6 October 1888
To the Editor of the Pall Mall Gazette.
SIR,--If, as seems highly probable, the four last East-end murders are the work of the same individual, he has involuntarily supplied those who have studied the connection between character and appearance with certain indicia respecting himself which may prove useful in the search which is now being made after him. To give in full the reasons for every statement made below would need several columns of your paper. Suffice it to say, that a careful study of all the circumstances of the case have led me to the conclusion that the following description represents roughly the appearance of the murderer:--He is a man of about the middle height, or not much above it, with broad shoulders and powerful muscular development. The hands are muscular, the fingers short, the thumbs thick and stunted. The feet are broad in proportion to their length. He is of dark complexion, with dark hair, but, in all probability, stone-grey or steel-grey eyes, as these are the only absolutely relentless eyes. These eyes at times open in such a way as to show some of the white above the pupils, but, as a rule, the lids are half-closed, the lower lids rising more than is usual. The jaw is square and firm, and the ears are situated low down in the head. He is probably about forty years of age, and is certainly not under thirty. He is dressed in dark clothes and wears a flannel shirt, and a dark silk handkerchief round the neck. He also wears dark gloves and thin side-spring boots. His hat is probably a dark stiff "bowler." He is a man of education and some means, and his appearance is entirely respectable. His manner is quiet and composed, and there is nothing to betray the monomaniac except a certain mingled restlessness and some cunning in the expression of the eyes. Such a description may seem somewhat fanciful, but there is a reason more or less valid for every item; in fact, it would be strange if coincident and convergent circumstances gave no clue to personal appearance as well as character.--Faithfully yours,
October 4. A. EUBULE EVANS.
To the Editor of the Pall Mall Gazette.
SIR,--Much nonsense is being written just now about the bloodhound and its use in the detection of crime. Credited with a morbid, insatiable craving for blood, it is said to have a savage and ferocious nature, which makes it as dangerous to friend as to felon. The plain fact is that the average bloodhound of to-day is a docile, gentle, faithful creature of high, nervous temperament, but singularly free from "vice," and particularly suitable as a reliable playmate for children. The bloodhound does not crave for blood. He is content with such Spartan fare as Spratt's biscuits and the water-trough afford. The keen scent, quick intelligence, patience, and power of concentration found in a well-bred, highly-trained bloodhound--to say nothing of his good looks--have made him the hero of much harmless romance. The bloodhound, for instance, is credited with having tracked down Fish, the Blackburn murderer, goodness knows how long after the deed. The dog which did assist, in the remotest way, in Fish's capture was not a bloodhound, but a dog of some mixed breed. In old Border work--sheep-stealing, slave-hunting, and in all cases where the conditions of place and time have given the bloodhound a fair chance of following up the scent--he has done good, and sometimes astonishing, service. But the presence of blood is not essential to the successful tracking down of the quarry. If a hound is to track men he must be trained specially for this class of work, as the harrier for the hare, the foxhound for the fox, and the deerhound for the hart. Indeed, in old times the bloodhound was trained for all these purposes. The first Lord Wolverton's pack hunted either the red or fallow deer, I forget which.
A well-known Northern breeder of bloodhounds to-day treats his hounds to an occasional outing by giving some needy and obliging tramp sixpence, half-an-hour's start, and an assurance that the hounds "won't hurt him." The tramp starts off at the top of his speed, the hounds are cast off in half an hour or so, and they find the tramp either up a tree or in the sanctuary of a wayside inn imbibing beer and emitting maledictions. That the exquisite scent and splendid powers of the bloodhound could be directed to the detection of crime in cities, after long, patient, and intelligent training, I have little doubt. But is there a hound living that has had this training? If a country-trained hound were allowed to make casts in, say High-street, Whitechapel, I should expect to find it next minute in some innocent butterman's shop, intent not upon the murderer but on the margarine it scented from afar. The butterman might fall a sacrifice to an infuriated crowd, and the day of the bloodhound would be done. He deserves a better fate than this. The London police will find a good friend in the bloodhound, given patience to train him in the way he should go.--I am, Sir, your obedient servant,York-hill, Loughton, Oct. 3. PERCY LINDLEY.
The Tablet, faithful to those of the household of faith, has rallied to the defence of Mr. Matthews against the Daily Telegraph, for he possesses the supreme qualification, in its eyes, of being an obedient son of the Roman Church. The St. Stephen's Review, which can hardly be accused of hostility to the Government, shrieks for the immediate despatch of "Maddening Matthews," and the Saturday Review solemnly shakes its head at the Home Secretary's unfortunate want of tact. We are the last people in the world to make any difference to the detriment of any men because of their religious opinions, but we confess the pendulum swings too far in the other direction when we are practically asked to regard occasional attendance at mass as sufficient to cover almost every defect of character and capacity which can be united in the person of the Secretary of State.
While every one must admire the spirit of Mr. Walter Hazell's letter in the Times, in which he offers £50 to a fund to provide against a sudden and large influx of unfortunates from the streets, we fear that he somewhat underrates the difficulties of the problem with which he proposes to deal. He says: "Now is the opportunity to offer to these poor people, who at all times deserve our sympathy and help, a specially open invitation to forsake their evil lives and to return to the paths of virtue." By all means let us extend them a special open invitation, but how can they accept it unless for the rest of their lives they are offered board and lodging at the public expense? If any one imagines that it is an easy thing to provide employment for a middle-aged woman who most unfeignedly repents and reforms, we fear his first practical experiment would bring about a cruel disillusion.
What, then, is the chance of providing means of livelihood for a host of unfortunates who do not repent, who are not anxious to leave their evil life, and who, above all things in this world, long for gin? It is a grim tragedy of despair, no doubt, that we are witnessing so grim as sometimes to madden those who are confronted with its realities, but it is not so pathetic as the unavailing struggle of the decent woman to earn a decent livelihood, and who finds herself driven steadily step by step backward into the abyss from which even the knife of the Whitechapel murderer may be regarded as a merciful deliverance. So utterly hopeless it sometimes seems to try to get a subsistence wage for a decent woman, that we have often wondered whether, after all, it would not be well to allow the hard-driven woman at least a choice of suicide as an alternative to vice. If in every town there were established an asphyxiating chamber, in which on due declaration being made that the applicant, having exhausted all means of procuring employment, preferred to die rather than to purchase the means of existence by a life of shame, we fear it would be much more used than people imagine.
Lord Compton's proposal for an inquiry by a Select Committee into the "doss-houses" of London, with special reference to double dosses such as have been so often mentioned in connection with the murders, is a good one. We have indeed no sympathy whatever with those who speak of the extermination of such lodging-houses altogether as the last word on the question. If such a policy begins in Whitechapel, why should it end there? Why are facilities, such as the Whitechapel "deputies" afford, worse in the East than in the West? And in the West they are at least as frequent and as easy. And besides what does it profit to exterminate the disreputable lodging-houses, if you do not also exterminate the lodgers? To do the former, and not the latter, will merely be to drive the unfortunate inmates to worse dens. Lord Compton's proposal is a more practical one. Let us know exactly "how the poor live" in this respect also--for information is an indispensable preliminary to improvement.
INTENDED EMPLOYMENT OF BLOODHOUNDS.
A MYSTERIOUS TELEGRAM.
We are requested to state that Sir Charles Warren has been making inquiries as to the practicability of employing trained bloodhounds for use in special cases in the streets of London; and, having ascertained that dogs which have been accustomed to work in a town can be procured, he is making immediate arrangements for their use in London. The police authorities have now had reproduced in facsimile and published on the walls of London the letter and post-card sent to the Central News agency. The language of the card and letter is of a brutal character, and is full of Americanisms. The handwriting, which is clear and plain, and disguised in part, is that of a person accustomed to write a round hand, like that employed by clerks in offices. The exact colour of the ink and the smears of blood are reproduced in the placard, and information is asked in identification of the handwriting. The post-card bears a tolerably clear imprint of a bloody thumb or finger mark.
The daughter of the woman who was murdered in Mitre-square has been found. Her age is nineteen, and she is married. She states that her father, Thomas Conway, with whom the deceased cohabited for some time, before she met with Kelly, is still living, but he has not yet been traced. It will be remembered that Kelly stated in the course of his evidence on Thursday before the coroner that when the deceased left him early last Saturday afternoon she told him she was going to try and find her daughter Annie. The latter, however, now states that she did not see her mother that day.
The funeral of the Mitre-square victim will take place next Monday, at Ilford. The body has been placed in a handsome polished coffin with oak mouldings. It has a block plate, with gold letters, with the following inscription:--Katherine Eddowes. Died September 30, 1888, aged forty-three years." All the expenses in connection with the funeral will be borne by Mr. Hawks, Banner-street, St. Luke's.
A news agency has received a telegram from New York with respect to a statement alleged to have been made in that city by an English sailor bearing the peculiar name of Dodge. The statement is that he arrived in London from China on the 13th of August, by the steamship Glenorchy, that he met at the Queen's Music-hall, Poplar, a Malay cook, and that the Malay said he had been robbed by a woman of bad character, and that unless he found the woman and recovered his money he would murder and mutilate every Whitechapel woman he met. The statement also includes the following description of the Malay:--"He was about 5 ft. 7 in. in height, 130lb. in weight, and apparently thirty-five years of age." Judging from these precise figures relating to the Malay's appearance, it is evident that Dodge must have scrutinized him very closely. Inquiries have been made by the news agency in London, but no information has been obtained in verification of the sailor's story.
It is reported that the following postal telegram was received by the metropolitan police at 11.55 P.M. last night. It was handed in at an office in the Eastern District at 8 P.M.:--"Charles Warren, Head of the Police News Central Office--Dear Boss,--If are willing enough to catch me I am now in City-road lodging, but number you will have to dinf out, and I mean to do another murder to-night in Whitechapel."--Yours, JACK THE RIPPER." The question naturally suggests itself, assuming it to be true that a telegram was sent, why was not the sender of the telegram given into custody? Further, four hours is surely a long time for the transmission of a message from the Eastern district to Whitehall.
NO SOLUTION OF THE MYSTERY YET.
As briefly stated yesterday the police authorities have received an important piece of information from Guildford. This information was that a woman's leg from the knee down to the ankle, and a right foot, the decomposition of which had been somewhat arrested by boiling, had been found near one of the railways in that town. Detective Inspector Marshall at once left for Guildford to investigate the matter. That the limb found has any connection with the suspected crime at Westminster has yet to be proved, but the police authorities think that it is quite possible that a connection exists. The remains have been brought to London.
It is said that the maker of the skirt in which the body at Westminster was found has been traced--the maker being in the West-end--and there is thus a possibility that the identity of the person whose body has been mutilated will be discovered. The police have instituted the most rigorous inquiries respecting all persons who have the right of entry to the works between the Embankment and Cannon-row, where the headless and limbless trunk was found. The inquiries, however, are not limited to this district, and the fact that officers of acknowledged ability and acumen had been relieved of other important work to go elsewhere would seem to indicate that there were yesterday other important points for investigation. The date on which the body was placed in the underground recess is a matter of great importance. If placed there before or on Saturday, the fact would seem to indicate that the removal was a necessity before quarter-day. It will be remembered that the removal of Harriet Lane's body by Wainwright was due to the fact that he was about to give up the tenancy of the house wherein the body had up till then remained.
The approximate date of the committal of the crime was fixed under rather peculiar circumstances. The piece of a London paper adhering to the remains was only about six inches long and four broad. Upon searching the files at the office of the paper, however, it was found that it was a portion of an edition published on the 24th of August. The doctors and the police thereupon came to the conclusion, comparing this with post-mortem indications, that the deed must have been committed either on that date or shortly anterior thereto.