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 the offer of a cleric’s ministrations on the way to his execution, Emmet told him, “I appreciate your motives, and I thank you for your kindness, but you merely disturb the last moments of a dying man unnecessarily. I am an infidel from conviction, and no reasoning can shake my unbelief.” (Source: History of the Irish Rebellion in 1798 by William Hamilton Maxwell, 1845.)

Freedom From Religion Foundation