10 October 1888
Excitement Caused by the Latest Whitechapel Murders.
Excitement Caused by the Latest Whitechapel Murders.
London, Oct. 1.
The excitement occasioned by the latest Whitechapel murder has increased rather than abated today. The police have made no progress in their efforts to establish a clue to the murderer and have further lost public confidence in their efficiency by the fact that persons arrested on suspicion of connection with the tragedy were released today for want of even a scintilla of evidence upon which to justify their retention in custody. They profess to be hopeful of success, however, and many people are inclined to hope with them in the absence of any suspicion in their own minds even remotely defined as to criminal motive, calling for identity. Private rewards offered for his arrest, added to that of the Lord Mayor, bring the total sum to £1,200 and it is likely it will soon reach £2,000. The stock exchange is discussing the question of starting a fund to defray the expenses of the murderer's detection and reward his captors, and the project has the very best chances of a successful issue. The fact that the latest murders were committed within the jurisdiction of the city police has created a sharp rivalry between that body and General Warren's metropolitan detectives. Many wagers have been laid upon the question of the murderer's capture with odds largely in in favor of the city police solving the mystery and landing the fiend in jail. It is now proposed to send a circular to every householder in the east end requesting details of movements, habits etc. of their respective lodgers.
A theory has largely obtained support today that the murderer has two domiciles, one probably a shop or surgery to which he retires for the purpose of removing traces of his crimes and the other a dwelling house where he is unknown, except as a lodger whose habits and manners make him a desirable tenant in the estimation of his landlady. The police are being urged to station bloodhounds in Whitechapel district in the hope that they may be able by their keenness of scent to run the fiend down when he seeks a fresh victim. An inquest on the body of the woman murdered in Mitre Square will take place on Thursday, when startling revelations are promised, not at all, it is said, to the credit of the police. It is positively asserted that medical testimony which will be given at the inquest, on the body of the woman found murdered in Mitre Square to take place on Thursday will prove that the victim's uterus and one kidney were removed by the murderer and have not been found.
The police as yet have no clue concerning the Whitechapel murderer. Various arrests have been made on suspicion, but there is no hope of those detained being the man that is wanted. The managers of the Financial News have offered a reward of £300 for the apprehension of the murderer and it is said that a fund for the same purpose will be raised by the members of the Stock Exchange. The Lord Mayor has offered £550 reward for the arrest of the Whitechapel murderer. Drs. Forbes, Winslow and Sir Richard Bennett and other medical experts themselves are more than ever convinced that the perpetrator of the crimes is a homicidal lunatic.
During the last few weeks a series of murders have been perpetrated in London, England, which have on account of their horrible circumstances and the mystery attendant on them, sent a thrill of horror throughout the civilized world. The brutal nature of the crimes and the veil of mystery that enshrouds the perpetrator forcibly recall Edgar Allan Poe's history of the Rue Morgue. When De Quincy published his famous essay on "Murder as a Fine Art", he depicted an ingenious and malignant villain who made murder the one occupation of his life. Such a man was at the time regarded as an impossibility in actual life, but the Whitechapel and Austin, Texas, murders have shown clearly that such men do at times exist outside of the brain of the literary man. The Whitechapel murders, which are of too recent occurrence to dwell upon here, present in many respects a parallel case to those which in 1885 stirred the Lone Star state. In Whitechapel a series of even murders have been committed, all of them bearing the stamp of having been perpetrated by one and the same hand, all of the victims being of the class of fallen women who nightly walk the streets of London, and all of them being committed on one of the most frequented thoroughfares of the busiest city in the world, where the ebb and flow of human beings continues even through the darkest hour of the night, and which is constantly patrolled by policemen. Not a single clue is left apparently which can in any way lead to the detection of the murderer. No wonder in the face of such difficulties that the police authorities are helpless and that the detective force regard all efforts to bring the human fiend to justice as hopeless. In many quarters the London detective force is being severely censured for being unable to find the murderer. But bricks cannot be made without clay, nor can any criminal be traced up in such a crowded community as London, until some clue is first evolved which can be followed up. Comparisons are now being made between the London and New York detectives, in favor of the latter, but in the case of the Austin murders, under similar circumstances, the American detectives proved themselves incapable of solving the mystery as those of London now apparently are. The story of the Austin murders was as follows: On the night of December 31, 1884, in the western residence portion of the city, a mulatto woman was murdered and her body fearfully mutilated, after which it was dragged to the rear of the premises where she was employed as a cook, marking the earth with a gory trail. A fellow servant who occupied with her the little room where the crime was committed was terribly mangled by the same unknown fiend and lay for weeks at the point of death. No light was ever thrown on the murder. A few weeks went by and another colored servant girl was butchered in her bed in the same barbarous way, and that, too, was a mystery. A little while afterwards and a third victim was added to the list. These assassinations occurring in the capital of a great state, in a city that had ever been orderly and free from such outrages, greatly excited the people. The police force was increased, many "specials" appointed, extra vigilance taken by the citizens, rewards offered, in short nothing that reason could suggest was left undone. But the community was still to be shocked by a series of similar horrors. It was yet early in 1885 when the fourth colored woman, also a domestic, met the same dreadful fate. By this time a feeling of panic began to prevail among this class, and it was well nigh impossible to get a negro woman to stay in service, if required to occupy an apartment alone or one detached form the house of her employers. Most of the murders had taken place om small outhouses, adjacent to the main dwellings. A good many arrests were made, but in no instance was there sufficient proof to hold the persons arrested. Next came a double murder; two women of the same unlucky race were killed with the same sickening savagery. Horror settled over the town. Complaint was loud and bitter against the local police. Their incompetency to deal with the horrid condition that seemed to hang over the city like a pall, caused the importation of skilled detectives from a distance. They came, but did no better. Not an assassin was taken. These murders had without exception taken place on the brightest of moonlight nights, and some of them at an early hour. Yet such was the quickness with which the ruffians did their awful work, that they never failed to escape. Theories were many; some said it was the doings of a maniac, others that it was a band of outlaws who had a hiding place in some cave or cliff along the Colorado River, near the town, probably a gang of escaped convicts who had sworn enmity to mankind. But why were servant girls alone butchered - and all of them colored? No one could answer. There was absolutely no clue to the demon or demons who did the satanic work. Money and the best detectives that could be obtained failed to bring the perpetrator to justice and the matter remains to this day shrouded in mystery.
It will be noticed that the Whitechapel and Austin murders bear a strange resemblance in the nature of their victims. In Whitechapel the seven victims were all fallen women, in Austin the six victims were all female colored servants. In the Whitechapel case, however, the fact that all these murders were committed at night on the open street renders it less strange that the victims should be of one class, as the murders are always committed at an hour at which no decent woman would be on the street, while these unfortunates are swarming out to ply their nightly occupations, and it may be that the dastardly murderer would shrink from attacking a man even if his crime could be as easily accomplished as it can be with women of this class who are eager to walk with any man. Two theories have already been advanced as to the cause of these murders, which have been rendered even more mysterious by the surgical skill with which the bodies have been partially dissected, excepting in one case where the murderer appears to have been disturbed before accomplishing his evil work. The first theory originated in evidence given before the first coroners inquest, to the effect that some time before a man who claimed to represent the American Publishing Company called at the British Museum and at one of the London Hospitals, and said that he wanted to purchase specimens of uterus to be distributed with a medical work which his firm was then publishing. It was consequently supposed that the murders might have been committed by an insane American surgeon for the purpose of procuring these specimens, as in all the cases examined parts of the uterus have actually been missing. Further evidence, however, shows that is it nearly two years since the uterus seeker called at the British Museum and this theory is accordingly rendered improbable. Another theory originates from a letter written to the papers by Archibald Forbes, the famous war correspondent, and a statement made to the police by one Charles Dodge. In his letter Mr. Forbes suggests that the murders are the work of a medical student who having become incurably diseased by one of these street walkers, has become insane and sworn vengeance against the whole class. Charles Dodge at the same time gives information to the police, that a Malay, a cook on board of one of the vessels in the docks, having been diseased by one of these women, had taken an oath that he would kill every one of them in London. The police are now looking for the Malay, but it is not likely that he will prove to have been the murderer, as it is not likely that a Malay cook would have been able to dissect his victims as the murderer has done, as the medical experts report that it appears to have been done delicately and by an experienced hand, and the bodies when found having been in some instances still warm, show that the work was done expeditiously. It is ectremely unlikely that a Malay cook would have such surgical and anatomical knowledge as would fulfil these conditions, but the fact, if true, renders Mr. Forbes' theory the more probable. That the murderer will in this case be discovered we believe. It is only natural to suppose that he is insane and if so he will laugh to scorn all precautions that may be taken against him. It is true that he may have sufficient cunning to remain quiet for a while, but he will eventually continue his efforts to glut his lust for murdering these unfortunates, and the probabilities are therefore in favor of his ultimate detection, as the authorities are now on the alert and are preparing to track him down should he again make his appearance; but it is yet possible that the Whitechapel murders may remain as do those of Austin, an unsolved mystery.