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Robert Emmet

Emmet, Robert, 1778–1803, Irish nationalist and revolutionary. He studied at Trinity College, Dublin, but left in 1798 because of his nationalist sympathies. In 1800 he went to France, where with exiled United Irishmen he planned a French-aided uprising in Ireland. Returning (1802) to Ireland, he scheduled the uprising for the summer of 1803. The insurrection, which took place in July, 1803, ended in utter confusion. Emmet himself, who had attempted a march on Dublin Castle with about 100 men, fled. However, he returned to Dublin soon after, partly to be near Sarah Curran, daughter of John Philpot Curran. He was captured, tried, and hanged. Leonard MacNally, his attorney, was in the pay of the crown, and many of Emmet's associates were informers for the British government. Emmet became a hero of Irish nationalists, largely on the basis of his stirring speech from the scaffold.

See biography by L. O'Broin (1958); study by H. Landreth (1964).

The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright © 2012, Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.

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