September 21st, 1888
THE WHITECHAPEL MURDERS.
A WALK THROUGH THE DISTRICT.--AN APOCALYPSE
A correspondent writes the "Pall Mall Gazette:--Passing through Whitechapel in the evening, I have visited the scenes of the murders, or rather of two of them, as I was assured in the neighbourhood that to enter the yard in which the other was committed at that time of night would be as much as my life was worth. The interval which has passed without an addition to the chapter of crime has made me breathe more freely; but the most casual observer could not fail to see that this relief is not shared in the immediately affected district. The general feelings of dissatisfication about the police is loudly expressed. A resident a few doors away from one of the fatal spots told me that he had been to the police to complain of the dangerous state of the streets, and especially of that particular street, some time before the first murder was committed. Disorderly gangs (who obtained refreshment hard by quite openly at the hour) met outside his door talking undisguisedly of thieving enterprise, and threatening to throw any one who meddled with them over a certain wall. This is a wall six or seven feet high. Scramble up, and you see deepdown the glimmer of rails. It is where the Metropolitan Railway runs. My informant demanded at that time that the police force on the spot should be strengthened, more vigilance exerted, and some kind of order insisted on in the street by night. He warned that murder would ensue if matters were left as they were. He was referred from one police office to another, but without making any impression. 'We hope not,' said the officials. Then came the first fulfilment of his prophecy. He went again to the police and warned them that there would be more mischief unless they could clear the streets of the open and defiant ruffianism which continued to make night hideous. Again he was told, 'We hope not.' Then came another murder. The poor man now despaired of the police, and told them that he would carry a revolver for self defence. At present, it is said, that detectives and constables shoulder each other in the streets. I saw two of the latter and one of the former. But he is by no means satisfied yet, and it is gruesome to note the settled expectancy with which the people generally speak of 'the next murder.' Opposite the now famous house in Hanbury Street a ring of lurid faces discussed the situation, and echoed the sombre tone of my informant. The main thoroughfares of the district are connected by a network of narrow, dark, and crooked lanes, every one apparently containing some headquarters of infamy. The sights and sounds (which are said to be 'nothing just noew to what they were before,') are an apocalypse of evil. Underneath the prosperous stratum of Jew dealers the district seems to swarm with a nomadic mob of dehumanised men and women and unchildish children.