The Trial of 'Bill Burn,' Under Martin's ActFrom an original Picture by P. Mathews. 'Bill's Donkey Then Was Brought Into Court, Who Caused of Course a Deal of Sport; He Cocked His Ears and Op'd His Jaws, As Tho' He Meant to Plead His Cause.'
Ackermann & Co., London dirext. Published by P. Mathews, Stourbridge. [1838.
Hand-coloured aquatint. 490 x 595mm (19¼ x 23½"), in contemporary veneered frame. Accompanied by contemporary explanatory text. Trimmed to plate, unexamined out of frame, frame knocked.
The first prosecution under the 1822 Martin's Act, entitled "Ill Treatment of Cattle Bill", designed to prevent cruelty to animals. As such it was the first known prosecution for animal cruelty in the world. The prosecution of Bill Burn, at the Old Bailey, was brought by Colonel Richard Martin, [1754-1834], MP for Galway, and animal rights activist, the charge being one of cruelty after Burns was found beating his donkey. When it appeared that the Magistrates of the Court were not going to convict, Martin brought the poor animal into the Courtroom so that everyone could see its wounds, leaving the magistrates no choice but to find Burn guilty and fine him. On the floor is a dog-eared copy of Martin's act; under the large clock is a notice 'First Offence! Public Notice. Whereas P. Mathews having been convicted [of] stealing material from a comic song and murdering the subject, craves the pardon of the critics of Hagley Bazaar, Aug. 1838'. The comic song is reproduced on the text sheet.
[Ref: 15523] £850.00