[Sir] Robert Anderson (1841-1918)


Life
b. Dublin, ed. TCD, BA 1862; Bar, 1863; secret service branch of Home Office, 1867, dealing with Irish affairs; adviser on political crime from 1868, investigating Fenians, and acting as ‘control’ for the IRB infiltrator Henri le Caron; supplied the Times with material on Fenian movement for Parnell Commission; produced second series of articles based on Henri le Caron’s materials [q.v.]; forced to retire from Dublin by exposure in le Caron’s Twenty-five Years in the Secret Service (1892); served as head of CID (London) during 1888-1901;
 
he investigated Jack the Ripper murders; also Sidelights on the Home Rule Movement (1906); Criminals and Crime (1907); The Lighter Side of My Official Life (1910); acted as Presbyterian preacher for 50 years and issued some 20 works on religious subjects including The Silence of God (1897); The Bible and Modern Criticism (1902); Misunderstood Texts of the New Testament (1916); KCB on retirement, 1901; d. London. DIB DIH DIW

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Works

  • Human Destiny (Toronto: S. R. Briggs 1896);
  • Criminals and Crime: Some Facts and Suggestions (London: J. Nisbet & Co 1907), xii, 182pp.; Do., rep. edn. (NY: Garland 1984);
  • A Great Conspiracy (London: Murray 1910), 118pp.;
  • With Horace Plunkett in Ireland (London: Macmillan 1935), 293pp.; Do., rep. edn., with a foreword by William Ross (Blackrock: Irish Academic Press [1983])
Biblical studies
  • The Gospel and its Ministry(London: J. Nisbet & Co., 1876, 1901, 1903, 1907), vii, 151pp., 8°, and Do. (Glasgow: Pickering & Inglis [1922]).
  • The Bible and Modern Criticism: Letters from Professor Huxley, the Duke of Argyll, and Sir Robert Anderson, Exhibiting Professor Huxley’s Retreat from a Position he Maintained Against the Right Hon. W. E. Gladstone in the Nineteenth Century (London: The Times Pub. Co. [1892]), and Do., with a preface by Rev. Handley C. G. Moule [2nd. edn.] (London: Hodder & Stoughton 1902), xvi, 278pp.; 8°; Do. [4th edn.] (1903), xvi, 281, [7]pp.; Do. [5th edn.] (1905), Do. [6th edn.] (1906), 23cm.; and Do. [7th edn.; based on 2nd edn.], with a preface by Handley C. G. Moule, D.D., / Bishop of Durham (London: J. Nisbet [1914]), xvi, 278pp.
  • Commentary on the 1st Chapter of Genesis: the deponent science summoned as witness to the truth of the Bible (Upper Norwood: G. Roberts 1889), 38pp., 8°;
  • The Bible or Church? [incorporating the greater part of the Buddha of Christendom (London 1899)]. (London: [Hodder & Stougton 1908), xi, 269pp., 8°; Do. [rep.] (London: Pickering & Inglis [1910]), xi, 269pp., 22cm; Do. [2nd edn.] (London, Glasgow: Pickering & Inglis 1924), xi, 269pp.;
  • Daniel in the Critics’ Den. A reply to Dean Farrar’s “Book of Daniel.” (Edinburgh & London: Blackwood & Son 1895), ix, 126pp.
  • Daniel in the Critics’ Den: a reply to Professor Driver of Oxford [i.e to his Commentary on Daniel in the Cambridge Bible] and the Dean of Canterbury [i.e. to F. W. Farrar’s “Book of Daniel”] (London: J. Nisbet & Co. 1902), xiv, 186pp.
  • Pseudo-criticism: or the higher criticism and its counterfeit (London: James Nisbet & Co. 1904), xiii, 165pp.
  • Unfulfilled Prophecy and “The Hope of the Church” [A treatise on Daniel IX] [Aids to Prophetic Study Ser..] (London: Prophecy Investigation Society [1917]), viii, 106pp., 8°; Do. (London: C. J. Thynne; J. Nisbet & Co. 1918); and Do. (London & Glasgow: Pickering & Inglis: [1922]).

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Commentary
J. S. Crone, et al., “John Rutherford”, in The Irish Book Lover , Vol. I, No. 11 (June, 1910), gives a full account of the identification of the eponymous author of A Secret History of Fenianism and the Fenians (1896) with Sir Robert Anderson, later disproved. The notice takes the form of a series of comments and replies in to which Crone, as editor, appends his own account of the apology sent to the Star for the misidentification made in the Irish Book Lover, and finally an interview with Rutherford’s widow, establishing the true identity of the author, properly John Rutherford, aka “Thor Fredur”.

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J. J. Abraham, Surgeon’s Journey: Autobiography (London: Heinemann 1957) relates how Major Henri le Caron’s own autobiography revealed that the father of ‘a student dissecting with me [Abraham]’ had been the recipient of secret information on the Fenians from the author. The friend’s father gave Abraham some books which he had written, Daniel in the Critic’s Den and The Coming Prince, from which Abraham inferred that ‘he must be a bit cracked’. After le Caron’s revelations he realised that ‘the author of the religious books I had been reading, was no less a person than the head of the Criminal Investigation Department, and it was to him that le Caron had been reporting the Fenians’ secret proceedings for years.’ He continues: ‘It was amazing. People who knew him could not believe it. No one more unlikely to hold such a post had been imagined. But it was true! That, of course, was the beautiful cleverness of it. He was entirely unsuspected. The disclosure, naturally, destroyed the value of the secret and, soon after, he and his family left Dublin. Probably his life was not considered safe there any longer, and so he was moved to London, to take up a high administrative post in Scotland Yard. I believe he kept on writing more and more religious books. His name was Sir Robert Anderson. He died in 1918.’ (p.51.) [See Abraham, q.v.]

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