THE blood of the murdered women in the East-end still cries for vengeance. So far as we can gather from the contradictory and meaningless reports of the police, the arrests already made do not promise a solution of the mystery. If the murderer is still at large, and if, as there is every reason to suppose, he is a maniac, we may look for fresh deeds of blood at his hands. All the more do we regret that the Government have not taken our advice and offered a reward. Whitechapel is crying out for a reward, and its tradesmen have actually clubbed their shillings in default of the action which any wise, or even sane, administration would at once have taken. Would have taken - aye, if the murders had occurred in the West-end instead of in the East, and if the victims had been "ladies" instead of the most helpless and outcast class in the community! We have taken special steps to inform ourselves of the feeling in the East-end, and we declare that the conviction is being burned into the minds of the people that the police are not only incompetent, but indifferent. And there is reason for this belief. The list of undetected London murders which we gave yesterday applies with hardly an exception to the lower classes. Working men and women have been butchered in cold blood in the streets in broad daylight, and not so much as a hint has been given as to the perpetrators of the crimes. And when public opinion is at last aroused, and the whole East-end is under a Red Terror, our authorities refuse to take the most obvious and elementary precautions for ensuring detection. All we can say is that if a mad panic sweeps through the quarters desolated by a maniac's knife, the Home Office and Scotland-yard will be alone to blame. It is impossible to exaggerate the utter want of confidence in the whole police system which this frightful tragedy has evoked; and if sheer fright grows into crazed fury we shall hold Mr. MATTHEWS and Sir CHARLES WARREN responsible.
But we have other causes of complaint of the police. Not only have their superiors grossly mismanaged and neglected their duties, but they have encouraged their subordinates to treat the newspapers in a manner to which no other press in the world but that of Russia and Germany would submit. We were compelled in our later editions of yesterday to contradict many of the reports which found admittance to our columns and to those of all our contemporaries earlier in the day. For this the senseless, the endless prevarications of the police were to blame. Not a connected, or a rational, or a truthful account could our reporters glean from them. Now the Press is the detectives' best friend. In America the reporters discover nearly as many murders as the police, which is as superior to ours in the detection of crime as Monsieur LECOQ to Sir CHARLES WARREN. BARBER, the man suspected of the Walthamstow murder, was "spotted" through a portrait in The Star. We have given the police the only clues in the present case which promise to lead us to the murderer's retreat. Our return has been to see our staff treated like interlopers or pickpockets by men whose incompetence and ignorance are the laughingstock of London. There have been honorable exceptions to this conduct, which we gladly acknowledge. But, on the whole, the behavior of the police has rendered it imperative for us to remind them that they (unlike the Whitechapel murderer) stand in the dock, and have to show cause why sentence should not be passed upon them.
Probably, indeed, people do not understand the real measure of the incompetence of the police. We have blamed Sir CHARLES WARREN heavily; and we have shown and shall show in a moment that we have good cause to blame him. But he is not alone accountable. Take the returns of coroners' inquests for the last ten or twenty years. We will take one year - 1886. In that year 177 verdicts of murder were recorded. Out of these only 72 charges of murder arose. But only 35 sentences of death were pronounced. Even supposing, however, that all the 72 accused persons were guilty and were dealt with by the law, we have the startling fact that 105 men and women who committed murder are at large! Taking 1886 as an average year, and applying its figures to the foregoing ten years, we must suppose that over 1,000 men are now in our midst whose hands are dyed with the blood of their fellows. Supposing again that the men who committed murder 20 years ago are all alive, we must reflect that 2,000 murderers are marching about England alone - Scotland and Ireland being excluded. What a thrill of joy would pass over Mr BUCKLE'S face if he could get one-tenth part of such a holocaust of crime to weave into his impeachment of the Irish nation! But that is not all. Who among the recent cases of murder can recall one in which the criminal was brought to justice by the skill and detective power of the police? We do not recall one. Either he was caught red-handed, or was tracked down by his neighbors, helped by the newspapers, or was secured in the mere chapter of accidents which now and then trip the murderer's feet.
Now there can be no doubt that during the last two years this ghastly record of inefficiency has swollen to still more alarming dimensions than those we have described. And the reason is obvious. The police are being given more and more over to political work. Instead of looking after East-end unfortunates, our detectives are "shadowing" Mr. BALFOUR, unearthing imaginary dynamite plots, and looking after the doings of the Social Democratic Federation. It is not only a question of Trafalgar-square. We assert that Sir CHARLES WARREN has employed and is employing a daily increasing number of his skilled men not to protect the lives of the poor, but to look after the property of the rich, and generally to making war on what Sir CHARLES WARREN imagines to be the advances of social revolution. Now, the natural end of this is the Whitechapel holocaust. There may be worse to come. The sooner, therefore, that the West-end understands that life is as precious in Whitechapel hovels as in Belgravian mansions the better for its social peace, and the greater its chance of disposing of its own industrious maniac when he once sets up in business.
ANY official person desiring to establish cordial relations with the Government cannot do better than take every opportunity of zealously displaying mistrust, hatred, and prejudice against the working class. When public feeling was at its height against Sir Charles Warren last November for his frantic attack on the people on the 13th, and his breach of faith on the 20th, he was made a C.B. in order that there might be no mistake about the full approval of the Government, and, we suppose we must add, of the Crown. A still more bitter enemy of the Crown has just received a douceur in the shape of a handle to his name. Mr. Justice Edlin, the servile tool of the Government in their campaign against free speech, is now Sir Peter Edlin. The distinction is equivalent to "Well done, thou good and faithful servant." Sir Peter is nearly everything that a judge ought not to be; but no one can deny that he is almost a perfect type of the sort of man whom Lord Salisbury delights to honor.
THE Pall Mall will have its little joke. Its latest piece of fun is a scathing condemnation of its own Vigilance Associations. The kind of work we recommend for discovering the Whitechapel murderer and for protecting his victims is precisely the kind of work which has been initiated for very similar purposes by Mr. Stead himself. As a matter of fact it has already been taken in hand by Mr. Stead's friends. Yet when The Star proposes it, it is a piece of "lunacy" and so forth. Lunacy or no, the East-enders are putting it in practice.
BY the way, our contemporary says that Williams, the murderer of the Mars and Williamsons, had an exceedingly respectable and dove-like appearance. De Quincey does not say so, though he does say that Williams's sinister face could occasionally assume an innocent expression. "What a Medusa's head," he writes, describing the Williamson murder, "must have lurked in those dreadful bloodless features, and those glazed, rigid eyes that seemed rightfully belonging to a corpse, when one glance at them sufficed to proclaim a death warrant."
"MEANWHILE," writes an eccentric correspondent, "you, and every one of the papers, have missed the obvious solution of the Whitechapel mystery. The murderer is a Mr. Hyde, who seeks in the repose and comparative respectability of Dr. Jekyll security from the crimes he commits in his baser shape. Of course, the lively imaginations of your readers will at once supply certain means of identification for the Dr. Jekyll whose Mr. Hyde seems daily growing in ferocious intensity. If he should turn out to be a statesman engaged in the harmless pursuit of golf at North Berwick - well, you, sir, at least, will be able gratefully to remember that you have prepared your readers for the shock of the inevitable discovery."
"THE STAR" TO SIR CHARLES. - "Pass on, Please."
This is more by
Than the highest ever reached by any other Evening
Paper in London.
The circulation of THE STAR on Saturday
PISER IDENTIFIED THIS MORNING AT LEMAN-STREET.
£100 REWARD OFFERED BY AN M.P.
No Further Arrests - Pigott Still Unidentified, and Pronounced Insane - The Identification of Piser with "Leather Apron" Doubtful.
This morning there are two men detained on suspicion in connection with the Whitechapel crimes. One is the man Piggott, arrested at Gravesend, and supposed to be the man who went into Fiddymont's public-house at seven on the morning of the murder with blood upon his hands. He was brought to Commercial-street Police Station yesterday afternoon, and placed among a number of other men taken from the street, in order that the builder Taylor, Mrs. Fiddymont, and Mrs. Chappell, the three people who saw the man with the blood-stained hands, might, if possible, identify the captured one. Taylor and Mrs. Fiddymont declared the man at the station not the one they saw, and Mrs. Chappell, though she picked the right man out, failed to positively identify him. This morning, however, Piggot was still in the infirmary recovering slowly from an attack of delirium tremens.
The other man in custody is