1 October 1888
BLOODHOUNDS FOR MURDERERS
While Mr. Matthews and Sir Charles Warren are sapiently discussing with the poor plain-clothes policemen humorously named detectives, the best way how not to find the Whitechapel assassin, I should like to show how that man would have been tracked in any intelligent-governed country.
I may premise my remarks by saying that, during my late stay in Southern California, my means of observing the powers of the bloodhound were increased, from the fact that the late Mr. Hugh Edward Playfair, nephew of Sir Lyon Playfair, M.P., gave me a short time before his lamented and untimely death, a bloodhound of the purest possible breed, raised from one of undoubted slave-hunting extraction, and that I was able by experiment to test the reported powers of this class of hound in tracking by scent, and scent alone.
It is not, however, of the powers of this particular dog that I want to speak- I only mention him to show that I am not talking of something with which I have had no experience. My aim is to show that, had a bloodhound of good training been laid on to the scent, directly the murdered woman in Aldgate was discovered, or, at any rate, before her poor body was removed, and another bloodhound laid on to the scent of the murdered woman in Whitechapel before her body was moved also, the two hounds would almost have undoubtedly tracked the murderer along the deserted streets of the East-end to his hiding place, which I take leave still to believe is not far from the scene of his horrible murders. I do not know that it would be too late to try the experiment now, but I fear it would. And lest my readers should say, "Then what is the use of talking about it?" I may mention that the idea of tracking by bloodhounds was suggested at the inquest of Mary Ann Nicholls, and again at that on Annie Chapman; and that had the police, instead of pooh-poohing the suggestion, had a couple of trained bloodhounds, of which there are ten, at least, in London, to-day, kept at a handy police-station in Whitechapel, they would in all probability have at this moment in the cell the wretched murderer, who is now laughing at these foolish efforts to find him. Let us mention an incident or two. Some years ago a murder occurred in Kansas city. A man was stabbed and robbed in a peculiarly atrocious way, and though at the time the citizens of Kansas were a little "tough," yet that it was felt that the crime was the work of a stranger. They had no bloodhounds in the city, but a sapient old Yankee advised the sending for one from Albuquerque, not far off, and the hound was fetched before the body was moved. An anxious crowd stood round to watch what the dog would do. With a deep bay, such as only a bloodhound can give, he threw up his head, bayed again, and, making a rapid run, went straight to the far end of the city, into a low restaurant and sleeping house, up the stairs, to the door of a room. A loud shot resounded inside, the door was burst in, and there lay the undoubted murderer- a suicide now that the hound had tracked him.
In Iowa State, in a town not very far from Council Bluffs, about six years ago, a citizen going along the road at night was met by two men, killed, and robbed. The district was roused, for the murdered man was greatly respected, and the people turned out to find the murderer. One man brought a bloodhound, which tracked, in the presence of all the inhabitants, not only the first murderer who had really struck the fatal blow, but his assistant, who had on him only a bandanna handkerchief belonging to the old gentleman who was robbed, and they were both promptly hanged by the citizens.
But the bloodhound is not always wanted to actually catch the man. At Tucson, in Arizona, a murder and robbery took place of a peculiarly bad kind. The citizens met, and publicly resolved that no one should be allowed to leave Tucson till a bloodhound had been sent for and allowed to track the criminal. A cordon of men that would stand no nonsense, and men well-known, was consequently drawn round the town, and no person was allowed to "skip" till the hound arrived. Next morning the dog came, and the news of its arrival spread through the town. A little crowd was drinking at the bar of a saloon, when someone shouted, "Here's the bloodhound!" "For God's sake, save me from being lynched till I've told all I know!" screamed a pale-faced man who was standing at the end of the bar, and who up to that moment had been drinking silently and evidently with a view to keep up his courage. "Guess we shan't want no bloodhound here, gentlemen," dryly remarked a "Down Easter," as he "covered" the self-confessed murderer with his ten-inch barreled revolver. An hour later saw the murdered man's property recovered, and his assassin's body swinging in the wind.
As yet Mr. Matthews will offer no reward, and Sir Charles Warren will not employ bloodhounds. Will they "step down and out," as the Americans say, and let somebody else do it?
The resignation of Mr. Munro from the headship of the Criminal Investigation Department does not seem to have been followed by any great increase of efficiency at the headquarters of that section. But it is stated that Sir Charles Warren is undertaking the duty of directing all movements himself, and that consultation with him is required in all cases.
Sir Charles Warren apparently thinks that, because he successfully followed the Shereef of Nakeel through the Arabian Desert, he is specially qualified to act as a London detective. There is, however, a great difference between an untenanted waste of sand and the Whitechapel network of alleys.
TWO MORE terrible murders are now added to the long list of East-end tragedies which have filled London with horror and alarm. The audacity and cunning of the criminal or criminals, are certainly unparalleled. Although the police, the wretched women of the class to which all the victims belong, and the inhabitants of Whitechapel generally are on the qui vive, the field of operations is not removed elsewhere, but the work of slaughter proceeds within a radius of not much more than a half-a-mile from Whitechapel Church. Apparently the perpetrator of these crimes never wanders far from his lurking-place, but, having finished his ghastly work, speedily disappears inside some building. We have said before, and again repeat it, that no murder is more easily committed with impunity than that committed upon a woman of the lowest class of unfortunates who ply their calling in the streets in the dead of the night. The victim and the murderer shun observation, and slink away into some dark corner. If a passer by, whether policeman or belated traveller, is within sight the pair will move on till his back is turned and he disappears in the darkness. Then, before the victim has time to utter a cry, one swift, deep stroke descends, and all is over except the horrible work of mutilating the already lifeless body. Once round the corner into a main thoroughfare and the miscreant is comparatively safe from arrest, for he can keep at a sufficient distance from the lamps to hinder any recognition of blood-marks on his clothing. But though it is not astonishing that the murderer eludes detection either when the crime is being committed or when he is escaping from the scene, it is wonderful that no one detects any suspicious signs when he is actually in his lair. It is just possible, even in Whitechapel, that a man lives all alone in one house, but it is certainly a remote improbability; and as for all the rest, the eyes of their neighbours are upon them as they have never been before. It is the success of the miscreant in eluding the keen scrutiny of his fellows, more even than his audacity, which, after all, is the most striking feature in this series of crimes.
We incline to think that the two latest murders dispose of the ingenious theory started by Mr. Wynne Baxter, the Coroner, that a murderer is amongst us who slays swiftly for the object of securing a certain portion of human anatomy in order to sell it at a high price for the American market. In order to accomplish such an object, an operator must have light to work by, and the latest murders were committed between one and two in the morning. It is simply inconceivable that a murderer would actually attract attention by working with a lantern. The swiftness with which one murder followed upon the other makes it somewhat doubtful indeed whether we are not too hasty in assuming that one hand alone committed all these terrible crimes. There is contagion in crime, and more than once a murder of peculiarly revolting character has found imitators, whose lust of blood has been quickened by dwelling upon the story of the first tragedy. But it must be admitted that there was time for a man to get away from Berner-street to the neighbourhood of Mitre-square, and to lure a second victim to the spot where her mangled body was found.
A morning contemporary, boiling over with wrath and shame at the apparent inability of the police to grapple with this great mystery of blood, reiterates its cry for the removal of Mr. Matthews. Whatever the shortcomings of the present Home Secretary, it is puerile to attempt to make him a scapegoat. But we cannot say as much for Sir Charles Warren, who has been largely occupied during the summer in fighting Mr. Munro, the head of the Criminal Investigation Department, and in driving him from his post. When Parliament meets Mr. Matthews must be closely questioned as to the causes of the demoralisation of the Detective Department. Mr. Munro was hardly a brilliant success; but he complained that he was restrained and hampered. Sir Charles Warren, who has now taken everything into his own hands, cannot have this excuse. It is beyond question that the police have grown more wooden since Sir Charles had the control of them; and the conviction is rapidly spreading that we do not absolutely need a brilliant soldier to command the Metropolitan Police Force, but that we must have a man who can outwit the most cunning of criminals. As the police have proved themselves impotent, let them no longer be reticent. They have failed when they kept every scrap of information, as far as possible, to themselves; now let them try another plan, and take the Press and the public into their confidence. They were notoriously at fault when they were scouring the country in pursuit of Jackson, and but for the help of the Press and of an ordinary reader of newspapers that criminal might have been at large to this very hour. Every scrap of information should be promptly published; it is quite possible that some obscure people may be able to make a better use of it than Sir Charles Warren himself.
WHAT TO do with our criminals- when we catch them, which is not always the case- and before they are brought to trial, is a question which about a year ago Mr. Justice Wills, Sir R. N. Fowler, M.P., Sir T. W. Evans, Bart., Col. Sir E. F. Du Cane, and Mr. Bushby were appointed to inquire into as a Committee. These gentlemen, from the report which is now issued, seem to have done their work very thoroughly, and the result of their inquiries will prove interesting reading of an instructive sort. First of all they stigmatise the accommodation for untried prisoners at the Metropolitan City Police Courts as "extremely defective," "discreditable for the Metropolis," and "unworthy of a civilised country." "In nearly all," they add, "innocent and respectable people should they be unfortunate enough to get there, must listen to the foulest language, and be exposed to contact with people of disgusting habits." Manchester does not appear to be much better off than London; the prisoners reminded the committee of "lions and tigers in the barred cages at the Zoological Gardens." Liverpool runs Manchester and London pretty hard for a bad pre-eminence, while Sheffield and Hull are almost as disgracefully situated. In fact, the richest places in England mostly seem to be distinguished for their disregard of all laws of decency and sanitation in the accommodation provided for their prisoners. Birmingham is the leading exception to the rule, it is building a better place for the people who are arrested. Bradford and Leeds have ample accommodation for all. But generally speaking the arrangements in nearly all the large boroughs examined need a thorough overhauling. Mr. Justice Wills, in the course of a long and able paper on the subject, giving his individual experience in the cells and prison corridors, gives it as his, gives it as his opinion that by continuing the present system we are increasing our criminal population very fast, and depraving many a one who would otherwise lead a better life. Considering the amount of money that is being spent on education "with a view to raise the masses," it is surely not too much to ask that official steps should be taken at once to remove the reproach under which we labour in respect to our treatment of untried prisoners.
The suggestion of a morning contemporary that a bloodhound should be employed to track the Whitechapel murderer is, of course, rather revolting to those who consider the immense reliance that we should thus be placing upon the mere instinct of a dog. But the same method was tried with success at Blackburn twelve years ago; and it is probable that the scent of a bloodhound is, at any rate, as keen and as discriminating as that of an average English detective.
MORE EAST-END ATROCITIES.
WOMAN MURDERED IN COMMMERCIAL-ROAD.
ANOTHER VICTIM IN ALDGATE
SHOCKING MUTILATION OF HER BODY.
EXCITEMENT in the LODGING HOUSES.
A KNIFE FOUND.
London to-day is horrified at the particulars of the last two mysteries which have appalled all England in their repulsive horror. In the neighbourhood of the terrible crimes horror has been succeeded by panic. The fiend who perpetrated the deeds is still at large. The police are increasing their vigilance, they maintain an even more sphinx-like silence; but their silence and their vigilance have as yet been unrewarded. Arrests have been made; but they appear to be a repetition of the convulsive activity which have marked their previous efforts.
That the women were the victims of one criminal seems inevitable; that these two unfortunate creatures add to his list of victims, which Chapman, Nicholls, Tabram, and Smith complete, is equally certain. The scene of the crimes, the methods, the horrible details, mark this. If there were a printed form for the description of such atrocities it would only require a few entries of names and dates to make one account serve for them. The members of the International and Educational Club in Berner-street were indulging in a little hilarity early on Sunday morning. Suddenly their mirth was interrupted. The horrified steward rushed in. He declared that as he was driving into the yard he had nearly driven over a woman. The members at once ran out, and then came upon a poor creature lying full length on the ground. Her head was nearly severed from her body, and the blood was still streaming down the gutter. Berner-street is but a few minutes' walk from Mitre-square. Had the miscreant searched the East-end of London for a spot in which to commit such a deed it would have been difficult to have found one better adapted than this dull, badly-lighted square. It was here Police-constable Watkins found the second victim. She had been murdered exactly as Annie Chapman was- only the terrible incidents of the crime had been frightfully aggravated. The throat was cut half-way round, there was a terrible gash across the cheek to the nose, a part of the ear had been cut off, and then there was the repulsive disembowelling operation, the hideous process being in this case completed by a part of the intestines having been torn from the body and thrown towards the chest, the remainder, in an excess of devilry, being twisted into the gaping wound on the right side of the neck.
These are the salient facts of the last two incidents of the East-end holocaust. They include all that is important. Nothing is known of the murderer; and the police aver that on the first victim- who has already been identified as an unfortunate creature named Stride- he intended carrying out the same process as he perpetrated on the second. The only other prominent fact yet made public is that Stride was seen in the company of a man, the description of whom tallies in some degree with that of the mysterious companion of Chapman. The latter was described as dark, over 40, not tall, of shabby genteel appearance, and dressed in a deerstalker hat and a dark coat. The man said to have been seen on Sunday morning was dark, aged about 28, and about 5ft. 8in. in height. He was of respectable appearance, and he wore a black diagonal coat and a hard felt hat. Without raising a cry, without making a struggle, without the faintest sound which could have alarmed the neighbourhood, two more unfortunate women became the victims of this terribly mysterious miscreant.
The East-end is (wrote one of our reporters this morning) in a state of panic. The word "excitement" does not adequately convey an idea of the mental condition of the vast body of persons of the lower class living in the neighbourhoods of Commercial-street, Fenchurch-street, and Aldgate. The two murders committed on Saturday night in Berner-street and Mitre-square- streets within ten minutes' walk of each other- have had such an electrifying effect upon the residents of the localities as even to paralyze business. Only a cursory visit to the neighbourhood suffices to show this. In Fenchurch-street, in Mitre-street, in Mitre-square, crowds of men and women stand and discuss the horrible details of the fiendish crimes. In Commercial-street and along Berner-street are large knots of people eagerly anticipating every movement of the police who patrol the vicinity.
The scene of the Berner-street tragedy is the yard or court attached to the International and Educational Club. The Club itself is a most respectable one, and among its members numbers several Englishmen, as well as young men of numerous other nationalities. It is about twenty yards down the street from Commercial-road, and faces a large red-brick building, erected by the London School Board. Immediately in front of the Club this morning stood a great crowd of people. This morning there were a few policemen there- men who "knew nothing" of the affair, and whose only concern is to tell the public to "Move on," and journalists to gather their information elsewhere. They have had injunctions to treat all reporters, who would fain catechise them, very curtly, and dismiss them without the least information. One of these intelligent officers informed an Echo reporter this morning that the yard of the Club was in the charge of the police and intimated that he would not be allowed even to see the spot where the body was discovered. However, the obstacle the officer thus placed in the way was soon overcome, and the reporter was a few moments later taking a bird's-eye view of the scene of the tragedy.
There are a pair of iron-studded and iron-capped gates at the entrance to the yard, in which are one or two cottage residences, besides stables. These on Sunday morning, at one o'clock, were open- as is usually the case during the night. The steward of the International and Educational Club reached the gate just as the clock struck one. "It was very dark," he said. "There is no light near here, and the darkness is consequently much more intense between these two walls" - pointing to the walls of the Club and a house on the other side of the yard- "than out in the street. The gate was pushed back, and the wheel of my cart bumped against something. I struck a match to see what it was, but the wind blew it out. However, the flash was enough to show me that the person was on the ground either asleep or dead.
I struck another match, and then (pursued the steward) the scene that burst upon me completely appalled me. Without stopping to take a complete survey of the body, I hurried into the Club to see my "missis." I saw her inside the door, and hurriedly called some of the members of the club, who at once came down. You know what we found, Sir. The poor creature's throat was horribly cut. Her head lay towards the yard, and her feet were pointing towards the street. There was a great pool of blood on one of the stones, and some of it had trickled down into that gutter" - pointing to a perforated stone grating.
"Is this where the 'sing-song' took place," asked the reporter, glancing around the room in which the conversation took place.
The informant replied in the affirmative. It was a room on the second story of the house - all the houses, or nearly all, in this street are, by the way, two-storied houses. At the upper end of it was a platform, on which stood a table and a musical instrument. It was furnished with deal tables and chairs, and afforded accommodation for some hundred persons. The members were just about to break up when the steward burst in upon them and changed their mirth with startling suddenness. The last song was being sung. Instantly there was a dead silence, and a crowd of eager men were hurrying down the narrow stairs and out into the yard, where they gazed horror-stricken at the sadly-mutilated figure at their feet.
"We heard nothing whatever," she told a reporter this morning. "I passed the gate of the yard a few minutes before twelve o'clock alone. The doors were open, and, so far as I could tell, there was nothing inside then." "I met my young man (she proceeded) at the top of the street, and then we went for a short walk along the Commercial-road and back again, and down Berner-street. No one passed us then, but just before we said "Good night" a man came along the Commercial-road; and went in the direction of Aldgate."
At Mitre-square, this morning, there were even more persons assembled than in Berner-street. There was a large body of police on duty. They very vigorously kept the crowd moving, and no one was allowed to approach the spot where the body was found. There are now no marks of blood on the pavement. They have been washed away, and lime has been sprinkled around the pavement. One of the watchmen in the large warehouses around the square told a reporter that he was at the door of the warehouse, smoking his pipe, sometime after midnight. He heard nothing at all.
"Yes, this is a quiet spot at night," he continued in response to interrogatories. "I've lived here over ten years now, and I never see anybody round here but the policeman who is on duty all through the night. I didn't hear any cry at all, but I saw the body soon after Watkins found it. Poor woman; she'd been terribly mutilated. I never saw anything like it before. It looked as though she had been cut up just like a pig or any other animal you see in the market."
The watchman is of the firm belief that the murder was not committed in the square. He says he cannot believe any such sound as would naturally arise under these terrible circumstances could have escaped him, and he is inclined to the belief that the murder must have been committed not far from the square. A diligent search of the neighbouring streets, however, does not bear out this supposition, for no traces of blood are observable anywhere.
A NIGHT ON THE SCENE.
A reporter of the Press Association, who has been engaged during the night in prosecuting inquiries in the East-end concerning the revolting murders on Sunday morning, says - "Whitechapel appears to have a charm for one person, only, and that person who is at present known as the "Whitechapel murderer" continues to make his presence dreaded in every nook and corner in the locality. The dreaded word "Whitechapel" was to be heard on all sides. Policemen, cabmen, coffee-stall keepers, the very lowest types of humanity, to whom the open thoroughfares in this quarter of London appear to afford a home - were to be found eager to discuss the latest tragedies which have not only brought before all grades of society the shocking condition of our East-end poor, and have revealed a state of things hitherto incomprehensible.
Mr. Walter Besant provided some remarkable details of East-end life, but never before has the character of the neighbourhood been revealed more strikingly than at the present time, when not only women and children go in fear of their lives, but even men express a dread of the "Whitechapel murderer." The exception in this fear-stricken community are the policemen, who, with measured tread, patrol the thoroughfares and small byeways with an anxiety which almost amounts to a determination to track the dastardly coward to justice. Until the perpetration of the murders on Sunday morning the murderer had confined his operations to the Metropolitan police district, but on that day he put about nine hundred more officers on his track.
Those present in the vicinity of the crimes at midnight may well have felt surprised at the augmentation of the ordinary patrols which had been made by the authorities both of the Metropolitan and City forces, who have now, undoubtedly by the latest additions to the long list of tragedies in that quarter, been awakened to a vigorous and susceptible sense of duty. In every street was to be heard the "regulation" step of the policeman. It was he only who disturbed the silence of the night, for, with very few exceptions, the detective officers were invisible.
Walking along the main thoroughfare one would occasionally be startled by the sudden and unexpected appearance of a plain-clothes officer from some obscure doorway or recess, where, unless he had made his presence known, he and his comrades might have been passed unobserved. Notwithstanding all this vigilance now, one cannot but doubt that the strength of the force in this rough and notorious locality is sadly deficient, and that many blunders have been made in investigating the recent crimes. Two facts, however, must be remembered. The force is deficient, and an exceptional emergency has had to be dealt with.
Since Sunday morning a remarkable change has occurred in the disposition of the officers towards the Press. Information that was hitherto denied is now willingly supplied, possibly at the instigation of the chiefs, who now apparently are ready to admit in an indirect manner that publicity is the best detective. Both Sir Charles Warren, for the Metropolitan Police Force, and Col. Fraser for the City Police Force, have since Sunday drafted a large force of men into the neighbourhood for special duty. The former has ordered constables on to Commercial-street and Leman-street Police-stations from the "A" and "B" Divisions; while Colonel Fraser has drawn men from every district in the City for duty in that portion of the area nearest Whitechapel which is considered dangerous. These augmentations are only at night. Thanks to the courtesy of an officer, the reporter was escorted through what he thought the worst slums in the East-end, but was informed that "this was nothing compared to some."
"Why," remarked my guide, in anything but an encouraging manner, "murders might at the present time be perpetrated on either side of us here. How should we know? And yet," he said, "we are supposed to know, and be there also." After trying to force several doors, not of private houses, for they had no doors to force, he said, "Why, that might be the very murderer who has just passed us. How are we to know? We can't arrest the man."
"We passed (says the reporter) through several narrow streets, if such they could be called, from which at a glance there appeared to be no escape for a stranger. At every house was to be found the door wide open. These afforded ingress for any person who felt disposed to run the risk of entering. The clock chimed three as we passed through some dreadful "dens." "Every one of these places," said the guide, "are full of the worst of thieves. We have to provide men to watch the ends of the thoroughfares. As if this was not sufficient evidence of the character of the locality, he pointed to a dirty street of small houses opposite, and guaranteed to show me "thirty women sleeping in a shed." This was only one illustration of Whitechapel life presented that night. One could not credit the dreadful surroundings unless they had observed them. A person who had seen them can easily conceive how crime goes unconvicted. The police force is blamed, but the responsible parties are the Board of Works.
Inquiries as to the general condition of the neighbourhood of Mitre-square, the spot where the mutilated body was found, elicited the fact that it was very respectable. The square is very small. There is only one occupied dwelling in the square, which is tenanted by Police-constable Pearce. The square has three entrances, the main ingress being from Mitre-street, while the second and third are by Church-court and Mitre-passage respectively.
It was in the south-east or right-hand corner of the square entering from Mitre-street that the body was found by Watkins. He says: - "I passed the spot at half-past one, but there was nothing in the corner then. I came round again at 1.45, and entering the square from Mitre-street on the right-hand side, I turned sharp round to the right, and flashing my light I saw the body in front of me. The clothes were pushed right up to her breast, and the stomach was laid bare with a dreadful gash from the pit of the stomach to the breast. On examining the body I found the entrails cut out and laid round the throat, which had an awful gash in it, extending from ear to ear. In fact, the head was nearly severed from the body. Blood was everywhere to be seen. It was difficult to discern the injuries to the face, for the quantity of blood which covered it. I cannot say whether one of the ears had been cut off. The murderer had inserted the knife just under the left eye, and, drawing it under the nose, cut the nose completely from the face, at the same time indicating a dreadful gash down the right cheek to the angle of the jawbone. The nose was laid over on the cheek. A more dreadful sight I never saw; it quite knocked me over. I went to the watchman, Morris, at Heseltine, Kearley, and Tonge's tea warehouse, and asked for his assistance. He went for other officers, and I sent for Dr. Sequeira, of 34, Jewry-street, and Dr. Brown subsequently attended, and the body was removed to the mortuary in Golden-lane."
The constable points out that it is decidedly probable that the murderer, hearing his approach, left his ghastly work unfinished, and escaped by either of the narrow courtways above referred to. The murder must have been committed expeditiously and quietly, for the persons living in the house at the back of which the body was found, the policeman and his family, and the watchman (Morris), who was cleaning the warehouse, with the assistance of his son, all agree that no sounds were heard.
Although there appears to be very little doubt that both this crime and the murder of the unfortunate in Berner-street about the same time is the work of the miscreant who perpetrated the previous tragedies, the doctors are of opinion that the murder in Mitre-court is a "brutal imitation" of the Hanbury-street murder. At the post-mortem examination, there were- it is stated- indications of an attempt having been made to remove the organ alluded to, but nothing was missing from the body. It is also asserted that there are indications discovered that mutilation was evidently meant in the case of the Berner-street victim.
The police are of opinion that the same person murdered both these women. They favour the theory that, being disturbed with his first victim, he left her, and induced the second one to go with him; being disturbed in this case by Constable Watkins just as he was completing his operations. It is suggested that the murderer decoyed the women in selected spots by means of gold which he had taken from the pockets of his previous victims after he had taken their life. Hence the turning out of their pockets. They do not believe the motive of the crimes is robbery. It is further believed that he wears gloves when cutting the poor women to pieces, and he takes these off immediately his work is done.
The Mitre-square victim is, it is feared, too dreadfully mutilated to be recognised, other than by her clothes or the pawn-tickets which were found lying near her.
Early this morning a police-constable was passing on his beat in the Whitechapel-road, when he came upon a black-handled knife, keen as a razor, and pointed like a carving knife. The blade was ten inches long, about the length of weapon [asserted/assumed] by Dr. Phillips to have been used by the Hanbury-street murderer. It is looked upon by the police as possibly supplying a [?] of the "man from Southampton arrest."
The police have made an important discovery, which they are of opinion affords a clue to the direction in which the murderer made his escape. Yesterday afternoon a portion of apron was found in Goldstein-street, and when the body of the woman found in Mitre-square was searched, it was discovered that she was wearing the upper portion of the apron to which the piece found belonged. It is therefore concluded that the murderer made his way into Whitechapel.
A man was brought to the Leman-street Station last night, under circumstances which gave the police hopes at first that they had made an important capture. He was arrested, it seems, near Mitre-court, and could not give what the police deemed a satisfactory account of himself. He is a short, thickset man, of about thirty, close shaven. Upon him was found 1s. 4½d. in money and a razor, and round his throat was a woolen scarf of a violet colour. In reply to the Inspector he said that he had walked from Southampton, and belonged to the Royal Sussex Regiment (the very regiment, it will be remembered, whose cognisances was on the envelope found in the pocket of the Buck's-row victim). An examination of his boots was not, so the police at first said, at all confirmatory of this statement, and he was taken to the cells for inquiries to be made about him. No blood was found upon his clothes, so far as could be ascertained then. He protested his innocence, and the police now attach no importance to his arrest. He will, no doubt, be discharged. There was another arrest made during the night in the Commercial-road. Nothing, however, was discovered concerning him, and the man was discharged.
The Press Association, alluding to the arrests, says: - A little after ten o'clock last night a man, whose behaviour was suspicious, was arrested by a police-constable in the neighbourhood of Commercial-street, and at once taken to the police-station in that thoroughfare, where he was questioned by the Inspector on duty respecting his whereabouts during Saturday night and the early hours of Sunday morning. The prisoner, however, readily furnished his name and address, and apparently had no knowledge whatever of the details of the murders. He was discharged upon his statement being verified. The man is described by the police as having been "dotty," and, when taken into custody, was in a very excited condition. At a late hour last night an arrest was made in the neighbourhood of Whitechapel, and the man taken to Leman-street, where he is still detained. At 3.15 this morning a second man was arrested, and likewise brought to Leman-street Police-station. He remains under detention. It is, however, asserted that both these men will be discharged.
Very little additional information was to be obtained (writes an Echo reporter shortly after noon) concerning the murder of the woman Stride up till noon to-day. Except for a couple of hundred or so of men, women, and children, whose morbid curiosity had attracted them to the scene of the crime, there was nothing to indicate that another of these mysterious murders had taken place. Among the loungers were, of course, many who professed to be in possession of all the details connected with the unfortunate woman's death, but on being questioned, it transpired that the stories which they were obligingly disposed to relate were nothing more than conjecture. Several men who were surrounded by respective groups of eager listeners went so far as to say that the woman Stride had been seen in the neighbourhood of Berner-street about twelve o'clock on Saturday night in company with a middle-aged man of dark complexion, but here the description of the supposed murderer of the woman stopped. In answer to questions, however, neither of the men would father the story, preferring to escape any direct, or to them inconvenient, inquiries on the subject by saying "They had heard so."
So far there is no actual clue to the perpetrator of the murder, and the police are now somewhat reticent as to whether they believe the Berner-street and the Mitre-square crimes were committed by the same hand- a matter, on which, however, the police have come to a prompt decision. In Berner-street the gateway within which the woman Stride was enticed is to-day closed, and in charge of two police-constables of the Metropolitan district; but the sack manufacturer and cart builder, whose premises are situated behind the house in which the International and Education Club meetings are held, are carrying on their business as usual, the [employes] of both gaining access and egress to the yard by means of a wicket-gate in the right hand half of the gate itself. The police in charge have little trouble in keeping the footpath clear, and it is only when the wicket is opened to allow of someone passing out of, [?] the yard that the constables have to use a little force to keep back the crowd, who are anxious to obtain a glimpse of the spot where the body of the murdered woman was found.
The Club itself (proceeds the reporter), which is next door to the large gate, is now closed, but all this afternoon members and others who have special business there, are admitted after knocking at the door. The committee of the institution held a meeting this morning, at which the crime was talked over, and it was decided not to admit any stranger without the payment of a fee. The fee, the secretary explained, was to [???]. The committee, it seems, did not fix the amount to be charged; but, in reply to a question, the secretary said he thought that 5s. would not be too much. Considering there is nothing to be seen, this is rather an extortionate price to be paid by those whose curiosity leads them to Berner-street.
In the course of conversation (says the journalist) the secretary mentioned the fact that the murderer had no doubt been disturbed in his work, as about a quarter to one o'clock on Sunday morning he was seen- or, at least, a man whom the public prefer to regard as the murderer- being chased by another man along Fairclough-street, which runs across Berner-street close to the Club, and which is intersected on the right by Providence-street, Brunswick-street, and Christian-st., and on the left by Batty-street and Grove-street, the [two latter?] [?] up into Commercial-road. The man pursued escaped, however, and the secretary of the Club cannot remember the name of the man who gave chase, but he is not a member of their body. Complaint is also made [?] [?] [?] there was experienced in obtaining a policeman, and it is alleged that from the time the body was discovered fifteen minutes had elapsed before a constable could be [?] from Commercial-road. This charge against the police, however, requires confirmation. There is, notwithstanding the number who have visited the scene, a complete absence of excitement, although naturally [?] fresh addition to the already formidable list of mysterious murders forms the general subject of conversation.
As soon as the intelligence of the terrible occurrences became noised abroad (writes an Echo reporter) there was, to use the expression of a lodging-house keeper, in Ewer-street in the Borough "a row in the lodging-houses." By "row" he meant a general feeling of consternation. "Most of the people who come here," said the sub-manger of the establishment in question (in the course of an interview I had with him), "are mostly of the lower classes, though sometimes we do get a man or woman here who has seen better days."
From this house I went to Albert-chambers. It is a very respectably-conducted house, in Gravel-lane, off Union-street, Borough. The object of my visit was to ascertain the truth of the statement that an American had been arrested in that house on suspicion. It was still early morning, barely half-past seven, when I pushed open the low black-painted door, and knocked at the small trap-like slide over which appeared the words "Pay here." The occupants at this time were, judging by the quietness of the house, asleep. There was scarcely a sound to be heard. However, I knocked sharply two or three times on the small slide, and there was immediately a series of [?] overheard, and at the further end of the wooden-walled passage in which I stood a low swing door was pushed open, and about a dozen pairs of eyes peered out at me somewhat anxiously. Only for a moment, however. Then the door was shut to, and all was quiet again. This was repeated in response to my summons no less than three times, when one, more courageous than the rest, peremptorily demanded "How many on us d'ye want?" Quite another ten minutes elapsed before I could make the incredulous occupants of this, a typically well-appointed lodging-house, understand that I was not a "'Tec," and that I was in search of the "deputy."
A diminutive individual appeared upon the scene, and explained that the deputy was "not up yet." He, however, offered any information I might require. After repeated questioning he stated that yesterday a tall dark man, wearing an American hat, took a bed in the house. He was in the house all day, associated with the other lodgers, entered into their various amusements, but somehow seemed to be rather reserved, and, at times, absent-minded. Towards evening he commenced conversing about the latest horrors in the East-end. He entered very vigorously into the details as supplied by the Sunday papers, and expressed an opinion that the police would never capture the murderer, who would remain at large until he gave himself up.
"Oh," said he, "he's a lot too 'cute for these London detectives."
The "deputy's" attention was attracted to this mysterious individual by the singular amount of excitement he displayed while discoursing upon the subject. There were about twelve men in the room- a long, scrupulously clean, though somewhat scantily furnished, apartment. Each one seemed afraid of the individual, and ultimately the police were summoned, and the luckless American was marched off in custody as a "suspect."
He told the police he spent the previous night on Blackfriars-bridge, and appeared unable to account for his previous movements. Accordingly, he was conveyed to Stones-end Police-station, in Blackman-street, Borough.
"But he came back this morning," said my informant.
"Came back?" I essayed in surprise.
"Yes," was his cynical reply, "and he's in bed now."
My informant went on to say that the police, after conveying him to the station, at once instituted inquiries, but could find nothing whatever against the man, who they accordingly allowed to leave. I then called at the police-station in Blackman-street, but from the officer there could get no information. He so stolidly obeyed the "orders" he said he had received, that he refused to answer- "Yes" or "No"- whether the man had gone or not, and even to say whether he had really been in custody.
An incident that occurred in a public-house in Union-street, Borough, last night shortly before closing time will perhaps throw some light upon the terrible crimes. The barman states that a young woman of about twenty-six entered the bar, accompanied by a man of gentlemanly appearance. The conversation turned upon the Mitre-square and Berner-street crimes, and the young woman related an adventure she had in a street running off Union-street, and in the direction of Fenchurch-street. She said that on Saturday night, a little before eleven o'clock, she was passing along the street, when she was accosted by a man. He was rather above medium height, and appeared to be very excited. He muttered something between his teeth, and she thought she saw a blade glitter in his hand. She screamed at the top of her voice, and the man immediately turned, and with a curse ran off. Just as the woman had finished relating her adventure, the door of the public-house was pushed open, and a man entered. The woman turned and in a terrified voice, shrieked, "That's him." The man, who had scarcely got inside the door, rushed out of the house. Two or three who had been drinking in the bar followed in pursuit, but, with unusual fleetness, the man dashed down Ewer-street, and was lost in the labyrinth of streets with which the neighbourhood abounds. The woman meanwhile fainted, and, upon being restored, was removed to her home in the Borough-road in a cab.
The police authorities have received an important statement in reference to the Berner-street crime. It is to the effect that a man between 35 and 40 years of age, and of fair complexion, was seen to throw the murdered woman to the ground. It was thought by the person who witnessed this that it was a man and his wife quarrelling, and consequently no notice was taken of it. The police have also received information that at about half-past ten on Saturday night, a man, aged about 33 years, entered a public-house in Batty-street, Whitechapel, and whilst the customers in the house were in conversation about the Whitechapel murders, he stated that he knew the Whitechapel murderer and that they would hear about him in the morning. He then left. This was regarded as mere boastful talk, and no notice was taken of the matter. After these murders had been discovered information was given to the police.
A representative this morning visited the lodging-house in Flower and Dean-street, Spitalfields, where the murdered woman, Elizabeth Stride, passed the day before her death. One of the inmates, named Thomas Bates, said that Stride had lived there for five or six years. She was a Swede by birth, and some years ago lost her husband, who was shipwrecked and drowned. Bates had always known her as a clean and hardworking woman. Her usual occupation was that of a charwoman, and it was only when driven to extremities that she walked the streets. Amongst her companions and the occupants of the house she was extremely popular, despite her quiet, and at times reserved, demeanor. She would occasionally disappear for a month or so- even as much as three months. But she always turned up again, and they were ever glad to see her and welcome her back. She returned to the house on Tuesday last, after a somewhat prolonged absence, and remained there until Saturday night. That evening she went out about seven o'clock, when she appeared to be in the most cheery spirits, and in excellent health. The fact of her not returning that night was not taken any particular notice of, for it was by no means an unusual circumstance. Their apprehensions, however, were aroused when rumours of the murders reached them, and their fears were confirmed when in the afternoon a man who knew "Long Liz" well in life, called and informed them that he had identified her body at the mortuary.
Up to ten o'clock this morning, the body of the Mitre-court victim had not been identified.
The Exchange Telegraph Company learns that up to eleven o'clock this morning the police had received no further intelligence likely to lead to the apprehension of the Whitechapel murderer or murderers. As an illustration of the unreliability of ocular testimony, it may be mentioned that, although more than a score of descriptions of the suspected man have been furnished to the police, not two descriptions are in any way alike.
The police, presumably acting under instructions from headquarters, manifest the greatest reserve in communicating information, and at present decline to state either the names given by the prisoners, or the circumstances which led to their arrest. There is, however, good reason to believe that so far not the slightest tangible clue has been obtained as to the perpetrator of the two horrible murders that are now thrilling the East-end population.
A description is being circulated this morning of a man who is stated to have accosted an "unfortunate" in the vicinity of Commercial-road on Saturday night, and to have threatened to cut her throat if she did not give him money. The woman gave him a shilling, and he then went away.
The inquest on the woman murdered in Mitre-square will open on Thursday at eleven o'clock, at the City Mortuary in Golden-lane.
OPENING OF THE INQUEST.
The inquest on the body of Elizabeth Stride, who was murdered in Berner-street, was opened at the St. George's Vestry-hall, Cable-street, this afternoon. Mr. Wynne E. Baxter was the Coroner.
Although great excitement still prevails in the neighbourhood, a very small number of spectators was present at the Vestry-hall.
William West, who lives at 40, Berner-street, Commercial-road, was the first witness. He said: - I am a printer, and live in the gateway where the murder was committed. No. 40, Berner-street, is the International Workingmen's Club. On the ground floor facing the street there is a window and a door, leading into the Club. At the side of the house there is a passage leading into a yard, the entrance to which is by two wooden gates. There is a small doorway in one of the gates. These gates are usually closed, but are sometimes opened.
The Coroner- Who is supposed to lock those gates? - No particular person. There are houses in the yard, and they are occupied by a number of persons. The gate is, therefore, left open for the tenants to get in. Opposite the gate there is a workshop, where a sack manufactory is carried on by Messrs. Hindley. Adjoining those premises there is a stable, which is unoccupied, the Club premises being situated next to the stables. The Club runs back a long way into the yard. At the back, but in no way connected with it, is the printing-office, consisting of two rooms.
The Club (said the witness) consists of seventy-five to eighty members, who are Socialists. I was in the Club on Saturday from 3 p.m. until 9.30, when I went to see a friend. When I returned I went into the Club by the front door. On the first floor is a large room used for entertainments, and from this room three windows look into the yard. When I reached the room on Saturday, a discussion was going on, about one hundred people being present. The discussion ceased between 11.30 and 12, when the bulk of the people left the premises, going through the street door, which is the most convenient exit. About thirty members remained behind, twenty of whom stayed in the hall. They had some singing and discussions amongst themselves. The windows were partly opened. I left the place at about 12.20. I can fix the time, because when I got home, at 2, William-street, where I sleep, it was 12.30.
At 12.10 I went from the Club into the printing office to put some literature away. Upon returning, I went into the yard, and noticed that the gates were opened. There are no lamps in the yard; neither are there any lamps in Berner-street which will light the yard. The only light that comes into the yard is derived from the gas-light in the Club premises. I noticed some one in the printing office, who was reading. There was not much noise from the Club, but the singing could be heard in the yard. When I looked towards the gates I did not see anything unusual to attract my attention. I did not notice anything on the ground. When I re-entered the Club-house yard I called to my brother, and with him and a friend I went home. We went out through the front door. I do not recollect seeing anyone in Berner-street. I often go home late, and I have seen low men and women talking in Fairclough-street. I have not seen them nearer to the Club.
Morris Eagle, of 4, New-road, Commercial-road, then gave evidence. He had left the Club about a quarter to twelve, but returned about one, entering by the gateway.
The Coroner - Did you notice anything lying on the ground inside the gateway? - No.
Did you a pass up the middle of the gateway? - Yes. It was rather dark at the time, and I cannot say for certain whether there was anything there or not. Neither do I remember whether I met any one in Berner-street or in the yard. Had there been any one in the yard, however, I should have remembered it. When I entered the Club one of my companions was singing in the national language. I joined in, and we were singing for about twenty minutes. Then a man named Gildeman came up and told us that a dead woman was lying in the yard. We then went in the yard together. I struck a match, and we then saw a woman lying by the side of the Club wall. Her feet were towards the gates, and her head towards the yard. She was covered with blood. Witness said that if there had been a cry that night, he believed they should have heard it.
Louis Diemshitz deposed: - I live at 40, Berner-street, and am steward to the Club. On Saturday I left home at 11.30 in the morning, and returned home at exactly one a.m. on Sunday morning. I had been to market, and was driving a pony, which was attached to a barrow. I drove into the yard, both gates being wide open. It was very dark. As I drove in my pony shied. When I looked down I saw something on the ground, and as I did not know what it was I tried to lift it up with my whip handle. As I could not do this I jumped down at once and struck a match. It was rather windy, but I could get sufficient light to see it was a figure, but could not tell whether it was a man or a woman. I did not disturb it. I went into the Club and asked where my missis was. I found her on the ground floor. I had left my pony in the yard by itself, just outside the back door. Several members were on the ground floor, and I told them there was a woman, but I could not tell them whether she was drunk or dead. I got a candle, and at once went into the yard, where I saw a quantity of blood near the body. I did not touch the body. I went for a policeman, but could not find one. When looking for the police, I told a young man of the affair, and he came with me back to the yard. The young man lifted up the woman's head, and then I saw that the throat was cut. At this time a constable came up. A doctor had been sent for, and he arrived ten minutes after the constable. No one was allowed to leave the room until they had been searched and their names and addresses taken. Deceased's clothes were in order. She was lying on her side with her face towards the wall. When the first doctor arrived, he undid the buttons of her dress at the neck. He also put his hand on her bosom, and said she was quite warm.
By a juryman - It was impossible for anyone to have escaped from the yard, after witness entered it, without its being noticed. It was also impossible for anyone to have escaped after witness had informed the members of the Club. It was possible for anyone to have escaped whilst witness went into the Club and spoke to the members.
The Coroner stated that the woman had not been fully identified. It was known where she lived, but she had not been identified by any relative.
The inquiry was then adjourned until to-morrow.
Statements of various kinds have been made to the reporters. These have already received the prominence of publicity. Perhaps the most important of all these is that made by Dr. Blackwell, the doctor called to Berner-street. He said -
At about ten minutes past one in the morning I was called to 40, Berner-street by a policeman, where I found a woman who had been murdered. Her head had been almost severed from her body. She could not have been dead more than twenty minutes; the body being perfectly warm. The woman did not appear to be a Jewess, but more like an Irish woman. I roughly examined her, and found no other injuries; but this I cannot definitely state until I have made a further investigation of the body. She had on a black velvet jacket, and black dress of different material. In her hand she held a box of cachous; whilst pinned to her dress was a flower. Altogether, judging from her appearance, I should say she belonged to the immoral class; at least, her general get-up would lead me to suppose that. I have no doubt that the same man committed both these murders, and should say he is a maniac, but one at least who is accustomed to use a heavy knife. I should say that as the woman had held sweets in her left hand that her head was dragged back by means of a silk handkerchief she wore around her neck, and her throat was then cut. One of her hands, too, was smeared with blood, so she may have used this in her rapid struggle. I have no doubt that, the woman's windpipe being completely cut through, she was unable to make any sound. I might say it does not follow that the murderer would be bespattered with blood, for as he is sufficiently cunning in other things he could contrive to avoid coming in contact with the blood by reaching well forward.
In connection with the Mitre-square murder, a man named Albert Baskett has made a rather singular statement. He says: - "I was in the Three Nuns Hotel, Aldgate, on Saturday night, when a man got into conversation with me. He asked me questions which now appear to me to have some bearing upon the recent murders. He wanted to know whether I knew what sort of loose women used the public bar at that house, when they usually left the street outside, and where they were in the habit of going. He asked further questions, and from his manner seemed up to no good purpose. He appeared to be a "shabby genteel" sort of man, and was dressed in black clothes. He wore a black felt hat, and carried a black bag. We came out together at closing time (twelve o'clock), and I left him outside Aldgate railway station."
A man, evidently of the artisan class, applied to Mr. De Rutzen, at Marylebone Police-court, to-day, for process against a gentleman living at Tottenham, for injuries he had sustained by being arrested on suspicion of being the perpetrator of the Whitechapel murders. He had, he said, been helping in the repair of the organ at St. Saviour's Church, Warwick-road, Paddington, and was on his way home when the person against whom he was applying said he (applicant) was "Leather Apron," and gave him into custody on suspicion of being the Whitechapel murderer. He was taken to the Carlton-terrace Police-station, where he was detained for three and a half hours. - Mr. De Rutzen told the applicant he could not grant him process in that Court. If he had suffered any wrong by being locked up on suspicion of being the author of the murders in Whitechapel, and thought he could recover redress, he must bring an action in the County Court.
Truly, remarks the Daily Telegraph, the public generally would like at last to know whether Mr. Secretary Matthews still sees "nothing in the present case to justify a departure from the rule." In effect, a Government reward - and a large reward - ought to be offered. Justice - personified unhappily just now in the helpless, heedless, useless figure of the Right Honourable Henry Matthews - ought at length to arouse herself, and scour the capital, obliterate the slums, search between the very bricks and mortar, in order to unearth this unspeakable villain whose deeds appal a whole kingdom. If it be of any avail, we would once more urge Mr. Matthews to wake up, and do his duty. If it be of no avail - if public impatience and the periodical recurrence of assassinations find him still of opinion that "there is nothing in the present case to justify departure from the rule" - then the protest against his ineptitude will assuredly become a clamour, a demand, an insistence; and Lord Salisbury will have to dismiss the Minister who had not good sense enough to resign.
The Times thinks that the recurrence of these several murders at brief intervals of time, and with details more or less closely resembling one another, makes it more than likely that the two murders of Sunday morning will not be the last of their kind. There has been too much system and method, and too obvious a brutal daring which cares little for the chance of detection. But if this is so, it becomes morally certain that the murderer must be found out. He had a near escape from the unlighted yard in Berner-street. At Mitre-square the police must have been close upon his heels. The fact that he gives proof of the possession of anatomical skill does much to narrow the inquiry. Not one man in a thousand could have played the part of Annie Chapman's murderer. In one of these new cases, if not in both, we have evidence of a similar kind. Meanwhile, no means of detection should be left untried.
The Standard remarks that because they have not yet been able to lay their hands upon this fiendish criminal, it does not at all follow that Scotland-yard is utterly incapable and corrupt. The unprecedented difficulties which the police have had to encounter in their search for this wretch ought not to be forgotten. He has, so far, left them nothing to go upon. There is not a weapon, not a button, not a fragment of clothing, not a footprint to help them. The slayer of these poor women has been seen by no one. His sanguinary work is done almost in a moment, and he vanishes without leaving a trace.
The entire management of this business, says the Daily News, on the part of the representatives of law and order, exhibits what, under the circumstances, may justly be called an appalling lack of resource. There has been no sign of an especial cunning of device to meet the terrible emergencies of the case. There has been no hearty co-operation with the Press which, on a hundred occasions, has saved the Detective Department from the worst consequences of its own mistakes. The public are fast coming to the belief that it is its military organisation, and the absence of local interest and control, which makes our Metropolitan Police so inefficient in the very first of their duties - that of preventing violence and crime.
On the whole, the popular belief that there is a fiend in human shape abroad in the East-end who has committed these horrible crimes from some form of homicidal mania seems to the Morning Post, the only one that satisfies all the conditions of the problem. Such men have existed, as the criminal history of this and other countries abundantly proves. This hypothesis, which is at once the most simple, and, as it seems to us, the most reasonable one, fully justifies the state of terror into which the poor people of the district have been thrown.
When the Post-office in High-street, Aldgate, but a few yards from where the murder took place, was opened this morning, it was discovered that it had been entered by burglars, and the safe forced. The thieves, who must have done their work between Saturday evening and this morning, appear to have first entered some adjoining unoccupied premises, and then forcing the trap door, walked downstairs. Making a hole in the staircase, they went into the cellar, and from there got into the office, which is on the ground-floor. The safe is kept under the counter, and the thief, or thieves, made a hole in the side, but were unable to reach the gold, and, therefore, only abstracted a small sum and some stamps. Considering the number of police who must have been all around the building, in consequence of the murder, the robbery is a most daring one. The police were at once on the spot, and Inspector Izzard, Detectives Bacon, Hunt, and Leamon, are now investigating the matter.
A later account says the robbery turns out to be more serious than was at first supposed. The safe contained an unusually large amount of money, £370 being locked up in one of the drawers of the safe, and about £49 being in an ordinary bowl just inside one of the compartments. Stamps to the amount of about £350 were also in the safe. The burglars, after discovering the safe, proceeded to wrench open one of the sides. They were successful in this, and managed to reach the money in the bowl and the stamps which they took. The drawer in which the larger amount of cash was locked was subjected to very rough treatment, but fortunately it resisted the thieves' efforts. A sum of about £3 belonging to the post-master was also taken from an upper room in the house. The fact that the office had been broken into was discovered by a clerk on his arrival at eight o'clock this morning. On entering the passage, he saw that some of the stairs, leading from the upper part of the house, and over some steps, by which the cellar is reached from the office, had been forced up. He at once informed the police, who then found the damage to the safe. It is supposed that the robbery took place on Saturday night, for it seems incredible that any thieves should have been daring enough to enter the premises, after the great commotion caused by the discovery of the murder but a few yards away, and the consequent presence of so many police in the district.
Sir, - In your article of yesterday you well say, referring to the extinction of dens of infamy, and their replacement by respectable dwelling-houses, "the Home Office must move first." The police possess amply sufficient evidence to shut up every brothel in Dorset-street, Flower and Dean-street, and Thrawl-street, &c. The police have now sufficient evidence to prosecute every notorious brothel in London, it being now incumbent on the constables to report the number of brothels on their beat. At present, however, next to no use is made of the information. It becomes a mass of "statistics." Our Vestries are supposed to be the "guardians of morality." Quis custodiel custodes? Many Vestrymen are slum house owners, and brothel property owners. The remedy against brothel-keepers is slow and cumbrous by means of the vestries, dangerous if put in force by private individuals, and often even then of little effect. What is a £5 or a £10 fine to a big brothel-keeper? Some Magistrates seldom impose more unless gross disorders or robberies are proved. It seems to me that the police should be instructed (not simply empowered) to keep observation on, and to take action against, all houses of ill-fame, when such houses are reported to them by any inhabitant of the police district in which such houses are situated. Any neglect of such action could then be reported to Scotland-yard, and, failing redress, to the Home Secretary, or to the Member for the Parliamentary Division. Scandals such as are now gross, open, palpable, would, at least, be greatly reduced. To make men moral by Act of Parliament is undoubtedly impossible, but much can be done to deter from immorality, or laws against theft and murder are a farce. Not to speak of the "Slaughter-ground" (whence comes a rumour of two more horrors), brothels are rife amidst respectable streets, and our children can see unblushing vice, and hear foul words, while the comparatively innocent are seduced into these dens of infamy. Our Vestries, where not involved, are usually indifferent, and are practically irresponsible, so far as human law is concerned. - Yours faithfully, DISGUSTED.