|Pages/Publication Date:||304 / 2019|
On February 21st, 1803, Edward Marcus Despard was hanged before a crowd of 20,000, having been found guilty of plotting to kill the king. But who was Despard? Was he, as his comrade Lord Nelson believed, an outstanding British army officer of unimpeachable courage and patriotism? Or, as the white slave-owners of the Caribbean claimed, a traitor not only to his nation but to his race, who had married a local woman and championed the rights of freed slaves? Here Mike Jay tells the story of this bold, freethinking Irishman, whose fate failed to spark a violent revolution, but presaged the birth of modern democracy.