7. 1 October 1987 [ES] (Comments on Bacon book; Mrs Gallup; Bacon's cryptology)

previously unpublished; © the estate of eric sams and beatrice cazac (Mrs. Mathew’s letters)

Dear Hayat,

I now have your slices of Bacon, cryptograms etc. My advice is blunt, or too sharp (if you think so I'm sorry, but hier stehe ich, Ich kann nichts anders) - cut it all out. First, it's unworthy of your book and its subject. Secondly, if you're pressed for space, this section is a self evident candidate for savings.

   But if not, and in case it's helpful, here are some specific points.

   p. 925 was Mrs. Gallup really a "brilliant exponent" of anything except her own self deluding folly and (I believe the later evidence shows) deliberate fraudulence?

   It wasn't Mrs. G. who misled Cartier; it was his belief that her results had been authenticated by American Army Intelligence.

   p. 926 Not all that much of mystery, surely? Mrs G. just faked it. How, otherwise, could she have "taken passages from Pope's translations"?

   p. 927  If Donnelly was a few years earlier shouldn't he come first?

   p. 929, 931 Orville Ward Owen, not Wilfred (!)

   p. 930 "two cipher specialists". One. William Friedman can't be thus described; he was certainly one of the very greatest cryptologists who ever lived.

   Margoliouth didn't "decode" anything, did he?  

   But, really, why bother with all this pathology?

   Bacon's own positive contributions to cryptology are of course quite another matter, though I doubt whether the method of varied letter-shapes is much more than a jeu d'esprit. Is there any evidence that Bacon himself, or anyone else, ever actually used it?

   Best wishes, as ever,

   yours Eric