MONDAY, OCTOBER 15, 1888
Mr. George Lusk, president of the Whitechapel Vigilance Committee, has received the following communication from the Home Office, in answer to a request that a free pardon should be proclaimed to an accomplice or accomplices of the murderer:
"Oct. 12, 1888. - Sir - I am desired by the Secretary of State to thank you for the suggestions in your letter of the 7th inst. on the subject of the recent Whitechapel murders, and to say in reply that, from the first, the Secretary of State has had under consideration the question of granting a pardon to accomplices. It is obvious that not only must such a grant be limited to persons who have not been concerned in contriving or in actually committing the murders, but the expediency and propriety of making the offer must largely depend on the nature of the information received from day to day, which is being carefully watched, with a view to determining that question. With regard to the offer of a reward, Mr. Matthews has, under the existing circumstances, nothing to add to his former letter. - I am, sir, your obedient servant,
GUILDHALL. - HUSBAND AND WIFE. - Samuel Yates, 44, described as an umbrella manufacturer, of 85, Bishopsgate-street, was charged with threatening his wife. - Elizabeth Yates said that she was the wife of the accused. On Friday night, when her husband went home, she was sitting in the bed room reading a paper. When he entered the room he said to her "I'm very sorry for you, but you have only two minutes to live." He then walked out. Putting on her clothes, she went on to the landing, when she heard a scuffling in the kitchen. She ran down, and saw her husband struggling with her son, who was endeavouring to get a revolver away from him. Being afraid of her husband she sent for a policeman, who took him into custody. He had several times assaulted and threatened her. - Samuel Yates, the son of the prisoner, said that he had frequently heard his parents threatened each other. In fact he thought his mother was the worst. She had cut his father's head open by throwing a basin at him. - The prisoner denied the threats. - Mr. Alderman Wilkin adjourned the case, and accepted the defendant's own bail in £5.
WORSHIP-STREET. - CHILDREN IN COMMON LODGING-HOUSES. - Albert Bentley, 11 years of age, Florence Bentley, aged 5, and William Shepherd, aged 8, were charged by Mr. Stevenson, an officer of the Reformatory and Refuge Union, with being found living in the company of prostitutes in a common lodging-house, 8, White's-row, Spitalfields. - The rescue officer deposed to going to the place mentioned about midday on Saturday and to finding the children in the kitchen of the house among a number of men and women, some of the latter being undoubtedly prostitutes, as he had seen many of them at all hours of the night about the street corners of Spitalfields and Whitechapel. The house was registered to accommodate one hundred and two persons in fifty-one double beds. The house was usually a quiet one. Shepherd was in care of his father, a hawker, who had told witness that he was parted from his wife, and that the boy occupied the bed with him. The lad was left to pass his time in the lodging-house or the streets during the day, the father being away. The children Albert and Florence Bentley were in the lodging-house with their mother. She was willing to part with them so that they could go to the Industrial School. The boy witness proposed to get admitted to Feltham if he passed the doctor. - The magistrate (Mr. Montagu Williams, Q.C.) said he supposed the kitchen of the lodging-house was where the women passed the day, the children being among them and the men. - The officer replied that that was so, and there were some other children, but still younger. - The magistrate remarked that he would like to see the parents, and to enable them to attend remanded the children to the workhouse.
FIRE IN WHITECHAPEL. - On Saturday afternoon a fire broke out in a little two-storey dwelling-house and shop at the corner of Backchurch-lane and Hooper-street, two obscure thoroughfares in Whitechapel. The house was tenanted by Isaac Green, tailor and greengrocer, who with his family occupied the ground and first floors, the second floor being let to two other families. When the alarm of fire was given the Greens made their escape, but the others were not so fortunate. There were three women in the upper storey, and for a time they stood at the windows frantically crying for help; but there were no ladders at hand, and if a fire-escape had been on the spot it could not have been used, so rapidly had the flames spread. Two of the women threw themselves among the crowd without receiving much injury, but Mrs. Suboffaki, who was the last to jump, fell with great force on the paving-stones, and was terribly hurt. She was removed to the London Hospital, where she remains in a dangerous condition.
Two rival views are now put before the civic mind on the verge of that annual commemoration of ancient dignity - known to all as the Lord Mayor's Show - when banners, mottoes, and shields brighten our streets; when obelisks commemorative of bygone Lord Mayors are changed, as if by magic wand, into elaborate pyramids ornamented with festoons of flowers, gilt cross-poles, wreaths, and brilliant trappings; when fairy arches span the gloomy "ward," and forests of Venetian masts spring up and circle the old route from the Guildhall to the Law Courts, where, in response to the Lord Mayor's courteous invitation of all the judicial bench to the banquet, the presiding Judge makes discreet and guarded answer to the effect that "some of their Lordships will attend." On of these views inclines to a novel form of continuance of the old-fashioned pageant, replete with allegory, musical, mediaeval, and amusing - a very perambulating sermon in symbols - and the other is almost severely Puritan. We are reminded of the days of 1853, when Mr. COOKE, of Astley's, and Mr. FENTON, the scenic artist of Sadler's Wells, brought out all the old allegorical cars, as well as a terrestial globe on which sat two young damsels emblematic of Peace and Prosperity, whereupon the utilitarian spirit of the times arose in its wrath, and lifted up its voice against what it was pleased to call "this turning of Astley's into the streets"; and everybody became suddenly stern and desperately proper, and would have none of such theatrical display. So it came to pass that in that year the splendid City barges were sold for what they would fetch, and the old water pageant, in which the Lord Mayor ruled the Thames, even as the Doges of Venice did the Adriatic, was for ever abolished. It is becoming that these opposing views should be examined and inquired into, and we take them in the inverse order of their chronicling. The Lord Mayor Elect, Mr. Alderman WHITEHEAD, has, indeed, intimated to his committee that next month's procession shall be "worthy of the occasion and the City of London"; but he declares himself firmly opposed, even as were the barge-sellers of 1853, to the circus element and allegorical displays, "which neither accord with his taste, nor, in his opinion, with the dignity of the City." Possibly his Lordship Elect may have in mind the spectacle of last year, when the pitiless November rain drenched the golden locks of the ladies perched on tottering chariots who represented "Charity," "Education," and the like. He may call to mind the moist Foresters vainly pretending to sound their cheerful horns in a shower, and mind him of the kindly consideration shown to Miss "Open Spaces" and her allegorical crew, whose services were dispensed with by Lord Mayor DE KEYSER, seeing that the said "Open Spaces" were more like marshes than pleasaunces. Last year, indeed, the only two groups who seemed in thorough concord and sympathy with the inclement weather were those of "Father Thames," with his, in every sense, flowing beard, and the stalwart crew clad in oil-skins, life-belts, and sou'-westers, who peaked their oars and stood by the tiller in the Hunstanton life-boat. On that day the Arcadian shepherd and shepherdess retired in damp and dismal discomfort, and "England," who bravely struggled through the drizzling mist and did her best to look cheerful and victorious, only succeeded in conveying the impression that she was actively engaged in her traditional function of "ruling the waves." Indeed, the whole day suggested to many critics of the show that it was a revival of the extinct water-pageant, and nothing else.
Thus the Lord Mayor Elect joins the cry against gratuitous circuses. He has no desire for elephants, he hungers not after trembling trophies, the prospect of GOG and MAGOG stalking majestically by his gilded chariot-wheels evokes no enthusiasm in his practical soul, nor does he evince any passionate desire to see the Allotment Bill, or Electric Lighting, or the Phonograph, or any abstract idea, such as Corporate Charity, or what the Germans call the Leitgeist, or even the bewilderingly fascinating "Fourth Dimension of Space," symbolised, perched aloft on a movable temple, and drawn through London, to the innocent delight and possibly instruction of young and old, who come out to make a happy half-holiday in the contemplation of a Lord Mayor in all his glory. Evidently, too, Mr. Alderman WHITEHEAD has no desire to revive the post of "City Laureate," and give it to some of our rising bards, with instructions to prepare an ode in his honour and greet him with verse as he pauses in the Strand. ELKANAH SETTLE was the last of these bards, in the reign of CHARLES II; but his name is hardly remembered, save as one of those hapless rhymesters whom Mr. POPE of Twickenham slew in the "Dunciad," wherein the glories of the Mayoralty are said to "live in SETTLE'S numbers one day more." Poor ELKANAH'S works are said to display " a plentiful lack of wit," and it is sad to record that he ultimately wrote "Drolls" for Bartholomew Fair, and in his old age was obliged to earn a decidedly trying livelihood by roaring in the inside of a gigantic green dragon which he had devised for one of the shows of the Fair.
So far our practical Lord Mayor Elect. Now we turn to the buoyantly amusing views of Sir WILFRID LAWSON, who, when addressing a new political club in Westmoreland on Saturday, had occasion to refer to the fact that the Lord Mayor Elect was a candidate in the Liberal interest. With his wonted playful audacity Sir WILFRID pictured "their poor unhappy candidate put into a kind of prison van and dragged through the streets of London, as if he were going to execution, and then there would be a banquet; then he would be surrounded by Tories and turtles, and have to listen to speeches by Lord SALISBURY." In merry vein the speaker proceeded to suggest, from his own political platform, of course, that a perambulating series of "living pictures" should be presented to the crowd, such as "Lord RANDOLPH CHURCHILL in Macedonia crying to Lord HARTINGTON to come over and help him;" Mr. GOSCHEN "presenting a blank cheque to the Premier;" Mr. JESSE COLLINGS "milking a cow in a three-acre filed;" Mr. CHAMBERLAIN in a gilded cage, with Dukes and Bishops and roués - why roués ? - and a final device of Lord SALISBURY as King PHARAOH, with Mr. GLADSTONE crying out, "Let the people go free!" Needless to say that these sparkles were received with "loud cheers" by the elect audience to whom they were addressed. With the politics or politeness of the suggestions we have no concern at present; it is not as a statesman, but as a champion suggester of "spectacle," that we gladly call attention to Sir WILFRID'S free and easy fancies. There is a delightful seventeenth-century spirit in these old notions, which recall the quaint humour of Sir JOHN LEMAN, a worthy Fishmonger, who was Lord Mayor in 1616, and who introduced in his pageant "fishermen seriously at labour drawing up their nets, laden with living fish, and bestowing them bountifully on the people." The ship was followed by a crowned dolphin, and, "because it is a fish inclined by nature to musique, ARION, a musician and poet, rideth on his backe." Then followed the King of the Moors, and tributary Kings, and in punning allusion to the name of the Lord Mayor, "a lemon tree richly laden with fruits and flowers," along with the Genius of London, and Sir WILLIAM WALWORTH, and King RICHARD, surrounded by "impersonations of royal and kingly virtues," and many other queer wildfowl of similar sorts which are duly set forth in Mr. FAIRHOLT'S curious history of "The Giants in Guildhall." A print of the memorable show exists to this day in the archives of the Fishmongers' Company. Now the children and the people like the show, and we are inclined to side with them. Moreover, if the Corporation is really a doomed body, it behoves them to die in solemn and consistent splendour, and make a majestic exit from the pages of history. Let them proudly march out with all the honours, and giants and dolphins and allegories and geniuses to boot. So far as our researches into Lord Mayors' Shows go, we have been unable to discover a precedent for any emphasised political bias, such as that suggested by Sir WILFRID of "Lord HARTINGTON in a leaky boat," and symbolised politics of any colour would be a dangerous and doubtful element to bring into our popular pageant; but, if the idea is to be introduced, let it be done logically. Let us by all means make fun of all sides after the fashion of a Roman Carnival or a "Flower-fight." Let us tax our humorous ingenuities to produce something like a French "revue" of the events of the year, and let a distinct place be found for Sir WILFRID himself and his well-known views on many subjects. There is yet time for our coming Chief Magistrate to moderate his Spartan simplicity, and, becoming graciously mediaeval and amiably allegorical, consent to make the old "Ninth" something like its gay and gorgeous predecessors; and, if he does manage to introduce Sir WILFRID LAWSON in propriâ personâ into his Show, he may comfortably reflect that a regular wet day, with a continuous downfall of water, would be a distinctly happy and appropriate effect. As the matter stands, it is entirely a question for Mr. Alderman WHITEHEAD'S "local option."