In 1775, the Bombay government was eager to emulate the example of Madras and Bengal by asserting its dominance at the Court of Poona. They aimed to achieve this by placing their own candidate on the throne, just as the other regions had done. Raghunath Ráo, one of the claimants to the throne of the Peshwá, agreed to cede Salsette and Bassein to the English in exchange for being reinstated as the ruler of Poona, resulting in the Treaty of Surat.
Terms of Treaty of Surat
However, Raghunathrao was not willing to relinquish his position of power and sought assistance from the British, who signed the Treaty of Surat. This agreement granted the British control of Salsette and Bassein, as well as a portion of the revenue from Surat and Bharuch districts, while promising to provide Raghunathrao with a force of 2,500 soldiers.
In 1775, Raghunathrao, with the help of Colonel Keating and his men, was able to take the Peshwa’s seat in Pune.
Conflict and Treaty of Purandhar
However, the Calcutta Council of the company heard about this and annulled the Treaty of Surat. Lieutenant Colonel Upton was sent to enter into a new agreement, resulting in the Treaty of Purandhar, signed in March 1776. This new treaty annulled the Treaty of Surat and gave Raghunathrao a pension, but abandoned his cause. The British retained Salsette and Bassein. The
Bombay government rejected the Treaty of Purandhar and provided refuge to Raghunathrao.
Despite the Treaty of Purandhar annulling the Treaty of Surat and leaving Raghunathrao with a pension, the British at Bombay refused to abandon him, insisting on the validity of their agreement. This went against the Calcutta Council’s decision to condemn the Treaty of Surat and annul it with a new treaty negotiated with the regency. The resulting tension between the two British factions eventually led to the First Anglo-Maratha War.
After First Anglo-Maratha War
After the war, Madhavrao II was accepted as the Peshwa and Raghunathrao was granted a pension of Rs.3 lakh per year. This brought an end to the period of political maneuvering and treaty-making that had characterized the preceding years, although it would not be the last time that the British and Marathas would clash over political power in India.
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