Emmet fled into hiding but was captured on 25 August, near Harold's Cross. He endangered his life by moving his hiding place from Rathfarnam to Harold's Cross so that he could be near his sweetheart, Sarah Curran. He was tried for treason on 19 September; the Crown repaired the weaknesses in its case by secretly buying the assistance of Emmet's defence attorney, Leonard Macnally, for £200 and a pension. However his assistant Peter Burrowes could not be bought and pleaded the case as best he could.
After he had been sentenced Emmet delivered a speech, the Speech from the Dock, which is especially remembered for its closing sentences and secured his posthumous fame among executed Irish republicans. However no definitive version was written down by Emmet himself.
Let no man write my epitaph; for as no man who knows my motives dare now vindicate them, let not prejudice or ignorance, asperse them. Let them and me rest in obscurity and peace, and my tomb remain uninscribed, and my memory in oblivion, until other times and other men can do justice to my character. When my country takes her place among the nations of the earth, then and not till then, let my epitaph be written. I have done.
An earlier version of the speech was published in 1818, in a biography on Sarah Curran's father John, emphasising that Emmet's epitaph would be written on the vindication of his character, and not specifically when Ireland took its place as a nation. It closed:
I am here ready to die. I am not allowed to vindicate my character; no man shall dare to vindicate my character; and when I am prevented from vindicating myself, let no man dare to calumniate me. Let my character and my motives repose in obscurity and peace, till other times and other men can do them justice. Then shall my character be vindicated; then may my epitaph be written.
On 19 September, Emmet was found guilty of high treason, and therefore Chief Justice Lord Norbury's death sentence required that Emmet was to be hanged, drawn and quartered.
The following day, 20 September, Emmet was executed in Thomas Street. He was hanged and then beheaded once dead. As various family members and friends of Robert had also been arrested including those who had nothing to do with the rebellion, no one came forward to claim his remains out of fear of arrest.
Read more about this topic: Robert Emmet
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“And last of all, high over thought, in the world of morals, Fate appears as vindicator, levelling the high, lifting the low, requiring justice in man, and always striking soon or late when justice is not done. What is useful will last, what is hurtful will sink.”
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