18 November 1888
The advocates of women's rights have urged the ability of the fair sex
to enter pretty well every profession but that of
detective. This, however, is now to be included among the objects of
their ambition. Miss Frances Power Cobbe has raised the
question in a letter to the Times.
"Why should such a thing as female detective be unheard of in this land? Why indeed! Women have more intuitive perception, great nimbleness of intellect, and more tact than men. And all these qualities are invaluable to a detective. Besides - we desire to put this in a delicate sort of way - besides, we ask, have they not a more developed capacity than men for the histrionic art? They can play a part, as it were, by nature, especially if they have a good object in view; and are thus at all points admirably equipped for the role of detective."
Sir Charles Warren has tested the powers of his bloodhounds by making them track him in Hyde Park. And the question may now be asked: Will he put the capacity of the lady detectives to some such proof before engaging them?
London, Oct 20. 1888.
Anyone who has dwelt in London during the past fortnight will be aware that there has really been only one topic of conversation, and that has been the Whitechapel murders. A keen observer of popular emotion has described the feeling in London generally as one of terror, and that in the district immediately affected as one of stupefaction, and this seems to have very nearly hit the mark. There permeated Whitechapel a curiously fatalistic belief, which held that the murderer would never be captured except red-handed, and that, therefore, the ordinary methods of detection would fail, and that other atrocities of a similar kind to those which have unhappily been so prevalent would have to be perpetrated before a real apprehension would take place. When such a belief as this prevails in any community, it has an enervating effect upon its members, for as all who have had experience of the Turks are aware, a steady belief in fatalism has customarily this result. And this it is that the influence of the murders has been more than transient, and has been altogether for ill. Among the myriad suggestions which have flowed in to the police authorities at Scotland Yard as a consequence of the Whitechapel horrors, some have been of distinct value, and will not improbably be adopted. The most sensational, perhaps, and yet the one that may prove most practically useful, is that bloodhounds should be trained so as to be ready at any moment to be laid upon the trail, and thus to hunt down a murderer while the scent is yet warm. A further and very obvious suggestion is that constables should be provided with india-rubber or list coverings for their boots, so that their tread may not be so distinctly heard and at so great a distance as at present. And a third, which is well worth bearing in mind, is that a system of patrol by police during the dead hours of the night should be introduced. These are only a few of the more prominent and practical suggestions which have emanated form the public, and which Sir Charles Warren has had under his consideration; but they may be taken as examples of the good that may be derived from the police authorities taking the people into their confidence. For it is obvious that the people who themselves stand in need of police protection against outrage and murder, are just those who whose wits are likely to be most keenly sharpened by the presence of crime in their midst; and advantage, therefore, may fairly be taken of any hints that come from those so well circumstanced to give them. Among the theories as to the murders, which start up one day and vanish the nest, the one which is most in favor is the Jekyll and Hyde theory, namely, that the murderer is a man living a dual life, one respectable and even religious, and the other lawless and brutal; that he has two sets of chambers, and is probably a married man, and in every way a person whom one would not for a moment suspect. This theory derives considerable support from the opinion of Mr. George Lewis, the famous criminal lawyer, who holds it strongly. Mr. Lewis's experience of criminal London is unique, and exceeds that of any living man, perhaps, of Mr. Montagu Williams and Mr. Poland.