a1 St Andrews University
a2 University of Alberta, Edmonton
Two points may be safely made about biographies of Robert Clive. One is that the first adequately documented biography, by Sir John Malcolm, published in 1836, has never really been superseded, because it was solidly based on family papers made available by Lord Powis. The other is that if the modern general reader has any acquaintance with Malcolm’s work it is likely to derive from the sonorous prose of the oft-reprinted review which Lord Macaulay originally published in the Edinburgh Review in January 1840. This magisterial apportionment of praise and blame does not invite the criticism which H. W. C. Davis levelled at Macaulay’s equally celebrated essay on Warren Hastings; that it was even doubtful whether Macaulay had read with care the biography of Hastings by the Reverend G. R. Gleig which he purported to review.