14 November 1888
As we pointed out yesterday, the retirement of Sir Charles Warren had nothing directly to do with Trafalgar square or Whitechapel - though the blatant agitators in and out of Parliament were ready to claim the Commissioner of Police as a sacrifice to their clamour and cackle. The cause of Sir Charles Warren's resignation was purely and simply the letter sent by the directions of Mr. Matthews, and now that we have got the full text of that singular communication we can understand that there was nothing left for the Commissioner but to throw up his post. The wigging he got on his duties made it impossible for the lecturer and the lectured to maintain official relations. In Sir Charles Warren's reply there is evidence of temper, but there is also dignity, in the attainment of which latter quality Mr. Matthews might with advantage take a few lessons even from the man that had been practically discharged. For it must be apparent to everyone that the letter which gave rise to the resignation was sent with the purpose of stinging its recipient into the only possible assertion of self respect. The letter was only the last straw on the back of Sir Charles's endurance. He had previously had differences with the Home Secretary, and had previously resigned. This time his tone made the acceptance of his resignation imperative - and the post is waiting for some one of mild enough nature to suffer the discourteous wiggings of an overbearing Minister.
The Government, we have it on the authority of the Home Secretary, will continue to take such steps as are lawful to check the sale of impure and demoralising literature. It would be more satisfactory if Mr. Matthews had particularised the steps the Government will continue to take, for, as far as we know, no attempt whatever is made to check the sale of this class of literature to which Mr. Matthews was referring. The boys now waiting their trial for murder at Maidstone have confessed that the reading of such stories as "Varney the Vampire; or The Feast of Blood," "Sweeney Todd," and "Dick Turpin," had first directed their minds to the commission of their crime. Can Government interfere with such publications? If they did it is not likely that a Milton would arise to write a new Areopagitica. Yet were a censorship established it could not fail to do good in the purification of gutter trash palmed off on the rising generation as the romance of crime. Then, again, unlicensed printing being abolished, there would be a tendency to extend the area of the censor's influence. If "Varney the Vampire" is prohibited because it is a penny dreadful, why should the shilling shocker be allowed to the slightly higher classes than those who indulge in the Feast of Blood. The log rolling practised by Mr. Andrew Lang has made Robert Louis Stevenson a popular author, but we question whether the story of his ferocious Hyde is not as pernicious as the embellished life of Claude Duval. Would the censor interfere with Mr. Stevenson's copy? No, the thing is impracticable in our country, and if the vile literature of the back slums is to be abolished it must be by the cultivation of a higher moral sense in the people themselves. Let the West end cease to read the stories of gilded vice, and the East may gradually abandon its tales of murder.
One of the questions which is being most generally discussed at present is the appointment of Sir Charles Warren's successor. The Daily News says, this morning: "A strong feeling is growing up on the Liberal benches in the House of Commons, in favour of a movement to secure the appointment of a civilian to the vacant office of the Chief Commissioner of Police." This is very probable. Whatever Sir Charles Warren's faults may have been, he did society a service in keeping Radicals and other orators from desecrating the Sabbath in Trafalgar square. Perhaps "the Liberal benches" would like the appointment for Mr. Cuninghame Graham or Mr. Conybeare.
HOUSE OF COMMONS
Sir WALTER BARTELLOT thought justice had hardly been done to Sir Charles Warren, whose resignation, he believed, was extremely regretted by the force. (Cries of "No, no.")
Mr. CUNINGHAME GRAHAM said he believed the Chief Commissioner to be personally a straightforward and honourable man, but the worst fitted man in the British Empire to fill such a position. In his dismissal he had neither act nor part, and if he were asked to answer the question "Who killed Cock Robin?" he would say Gent-Davis. The Commissioner had not scrupled to override the Constitution, and to treat British citizens half a mile from the House as if they were rebels in the South Seas. The Home Secretary had taken upon himself the responsibility for all that had been done by the Commissioner, and he impeached the Home Secretary for breaking up by force by the police of a meeting on Clerkenwell green, last night. He did not hesitate to say before God and man that he had stood between the Home Secretary and death many times, but if that sort of thing was to be continued, and British citizens were to be batoned down at public meetings without the Riot Act being read, we should have some frightful horror such as occurred in Chicago.
Mr. BARTLEY having lived in London all his life, protested against the statement made last night that people were antagonistic to the police, and regretted that Sir C. Warren had been sacrificed to the cry of demagogues against men who only did their duty.
Sir W. HARCOURT said the condition of things at Scotland yard was a painful surprise to him, for during the time he was at the Home Office the relations between the Criminal Investigation Department and Scotland yard and the Home Office were in perfect harmony. He could not, however, concede the demand that had been advanced from some quarters that the Commissioner of police should be independent of the Home Office. Public meetings constituted a great and valuable part of the public life of this great country. His views as to the duties of the police were that they should protect these meetings, and if that was done in a good tempered spirit, no harm would come of it. Nothing but evil could result from the police treating the people with suspicion and animosity. He had always regarded the retirement of Sir Edmund Henderson with the greatest regret, because nobody who knew him could fail to have confidence in his judgement. There were greater merits in a Commissioner than vigour and activity.
The Press Association has been informed that Lord Charles Beresford, if offered the post of Chief Commissioner of Metropolitan Police, would accept the post, at all events for a time. The appointment would be popular in the force.
ANOTHER IMPORTANT STATEMENT
YESTERDAY'S ARREST IN HOLBORN
ANOTHER ARREST THIS MORNING
At an early hour this morning a Press Association reporter was informed that between midnight and four o'clock this morning three arrests were made in the eastern district in connection with the recent terrible murders. About one o'clock some young men had their suspicions aroused by the peculiar behaviour of a man in the vicinity of the Spitalfields Flower Market. He accosted two women, and after remaining conversing with them for a considerable time, tried to persuade them to accompany him into one of the small streets adjoining the market. These thoroughfares are in general gloomy and badly lighted, and the women, being suspicious, refused to go with the man. He was followed for some distance by the watchers, and ultimately handed over to a policeman, who took him to Commercial street Police station. Here the man refused to give an account of himself or where he lived, on the ground that he did not wish his parents to be alarmed by police inquiries regarding him. Questioned as to his whereabouts on Thursday night and Friday morning last, the man gave various explanations, and contradicted himself so frequently that it was considered advisable to detain him until his identity and antecedents were thoroughly investigated.
In the Holborn casual ward, yesterday, the police arrested a man who gave his name as Thomas Murphy. He was taken to the police station at Frederick street, King's Cross road, where, on being searched, he was found to have in his possession a somewhat formidable looking knife with a blade about ten inches long. He was therefore detained in custody on suspicion, and the police proceeded to make inquiries into the truth of his statements. The task was rendered very difficult by the confused and contradictory accounts which Murphy gave of himself, and the man was still in custody at six o'clock yesterday evening. Murphy is about 5ft 6in in height, and has the general appearance of a sailor. His hair and complexion are fair. He is dressed in a blue jersey tucked underneath his trousers, and his coat and trousers are of a check pattern.
At a late hour last night the man Murphy was still in custody, and he will be detained until the result of police inquiries into his antecedents, which are being conducted at Gravesend, Woolwich, and other places, is known.
The following statement was made yesterday evening by George Hutchinson, a labourer:
"At 2 o'clock on Friday morning I came down Whitechapel road into Commercial street. As I passed Thrawl street, I passed a man standing at the corner of the street, and as I went towards Flower and Dean street I met the woman Kelly, whom I knew every well, having been in her company a number of times. She said, "Mr. Hutchinson, can you lend me sixpence?" I said I could not. She then walked on towards Thrawl street, saying she must go and look for some money. The man who was standing at the corner of Thrawl street then came towards her and put his hand on her shoulder and said something to her, which I did not hear, and they both burst out laughing. He put his hand again on her shoulder, and they both walked slowly towards me. I waited on the corner of Fashion street, near the public house. As they came by me his arm was still on her shoulder. He had a soft felt hat on, and this was drawn down somewhat over his eyes. I put down my head to look him in the face, and he turned and looked at me very sternly, and they walked across the road to Dorset street. I followed them across and stood at the corner of Dorset street. They stood at the corner of Miller's court for about three minutes. Kelly spoke to the man in a loud voice, saying, 'I have lost my handkerchief.'
HE GAVE HER A RED HANDKERCHIEF
"He pulled a red handkerchief out of his pocket and gave it to Kelly, and they both went up the court together. I went to look up the court to see if I could see them, but I could not. I stood there for three quarters of an hour, to see if they came down again, but they did not, so I went away. My suspicions were aroused by seeing the man so well dressed, but I had no suspicion that he was the murderer. The man was about 5ft 6in in height, and 34 or 35 years of age, with dark complexion and dark moustache turned up at the ends. He was wearing a long, dark coat trimmed with astrachan, a white collar with black necktie, in which was affixed a horseshoe pin. He wore a pair of darks spats with light buttons, over button boots, and displayed from his waistcoat a massive gold chain.
"His watch chain had a big seal with a red stone hanging from it. He had a heavy moustache curled up, and dark eyes and bushy eyebrows. He had no side whiskers, and his chin was clean shaven. He looked like a foreigner. I went up the court and stayed there for a couple of minutes, but did not see any light in the house or hear any noise. I was out last night until 3 o'clock looking for him. I could swear to the man anywhere. The man I saw carried a small parcel in his hand about 8in long, and it had a strap round it. He had it tightly grasped in his left hand.
"It looked as though it was covered with dark American cloth. He carried in his right hand, which he laid upon the woman's shoulder, a pair of brown kid gloves. He walked very softly. I believe that he lives in the neighbourhood, and I fancied that I saw him in Petticoat lane on Sunday morning, but I was not certain. I went down to the Shoreditch mortuary today and recognised the body as being that of the woman Kelly, whom I saw at two o'clock on Friday morning.
"Kelly did not seem to me to be drunk, but was a little bit spreeish. After I left the court I walked about all night, as the place where I usually sleep was closed. I am able to fix the time, as it was between ten and five minutes to two o'clock as I came by Whitechapel Church. When I left the corner of Miller's court the clock struck three o'clock. One policeman went by the Commercial street end of Dorset street while I was standing there, but no one came down Dorset street. I saw one man go into a lodging house in Dorset street, and no one else. I have been looking for the man all day."
The description of the murderer given by Hutchinson agrees in every particular with that already furnished by the police and published yesterday morning.
The funeral of the murdered woman Kelly will not take place until after the arrival from Wales of some of her relatives and friends, who are expected to reach London this evening. If they be unable to provide the necessary funeral expenses, Mr. H Wilton, of 119 High street, Shoreditch, has guaranteed that the unfortunate woman shall not be buried in a pauper's grave. Any person, however, who may be desirous of sharing the expense with Mr. Wilton can communicate with him. The remains, according to present arrangements, will be interred either on Thursday or Friday at the new Chingford cemetery.
Another man was arrested late yesterday afternoon in the neighbourhood of Dorset street, but was released on inquiries being satisfactorily answered.
The Vienna newspapers reproduce, almost in extenso, the accounts of the Whitechapel murder. That atrocious crime has made a profound sensation in Vienna, but there can be no doubt that had such a series of crimes been perpetrated in this country without detection the highest officials of State would have been called to account. The announcement that bloodhounds would be used on the next occasion to track the assassin has excited considerable interest in Austria, where the opinion amongst fanciers is that the experiment would probably prove successful.
Although several persons have been detained at Commercial street and Leman street police stations for inquiries, they had all been released at noon today. Dorset street is quieter this morning than it has been for some days, but the police still guard Miller's court.
John Avery, a ticket writer, of Willesden, was charged with being drunk and disorderly in York road, the previous night. John Carvell, a private in the 11th Hussars, said that on Monday night he was standing at the corner of York road, Islington, when the prisoner came up to him, caught hold of him, and said, "I'm Jack the Ripper: I'll show you how I do all the lot." The witness told him to go away, but Avery, who was intoxicated, followed him, and threw his right arm round his neck. A scuffle ensued between them, and the witness's nose was scratched. He soon, however, shook off the prisoner, who said, "Come and have a glass of beer, and I will tell you a secret, and you can make some money." They accordingly went into the Duke of York public house, Caledonian street, and there, in the bar, Avery repeated two or three times that "he was Jack the Ripper." Tommy Atkins then thought it best to give the prisoner into custody, and accordingly dragged him outside, and gave him in charge of a policeman, who was on duty near by.