Sir Roger Casement
(Ruairí Mac Easmainn)
Casement c. 1910
Roger David Casement
1 September 1864
|Died||3 August 1916 (aged 51)|
Pentonville Prison, London, UK
|Cause of death||Execution by hanging|
|Monuments||Casement Monument at Ballyheigue Beach|
|Organisation||Irish Volunteers, British Foreign Office|
Roger David Casement (Irish: Ruairí Dáithí Mac Easmainn; 1 September 1864 – 3 August 1916), known as Sir Roger Casement, CMG, between 1911 and 1916, was a diplomat and Irish nationalist. He worked for the British Foreign Office as a diplomat and later became a humanitarian activist, poet and Easter Rising leader. Described as the "father of twentieth-century human rights investigations", he was honoured in 1905 for the Casement Report on the Congo and knighted in 1911 for his important investigations of human rights abuses in Peru.
In Africa as a young man, Casement first worked for commercial interests before joining the British Colonial Service. In 1891 he was appointed as a British consul, a profession he followed for more than 20 years. Influenced by the Boer War and his investigation into colonial atrocities against indigenous peoples, Casement grew to mistrust imperialism. After retiring from consular service in 1913, he became more involved with Irish republicanism and other separatist movements. During World War I he made efforts to gain German military aid for the 1916 Easter Rising that sought to gain Irish independence.
He was arrested, convicted and executed for high treason. He was stripped of his knighthood and other honours. Before the trial, the British government circulated excerpts said to be from his private journals, known as the Black Diaries, which detailed homosexual activities. Given prevailing views and existing laws on homosexuality, this material undermined support for clemency for Casement. Debates have continued about these diaries: a handwriting comparison study in 2002 concluded Casement had written the diaries, but this was still contested by some.
Early life and education
His father, Captain Roger Casement of the (King's Own) Regiment of Dragoons, was the son of a bankrupt Belfast shipping merchant, Hugh Casement, who later moved to Australia. Captain Casement had served in the 1842 Afghan campaign. He travelled to Europe to fight as a volunteer in the Hungarian Revolution of 1848 but arrived after the Surrender at Világos. After the family moved to England, Roger's mother, Anne Jephson (or Jepson), of a Dublin Anglican family, purportedly had him secretly baptised at the age of three as a Roman Catholic in Rhyl, Wales.[why?] However, the priest who arranged his baptism in 1916 clearly stated that the claimed earlier baptism had been in Aberystwyth, 80 miles from Rhyl, raising the question as to why such a supposedly-important event should also become so misremembered.
According to an 1892 letter, Casement believed his mother was descended from the Jephson family of Mallow, County Cork. However, the Jephson family's historian provides no evidence of this. The family lived in England in genteel poverty; Roger's mother died when he was nine. They returned to Ireland to County Antrim to live near paternal relatives. When Casement was 13 years old his father died in Ballymena, and he was left dependent on the charity of relatives, the Youngs and the Casements. He was educated at the Diocesan School, Ballymena (later the Ballymena Academy). He left school at 16 and went to England to work as a clerk with Elder Dempster, a Liverpool shipping company headed by Alfred Lewis Jones.
Roger Casement's brother, Thomas Hugh Jephson Casement (1863–1939), helped establish the Irish Coastguard Service. He drowned in Dublin's Grand Canal on 6 March 1939, and is buried in Deansgrange Cemetery.
The Congo and the Casement Report
Casement worked in the Congo for Henry Morton Stanley and the African International Association from 1884; this association became known as a front for King Leopold II of Belgium in his takeover of the Congo Free State. Casement worked on a survey to improve communication and recruited and supervised workmen in building a railroad to bypass the lower 220 miles of the Congo River, which is made unnavigable by cataracts, in order to improve transportation and trade to the Upper Congo. During his commercial work, he learned African languages.
In 1890 Casement met Joseph Conrad, who had come to the Congo to pilot a merchant ship, Le Roi des Belges ("King of the Belgians"). Both had come inspired by the idea that "European colonisation would bring moral and social progress to the continent and free its inhabitants 'from slavery, paganism and other barbarities.' Each would soon learn the gravity of his error." Conrad published his short novel Heart of Darkness in 1899. Casement would later take on a different kind of writing to expose the conditions he found in the Congo during his official investigation for the British government. In these formative years, he also met Herbert Ward, and they became longtime friends. Ward left Africa in 1889, and devoted his time to becoming an artist, but his experience there strongly influenced his work.
Casement joined the Colonial Service, under the authority of the Colonial Office, first serving overseas as a clerk in British West Africa before in August 1901 transferring to the Foreign Office service as British consul in the eastern part of the French Congo. In 1903 the Balfour Government commissioned Casement, then its consul at Boma in the Congo Free State, to investigate the human rights situation in that colony of the Belgian king, Leopold II. Setting up a private army known as the Force Publique, Leopold had squeezed revenue out of the people of the territory through a reign of terror in the harvesting and export of rubber and other resources. In trade, Belgium shipped guns, whips (chicotte) and other materials to the Congo, used chiefly to suppress the local people.
Casement travelled for weeks in the upper Congo Basin to interview people throughout the region, including workers, overseers, and mercenaries. He delivered a long, detailed eyewitness report to the Crown that exposed abuses: "the enslavement, mutilation, and torture of natives on the rubber plantations," becoming known as the Casement Report of 1904. King Leopold had held the Congo Free State since 1885, when the Berlin Conference of European powers and the United States effectively gave him free rein in the area.
Leopold had exploited the territory's natural resources (mostly rubber) as a private entrepreneur, not as king of the Belgians. Using violence and murder against men and their families, Leopold's private Force Publique had decimated many native villages in the course of forcing the men to gather rubber and abusing them to increase productivity. Casement's report provoked controversy, and some companies with a business interest in the Congo rejected its findings, as did Casement's former boss, Alfred Lewis Jones.
When the report was made public, opponents of Congolese conditions formed interest groups, such as the Congo Reform Association, founded by E. D. Morel with Casement's support, and demanded action to relieve the situation of the Congolese. Other European nations followed suit, as did the United States, and the British Parliament demanded a meeting of the 14 signatory powers to review the 1885 Berlin Agreement defining interests in Africa. The Belgian Parliament, pushed by Socialist leader Emile Vandervelde and other critics of the king's Congolese policy, forced Léopold to set up an independent commission of inquiry. In 1905, despite Léopold's efforts, it confirmed the essentials of Casement's report. On 15 November 1908, the parliament of Belgium took over the Congo Free State from Léopold and organised its administration as the Belgian Congo.
Peru: Abuses against the Putumayo Indians
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In 1906 the Foreign Office sent Casement to Brazil: first as consul in Santos, then transferred to Pará, and lastly promoted to consul-general in Rio de Janeiro. He was attached as a consular representative to a commission investigating rubber slavery by the Peruvian Amazon Company (PAC), which had been registered in Britain in 1908 and had a British board of directors and numerous stockholders. In September 1909, a journalist named Sidney Paternoster, wrote in Truth, a British magazine, of abuses against PAC workers and competing Colombians in the disputed region of the Peruvian Amazon.
In addition, the British consul at Iquitos had said that Barbadians, considered British subjects as part of the empire, had been ill-treated while working for PAC, which gave the government a reason to intervene. Ordinarily it could not investigate the internal affairs of another country. American civil engineer Walter Hardenburg had told Paternoster of witnessing a joint PAC and Peruvian military action against a Colombian rubber station, which they destroyed, stealing the rubber. He also saw Peruvian Indians whose backs were marked by severe whipping, in a pattern called the Mark of Arana (the head of the rubber company), and reported other abuses.[page needed]
PAC, with its operational headquarters in Iquitos, dominated the city and the region. The area was separated from the main population of Peru by the Andes, and it was 1900 miles from the Amazon's mouth at Pará. The British-registered company was effectively controlled by the archetypal rubber baron Julio César Arana and his brother. Born in Lima, Arana had climbed out of poverty to own and operate a company harvesting great quantities of rubber in the Peruvian Amazon, which was much in demand on the world market. The rubber boom had led to expansion in Iquitos as a trading center, as all the company rubber was shipped down the Amazon River from there to the Atlantic port. Numerous foreigners had flocked to the area seeking their fortunes in the rubber boom, or at least some piece of the business. The rough frontier city, both respectable businesses and the vice district, was highly dependent on the PAC.
Casement traveled to the Putumayo District, where the rubber was harvested deep in the Amazon Basin, and explored the treatment of the local Indians of Peru. The isolated area was outside the reach of the national government and near the border with Colombia, which periodically made incursions in competition for the rubber. For years, the Indians had been forced into unpaid labor by field staff of the PAC, who exerted absolute power over them and subjected them to near starvation, severe physical abuse, rape of women and girls by the managers and overseers, branding and casual murder. Casement found conditions as inhumane as those in the Congo. He interviewed both the Putumayo and men who had abused them, including three Barbadians who had also suffered from conditions of the company. When the report was publicised, there was public outrage in Britain over the abuses. Casement made two lengthy visits to the region, first in 1910 with a commission of investigators.
Casement's report has been described as a "brilliant piece of journalism", as he wove together first-person accounts by both "victims and perpetrators of atrocities ... Never before had distant colonial subjects been given such personal voices in an official document." After his report was made to the British government, some wealthy board members of the PAC were horrified by what they learned. Arana and the Peruvian government promised to make changes. In 1911, the British government asked Casement to return to Iquitos and Putumayo to see if promised changes in treatment had occurred. In a report to the British foreign secretary, dated 17 March 1911, Casement detailed the rubber company's continued use of pillories to punish the Indians:
Men, women, and children were confined in them for days, weeks, and often months. ... Whole families ... were imprisoned—fathers, mothers, and children, and many cases were reported of parents dying thus, either from starvation or from wounds caused by flogging, while their offspring were attached alongside of them to watch in misery themselves the dying agonies of their parents.
After his return to Britain, Casement repeated his extra-consular campaigning work by organising Anti-Slavery Society and Catholic mission interventions in the region. Some of the company men exposed as killers in his 1910 report were charged by Peru, while most fled the region and were never captured. Some entrepreneurs had smuggled out cuttings from rubber plants and began cultivation in southeast Asia in colonies of the British Empire. The scandal of the PAC caused major losses in business to the company, and rubber demand began to be met by farmed rubber in other parts of the world. With the collapse of business for PAC, most foreigners left Iquitos and it quickly returned to its former status as an isolated backwater. For a period, the Putumayo Indians were largely left alone. Arana was never prosecuted as head of the company. He lived in London for years, then returned to Peru. Despite the scandal associated with Casement's report and international pressure on the Peruvian government to change conditions, Arana later had a successful political career. He was elected a senator and died in Lima, Peru in 1952, aged 88.
Casement wrote extensively for his private record (as always) in those two years. During this period he continued to write in his diaries, and the one for 1911 was described as being unusually discursive. He kept them in London along with the 1903 diary and other papers of the period, presumably so they could be consulted in his continuing work as "Congo Casement" and as the saviour of the Putumayo Indians. In 1911 Casement received a knighthood for his efforts on behalf of the Amazonian Indians, having been appointed Companion of the Order of St Michael and St George (CMG) in 1905 for his Congo work.[page needed]
In Ireland in 1904, on leave from Africa from that year until 1905, Casement joined the Gaelic League, an organisation established in 1893 to preserve and revive the spoken and literary use of the Irish language. He met the leaders of the powerful Irish Parliamentary Party (IPP) to lobby for his work in the Congo. He did not support those, like the IPP, proposing Home Rule, as he felt sure the House of Lords would veto such efforts. Casement was more impressed by Arthur Griffith's new Sinn Féin party (founded 1905), which called for an independent Ireland (through a non-violent series of strikes and boycotts) whose sole imperial tie would be a dual monarchy between Britain and Ireland, modeled on the policy example of Ferenc Deák in Hungary. Casement joined the party in 1905.
Casement retired from the British consular service in the summer of 1913. In November of that year he was one of those helping to form the Irish Volunteers. He and Eoin MacNeill, later the organisation's chief of staff, co-wrote the Volunteers' manifesto. In July 1914, Casement journeyed to the United States to promote and raise money for the Volunteers among the large and numerous Irish community there. Through his friendship with men such as Bulmer Hobson, a member both of the Volunteers and of the secret Irish Republican Brotherhood (IRB), Casement established connections with exiled Irish nationalists, particularly Clan na Gael.
Elements of the suspicious Clan did not trust him completely, as he was not a member of the IRB and held views they considered too moderate, although others such as John Quinn regarded him as extreme. Devoy, initially hostile to Casement for his part in conceding control of the Irish Volunteers to John Redmond, was won over in June, and another Clan leader, Joseph McGarrity, became devoted to Casement and remained so from then on. The Howth gun-running in late July 1914, which Casement had helped to organise and finance, further enhanced his reputation.
In August 1914, at the outbreak of World War I, Casement and John Devoy arranged a meeting in New York with the western hemisphere's top-ranking German diplomat, Count Bernstorff, to propose a mutually beneficial plan: if Germany would sell guns to the Irish revolutionaries and provide military leaders, the Irish would revolt against England, diverting troops and attention from the war with Germany. Bernstorff appeared sympathetic. Casement and Devoy sent an envoy, Clan na Gael president John Kenny, to present their plan personally. Kenny, while unable to meet the German Emperor, did receive a warm reception from Flotow, the German ambassador to Italy, and from Prince von Bülow.
In October 1914, Casement sailed for Germany via Norway, traveling in disguise and seeing himself as an ambassador of the Irish nation. While the journey was his idea, Clan na Gael financed the expedition. During their stop in Christiania, his companion Adler Christensen was taken to the British legation, where a reward was allegedly offered if Casement were "knocked on the head". British diplomat Mansfeldt Findlay, in contrast, advised London that Christensen had "implied that their relations were of an unnatural nature and that consequently he had great power over this man". No evidence was provided by Findlay for the insinuation.
Findlay's handwritten letter of 1914 is kept in University College, Dublin, and is viewable online. This letter—written on official notepaper by Minister Findlay at the British Legation in Oslo—offers to Christensen the sum of £5,000 plus immunity from prosecution and free passage to the United States in return for information leading to the capture of Roger Casement. That amount would be approximately £2,616,000 in 2014.
In November 1914, Casement negotiated a declaration by Germany which stated:
The Imperial Government formally declares that under no circumstances would Germany invade Ireland with a view to its conquest or the overthrow of any native institutions in that country. Should the fortune of this Great War, that was not of Germany's seeking, ever bring in its course German troops to the shores of Ireland, they would land there not as an army of invaders to pillage and destroy but as the forces of a Government that is inspired by goodwill towards a country and people for whom Germany desires only national prosperity and national freedom.
Casement spent most of his time in Germany seeking to recruit an Irish Brigade from among more than 2,000 Irish prisoners-of-war taken in the early months of the war and held in the prison camp of Limburg an der Lahn. His plan was that they would be trained to fight against Britain in the cause of Irish independence. American Ambassador to Germany James W. Gerard mentioned the effort in his memoir "Four Years in Germany":
The Germans collected all the soldier prisoners of Irish nationality in one camp at Limburg not far from Frankfurt a. M. There efforts were made to induce them to join the German army. The men were well treated and were often visited by Sir Roger Casement who, working with the German authorities, tried to get these Irishmen to desert their flag and join the Germans. A few weaklings were persuaded by Sir Roger who finally discontinued his visits, after obtaining about thirty recruits, because the remaining Irishmen chased him out of the camp.
On 27 December 1914 Casement signed an agreement in Berlin to this effect with Arthur Zimmermann in the German Foreign Office. Fifty-two of the 2000 prisoners volunteered for the Brigade. Contrary to German promises, they received no training in the use of machine guns, which at the time were relatively new and unfamiliar weapons.
During World War I, Casement is known to have been involved in the German-backed plan by Indians to win their freedom from the British Raj, the "Hindu–German Conspiracy", recommending Joseph McGarrity to Franz von Papen as an intermediary. The Indian nationalists may also have followed Casement's strategy of trying to recruit prisoners of war to fight for Indian independence.
Both efforts proved unsuccessful. In addition to finding it difficult to ally with the Germans while held as prisoners, potential recruits to Casement's brigade knew they would be liable to the death penalty as traitors if Britain won the war. In April 1916, Germany offered the Irish 20,000 Mosin–Nagant 1891 rifles, ten machine guns and accompanying ammunition, but no German officers; it was a fraction of the quantity of the arms Casement had hoped for, with no military expertise on offer.
Casement did not learn about the Easter Rising until after the plan was fully developed. The German weapons never landed in Ireland; the Royal Navy intercepted the ship transporting them, a German cargo vessel named the Libau, disguised as a Norwegian vessel, Aud-Norge. All the crew were German sailors, but their clothes and effects, even the charts and books on the bridge, were Norwegian. As John Devoy had either misunderstood or disobeyed Pearse's instructions that the arms were under no circumstances to land before Easter Sunday, the Irish Transport and General Workers' Union (TGWU) members set to unload the arms under the command of Irish Citizen Army officer and trade unionist William Partridge were not ready. The IRB men sent to meet the boat drove off a pier and drowned.
The British had intercepted German communications coming from Washington and suspected that there was going to be an attempt to land arms at Ireland, although they were not aware of the precise location. The arms ship, under Captain Karl Spindler, was apprehended by HMS Bluebell on the late afternoon of Good Friday. About to be escorted into Queenstown (present-day Cobh), County Cork on the morning of Saturday 22 April, Captain Spindler scuttled the ship by pre-set explosive charges. It now lies at a depth of 40 metres. Its surviving crew became prisoners of war.
Capture, trial, and execution
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Casement confided his personal papers to Dr Charles Curry, with whom he had stayed at Riederau on the Ammersee, before he left Germany. He departed with Robert Monteith and Sergeant Daniel Beverley (Bailey) of the Irish Brigade in a submarine, initially the SM U-20, which developed engine trouble, and then the SM U-19, shortly after the Aud sailed. According to Monteith, Casement believed the Germans were toying with him from the start and providing inadequate aid that would doom a rising to failure. He wanted to reach Ireland before the shipment of arms and to convince Eoin MacNeill (who he believed was still in control) to cancel the rising.
Casement sent John McGoey, a recently arrived Irish-American, through Denmark to Dublin, ostensibly to advise what military aid was coming from Germany and when, but with Casement's orders "to get the Heads in Ireland to call off the rising and merely try to land the arms and distribute them". McGoey did not reach Dublin, nor did his message. His fate was unknown until recently. He joined the Royal Navy in 1916, survived the war, and later returned to the United States, where he died in an accident on a building site in 1925.
In the early hours of 21 April 1916, three days before the rising began, the German submarine put Casement ashore at Banna Strand in Tralee Bay, County Kerry. Suffering from a recurrence of the malaria that had plagued him since his days in the Congo, and too weak to travel, he was discovered[by whom?] at McKenna's Fort (an ancient ring fort now called Casement's Fort) in Rahoneen, Ardfert, and arrested on charges of high treason, sabotage and espionage against the Crown. He sent word to Dublin about the inadequate German assistance. The Kerry Brigade of the Irish Volunteers might have tried to rescue him over the next three days, but had been ordered by its leadership in Dublin to "do nothing" —not a shot was to be fired in Ireland before the Easter Rising was in train. "He was taken to Brixton Prison to be placed under special observation for fear of an attempt of suicide. There was no staff at the Tower [of London] to guard suicidal cases."
At Casement's highly publicised trial for high treason, the prosecution had trouble arguing its case. Casement's crimes had been carried out in Germany and the Treason Act 1351 seemed to apply only to activities carried out on English (or arguably British) soil. A close reading of the Act allowed for a broader interpretation: the court decided that a comma should be read in the unpunctuated original Norman-French text, crucially altering the sense so that "in the realm or elsewhere" referred to where acts were done and not just to where the "King's enemies" might be. Afterwards, Casement himself wrote that he was to be "hanged on a comma", leading to the well-used epigram.
During his trial the prosecution (F. E. Smith), who had admired some of Casement's work before he went over to the Germans, informally suggested to the defence barrister (A. M. Sullivan) that they should jointly produce what are now called the "Black Diaries" in evidence, as this would most likely cause the court to find Casement "guilty but insane", and save his life. Casement refused to agree to this, and was found guilty and was sentenced to be hanged.
Before and during the trial and appeal, the British government secretly circulated some excerpts from Casement's journals, exposing Casement as a sexual deviant. These included numerous explicit accounts of sexual activity. This aroused public opinion against him and influenced those notables who might otherwise have tried to intervene. Given societal norms and the illegality of homosexuality at the time, support for Casement's reprieve declined in some quarters. The journals became known in the 1950s as the Black Diaries.
Casement unsuccessfully appealed against his conviction and death sentence. Those who pleaded for clemency for Casement included Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, who was acquainted with Casement through the work of the Congo Reform Association, poet W. B. Yeats, and playwright George Bernard Shaw. Joseph Conrad could not forgive Casement, nor could Casement's longtime friend, the sculptor Herbert Ward, whose son Charles had been killed on the Western Front that January, and who would change the name of Casement's godson, who had been named after him. Members of the Casement family in Antrim contributed discreetly to the defence fund, although they had sons in the British Army and Navy. A United States Senate appeal against the death sentence was rejected by the British cabinet on the insistence of prosecutor F. E. Smith, an opponent of Irish independence.
Casement's knighthood was forfeited on 29 June 1916.
On the day of his execution, Casement was received into the Catholic Church at his request. He was attended by two Catholic priests, Dean Timothy Ring and Father James Carey, from the East London parish of SS Mary and Michael.
The latter, also known as James McCarroll,[clarification needed] said of Casement that he was "a saint ... we should be praying to him [Casement] instead of for him". Casement was hanged at Pentonville Prison in London on 3 August 1916. He was 51 years old.
The Black Diaries
British officials have claimed that Casement kept the Black Diaries, a set of diaries covering the years 1903, 1910 and 1911 (twice). Jeffrey Dudgeon, who published an edition of all the diaries said, "His homosexual life was almost entirely out of sight and disconnected from his career and political work". If genuine, the diaries reveal Casement as a homosexual who had many partners, had a fondness for young men and mostly paid for sex.
In 1916 after Casement's conviction for high treason, the British government circulated alleged photographs of pages of the diary to individuals campaigning for the commutation of Casement's death sentence. At a time of strong conservatism, not least among Irish Catholics, publicising the Black Diaries and Casement's alleged homosexuality undermined support for him. The question of whether the diaries are genuine or forgeries has been much debated. The diaries were declassified for limited inspection (by persons approved by the Home Office) in August 1959. The original diaries may be seen at the British National Archives in Kew. Historians and biographers of Casement's life have taken opposing views. Roger McHugh (in 1976) and Angus Mitchell (in 2000 and later) regard the diaries as forged. In 2012, Mitchell published several articles in the Field Day Review of Notre Dame University.
In 2005 the Royal Irish Academy, Dublin published The Giles Report, a private report on the Black Diaries written in 2002. Two US forensic-document examiners reviewed the Giles Report; both were critical of it. James Horan stated, "As editor of the Journal of Forensic Sciences and The Journal of the American Society of Questioned Document Examiners, I would not recommend publication of the Giles Report because the report does not show how its conclusion was reached. To the question, 'Is the writing Roger Casement's?' on the basis of the Giles Report as it stands, my answer would have to be I cannot tell."
Marcel Matley, a second document examiner, stated, "Even if every document examined were the authentic writing of Casement, this report does nothing to establish the fact." A very brief expert opinion in 1959 by a Home Office employee failed to identify Casement as author of the diaries. This opinion is almost unknown and does not appear in the Casement literature. As late as July 2015 the UK National Archives ambiguously described the Black Diaries as "attributed to Roger Casement", while at the same time unambiguously declaring their satisfaction with the result of the private Giles Report.
Mario Vargas Llosa presented a mixed account of Casement's sexuality in his 2010 novel, The Dream of the Celt, suggesting that Casement wrote partially fictional diaries of what he wished had taken place in homosexual encounters. Dudgeon suggested in a 2013 article that Casement needed to be "sexless" to fit his role as a Catholic martyr in the nationalist movement of the time. Dudgeon writes, "The evidence that Casement was a busy homosexual is in his own words and handwriting in the diaries, and is colossally convincing because of its detail and extent."
Research published in 2016 again casts doubt on the Black Diaries. "The Casement Secret" by Paul R. Hyde argues that there is no evidence of the existence of the diaries during Casement's lifetime since only typescript pages – allegedly copies – were circulated; no-one was shown the diaries now in the National Archives. An official memorandum by the British Secretary of State dated 6 March 1959 states: "There is no record on the Home Office papers of the diaries or the copies having been shown to anyone outside the Government service before Casement's trial".
This argument reflects the question raised in 1955 by Lord Russell of Liverpool concerning the existence of the diaries at the time of Casement's trial. Anatomy of a Lie, by Paul R. Hyde proposes a paradigm shift – the diaries were fabricated after Casement's execution as forged versions of the original typescripts. It is also demonstrated that the homosexual dimension was originally the invention of British Envoy Extraordinary and Minister Plenipotentiary Mansfeldt Findlay in Christiania (present-day Oslo in Norway) in a false memorandum on 29 October 1914. The rarely-seen document containing the first innuendo has never been analysed before and is unmentioned by all Casement authors save one. Hyde also demonstrates that in the following months Findlay amplified his allegations because he feared exposure of his written bribe through a threatened lawsuit against him by Casement; a subsequent diplomatic scandal might have destroyed his career.
It is argued that the prosecution offered the diaries to the defence at the start of Casement's trial on 16 May, as part of a plea bargain that would save his life. He had been arrested on 21 April, giving the authorities only 3 weeks in which to forge the diaries, including rare up-country Congolese dialect phrases, which seems impossible. Against this, however, are the verified facts that only police typescripts were offered by prosecutor F. E. Smith and that there was no trial on that date, merely a preliminary hearing to decide about the trial. Therefore, on 16 May no diaries had been forged. Smith had earlier tried to save Casement's life, but he blocked his appeal to the House of Lords and threatened to resign to prevent the cabinet advising the monarch to grant a reprieve as he did not wish to help Irish Independence. It has been suggested that Smith's motive in the original attempt to avoid the death penalty was to compromise the defence by inducing a tacit authentication of the police typescripts.
Hyde's book Anatomy of a lie, published in April 2019 demonstrated the opinion that the diary controversy has been framed by various biographers to promote authenticity by skillful use of innuendo, omission and misinformation. The book attempts to demonstrate that there is no independent witness evidence for the material existence of the diaries before Casement's execution and that only police typescripts were shown to selected persons including King George V, journalists, politicians, diplomats etc. It claims that the UK National Archives confirmed that there is no witness evidence.
Casement's body was buried in quicklime in the prison cemetery at the rear of Pentonville Prison, where he had been hanged. During the decades after his execution, successive British governments refused many formal requests for repatriation of Casement's remains. For example, in September 1953 Taoiseach Éamon de Valera, on a visit to Prime Minister Winston Churchill in Downing Street, requested the return of the remains.[page needed] Churchill said he wasn't personally opposed to the idea but would consult with his colleagues and take legal advice. He ultimately turned down the Irish request, citing "specific and binding" legal obligations that the remains of executed prisoners could not be exhumed. De Valera disputed the legal advice and responded:
So long as Roger Casement's remains remain within British prison walls, when he himself expressed the wish that it should be transferred to his native land, so long there will be public resentment here at what must appear to be, at least, the unseemly obduracy of the British Government.
Finally, in 1965 Casement's remains were repatriated to Ireland. Despite the annulment, or withdrawal, of his knighthood in 1916, the 1965 UK Cabinet record of the repatriation decision refers to him as "Sir Roger Casement".
Casement's last wish was to be buried at Murlough Bay on the north coast of County Antrim, in present-day Northern Ireland, but Prime Minister Harold Wilson's government had released the remains only on condition that they could not be brought into Northern Ireland, as "the government feared that a reburial there could provoke Catholic celebrations and Protestant reactions."
Casement's remains lay in state at the Garrison Church, Arbour Hill (now Arbour Hill Prison) in Dublin city for five days, close to the graves of other leaders of the 1916 Easter Rising, but would not be buried beside them. After a state funeral, the remains were buried with full military honours in the Republican plot in Glasnevin Cemetery in Dublin, alongside other Irish republicans and nationalists. The President of Ireland, Éamon de Valera, then (in his mid-eighties) the last surviving leader of the Easter Rising, attended the ceremony, along with an estimated 30,000 others.
Landmarks, buildings and organisations
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- Casement Park, the Gaelic Athletic Association ground on Andersonstown Road in west Belfast.
- Several Gaelic Athletic Association clubs, for instance Roger Casements GAA Club (Coventry, England), Brampton Roger Casements GAC (Toronto, Canada) and Roger Casements GAC (Portglenone, Northern Ireland)
- Gaelscoil Mhic Easmainn (Irish for Casement) is an Irish speaking national school in Tralee, County Kerry
- In Dundalk there is an estate named after him in Árd Easmuinn, Casement Heights.
- Casement Aerodrome in Baldonnel, the Irish Air Corps base near Dublin.
- Casement Rail and Bus Station in Tralee, near the site of Casement's landing on Banna Strand. Operated by Iarnród Éireann and Córas Iompair Éireann
- In Cork, an estate is named Roger Casement Park after him in Glasheen, a western suburb of the city.
- A monument at Banna Strand in Kerry is open to the public at all times.
- A statue of him is erected in Ballyheigue, Co.Kerry
- Many streets are named for him, including Casement Road, Park, Drive and Grove in Finglas, County Dublin.
- In Harryville, Ballymena, County Antrim, there is a Casement Street, named for his great-grandfather, who was a solicitor there.
Representation in culture
Casement has been the subject of ballads, poetry, novels, and TV series since his death, including:
- The ballad "Lonely Banna Strand" telling the story of Casement's role in the prelude to the Easter Rising, his arrest, and his execution.
- Arthur Conan Doyle used Casement as an inspiration for the character of Lord John Roxton in the 1912 novel, The Lost World.
- W. B. Yeats wrote a poem,The Ghost of Roger Casement, demanding the return of Casement's remains, with the refrain, "The ghost of Roger Casement/Is beating on the door"
- Roger Casement is featured in Giant's Causeway (1922) by Pierre Benoit, who portrays him as a noble martyr.
- Agatha Christie refers to Casement and the 1916 Uprising in her 1941 novel N or M?
- Brendan Behan refers to the poem[specify] in his autobiographical novel Borstal Boy (1958), and speaks of the respect his family had for Casement.
- Casement is the subject of the play Prisoner of the Crown, which was written by Richard Herd and Richard Stockton; it premiered at the Abbey Theatre in Dublin on 15 February 1972
- A German TV series, Sir Roger Casement (1968), was made about his time in Germany during World War I.
- In 1973 BBC Radio aired a critically acclaimed radio play by David Rudkin entitled Cries from Casement as His Bones are Brought to Dublin
- The Dream of the Celt by Mario Vargas Llosa (winner of the Nobel Prize for literature) is an historical novel based on Roger Casement's life, translated from the Spanish by Edith Grossman and published in 2012.
- American Noise Rock band ...And You Will Know Us by the Trail of Dead released an instrumental entitled "The Betrayal of Roger Casement & the Irish Brigade" on their 2008 Festival Thyme EP
- Dying for Ireland (2012) is a biographical novel by Alan Lewis, which presents a "fictional reimagining" of Casement's prison memoirs, based on his writings, histories and biographies.
- A one-act play, Shall Roger Casement Hang?, based mainly on his interrogation at Scotland Yard, was performed for the first time at the Tron Theatre in Glasgow in May 2016.
- The Trial of Roger Casement is a graphic novel by Fionnuala Doran
- Roger Casement is discussed in W. G. Sebald's novel The Rings of Saturn.
- Valiant Gentlemen is an historical novel based on Casement's friendship with Herbert Ward and his wife Sarita Sanford, by Sabina Murray, Grove/Atlantic, 2016.
- Roger Casement - Heart of Darkness (1992) is a documentary by Kenneth Griffith on the life of Roger Casement.
- The Ghost of Roger Casement (2002) is a documentary that investigates the authenticity of the forensic examination of the Black Diaries.
- "Kerry marks first anniversary of Casement execution - Century Ireland". RTÉ.ie. Retrieved 4 February 2019.
- "Humanities InstituteRoger Casement: A Human Rights Celebration (1916–2016)". Dhi.ucdavis.edu. Retrieved 4 February 2019.
- admin. "Roger Casement: Ten facts about the Irish patriot executed in 1916". The Irish Post. Retrieved 8 June 2020.
- Mitchell (ed.), Angus (2016). One Bold deed of Open Treason: The Berlin Diary of Roger Casement 1914-1916. Merrion Press.CS1 maint: extra text: authors list (link)
- For an overview of the controversy see 'Angus Mitchell (ed.), Phases of a Dishonourable Phantasy, Field Day Review, 8,12, pp. 85-125 (Dublin: 2012)
- Dr Noel Kissane (2006). "The 1916 Rising: Personalities & Perspectives (an online exhibition)" (PDF). National Library of Ireland/Leabharlann Náisiúnta na hÉireann. Archived from the original (PDF) on 28 February 2008. Retrieved 2 April 2008.
- Angus Mitchell, Casement, Haus Publishing, 2003 p. 11.
- Brian Inglis (1974, op cit.) commented at p. 115 that "..although she allowed the children to be brought up as Protestants, she had them baptised 'conditionally' when Roger was four years old."
- Bureau of Military History, Dublin; file of Fr. Cronin (1951), WS 588, page 2.
- Sawyer R. Casement the Flawed Hero (Routledge, London 1984), quoted at pp. 4–5. ISBN 0-7102-0013-7
- Maurice Denham Jephson, An Anglo-Irish Miscellany, Allen Figgis, Dublin, 1964.
- Séamas Ó Síocháin, Roger Casement, Imperialist, Rebel, Revolutionary, Lilliput Press, 2008, p. 15; ISBN 978-1843510215
- Thomas Hugh Jephson Casement profile, genealogy.metastudies.net; accessed 16 August 2017.
- Giles Foden. "The Dream of the Celt by Mario Vargas Llosa – review". The Guardian. Retrieved 12 April 2016.
- Liesl Schillinger, "Traitor, Martyr, Liberator", The New York Times, 22 June 2012, accessed 23 October 2014
- Fintan O'Toole, "The Multiple Hero", The New Republic, 2 August 2012; accessed 23 October 2014
- "No. 27354". The London Gazette. 13 September 1901. p. 6049.
- Brian Inglis, "Roger Casement" 1973, pp. 157-65
- See Roger Casement in: "Rubber, the Amazon and the Atlantic World 1884-1916" (Humanitas)
- Jordan Goodman. The Devil and Mr. Casement: One Man's Battle for Human Rights in South ... Books.google.com. Retrieved 4 January 2016.
- Casement’s journal maintained during his 1910 investigation was published as The Amazon Journal of Roger Casement (London: Anaconda Editions, 1997). A companion volume of documents relevant to 1911 and his return to the Amazon was published as Angus Mitchell (ed.), Sir Roger Casement’s Heart of Darkness: The 1911 Documents (, Irish Manuscripts Commission, 2003)
- Goodman, Jordan (2010). The devil and Mr. Casement: one man's battle for human rights in South America's heart of darkness (1st ed.). New York: Farrar, Straus and Giroux. p. 269. ISBN 9780374138400.
- See Angus Mitchell, Roger Casement (The O'Brien Press, 2013)
- Brian Inglis, Roger Casement; Harcourt Jovanovich, 1974; pp. 118–20; 134–39
- Angus Mitchell, Roger Casement (Dublin, The O'Brien Press, 2013), pp. 226-66
- Angus Mitchell, Roger Casement (Dublin, The O'Brien Press, 2013), pp. 226-66.
- Ó Síocháin, Séamas, Roger Casement: Imperialist, Rebel, Revolutionary p. 382
- Mitchell, Angus, Casement, p. 99.
- National Archives, Kew, PRO FO 95/776
- "Handwritten statement by Mansfeldt de Cardonnel Findlay, H.B.M. Minister, British Legation at Christiania, Norway promising to pay Adler Christensen the sum of £5,000 for the provision of information that would lead to the capture of Roger Casement". Digital.ucd.ie. 30 July 2007. Retrieved 21 November 2016.
- "Purchase Power of the Pound". Measuring Worth. Retrieved 21 September 2016.
- Jeff Dudgeon. "Casement's War". Drb.ie. Retrieved 30 January 2016.
- The Continental Times, 20 November 1914.
- Casement's diaries kept in Germany, containing his speaking openly of his treason, have been edited and published by Angus Mitchell (ed.), One Bold Deed of Open Treason: The Berlin Diary of Roger Casement 1914-1916 (Dublin: Merrion Press, 2016).
- An anonymous but detailed account of Casement's unwelcoming reception at the camp appears in The Literary Digest Vol 52, No. 1, 13 May 1916 (New York: Funk and Wagnall), pp. 1376–77 [NB, the PDF download is 358MB]
- translated: Here lived in summer 1915 Sir Roger Casement, a martyr for Ireland's freedom, a magnanimous friend of Germany in grave times. He sealed the love of his country with his blood.
- Plowman, Matthew Erin. "Irish Republicans and the Indo-German Conspiracy of World War I", New Hibernia Review 7.3 (2003), pp. 81–105.
- Estimates of the weapons shipment hover around the 20,000 mark. The BBC gives the figure the German government originally agreed to ship as "25,000 captured Russian rifles, and one million rounds of ammunition". here "Easter Rising insurrection", BBC.co.uk; accessed 30 January 2016.
- Keith Jeffery (2007). 1916 The Long Revolution, The First World War and the Rising: Mode, Moment and Memory. G. Doherty & D. Keogh (editors). p. 93. ISBN 978-1-85635-545-2.
- Casement's diary entry for 27 March 1916, National Library of Ireland, MS 5244
- see Charles Townshend, Easter 1916: The Irish Rebellion, p. 127
- Memoir of Willie Mullins, quoted at a Casement commemoration in 1968; a subsequent internal inquiry attached "no blame whatsoever" to the local Volunteers. See the Irish Times, 29 July 1968.
- Thomson, Sir Basil (2015). Odd People: Hunting Spies in the First World War (original title: Queer People). London, UK: Biteback Publishing. pp. e-book location 1161. ISBN 9781849548625. Sir Basil Thomson headed Scotland Yard's Criminal Investigation Division during WWI.
- "Roger Casement's Appeal Fails". Birmingham Evening Dispatch. 18 July 1916. Retrieved 30 December 2014 – via British Newspaper Archive.
- G.H. Knott (1917). The trial of Sir Roger Casement. Toronto: Canadian Law Book Co.
- Andrews, Helen (15 November 2011). "Roger Casement: The Gay Irish Humanitarian Who Was Hanged on a Comma". First Things. Retrieved 21 September 2016.
- Vangroenweghe, D. "Casement's Congo Diary, one of the so-called Black Diaries, was not a forgery"; RBHC, XXXII (2002), 3-4, pp. 321-350, at p. 322.
- Field Day Review 8 (2012); accessed 16 August 2017
- See Angus Mitchell, Roger Casement and the History Question, History Ireland, July August 2016, 24:4, pp. 34–37.
- "No. 29651". The London Gazette. 4 July 1916. p. 6596. Casement had renounced all his titles in a letter to British Foreign Secretary dated 1 February 1915.
- A History of St Mary and St Michael's Parish, Commercial Road, East London
- "Execution of Roger Casement". Midland Daily Telegraph. 3 August 1916. Retrieved 1 January 2015 – via British Newspaper Archive.
- "Digital materials for the study and appreciation of Anglo-Irish Literature". Ricorso.net. Retrieved 21 September 2016.
- Dudgeon, Jeffrey. "Cult of the Sexless Casement with Special Reference to the Novel The Dream of the Celt by Mario Vargas Llosa, Studi irlandesi. A Journal of Irish Studies no. 3 (2013), pp. 35–58".
- Bill McCormack (Spring 2001). "The Casement Diaries: A Suitable Case for Treatment". Research Hallmark, Goldsmiths College, University of London. Archived from the original on 16 March 2008. Retrieved 2 April 2008.
- "Authors Examine Casement Diaries", The Times, 11 August 1959.
- Most of Mitchell's writings on Casement and the controversy over the diaries can be freely accessed here
- 'Paul Hyde, "Casement Tried and Tested - The Giles Report", History Ireland, 24:4, July August 2016, pp. 38-41.
- Mitchell's argument that has persistently argued that the question of Casement's sexuality has nothing to do with whether or not the diaries are forged has largely debunked Dudgeon's argument. See "The Black Stain", Gay Community News, April 2016. Available here
- The Casement Secret, decoding-casement.com; accessed 16 August 2017.
- PRO HO 144/23481
- "Decoding Casement". Decoding Casement. Retrieved 16 August 2017.
- FO 337/107
- 'De Valera Rule, 1932-75' by David McCullagh; Gill Books 2018
- 'De Valera Rule, 1932-75' by David McCullagh; Gill Books 2018 pg. 333
- National Archives, London, CAB/128/39
- Wilson, Scott. Resting Places: The Burial Sites of More Than 14,000 Famous Persons, 3d ed.: 2 (Kindle Location 7669). McFarland & Company, Inc., Publishers. Kindle Edition. Google Books edition: page 123.
- "Casement Road Citation".
- The Wolfe Tones – Banna Strand, retrieved 22 May 2020
- Casement, Roger (1997). The Amazon Journal of Roger Casement. Anaconda Editions. p. 378. ISBN 9781901990003 – via Google Books.
- Keeler, William. Review of Prisoner of the Crown. Educational Theatre Journal, vol 24, no. 3 (October 1972), pp. 327–28, Johns Hopkins University Press
- Lewis, Alan. Dying for Ireland: The Prison Memoirs of Roger Casement, 2012; ISBN 9781494378776
- "Tron theatre website". Tron.co.uk.
- Upchurch, Michael; Upchurch, Michael (27 October 2016). "' Gentlemen': a superb novel about Irish patriot Roger Casement". Washingtonpost.com.
- Welsh film-maker fascinated by Irish history. (21 October 2006). The Irish Times. Retrieved 20 June 2020
- Vahimagi, Tise. (2014). Griffith, Kenneth (1921-2006). British Film Institute. Screenonline
- Roger Casement Diaries Authenticated (2002). RTÉ Archives. Retrieved 20 June 2020
By Roger Casement:
- 1910. Roger Casement's Diaries: 1910. The Black and the White. Sawyer, Roger, ed. London: Pimlico. ISBN 0-7126-7375-X
- 1910. The Amazon Journal of Roger Casement. Mitchell, Angus, ed. Anaconda Editions.
- 1911. 'Sir Roger Casement's Heart of Darkness: The 1911 Documents' Mitchell, Angus, ed., Irish Manuscripts Commission.
- 1914. The Crime against Ireland, and How the War May Right it. Berlin: no publisher.
- 1914. Ireland, Germany and Freedom of the Seas: A Possible Outcome of the War of 1914. New York & Philadelphia: The Irish Press Bureau. Reprinted 2005: ISBN 1-4219-4433-2
- 1914–16 'One Bold Deed of Open Treason: The Berlin Diary of Roger Casement', Mitchell, Angus ed., Merrion
- 1915. The Crime against Europe. The Causes of the War and the Foundations of Peace. Berlin: The Continental Times.
- 1916. Gesammelte Schriften. Irland, Deutschland und die Freiheit der Meere und andere Aufsätze. Diessen vor München: Joseph Huber Verlag. Second expanded edition, 1917.
- 1918. Some Poems. London: The Talbot Press/T. Fisher Unwin.
Secondary Literature, and other materials cited in this entry:
- Daly, Mary E., ed. 2005. Roger Casement in Irish and World History, Dublin, Royal Irish Academy
- Doerries, Reinhard R., 2000. Prelude to the Easter Rising: Sir Roger Casement in Imperial Germany. London & Portland. Frank Cass.
- Dudgeon, Jeffrey, 2002. Roger Casement: The Black Diaries with a Study of his Background, Sexuality and Irish Political Life. Belfast Press (includes first publication of 1911 diary); 2nd paperback and Kindle editions, 2016; 3rd paperback and Kindle editions, 2019, ISBN 978-1-9160194-0-9.
- Dudgeon, Jeffrey, July 2016. Roger Casement's German Diary 1914-1916 including 'A Last Page' and associated correspondence. Belfast Press, ISBN 978-0-9539287-5-0.
- Goodman, Jordan, The Devil and Mr. Casement: One Man's Battle for Human Rights in South America's Heart of Darkness, 2010. Farrar, Straus & Giroux; ISBN 978-0-374-13840-0
- Harris, Brian, "Injustice", Sutton Publishing. 2006; ISBN 0-7509-4021-2
- Hochschild, Adam, King Leopold's Ghost.
- Hyde, H. Montgomery, 1960. Trial of Roger Casement. London: William Hodge. Penguin edition 1964.
- Hyde, H. Montgomery, 1970. The Love That Dared not Speak its Name. Boston: Little, Brown (in UK The Other Love).
- Inglis, Brian, 1973. Roger Casement, London: Hodder and Stoughton. Republished 1993 by Blackstaff Belfast and by Penguin 2002; ISBN 0-14-139127-8.
- Lacey, Brian, 2008. Terrible Queer Creatures: Homosexuality in Irish History. Dublin: Wordwell Books.
- Mc Cormack, W. J., 2002. Roger Casement in Death or Haunting the Free State. Dublin: UCD Press.
- Minta, Stephen, 1993. Aguirre: The Re-creation of a Sixteenth-Century Journey Across South America. Henry Holt & Co. ISBN 0-8050-3103-0.
- Mitchell, Angus, 2003. Casement (Life & Times Series). Haus Publishing Limited; ISBN 1-904341-41-1.
- Mitchell, Angus, 2013. Roger Casement. Dublin: O'Brien Press; ISBN 9781847176080.
- Ó Síocháin, Séamas and Michael O’Sullivan, eds., 2004. The Eyes of Another Race: Roger Casement's Congo Report and 1903 Diary. University College Dublin Press; ISBN 1-900621-99-1.
- Ó Síocháin, Séamas, 2008. Roger Casement: Imperialist, Rebel, Revolutionary. Dublin: Lilliput Press.
- Reid, B.L., 1987. The Lives of Roger Casement. London: The Yale Press; ISBN 0-300-01801-0.
- Sawyer, Roger, 1984. Casement: The Flawed Hero. London: Routledge & Kegan Paul.
- Singleton-Gates, Peter, & Maurice Girodias, 1959. The Black Diaries. An Account of Roger Casement's Life and Times with a Collection of His Diaries and Public Writings. Paris: The Olympia Press. First edition of the Black Diaries.
- Thomson, Basil, 1922. Queer People (chapters 7-8), an account of the Easter Uprising and Casement's involvement from the head of Scotland Yard at the time. London: Hodder and Stoughton.
- Clayton, Xander: Aud, Plymouth 2007.
- Wolf, Karin, 1972. Sir Roger Casement und die deutsch-irischen Beziehungen. Berlin: Duncker & Humblot; ISBN 3-428-02709-4.
- Eberspächer, Cord/Wiechmann, Gerhard. "Erfolg Revolution kann Krieg entscheiden". Der Einsatz von S.M.H. Libau im irischen Osteraufstand 1916 ("Success revolution may decide war". The use of S.M.H. Libau in the Easter Rising 1916), in: Schiff & Zeit, Nr. 67, Frühjahr 2008, S 2–16.
|Wikisource has original works written by or about:|
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to Roger Casement.|
- "Ireland, Germany and Europe", From the Digital Library@Villanova University.
- Séamas Ó’Síocháin: Casement, Roger, Sir, in: 1914-1918-online. International Encyclopedia of the First World War.
- Roger Casement's speech from the Dock at the end of his trial for treason.
- Report of the British Consul, Roger Casement, on the Administration of the Congo Free State, John Jay School of Law, CUNY
- Condolences and Funerals 2005 online exhibition by the National Archives of Ireland; covers Casement's 1965 reburial
- Irish Military Archives : DOD/3/47020 : Funeral/burial Roger Casement and others digitised file of preparations for the state funeral
- Works by Roger Casement at Project Gutenberg
- Works by or about Roger Casement at Internet Archive
- Works by Roger Casement at LibriVox (public domain audiobooks)
- Boehm/Casement Papers. A UCD Digital Library Collection.
- Newspaper clippings about Roger Casement in the 20th Century Press Archives of the ZBW
- Archive Roger Casement, Royal museum for central Africa