“Self government is our right, a thing born to us at birth. A thing no more to be doled out to us by another people than the right to life itself; than the right to feel the sun or smell the flowers or to love our kind.” –Sir Roger Casement
Roger Casement is executed for “High Treason.” The Dublin born Casement was seen as a traitor by the British establishment for his efforts to import arms from WWI opponents Germany for the 1916 Rising. Captured after disembarking from a German submarine at Banna Strand, Co. Kerry, he was sentenced to death 29 June 1916. Casement’s crimes were seen as being particularly egregious as he had worked for many years in the British Diplomatic Service and had been conferred a Knight. This title was stripped from him before his execution.
Former UK Chancellor Norman Lamont chose Casement’s speech from the dock as his “greatest speech of all time.” In it, Casement did not deny his activities but he did question England’s right to try him.
“This charge of high treason involves a moral responsibility, as the very terms of the indictment against myself recite, inasmuch as I committed the acts I am charged with to the “evil example of others in like case”. What was the evil example I set to others in the like case, and who were these others? The “evil example” charged is that I asserted the right of my own country and the “others” I appealed to, to aid my endeavour, were my own countrymen. The example was given, not to Englishmen, but to Irishmen, and the “like case” can never arise in England, but only in Ireland. To Englishmen I set no evil example, for I made no appeal to them. I asked no Englishman to help me. I asked Irishmen to fight for their rights. The “evil example” was only to other Irishmen, who might come after me, and in “like case” seek to do as I did. How, then, since neither my example, nor my appeal was addressed to Englishmen, can I be rightfully tried by them?”
Fuair siad bás ar son Saoirse na hÉireann.
Detailed bio on Roger Casement: http://spartacus-educational.com/IREcasement.htm