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BECKX—BECQUEREL

year lieutenant-colonel. Beckwith was one of the favourite officers of Sir John Moore in the famous camp of Shorncliffe, and aided that general in the training of the troops which afterwards became the Light Division. In 1806 he served in the expedition to Hanover, and in 1807 in that which captured Copenhagen. In 1806 the Rifles were present at Vimeira, and in the campaign of Sir John Moore they bore the brunt of the rearguard fighting. Beckwith took part in the great march of Craufurd to the field of Talavera, in the advanced guard fights on the Coa in 1810 and in the campaign in Portugal. On the formation of the Light Division he was given a brigade command in it. After the brilliant action of Sabugal, Beckwith had to retire for a time from active service, but the Rifles and the brigade he had trained and commanded added to their fame on every subsequent battlefield. In 1812 he went to Canada as assistant quartermaster-general, and he took part in the war against the United States. In 1814 he became major-general, and in 1815 was created K.C.B. In 1827 he was made colonel commandant of the Rifle Brigade. He went to India as commander-in-chief at Bombay in 1829, and was promoted lieutenant-general in the following year. He died on the 15th of January 1831 at Mahableshwar.

His elder brother, Sir George Beckwith (1753-1823), distinguished himself as a regimental officer in the American War of Independence, and served subsequently in high administrative posts and in numerous successful military operations in the West Indies during the French Revolutionary and Napoleonic wars. He was made a K.B. for his capture of Martinique in 1809, and attained the full rank of general in 1814. Sir George Beckwith commanded the forces in Ireland, 1816-1820. He died in London on the 20th of March 1823.

Their nephew, Major-General John Charles Beckwith (1789-1862), joined the 50th regiment in 1803, exchanging in 1804 into the 95th Rifles, with which regiment he served in the Peninsular campaigns of 1808-10. He was subsequently employed on the staff of the Light Division, and he was repeatedly mentioned in despatches, becoming in 1814 a brevet-major, and after the battle of Waterloo (in which he lost a leg) lieutenant-colonel and C.B. In 1820 he left active service. Seven years later an accident drew his attention to the Waldenses, whose past history and present condition influenced him so strongly that he settled in the valleys of Piedmont. The rest of his life was spent in the self-imposed task of educating the Waldenses, for whom he established and maintained a large number of schools, and in reviving the earlier faith of the people. In 1848 King Charles Albert made him a knight of the order of St Maurice and St Lazarus. He was promoted colonel in the British army in 1837 and major-general in 1846. He died on the 19th of July 1862 at La Torre, Piedmont.


BECKX, PIERRE JEAN (1795-1887), general of the Society of Jesus, was born at Sichem in Belgium on the 8th of February 1795, and entered the novitiate of the order at Hildesheim in 1819. His first important post was as procurator for the province of Austria, 1847; next year he became rector of the Jesuit college at Louvain, and, after serving as secretary to the provincials of Belgium and Austria, was elected head of the order in 1853. His tenure of office was marked by an increased zeal for missions in Protestant lands, and by the removal of the society’s headquarters from Rome to Fiesole near Florence in 1870. His chief literary work was the often-translated Month of Mary (Vienna, 1843). He retired in September 1883, being succeeded by Anthony M. Anderledy, a Swiss, who had seen service in the United States. He died at Rome on the 4th of March 1887.


BECQUE, HENRY FRANÇOIS (1837-1899), French dramatist, was born on the 9th of April 1837 in Paris. He wrote the book of an opera Sardanapale in imitation of Lord Byron for the music of M. Victorin Joncières in 1867, but his first important work, Michel Pauper, appeared in 1870. The importance of this sombre drama was first realized when it was revived at the Odéon in 1886. Les Corbeaux (1882) established Becque’s position as an innovator, and in 1885 he produced his most successful play, La Parisienne. Becque produced little during the last years of his life, but his disciples carried on the tradition he had created. He died in May 1899.

See his Querelles littéraires (1890), and Souvenirs d’un auteur dramatique (1895), consisting chiefly of reprinted articles in which he does not spare his opponents. His Théâtre complet (3 vols., 1899) includes L’Enfant prodigue (Vaudeville Theatre, 6th of Nov. 1868); Michel Pauper (Théâtre de la Porte-Saint-Martin, 17th of June 1870); L’Enlèvement (Vaudeville, 18th of Nov. 1871); La Navette (Gymnase, 15th of Nov. 1878); Les Honnêtes Femmes (Gymnase, 1st of Jan. 1880); Les Corbeaux (Comédie Française, 14th of Sept. 1882); La Parisienne (Théâtre de la Renaissance, 7th of Feb. 1885).


BÉCQUER, GUSTAVO ADOLFO (1836-1870), Spanish poet and romance-writer, was born at Seville on the 17th of February 1836. Left an orphan at an early age, he was educated by his godmother, refused to adopt any profession, and drifted to Madrid, where he obtained a small post in the civil service. He was dismissed for carelessness, became an incorrigible Bohemian, and earned a precarious living by translating foreign novels; he died in great poverty at Madrid on the 22nd of December 1870. His works were published posthumously in 1873. In such prose tales as El Rayo de Luna and La Mujer de piedra, Bécquer is manifestly influenced by Hoffmann, and as a poet he has analogies with Heine. He dwells in a fairyland of his own, crooning a weird elfin music which has no parallel in Spanish; his work is unfinished and unequal, but it is singularly free from the rhetoric characteristic of his native Andalusia, and its lyrical ardour is of a beautiful sweetness and sincerity.


BECQUEREL, the name of a French family, several members of which have been distinguished in chemical and physical research.

Antoine César Becquerel (1788-1878), was born at Châtillon sur Loing on the 8th of March 1788. After passing through the École Polytechnique he became ingénieur-officier in 1808, and saw active service with the imperial troops in Spain from 1810 to 1812, and again in France in 1814. He then resigned from the army and devoted the rest of his life to scientific investigation. His earliest work was mineralogical in character, but he soon turned his attention to the study of electricity and especially of electrochemistry. In 1837 he received the Copley medal from the Royal Society “for his various memoirs on electricity, and particularly for those on the production of metallic sulphurets and sulphur by the long-continued action of electricity of very low tension,” which it was hoped would lead to increased knowledge of the “recomposition of crystallized bodies, and the processes which may have been employed by nature in the production of such bodies in the mineral kingdom.” In biological chemistry he worked at the problems of animal heat and at the phenomena accompanying the growth of plants, and he also devoted much time to meteorological questions and observations. He was a prolific writer, his books including Traité d’électricité et du magnétisme (1834-1840), Traité de physique dans ses rapports avec la chimie (1842), Éléments de l’électro-chimie (1843), Traité complet du magnétisme (1845), Éléments de physique terrestre et de météorologie (1847), and Des climats et de l’influence qu’exercent les sols boisés et déboisés (1853). He died on the 18th of January 1878 in Paris, where from 1837 he had been professor of physics at the Musée d’Histoire Naturelle.

His son, Alexandre Edmond Becquerel (1820-1891), was born in Paris on the 24th of March 1820, and was in turn his pupil, assistant and successor at the Musée d’Histoire Naturelle; he was also appointed professor at the short-lived Agronomic Institute at Versailles in 1849, and in 1853 received the chair of physics at the Conservatoire des Arts et Métiers. Edmond Becquerel was associated with his father in much of his work, but he himself paid special attention to the study of light, investigating the photochemical effects and spectroscopic characters of solar radiation and the electric light, and the phenomena of phosphorescence, particularly as displayed by the sulphides and by compounds of uranium. It was in connexion with these latter inquiries that he devised his phosphoroscope, an apparatus which enabled the interval between exposure to the source of light and observation of the resulting effects to