Lord Robert Clive
(1725-1774)

Died aged c. 49

Major-General Robert Clive, 1st Baron Clive, KB, FRS (29 September 1725 – 22 November 1774), also known as Clive of India, was the first British Governor of the Bengal Presidency. Clive has been widely credited for laying the foundation of the British East India Company rule in Bengal. He began as a writer (the term used then in India for an office clerk) for the East India Company (EIC) in 1744 and established Company rule in Bengal by winning the Battle of Plassey in 1757. In return for supporting the Nawab Mir Jafar as ruler of Bengal, Clive was granted a jagir of £30,000 (equivalent to £4,300,000 in 2021) per year which was the rent the EIC would otherwise pay to the Nawab for their tax-farming concession. When Clive left India he had a fortune of £180,000 (equivalent to £25,700,000 in 2021) which he remitted through the Dutch East India Company. Blocking impending French mastery of India, Clive improvised a 1751 military expedition that ultimately enabled the EIC to adopt the French strategy of indirect rule via puppet government. Hired by the EIC to return (1755) a second time to India, Clive conspired to secure the company's trade interests by overthrowing the ruler of Bengal, the richest state in India. Back in England from 1760 to 1765, he used the wealth accumulated from India to secure (1762) an Irish baronetcy from the then Whig PM, Thomas Pelham-Holles, 1st Duke of Newcastle, and a seat for himself in Parliament, via Henry Herbert, 1st Earl of Powis, representing the Whigs in Shrewsbury, Shropshire (1761–1774), as he had previously in Mitchell, Cornwall (1754–1755). Clive's actions on behalf of the EIC have made him one of Britain's most controversial colonial figures. His achievements included checking French imperialist ambitions on the Coromandel Coast and establishing EIC control over Bengal, thereby furthering the establishment of the British Raj, though he worked only as an agent of the East India Company, not of the British government. Vilified by his political rivals in Britain, he went on trial (1772 and 1773) before Parliament, where he was absolved from every charge. Historians have criticised Clive's management of Bengal during his tenure with the EIC and his responsibility in contributing to the Great Bengal Famine of 1770, which historians now estimate resulted in the deaths of between seven and ten million people.

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Commemorated on 2 plaques

Clive of India 1725-1774 soldier and administrator lived here

45 Berkeley Square, London, United Kingdom where they lived

Here dwelt Lord Clive B.1725 D.1774

14 The Circus, Bath, United Kingdom where they lived