Largest Circulation of Any Evening Paper in the Kingdom.
LONDON. TUESDAY, 23 OCTOBER, 1888.
AN interesting point of journalistic ethics arises out of the proceedings at the Commission yesterday. The Times admits through its representative that it had no legal proof of the truth of some of its charges against Mr. Parnell at the time it published them. It may have had what it considers to be proof since. We do not discuss that question, which belongs to the Commission. We take Sir Richard Webster's admission as it stands, and we are simply concerned in a point which touches our own procedure in such cases. Now, The Star, as the sworn foe of rascaldom in London and elsewhere, has had an experience in libel and threats of libel equalled by few and surpassed by none. But in our freest and most ebullient moments we never dreamed of inserting charges against individuals which we did not at the moment believe could be sustained by legal proof. We might have been mistaken as to our belief; in more than one case we most certainly were not. But as a young and not especially timorous journal we stand aghast at the recklessness - we had almost said the magnificent recklessness - of the "leading" newspaper.
MR. MONTAGU WILLIAMS did not speak a bit too strongly in his vigorous condemnation of the dealings of the Bethnal-green Vestry with the costers. A man - a hard-working man, mind, with a very limited capital and no credit to tide him over a temporary difficulty - leaves his barrow in the street for a couple of minutes on a Sunday morning, and returns to find it, to all intents and purposes, confiscated by the parish "street-keeper." He goes on Monday morning to get it out, and is told to come again on Thursday. He goes again on Thursday, and is told he can have the barrow on payment of 5s. He represents that his children are starving, and Mr. Bumble answers "Let 'em starve." That is Bumble all over.
THE foregoing is not an isolated case. Mrs. Donovan is treated in precisely the same fashion. In vain she tells Mr. Bumble on Monday morning that she has a sick husband and four little children to support, and nothing for them to eat till she gets the barrow. "Come again on Thursday," is the official response, and by Thursday the landlord has put the brokers in on Mrs. Donovan's "bit o' things," and what has become of the sick husband and the four children, Heaven knows! The people could have their barrows, says Mr. Voss, the vestry clerk, "on paying the greenyard fee of half-a-crown or five shillings, or whatever it is." And where does Mr Bumble Voss imagine a coster out of work for a week is going to find this greenyard fee, unless, as Mr. Williams suggests, half-crowns grow in his pocket? Is he to go and beg for it, or is he to steal it? And if peradventure he does steal it, who ought to go to prison but Mr. Bumble?
The number of the policeman mentioned in the case of J. Wilkinson in the article on the "Early Riser" yesterday is 233, not 223.
An inquest was held to-day on Samuel Tomkinson, the man who was found nearly starved to death, as was supposed, on a door-step in St. John's-street-road, Islington. He was a journeyman baker, lodging in Essex-street, and had been out of work a long time. At the hospital an empty packet of vermin killer was found on him. The inquest was adjourned that the stomach may be analysed.
The unemployed met in Trafalgar-square yesterday morning for the first time this year. At noon some 300 or 400 were present. The balustrades were crowded. The crowd contented themselves with walking round the square. No attempt was made to hold a meeting. A large number of police were on duty in the square and in the adjoining streets. It is intended to meet every day in the square.
George Clarkson, a laborer in the Woolwich Arsenal Ordnance Stores, is said to have three wives alive - Bessie Peard, a cook; Jane Purbrick, of 5, Stoney-lane, London-bridge; and his first and lawful wife, now at Nottingham. To the police he said, "I am very sorry for what I have done." He was remanded yesterday. His second wife tracked him down.
The St. Pancras Works Committee last night resolved to recommend the Vestry to fine the dust contractor for Ward No. 8 £5 for not having a cover to his dust cart. When the lid was off some of the dust flew into a Vestryman's eyes, and he had to go to the hospital.
A Man Taken Out of Bed at a Lodging House at Bow.
A middle-aged man was arrested early this morning at Gordon-chambers, a lodging-house, near Bow Church, on suspicion, in connection with the East-end murders. His first visit to the lodging-house was yesterday morning, when he went there and asked to be allowed to wash. He had on a pair of white overalls, which he took off and offered to sell for 3d. He washed a stain out of his waistcoat and dried it by the fire, and went away. When he came back at night he was dressed in different clothes. These things seemed so extraordinary that the police were communicated with, and an hour after the man had gone to bed he was arrested. He was lying on the bed fully dressed. Although he had never slept at the lodging-house before, he told the police he had stayed there for 13 nights. He was taken to the Bow-road Station.
There was an extraordinary scene in Bradford Borough Court this morning, when Maria Coroner, mantle hand, was brought up for writing letters under the signature of "Jack the Ripper." A dense crowd fought for admission to the court. The prisoner listened to the proceedings with an amused expression. After an interesting legal argument as to whether she had committed a breach of the peace she was bound over for six months in £20, being told that if she again transgressed she would go to gaol.
A man was to-day arrested near the Tower of London who answers a published description.
The Lord Chancellar presided at Oxford last night at the annual meeting of the Oxford Auxiliary of the British and Foreign Bible Society, but he had a good deal to say about the immoral works coming from Paris. There was (he said) a larger consumption in this year of grace of putrid filth by the British people than had ever been the case since the British people became a nation. They had taught their children to read in order, apparently, to familiarise them with every conceivable form of human wickedness. Was it, therefore, wonderful that, notwithstanding the widespread diffusion of the word of God, the world, the flesh, and the devil still maintained their old warfare? They knew that the garbage would not find entrance into any decent family, but books attacking the institution of marriage, which were more mischievous because more insidious, were seen on drawing-room tables. What struck him as most remarkable was the extraordinary and inconceivable ignorance of the critics on these subjects.
The Helsingfors correspondent of the Daily News writes: - The Jews continue to be persecuted here, and nobody seems to care one atom what becomes of them after they have left their homes. Yesterday a fresh batch received orders to quit the country - this time at Wyborg. They numbered 125, and represented 34 families. While some have to leave as early as 1 Nov. next, others are allowed to remain here until January next, and some even longer. There still remain at Wyborg some 18 families. Not long ago a number of Jewish families were ordered to leave Abo, another town in the western part of Finland. It is hard to overrate the cruelty of the action of the Government.
A Coroner Who May Want an Inquest.
Mr. William Wallis, solicitor and borough coroner, of Newark, has been missing for some weeks. A lad named Nicholson was killed on Wednesday. There was no coroner to hold an inquest, and the Mayor applied to Justice Day, under the Coroners Act, 1887, to appoint the county coroner to hold it. This was done, and the inquest was held on Saturday. Yesterday the Town Council declared the office vacant, and ordered an election on Friday.
The Moral of the Murders.
SIR, - Allow me to congratulate your correspondent, the Rev. H. B. Chapman, for having struck the key-note to the cause of all the vice, misery, and want of not only the East-end of London, but the West and every other part - "the love of money."
Permit me to draw the rev. gentleman's attention to the Biblical direction, "If thy right hand offends thee, cut it off;" or thine eye, pluck it out." He is doubtless aware of the social axiom, "No one can do good (under the present competitive and monetary system) without doing a corresponding amount of harm." Is it not, therefore, waste of valuable time in collecting subscriptions from the benevolent to patch up or stave off the catastrophe he so wisely prophesies? Would it not be best to study how easily the most drastic and permanently-effectual remedy could be applied - viz., the entire disuse of money - exchange and barter? - Yours, &c.,
SIR, - Mr. Chapman has struck the true keynote of moral reform when he requisitions State aid for the suppression of the evil. Stern and drastic though it seem to be, it is not so terrible as unbridled and unlimited moral degradation. Further, the law is either with us or against us; if it does not frustrate by prohibition, it legalises by permission. The laissez faire system has existed as far back as we can trace, with the result of death unto death.
There are many evils at the root of the disorder; poverty is only one. Surely amongst others there are the laizzez faire system and social apathy. For evils of a certain sort a penal code is necessary, as some natures are fallen so low that nothing touches them but fear. Self-denial is not impossible, but if people will not, then force should meet force.
Good may come out of the Whitechapel tragedies, ghastly as they are, if people be aroused out of the deadly stupor of indifference to see the darker realities of the London in which we live. - Yours, &c.,
SIR, - Crime and depravity are diseases caused by force of circumstances and want of moral rectitude. When society is properly constituted, crime, depravity, and disease will die a natural death, and when these are eradicated life will be prolonged to an almost indefinite span, and the aged pilgrim, full of years and reverence, and in full communion with the Spirit of All Good will sink to a peaceful rest. - Yours, &c.,
London, W. C., 15 Oct.