This specially-made gilt stamp comes from the cover of the copy of An Account of the Society of Friends of Foreigners in Distress, (established 1806,) for the Year 1853 (London, for the Society, 1853) once in the library of the King of Hanover, one of the Society’s patrons.
The Society of Friends of Foreigners in Distress was set up in London in 1806 with the aim of providing ‘relief to indigent foreigners here, without distinction of country or religion, especially to those who are not entitled to parochial aid: and to provide the means to such as are desirous to return to their own country’ (p. 10). A list printed in the Account shows that the Society enjoyed the protection of the Queen and Prince Albert, the Tsar, the Emperor of Austria, and the Kings of Prussia, the Netherlands, Sweden and Norway, Belgium, Saxony etc. The Society’s President was the Duke of Wellington.
The Account includes a Report for the year, with details of the number of individuals helped (1674); its laws and regulations; lists of benefactors, subscribers, legacies and other donations; and, in an appendix, descriptive accounts of the 37 candidates for pensions, from which ten were to be chosen.
A fascinating, and very rare, document from the history of British philanthropy.