‘Humanity’ Dick Martin both embodied and transcended the colourful Regency period.

Master of vast lands in Connemara, but living in spectacular insolvency, he preferred to survive on the proceeds of smuggling than to charge his tenants rent. Backed by his private army, he protected people and animals alike. A deadly duellist, he conducted a successful vendetta against ‘mad’ Fighting Fitzgerald.

 

Raised a ‘Protestant of Convenience’ by his Jacobite father, Dick entered the Irish Parliament and for the next 50 years fought for Catholic emancipation, which he believed would only be achieved by peaceful, political ends.

 

Active in anti-slavery and criminal justice reform, he is especially remembered for his tireless campaign for animal rights. ‘Martin’s Law’ (1822) anticipated all such legislation, and he co-founded what became the Royal Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals.

 

Here is a complex, mercurial and neglected hero, bestriding the two worlds of England and Ireland.

Humanity Dick: Animal Rights Pioneer and Feared Duellist (2nd edition)

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