Robert Emmet

On this date in 1803, Robert Emmet, the Irish patriot and infidel, was hanged. Born in 1778 to a Protestant family, he attended Trinity College in Dublin, until he joined the United Irishmen. He fled to France in 1800 after the Irish Rebellion of 1798 was crushed. There Emmet became a Deist and met Napoleon and Talleyrand. For organizing an aborted uprising against the British upon his return to Ireland in 1803, Emmet was condemned to death. Refusing to permit a priest's ministrations, Emmet called out on his way to the scaffold that he was "an infidel by conviction," according to the History of the Irish Rebellion by Maxwell. (Source: A Biographical Dictionary of Modern Rationalists by Joseph McCabe.)

Compiled by Annie Laurie Gaylor

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