The Subsidiary Alliance
Lord Wellesley introduced the system of Subsidiary Alliance to bring the princely states under the control of the British. It was the most effective instrument for the expansion of the British territory and political influence in India. The princely state was called ‘the protected state’ and the British came to be referred as ‘the paramount power’. It was the duty of the British to safeguard the state from external aggression and to help its ruler in maintaining internal peace.
Main Features of Subsidiary Alliance
* An Indian ruler entering into this alliance with the British had to dissolve his own armed forces and accept British Forces.
* A British Resident would stay in his capital.
* Towards the maintenance charges of the army, he should make annual payments or cede some territory permanently to the Company.
* All the non-English European officials should be turned out of his state.
* The native ruler should deal with foreign states only through the English Company.
* The British would undertake to defend the state from internal trouble as well as external attack.
Merits for the British
* The British Company maintained a large army at the expense of the Indian rulers.
* All Frenchmen in the service of native rulers were dismissed, and the danger of French revival was completely eliminated.
* The British Company began to control the foreign policy of the Princely States.
* Wellesley’s diplomacy made the British the paramount power in India. He transformed the British Empire in India into the British empire of India.
Defects of the Princely states
The Subsidiary Alliances made the Indian rulers weak, oppressive and irresponsible. Protected by British arms, they neglected their duty towards their subjects and even exploited them.
The first Indian state to accept the Subsidiary Alliance was Hyderabad (1798). It was followed byTanjore(1799), Awadh(1801), Peshwa (1802), Bhonsle (1803), Gwalior (1804), Indore (1817), Jaipur, Udaipur and Jodhpur (1818).