16 December 1888
Growing Belief that Fifteen Victims Have Already Fallen Under His Knife
London, Dec. 4.
The failure of the police to apprehend the Whitechapel murderer, vaguely known in all reports concerning his crimes and respecting his identity as Jack the Ripper, has raised the suspicion and as days and weeks have past intensified the belief that the number of murders committed by this fiend - assuming them to have been the work of one and the same person - is as much a matter of conjecture as is the real name of the monster or his present whereabouts.
The fact is still fresh in the mind of every man, woman and child in London, and, indeed, places far remote from the metropolis, that the presumed murderer chalked upon a shutter, after sending the soul of a victim from the loathsome haunts of the East End to an unknown world, a message expressing his intention to similarly dispose of a total of fifteen wretched lives before his desire for the shedding of human blood by the diabolical methodical methods he had conceived or adopted should be satiated. Who knows that he had not already reached that number, or even exceeded it?
The police, under the direction of Sir Charles Warren, were baffled in their efforts to run down the murderer until, through sheer discomfiture, the chief commissioner resigned his office. The press and the public criticised the action or inaction of the police unreservedly, and in doing so unquestionably impaired their efficiency by making it apparent that failure at whatever cost of effort would be condemned, while success would go unrewarded by even appreciation or acknowledgement of the difficulties encountered in its achievement.
The question is now asked, and with good reason, hasn't Jack the Ripper exceeded the number of murders to which he limited himself in his shutter proclamation and his communication to the Central News? The police under the ban of public censure for inefficiency certainly can have had no incentive to make public the details of additional murders while unable to capture the murderer since every fresh butchery has brought upon their heads further maledictions from tongue and pen.
It is therefore suggested, and by many person assumed, that other bodies than the ones reported as having been deprived of life by the terrible Jack have been found by the police and quietly put out of the way, while still others have been reported as having met death by natural causes, and all means of discovering the statements removed or rendered so difficult as to restrain the curious from making one of them.
It will require the exercise of all of Commissioner Monro's recognized abilities to their full extent to allay this suspicion, and that result can only be accomplished by the prompt capture of the murderer and submission to the public of evidence that the actual number of his butcheries are no greater than the official reports have represented.