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1754: Irish Politician who Fought for the Rights of Catholics and Against Animal Cruelty

1754: Irish Politician who Fought for the Rights of Catholics and Against Animal Cruelty
Photo Credit To https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/8/8c/Trial_of_Bill_Burns.jpg

Richard Martin advocated for the rights of Catholics, who were in his time in a very bad position on British territory. Namely, the Catholics were discriminated against and were not equal before the law to members of the Anglican Church.

On this day in 1754, Irish politician and activist Richard Martin, known as one of the first fighters against animal cruelty, was born. Martin was born at the family’s Ballynahinch Castle, in the far west of Ireland, not far from the Atlantic coast. He came from a prominent and wealthy family and was educated in England. By his year of birth, Richard Martin was a contemporary of the French King Louis XVI, who was executed on the guillotine during the French Revolution. Also, Martin was only two years older than the famous composer Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart. As a politician, Richard Martin advocated for the rights of Catholics, who were in his time in a very bad position on British territory. Namely, the Catholics were discriminated against and were not equal before the law to members of the Anglican Church.

This was particularly problematic considering the large number of Catholics in Ireland (this country was in Martin’s time under British rule). The reforms which improved the rights of Catholics in the UK, were started only in 1778.

Another political activity by Richard Martin was the fight against animal cruelty. By his devotion the so-called “Martin’s Act”, one of the first laws in the world dealing with the treatment of animals, was passed in the British Parliament in 1822. Apparently British King George IV bestowed on Richard Martin for his humanity a nickname “Humanity Dick” (Dick is a common abbreviation of the name Richard). Martin lived up until 1834 and died just nine days before his 80th birthday.

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