Samuel Lee Anderson

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Samuel Lee Anderson
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Born(1837 -06-14)June 14, 1837
Died(1886-12-01)December 1, 1886
  • Crown Lawyer
  • Secret Service Officer

Sir Samuel Lee Anderson (14 June 1837 – 1 December 1886)[1] was an Irish Crown Lawyer and Secret Service Officer working out of the Dublin Castle Administration in Ireland. He worked on anti-Fenian and criminal cases in Ireland from 1865 to 1884. He was also an intelligence officer, theologian and writer.[2]

Samuel Lee Anderson and his brother Robert, had a significant impact on against Fenian activity [3]in Ireland and the Britain by compiling secret briefs using his intelligence network in Ireland. The National Library of Ireland holds a book with the information he compiled including photographs of Fenians.[4] He Worked as an intelligence officer and Crown Lawyer[5]in Dublin [6]working alongside his brother Sir Robert Anderson, who was also a lawyer and intelligence officer. Robert was was seconded to London to work for the British Crown in the Irish Office.[7]Sir Samuel Lee Anderson, he was called in by Lord Mayo to undertake certain confidential work at Dublin Castle and became a specialist in anti-Fenian activity in Ireland.[8]

Irish Secret Service

Sir Samuel Lee Anderson built a very effective intelligence network working alongside his brother, Sir Robert Anderson, by creating a dedicated Irish "Secret Service" of which up till then was not a dedicated or permanent operational office. The Secret Service operation was mainly controlled by "The Irish office" run from London.[9] Samuel Lee Anderson ably assisted with Sir John Rose and joined by his brother Robert[10], built up a substantial permanent secret service department in Dublin Castle re-organising files and briefs that were not indexed or collated.[11]This new dedicated office ran from Dublin Castle in 1865 and disrupted the Fenian movement in Ireland and Britain. Samuel Lee Anderson working again with his brother Robert, had collated secret reports sent from the British consul in New York, USA. One report called, "This History of Fenianism 1865-1866 written by One of the head centres in Ireland", the source was identified as General Millen[12], a high ranking officer now offering his services as a paid informer. This report from the inside which gave names and addresses which virtually crippled overnight with hundreds of arrests the network in Ireland, and Britain.[13]The author General Millen was paid £250[14]for his betrayal. The significance of Andersons compiling [15][16]the hundreds of briefs for the trials in 1865-1866[17]and combined with the use of cutting edge technology of photography producing hundreds of early photographs of Fenian prisoners which are now located in the National Library of Ireland.[18]

The Invincibles Assassination

Because of his Secret Service work, Sir Samuel Lee Anderson became a target for Fenian dissidents and a group called the"Irish National Invincibles" who saw the threat he posed to the republican movement. He luckily avoided assassination by changing his daily route to Dublin Castle on the day he was singled out by the group. [19] The group eventually assassinated the Permanent Under Secretary Thomas Henry Burke of the Irish Office, and the newly installed Chief Secretary for Ireland, Lord Frederick Cavendish; in the Phoenix park, Dublin in 1882. The Irish National Invincibles settled on a plan to kill the Permanent Under Secretary Thomas Henry Burke at the Irish Office. The Chief Secretary for Ireland, Lord Frederick Cavendish, was walking alongside Burke on the day of his arrival in Ireland when they struck, in Phoenix Park, Dublin, at 17:30 on 6 May 1882.[20]

Personal Life and Death

He died at Knapton House in Dublin on the 1st December 1886 was the son Mr Matthew Anderson. Educated at Rugby College and Trinity College Dublin getting a Bachelors Law degree in 1859, and an MA in 1862. He was appointed Chief Clerk in the crime department in the Chief Secretary's office in Dublin Castle before being appointed as Crown Solicitor for Dublin in 1868. He held the office of "Marshall of Court of the Admiralty of Ireland" from 1866 to 1868. He was called to the bar in 1877. Married to Lady Elizabeth Barcroft [21] in 1863, lived at Knapton House, Kingstown( DunLaoighre, Co Dublin)and 74 Baggot Street; the daughter of Joseph Barcroft of Strangmore, Co Tyrone. Knighted by Earl Spencer in 1884. Worked on Fenian and state trials until the conviction of the Irish National Invincibles in 1882.[22] He is buried in Mount Jerome Cemetery and Crematorium Harold's Cross, County Dublin, Ireland.


  1. "The Peerage Sir Samuel Lee Anderson". Retrieved October 8, 2023.
  2. "Short biography of Sir Samuel Lee Anderson". Retrieved October 6, 2023.
  3. "Secret Societies in Ireland,By T.Desmond Williams - P102 - Citing how much secret intelligence was almost entirely provided by the Anderson brothers in Ireland from 1865". Retrieved October 9, 2023.
  4. "The Work of Sir Samuel Lee Anderson, History Ireland". Retrieved October 6, 2023.
  5. ""The Shadow of The Brotherhood" By Barry Kennerk - Page 251- Samuel Lee Anderson appointed as Dublin based Crown Solicitor". Retrieved October 8, 2023.
  6. "Samuel Lee Anderson Promoted as Dublin based Crown Solicitor for Waterford and Kilkenny". Retrieved October 8, 2023.
  7. "The Work of Sir Robert Anderson worked in London on anti-Fenian activity". Retrieved October 6, 2023.
  8. "Conrad's Secrets by R. Hanson - Mentions Sir Samuel Lee Anderson appointed by Lord Mayo for the organising the Secret Service office". Retrieved October 8, 2023.
  9. "Sir Robert Anderson and Lady Agnes Anderson by Arthur Posonby Moore-Anderson,1947 - Chapter III - LONDON. THE HOME OFFICE AND SECRET SERVICE". Retrieved October 5, 2023.
  10. ""The Complete Jack The Ripper" book by Paul Begg and Martin Fido - Writes about Sir Robert Anderson work on the Ripper and mentions his brother - Sir Samuel Lee Anderson work on the Secret Service - DUBLIN". Retrieved October 8, 2023.
  11. "War in the Shadows by Shane Kenna - Sir Samuel Lee Anderson work on the Secret Service - DUBLIN". Retrieved October 8, 2023.
  12. "The Irish American Dynamite Campaign, By Joseph McKenna - General Millen is reported as the fenian spy source. Page 24". Retrieved October 8, 2023.
  13. "The Irish American Dynamite Campaign, By Joseph McKenna - Mentions reports and work done by the Anderson Brothers and the arrests. Page 24". Retrieved October 8, 2023.
  14. "The Irish American Dynamite Campaign, By Joseph McKenna - Mentions the amount paid to the General. Page 24". Retrieved October 8, 2023.
  15. "Conrads Secrets By R.Hanson Mentions the work of Intelligence compiling by Samuel Lee Anderson". Retrieved October 8, 2023.
  16. "Newspapers and Newsmakers: The Dublin Nationalist Press by Ann Andrews - On Page 188 Mentions the work of Intelligence compiling by Samuel Lee Anderson". Retrieved October 8, 2023.
  17. "Sir Robert Anderson KCB, LLD and Lady Agnes Anderson Hardcover – 1 Jan. 1947 by A P Moore-Anderson". Retrieved October 9, 2023.
  18. "History Ireland Magazine - Published Work in Ireland - The Work of Sir Samuel Lee Anderson, "Photographs" cutting edge early use of photographs". Retrieved October 8, 2023.
  19. "Sir Robert Anderson and Lady Agnes Anderson by Arthur Posonby Moore-Anderson,1947. Mentions his uncle changing his route on the day an attempt was to be made on his walk to Dublin Castle. (But to return to the Dublin murders-my uncle, Sir Samuel Lee Anderson, was another of the officials marked down to be "put out of the way,"his life being saved by what is commonly called a chance. His regular daily route to the Castle was known to anyone who cared to watch him. But once when within a stone's throw of where the murder gang were waiting for him, suddenly remembering some commissions he had promised to execute for his wife, he turned back and went round another way.)". Retrieved October 5, 2023.
  20. "Phoenix Park Murders by the Invincibles". The Irish Times. Retrieved October 6, 2023.
  21. "Armorial Families - Marriage of Dame Elizabeth Barcroft in 1863". Retrieved October 8, 2023.
  22. "The Law Times - Volume 82 - Page 128 - Obituary". Retrieved October 8, 2023.

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