AT length the tide of talk on the Whitechapel horrors is taking a direction which we thoroughly approve. To begin with, the London press is waking up to the discovery that the WARREN - MATTHEWS regime has been a mistake. Trafalgar-square was all very well when no one suffered from it but a few Radical processionists, whose broken heads made an excellent object-lesson for enforcing the great moral of law and order. But now that it is seen that a police force, too small to begin with and disorganised by a long course of laxity on the part of the late CHIEF COMMISSIONER, cannot be suddenly turned from a civil to a semi-military body without leaving London a prey to the criminal classes, the note is changed. The law-and-order school has got its soul's price. Trafalgar-square was put down; the Alsatias of Whitechapel were forgotten. At the first savage epidemic of crime Scotland-yard broke down with so complete, so piteous a display of incompetence as to arouse the compassion of its foes. Of course, the danger now is that the true offenders will not be sacrificed, but that a holocaust of subordinates will be offered up as a vicarious sacrifice for the sins of WARREN and the follies of MATTHEWS. The Daily Telegraph therefore is quite right in insisting that "MATTHEWS must go." "We have had enough of Mr. Home Secretary MATTHEWS, who knows nothing, has heard nothing, and does not intend to do anything in matters concerning which he ought to be fully informed, and prepared to act with energy and despatch." And not only must Mr. MATTHEWS go, but Scotland-yard must be reorganised and the detective department freed from the octopus clutch which Sir CHARLES WARREN has laid upon every branch of the force. The subordination of the detectives is part of Sir CHARLES'S "system." Stop that, and our Prefect resigns. And as that is the only alternative between a new outbreak of lawlessness, helplessly watched by the public and police, it is probable that the days of King STORK at Scotland-yard and King LOG at the Home Office are both numbered.
This is good news; but there is better in reserve. Nothing can have been more short-sighted than the callous indifference which the Government have shown towards these Whitechapel murders. If Mr. MATTHEWS had read his Star he would have been told in time that Whitechapel was furious at the refusal to grant a reward, and was very significantly saying that if the murders had happened in Mayfair we should have had rewards fast enough. But something better has happened even than the prospect of the Government waking up to its duties towards its poor subjects. The West-end is waking up. The Rev. Lord SIDNEY GODOLPHIN OSBORNE, an eccentric but kindly clergyman, with a passion for writing letters to the Times, has pointed the true moral of the tragedies; and Mr. BARNETT has driven it home. Our social critics are finding that as we have sowed we have reaped. We have given the people moral sewage and poison to drink, and we have got a residuum as foul, as dangerous, as loathly as any that haunted the back streets of Rome in old Imperial days. "S. G. O." says in the Times:-
"What pen can describe, what mental power can realise the nature of the surroundings of child life under these conditions? Begotten amid all that is devoid of the commonest decency, reared in an atmosphere in which blasphemy and obscenity are the ordinary language, where all exists that can familiarise the child with scenes bestial - thus reared in home life, it can scarcely itself walk or talk, when first introduced to outside life, the street life, such as it is, where these tens of thousands have to dwell."
It is a petrifying thought that the Whitechapel murders may have been committed by such an one as this. Why not? Surely the savage incontinence of life, the awful promiscuity of intercourse, the utter absence of moral, of religious, of prudential restraints are equal to the production of such monstrous growths as the Whitechapel murders. Look at the first of the series, unquestionably committed by a gang; look at the Regent's-park murder; look at scores of deeds of insane violence, committed daily and nightly in the loathsome dens where our London lazzaroni herd, and from which they will one day swarm, in our time of trouble, and smash our civilisation like so much pie-crust.
That is a pretty result of eighteen centuries of Christianity, and one of science and the reign of enlightened social law. That is a charming text for discourses by kid-gloved preachers of the Democratic creed. "London at large," the Times admits to-day, "is responsible for Whitechapel and its dens of crime." Responsible! Why, the East-end with its squalor is made by the West End with its luxury; is essential to it; is the necessary corollary of the delightful problem that the earth is not the LORD'S but the landlord's and the capitalist's. In the East a thousand slaves - as ignorant, as hopeless, as corrupt as were the slave-rowers in a Spanish galleon - toil to keep the West in all the trappings of finery, to make Jubilee dresses, ball-room costumes, and all the rest of the "property" for the great sensual show we call "society." Of course "society" does not know the cost at which its Juggernaut is kept up. It is only idly and stupidly selfish, with a cotton-wool kind of callousness, out of which it will only awake by the help of such a thunderous sermon as the Whitechapel murders. Well, is the sermon going to have effect? Will the West conclude that all its mad pursuit of wealth, its senseless craving after luxury, its ennui, its cruel indifference to the gospel of the religion it patronises, its neglect of all the teachings of history - is a mistake, and a fatal one? A State built on such miseries, such terrors, as the glimpse into our Whitechapel Alsatias reveals can't last. It is rotten to the core. GOD'S and man's hands are against it. All our Church Congresses, Church Houses, Westminster Abbeys - all the pretty glamor which art and culture throw round life among the upper and upper middle classes - are so many deceitful veils of the truth. It is on the condition of its poor, and particularly of the poorest of its poor, and not on new ironclads, or pattern armies, or big commercial deals, that the fate of England, of modern civilisation, depends. The great master question of the age is - "What have we done with our neighbor?" Is Christian England to hear the answer addressed to the Jewish Pharisee of old - "Inasmuch as ye did it not to one of the least of these, ye did it not to Me?"
BY the way, the methods suggested by Mr. Barnett for clearing out our Alsatias might, at all events, be at once put in practice. These are -
1. Efficient police supervision (utterly broken down by Sir Charles Warren's repeated shifting of detectives and constables who knew their ground).
2. Adequate lighting and cleaning. To be paid for by a rate levied on the ground landlords.
3. The removal of the slaughter-houses, with their odious look and suggestions of blood.
4. The control of tenement houses by responsible landlords.
5. Practically, indeed, this comes to what we have been contending for all along - a good grip on the vampire classes - i.e., the landlords.
WE hope Sir Charles Warren will keep his eye on the editor of the Standard. Shoe-lane is evidently a centre of the most dangerous form of the social revolution. Mr. Mudford is for confiscation pure and simple, without compensation, without a time limit, with none of the safeguards and barriers which prudent and moderate Reformers like Mr. George Bernard Shaw, for instance, are for erecting. For it says of the new Trust or monopoly system which is springing up all over England and America:-
If anything could lend weight to the theories of the dreamers who want to see all private property destroyed, it would be the selfish and criminal co-operation of these syndicates to make their millions out of the difficulties and embarrassments and ruin of a whole trade. For such greedy wretches there should be no mercy. They live by the spoiling of the community. If, in return, they could be stripped of their last farthing by the action of the community, we should rejoice at the administration of so wholesome a lesson.
WELL, this is good high doctrine for a Tory print, but the line of reasoning is one which the community is sure to adopt. If monopoly trading is going to smash free trade in the interest of the capitalist, and dock wages in order to enhance profits, the people, helpless in face of these monster combinations, will very soon inquire why the monopoly principle should not be a trifle extended. We shall, in fact, get to the state of things which Mr. George foreshadows in his picture of the whole land of the country being owned by one man, who only allows the rest of the community to live on it on his own terms. Supposing all the capital of the country got into the hands of half a dozen trusts? Well, all one can say is that the chance of effecting an easy transfer from the individual to the community would be far too tempting for any democratic State to resist.
SEVERAL journals have been attracted by the details we have recently been giving as to the falling off in the advertising of the Times. The Liverpool Mercury a day or two ago had a column leader on the decay of the Times, and the Pall Mall of yesterday devoted its first article to a forecast of the dreadful state we should all be in when the Times had ceased to exist. We don't think things have gone so far as that just yet; but no doubt the Times is in a very bad way. We are quite sure that for some months in every year the paper is published at a considerable loss every day, and we have heard that as a consequence the shareholders have had occasionally to do without their yearly dividend.
WE cannot entirely agree with the Pall Mall Gazette that the death of the Times would be a great national loss. On the contrary, we are disposed to believe that it would be a great national gain. The paper has been on the wrong side in all the great controversies that have arisen since its foundation; has opposed every reform with obstinate dulness and malice; and has thrown at every reformer every kind of filth that unscrupulousness could suggest. It would be a due Nemesis to all the good it has delayed and all the honesty it has reviled that it should be snuffed out of existence.
AS to the features by which the Times is distinguished from its contemporaries, there would be no fear that some other journal would not be ready to supply us with them. Indeed, it reflects little credit on the enterprise of this country that no serious effort has been made to compete with the Times. London is probably the only really great metropolis in the world in which one journal would be allowed to remain without serious rival for a century. Look at New York. Some years ago the Herald was unquestionably as much ahead of all the other journals as the Times used to be of its rivals in London. But this was not a state of things which was allowed to last. Other journals spent money freely, bought splendid machinery, and now the Herald is only one of many great journals. We have little doubt that if half as much money were raised as can be got for almost any company with lofty promises that a paper could be published in London at a penny that would have every good feature of the Times and pay its proprietors at the same time a princely income. There seems little chance of such a paper being started, and it almost looks as if the Times would die, not from the enterprise of its rivals, but from its own sheer stupidity.
Mr. Sidney Low, the new editor of the St. James's, is a young man, and was recently married. At Oxford he was a contemporary of Mr. Cook, Mr. Stead's assistant on the Pall Mall. He is a more a journalist than a litterateur, though, like Mr. Cook, he is an author, having published in conjunction with another a Dictionary of History. His political views were formed under Mr. Greenwood.
Mr. Dodson (Lewis Carroll) was walking one day beside a sandy seashore, where some children were playing. In accordance with his habit he picked up an acquaintance with the prettiest little girl, and asked her if she had read "Alice in Wonderland." The child answered, "Yes," and after a pause said she was very sorry to hear that the man who had written the book was mad. She had heard the clergyman tell her mamma so. Next day Mr. Dodson sent his misinformed admirer a special copy of "Alice," with the author's compliments.
The next "shilling shocker" will emanate from the pen of Mr. Richard Pryce (author of "An Evil Spirit") the well-known contributor to Cornhill under the nom de plume of "Ap Rhys." He is of Welsh extraction, and looks even younger than his 24 years. He is a keen observer of men and things, and "The Ugly Story of Miss Weatherby" will strike a new key in the history of "shockers."
LYCEUM THEATRE. - Sole Lessee, Mr. Henry Irving. - TO-NIGHT, at 9.0, (Last 12 Performances) MR. RICHARD MANSFIELD, in DR. JEKYLL and MR. HYDE. Preceded at 8 by LESBIA. Classical Comedy in one Act, by Mr. Richard Davey. LESBIA, Miss Beatrice Cameron.
MORNING PERFORMANCE NEXT SATURDAY, at 2.0.
MONDAY, Oct. 1, A PARISIAN ROMANCE. Mr. Mansfield as THE BARON CHEVRIAL.
Box-office (Mr. J. Hurst) open daily from 10 to 5.
MONDAY. - Papers full of the latest tragedy. One of them suggested that the assassin was a man who wore a blue coat. Arrested three blue-coat wearers on suspicion.
TUESDAY. - The blue-coats proved innocent. Released. Evening journal threw out a hint that deed might have been perpetrated by a soldier. Found a small drummer-boy drunk and incapable. Conveyed him to the station-house.
WEDNESDAY. - Drummer-boy released. Letter of anonymous correspondent to daily journal declaring that the outrage could only have been committed by a sailor. Decoyed petty officer of penny steamboat on shore, and suddenly arrested him.
THURSDAY. - Petty officer allowed to go. Hint thrown out in the correspondence columns that the crime might be traceable to a lunatic. Noticed an old gentleman purchasing a copy of "Maiwa's Revenge." Seized him.
FRIDAY. - Lunatic dispatched to an asylum. Anonymous letter received, denouncing local clergyman as the criminal. Took the reverend gentleman into custody.
SATURDAY. - Eminent ecclesiastic set at liberty with an apology. Ascertain in a periodical that it is thought just possible that the police may have committed the crime themselves. At the call of duty, finished the week by arresting myself! -Punch.
The Opera Comique is being entirely renovated and redecorated in preparation for "Carina," which opens on 27 Sept.
Mr. Richard Mansfield and his company, from the Lyceum Theatre, will give a special matinée performance of "Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde" at the Crystal Palace, at three o'clock p.m., to-morrow.
A WEST-END OUTRAGE.
A Woman Seriously Assaulted in Piccadilly - Wild Rumors of Murder.
Between two and three o'clock this morning a woman, while walking in Down-street, Piccadilly, was stabbed in the left temple by some person. Her assailant, who is at present unknown, decamped.
Later inquiries, however, show that the seriousness of the attack has been much exaggerated. The injured woman, Adelaide Rogers, of 21, Stangate, Westminster-bridge-road, ran out of Down-street between two and three o'clock this morning, and informed a policeman stationed in Piccadilly that she had been stabbed. She was bleeding from a wound on the right cheek, and had already become faint from loss of blood. She was at once conveyed to St. George's Hospital. Dr. Ward is uncertain whether the wound was inflicted by a thrust with a blunt knife, or by a blow from a stick. The police incline to the latter view, and are not disposed to attach much importance to the case. The police are in possession of Mrs. Roger's description of the man by whom she was attacked, but decline to communicate it to the Press, on the ground that her accounts are contradictory. It is stated, however, that the man is tall, dark, and respectably dressed.
The wildest rumors were flying about the West-end this morning of a murder analogous to the Whitechapel tragedies being attempted.
In our leader to-day the word "corrupt" is a misprint for "crushed."
Brains not to be Bought at the Price of Brawn - Rev. S. A. Barnett's First Remedies - "Punch" on the Detectives' Plan.
Among the passengers by the City of Rome, from Liverpool to New York to-day, is a very quiet-looking man, whose name may appear on the ship's list as Smith, or possibly Brown, but who will be readily recognised on the other side as a superintendent of what is, perhaps, the most successfully managed private detective agency in the world.
When a well-known detective takes the first holiday he has had for twelve years and runs across the big pond for a change of air and a glimpse of the highland home of his ancestors, he does not care to have his name printed in large type in a newspaper; hence it was that when a Star reporter spent half an hour in conversation with him before he left London yesterday he told him that if he would give him his opinion of the Whitechapel murder cases he should not be quoted by name. "I have been in Scotland for a month," said he, "knocking about the Highlands, and whenever I came to where I could get a newspaper I found it impossible to refrain from eagerly devouring all I could find about these Whitechapel murders. At first I naturally expected to see the mystery cleared up at once; but as day by day has gone by, and each successive clue seems to have come to nought, I have about made up my mind that the identity of the murderer is one of those things that no fellow is going to find out. We Americans are generally credited in England with doing all we undertake on a gigantic scale, but I doubt if our records of crime show a parallel to such a series of atrocities as these Whitechapel murders, with so little result of the investigations that have been made.
I am well aware that the police of no city are in the habit of telling the world all they know or all they are doing to unravel a mystery, but I do believe that those who have been engaged in these cases have wasted a great deal of time, if, indeed, they have not wasted it all. I have great difficulty in persuading myself that the so-called Whitechapel horrors are the work of one hand. I recognise unmistakable evidences of the same method in the two most notorious cases, but I believe the police need not look among the drunken brutes or low-class lunatics for the author of the crimes.
that has been made in connection with the subject, according to my observation, comes in a letter to The Star yesterday to the effect that specialists in medical science sometimes become so crazed by the pursuit of pet theories as to become capable of committing any crime that offers a possible elucidation of some physiological mystery. I do not mean to say that some physiologist has calmly planned and executed these murders for the sake of getting "specimens," but I do say that if the culprit is ever discovered he is very likely to be found to be a man of education, and probably a monomaniac on the subject of science. I have been so strongly impressed with this idea that I have sometimes wished I had seen the Chapman body when it was first discovered. Surely there must have been some external evidence, if one may believe the newspapers, that the murder was neither the work of a common slaughterer, nor of a drunken vagabond, nor yet of a militiaman on a spree."
This American detective is connected with an organisation that does its work for so much per day, and never accepts rewards, so he was not inclined to express an opinion as to what effect the earlier offering of a substantial reward might have had, but he did say that if it was necessary for the police to be stirred up to their duty in that way it was a sadder commentary on the police system than on the individual members of the force. "The police of London," said he, "are not well paid men, and I do not see how any Government can expect to get brains at the price of brawn. If English detectives are not a bright lot as a class there is little wonder at it. The ranks of the detective force are not recruited from
Such men can find a better market elsewhere. I have had some experience, heretofore with the London police, and I have found them courteous and obliging in every particular, but I must confess that I am greatly surprised at the futility of their efforts in connection with these murders. However, it is an ill wind that blows no good, and if the British public is at all like the American, the very failures in these cases will be the means of bringing about an undeniably necessary reorganisation of police methods in London."
in conversation with a Star reporter last night, called attention to one feature of the police regulations that militates seriously against successful detective work in London. He said that on two or three days in each week from 40 to 50 detectives are paraded before the hundreds of prisoners awaiting trial in Holloway Gaol, ostensibly for the purpose of spotting old offenders, but that it is quite as much to the advantage of the crooked ones as of the officers, since it makes them familiar with the faces of those who may "want" them at some future time, and thus affords them increased security. "I have always felt, when making that parade in Holloway, that it was a very silly custom," said he, "and I have often wondered how the French or even the American police would laugh at such a way of doing things."
The secretary of the Vigilance Committee has received the following reply to a letter addressed to the Home Secretary:-
"Sir, - I am directed by the Secretary of State to acknowledge the receipt of your letter of the 16th inst. with reference to the question of the offer of a reward for the discovery of the perpetrator of the recent murders in Whitechapel, and I am to inform you that had the Secretary of State considered the case a proper one for the offer of a reward he would at once have offered one one on behalf of the Government; but that the practice of offering rewards for the discovery of criminals was discontinued some years ago, because experience showed that such offers of reward tend to produce more harm than good, and the Secretary of State is satisfied that there is nothing in the circumstances of the present case to justify a departure from this rule. - I am, sir, your obedient servant.
"Mr. B. Harris, The Crown, 74, Mile-end-road, E."
Rev. Samuel A. Barnett, of St. Jude's Vicarage, Whitechapel, submits four practical suggestions for the detection and prevention of crime such as that now prevalent in the district:-
1. Efficient police supervision. In criminal haunts a license has been allowed which would not be endured in other quarters. Rows, fights, and thefts have been permitted, while the police have only been able to keep the main thoroughfare quiet for the passage of respectable people.
2. Adequate lighting and cleaning. It is no blame to our local authority that the back streets are gloomy and ill-cleaned. A penny rate here produces but a small sum, and the ratepayers are often poor. Without doubt, though, dark passages lend themselves to evil deeds. It would not be unwise, and it certainly would be a humane outlay, if some of the unproductive expenditure of the rich were used to make the streets of the poor as light and as clean as the streets of the City.
3. The removal of the slaughter-houses. At present animals are daily slaughtered in the midst of Whitechapel, the butchers with their blood stains are familiar among the street passengers, and sights are common which tend to brutalise ignorant natures.
4. The control of tenement houses by responsible landlords. At present there is lease under lease, and the acting landlord is probably one who encourages vice to pay his rent. Vice can afford to pay more than honesty, but its profits at last go to landlords. If rich men would come forward and buy up this bad property they might not secure great interest, but they would clear away evil not again to be suffered to accumulate.
|Press Reports: Echo - 19 September 1888|
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