8 October 1888
The Whitechapel murderer has not yet been caught, despite the hundreds of suggestions, more or less sensible, that have been poured upon the police and the Press. No apparent advance has been made on the clue we were able to supply in our editions of Thursday. We then pointed out the only man who had clearly seen the victim and the more than probable murderer within a few minutes and a few yards of the time and place of the murder in Berner street. The only notice taken by our contemporaries on that day was a denial of the truth of our information, made ostensibly on the authority of the police. On Friday, no public admission of the value of the clue was given, but on Saturday, after mature consideration, the Daily Telegraph gave out that Packer, whom our informants had discovered, and the worth of whose testimony they recognised, had been summoned by Sir Charles Warren, at Scotland yard, and questioned as to the appearance of the man. The woman then lying at the mortuary of St. George's in the East was identified by Packer as the woman to whom the grapes were handed on Saturday night, and the man was described with a clearness not before attained. Our contemporary, the Telegraph, characteristically gave out the information with all that ostentation of originality which has imposed on some at least of the Sunday papers who have quoted it and given our contemporary credit for it. Our 265,000 readers of Thursday, however, know who it was that first placed the pursuit of the murderer on a hopeful track.
In regard to the aid given by the Press to the police, it may be well to point out that an evening contemporary of boastful proclivities reported that James Brown, at the inquest on Elizabeth Stride, said the man who was with her "was about 7ft 7in" in height. Men of this gigantic altitude are not common, and the actual murderer should be easily recognised. Why can't the police secure him?
EAST END ATROCITIES
TO THE EDITOR OF "THE EVENING NEWS."
Sir - The form of psychosis from which your correspondent "P's" friend suffered is unmistakeable, but whether the Whitechapel murderer is similarly afflicted is, to say the least of it, a question which cannot be answered until he (the murderer) is in durance vile. For my part, I hold it to be as unscientific and immoral to attempt to theorise on the flimsy material supplied in the evidence as yet to hand as it is for a medical man to pretend that he can diagnose and treat disease by letter. That there is no limit to the imbecility, ignorance, and mendacity of the theory mongers may be seen from the following paragraph taken from a London Sunday paper:
"A surgical theory, which is advanced in Paris about the Whitechapel murders, is that the murderer is a fanatical vivisectionist and disciple of Hoeckel, the German naturalist, who followed in the steps of Darwin in studying the origin of species, and who advanced some startling ideas that have not yet been established. A naturalist's aim is visible in the way in which the knife was applied to the two unfortunate beings at Whitechapel. Perhaps there was not time to operate in an exactly like manner in the second series of murders." As a pupil of Professor Hoeckel, I think I need only point out that the above paragraph is but the drivelling "mumpitz" of a Gallic "canis porcinus communis."
I am, &c.,
Sir - I have been considered somewhat of an expert in handwriting, and having carefully examined the facsimile of the letter you published a couple of days ago, signed "Jack the Ripper," have no hesitation in saying that it bears every evidence of being American - what is known in the States as the Spenserian style - the capitals especially bear out this idea, not only so, but the whole phraseology is Yankee, and it would indeed be strange should it eventually prove to be the work of the real murderer himself, and the more so should the monster fiend turn out to be the same inhuman wretch who perpetrated a series of similar horrible crimes in Texas some time ago. At all events the hint might be worth looking into, and every American of a suspicious character watched.
I am, &c.,
Sir - I have examined the writing with the facsimile letters of "Jack the Ripper" in your issue of the 4th inst., and am perfectly satisfied that the writer was educated in the public schools of one of the Southwestern States of America. I judge that from the writing, and the expressions used. I am of opinion that he is of the mechanic class, and that the police had better look for him in one of the better class lodging houses or third class hotels, since men of his class in America would not sleep in the dens of Whitechapel. Having seen a great deal of American life, and having observed the mechanical class during investigations into industrial pursuits in that country, I feel sure that I am right. The man has been, in my opinion, infatuated with some women of the town. who first robbed him, and then deserted him, and this is his revenge.
I am, &c.,
TO THE EDITOR OF "THE EVENING NEWS."
Sir - After what appeared in your issue of (illegible) see letter by R.E. Lawford Wenn, in column 3, page 3, of today's Telegraph, and the statement (column 4, same page) that Matthew Packer "furnished information" (was not asked for it, oh no!) to Scotland yard authorities. Good, isn't it?
I am, &c.,
A STARTLING DISCOVERY.
"JACK THE RIPPER" WRITES UPON THE WALL.
STUPIDITY OF A POLICE OFFICER.
"THE JEWS SHALL NOT BE BLAMED FOR NOTHING."
THE VIGILANCE COMMITTEES.
BLOODHOUNDS READY FOR THE NEXT MURDER.
The Central News says: A startling fact has just come to light in reference to the recent Whitechapel murders, which goes somewhat towards clearing up the mystery with which the crimes have been surrounded. After killing Katherine Eddowes in Mitre square, the murderer, it is now known, walked to Goulstone (sic) street, where he threw away the portion of the deceased woman's apron upon which he had wiped his bloody hand and knife. Within a few feet of this spot he had written upon the wall, "The Jews shall not be blamed for nothing."
Most unfortunately one of the police officers gave orders for this writing to be immediately sponged out, probably with a view of stifling the morbid curiosity which it would certainly have aroused. But in so doing a very important link was destroyed, for, had the writing been photographed, a certain clue would have been in the hands of the authorities. The witnesses who saw the writing, however, state that it as similar in character to the letters sent to the Central News and signed "Jack the Ripper," and though it would have been far better to have clearly demonstrated this by photography, there is now every reason to believe that the writer of the letter and postcard sent to the Central News (facsimiles of which are now to be seen outside every police station) is the actual murderer.
The police, consequently, are very anxious that any citizen who can identify the handwriting should without delay communicate with the authorities.
The Central News, since the original letter and postcard of "Jack the Ripper" was published, has received from 30 to 40 communications daily, signed "Jack the Ripper," evidently the concoction of silly notoriety hunters.
A third communication, however, has been received from the writer of the original "Jack the Ripper" letter and postcard, which acting upon official advice, it has been deemed prudent to withhold for the present. It may be stated, however, that although the miscreant avows his intention of committing further crimes shortly, it is only against prostitutes that his threats are directed, his desire being to respect and protect honest women.
In view of the interest and importance of the above news, we think it well to state that back numbers of our issue of Thursday, October 4, containing complete facsimiles of the letter and postcard may be obtained at our office.
Yesterday, a Bolton spiritualist held a seance with the special object of discovering the Whitechapel murderer. The medium was successful, as the spirits revealed a vision of a man having the appearance of a farmer, but dressed like a navvy with a strap wound his waist and peculiar pockets. He had a dark moustache and scars behind his ears, besides other marks. He will commit one more murder and be caught red-handed.
The Central News says that at noon no one was in custody in connection with the murders at any of the East end stations. the police have searched all the lodging houses in Limehouse, Shadwell, St. George's in the East, Spitalfields, and the Borough, as well as others at Hoxton and Islington, but nothing which will afford them a clue, has been discovered. Inquiries, too, have been made amongst local butchers, and at all slaughterhouses, to find out whether any one, recently employed in this capacity, has lately become deranged. These inquiries, too, have been fruitless.
It is pointed out as a singular coincidence that all the murdered women have at one time or another lodged in houses in Flower and Dean street, and from this it is thought likely that the murderer has known his victims personally before taking their lives.
The police throughout the metropolis have received instructions from Sir Charles Warren, the Chief Commissioner, that in the event of any further persons being found murdered similar to those cases that have recently occurred in Whitechapel, strict instructions are to be given that the body of the victim is not to be removed, but notice at once sent to a veterinary surgeon living in the southwest district who has some bloodhounds properly trained, and that the bloodhounds will, without delay, be taken to the place and placed on the scent with th view of tracing the murderer or murderers.
Extraordinary precautions had been adopted by the police to prevent or detect any repetition of the horrors of last week. Not only are members of the regular force displaying the utmost activity, but in their arduous labours they are receiving valuable aid from the volunteer police of the Vigilance Committee. Last night, and on Saturday every nook and corner of the district was watched, and persons of at all suspicious appearance were tracked until reason for suspicion had been cleared away. The police and the men employed by the Vigilance Committee work very well together. As a proof of the thorough way in which they have respectively been carrying out their duties, it may be mentioned that in several instances some of the plain clothes men who were strange to the neighbourhood were watched by members of the Vigilance Committee, while they in their turn came under the scrutiny of the detectives.
A letter from the Home Secretary has been received by the president of the Whitechapel Vigilance Committee, as under:
"Whitehall, October 6, 1888.
Sir - The Secretary of State for the Home Department has had the honour to lay before the Queen the petition signed by you, praying that a reward may be offered by the Government for the discovery of the perpetrator of the recent murders in Whitechapel, and he desires me to inform you that though he has given directions that no effort or expense should be spared in endeavouring to discover the person guilty of the murders, he has not been able to advise Her Majesty that in his belief the ends of justice would be promoted by any departure from the direction already announced with regard to the proposal that a reward should be offered by Government.
I am, Sir, your obedient servant,
E. Leigh Pemberton."
The Working Men's Vigilance and Patrol Committee have been augmented by some thirty able bodied men well acquainted with the locality. These were selected by a special meeting of representative working men connected with the dock industries, who assembled at Bow Common on Saturday night.
The following may be taken as a sample of the many letters concerning which rumours were current on Saturday. Information was given to the City police on Saturday that Messrs. Bryant and May had received a letter from a person signing himself J. Ripper, couched in the following terms: "I hereby notify that I am going to pay your girls a visit. I hear that they are beginning to say what they will do with me. I am going to see what a few of them have in their stomachs, and I will take it out of them. so that they can have no more to do on the quiet. (Signed) John Ripper. P.S. I am in Poplar today."
With reference to the identity of Elizabeth Stride, the Woolwich newspapers of the time of the Princess Alice disaster have been referred to, and it is stated that a woman of that name was a witness at the inquest, and identified the body of a man as her husband, and of two children then lying in Woolwich Dockyard. She said she was on board and saw them drowned, her husband picking up one of the children, and being drowned with it in his arms. She was saved by climbing the funnel, where she was accidentally kicked in the mouth by a retired Arsenal police inspector, who was also clinging to the funnel. The husband and two children are buried in Woolwich Cemetery.
Mr. George Lusk, of Alderney street, Globe street, Mile End, the president of the Vigilance Committee, has given information of a suspicious incident which befell him on Thursday afternoon last. A stranger, who called at his private residence shortly after four o'clock, and who was informed that Mr. Lusk was not at home, appears to have traced the President of the Vigilance Committee to an adjacent tavern. Having manifested great interest in the movements of the volunteer police, he sought an interview in a private room, but owing to the forbidding appearance of the visitor Mr. Lusk seems to have preferred the comparative publicity of the bar parlour. The conversation had scarcely begun, when Mr. Lusk, who was about to pick up a pencil which had dropped from the table, says he noticed the stranger "make a swift though silent movement with his right hand towards his side pocket." Fearing that his conduct was observed, it is added, the man asked to be directed to the nearest coffee house, and forthwith proceeded to an address in the Mile End road with which he was supplied. Although Mr. Lusk followed without loss of time, he was not quick enough for his visitor, who abstained from visiting the coffee house, and has not been heard of since. The man is described as between thirty and forty years of age, about 5ft 9in in height, of a florid complexion, with bushy brown beard, whiskers, and moustache. In the absence of further evidence it is impossible to say whether any personal injury was actually in store for the head of the "Vigilants," but the ease with which the man escaped has awakened the members of the committee and their colleagues to an increased sense of the difficulty of the task they have in hand."
AN IMPORTANT CIRCULAR.
The following circular has been addressed to the members of all the municipal bodies in the kingdom:
"Central Vigilance Committee for the Repression of Immorality, 15 York buildings, Adelphi, W.C., October 6:
Sir - The period of the year at which most of the elections to municipal offices take place appears to be a fitting one for asking your attention to the open provocation to immorality with which so many of our cities and towns abound.
It is to the electors we must look for the use they make of the franchise in selecting those only who will manfully strive for the protection of their property and the security of their own families and the public morals.
In the metropolis and many other centres of population certain streets swarm at night with those whose life is one of shame, and the boldness with which they ply their trade is greatly on the increase. The places in which they reside or to which they resort are rapidly multiplying. The knowledge of evil is thus spread out before the young of both sexes, and the downward path rendered both easy and attractive. Public decency is outraged and proceedings tolerated which are a disgrace to our moral character and our Christian profession.
Much, if not all, this display of profligacy it is in the power of civic, municipal, and parochial bodies to prevent. The law may and does require strengthening, but it is useless to cry out for more power while that which we have is not used, and it is in vain to expect that it will be used unless those having authority or influence are alive to the necessity. The purpose of this society is not to usurp the functions of those in which the power resides, but to so raise the tone of public opinion as to encourage and enforce its exercise. It is ready, however, to aid in preventing, repressing, and rescuing, through the instrumentality of local associations, and if necessary by direct appeals to the law as circumstances may dictate. It would also point out that any two ratepayers may insist upon proceedings being taken, and, under provisions of the law expressly devised for that purpose, to prosecute to conviction at the expense of the locality in which the mischief exists.
The suppression of houses of ill fame and the restraint of street solicitation probably fall within the province of town authorities, overseers of the poor, &c. the police authorities come in to aid the local officers.
Proceedings in the first instance ought to be taken by those who suffer inconvenience from the presence of persons and places devoted to immorality; and the overseers, municipal authorities, and police should be ready to respond most vigorously to the calls of the public, and ought themselves to search out and proceed against this vice. Prostitutes, brothel keepers, and owners of premises rented for their purposes are alike subject to prosecution.
Hitherto there has not been any general effort for repression and prevention, and interference has been too often limited to the abatement of the nuisance, where it had become too open, by simply driving the perpetrators out of the district, rather than extended to such a punishment as may deter them from a repetition of the offence elsewhere. Thus, by leaving them to renew their misconduct in other localities, the authorities have incurred a tedious repetition of the process, oftentimes ending in the return of the offenders to their original haunts.
Our desire on the present occasion is to gain your attention to the serious nature of the evil which prevails in our midst, and to express our hope that, in seeking election to positions of local power, you will bring this matter prominently to the notice of those whom you are preparing to represent, and in so doing receive their mandate that it shall not continue. The records of our Courts of Justice, the diaries of our clergymen and district visitors, the facts to which none can shut their eyes, all unite in testifying that immorality is so rife as to be eating out the nation's life, sapping the sources of our greatness, and provoking the indignation of that Power which may either preserve our prosperity or pronounce our destruction, according as we are found honouring the purity in which He delights, or practising the profligacy which He abhors.
We have the honour to be yours faithfully,
Last night a man and woman were arrested for drunken and disorderly conduct at Chapel street, Islington, nearly a mile distant from the sub divisional station. The prisoners were rather troublesome, and several policemen assisted in conveying them to the station. The rumour somehow got abroad that the man was "Jack the Ripper," and the woman his accomplice, the aforesaid mysterious individual having, by letter to the police, promised Goswell road a visit. This rumour caused an immense crowd to congregate, which became larger as the party neared the station. A mounted patrol saw the mob approaching in the distance, and he galloped off to render further assistance. This fact appeared to give the arrest an element of importance, and by the time that the prisoners were inside the lockup there were quite 2,000 people in Upper street. A number of constables were sent out to clear the thoroughfare, and this was quickly effected on the people being assured that no important arrest had been made.
A well known journalist and ex Parliamentary reporter, and formerly editor of an East end paper, living in South London, started as a female decoy from Peckham shortly before midnight on Saturday for Whitechapel, believing, in common with most others, that the early hours of yesterday morning would see the commital of another murder. After a peculiar experience he got as far as St. George's Church in the Borough, where some women came up and asseverated that he was a man, while a cabman offered to bet "A pound to a shilling on it." He thought that, under these circumstances, the best policy to pursue was to walk over to Southwark Police station, inviting the cabman and some others to accompany him. At the station, where he was well known, the incident came to an end. It is understood that the gentleman in question depended solely for his safety upon an ounce of chemicals.