Appletons' Cyclopædia of American Biography/Fitzgerald, Edward (patriot)

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FITZGERALD, Lord Edward, Irish patriot, b. near Dublin, Ireland, 15 Oct., 1763; d. there, 4 June, 1798. He was a younger son of the first Duke of Leinster, and lost his father at the age of ten. His mother married again, and removed to the Continent, where Edward was carefully educated by his step-father. He entered the army on his return to England in 1779, and in 1781 sailed with his regiment for America, where he soon obtained the appointment of aide-de-camp on the staff of Lord Rawdon. He gained in the Revolutionary war no little reputation for personal courage, readiness of resource, and humane feeling, and was severely wounded in the battle of Eutaw Springs, S. C. After the surrender of Yorktown, he joined the staff of Gen. O'Hara in the island of St. Lucia, in 1783, but returned in the same year to Ireland. He was elected as member for Athy to the Irish parliament, and afterward rejoined his regiment at Halifax. He subsequently travelled through the United States, going down the Mississippi river to New Orleans. In 1790 he returned to Ireland, and was again returned to parliament. Having at a public meeting avowed his sympathy with the republicans, and renounced his title, in common with several other English officers, he was dismissed from the army. In 1790 he joined the “United Irishmen,” was afterward elected their president, and was sent to France to negotiate a treaty with the Directory for a French invasion of Ireland. The scheme was betrayed to the English ministry, and several of the leaders were arrested, but Fitzgerald, having concealed himself in a house in Dublin, still continued to direct the movement. A price was set on his head, the place of his retreat discovered, and, after a severe struggle in which he was mortally wounded, he was captured by police officers and committed to prison, 19 May, 1798, where he died in June. See “The Life and Death of Lord Edward Fitzgerald,” by Thomas Moore (2 vols., London, 1831).