9 October 1888
The details of the death of poor Mr. Richard Proctor now to hand show that, had it not been for the typical American doctor, he might still be propounding those wonderfully unscientific theories with which he used to delight a large number of English young people than any scientist that ever lived. He caught, it appears, a bad cold, which brought on malarial fever. An American doctor was called in to diagnose the case, and he, knowing just about as much of the disease as an ordinary carpenter understands of a pedal organ, gave it as his opinion that Mr. Proctor was ill of "Yellow Jack." Of course, on such sapient prognosis being delivered, the hotel keeper felt bound to send Mr. Proctor to the hospital, with the result that the unfortunate gentleman, being taken from his bed on a cold, wet night, succumbed and died. Humanly speaking, Mr. Proctor was sacrificed to the ignorance of his doctors, a melancholy instance of the dangers of quackery.
I am aware that American doctors claim to superiority in some respects to ours, just as their countrymen lay claim to superiority over us in all walks of life. But the claim is just as preposterous in one case as the other; nine out of ten American doctors being dangerous quacks.
Take two examples - the death of Garfield and the fatal illness of Grant. It is not necessary to go further than to examine the statements of the various physicians who were engaged in the two cases to see that the end of both men was hastened by the treatment to which they were subjected.
I remember once in Los Angeles, California, looking over the list of 134 "doctors," who resided in that city, and finding that only three had diplomas that would pass muster in any country of Europe.
But, with all this, American doctors have a perfect mania for specimens, and, talk as our doctors may, I hold that the Whitechapel murders may easily be the outcome of the morbid desire of practitioners on the other side of the Atlantic to possess themselves of certain human organs which this miscreant gets.
One thing is quite certain, and it is that inquiries were made at University College School for such specimens less than a year ago, and that a large price was offered for them; and it is equally certain that the applicants were Americans.
The fact is, the so-called "medical schools" in America are frequently nothing but lay institutions, in which diplomas are conferred on men who are willing to pay a small sum of money, and many a "doctor" in America practises to-day who knows nothing whatever of morbid anatomy, and is as ignorant of surgery as he is of astronomy. To such of them as desire to get a little knowledge later in life such "specimens" are valuable in a sort of way, and hence springs up a market which in the end proves to be an incentive to crime.
In the case of the late murders at the East-end, I am informed by a surgeon that the left kidney has been subtracted in every case where the assassin has had time to get it. To obtain this without injuring other organs is the work of a skilful surgeon; no mere horse, or pig, or sheep slaughterer would know where to look for it. Yet medical evidence in abundance is forthcoming to show that it has been taken away, not only skilfully, but with such proof of knowledge as to indicate undoubtedly that the operator is a skilled man. I do not believe he is an American; he is a Continental student, a man who has passed through a school in Germany, Italy, France, or possibly England, and who is killing the unhappy women he can beguile into lonely places for the money he can make by their assassination.
My object, then, in writing this article is to suggest firstly, that the murderer is no Transatlantic assassin, but one who hails either from the Continent or possibly Ireland; secondly, that his object is gain, and that therefore he is not a maniac; thirdly, that he is a man of intellectual power, capable of thought, and the skilful use of a surgeon's knife; fourthly, that outwardly he is probably respectable in appearance; fifthly, that if caught he will most likely have in his possession the dreadful proofs of his guilt.
This morning some excitement was caused in Lambeth by a report that the body of a female found by the Thames police, near Waterloo-bridge, yesterday afternoon, had been identified as that of the missing woman residing in South London. On inquiring at Lambeth Mortuary a reporter was informed that several persons had seen the body, but that deceased had not been identified.
TO THE EDITOR OF THE ECHO.
Sir, -- Will you kindly allow me in your columns to rely to many correspondents who have desired to be informed of the best way to befriend the poor women in Whitechapel, Spitalfields, and the neighbourhood, whose miserable condition has been brought before the public so prominently by the late murders?
I was for ten years rector of Spitalfields, and I know full well the circumstances of these poor creatures, and have been constantly among them by day and night. A night refuge has been proposed, and it was natural it should suggest itself as a means of benefiting the class. In my judgment, it would serve no good end, and I earnestly hope nothing of the kind will be attempted. I am sure it will aggravate the evil.
It is not the fact that many of these women are to be found in the streets at night because doors are closed against them. Another night refuge is not required. It would attract more of these miserable women into the neighbourhood, and increase the difficulties of the situation. But what is needed is a Home where washing and other work could be done, and where poor women who are really anxious to lead a better life could find employment. There are Penitentiaries and there are Mission Houses into which younger women can be received. The public generally are little aware how much good work has been done of late among these. But for the older women, many of whom have only taken to their miserable mode of earning a living in sheer despair, and who would gladly renounce it, we have not the Home, and it is of the utmost importance one should be provided. It would in its management differ from the ordinary penitentiary.
If entrusted with means to provide such a Home I would gladly take the responsibility of conducting it, in conjunction with the clergy and others, who are only too anxious to see it established. It has oftentimes saddened my heart to be unable to assist the older women, and to save those who were hopelessly falling into a life of sin.
Such a Home would be a fitting addition to the "Court House," the home for younger penitents at Walthametow, which bears the name of Mrs. Walsham How, and was founded by her in the time of my predecessor, the present Bishop of Wakefield. If any thing is to be done, it should be done at once. Two thousand pounds would enable the experiment to be tried, and I have no doubt at all of its being a success. Pray allow me space to say to ladies who have been moved to devote themselves to work in these parts, that I should be delighted to hear from such, and to advise them where their services are most required, and how they can best give effect to their charitable intentions.
It is my bounden duty to use my position and experience to turn to the best account the painful interest that has been excited by late events in the East-end. - I am, your obedient servant,
Bishop Suffragan for East London.
Stainforth House, Upper Clapton, E., Oct. 8.
THE WHITECHAPEL TRAGEDIES
THE STORY ABOUT IRISH DETECTIVES
The Press Association learns that there is no truth in the statement published to-day that Dublin detectives have gone to London to aid in discovering the Whitechapel murderer. Mr. John Mallow, the head of the Dublin detective force, is at present in London, but on business wholly disconnected with the East-end atrocities.
The Dublin Express understands that the police authorities at Dublin Castle yesterday received a letter purporting to be from "Jim the Ripper" stating his intention to visit Dublin this week.
Upon inquiry at the East-end Police stations at four o'clock this morning, it was stated that no arrests had been made during the night. The streets in the vicinity of the recent tragedies are still patrolled by the police and detectives in augmented numbers, and the closest surveillance is maintained on suspected localities. Last night the number of amateur detectives at work did not seem so great as at the latter end of the week; but the ordinary detective staff was represented sufficiently to enable a close watch to be kept upon all persons who might be moving about at untimely hours without ostensible reason. As on previous nights, the locality was almost entirely deserted by the class of persons from whom the murderer has selected his victims.
A Vienna Correspondent calls attention, in connection with the Whitechapel murders, to a strange superstition among German thieves, which survives in some quarters even to the present day. In various German criminal codes of the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries, as also in statutes of a more recent date, punishment are prescribed for the mutilation of female corpses, with the object of making from the uterus and other organs the so-called Diebslichler or Schlafslichter, respectively "thieves' candles" or "soporific candles." According to an old superstition, still rife in various parts of Germany, the light from such candles will throw those upon whom it falls into the deepest slumbers, and they may, consequently, become a valuable instrument to the thieving profession. Hence their name. At one time there was a regular manufactory of such candles. That this superstition has survived amongst German thieves to the present day was proved by a case tried at Biala, in Galicia, as recently as 1875. In this the body of a woman had been found mutilated in precisely the same way as were the victims of the Whitechapel murderer.
IN A SPITALFIELDS LODGING HOUSE
A young man of 18, a Swede, who gives the name of Carl Edwin Hellman, has met with an exciting adventure in a lodging-house in Flower and Dean street, Spitalfields. The sequel to the affair was the appearance at Worship street Police court, yesterday, of Mary Hawkes, a girl of 18, and James Fordham, a painter, who were charged with being concerned with others in assaulting and robbing Hellman of 4 pounds and a pair of trousers. Hellman said that late on Saturday night he was in the neighbourhood of Whitechapel the worse for drink, and got into the company of some women, one of whom he accompanied to Thrawl street, Spitalfields, whence he was taken into a common lodging house in Flower and Dean street. Having paid the deputy for a "double" bed, he found fault with it, and the woman then left him. Almost immediately she did so, four or five men rushed in, seized him, and threw him on the bed, where he was held down by the throat and robbed of his purse and his trousers. He was then taken from the room and thrust down the stairs. He was screaming very loudly then, and just as he was thrown downstairs Police constables Wright and Dennis, H Division, burst in at the street door. It seemed from the evidence of a Mr. Percy Carton, ship's steward, that he and a friend had noticed the prosecutor being pulled down Thrawl street by the women, and had informed the constables. Directly they passed the lodging house in Flower and Dean street they heard screams, and when they entered the house the men who had been attacking Hellman vanished. Subsequently, however, Hellman recognised the male prisoner as one of the men, and the police found the purse and the prosecutor's trousers in the room occupied by the two prisoners. They were remanded, the Magistrate observing that the deputy must be brought up.
George Richard Henderson caused considerable excitement in Covent-garden this morning, and yet unintentionally. He simply wandered about aimlessly, carrying a black bag. Soon an alarm spread. He was, it was averred, "Jack the Ripper." The end of it was that the unfortunate fellow was taken to the station. As he could give no account of himself, he was detained. Curiously enough, amongst the things found on him was the rough draft of a letter which has recently appeared in print suggesting to the Home Secretary that those who were harbouring the Whitechapel murderer felt that they were equally guilty as accomplices after the act, and could not come forward and give him up - until a free pardon was offered to them. However, a satisfactory explanation was offered to the Bow street Magistrate today, and Henderson was accordingly discharged.