3 October 1888
In the reign of James I. of Scotland, there was born in East Lothia, a village a few miles from Edinburgh, Sawney Beane, the son of poor, but hard working people. Evincing from boyhood a hatred of all labour, and displaying every kind of vicious quality, he at an early age abandoned his home and fled to Galloway. He was accompanied by a fit companion for his crimes in the person of a young woman a native of the same village. The home of this pair was in a cave of about a mile in length and of considerable breadth, the mouth of which was washed by the sea, the tide sometimes penetrating the cave a distance of 200 yards. The victims were waylaid under cover of night on their way from country fairs, or, in the case of isolated travellers, across the country, were openly attacked in daylight. The same soul-sickening mutilation was inflicted in each case; the abdomen was cut open, and the entrails dragged out, and the body carried to the cave. To prevent detection they murdered every traveller they robbed, and for years they continued their horrible calling. In this manner, the chronicler tells us, they lived until they had eight sons and six daughters, eighteen grandsons, and fourteen granddaughters--all the offspring of incest. After a long career of murder the gang were captured by King James, who, roused to action by the long immunity of the criminals from detection, headed a body of troops, and succeeded with bloodhounds in unearthing from the cave the whole vile tribe, to whom was meted out a death agreeable with the life they had led. The men, says the historian, had their entrails thrown into the fire, their hands and legs were severed from their bodies, and they were permitted to bleed to death. The mother of the whole crew, the daughters, and grandchildren, after being spectators of the death of the men, were cast into three separate fire and consumed to ashes.
For centuries the bloodhound has been employed as a detective. In ancient days he is supposed to have been introduced by the Normans to trace deer-stealers who broke their stringent forest laws. Wallace and Bruce were both hunted by these hounds; and an old MS. tells how Bruce was sought for by Edward I.:--
The King Edward with horse and hound him sought.
Dr. Johannes Caius, one of the earliest writers on dogs, says that during his day these animals were used in tracking criminals. And during the times of Border raiders they were employed to trace the bold Moss-troopers who had swept down from over the Scottish Border. In one of the ballads it is told how Richard Musgrave
By wily turns and desperate bounds,
Had baffled Piercy's best bloodhounds.
Nearly a century ago the Thrapston Association for the Prosecution of Felons had a trained bloodhound, specially to chase sheep-stealers. Youatt tells how that on one occasion in order to test the dog a man was given an hour's start, but it secured him in an hour and a half concealed in a tree nearly fifteen miles from home. Another instance has been recorded how that a Mr. Lawrence, who was well-known as a sportsman early in the present century, had to discharge a groom, who, out of revenge, returned to the stables and mutilated a favourite hunter. He was traced by means of a bloodhound for twenty miles, the hound finding the fellow in bed, who, seeing escape impossible, confessed his crime. Poachers have often been traced by bloodhounds, as have fugitive slaves in America and Cuba. During the wars in Ireland they were employed to discover those who had fled to the bogs and wilds from their foes, and pages might be written illustrative of the marvelous scenting power, under almost every variety of circumstance, of the bloodhound. One of the most recent cases was that at Blackburn about twelve years ago, when Fish, who had murdered a little girl, was convicted by a hound.
The question at once arises as to how the services of bloodhounds can be secured as speedily as possible after a crime is discovered. In such a matter as this, time is all important, for though we should not despair of following a trail some hours after it was made, and it had been traversed by hundreds of other trails, yet the fresher it is, the more certain to succeed. It would be inadvisable for the police to keep the dogs themselves, for as soon as the present scare has passed away the animals would probably be neglected. But at once a register of all bloodhounds could be made, and an arrangement come to with the owners, so that they could be at the disposal of the police whenever required. A small subsidy would be money well spent. At the present time there are kennels of bloodhounds at the South Lambeth-road, in Kensington, at Dulwich, Putney, Regent's Park, and, we believe, in the E.C. district. On Sunday morning any of these could have been secured in a couple of hours at most, and there is every probability that if such had been done the culprit or culprits might have been safely in Newgate ere London had known one word of this its latest horror. Surely the thing is worth a trial, and we doubt not Mr. Mark Beaufoy, of Lambeth, or Mr. E. Nichols, of Kensington, or, in fact, any bloodhound owner, would place their dogs at the disposal of the police authorities under proper conditions. Steps should be taken at once in this direction. It will be of comparatively little use acting after the murder is committed--we mean the making of arrangements should not be left until then, but the owners of dogs should be seen and a list of those available hung in every police-station, with directions as to how they can be most speedily secured. If bloodhounds could be employed to hunt escaped slaves and law-made criminals, surely there need be no compunction as to their use for brutal murderers.
DOUBTS ABOUT THE BERNER-STREET CASE.
Considerable doubt is thrown upon the identification of the Berner-street victim by Mrs. Malcolm. The coroner himself was doubtful about Mrs. Malcolm's statement, and now the Central News states that an old artillery-man, who had lived for the past three years with Eliza Stride--otherwise known as "Long Liz"--averred yesterday afternoon that he had identified Stride's body at the mortuary without any difficulty. She was, according to his statement, last seen alive on Saturday night at 32, Flower and Dean-street, between six and seven o'clock, when she was in good health. She was of cleanly habits, and had apparently been well educated in her own language--Swedish. He lived with her at 35, Devonshire-street down to five months ago, when they moved to No. 36 in the same street. She was quiet and industrious, but was sometimes the worse for drink. Before her marriage she was a domestic servant near Hyde Park, and afterwards she and her husband kept a coffee-shop and boarding-house in Poplar. She lost her husband in the Princess Alice disaster, as well as two children, one of whom was drowned in the father's arms. She herself escaped by climbing up a rope as the vessel was sinking. When she became a widow she sold the coffee-shop and went to live in Cannon-street-road. She frequently attended the Swedish church in Princes-street. The man with whom she afterwards lived believes that her surviving children (she said she had had nine) are being brought up in the country at a school connected with the Swedish church. The woman had no relatives in England, but she said that she had a brother-in-law practising as a surgeon in Kent. It is understood that the police are in communication with the brother-in-law.
Last night, between nine and ten o'clock, a labouring man, giving the name of John Kelly, 55, Flower and Dean-street--a common lodging-house--entered the Bishopsgate-street police-station, and stated that he believed that the woman who had been murdered in Mitre-square was his "wife." He was taken to the mortuary in Golden-lane, and there identified her as the woman, to whom he subsequently admitted he was not married, but with whom he had cohabited for seven years. Kelly, who was considerably affected, spoke quite unreservedly, and gave a full statement as to his own movements and those of the ill-fated woman, as to whose identity he was quite positive. In this statement he was borne out by the deputy of the lodging-house, Frederick Wilson, who knew the poor woman quite well, and who had just seen the body. Kelly, in answer to questions, stated that the last time he saw her--referring to her as "Kate"--was on Saturday afternoon. The last meal she had with him was a breakfast which had been obtained by the pledging of his boots for 2s. 6d. He was then asked if he knew the murdered woman's name, and if he could explain the meaning of the initials "T.C." on her arm. He replied that Thomas Conway was the name of her husband, but he could not state whether Conway was dead or alive, or how long, in the latter case, she had been living away from him. He further stated that he and the murdered woman were "both Londoners," and that the latter was born at Bermondsey. They had just returned from hopping at a place about two miles from Coxheath, in Kent. He and "Kate" had, he said, gone through many hardships together, but while she was with him he "would not let her do anything bad." He was asked if he knew whether the woman had any relatives besides the daughter mentioned, to which he replied that "Kate's" sister was living in Thrawl-street, Spitalfields, with a man who sold farthing books in Liverpool-street.
While the visible excitement over the murders actually perpetrated is dying down somewhat, the dread of the mysterious murderer is deepening. Upon the unhappy class of women from whom the victims have thus far been taken the effect has been profound, as was to have been expected. Pathetic in the extreme, says the Daily News reporter, are some of the stories that one heard from those whose benevolent efforts are directed to the reclamation of these unhappy women, especially of those who try to reform when they have got on a little beyond their young womanhood. Said a young missionary woman last evening:--
The terrible difficulty we have to encounter is that of trying to find them work. We had last year a very touching case of a woman who seemed sincerely desirous of amending, but who was over the age at which they are usually admitted to homes. After a great deal of difficulty, we found an opening for her, and she went to the home; but some of these places, I am afraid, are managed too rigorously, and the matrons of them are sometimes wanting in sympathy with their inmates, who find it extremely difficult to submit to the discipline. It was the case with this woman. She found the discipline of this place more than she could endure, and she left, but she came to use again, and still seemed sick and weary of the wretched life she led. If she could only find something to do she really would try, but of the "Home" she seemed to have a positive horror. We could find her no work, and she tried charring and washing, and I believe did her earnest best to maintain herself that way. But it was gradual starvation; often we found she was whole days without a bit of food; and those she lived with say that only at the last extremity did she allow herself to be driven again to her old courses. I am afraid, however, she drifted back, but still she would come to our meetings, and would borrow from our library books that you would never imagine she would care to read. She came to a meeting one Tuesday night ill, and scarcely able to stand, and on Thursday she died. The woman who looks after these mission rooms (continued the speaker), was another of the same class, and she used to be an associate of the poor creature murdered in Berner-street. She saw her only last Thursday, and she--that is, the murdered woman--said then that she felt she was coming to some bad end.
MORE SUGGESTIONS BY THE PUBLIC.
The suggestions from the public as to the Whitechapel murders, their perpetrator, and their prevention are becoming positively idiotic. Here are a few examples from the morning papers:--
A hint from Mr. Archibald Forbes.--That the murderer is the victim of a specific contagion, and is avenging himself. Possibly a medical student, from the knowledge of anatomy displayed in the murders.
Try the clairvoyant.--Several correspondents suggest that the spiritualists should be called in. Where are Messrs. Stuart Cumberland and Irving Bishop?
Handwriting expert.--Jack the Ripper's letters may be genuine. Why not have them photographed and widely circulated?
Baby-faced pugilists.--Policemen have beards, bass voices, and big feet. Give the pugilists a chance; there are numbers of well-trained pugilists in Shoreditch and Whitechapel, who are, many of them young, and, as is the custom of their profession, clean-shaved. Twenty game men of this class in women's clothes loitering about Whitechapel would have more chance than any number of heavy-footed policemen.
Jekyll and Hyde.--Possibly the culprit is an army doctor suffering from sunstroke. He has seen the horrible play, lives in Bayswater or North London, in perhaps a decent square or terrace, dressed well. Goes out about 10 P.M. straight to Whitechapel. Commits deed. Home again to breakfast. Wash, brush-up, sleep. Himself again--Dr. Hyde. Meantime, everybody scouring the scene of the tragedy for the usual type of a murderer.
The enterprising newspaper (1/2d.).--Seek the person who profits by the crime. "I venture," says a correspondent, "to affirm that no one will be bold enough to deny that the occurrence of these murders has caused a very large sum of money to be diverted into the pockets of some evening papers. The inference is obvious. The silly season is sillier than was ever known. A syndicate could easily be formed to provide the £20 which Mr. Wynne Baxter's experience as a coroner teaches him is a sufficient inducement to an unscrupulous person, and the amount of 'copy' produced by the expenditure of this moderate sum is practically unlimited."
The lunatic of Leavesden.--Twelve months ago an inmate of the lunatic-asylum at Leavesden escaped. The local paper warned females against being out at night in the neighbourhood, as this man was dangerous only to women. Where is he?
The cryptogrammatic dagger.--In examining the chart representing the locality of the Whitechapel murders, says one, it is curious to observe that lines drawn through the spots where the murders were committed assume the exact form of a dagger, the hilt and blade of which pass through the scenes of the sixth, second, first and third murders, the extremities of the guard making the fourth and fifth. Can this possibly afford a clue to the position of the next atrocity?
At a meeting of the unemployed yesterday, a placard was exhibited bearing the words:--"Whitechapel Murders.--Where are the Police? Looking after the Unemployed!"
A MUTILATED BODY AT WESTMINSTER.
About twenty minutes past three o'clock yesterday afternoon Frederick Wildborn, a carpenter employed by Messrs. J. Grover and Sons, builders of Pimlico, who are the contractors for the new Metropolitan Police headquarters on the Thames Embankment, was working on the foundation, when he came across a neatly done up parcel in one of the cellars. It was opened, and the body of a woman, very much decomposed, was found carefully wrapped in a piece of what is supposed to be a black petticoat. The trunk was without head, arms, or legs, and presented a horrible spectacle. Dr. Bond, the divisional surgeon, and several other medical gentlemen were communicated with, and from what can be ascertained the conclusion has been arrived at by them that these remains are those of a woman whose arms have recently been discovered in different parts of the metropolis. Dr. Nevill, who examined the arm of a woman found a few weeks ago in the Thames, off Ebury Bridge, said on that occasion that he did not think that it had been skilfully taken from the body. This fact would appear to favour the theory that that arm, together with the one found in the grounds of the Blind Asylum in the Lambeth-road last week, belong to the trunk discovered yesterday, for it is stated that the limbs appear to have been taken from it in anything but a skilful manner.
The building which is in course of erection is the new police depôt for London. The builders have been working on the site for some time now, but have only just completed the foundation. It was originally the site for the National Opera-house, and extends from the Thames Embankment through Cannon-row, Parliament-street, at the back of St. Stephen's Club and the Westminster Bridge-station on the District Railway. The prevailing opinion is that to place the body where it was found the person conveying it must have scaled the 8 ft. hoarding which encloses the works, and carefully avoiding the watchmen who do duty by night, must have dropped it where it was found. The body could not have been where it was found above two or three days, because men are frequently passing the spot. One of the workmen says that it was not there last Friday, because they had occasion to do something at that very spot. It is thought that the person who put the bundle there could not very well have got into the enclosure from the Embankment side, as not only would the risk of detection be very great, but he would stand a good chance of breaking his neck. The parcel must have been got in from the Cannon-row side, a very dark and lonely spot, although within twenty yards of the main thoroughfare. The body is pronounced by medical men to have been that of a remarkably fine young woman. The lower portion from the ribs has been removed. The postmortem examination was held this morning and the result will be made known at the inquest.
THE DISCOVERY AT WESTMINSTER.
We are no nearer a satisfactory discovery in the matter of the murders in Whitechapel. Every day, and in every edition, the story is always the same. No arrests, or, if there are, they are only followed by discharges. In the other case, that of the discovery of remains at Westminster, the police are pursuing their inquiries, but nothing of a definite character has transpired with regard to identity. Considerable excitement was caused at the site this morning shortly before ten o'clock through the crane on the top of the scaffolding falling over, without, however, doing injury to any on to me (being totally blind now, I cannot read myself), and as I have been for years advocating the use of dogs for the purpose of assisting the police in the detection of crime, perhaps the public might be interested if I state in what way dogs would be useful. In the first place I am convinced that bloodhounds will not do, there being many objections to them, the first objection being that bloodhounds are savage, and if by accident they got on to the line of an innocent man they might when they overtook him do him serious mischief before the owner could come up; but to a sportsman there seems to be an unanswerable objection--namely, they are too fast; and although it is true that you could keep up with them on horseback in the daytime, it must not be forgotten that the police require dogs as much in the night-time as in the day, and it would be impossible to follow bloodhounds at night. It does not seem to be known that small beagles can be trained to hunt human beings quite as well, nay, better than bloodhounds, for they will hunt a colder scent, being much keener in the nose. They are very good-tempered, and I have never known them bite any person that I have hunted down with them, and they are very easily trained.
In 1848 I had four couples of rabbit beagle puppies, and the idea struck me that I would try if I could train them to run human beings in the same way as I had trained my bloodhound, thus I placed two drops of the oil of aniseed on the sole of a boy's boot and made him run a short distance, then hide himself; the puppies in a very short time acknowledged the scent and ran it truly, I gradually decreased the quantity of oil, and at last sent off a boy without anything on his boots, when I was delighted to find that they opened (with the aid of the bloodhound on the first occasion) and went away in full cry. I was always very particular to change boys every week. When these puppies were twelve months old I ran down a poacher with them after a hunt which lasted forty minutes, and the man must have had a start of nearly twenty minutes. They ran him into the town, and finally drew up at a public-house in which the man was, with a rabbit in his pocket. It seemed to me that the scent was almost as good upon the pavement in the streets as in the fields.
Surely, then, the police would find them most useful in the country and the suburban districts, but I do not think they would be of much value in a town. If each rural police-station had three well-trained beagles kept there all the police would have to do would be when they received information of an offence to take their hounds up to the spot as quickly as possible, throw them across the garden and around the premises as if they were drawing for a hare. I am convinced that if the scent had not got too cold they would hit upon the line, and when they had well settled down they would run into the man wherever he was, the same as any bloodhound. They do not go too fast, so that they are easily followed on foot either by night or day, as their music will let you know where they are, let the night be never so dark. I have no doubt that a class of the community will pooh-pooh the idea without knowing anything at all on the subject; however, I know as a fact that they can be trained in the way I have already mentioned, and so can bloodhounds, as I have no doubt any owner of that class of dog will agree if they have ever tried to train them in that way. I enclose you my card; and although it is many a long day since I viewed a fox, still I love the hounds and would only be too happy to hear of their species becoming useful to the police and public.