By Hargrave Lee Adam, 1920
Hargrave Lee Adam was a distinguished true-crime writer of the early 20th century, and was familiar with numerous police officials including Robert Anderson, Charles Warren, and Melville Macnaghten. His works therefore show considerable insight into the minds of these and other police officials.
The Police Encyclopedia, published in 1920, has two short sections which contain information on the Whitechapel murders; two pages in the preface (authored by Robert Anderson) and two pages in Volume IV discussing, in part, Anderson's views on the case.
H.L. Adam also authored a number of other works which contained references to the Ripper murders, including Police Work From Within (1914) and The Trial of George Chapman (1930).
Detractors of the work of our British Police in bringing criminals to justice generally ignore the important distinction between moral proof and legal evidence of guilt. In not a few cases that are popularly classed with 'unsolved mysteries of crime,' the offender is known, but evidence is wanting. If, for example, in- a recent murder case of special notoriety and interest,* certain human remains had not been found in a cellar, a great crime would have been catalogued among `Police failures'; and yet, even without the evidence which sent themurderer to the gallows, the moral proof of his guilt would have been full and clear. So again with the 'Whitechapel murders' of 1888. Despite the lucubration of many an amateur `Sherlock Holmes,' there was no doubt whatever as to the identity of the criminal, and if our 'detectives' possessed the powers, and might have recourse to the methods, of Foreign Police Forces he would have been brought to justice. But the guilty sometimes escape through the working of a system designed to protect innocent persons wrongly accused of crime. And many a case which is used to disparage our British `detectives' ought rather to be hailed as a proof of the scrupulous fairness with which they discharge their duties.
We are justly proud of these characteristics of our criminal law and -methods of procedure, and it is to be hoped that they will not be discredited by pending changes intended apparently to make the way of transgressors more easy. In the past our treatment of criminals has been free from the influence of either maudlin sentiment or political expediency. In Mr. Adam's pages the reader will find a mass of information about the origin, growth and present organization of our British Police Forces:: And this is given, not in blue book-style; but with a literary freshness which makes even the driest details seem interesting. I ought perhaps to mention that I have not seen the chapter relating to the Department which I formerly controlled at Scotland Yard. But this is immaterial ; for my purpose is neither to criticize the details of the author's work nor yet to vouch for their accuracy.ROBERT ANDERSON.
* Crippen case
THE 'BLACK MUSEUM,' NEW SCOTLAND YARD
IN what is known as the Identification Department of Scotland Yard is a small room which is packed with relics of great crimes.
It forms a gruesome exhibition, although it is both interesting and educational to the student of criminology, which every constable worth his salt should be. It was in fact instituted and and is maintained for that purpose. I propose in the present chapter to describe some of the 'exhibits' contained therein, giving reference to and some particulars of the crimes with which the various articles are associated.
On all the walls hang drawings, plans, photographs and other documents. As you enter the room immediately on your left, is a postcard written in red ink, and with a smudge of red ink across it, intended for an imitation of a blood-stain, which was sent to the police at the time of the notorious Whitechapel murders. A great deal of mystery still hangs about these horrible Ripper outrages, although in a letter which I have just received from Sir Robert Anderson, he intimates that the police knew well enough at the time who the miscreant was, although, unfortunately, they had not sufficient legal evidence to warrant them laying hands upon him.