11 November 1888
Sir Charles Warren's Men Still Unable to Track the Fiend.
VERY NECESSARY RETICENCE.
One of "Jack the Ripper's" Threats Partly Carried Out.
The Police as Far Off the Scent as the Bloodhounds.
[BY THE COMMERCIAL CABLE TO THE HERALD.]
The Herald's European edition publishes to-day the following from the Herald's London Bureau, No. 391 Strange, dated November 10, 1888:--
Thirty-six hours have passed since the ghastly discovery in Miller's court, Dorset street, and nothing more has become known about the murder or murderer than what was sent to the Herald last night. Neighbors have been fancifully garrulous, absurdly ineffectual arrests have been made and sensational journals have printed a number of absurd, groundless rumors.
It is still said "the police are reticent." Quite so, and for the best of all reasons - they know nothing. Sir Charles Warren has issued a proclamation offering a pardon to any accomplice, as if so secretive a murderer possessed accomplices. A story is afloat that the victim was seen outside in the morning shortly before the shocking discovery, but medical evidence shows that this was impossible, as from post-mortem signs she had been dead some hours.
The hoaxer, "Jack the Ripper," is again at his postal methods.
The victim is discovered to be a Limerick woman, whose parents, humble people, moved to Wales, where she married a collier named Davies, who is now dead. Then she lived at Cardiff and "went to the bad."
There is perhaps a romance about her origin, as the post-mortem examination disclosed great delicacy of skin, features and hair, and her name, Marie Jeannette, is very uncommon in lower class nomenclature.
The regularity with which each murder has occurred in a first or a last week of a month leads to the idea that the perpetrator may be called away from the city during each second and third week. This fact has to-day revived the Herald story of the revengeful Malay who sails on a coast vessel. Another queer coincidence is that the murders have occurred on holidays. The second, that of Emma Smith, was on Eastern Monday night, that of Martha Turner was on August 7, Bank Holiday night, and this last was on Lord Mayor's Day, city holiday.
It was discovered to-day that the wonderfully large superstitious class in Whitechapel and the adjacent regions of Bevis Marks, Bethnal Green and Spital Fields are already beginning to talk about supernatural agencies. It is difficult for Americans unfamiliar with those localities to appreciate the brutal looks and almost savage ignorance and degraded surroundings of the wretched herds of humanity living there. The existence of these shambles is a burning disgrace to civilization and to the opulent West End and the government, which from end to end of the kingdom knows nothing of charity, officially, beyond a Bumble-ruled workhouse. And yet it announced this evening that several churches and religious societies will have discourses and services tomorrow with special bearing on the East End heathen!
Among the host of theories propounded in connection with the series of Whitechapel horrors is one emanating from an ex-convict and recently published in a London paper. Although the conclusions drawn are not, in themselves, novel they seem taken together to possess an element of probability.
Ex-convict says:--"It appears to me that the murderer must have the three following qualifications for the successful perpetration of his crimes:--(1) Cause for deadly vengeance against the unfortunates of the streets; (2) an intimate knowledge of Whitechapel, and equal familiarity with the snail-like alacrity of the London police; with (3) some experience of a dissecting room. I would suggest to Sir Charles Warren that he should obtain from Sir Edmun Du Cane the names of such convicts as have been liberated say, during the last six months, who have been employed as infirmary oderlies in the respective prisons from whence discharged. Also the additional information, where such ex-prisoners hailed from before sentence, and whether prostitutes were associated with the police in their original detection or conviction.
"I believe the murderer to be a man who has suffered a long term of penal servitude for some crime that was brought home to him through the betrayal of one of those casual unfortunates who 'pal in' with burglars and other such criminals while spending the 'swag' of a successful 'bust.' I have worked and conversed with hundreds of such men in more than one convict prison, and I cannot help remembering the ferocity with which they invariably spoke of 'the moll who put them away,' and how they would 'do' for her whenever they were 'chucked up.' Desperate as these men are when outside of prison, many of them, especially the 'old fakes,' are models of good behavior while undergoing penal servitude, as they seek thereby to quality for the most coveted of prison 'billets'-infirmary orderly.
"In this position they acquire a good deal of knowledge about the use of dissecting knives, &c., as they are employed to clean up the place where the prison doctors carry on their post-mortem examinations of dead convicts. My theory, therefore, such as it is, is this:--1. The murderer is of the 'old fake' criminal type. 2. He belongs to or is very familiar with Whitechapel. 3. He has served a long term, perhaps many terms, of imprisonment, some or all of which punishment he attributes to the class to which the murdered women belong. 4. His previous criminal career makes his familiar with the beat system of the London police. 5. He has been an infirmary orderly in some convict prison and he has recently terminated his last sentence."
It will be remembered that about the time of the last murder a letter and postcard signed "Jack the Ripper" were addressed to the Central News and were generally regarded as the ghastly product of some horror loving joker.
Whether the letter be a mere bogus effusion or the actual work of the murderer it is worthy of note that the writer says:--"The next job I do I shall clip the lady's ears off and send to the police officers just for jolly, wouldn't you?" and that in the case of Mary Jane Kelly, murdered on Friday night, the ears and nose were severed from the head.
Good at Obeying Orders, But a Dummy When Left to His Own Resources.
The commission of another murder by the Whitechapel fiend in the heart of London will again attract attention to the London police. Something more than two months have elapsed since the last murder was committed and during that period they failed, apparently, even to get on the murderer's track. Now he turns up under their very noses and commits another horrible murder.
The London policeman is by no means a bad sort of fellow. On the contrary, he is wonderfully civil and obliging, and his natural desire to please is stimulated by a small "tip." Every stranger who visits London will carry away with him grateful recollections of the kindness and courtesy of London policemen in showing him how to find his way through the intricate thoroughfares of that great human hive.
The system employed by those who control the London police makes of them machines. Implicit obedience to their superiors is the ideal of excellence. It is their business to obey, not to think. Give a London policeman orders and he will obey them to the letter. But put him in a position where he has to suggest orders for himself, where he has to act on his own judgment, and the weight of responsibility overwhelms him. He becomes a dummy. He shows up worst just where the New York policeman would be at his best.
I remember once attending a political meeting where Leonard Courtney was to make an address. Mr. Courtney was a liberal who had not gone over with Gladstone on the Irish question. Consequently he was not loved by those who had followed Gladstone's lead.
When Mr. Courtney rose to speak three men, who obviously had no other object in view than to prevent him from speaking, mounted a form and at the top of their lungs shouted, "Turncoat! Turncoat!! Turncoat!!!"
Mr. Courtney could not contend against their combined capacity for noise. Uproar and confusion ensued. But the three obstructionists continued their shouting.
Standing near were a couple of policemen.
"Why don't you put those men out?" I asked one of them.
"We hain't got no horders to do it, sir," he replied.
"Why, a New York policeman would have them out in a jiffy."
"May be, sir, but this is a free country, sir, and hat a political meeting heverybody 'as a right to hexpress 'is hopnion, sir."
And he looked at me after a fashion which indicated that in his judgment he had shown the superiority of English institutions.
The upshot of the business was that after awhile the majority of those present came to the conclusion that patience had ceased to be a virtue, so they rushed the obstructionists out of the hall and hustled them down stairs at the risk of breaking their necks or limbs. And when they were out in the street the policemen arrested them for "disorderly conduct."
The London policeman is nicknamed by the street urchins "bobby." "Cheese it, the cop!" exclaim New York demons when interrupted in some mischief by the approach of some minion of the law. "Lookout, 'ere comes the bobby, boys," is the language usually employed by mischief-making London street arabs when a policeman looms up in their vicinity.
There is a difference in these greetings, and the difference is in favor of the New York "cop." The "cop" is a much spryer individual than the "bobby," as the name would imply.
When the dynamite scare raged in London all the policemen were instructed to look out for dynamite, but they were also directed how to look out for it. I shall never forget the ludicrous spectacle presented at the entrances to Westminster Abbey one Saturday afternoon in consequence of these orders.
Saturday is a great day for country folk to visit the Abbey, and every man, woman and child among them who carried a bundle that afternoon was made to submit its contents to the scrutiny of a policeman before being allowed to pass into the Abbey. The spectacle of an officer of the law exhuming greasy packages of sandwiches, cake and pastry from the recesses of the capacious basket of some thrifty farmer's wife in order to discover if there was any dynamite there was very funny.
"You don't really expect to find any dynamite that way, do you?" I asked one of them.
"No, sir," was the abashed reply, "I don't; but hit's horders, sir, and we 'as to hobey them."
Late one night I was approaching Blackfriar's Bridge from the Surrey side. A small knot of people attracted my attention. A drunken Irish soldier and a woman were engaged in an altercation. He accused the woman of stealing his money, and when she denied it he kicked her.
"Come, no, move on, move on," said a policeman in tones of gentle exhortation.
"Why in thunder don't you arrest the brute?" I asked the policeman.
"Well, I don't like to do that. He might have some of his pals about and I might get hurt," the policeman replied.
After some further exhortation the brute was induced to move on, protesting, however, that he could lick all creation, and especially that portion of it that wore policeman's uniforms. He had not gone far when he fell foul of a companion, who was merely trying to get him home, and kicked him and belabored him unmercifully. Still the policeman merely exhorted him mildly to "move on!"
The feelings of a costermonger at length got the better of him and he exclaimed, "Blast my bleeding heves, hif I don't 'ave a go at you myself. But hup your dukes no."
The Irishman ran off at a great rate, but it was the costermonger, and not the policeman, who had put him to rout.