Wellesley's account of the Second Anglo-Maratha War
Notes relative to the late transactions in the Marhatta Empire.
[with] Appendix to the notes relative to the late transactions in the Marhatta Empire. Calcutta Fort William 1803
First edition. 4to (32 x 19 cm), pp.[ii], [ii, contemporary manuscript contents], 102, [ii], 28, , 12*, 126, , [1, blank], [1, errata], [1, blank], with 5 large folding plans, all with contemporary hand colour, 4 signed "F. Dormieux Sculp. Calcutta 1803". A very good copy in contemporary speckled calf, gilt. The leather somewhat worn, particularly at the spine, with small areas of loss, but still handsome. A handful of contemporary manuscript corrections and annotations to text.
We locate copies of this work and the two supplementary volumes at four institutions: British Library, Oxford, Royal Library (UK), and UCLA. Cambridge holds a copy of this work and the second supplementary volumes.
The account of the first part of the Second Anglo-Maratha War (1803-1805) written by Richard Wellesley (1760-1842), then Governor-General of Bengal, in large part to trumpet British military success against the Maratha Confederacy, and promote his vision for British dominion in India. This depended on a network of subsidiary treaties and alliances with Indian states, such as the Treaty of Bassein, concluded between the Maratha Peshwa of Poona and the East India Company on 31 December 1802. The treaty rendered the Peshwa a British client, which provoked the ensuing conflict with a number of the other rulers within the Maratha Confederacy. The British campaign against the Marathas was a military success, accomplished by two armies, one under the command of General Gerard Lake (1744–1808), the other under that of Wellesley's younger brother, Arthur Wellesley (1769-1852), later Duke of Wellington. At the Battle of Assaye on 23 September, 1803, a British force of 7,000 broke a Maratha army of some 50,000; further British victories followed at Argaon on 29 November, and early in December, when Gawilgarh was seized from the Raja of Berar. These military victories came at a point when Richard Wellesley's leadership faced increasingly hostile criticism from directors of the Company concerned by the expense of the wars waged under his leadership, and a popular hostility to the imperial trappings of his administration. The attractive engraved plans are early examples of their type from Calcutta, and unusual in that the majority are signed, dated, and located by Francis Dormieux, a silversmith active at Calcutta from around 1796 to 1821. Dormieux's skill as as an engraver saw him provide five engravings for Francis Gladwin's Oriental miscellany (Calcutta, 1798). He engraved the title-age for Solvyns' A collection of two hundred and fifty coloured etchings (Calcutta, 1799), and produced a costume book (Calcutta, 1805). Two supplementary volumes of appendices were published at Calcutta in 1804 and 1805, documenting the continuing conflict between British forces and the remnants of the Maratha Confederacy. These were titled as the second and third parts to the Appendix of the present work, but were compiled by Wellesley and issued separately. The text of our volume was reprinted at London in the following year.