(February 9, 1748, Piscataway, N.J. – July 8, 1826 New York, N.Y.) was a politician and one of United States’ Founding Fathers, who refused to sign the Constitution because he felt it violated states’ rights. He was a leading Anti-Federalist, along with Patrick Henry and George Mason, whose actions helped passage of the Bill of Rights.
Martin is now most famous for his work against the cruelty to animals, especially against bear baiting and dog fighting. His actions resulted eventually in Martin’s Act of 1822, entitled “Ill Treatment of Cattle Bill”. He also tried to spread his ideas in the streets of London, becoming the target of jokes and political cartoons that depicted him with ears of an ass. He also sometimes paid fines of minor offenders. On 16 June 1824 he was present when the Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals was founded in a London coffee shop “Old Slaughter’s”, though he denied being the initiator of the society.
Martin also had a very eventful life. He was a colonel of the County Galway Volunteers. He survived two shipwrecks. He fought over a hundred duels with sword and pistol and earned the nickname “Hairtrigger Dick”. He travelled extensively in Europe and the Americas during the 1770s and was in New England when the American Revolutionary War began. He initiated Galway’s first theatre in 1783. He employed as tutor to his younger half-brothers Theobald Wolfe Tone, who had an affair with Martin’s wife. Martin was in Paris when the French Revolution began during 1789.
Martin was on a first-name basis with many of the famous names of his age, Henry Flood, Henry Grattan, William Pitt, King George IV (who gave him the nickname “Humanity Dick”), Queen Caroline and Daniel O’Connell.
Unseating and escape
After the election of 1826, Martin was deprived of his parliamentary seat because of a petition which accused him of illegal intimidation during the election. He had to flee into hasty exile to Boulogne, France, because he could no longer enjoy a parliamentary immunity to arrest for debt. He died there peacefully in the presence of his second wife and their three daughters on 6 January 1834.
Martin’s first wife was the Honourable Elizabeth Vesey, a daughter of Lord Trimblestown. They had nine children, of whom only three survived childhood. His daughter, Mary, was born in 1783. Her brothers were Thomas B. Martin (1786–1847) and St. George (died 1805). Following the revelation of her affair with a Mr. Petrie in Paris, Martin sued Petrie for criminal conversation in 1791 and was awarded £10,000. He had this distributed to the poor by throwing it out the windows of his coach on the long journey back from London to Galway.
In 1793 he married the novelist Harriet Evans Martin in Nenagh, and had by her four surviving children, including the writer Harriet Letitia Martin (1801–1891, and Rev. Richard Martin (1797–1878). The latter emigrated to Canada in 1834 and had descendants, who included D’Arcy Argue Counsell Martin, c.1899–1992.
Glenn Luther Martin
(January 17, 1886 – December 5, 1955) was an American aviation pioneer. He designed and built his own aircraft and was an active pilot. He founded his own aircraft company in 1912 which today through several mergers is amalgamated into the Lockheed Martin company.