means, and by this stratagem, we succeeded. We soon discovered that the nabob, Sarajah Dowlah, was so turbulent and restless, that he only waited for the departure of the fleet to exterminate the English. But as treacherous men are too apt to have men of the same cast and disposition about them, the nabob was not wanting of such companions. Omichund, his confidential servant, as he thought, told his master of an agreement between the English and M. Dupree to attack him, and received for that advice a sum not less than four lacs of rupees. Finding this to be the man in whom the nabob entirely trusted, it soon became our object to consider him as a most material engine in the intended revolution. We therefore made such an agreement as was necessary for the purpose, and entered into a treaty with him to satisfy his demands. When all things were prepared, and the evening of the event was appointed, Omichund informed Mr. Watts, who was at the court of the nabob, that he insisted on thirty lacs of rupees, and five per cent upon all the treasure that should be found; that unless that was immediately complied with, he would disclose the whole to the nabob; and that Mr. Watts and the two other English gentlemen, then at the court, should be cut off before morning. Mr. Watts immediately, on this information, despatched an express to me at the council. I did not hesitate to find out a stratagem to save the lives of these people, and secure success to the intended extent. For this purpose we signed another treaty. The one was called the Red, the other the White treaty. This treaty was signed by every one except Admiral Watson; and I should have considered myself sufficiently authorized to put his name to it, by the conversation I had with him. As to the person who signed Admiral Watson's name to the treaty, whether he did it in his presence or not I cannot say; but this I know, that he thought he had sufficient authority for so doing. This treaty was immediately sent to Omichund, who did not suspect the stratagem. The event took place, and success attended it; and the house, I am fully persuaded, will agree with me that when the very existence of the company was at stake, and the lives of these people so precariously, situated, and so certain of being destroyed, that it was a matter of true policy, and of justice, to deceive so great a villain. I have in my hand, Sir, a letter signed by Admiral Watson, Messrs. Manningham, Watts, &c., which I apprehend will convey Admiral Watson's thorough approbation of the proceedings of the revolution, and the means by which it was obtained. (His lordship then read the letter, which conveyed Admiral Watson's full approbation.) Now, Sir, great as my fortune is, (and it bears no proportion to what I might have made) yet to show that I did not harass, or lay under contribution, those whom I I had conquered, for my own emolument, I can tell this house, that neither I, nor any one in my army, received a sixpence from the inhabitants of Muxadahad. My jaghire was not received till 1759, though it has been reported that I received it at the revolution in 1757. I must beg leave to mention another circumstance to this house, that upon these troubles, the Dutch were encouraged by the nabob to enter the country with seven ships, and a vast army. I did not hesitate a moment to give them battle, and in twenty-four hours I destroyed every ship they had, and their whole army was either killed, wounded, or taken prisoners. At this time, the Dutch had most of my money, and in this instance I think I shewed a zeal for the honour and interest of the company, superior to every other object even of my own concern. I must now beg leave to read in the house, two letters from the court of directors to myself, containing their approbation of the revolution in Bengal. These letters, Sir, came not through the common channel of address to the governor and council, but were directed to myself. His lordship then read the letters, which contained indeed the most full and satisfactory approbation of what is termed in one of the letters, THE LATE GLORIOUS AND PROFlTABLE REVOLUTION.- These, Sir, are surely sufficient certificates of my behaviour, and of the proof that revolution; and whatever the house may think of them, will remain an everlasting approbation of my conduct from those persons who alone employed me, and whose servant I was. A late minister, (Lord Chatham) whose abilities have been an honour to his country, and whom this house will ever revere, will, I am sure, come to your bar, and not only tell you how highly he thonght of my services at the time, but also what his opinion is now.
Upon my arrival, Sir, in England a second time, a committee of the directors waited upon me to desire to know when I would receive the congratulations of the direction. I accordingly waited upon them at their court in Leadenhall street, and the chairman, at a very full court, addressed me in the words contained in this letter, (which his lordship read.) These, Sir, were circumstances, certainly, that gave me full satisfaction and ground to think that my conduct in every instance was approved of. After such certificates as these, Sir, am I to he brought here like a criminal, and the very best parts of my conduct construed into crimes against the state? is this the reward that is now held out to persons who have performed such important services to their country? If it is, Sir, the future consequences that will attend the execution of any important trust, committed to the persons who have the care of it, will be fatal indeed; and I am sure the noble lord upon the treasury bench, whose great humanity and abilities I revere, would never have consented to the resolutions that passed the other night, if he had thought on the dreadful consequences that would attend them. Sir, I cannot say that I either sit or rest easy, when I find, by that extensive resolution, that all I have in the world is confiscated, and that no one will take my security for a shilling. These Sir, are dreadful apprehensions to remain under, and I canuot look upon myself but as a bankrupt. I have not any thing left which I can call my own, except my paternal fortune of £500 per annum, and which has been in the family for ages past. But upon this I am content to live, and perhaps I shall find more real content of mind and happiness, than in the trembling affluence of an unsettled fortune. But, Sir, I must make one more observation, that if the definition of the Hon. Gentleman, (General Burgoyne) and of this house, is that the state, as expressed in these resolutions, is quoad hoc, the company, then, Sir, every farthing that I enjoy is granted to me. But to be called, after sixteen years have elapsed, to account for my conduct in this manner, and after an uninterrupted enjoyment of my property, to be questioned and considered as obtaining it unwarrantably, is hard indeed! and a treatment I should not think the British senate capable of. But, if it should be the case, I have a conscious innocence within me, that tells me my conduct is irreproachable. Frangas none flectes. They may take from me what I have; they may, as they think, make me poor, but I will be happy ! I mean not this as my defence. My defence will be made at the bar; and before I sit down, I have one request to make to the house,- that when they come to decide upon my honour, they will notS forget their own.'
By the assistance of Mr. Wedderburne, afterwards Lord Loughborough, his lordship defended himself against all the charges brought against him, which at one time had put on very serious aspect. The original motion was at length rejected, and it was resolved, 'That Lord Clive had rendered great, and meritorious services to his country.'
Though his lordship thus escaped publick prosecution, yet from this time he fell a prey to the most gloomy depression of spirits. At length at the age only of fifty, in November, 1774, he put an end to his own life, leaving behind him five children and a widow, the sister of Dr. Maskelyne, the astronomer royal.
Lord Clive was of a temper unusually reserved, but among particular friends he was cheerful, and even jocular; and in domestick life be was kind and amiable. He had, as we have seen, the fine talent of inspiring confidence in those under his command;- hence he was characterised by the great Lord Chatham, as the 'heaven born general,' who, with little experience, surpassed all the officers of his time. He represented the town of Shrewsbury in parliament, from 1760 to 1774, but rarely spoke in the house, though upon special occasions he displayed great powers of elocution. By his will be bequeathed, £70,000 to the invalids in the company's service.
" ALMINGTON, a township in the parish of Market Drayton, but belonging to Staffordshire."
" BETTOR, a township in the parish of Market Drayton, and in the Drayton division of the hundred of Bradford North. 2 miles north- east of Drayton."
" BLOOR (Staffordshire), a township in the parish of Market Drayton, but belonging to Staffordshire; reckoned to Shropshire for the militia."
" DRAYTON PARVA (or LITTLE DRAYTON), a township in the parish of Market Drayton or Drayton Magna, or Drayton in Hales, and in the Drayton division of the hundred of Bradford North, adjoining to Drayton.
" LONGSLOW, a township in the parish of Market Drayton, and in the Drayton division of the hundred of Bradford North. 1 mile north-west of Drayton."
" SUTTON, a township in the parish of Market Drayton, and in the Drayton division of the hundred of Bradford North."
" WOODSEVES, a township in the parish of Market Drayton, and in the Drayton division of the hundred of Bradford North. 2½ miles south of Drayton."
[Transcribed information from A Gazetteer of Shropshire - T Gregory - 1824](unless otherwise stated)
[Description(s) transcribed by Mel Lockie ©2015]