Saturday, 6 October 1888
ONCE again has London and, in fact, all England felt the shock of outraged humanity. Again has all the civilised world learnt that a crime more dreadful than any other that has taken place was committed early on Sunday morning. When last we touched upon this painful subject little did we think that only a few short hours would elapse before the cry would be two more murders, and to find that they were unequalled in brutality and that a distance of nearly a mile should separate the deeds one from the other. Gladly would we have recorded the arrest of the miscreant, and reviewed the case as it then stood, touching upon the salient points of the previous cases; But, alas, a repetition of the foul crimes has taken place and a thrill of indignation has gone from end to end of our country, and a deep and earnest feeling of sympathy is extended to the people who live in what must now be called the headquarters of vicious and disgusting crime. It must be a dreadful thing for the inhabitants of Whitechapel to go to bed of a night and the murders be the last topic of conversation, to rise in the morning and almost dread to open the side or back door of the house for fear some shocking sight should meet their gaze and terrify them. Can a more horrible thing happen to a man than that which happened to the man who first found the corpse in the yard in Berners-street? He says, I was driving into the yard when the pony shied, on looking down on the ground I saw the body of a woman. I jumped down, struck a match and found it was a murdered female. Who can picture the scene. The dark and dreary yard in the dead hours of the night, tired out with his day's work he suddenly finds himself face to face with a mutilated corpse and this only to be perceived by the dim light of a match which when it died out left him in increased darkness. His terror and excitement increased by the deeds that have been perpetrated time after time in close proximity to where he lived. We here cannot imagine what it must have been to this man to have come so suddenly upon the dead without a moment's hesitation to strike a match and find himself gazing upon a corpse with it's throat cut and laying in a pool of blood. This is surely the time for those who have money and time at their disposal to come forward and help on a movement that shall in a great measure do away with prostitution by substituting a home for these poor women; to give them a place to go in preference to the common lodging-house for shelter and repose. It must be a cruel thing for women who have had a respectable youth to have to go to these dens of infamy to rest, to be compelled to walk the streets until they can get the fourpence somehow or the other that is necessary to pay for what is called a bed, for they must have the moments of thought and remorse upon them at times, and then for them to think of the past and compare it with the present must be a terrible ordeal, and one that is calculated to harden and further brutalise them. It would be a great thing could these weary ones find a place to go and rest, without being looked upon as unclean, or to be talked to upon religion, for their minds would in a great many cases not be fit to do so; but who knows what a few hours of sleep in a clean bed, respectable surroundings and kind words from a honourable woman might have upon a mind that is sore and repentant for the years of vice that they have passed through. We think it would be the means of reclaiming many women who are in the middle life, and who are bound hand and foot unless someone comes along and leads them to the harbour and trims the sails for what might be a new and prosperous voyage, and a journey where the clouds shall not always be dark and stormy, but have a bright gleam in the darkest cloud that shall give them hopes of a happy and virtuous conclusion to their lives.
"THE Reign of Terror" existing in the East-end of London and, in fact, in the suburbs also, on account of the horrifying murders recently perpetrated has been considerably intensified this week by the knowledge of the dreadful tragedies enacted in the early hours of last Sunday morning. But the pathetic stories told at the coroner's inquest by relatives or persons acquainted with the "poor unfortunates" must open the eyes of those who are unaware of the poverty and immorality so prevalent in the East-end. There is no doubt whatever oftentimes women of the class whose bodies have been so terribly mutilated have no other ways or means of eking out a miserable existence than by resorting to immoral purposes. Missionary work has been in practice for many years reclaiming "fallen women," and with good results; but funds do not permit the excellent and noble object to be carried out so extensively as its "band of workers" would wish for. But, it is to be trusted, that those who have the means will, now the true state of affairs is known, come boldly to the front and endeavour to "stem the tide" of increasing immorality in our midst.