10 October 1888
It is stated by a news agency that to-day a general movement is going on among some of the Irish and Radical organizations of the metropolis with the view of endeavouring to revive meetings in Trafalgar-square similar to those which took place last year, in support of the right of public meeting, free speech, and the amelioration of the condition of the unemployed. Some of South London branches have promised their adhesion to the movement, as it is considered that the excitement at the East-end and the extra work cast on the police will afford them a favourable opportunity in Trafalgar-square. It is intended, if possible, to commence the first autumn meeting this year on Saturday afternoon next. The plan proposed is to proceed to the square as last year - by various routes. The proposal awaits the adhesion of other clubs.
WHO IS THE MURDERER
TO THE EDITOR OF "THE EVENING NEWS."
Sir - In the absence of any definite clue to the perpetrator of the recent dreadful atrocities at the East-end of London, it seems desirable to consider the question from the point of view of what, for want of a better term, I may call speculative jurisprudence. It will be admitted that if suspicion can be, with even reasonable conclusiveness, focused on a particular, and, if possible, small class of persons, there may be a greater probability of the speedy detection of this perpetrator than a more or less vague inquiry directed over a large and densely populated area. At the same time, assuming my hypothesis to be fallacious, there is no reason why, whilst investigating it within its own narrow limits, the wider inquiries now being pursued should be diminished. There is, I think, a reasonably general consensus of educated opinion that the late several murders, with their exceptionally concomitant horrors, are the work of one and the same person. Inquiry has also fairly established that the theory suggested that the murders and mutilations were to secure a particular organ of the victim's body is untenable. Robbery, or the gratification of animal passion, or revenge, in its ordinary personal acceptation, being beyond the question, the solution of motive may have to be sought in some form of mania arising from one or other, possibly, of the following causes, viz: some wrong, real or imaginary, sustained at the hands of the class to which the poor murdered women belonged; or an insane belief as to the good to result to society by their extermination. It is observed that homicidal mania, in the sense of an unrestrainable desire to kill merely, is not here present, the tendency being directed against a particular class exclusively. These questions, are, however, for the moment comparatively unimportant beside the more pressing one as to the direction in which the murderer, or homicidal maniac, is to be sought. For reasons which I shall state concisely I venture to suggest that the perpetrator of these several outrages is a man of foreign origin. The grounds for this conclusion are: (a) That in the whole record of criminal trials in England there is, I believe, no instance of a series of crimes of murder and mutilation of this particular horrible character. (b) The celerity with which the crimes were committed are inconsistent with the ordinary English phlegmatic nature, but entirely consistent with the evidence given in some more or less similar cases abroad. (c) The mutilation and removal of certain organs involved a degree of anatomical knowledge and skill, which, according to high medical opinion, would not be likely to be possessed by an English slaughterman (to whom, at first, suspicion pointed): whereas this special skill is possessed to a not inconsiderable degree by foreigners engaged in the charcuterie and other kindred trades abroad. (d) The character of the knife used, as suggested by the medical evidence at the inquests, is similar in kind to the instrument known as French "cook's knife;" or at least is, in the circumstances, more consistent with its use by a foreigner than an Englishman. In offering these opinions I do not desire to suggest, what indeed my experience negates, that a foreigner, as such, has any monopoly of brutality over an Englishman. There are forms of brutality which are committed by Englishmen which a Frenchman or an Italian, for instance, would never dream of. But there are also idiosyncrasies of crime which are, as if were, peculiar to particular countries, both in their conception and mode of execution.
I am, &c.,
EDWARD DILLON LEWIS
8, Bow-street, Convent Garden, W.C., October 3.
We may fairly claim that The Evening News maintains the reputation which it has made for itself in connection with the hunt after the Whitechapel murderer. On Thursday last The Evening News was the first and only paper to give to the world the important evidence of Mathew Packer, which has since supplied the police with valuable material to work upon, and the substance of which was republished two or three days late by morning contemporaries. Yesterday we were the first in the field with a special account of the police experiments with bloodhounds in Hyde Park, the first intelligence of which our contemporaries received through the Central News some hours later.
According to their own account - but very reluctantly supplied - the police are scouring the highways and by-ways of the metropolis for the Whitechapel murder. At risk of casting one more stone at these wonderful myrmidons of Sir Charles Warren, one might ask with Cowper
Excels a dunce that stays at home?"
The police are like Polly Eccles's neighbours, who, according o that damsel, could not think, because they had not been brought up to it. So far they are to be pitied, not blamed, ablest that on the face of it they appear as little disposed to accept commiseration as censure. Moreover, their self-confidence prevents them from listening to the suggestions, not of the world at large, but of men whom the world at large considers capable of applying a consistent theory to the homicidal phenomenon that is disturbing the community. Four weeks ago Dr. Forbes Winslow repaired to Scotland -yard, if not by invitation, at least with the concurrence of Sir Charles Warren. The following morning a representative of The Evening News interviewed he eminent specialist. Two points stood out clearly from this conversation. According to Dr. Winslow, the murderer was a homicidal maniac, and in a position of life which enabled him to defy detection by a rapid transit from the scene of his crimes, and by an equally rapid change of garments. Dr. Winslow at the time recommended careful inquiry at every public and private lunatic asylum throughout the country as to the names of patients that had escaped and had been discharged as cured. His principle contention, as may be remembered, was that homicidal mania was incurable and consequently that the murderer might be found among the sufferers from that terrible affliction, queasily-restored to reason. Have the police acted upon this advice? Have they interrogated the night cabmen on the ranks in or about Whitechapel? We think not. They have treated those and other suggestions with the indifference characteristic of men of inferior intelligence who resent the imputation of that inferiority. They have pooh-poohed the theory of homicidal mania, and pursued their researches in places where the criminal could not possibly be - namely, in low lodging-houses - as if, forsooth, these dens could harbour a man with bloodstained garments without the suspicion of the other inmates being aroused.
I repeat they have pooh-poohed the theory, not knowing and not caring to know what is common talk among students that have applied themselves to the elucidation of similar mysteries. To them the murderer has a motive, and to them the motive that springs solely from homicidal mania is not one. Nay, they are almost prepared to deny homicidal mania per se. It is revenge - intended or accomplished - upon one person, and transferred upon a greater or lesser number of persons belonging to the same class. The sanity of the maniac, if that be not a blunder, is according to them, in favour of their theory. For that insanity should sharpen the wits of the maniac before his crimes, in order to devise the best possible means to execute his design, and afterwards to baffle research, is not dreamt of in their philosophy.
This being so, there is no apology needed for recording a few of the many murders induced by homicidal mania, pure and simple. On November 23, 1824, there was tried at the Assize Courts of Versailles one Antoine Leger, for the murder of Constance Debully, aged 12. The murderer had never seen his victim until a few moments before his crime. The medical examination proved that no outrage had been committed, cupidity could not have been the object, for the child belonged to the poorest class of field labourers. She was even barefooted. The public interrogatory brought to light the following facts: The prisoner was provided with a sum of money, amply sufficient for his wants, seeing that for three weeks previous to the deed he had lived on herbs, roots, &c. He was prompted to the murder by the irresistible desire of eating human flesh and drinking human-blood. Medical science was not as far advanced as it is now, albeit that Dr. Georget, one of the shining lights of medicine, conclusively proved Leger not to have been responsible for his actions. Leger was executed on December 1, 1824.
The Evening News has already more than once hinted at the possibility of homicidal-maniacal epidemy, either as the result of imitation in the same locality, or springing up in different parts of a country without any apparently connecting causes. Two months after Leger's terrible crime a young woman belonging, to judge by her appearance, to the working classes, was taking a stroll with her two little boys in the Forest of Vincennes. Attracted by the lad's handsome faces, a woman in the same station of life stopped to kiss them. On looking up she noticed that she was watched with a great deal of interest by a man of superior station. She took little or no heed, and scarcely answered the questions he addressed of her. The mother had also noticed the man who immediately afterwards disappeared.
Half an hour later she was confronted by the same individual who, stooping down as if to kiss her boys, plunged a knife into their hearts. The interval between his first and second appearance had been utilized to procure himself a knife. In order to do this he had to leave the wood and make the round of several shops, whose owners refused to sell one of a dozen unless he paid a proportionately large price for it. Undeterred by the obstacle he consented. Papovoine was executed on March 25, 1825, in spite of the doubt thrown upon his sanity, for though the prosecution endeavoured to establish a reason, no reason for the deed could be accepted. The children of Charlotte Herin were illegitimate, and the theory of the prosecution was that Papovoine had been the instrument of Gerbod, their paternal grandfather, who at all risks wished to prevent a marriage between the girl and his son.
HOW DETECTIVES ARE ENROLLED
AN IMPORTANT ARREST AT CHINGFORD.
The Central News says: The police have made what they consider an important arrest at Chingford, in connection with the East-end murders. The man will be brought to Leman-street.
Sir Charles Warren has requested the publication of the following statement:
Several incorrect statements have recently been published relative to the enrolment of candidates for detective - that is to say, criminal investigation - work in the Metropolitan Police which may tend to deter candidates from applying. The following is the actual state of the case.
For some years past the standard height in the Metropolitan Police has been 5ft. 8 ½ in., and in the beginning of 1887 it was raised to 5 ft. 9 in., but the Commissioner has the power from the Secretary of State to accept candidates as short as 5 ft. 7 in., and if the Criminal Investigation branch should require any particular man under 5 ft. 7 in. the Commissioner has at all times been prepared to obtain the Secretary of State's sanction to his enrolment.
The limit of age is 35, but as a rule candidates are not taken over the age of 27, in order that the police service may not lose the better part of a man's life, and also to enable him to put in sufficient service to entitle him to his full pension.
There is no rule, and never has been any rule made by the Commissioner, that candidates on joining must serve for two or three years as constables in divisions before being appointed to the Criminal Investigation branch.
The Commissioner has always been prepared to consider favourably any proposal from the Criminal Investigation branch for a candidate to join the Commissioner's office immediately on enrolment, or at any time after his enrolment, for duty in the Criminal Investigation branch.
But should a case occur that a candidate who wished to join the Criminal Investigation branch at once, and was reported favourably upon, was not physically or otherwise fit for ordinary police duties, it would be necessary, in the interests of the public, that on his enrolment a stipulation should be made that if he should subsequently be found unfit for Criminal Investigation work he would have to leave the police service without any compensation, should his services not entitle him to a pension or gratuity.
As a general rule it has been ascertained by the Criminal Investigation branch that the candidates who have applied to be appointed direct to detective duties have not possessed any special qualifications which would justify their being so appointed.
The streets in the vicinity of recent tragedies are still patrolled by police and detectives in augmented numbers, and the closest surveillance is maintained on suspected localities. The number of amateur detectives at work does not seem so great as at the latter end of last week; but the ordinary detective staff was represented sufficiently to keep a close watch upon all suspected persons who might be moving about at untimely hours without ostensible reason.
At yesterdays meeting of the Guardians of the City of London Union a considerable increase in the number of paupers admitted to the casual wards was reported. Mr. Abbott (St. Botolph Without, Aldergate) said the chief cause of the increase of these poor people was the number of women who had to seek shelter because of fear of being out in the streets in consequence of the unfortunate state of affairs at Whitechapel and the East of London generally.
At a crowded meeting held in Spitalfields, last night, at which Mr. Pickersgill, M.P., spoke, the inadequacy of the police in East London was commented on, and a resolution was passed deploring the recent outrages, and calling for the direct control of the police by the ratepayers.
Upon inquiry at the principal police-stations in the East End, at four o'clock this morning, a Press Association reporter was informed that no further arrests had been made in connection with the murders in the district, and that there is now no one in custody on that charge. At all the stations matters were reported unusually quiet, a state of affairs due in great measure, doubtless, to the elaborate system of patrols recently instituted by the police in the neighbourhood, and the disappearance of many of the most disorderly characters from the streets at a comparatively early hour owing to the prevailing error. Members of the Vigilance Committee lately instituted were also freely met with, while policemen and detectives in plain clothes were at various points within easy hail of each other in the event of an alarm being raised. The opinion generally expressed by the police and others on the watch for the murderer is that he will find the district too closely watched to allow him to repeat his terrible crime without detection, and that if heard of again, it will be in some other part of the metropolis.
At Bow-street Police-court, George Richard Henderson, a person of rather singular appearance, was charged, before Mr. Vaughan, with being a suspected person loitering about the streets. Police-constable 411 E said that about 3.30 a.m. there was considerable excitement in Covent Garden Market where it was rumoured that Jack the Ripper was going about threatening people. He saw the prisoner wandering about aimlessly. He carried a black bar, and his actions were very strange. Several people, Covent Garden porters and others, appeared to be alarmed, and so witness took the prisoner to the station. There he was searched, and as 54 pawn tickets were found in his possession, and he could give no proper account of himself, he was detained. Amongst other things found on him was a 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, no matter for what reward, until a free pardon was offered to them. Witnesses were called for the prisoner, who satisfactorily explained that he was a respectable man, and Mr. Vaughen discharged him, at the same time advising him not to go about the streets in a similar way again. At such an hour in the morning he was much better at home.
In connection with these crimes, I am positively to state that several members of the London Spiritualist Alliance, the Vice-President of which is the Hon. Percy Wyndham, late M.P. for Cumberland, have for several days past been investigating with several clairvoyants with a view to the discovery of the murderer, and that some startling information has been revealed to them. It must not be understood that they accept the statements made, but there is such an air of probability about the revelations the "clues" are being followed up with the aid of the officials of Scotland-yard. Whatever may be said to the contrary, I am in the position to state that a mere intellectual or keener body of men cannot be found than the spiritualists, and the fact that in cases of extremity recourses is had to the aid of the psychical people proves that there is a lurking belief in their pretensions.
A Dublin correspondent telegraphs that the Dublin detectives do not regard the letter received by them and signed "Jack the Ripper," of much moment. The document, which is plainly written, states that the murder of a woman would be committed either in the east or west of Dublin that the writer was determined to do away with unfortunates, and that the reason for so doing was because his sister had joined them. He defied Mr. Mallow (the chief of the Dublin detective force) and all his officers to discover him when he committed the crime.
An arrest took place, last evening, at Haggerston. A man was noticed making inquiries at lodging-houses and acting generally in a suspicious way.
Police-constable Joyce, H division, was on duty in the locality, and his attention as called to the unknown man. Joyce took him into custody, and brought him to Commercial-street police station. The person, whose movements in the opinion of the constable justified his arrest, reached Commercial-street at nine o'clock, and he was there detained pending further investigations. Inquiries having been made, the police considered there was no reason for holding the prisoner in custody, and he was liberated at half-past ten o'clock. The police at Bethnal-green and Leman-street have effected no other arrest.
TO THE EDITOR OF "THE EVENING NEWS."
Sir - In reference to the letter signed "A Butcher," if, as your correspondent seems to think, that it might have been a cutter or searcher belonging to the Jewish community, or an onlooker at such operations, do you not think it might be possible to trace the murderer, providing such was the case? Let each of the cutters or searchers (as there are not many of them, and they can easily be found by inquiry at all slaughterhouses where Jewish meat is killed) be called upon to forward a specimen of their writing to an authority, to be examined to see if it corresponds with the writing of the letters and post card believed to be that of the murderer, and, if corresponding, be made to give an account of himself for the days on which the murders were committed. As for any onlookers, I do not think anyone could perform on a body so skillfully as medical gentlemen say has been performed on the bodies of these unfortunate women by mere onlooking.
I am, & co.,
Mr. A. Levy writes us, in reference to the above, that the persons who are engaged in slaughtering food for the Jewish public are brought up to be Rabbis, and all are members of the Skeater Board (a council of Rabbis), recognised by the Jewish community, and are men of unblemished character, who could not hold the position if there was the least stain on their reputation.
The Press Association says: Since the inquest on Monday, Inspector Marshall has been diligently prosecuting inquiries in connection with the finding of the trunk of a woman at Whitehall, and it is expected that he will be in a position to furnish further important evidence at the adjourned inquest on the 22nd inst. The spot where the body was found is still watched by the police, who will continue to guard the place until after the inquest. The fact that every one is of opinion that no stranger could have put the parcel in such an out of the way corner considerably narrows the inquiry, and on Monday week other workmen will be called who will prove that the parcel was not in the vault on the Saturday before the Monday when it was found. The men engaged on the works have taken the matter in hand, and are endeavouring to ascertain the person who is responsible for depositing the remains in the vault, and no stone is being left unturned to discover some clue to the mystery.
WITH THE MURDERED WOMAN'S FRIENDS.
(BY OUR SPECIAL COMMISSIONER.)
Following up my recent visit to Flower and Dean-street, I returned another night to the district. It had been told to me that I would find the streets in the same quarter all equally disreputable and forbidding. Fashion-street - the next street to Flower and Dean-street - was especially mentioned to me as one of the worst in London, and to it, therefore, I first directed my attention. It was an agreeable surprise, however, to find that after parading this particular thoroughfare for half an hour there was nothing to be seen to indicate that it was at all a place of either an objectionable or repulsive character. Instead of the dirty, dingy, dwellings of the adjacent streets, Fashion-street was well illuminated, and presented all the appearances of a lively busy community. Decently-dressed children were playing about on the pavement and in the roadway with all the blitheness and freedom of country urchins. Women, in costumes that would have done no discredit to the most respectable promenade of the West-end, stood at the doorways talking to their neighbours, or passed up and down with baskets and parcels in their hands going or returning on their shopping expeditions. This abnormal respectability in the midst of such a hotbed of poverty and destitution, is, perhaps, to be accounted for by the fact that Fashion-street is principally inhabited by Jews, as most of the persons seen had the Israelitish cast of countenance and "Yiddish" announcements were visible on several of the shop-keepers' windows.
Fashion-street is full of courts. They are, however, all well-lighted, and the interiors are remarkably clean, and even respectable looking. The houses are such as might be seen any day on a London suburban roadside. New-court, off Fashion-street, is comparatively an exceptionally attractive place. There are in it 13 well-constructed houses, and almost every windowsill has its fower pot with some green plant or creepers. It is a remarkable circumstance that in this small court there are two Jewish synagogues - one on each side of the entry. Turning out of the court into the street again my ears were greeted by the shrill treble voices of a band of children singing "God Save the Queen," and it was with some reluctance that I left this scene for the less congenial atmosphere of Flower and Dean-street again.
There was no change in the aspect of the place since I had been there before, and save that there were a few more signs of life about it, the street looked a veritable valley of the shadow of death. Ghoulish-like figures stalked forth from the doorways into the bleakness of the street or disappeared amongst the recesses of the walls. Crouching and distorted creatures lurched noiselessly about as if waiting for a spring upon some unsuspecting victim. I entered with my artist friend one of the first of the row of lodging-houses at the west end of the street, and tendered eightpence with the request for a couple of beds. The surly looking deputy looked surlier still, and his suspicious glances bespoke his reluctance to accept our money, but he booked us the beds without a word except to tell us our numbers. The house was one of the smallest of the class. The low-roofed kitchen was fitted up after the general style, with wooden tables and benches, and the fumes of the great coke fire had a stifling and drowsy effect. The occupants at the time were principally women - old, middle-aged, and young - and several poorly-clad, but sharp featured, children were playing about the floor. A group of abject, miserable-looking men stood round the fire-place, and regarded us with a furtive interest as we approached them. Very little conversation was to be had out of the people here. The women proceeded with their cooking or the repairing of some old garments, and the men lazily engaged in the occupation of relighting pipes which they had been too indolent to keep in. Of course the murders were a general theme, but so far as any practical suggestion for the elucidation of the mysteries were forthcoming the talk was worthless.
At another house that we went to a brisk passage of arms was proceeding between two half-drunken women, the subject of dispute being the particular position to which the teapots and saucepans of those ladies were entitled before the fire. The women's voices were raised in strident and angry argument, and a challenge to mortal combat was only prevented from being carried into effect by the interference of the Deputy, whose demand for order commended instant obedience.
Mr. Deputy is a power and an authority in these houses. He may be a puny individual, half a dozen of whose like could easily be pulverised and demolished by any one of the inmates, but his position ensures him respect and the summary powers which he possesses in the treatment of refractory lodgers are a certain safeguard against intimidation. In the next house that we went to we found the same order of things obtain and the same Bohemian tatterdemalion company, with however, just a flavour of the last remnants of bygone respectability in the persons of two old women. These latter had evidently seen much better days, and their faces were marked by intelligence and refinement.
On revisiting No. 55 we were able to see and speak to Kelly, the man who stayed with Kate Eddowes, and a number of other friends and acquaintances of the deceased.
Kelly is an interesting character from the fact that he is in some degree above the class which surrounds him. He is quiet and inoffensive in manner, and has fine features, with sharp and intelligent eyes. He spoke to use freely of Kate, but confessed to being very much "cut up." "I hope to Almighty God her soul's at rest," he said, fervently. "Many's the time I have said to her, 'Well, Kate, you are my wife, and I'll keep you as well as I can,' but when we had not the eightpence I took her to the casual ward - where there has been many a good mother's son - and which is better than the streets, because I thought it kept her out of immoral ways." Speaking of the probability of capturing the murderer, Kelly said, "It's my belief it won't be long before he's taken, and a very good job too." Kelly is not a strong man, as he suffers from an affection of the kidneys and a bad cough. These ailments have prevented him from doing much hard work, and he has earned his living by doing odd jobs about Spitalfields Market and running errands for the Jews. Kate also used to do similar work, as well as going out charing.
While speaking to Kelly we were joined by a couple of female lodgers who garrulously expatiated on the virtues of her late friend Kate. "Ah, she was well and hearty this time last week," moralised one of the two, and then suddenly fell on her knees, and with clasped hands raised aloft she prayed "that the Lord Almighty would deliver the murderer into their hands that night." "If I meet Jack the Ripper to-night," she continued, "it will be Oh, Dolly Daisy, up this way." Then, turning fiercely upon me she cried, "If I thought you were any confederate of him, do you know what I'd do? I'd cut you open with this pot," and she flourished a pewter tankard, from which she had been drinking, in such dangerous proximity to my face that I thought it advisable to get beyond the reach of her arm. I soon succeeded in pacifying Dolly Daisy, and dispelling her suspicions by replenishing the pot and giving her the money for her doss - an act of philanthropy which got speedily bruited abroad and involved several repetitions.
Mrs. Gold, Kate's "Sister Liza," appeared on the scene in the course of the evening.
She, however, was very lachrymose, and between her sobs could only bewail the fate of her poor sister.
A turn round the streets of the district shortly before midnight gave us an insight into Saturday night life in Whitechapel. The public-houses did a roaring trade, and the streets were filled with the cries of the tradesmen's "buy, buy," the shrieks of some drunkan woman or the blatant bellowing of some more drunken man. Bands of half tipsy youths indulged in their favourite amusement of hustling everybody else off the pavement, and rolling forth, with fiendish energy, the chorus of the latest popular ditty. Detectives swarmed in every direction, and the activity of the police was unquestionable. But in the wee, small hours after twelve all was quiet and still, and in the morning an anxious public awoke to find, with relief, that the night had passed over without another atrocity having been added to the ghastly list.