Charles Beckwith, Lt. Colonel Anglais, Bienfaiteur des Vaudois.
A very rare lithograph. 545 x 376mm. 21½ x 14¾". Two holes. Some creasing.
John Charles Beckwith (1789-1862) was a British army officer and missionary. He entered the British army in 1803, and in 1815 he served with Sir Thomas Picton's divsion at the battles of Quatre-Bras and Waterloo, where he lost his leg after it was shattered by a cannonball. He was awarded the Waterloo Medal and promoted to lieutenant-colonel. In 1837 he was raised to colonel and in 1846 to major-general. After his injury he returned home to Halifax, where he became a founder and patron of the town's first Sunday school, and in 1826 he was invited to visit the Duke of Wellington at Apsley House in London where he read Dr William Stephen Gilly's "Narrative of an Excursion to the Mountains of Piemont" (London, 1824). This inspired Beckwith to take an interest in the plight of a small group of Protestants known as Waldensians or Vaudois who lived in the Piedmont valleys near Pinerolo. He visited the Waldensians for several years until he decided to move to Turin and devote the rest of his life to assisting them. He worked to improve Waldensian schools, and therefore collected money from friends in England, visited the schools, urged building of new schools by the community, sent teachers to Lausanne and Florence for training, and encouraged the education of women. In all he opened or restored 120 district schools. In 1848, in recognition of his labours with the Waldensians, Beckwith received the cross of St Maurice and St Lazarius from the king.
[Ref: 17805] £190.00