Lot 7
  • 7

# - Casement, Roger.

7,000 - 9,000 GBP
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  • A Collection relating to his diplomatic career and posthumous reputation, comprising:
i) Foreign Office correspondence: two typed letters signed by Henry Hamilton Johnston, together with a duplicate of one letter with some manuscript corrections, two autograph letters signed by Lord Beauchamp, and one autograph letter signed by Charles Dilke, all to Casement, on misgovernment in the Belgian Congo and a condemnatory resolution drafted by Dilke ("...this meeting condemns the present system of personal rule established by the Sovereign of the Congo Independent State..."), May to July 1905; two typed letters signed by Arthur Rowley on conditions and life in Haiti, docketed by Casement, 19 August to 22 October 1907, and three other items; five typed letters signed by Lord Dufferin and Ava concerning Casement's next diplomatic posting, each docketed by Casement and two with lengthy subscriptions ("...they will send me back to Sao Paulo ... & in a year 'about' offer me Rio. But I hate & loathe Sao Paulo as much as Santos - & Rio is a hideous hole ... altogether the F.O. are the most unsatisfactory people in the world!..."), together with two autograph draft letters by Casement to Dufferin reluctantly accepting a posting to Para and complaining about tardy communications from the Foreign Office, 15 November to 31 December 1907; two autograph draft letters by Casement to the Foreign Secretary Sir Edward Grey on his appointment at Consul General at Rio de Janeiro ("...I would desire that my most dutiful acknowledgments of His Majesty's gracious choice of me for this post might be expressed on my behalf...") and presenting travelling expenses, Dublin and London, 30 January to 6 February 1909; letter of appointment as Consul General at Rio de Janeiro, docketed by Casement, 1 December 1908; 14 letters, chiefly from civil servants in the Foreign Office, relating to Casement's posting to Rio, including his investigation into abuses of indigenous people by the Peruvian Amazon Rubber Company in the Putumayo Basin ("...regarding the publication of your report ... the Dept. is unwilling as yet to give up entirely the hope that Peru may take effective measures that will shield her from the results of publicity...") and congratulations on his knighthood, docketed by Casement, 21 January 1911 to 18 December 1912; a letter by J. H. Morgan (later Casement's defence counsel at his trial) advising him to write to Lord Grey asking for a Colonial Governorship ("...allow me as a friend – and, I hope, an intimate one – to say it, don't be too proud to do this..."), 11 September 1913; altogether 75 pages, various sizes, 1905-1913

ii) Correspondence about Roger Casement and his posthumous reputation, chiefly to his favourite cousin and confidante gertrude parry (née bannister): five letters relating to the proposed reinterment of casement's body including a typed letter signed by ramsay macdonald as Prime Minister, refusing this request and also refusing to produce Casement's diaries (25 March 1924), copies of letters by Jan Smuts, and notes on legal precedents for the reinterment; 36 letters on the threatened publication of casement's 'black' diaries by peter singleton-gates in 1925 including letters by randall davidson, archbishop of canterbury ("...experience warns me that there is no more perilous thing than to try to prevent the publication of a book which the author is determined to publish..."), george gavan duffy (2) warning that an injunction to prevent publication "may be used by Roger's enemies as evidence that there is something to hide & a pirated edition might be issued (really by Whitehall), which would sell all the better", eva gore-booth (2) deploring the threatened publication, Casement's brother Tom on his relationship with Roger, his lobbying activities in Dublin, and the history of the diaries, letters and telegrams by Gertrude's husband Sidney Parry from London on his enquiries with the media and lobbying of the British Government, and letters by various publishers, journalists, lawyers (notably Sir Charles Russell), and British civil servants, eventually leading to the suppression of the publication ("...the [British] govmt have warned those concerned, & there is in fact no publisher undertaking to publish- & that the PM has given a personal pledge..."); 19 letters by biographers, namely Charles E. Curry (3), a friend of Casement based in Germany, on his work on Casement's letters and the prospect of a film being made on his life, 1922-31, Denis Gwynn, enclosing letters by friends and acquaintances of Casement, Stephen Gwynn, with copies of letters by Gertrude Parry refusing to assist him, and W.J. Maloney (6), researching his book Young Casement; 14 other items including letters by oliver gogarty, on a portrait of Casement (16 November 1922), Lady Constance Malleson, Ronald McNeill (Lord Cushenden) (2), draft letters by Gertrude Parry to newspapers in defence of Roger Casement, and three poems on Casement; in total over 170 pages, mostly 4to and 8vo, many envelopes, mostly 1920s

iii) Other Parry family papers including correspondence, contracts, legal documents (including Gertrude Parry's will), receipts, and photographs, c.50 pages, 1840s-1940s

iv) A bundle of press cuttings mostly relating to Roger Casement, two typescript articles by Sidney Parry, and 12 pamphlets including The Sinn Fein Leaders of 1916 (Dublin, 1917)


R. Sawyer, Casement: the Flawed Hero (1984); B. Inglis, Roger Casement (2002)

Catalogue Note

"...He put his whole strength in the Irish cause, all his thoughts and his entire time were for his beloved Ireland, for hours and hours he could talk of the country so dear to him and his hopes for Home Rule and out of every word you heard the deep love for everything connected with his country..."

an unknown cache of letters relating to one of the most complex and controversial figures of irish nationalism. These papers record both Casement's valuable diplomatic and humanitarian work for the British state (including his acceptance of a knighthood), and the later years of the restless "ghost of Roger Casement".  

These letters also show how Casement's supporters reacted to the first attempt to publish the "Black Diaries". They concluded (naturally enough) that this was a further attempt by the British government to blacken Casement's name, and many assumed that the diaries were forgeries. In fact the UK authorities were as keen as Casement's family to see the diaries suppressed, and it was not until 1959 that Peter Singleton-Gates was finally able to publish them, in Paris, with the Olympia Press. These letters provide some fascinating insights, such as Roger's elder brother Tom recalling his earlier involvement with the diaries during the treaty negotiations of 1921:

"...You remember [Michael] Collins told me that [Lord] Birkenhead had told him that if I went to London with him the diary would be burned in front of us both. That d- fool Gavan Duffy advised me not to..."