Emmet, Robert

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 IrishmenUnited Irishmen
or United Irish Society,
Irish political organization. It was founded at Belfast in 1791 by Theobald Wolfe Tone. Disgruntled by the use of English patronage to control Irish politics, the organization aimed at legislative reform "founded on the
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 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 CurranCurran, John Philpot
, 1750–1817, Irish statesman and orator. He became the best-known trial lawyer in Dublin when he was still very young and entered the Irish Parliament in 1783.
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. He was captured, tried, and hanged. Leonard MacNallyMacNally, Leonard,
1752–1820, Irish political informer. A lawyer, he joined the United Irishmen and defended many of their members in court. His clients, however, were invariably convicted, and after his death it was discovered that MacNally had been in the pay of the
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, 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).

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The following article is from The Great Soviet Encyclopedia (1979). It might be outdated or ideologically biased.

Emmet, Robert


Born 1778 in Dublin; died there Sept. 20, 1803. Figure in the Irish national movement.

In 1798, Emmet joined the United Irishmen, among whose leaders was his brother, Thomas Emmet. He shared the revolutionary democratic ideas of the society’s left wing. He spent the years between 1799 and 1802 in France. Emmet opposed the Act of Union of 1801 and favored the creation of an independent Irish republic. Upon returning to his homeland in 1802, he began planning for an armed insurrection. However, his attempt in July 1803 to raise a rebellion ended in failure, and Emmet was executed.

The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.
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