26 October 1888
A letter has been received from the Home Office, at St. Jude's Vicarage, Commercial street, stating that the Queen has been graciously pleased to receive the petition from women inhabitants of Whitechapel praying that steps may be taken to suppress the moral disorders in that neighbourhood. The Home Secretary looks with hope to the influence for good which the petitioners may each exercise.
Benjamin Graham, 42, was charged at the Guildhall Police Court yesterday, on remand, on his own confession, with committing the murders in Whitechapel. The prisoner was taken into Snow hill police station on the afternoon of the 17th inst. by a man who stated that prisoner had told him he was the Whitechapel murderer. The Alderman last week remanded him in order that the state of his mind might be inquired into. Yesterday a doctor's certificate was read by the Chief Clerk to the effect that the prisoner had suffered from excessive drinking. Mr. Alderman Renals regretted that he was unable to punish the prisoner in some way, as by his foolish conduct he had given the police a great amount of trouble, but he had no option, and accused would have to be discharged.
During the three days of the week following the Sunday on which the two murders were committed, the following petition to the Queen was freely circulated among the women of the labouring classes of East London through some of the religious agencies and educational centres:-
"To Our Most Gracious Sovereign Lady Queen Victoria
We, the women of East London, feel horror at the dreadful sins that have been lately committed in our midst and grief because of the shame that has fallen on our neighbourhood. By the facts that have come out at the inquests, we have learnt much of the lives of our sisters who have lost a firm hold on goodness and who are living sad and degraded lives. While each woman of us will do all she can to make men feel with horror the sins of impurity that cause such wicked lives to be led, we would also beg that your Majesty will call on your servants in authority and bid them put the law which already exists in motion to close bad houses, within whose walls such wickedness is done, and men and women ruined in body and soul. We are, Madame, your loyal and humble servants."
The petition, which received between 4,000 and 6,000 signatures, was presented in due form, and the following reply has been received:
I am directed by the Secretary of State to inform you that he has had the honour to lay before the Queen the petition of women inhabitants of Whitechapel, praying that steps may be taken with a view to suppress the moral disorders in that neighbourhood, and that her Majesty has been graciously pleased to receive the same. I am to add that the Secretary of State looks with hope to the influence for good that the petitioners can exercise, each in her own neighbourhood; and he is in communication with the Commissioners of Police with a view to taking such action as may be desirable, in order to assist the efforts of the petitioners and to mitigate the evils of which they complain.
I am, Madame, your obedient servant,
Mrs. Barnett, St. Jude's Vicarage, Commercial street, E."