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THE MARQUESS OF WELLESLEY (1798-1805)
THE MARQUESS OF WELLESLEY (1798-1805) . The appointment of Richard Colley Wellesley as Governor- General marks an epoch in the history of British India. .He was a great imperialist and called himself 'a Bengal tiger'. . Wellesley came to India with a determination to launch a forward policy in order to make 'the British Empire in India' into 'the British Empire of India'. . The system that he adopted to achieve his object is known as the Subsidiary Alliance'.
Political Condition of India at the time of Wellesley's Arrival In the north-western India, the danger of Zaman Shah's aggression posed a serious threat to the British power in India. . In the north and central India, the Marathas remained a formidable political power. . The Nizam of Hyderabad employed the Frenchmen to train his army. The political unrest in the Karnatak region continued and Tipu Sultan had remained the uncompromising enemy of the riih
Political Condition of India at the time of Wellesley's Arrival Moreover, the policy of neutrality adopted by Sir John Shore, the successor of Cornwallis, created a kind of political unrest in India and greatly affected the prestige of the English. His non-intervention policy contributed much to the growth of anti- British feelings. Further, Napoleon's move for an Eastern invasion created a fear among English statesmen. It was in this light that Wellesley moulded his policy. . Preservation of British prestige and removal of French danger from India were Wellesley's twin aims .Therefore, he reversed the nonintervention policy of his predecessor and formulated his master plan namely the 'Subsidiary Alliance'
Main Features of Subsidiary Alliance . Any Indian ruler who entered into the subsidiary alliance with the British had to maintain a contingent of British troops in his territory. It was commanded by a British officer. The Indian state was called 'the protected state' and the British hereinafter were referred to as 'the paramount power'. It was the duty of the British to safeguard that state from external aggression and to help its ruler maintain internal peace. The protected state should give some money or give part of its territory to the British to support the subsidiary force
Main Features of Subsidiary Alliance The protected state should cut off its connection with European powers other than the English and with the French in particular. The state was also forbidden to have any political contact even with other Indian powers without the permission of the British. The ruler of the protected state should keep a British Resident at his court and disband his own army. He should not employ Europeans in his service without the sanction of the paramount power The paramount power should not interfere in the internal affairs of the protected state.
Benefits to the British . Wellesley's Subsidiary System is regarded as one of the master- strokes of British imperialism It increased the military strength of the Company in India at the expense of the protected states. The territories of the Company were free from the ravages of war thereby establishing the stability of the British power in India. . The position of the British was strengthened against its Indian and non-Indian enemies . Under the system, expansion of British power became easy. Thus Wellesley's diplomacy made the British the paramount power in India.
Defects of the Subsidiary System . The immediate effect of the establishment of subsidiary forces was the introduction of anarchy because of the unemployment of thousands of soldiers sent away by the Indian princes. . The subsidiary system had a demoralizing effect on the princes of the protected states. Safeguarded against external danger and internal revolt, they neglected their administrative responsibilities. They preferred to lead easy-going and pleasure- seeking lives. As a result misgovernment followed. In course of time, the anarchy and misrule in several states had resulted in their annexation by the British. Thus, the subsidiary system proved to be a preparation for annexation. . The British collected very heavy subsidies from the protected princes and this had adversely affected their economy.
Enforcement of the Subsidiary System
Oudh The threat of invasion by Zaman Shah of Afghanistan was the pretext for Wellesley to force the Nawab of Oudh to enter into a subsidiary treaty. Accordingly, the Nawab gave the British the rich lands of Rohilkhand, the lower Doab and Gorakhpur for the maintenance of an increased army which the British stationed in the capital of Oudh. The strength of Nawab's own army was reduced. For the maintenance of law and order the British were authorised to frame rules and regulations. By this, the British acquired the right to interfere in the internal matters of Oudh.
The Fourth Anglo-Mysore War (1799) Wellesley set out to persuade Tipu to accept a pact of subsidiary alliance and wrote letters requesting the Tipu to dismiss the French, to receive an English envoy, and to make terms with the Company and its allies. Tipu paid scant attention to Wellesley's letters and thus the Fourth Anglo-Mysore war started. The war was short and decisive. Tipu was forced to retreat to his capital Srirangapattinam . Although severely wounded, he fought till his capital Srirangapattinam was captured and he himself was shot dead
Wellesley and the Marathas . Peshwa Baji Rao lIl, despite his stately appearance and immense learning, lacked political wisdom. The infighting among the Maratha leaders proved to be self- destructive. . Jaswant Rao Holkar and Daulat Rao Scindia were fighting against each other. The Peshwa supported Scindia against Holkar. . Holkar marched against the Peshwa. The combined forces of Scindia and the Peshwa were utterly defeated. . The city of Poona fell at the feet of the victor who did not hesitate to commit all sorts of atrocities, including the torturing of rich inhabitants. With rich booty Holkar returned to his capital
Wellesley and the Marathas Peshwa Baji Rao ll was in great danger, so he fled to Bassein where he signed the Treaty of Bassein with the British in 1802. It was a subsidiary treaty and the Peshwa was recognized as the head of the Maratha kingdom. Although it was nominal, the treaty was considered the crowning triumph of Wellesley's Subsidiary System. . In accordance with this document, the foreign policy of the Marathas came under British control and therefore any action of the Maratha chiefs against the British was successfully prevented. . That is the reason why the Marathas considered the treaty as a document of surrendering their independence
Wellesley and the Marathas . As an immediate response to the Treaty of Bassein, the British troops marched under the command of Arthur Wellesley towards Poona and restored the Peshwa to his position. The forces of Holkar vanished from the Maratha capital
The Second Maratha War (1803-1805) Daulat Rao Scindia and Raghoji Bhonsle took the Treaty of Bassein as an insult to the national honour of the Marathas. Soon the forces of both the chieftains were united and they crossed the river Narmada. Wellesley seized this opportunity and declared war in August 1803. . Arthur Wellesley captured Ahmadnagar in August 1803 and defeated the combined forces of Scindia and Bhonsle at Assaye near Aurangabad. Subsequently, . Arthur Wellesley carried the war into Bhonsle's territory and completely defeated the Maratha forces on the plains of Argaon. As a result, the Treaty of Deogaon was signed between Bhonsle and Wellesley. . The former signed the subsidiary treaty which forced him to give up the province of Cuttack in Orissa.