Thursday, 20th September 1888
The marked attention of the entire English public has gravely been excited by the appearance of a letter in the Times over the well known signature S.G.O., dealing with the horrors that lately have been recounted from the infamous neighbourhood of Whitechapel. The writer uses strong language, and taking to task a class of social philanthropists whose energies might be directed into more beneficial channels than those they now occupy. The sentimentalism of philanthropy has been its bane, and indulgence in it has handicapped terribly many movements which more wisely directed, would have conferred a greater benefit upon humanity. The seed of evil, says S.G.O., has been sown, and we must expect to reap the harvest. "At last we are beginning to see what is the meaning and result of the existence in our midst of tens of thousands of our fellow-creatures, begotten and reared in an atmosphere of godless brutality, a species of human savage, the very drainage of the vilest productions of ordinary vice." Facts warrant the employment of such terms, for at this late hour in the modern day there are districts, not peculiar to London alone - though there the worst - in all great centres of population, where vice is born and reared, amidst a squalor and abandonment of which the citizen but a little removed knows nothing. These are the nests of social disease, from which proceed the monsters that vex society, and so frequently shock the moral sense of the community by appearing as the guiding spirits in an epidemic of crime. It is a commonplace reflection that criminals are educated with the utmost ingenuity of profligacy to take their part in the war upon society, and it is equally a known fact that the downward path in the majority of cases leads at last to that description of abandoned wickedness which of late in the case of the Whitechapel tragedies has so awfully been demonstrated. For this, who is responsible? The officers of the law may be blamed, and perhaps not altogether unjustly so, for a want of vigilance, but are they ultimately to be held accountable for the existence of the foul blot? The public must bear their part of the burden, for as the Times observes, "we seem to have listlessly acquiesced in the existence of these kitchen-middens of humanity; to have treated them as though society must keep a receptacle for the collection of its waste material. We have long ago learnt that neglected organic refuse breeds pestilence. Can we doubt that neglected human refuse as inevitably breeds crime, and that crime reproduces itself like germs in an infected atmosphere, and becomes at each successive cultivation more deadly, more bestial, and more absolutely unrestrained?" Mr BARNETT, Vicar of St. Jude's, Whitechapel, further writes to the journal quoted, with a special knowledge of the East End, and utters these startling words - "The murders were, it may almost be said, bound to come; generation could not follow generation in lawless intercourse; children could not be familiarised with scenes of degradation, community in society could not be the bond of society, and the end of all peace." And the writer, who has special means of knowledge, adds - "Some of us who during many years have known the life of our neighbours do not think these murders to be the worst facts in our experience, and published evidence now gives material for forming a picture of daily or nightly life such as no one has imagined." We thus were given to understand that worse remains behind, and the public can readily conceive how dread are the fatal influences of virulent social disease working at this moment in the slums of the densely populated cities. For the moment London has a bad pre-eminence, but can we honestly look around us as citizens of lesser towns and flatter ourselves that we are not as other men?
But how is this crying evil to be swept from among us? How is the light of purity to be let in upon these dens of iniquity? How are we at once to stamp out the grosser forms of crime and instil the sentiments of responsibility which so many hapless wretches are ignorant of? The problem is a vast one, but who will say that it is insoluble? To meet it is not the business of a department or a society of philanthropic visionaries. The duty is one that falls on all classes alike, and from their common stirring alone can good issue. The prominence given to the discussion has stimulated a multitudinous variety of suggestions. We do not propose to consider them at present in detail. But it may be noticed that the VICAR of ST. JUDE'S puts forward four primarily necessary directions which reform must take - efficient police supervision, adequate lighting and cleaning, the removal of slaughter-houses, and the control of tenement houses by responsible landlords. These would be radical changes, but they would represent nothing more than an initial step. Let the world ask itself, "Who is my neighbour?" and strive to supply the answer that humanity should dictate.
The horrible butcheries in the East End continue to afford the public mind a superabundance of unhealthy sensation. The sickening details disclosed at the inquest to-day tend to prove that the diabolical atrocity must have been the work of a maniac. The newspapers have awakened to the fact that our city is infected with plague spots which breed moral diseases owing to the over-crowding and want of proper sanitary arrangements. A wholesale excision of these centres of immorality an crime is advocated, but as usual the means suggested to bring about the much needed reform are somewhat visionary.
THE RESUMED INQUEST
The resumed inquiry into the circumstances of Annie Chapman's death at 29 Hanbury street was held this afternoon at the Working Lads' Institute, Whitechapel road, before Mr Wynne Baxter, who was accompanied by his deputy, Mr George Collier.
Chief Inspector West, Inspector Abberline, Inspector Helson and Inspector Chandler represented the police.
Eliza Cooper, living at 36 Dorset street (a common lodginghouse), Spitalfields, said she had been lodging there for five months. On the Saturday before Annie Chapman's death witness lent a piece of soap to the deceased. Ted Stanley was then present. On the following Tuesday witness asked Mrs Chapman for the piece of soap lent her. They then went to a public house, and a quarrel ensued.
Did you strike her? Yes on the left eye, and also on the head.
When did you last see her alive? On Wednesday, 5th September. She was then wearing three rings on the third finger of the left hand.
Were they gold? No, brass - all three. She has never had a gold wedding ring to my knowledge.
Did you know anyone else besides Stanley with whom she associated? She associated with several others besides Stanley.
By the Jury - I could not say that any of the men are missing.
Dr. G. H. Phillips, re-examined, deposed - On the last occasion I mentioned that there were reasons why I thought the perpetrator of the murder caught hold of the woman's throat. On the left side, below the lower jaw, are three scratches one and a half to two inches below the lower lobe of the ear, and going in the contrary direction to the incision in the throat. These are of recent date. The abrasions are on the left side and on the right side are corresponding bruises. I washed the bruises, and they became much more distinct, whereas the bruises mentioned in my last evidence remained the same. The woman had been seized by the chin while the incisions in the throat had been perpetrated.
Dr Phillips then paused, and said that in the interests of justice he thought it would be better not to give the full details.
The Coroner - We have to decide the cause of death, and have a right to hear the particulars. Whether that evidence is made public rests with the Press. I may say that I have never heard of any evidence being kept back before.
Dr Phillips - I am, of course, in the hands of the court. What I was going to detail took place after death.
The Coroner - That is a matter of opinion, doctor. Medical men often differ, you know.
Dr Phillips repeated that he did not think the details should be given. Justice might be frustrated and (glancing at some ladies and boys in the court) -
The Coroner remarked that justice had had a long time to solve the case, but he certainly thought that the ladies and boys should leave the room.
The foreman - We are of the opinion that the evidence the doctor wishes to keep back ought certainly to be given.
The Coroner said he had delayed calling the evidence in order that it might not interfere with justice, but justice had had about a fortnight to avenge itself.
Dr Phillips - But it will not elucidate the cause of death.
The Coroner (warmly) said he must have the evidence.
The Court was then cleared of ladies and boys.
Dr Phillips (resuming) gave evidence regarding the removal of portions of the body.
It was evident, continued the witness, that these absent portions, together with the incision in the large intestine, were the result of the same excising power. Thus I consider the weapon was from five to six inches long, and the appearance of the cuts confirm in me the opinion that the instrument, like the one which divided the structures of the neck, must have been of a very sharp character. The mode of removal of the abdominal wall indicated a certain anatomical knowledge, but the excision of certain viscera conveyed to my mind a greater anatomical knowledge. It is only an inference, but I think I ought to mention it, that the early removal of the intestines in the yard was necessary to enable the operator to effect other excisions.
The Coroner - How long did it take to inflict all those injuries?
Dr Phillips - I could not have performed the removal in under a quarter of an hour.
In reply to two other questions Dr Phillips said that had he to excise the portions in a deliberate way as a surgeon, it would have taken him an hour to remove them.
By the Jury - Witness at an early stage gave his advice to the police that it would be useless to photograph the retina of the woman's eyes to see what was the last object retained on them. He also advised that bloodhounds would be of no use. The appearance of the dead woman's face was consistent with partial suffocation.
Elizabeth Long, Church row, Whitechapel, stated that on Saturday morning, the day of the deceased's death, she was passing down Hanbury street to go to Spitalfields Market, at half past 5 o'clock, when she saw a man and woman on the pavement. The man's back was turned towards Brick lane and the woman's towards Spitalfields Market. They were standing a few yards from No 29 Hanbury street, the Brick lane end. Witness saw the woman's face. She had seen the body at the mortuary and was quite sure that it was the same. She could not see the man's face. He was dark ad had a brown hat turned up at the side. It was a "deerstalker" - though his coat was dark He was a little taller than the deceased.
Did he look like a working man? He looked like a foreigner. He was dark.
Did he look like a dock labourer? What I should call shabby genteel. They were talking loudly. He said to her "Will you?" and she said "Yes."
Was that all? Yes.
Did you see where they went to? No. I went to my work and did not look back. I saw nothing to make me think they were the worse for drink.
Was it not unusual to see a man and woman talking together at that hour of the day? I see a lot f them sometimes talking at that hour.
By the Coroner - I am quite sure it was half past 5 when I saw the deceased talking to the man. I heard a brew house clock strike the half hour. I got to the market a little after the half hour. I am sure I heard him say "Will you," and her reply "Yes."
Edward Stanley, Orchard place, Orchard street, Brick lane, said he was a bricklayer's labourer.
Are you known by the name of "the Pensioner?"
Yes. I knew the deceased. I sometimes visited her at 35 Dorset street - once or twice, something like that.
When did you last see her alive? - On Sunday, the 2nd of September, between two and three in the afternoon. Was she wearing rings then? - Yes, two. I should think they were brass. I don't know of anyone she was on bad terms with. When I last saw her she had a black eye given her by some other woman.
By the Jury - Wintess was not the man who visited 35 Dorset street from the Saturday till the Monday.
The Coroner - Are you a pensioner?
Witness (warily) - Am I bound to answer that question?
The Coroner - Yes. The deceased told a woman on one occasion that you were going for your pension.
Witness - Then it could not have been me.
By the Jury - Witness was at Gosport from the 6th of August to the 1st of September. He went to 35 Dorset street on Saturday afternoon of the week following the murder. He did not give information then to the police, but went to them at Commercial street where he read the remarks published about him.
Albert Cadosh, a carpenter, of 27 Hanbury street, (next door to 29), said that at a quarter past 5 on the morning of the murder he went out into the yard, and returning almost directly after he heard a voice say "No." It appeared to come from No 29. Three or four minutes after he went out again. On going back he heard a sort of fall against the fence which divides No 27 from No 29. Something seemed to strike the fence suddenly. He did not look to see what it was. He heard no struggling.
William Steven, 35 Dorset street, said he last saw the deceased alive at 20 minutes past 12 at midnight on Friday, September 7. She was then sober. He saw her pick up a piece of envelope near the fireplace.
The foreman remarked that altogether £300 had been privately offered as a reward for information as to the murderer.
The inquiry was then again adjourned.
A letter from the Home Secretary was read at a meeting of the Vigilance Committee in Whitechapel to-day, replying to a communication on the question of offering a reward for the discovery of the murderer. The Secretary of State says that the practice of offering rewards for the discovery of crime has been abandoned some years as it proved to be more harmful than otherwise, and the present circumstances did not justify any departure from the rule.
The landlord of the hotel where Weitzel, who was charged yesterday with the attempted stabbing of a youth, sometimes stayed, says the man was an extraordinary character of violent temper. He had been a medical assistant in the German Army, and always carried a case of razors and some scissors. He was of dirty habits and appearance.