Lord Wellesley war with the Marathas:
The only power that remained outside the purview of the subsidiary system was the Marathas. Nana Fadnavis provided the leadership to the Marathas. He was responsible for the preservation of independence of his country from the onslaught of the British. By extending a helping hand to Cornwallis against Tipu he was able to acquire a large slice of territory as the share of the Marathas from the kingdom of Mysore. His death in 1800 removed the last great Maratha leader.
Peshwa Baji Rao II, despite his stately appearance and immense learning, lacked political wisdom. The infighting among the Maratha leaders moved 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.
Peshwa Baji Rao II was in great dange/, so he fled to Bassein where he signed the Treaty of Bassein with the British in 1802. It was a subsidiary treaty and the pershwa 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.
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 Scinida 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 Ahmad Nagar 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.
The campaign of British commander Lord Lake against the forces of Scindia was rather dramatic Lake triumphantly entered the historic city of Delhi and took Shah Alam, the Mughal emperor under British protection. Lake was quick in consolidating his conquest. By negotiating with the Raja of Bharatpur, he occupied Agra. Sadly this military engagement proved to be a battle of great slaughter in which thousands of Maratha soldiers perished. Scindia signed a subsidiary-treaty with the British. It is known as the Treaty of Surji- Arjunagaon.
During the war against Bhbnsle and Scindia, Holkar remained aloof because he was Scindia’s i enemy. However, when Wellesley offered an alliance, Holkar made extreme demands. This made Wellesley to declare war against Holkar. The campaign against Holkar was well-organized but the English generals for the first time committed blunders Holkar remained unsubdued.