WELLESLEY, Richard.

Notes relative to the Late Transactions in the Marhatta [sic] Empire.

With an Appendix of Official Documents, and also Six Engravings Illustrative of the Several Battles, from Drawings taken on the Spot.

London: J. Debrett, 1804 Stock Code: 143667
£1,750.00

The consolidation of British power in India.

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Notes

First London edition of this account of the early stages of the Second Anglo-Maratha War (1803-5), first published the previous year at Calcutta. Issued anonymously, it was the work Richard, Marquess Wellesley, at the time governor-general of Bengal, and older brother of the duke of Wellington who took a significant part in these campaigns, and it glorifies a conflict which Wellesley promoted and which represented a final consolidation of British power in India, but this at considerable expense in treasure and to Wellesley's reputation.

"Until 1804 the British government, and Castlereagh in particular, had generally favoured Wellesley, drawing credit from his suppression of the supposed French threat to India. The directors, however, had become bitterly hostile, resenting alike the cost of the governor-general's victories, his scarcely concealed contempt for their residual monopolies of trade and public office, and the proconsular style of his government. The setbacks against Holkar and Bharatpur turned the ministry against Wellesley too, and in 1805 he was, to all intents and purposes, recalled. Hereafter the legacy of his Indian administration was to come under increasing attack in the British press, in parliament, and from the court of directors" (ODNB). Wellesley's reputation waned in the early decades of the century, but revived "as the generation of Indian officers whom he had promoted, such as Malcolm and Edmonstone, wrote memoirs and achieved power among the directors, Wellesley began to be seen as a guarantor of the British destiny in India as notable as Robert Clive and Warren Hastings". An attractive copy of this significant account.

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Description

Quarto (264 x 205 mm). Contemporary half calf, blue-grey Romantic pattern marbled boards, green morocco label to the spine, compartment delineated by double rules, single rules at the spine and corner edges, edges sprinkled red.

Illustrations

Folding Order of Battle for General Lake's army, battle plans for Assaye, Delhi, Laswari and the siege of Aligarh together with a plan of the "Entrance of the Troops into the Fort of Allyyghur", all printed on thick paper and with dispositions hand-colour

Condition

A little rubbed, corners bumped, short scrape to the paper on the front board together with small patch of insect damage, variable light browning to the text-block, a very good copy.

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