Clitus, surnamed Melas (the Black), a Macedonian general, foster-brother and a familiar friend of Alexander the Great, whose life he saved at the battle of the Granicus, 334 B. C. He was afterward appointed commander of a division of the royal guards, and in 328 satrap of Bactria. On the evening before he was to set out for his government he was slain by Alexander at a banquet at Mara-canda in Sogdiana, when both parties were excited by wine, and Clitus had provoked the conqueror's resentment by speaking of the glory of Philip as greater than that of Alexander. The king repented bitterly of his rash deed, and caused a splendid funeral service to be held in honor of his victim.
€LIVE, Robert, lord, baron of Plassey, a British soldier and statesman, born at Styche, Shropshire, Sept. 29, 1725, died by his own hand in London, Nov. 22, 1774. He early displayed a bold and unmanageable temper. A clerkship having been gained for him in the service of the East India company, at the age of 18 he sailed for Madras, the voyage occupying more than a year. The only gentleman to whom he had a letter of introduction had left India before Olive's arrival, and he soon found himself in miserable circumstances. He was several times near being dismissed for insubordination, and twice he attempted suicide. On the second occasion, when the pistol missed fire, he exclaimed that he must be reserved for something great. Madras having fallen into the hands of the French, Clive at night fled from the city, disguised as a Mohammedan, and arrived safely at Fort St. David. He now, at the age of 21, obtained an ensign's commission in the military service of the company, and distinguished himself in several operations against the French. Although peace was soon concluded between England and France in Europe, the French and English trading companies in India continued to be upon hostile terms.
Dupleix, the French commander, had gained absolute power over the Deccan, the nominal native ruler being only a puppet set up by himself. The English were alarmed for their establishments, even for their existence in India. They recognized Mohammed Ali as nabob of the Carnatic, against Chunda Sahib, supported by the French; but his dominions now consisted alone of Trichinopoly, and even this place was besieged by Chunda Sahib and the French auxiliaries. Arcot, the capital of the Carnatic, was decided upon as a point of attack; and in the absence of Major Lawrence, who had gone to England, all eyes were turned to Clive. He was now 25 years of age, and had acquired a name for desperate courage, sagacity, and military genius. He assured his superiors that unless some decisive move was at once made on Arcot, Trichinopoly would fall, and the French, becoming entire masters of India, would expel the English. His advice prevailed, and he was placed at the head of 200 British troops and 300 sepoys. He marched on Arcot and took it without a blow, the garrison being panic-struck; but knowing that he would not be long suffered to remain unmolested, he made vigorous preparations for defence (August, 1751). As soon as the news reached Chunda Sahib, he invested Arcot with about 10,000 men commanded by his son, Rajah Sahib. For more than 50 days Clive sustained the siege against this overwhelming force; his little band in the mean time, although suffering with hunger, manifesting great devotion to their young commander.
An attempt by the government of Madras to relieve him had failed, but a body of 6,000 Mahrat -tas were on the march to succor the English. Before they could arrive, Chunda Sahib determined to storm the fort. He chose for the day of the assault the anniversary of the death of Hosein, the son of Ali, when devout Mussulmans are stirred to the wildest fanaticism, and have an implicit faith that whoever then falls in battle against the infidel passes at once to the eternal joys of paradise. Clive had received secret notice of the proposed attack, and had made arrangements to meet it. The enemy came on driving elephants before them, whose foreheads were armed with iron plates to batter down the gates. As soon as they felt the musket balls, they turned furiously around, and threw their drivers into confusion. Clive everywhere animated his troops, exposing himself to the greatest dangers; and after three desperate assaults and an hour's conflict, the assailants retired behind the ditch, and under cover of night retreated, leaving several guns and a quantity of ammunition. They lost 400 men, while the besieged lost but 5 or 6. This exploit was received at Madras with exultation; 200 English soldiers and 700 sepoys were sent to Clive, who at once began offensive operations.
He took the fort of Timery, joined a party of Mahrattas, attacked Rajah Sahib, who had 5,000 men, of whom 300 were French, defeated him, seized his military chest, routed him in a second battle, marched to Fort St. David, and on his way razed to the ground the monument which Dupleix had erected to his own glory, as well as the city which had since sprung up in the vicinity. Clive now triumphed everywhere, although in some cases his troops were of the worst order. The important forts of Covelong and Chingleput, garrisoned by French soldiers, fell into his hands; and after these successes he returned to Madras and married Miss Mas-kelyne, sister of the celebrated astronomer royal. His health was much broken, and he shortly afterward sailed for England. On his arrival there in 1753, he was received with the highest distinction. The East India company presented him with a rich diamond-hilted sword, which he refused to accept until one of equal value was voted to his superior officer, Major Lawrence, whose merits he declared not inferior to his own. He remained about two years in England, spending his money profusely, aiding his poor relations, and contesting a seat in parliament, to which he was elected, but was at once deprived of it by the vote of a small majority in the house.
In 1755 he embarked for India with the rank of lieutenant colonel. He was now employed, in connection with Admirals Watson and Pocock, in reducing the stronghold of Gheriah, the haunt of a pirate named Angria, the terror of the Arabian sea. The place was captured, and booty to the amount of £150,000 divided among the conquerors. He then proceeded to his government of Fort St. David, and had been there but about two months when Surajah Dowlah, the nabob of Bengal, seized Fort William, the citadel of Calcutta (June 20, 1750), and flung his English prisoners, 146 in number, into the garrison prison, known as the "black hole," a dungeon only 18 ft. square, and all except 23 of them perished. (See Black Hole.) To inflict vengeance for the massacre, an expedition was placed under the joint command of Clive and Admiral Watson; and 900 English infantry and 1,500 sepoys sailed from Madras in October, but owing to head winds did not reach Bengal until December. The nabob was at Moorshedabad when he heard of the arrival of the English on the Hoogly, and instantly assembled his army and marched toward Calcutta. Clive took Budgebudge, Fort William, and Calcutta, and stormed and sacked Hoogly January. 1757), when the nabob thought it best to come to terms, which Clive was unwilling to allow, but was overruled by a committee of the company's servants.
The ne-gotiations between Surajah Dowlah and the English were conducted chiefly through two agents. Mr. Watts, an Englishman, and Oini-chund. a treacherous Bengalee. From the nabob's cruelties and insignificance, a plot was formed against him. and Clive lent all his in-nce to the conspirators in aid of their plan of deposing him and placing Meer Jafiier.: principal commander of the nabob's troops, on the throne of Bengal. In return for this aid Meer Jafiier was to make the most ample rewards to the English. Omichund, who had the: entire confidence of Suraiah Dowlah, by systematic deceit lulled all his suspicions. Clive knew Omichund to be a villain, and was resolved to outdo him in deceit if necessary. Meanwhile he was writing the nabob the most friendly letters, and at the same time plotting with his general, Meer Jaffier. who was to desert his master at a critical moment with large bodies of troops. Just as the plot was ripe, Omichund played false to the English, and demanded as the price of good faith £300,000, or he would divulge the whole scheme to Suraiah Dowlah. Clive. in order to punish. Omichund for his treachery, resolved himself to act the part of a traitor.
He promised what was asked The wily Bengalee insisted that his claims should be mentioned in the treaty -tween Meer Jafiier and the English. Clive had two treaties drawn up, the real one on white paper. and a spurious one on red. The white contained no mention of him. To the red one which Omichund insiste should bear Admiral Watson's signature, that officer refused to affix his name, and Clive was actually accused of having forged it, although he afterward denied charge. All was now ready. Watts tied secretly from Moorshedabad, and Clive put his troops in motion. The battle which followed proved of immense importance for the power of Britain in India. C. army consisted of 3.000 men. only 900 of whom were Europeans. He met the Indian forces within a mile of Plassey. June 23. The latter consisted of 4 . infantry, armed with firelocks, pikes. bows and arrows, and swords, with 50 pieces of huge cannon drawn into the field by elephants and oxen, supported by 15.000 cavalry from the northern provinces, far superior to those of the Carnatic. The nabob's ordnance opened fire with little execution, while the well trained English artillery was served with deadly effect.
The nabob ordered a retreat. upon which Clive advanced, and the enemy fied in utter rout: only 500 were killed, but they lost their ordnance and equipage. The English loss was 22 killed and 50 wounded. Meer Jaffer had given no aid during the action, but. drawing off his forces when it was decided, was shortly installed by Clive as nabob of Bengal Buiiur. and Orissa; while Surajah Dowiah fled, but was captured a few days afterward, and executed by the orders of his late general. Meer Jafiier was now called upon to reward his allies, and Omichund came among the rest; but on being told how he had been overreached by Clive, he sank into idiocy, and died a few months afterward. Immense wealth now fell upon the company, and Clive was conducted by Meer Jalfier into the great treasury of Ben-gal at Moorshedabad. with full leave to help himself, and he took about £250.000. Later in life, when his conduct was impeached in the house of commons, he vigorously defended hini-self before the committee, and. alluding to the wealth showered upon him. described the glittering heaps on which he had gazed, and exclaimed. "By God. Mr. Chairman, at this moment I stand astonished at my own moderation." Clive's great victory over Suraiah Dowlah was soon followed by the defeat of the army of the Great Mogul, sent against Meer Jafiier. which he overcame at Patna; and in 1759 by his victory over the troops sent by the governor Batavia under pretence of assisting the Dutch colonies, but really to disturb the British in their possessions.
New honors and wealth were showered upon him. and Meer Jaffier granted him an annual revenue of £28,000. In 1760 he returned to England, where he was raised to the Irish peerage with the title of Baron Clive of Plassey, and was elected to parliament as one of the members for Shrewsbury. He remained in England about four years, applying himself chiefly to Indian affairs, while his immense fortune enabled him to live in mag-nificence. During his absence from Bengal the affairs of the company fell into utter confusion; it was not enriched, while crowds of adventurers returned from India with splendid fortunes, acquired in a short time from systematic oprression and plunder of the hapless natives. At length these evils reached such a pitch that the speedy ruin of the Anglo-Indian empire was prophesied unless some strong hand should interpose, and Clive was looked to as the only man who could save it from destruction. After much solicitation he consented to go back to India, and was appointed governor and commander-in-chief of the British possessions in Bengal: and in May. 1705. for the third time he reached Hindostan. At Calcutta he found everything fearfully disorganized, far more than he had anticipated. But he proceeded at once to the reformation of all abuses in spite of great opposition.
On one occasion 200 officers of army, who had been engaged in commercial speculations, combined and. resigned their commissions, thinking to terrify him into submission by the spectacle of an army without leaders. Clive instantly issued commissions for new officers, even to mercantile agents who were disposed to aid him; the sepoys he had himself trained in battle stood firm in their devotion to him. and he ordered that every officer who resigned should at once be brought to Calcutta. The insubordination was quelled, the ringleaders were punished, and the others pardoned. He returned from India, July 14, 1767. In 1772 his proceedings in India were made the subject of public discussion, and in 1773 a select committee of investigation was appointed by the house of commons. Clive successfully vindicated his conduct. The charge of fraud brought against him was rescinded by a vote of the house, and a motion agreed to by a large majority, "that Lord Clive had rendered great and meritorious services to his country." But for some time his health had been giving way, and to relieve his sufferings he resorted to opium, which gradually ruined his strong intellect.
He had labored all his life under periodic fits of melancholy, and in one of these he committed suicide. - See Malcolm, "The Life of Robert Lord Clive" (3 vols. 8vo, London, 1836), and Maeaulav's review of it (1840); and Gleig, "Life of Lord Clive" (1848).