Page:A Brief History of the Indian Peoples.djvu/201

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THE SECOND MARATHA WAR. 197 The Marathas in 1800.— The Marathas had been the nominal allies of the English in both their wars with Tipu. But they had not rendered active assistance, nor were they secured to the English side as the Nizam had been. The Maratha powers at this time were five in number. The recognized head of the confederacy was the Peshwa of Poona, who ruled the hill country of the Western Ghats, the cradle of the Maratha race. The fertile Province of Gujarat was annually harried by the horsemen of the Gaekwar of Baroda. In Central India, two military leaders, Sindhia of Gwalior and Holkar of Indore, alternately held the pre-eminence. Towards the east, the Bhonsla Raja of Nagpur reigned from Berar to the coast of Orissa. Wellesley laboured to bring these several Maratha powers within the net of his subsidiary system. In 1802, the necessities of the Peshwa, who had been defeated by Holkar, and driven as a fugitive into British territory, induced him to sign the treaty of Bassein. By that he pledged himself to the British to hold communications with no other power, European or Native, and granted to us Districts for the maintenance of a subsidiary force. This greatly extended the English territorial influence in the Bombay Presidency. But it led to the second Maratha war, as neither Sindhia nor the Raja of Nagpur would tolerate the Peshwa's betrayal of the Maratha independence. Second Maratha War, 1802-1804. — The campaigns which followed are perhaps the most glorious in the history of the British arms in India. The general plan, and the adequate provision of resources, were due to the Marquess Wellesley, as also the indomitable spirit which refused to admit of defeat. The armies were led by Sir Arthur Wellesley (afterwards Duke of Wellington) and General (afterwards Lord) Lake. Wellesley operated in the Deccan, where, in a few short months, he won the decisive victories of Assaye and Argium, and captured Ahmadnagar. Lake's campaign in Hindustan was equally brilliant, although it has received less notice from historians. He won pitched battles at Alfgarh and Laswari, and took the cities of Delhi and Agra. He scattered the French troops of Sindhia, and at the same time stood forward