Lord Edward FitzGerald

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Edward FitzGerald

Death: Died in Dublin Prison, Dublin, County Dublin, Ireland
Cause of death: mortally wounded while resisting arrest on a charge of treason
Place of Burial: Saint Werburgh's Church, Dublin County, Dublin, Ireland
Immediate Family:

Son of James FitzGerald, 1st Duke of Leinster and Emilia Mary Ogilvie
Husband of (Pamela) Stephanie Caroline Anne Syms and Pamela Brûlart de Sillery
Father of Edward Fox Fitzgerald; Pamela Fitzgerald; Edward Fox FitzGerald and Lucy Louisa FitzGerald
Brother of William FitzGerald, 2nd Duke of Leinster; Lady Charlotte Strutt; Charles James St Fitzgerald; George George FitzGerald of Fitzgerald, Lord Orphaly; Lord Henry FitzGerald and 6 others
Half brother of Cecilia Margaret Lock and Emily Charlotte Beauclerk

Managed by: Private User
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About Lord Edward FitzGerald


Fitzgerald joined the British Army in 1779, he served on the staff of Lord Rawdon in the southern theater of the American Revolutionary War. He was seriously wounded at the Battle of Eutaw Springs on 8 September 1781, his life being saved by a newly-liberated African slave named Tony Small ('Faithful Tony'), whom Lord Edward employed to the end of his life.

He was evacuated from Charleston, South Carolina in 1782 when the British forces abandoned the city.


Eighteen years later, Fitzgerald was a revolutionary himself. As military leader of the Society of United Irishmen, he was a major figure in the Irish Rebellion of 1798. The Rebellion was designed to establish an independent Irish republic.

In a scene reminicient of an Old West shootout, Fitzgerald died of wounds he suffered while being arrested just prior to the start of the rebellion.



As a fellow member of the upper class, the Government had been anxious to make an exception for FitzGerald so as to avoid the embarrassing and dangerous consequences of his subversive activities. The Government communicated its willingness to spare him from the normal fate meted out to "traitors". The Lord Chancellor, Lord Clare, said to a member of his family, "for God's sake get this young man out of the country; the ports shall be thrown open, and no hindrance whatever offered."

FitzGerald refused to desert others who could not escape, and whom he had himself led into danger. On 30 March, the government proclamation of martial law authorising the military to act as they saw fit to crush the United Irishmen, led to a campaign of vicious brutality in many parts of the country, and forced the United Irish executive to bring forward plans for the rising.

Arrest and Death

The capture of Lord Edward FitzGerald, the most dangerous United Irish leader still at liberty, was now the top priority of Dublin Castle and on 9 May a reward of £1,000 was offered for his apprehension. FitzGerald had been in hiding, but had twice visited his wife in disguise and was himself visited by his stepfather. Meanwhile, the date for the rising was finally fixed for 23 May and FitzGerald awaited the day hiding in a house in Thomas Street, Dublin.

However, his hiding place was disclosed by a Catholic barrister and informer named Magan and on 18 May Town Major Henry C. Sirr led a military party to the house where Lord Edward was in bed suffering from a fever. Alerted by the commotion, he jumped out of bed and, ignoring the pleas of the arresting officers Major Swan and Captain Ryan to surrender peacefully, FitzGerald stabbed Swan and mortally wounded Ryan with a dagger in a desperate attempt to escape. He was only secured after Sirr shot him in the shoulder and he was beaten unconscious by the rifle butts of the soldiers.

He was conveyed to Newgate Prison, Dublin where he was denied proper medical treatment. At the age of 34, he died of his wounds on the 4th of June 1798 as the rebellion raged outside. He was buried the next day in the cemetery of St Werburgh's Church, Dublin. An Act of Attainder confiscating his property was passed, but was eventually repealed in 1819.

Shortly after his death, Lord Edward’s sister, Lady Lucy FitzGerald, authored the following statement regarding her brother's fidelity to Ireland: "Irishmen, Countrymen, it is Edward FitzGerald's sister who addresses you: it is a woman but that woman is his sister: she would therefore die for you as he did. I don't mean to remind you of what he did for you. 'Twas no more than his duty. Without ambition he resigned every blessing this world could afford to be of use to you, to his Countrymen whom he loved better than himself, but in this he did no more than his duty; he was a Paddy and no more; he desired no other title than this".

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Lord Edward FitzGerald's Timeline

October 15, 1763
December 27, 1792
Age 29
Tournai, France
Age 32
June 4, 1798
Age 34
Dublin Prison, Dublin, County Dublin, Ireland
Saint Werburgh's Church, Dublin County, Dublin, Ireland