Monday, 8 October 1888
There was such a state of excitement throughout Saturday night in the Whitechapel district as never before was known in England from any like cause. This was due in particular to the startling telegram handed in at an office in the Eastern district at 8 p.m. on Friday night, purporting to be from the perpetrator of the murders, and intimating to Sir CHARLES WARREN that he was to be found somewhere in City road and meant to "do another murder to-night." No explanation is given of the extraordinary and unaccountable circumstance that this telegram was received at the postal office without being followed by the instant seizure of the person who tendered it. The police were not put in possession of it for three hours afterwards. What was happening as to it in the interval? These occurrences are extremely strange, and if they stood alone would show such an apathy and want of presence of mind and resource as would be deplorable. Some information in regard to the telegram will certainly be expected, and the only present suggestion regarding it must be that the police know what they are about in keeping quiet respecting it. The anxiety of the last three nights in consequence of it, and of the postcard to the News Agency, "brutal, bloodstained, and full of Americanisms," was such as words could not describe. But as every hole and corner of the district was watched by the Vigilance Committee it was not likely that anything could happen. It is as terrible a thing to suppose that those cards and letters are not genuine, and the work of some miscreant who delights in alarming the public, as it is to believe that they sent forth by the murderous gang themselves. There has been a superfluity of sensationalism in the Press upon the atrocities; but although much of what has been printed was shocking and awful, and the appearance of sketch portraits of the supposed murderer could hardly be excused, the defence will be that out of the accidents of publicity some clue may spring up. The police authorities steadily refuse to hold out a reward, but that is of less moment as a reward has been by others offered, and if money could discover the secret it would now be disclosed. The detective officers, with the aid of every eye in Whitechapel, and of every mind of every acute officer of justice in and out of Britain - for hints as to what the might or should do have come to them even from foreign countries - are prosecuting their investigations in every direction that is conceivable. As those endeavours multiply and seek new avenues of speculation, the belief increases that the murderer or murderers will speedily be found. The notion is disappearing, meanwhile, that he, if the criminal was alone, can be merely a maniac. It is concluded that a madman would ere this have done something to betray himself, and if he did there is turned upon anyone who should do so such stern and keen observation as would instantly discover any weakness. A highly censurable letter has appeared from Mr CUNNINGHAME GRAHAM, who has the distinction of being the only person in England to dream of suggesting that there is any lack of earnestness or sympathy as to the murders because the victims have been of the "poor" and defenceless. The very opposite is notoriously the fact, that because of their very wretchedness and misery and sin the public mind has been more stirred about them. Yet he writes - "It does not much matter what becomes of the poor in England, and especially in London; and this, I think, has been brought home to the poor by the callous indifference of Sir CHARLES WARREN and Mr MATTHEWS to the whole affair. To do them justice, they care nothing about the matter, and are quite convinced that a police force is intended to be used to put down public meetings in the metropolis, and not to defend the lives and property of the citizens." "Poor London is hard to arouse, but when aroused, terrible; and I hope that this indifference on the part of Authority to its sufferings may do it." Such most mischievous nonsense, like anything else nowadays that is foolish, gets easy entrance into some newspapers unaccompanied by protest or condemnation. It is fortunate that with those of sufficient intelligence its censure is on the face of it in its political bias and purpose. As a matter of fact, it has served to rally the public for the protection of the character of Mr MATTHEWS and Sir CHARLES WARREN, whose burden in the circumstances is hard enough to bear without the addition of this ribaldry. There are hoaxes and rumours of no account in abundance, some probably circulated with deliberate intent to mislead the police.
The story of the Malay does not appear to have anything init. At the same time, the impression that the murderer is a foreigner is deeply fixed in the minds of the people of the locality. It is high time there was an end of the levity of style employed in some quarters in treating of such dreadful deeds. The criminal crisis is, in short, a very solemn national concern, and the murders so far transcend in enormity any deeds which might be caused by cupidity, or vengeance, or any form of political motive, as to command the use of every effort of which human experience is capable, until all shall become known, and the proportions of the conspiracy, if such there be, shall be revealed, or society relieved by the proof that the diabolical impulse of one alone has produced this horror and dismay.
It may be confidently said that the fear and uneasiness which those horrible Whitechapel crimes have inspired exist to-day in far larger volume than has been the case since the scare first took shape. Outsiders have no idea of the manner in which the huge community is affected by this veritable pestilence which walketh in darkness. Servants refuse to venture abroad after dark; their mistresses share the same distrust. Judge of the sheer inconvenience and domestic discomfort resulting in one way or the other. Authority still gropes after the assassin, while we continue to devise more or less idle theories in explanation of the atrocities.
It must not be supposed that the terror, real as it is, manifests itself very decidedly to anybody in search of it. The two millions of people living in East London enjoy at least the sense of security which belongs to the multitude, and the streets and slums are as crowded by night as well as by day. It seems, however, that the particular theatres of the dozen streets and lanes associated with the recent cries are wholly deserted by females once the night falls.
Nothing is more remarkable in connection with these murders than the sense of impotence - there is no better term for it - which they have spread among the police. Whatever may be the feeling at headquarters or among the officers of the force, the rank and file appear to be in a manner demoralised by the utter impunity with which the crimes have been committed. Talking with some of them last night they expressed in each case a fear that some fresh atrocity would be committed in their midst before the morning. The men seem disheartened by what is certainly an excusable consciousness of the difficulties which handicap them in dealing with an alert, cool, and crafty miscreant such as the assassin has shown himself to be.
As for Sir Charles Warren's notion of employing bloodhounds in case of another murder, while we challenge the judgement and sagacity of the Chief Commissioner, we refuse to believe him actually possessed by so preposterous an idea. Fancy the possibility of preserving the trail in London. The mere suggestion reduces the alleged intention to the dimensions of rank absurdity.
A MYSTERIOUS TELEGRAM
EXTRAORDINARY STORY REGARDING A MALAY
REMARKABLE SÉANCE AT CARDIFF
Sir Charles Warren has been making inquiries as to the practicability of employing trained bloodhounds for use in special cases in the streets of London; and, having ascertained that dogs which have been accustomed to work in a town can be procured, he is making immediate arrangements for their use n London. The police authorities have now had reproduced in facsimile and published on the walls of London the letter and post-card sent to a news agency. The language of the card and letter is of a brutal character, and is full of Americanisms. The handwriting, which is clear and plain, and disguised in part, is that of a person accustomed to write a round hand, like that employed by clerks in offices. The exact colour of the ink and the smears of blood are reproduced in the placard, and information is asked in identification of the handwriting. The post-card bears a tolerably clear imprint of a bloody thumb or finger mark.
The daughter of the woman who was murdered in Mitre square has been found. Her age is 19 and she is married. She states that her father, Thomas Conway, with whom the deceased cohabited for some time before she met with Kelly, is still living, but he has not yet been traced. It will be remembered that Kelly stated in the course of his evidence on Thursday before the coroner that when the deceased left him early that Saturday afternoon she told him she was going to try and find her daughter Annie. The latter, however, now states she did not see her mother that day.
The funeral of the Mitre square victim will take place next Monday, at Ilford. The body has been placed in a handsome polished coffin, with oak mouldings. It has a black plate, with gold letters, with the following inscription:- "Katherine Eddowes. Died September 30, 1888, aged 43 years." All the expenses in connection with the funeral will be borne by Mr Hawks, Banner street, St. Luke's.
A news agency has received a telegram from New York with respect to the statement alleged to have been made in that city by an English sailor bearing the peculiar name of Dodge. The statement is that he arrived in London from China on the 15th of August by the steamship Glenorchy, that the met at the Queen's Music Hall, Poplar, a Malay cook, and that the Malay said he had been robbed by a woman of bad character, and that unless he found the woman and recovered his money he would murder and mutilate every Whitechapel woman he met. The statement also includes the following description of the Malay:- "He was about 5ft 6in in height, 130lb in weight, and apparently 35 years of age." Judging from these precise figures relating to the Malay's appearance it is evident that Dodge must have scrutinised him very closely. Inquiries have been made by news agencies in London, but no information has been obtained in verification of the sailor's story.
The following postal telegram was received by the Metropolitan Police at 11.55 p.m. last night. It was handed in at an office in the Eastern district at 8 p.m.:-
"Charles Warren, Head of the Police Central Office. Dr. Boss. - If you are willing enough to catch me I am now in City road in lodgings, but the number you will have to find out, and I mean to do another murder to-night in Whitechapel. - Yours.
"JACK THE RIPPER."
A letter was also received at the Commercial street Police Station by the first post this morning. It was addressed to the "Commercial street Police Station" in black lead pencil, and the contents, also written in pencil, were couched in such ridiculous language that the police believe the letter to be the work of a lunatic. It was signed "Jack the Ripper," and said the writer was "going to work" in Whitechapel last night. He adeptest he was going to commit another murder in the Goswell road to-night, and spoke of having "several bottles of blood underground in Epping Forest," and frequently referred to "Jack the Ripper under the ground." Detective Inspector Abberline has been informed of the correspondence, and the police of the G Division have been communicated with.
Upon inquiry at the police stations in the city and East End on Saturday night a representative of the Press was informed that up to 11.30 p.m. no further information had been received as to the identity or whereabouts of the murderer, and that all apprehensions of another murder had up to that hour been falsified. Nevertheless during the night the excitement in Whitechapel was intense, and any individuals were exerting themselves in the endeavour to trace the criminal. A scare was occasioned at one time by a slight street accident, in which a man and woman were knocked down by a cab in Whitechapel road. This led to the rumour that another outrage had been attempted, and an excited crowd speedily assembled on hearing the cries of the woman. Nothing serious, however, had occurred, and the crowd soon dispersed.
The Whitechapel Vigilance Committee have received the following letter from the Home Secretary:-
Whitehall, October 6.
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 the Government. - I am, &c.
E. LEIGH PEMBERTON
Up to this evening the police had obtained no further definite news as to the identity of the Whitechapel murderer, but they have been busily engaged throughout the day in piecing together the information in their possession with a view to tracing his course on the night of the last murders and his movements generally, and also in dealing with the mass of communications volunteered by inhabitants of the locality in response to the request which ahs been officially issued. The bulk of the statements are, on their face, of no use, but, by collating those which seem to bear on the crimes, the police believe that they are gradually narrowing down the area of inquiry. At the present time there is no person in custody, and there has to-day been a marked freedom from the false alarms which have taken place during the present week. The weather being fine to-day a great number of people visited the district, but the extra force of police still on duty was able to prevent any disorder or obstruction.
An extraordinary statement bearing upon the Whitechapel tragedies was made to the Cardiff police to-day by a respectable-looking elderly woman, who stated that she was a Spiritualist, and in company with five other persons held a séance on Saturday night. They summoned the spirit of Elizabeth Stride, and after some delay the spirit came, and in answer to questions stated that her murderer was a middle-aged man, whose name she mentioned, and who resided at a given number in Commercial road or street, Whitechapel, and who belonged to a gang of twelve.
A later telegram says - This evening much excitement prevailed owing to rumours being general circulated that the police had received a number of letters intimating that the murderer intended to resume his terrible operations, but these rumours were found to be without any material foundations, and were in most cases the result of the excited state of the public mind. It is more than probable that the extraordinary precautions which the police had adopted in order to prevent or detect any further repetition of the assassin's work may have deterred him from attempting fresh tragedies for the present, but the feeling is general that the last of his desperate deeds has not yet been committed. However this may be, it is certain that in future he will run greater risks than he has hitherto encountered. The police are displaying the utmost activity, and are receiving useful aid from the Volunteer Police of the Vigilance Committee. On Saturday night and to-night every nook and corner of Whitechapel district was watched, and every person of at all suspicious appearance was tracked until the reason for suspicion had been cleared away. The olice and members of the Vigilance Committee work very well together, and as a proof of the thorough way in which they have been carrying out their duties, it may be mentioned that in several instances some of the plain clothes constables who were now in the neighbourhood were watched by members of the Vigilance Committee, while they in their turn came under the scrutiny of the detectives. The activity of the police was not confined to Whitechapel district, but a sharp look out was kept on other parts of the metropolis to which the murderer might have gone on finding Whitechapel too warm for him. Extra precautions were also taken in watching the parks. The opinion is becoming general among the police and people in the neighbourhood that the murderer lives in the immediate vicinity of the spots where his crimes have been committed.
A journalist on Saturday night attempted to play the role of amateur detective by donning women's clothes. He succeeded in evading suspicion for some time, but eventually was surrounded by some women who declared that he was a man, and as a crowd soon gathered and continued to increase, he found it desirable to proceed to Southwark Police Station, where the people called upon the police to take him into custody, but as he was professionally well known there he was ultimately able to return to his home without further molestation.
It transpires on later inquiries that there have been a dozen arrests during the last two days in connection with the murders. In most of the cases the persons taken into custody were arrested on the information of private residents, and the police state that though in several cases there appeared to be good ground for suspicion, upon inquiries being made the explanations which were forthcoming were satisfactory,, and the suspected persons were released. The most important arrest, as it was thought, was that of a man who to-night was in the neighbourhood of Commercial street, and whose movements were considered to be suspicious. He was followed by two private persons until they met a constable who, on their information, took him into custody. On being searched at Commercial street Police station, it was found that in a black bag which he was carrying were two razors. At first it was stated that he gave two false addresses, but it appeared that he had come up from the country to-day, and, having explained his movements, the police considered they had no reason for detaining him.
NEW YORK, SATURDAY - The New York Herald declares that the seaman Dodge, who recently stated that a Malay whom he met in London threatened to murder a number of Whitechapel women for robbing him, said that he knew the street where the Malay stayed, but that he would not divulge the name until he learned what chance there was of a reward. He stated, however, that the street was not far from East India Dock road, but he was not certain about the house where the man lived. Another seaman said he thought the Malay was now on a vessel plying in the North Sea.
An examination of the remains brought to London from Guildford by Inspector Marshall was made on Saturday by Dr. Bond, at Westminster Hospital, and it has been ascertained that they do not belong to the trunk discovered in the vault at Whitechapel. In fact the opinion of the medical man is that they are not human remains at all.
The result of the examination by Drs. Bond and Hibberd of the remains which were brought from Guildford revealed that they belonged to a bear. The trunk found at Whitechapel and the arm discovered at Pimlico have been taken out of the spirits in which they were being preserved in order to be dried, and an endeavour made to restore them to their normal size and shape. Instructions have also been given for them to be photographed to-morrow. Constables have been stationed outside the mortuary since the remains were deposited there last Tuesday , in order to prevent any unauthorised person entering the premises. At the inquest which will be opened to-morrow afternoon, evidence will be given of the finding of the parcel, and its removal by police, after which all important medical testimony will be adduced. The inquiry will then probably be adjourned for a few weeks to await the result of further inquiries by the police.