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22 May 1859, Edinburgh M.D., Kt, KStJ, D.L., LL.D., Sportsman, Writer, Poet, Politician, Justicer, Spiritualist Crowborough, 7 July 1930

Doyle Fights on to Aid Edalji

From The Arthur Conan Doyle Encyclopedia

Doyle Fights on to Aid Edalji is an article published in The New-York Times on 16 june 1907.

About Arthur Conan Doyle pounding away at the Home Office to do justice to George Edalji and the opinion of Dr. A. Lindsay Johnson.

Doyle Fights on to Aid Edalji

The New-York Times (16 june 1907, section 3 p. 1)

Again Urges Home Secretary Gladstone to Do Him Full Justice.

Letters in Case Examined

Dr. A. Lindsay Johnson, Handwriting Expert in Dreyfus Trial, Says They Are Not Edalji's.

London, June 15. — Sir Arthur Conan Doyle keeps pounding away at the Home Office, grimly determined to compel it to do justice to Edalji. He has just published very important evidence in support of his view that Edalji did not write the letters, which, because Home Secretary Gladstone believes he did write them, are the cause of the refusal of the Home Office to compensate him for what he has suffered through his unjust conviction and imprisonment.

Dr. Lindsay Johnson, the expert who assisted Maître Labori to unravel the mystery of the Dreyfus bordereau, has examined the letters in question and has reached the conclusion that Edalji did not write them. Dr. Johnson's method of examination was the same he used in the Dreyfus case. He pro-cured photographic positives of the writings, projected them, immensely enlarged, on a screen by means of two lanterns. Having one lantern on a stand provided with azimuth motions, he was able to bring any words underneath or above the line of comparison and thus to effect the most exhaustive minuteness in his examination. He could even note jerks in some of the letters, due to pulse beats.

In reporting his conclusions in respect to certain letters, signed Greatorex, which figure prominently in the Edalji case, Dr. Johnson says:

"The letters signed Edalji and Greatorex have nothing in common. The former are those of an educated man. They exhibit no errors in spelling or style. The handwriting is that of a man who has written continuously for years. The same words are always written In the same way, and every full stop is inserted.

"The Greatorex letter is in a cramped and apparently disguised hand. It is unquestionably the style of an uneducated man of irregular habits. It is practically unpunctuated.

"I counted seventy-eight pulse beats in thirteen consecutive words, whereas in Eclairs writings they cannot be continuously counted. This shows that the writer of the Greatorex letters wrote about thirteen words a minute and had a trembling hand, whereas Edalji had a remarkably firm hand and wrote much more rapidly.

"The inference is that Edalji was a very temperate man, while the other was addicted to drink and dissipation, but I give this with reserve."

Dr. Johnson also reports upon the whole series of anonymous letters, known as the Martin Molton letters, beginning with the boyish effusion of 1892 and running down to the anonymous letter recently received by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle. Dr. Johnson's conclusion is that the letters are all from the same hand, the Greatorex letters being disguised epistles by the same person who wrote the other letters.

A rather important fact connected with Dr. Johnson's examination is that it was undertaken without fee or reward of any kind. It remains to be seen what Home Secretary Gladstone will do with Dr. Johnson's impression. By his conclusions Sir Arthur Conan Doyle thinks that Dr. Johnson has absolutely demonstrated Edalji's innocence.