20 September 1888
To the Editor of "The Evening News"
THE EAST END ATROCITY
To the Editor of "The Evening News"
Sir - I am glad you have raised your voice against the senseless abuse of the police. As well blame the murderer or murderers for not having left a good clue. A reward, however, should have been offered ere now by the Government, and the police allowed to earn it. Also it is very doubtful whether the force is really strong enough for its duties; and the gait and bearing of detectives drawn from it must often tell against them. There is, moreover, one fact which should not be lost sight of in connection with the horrible butchery of the last two unfortunate women. Both were homeless. They had not sufficient to pay for a night's lodging, and rather than have recourse to some casual ward or charitable institution they wandered about the streets until they fell into the fangs of some human tiger or tigress. Had they gone to some charitable institution they would probably have been tortured with questions relating to their past. Had they gone to the workhouse for a night's shelter they would have been kept prisoners the following day until they had more than paid with their labour for what they had received. If that is relief, every employer relieves, and his belief does not taint and degrade the recipient. But the employer does not profess to relieve, nor does he tax the ratepayer. A few days ago a poor old soldier (who, it may be supposed, had risked his life over and over again for his country) was brought before a magistrate for having refused to break 12 cwt. of stone/ This was the price exacted for his night's shelter. He very naturally refused to submit to this extortion, and his grateful country made him a criminal. Depend upon it, Sir, the Poor Law system is largely responsible not only for the late shocking crimes but for many others.
I am, &c.
Sir - May I be permitted to add a few lines to those already appearing in your columns with regard to the Whitechapel murders? I do not suppose those in charge of the case would for one moment tolerate the interference or advice of the outside public in the mode of procedure, but if some more feasible theory or suggestion than that hitherto advanced were to be the means of aiding the course of the law, I believe it would not be the first time the community at large were indebted to a private individual for help in unravelling a seemingly complicated and brutal crime. I believe the suggestion put forward by your correspondent of Saturday last, that the same cause may furnish the motive as in that of the Cambridge murderer, to be very probable, and a clue. But I cannot by any means agree with your correspondent (A.W. Hux) as to his theory that searching inquiry in that direction might lead to a possible way in which the deed was carried out. To carry any practical weight, we should have to assume that the murderer also found the other unfortunate victims under similar circumstances, or, supposing the deed to be the work of a wretch who had no hand in the previous crimes, that he had studies the means and methods to such perfection as to utterly mislead the judgement of medical and criminal detective experts, who I believe unhesitatingly describe the three crimes as the work of one hand, or rather one fiend. With regard to supposition that the murdered woman, if in company with the man, being able to give some outcry, how would it be possible, unaware of her danger, no doubt in a perfectly helpless position, in the back yard of a house, without the slightest glimmer of light, to warn her of the terrible end in store? One slash of the deadly instrument carried by the cunning imp from hell, and the victim past all outcry. My opinion is that in the event of any crime, such as that under discussion, all supposed unoccupied houses, tenements, and ruins, such as are to be found where buildings have been pulled down for improvements, and vaults left standing, and where it well known hundreds of outcasts slink away during the night for shelter, should be surprised and all those found therein be called upon to give account of themselves.
Supposing the man wanted to be of the vagrant class, sane in all things but that of the fearful desire to shed blood for some real or fancied wrong, what is more probable than that he is in hiding during daylight, and stealing out for two or three hours during the night seeking fresh victims, or, failing that, to procure the means to prolong a terrible existence? For I feel positive that no one would shelter a man who must carry such unmistakable signs of bloodshed upon his person as the one wanted must do. Yet another theory and I have done. If the crime has been committed by a man, who, after accomplishing his fearful work, there can be only one or two classes of men who would be able to escape detection in the manner that has been done in the present instance, and they are either meat market porters or slaughtermen, who would be able by means of their ordinary trade garb to walk away right under the nose of a policeman without arousing suspicion. I sincerely hope that no one following the above callings will feel unnecessarily hurt at the above suggestion, and, to give them credit, I do not believe they would for a moment hesitate to place information in the hands of the police if they had reason to suspect any of their calling of the crime.
Apologising for troubling you, I am, &c.
To the editor of "The Evening News"
To the editor of "The Evening News"
Sir - Will you allow me a small space in your paper with reference to a letter in Friday's Evening News, a Valuable Suggestion, signed "B.F." I don't think "B.F." can know very much about a soldier's duties or he would not make such a suggestion. It is not because a soldier is taking a walk of an afternoon that he has nothing to do. It's very probable that that soldier was on duty all the previous night, and very likely the twenty four hours previous, as soldiers that do day guards do twenty four hours before being relieved. I don't mean to say that they are walking sentry all that time, but they have to keep on all their clothes and accoutrements that time, and in many instances where duty is heavy a man has to go on guard, with, what is termed in the army, only two or three nights in bed, that means two or three nights between coming off guard and going on again. I have never done duty in London, but in Dublin I have often gone with only two or three nights in bed, and I should think duty is quite as heavy in London as there, and much more so than in a good many places. Then again there is the patrol duty to do; that means marching about the streets preventing soldiers creating disturbances and running in absentees, &c., that is from about 7 p.m. till midnight. That does not count a turn of duty at all, only a fatigue. If it was a man's turn to go on guard the next day, he would have to go; so I consider a soldier gets plenty of night duty without doing police duty. It could be done by knocking off some of the guards and sentries; but then a soldier should do soldier's duty, and a policeman do policeman's duty. If there are not enough who not get more?
I am, &c.
A Time Expired
The Home Secretary is probably quite right in one of the reasons which he gives the Whitechapel Vigilance Committee for refusing to offer a reward for the apprehension of the author of the recent horrors, that reason being that "experience showed that such offers of reward tended to do more harm then good." It is unquestionably demoralising to a community to make a practice of holding out a bribe for the trapping of criminals, and as the Home Office only discontinued the practice after much deliberation, no honest citizen will question the dictum of Mr. Matthews on the point.
On the other hand, it does seem remarkable that, under the circumstances, the following expression should have crept into the letter in question. "The Secretary of State is satisfied that there is nothing in the circumstances of the present case to justify a departure from this rule." Now that is just the point on which the respectable inhabitants of Whitechapel (and a good many people outside) will never be able to agree with the Home Secretary. If there ever was a case where departure from the rule was advisable this is surely the one, and for this simple reason - the police have completely broken down as far as detective efficiency is concerned. They are utterly at fault, and the only apparent hope of securing the assassin is the offering of a substantial reward. It is a pity that the Home Office, in its anxiety to screen the police, refuses to see this.
EXCITEMENT IN WHITECHAPEL
HOW THE NEWS OF THE HOME SECRETARY'S DECISION WAS RECEIVED
ANOTHER REWARD OFFERED
So far as is known, the police are without any definite clue to the murderer, and the greater part of the force holds a decided opinion that he will only be caught in flagrante delicto, and that another murder or murders must take place before the public are gratified with the news of his apprehension. The writer has now interviewed many inspectors, sergeants, and constables in the matter, and they all hold the opinion that the present regulations at Scotland yard do not give proper facilities for guarding the public, and that there are too few men. They hold that a large Government reward would probably bring about the capture of the man wanted, and express a hope that it will be granted in the present case, at least, even though it may not be taken as a precedent. Last night the writer ascertained that, notwithstanding the succession of murders in one district, all of the same character and evidently by the same hand, not one single extra policeman or plain clothes detective was added to that district until the fourth woman had been butchered.
The moment the newspapers containing the letter of the Home Secretary were read, last evening, a tremendous storm of indignation was roused in the breasts of the people, and a fierce denunciation of the Home Office authorities was heard at every house and street corner. Meetings were held at over 40 places for the one purpose of denouncing the letter, which was described by one speaker as the "lamest piece of officialism ever issued from a Government office."
A great meeting took place last night at 74 Mile End road, for the purpose of discussing the letter of the Home Secretary, and taking measures for the offer of a public reward for the apprehension of the murderer.
The chair was taken by Mr. George Lusk, the president of the Vigilance Committee, and he was supported by several of the most prominent inhabitants of the district.
He said that it seemed to be a most extraordinary circumstance that the Home Secretary should have written such a letter as the one his committee had received, for in his opinion it bore its own reputation. Any one reading such a letter must believe that the Government would not offer a reward if twenty or even fifty murders took place - (hear, hear) - which was a most terrible thing to contemplate. However, the citizens of London were not going to bow to the decision of the Home Secretary, now would they accept his ideas that rewards did more harm than good. If the Home Secretary declined to offer a reward for preventing further murders of Her Majesty's subjects, his committee and those who supported that committee, were prepared to do so, and there were sufficient funds now in hand to enable them to commence operations. (Cheers.)
Mr. Aarons, the treasurer, announced that he had a tolerably large sum in hand, and he moved that bills should be distributed and advertisements sent to the papers offer a preliminary reward of £50, which would be increased as the funds came in.
The motion was carried unanimously amid much cheering, Mr. Aarons subsequently expressing his conviction that the funds would no doubt flow in steadily now that the people of Whitechapel knew for certain that they could not rely upon the Home Office for help.
Mr. Laughton said that he was sorry to find the Home Secretary so apathetic in the matter, for he felt sure that had a substantial reward been offered in the first place the murderer would have been discovered, and that was the decided opinion of hundreds of people to whom he had mentioned the matter. (A voice: It is the opinion of a million people in East London.)
Mr. B. Harris (Hon. Sec.) announced that the reward bills would be out tomorrow, and several hundreds of letters would at the same time be sent to prominent citizens, asking their help in making the reward fund large enough to convince the Home Secretary that he was wrong.
Mr. Reeves said that, looking at the way in which the murderer had committed the deed, the time he was about it, and consequently the awful state in which his clothes must have been, he felt positively certain that some one besides the murderer knew of the fact; and a heavy reward would, he thought, be the only inducement for that person to speak out. (Hear, hear.)
Mr. Lusk said that the members of the committee had, like himself, made up their minds to find out the murderer if possible, and nothing would be wanting on their parts to further the ends of justice, looking at the fact that the police were powerless and the Home Office dilatory.
A vote of thanks was accorded Mr. Aarons for the unremitting attention he had given the matter and the kind way in which he had placed his house at the disposal of the public, and the proceedings were adjourned until Saturday.
INQUEST AND VERDICT THIS DAY
This morning an inquest was held on the body of a child, whose name or sex is unknown, which was found in a cellar at a house situated in St. James' road, Brixton. Mrs. Mary Forwood, who occupies the house, stated that on Monday last she had occasion to go to the cellar to procure some coals. Noticing an aperture in the flooring, she put her hand through. It came in contact with a parcel, which, on examination, she found to be the trunk of child. Police constable 9WR was communicated with, and subsequently Dr. Knight, of 410 Brixton road, examined the body.
Dr. Knight said that he examined the body. It was wrapped in a sheet of brown paper. The body was headless, being severed from the shoulders.
In answer to the Coroner, witness said in his opinion the deceased had lain in the cellar between two and three years, and was in a mummified state, and on being touched it crumbled to dust.
Detective Clarke, of the Criminal Investigation Department, said he had made an investigation into the affair, but could not discover any clue to the mystery.
In the absence of further evidence, the jury returned a verdict of Found dead in a cellar in a mummified state.
About half past six o'clock this morning, a terrible suicide took place in King street, Tower hill, close to the Mint. A man, said to be a shoemaker by trade, about forty years of age, jumped out of a third storey window of a house above a shop, and came down with a fearful crash on his head, on the flagstones in the street. He was killed on the spot. It is said that the unfortunate man's wife and children were in bed at the time in the room from the window of which he leaped.
The name of the unfortunate man has been ascertained to be Bolas. Later information states that he died on the way to the London Hospital and not on the spot.