Largest Circulation of Any Evening Paper in the Kingdom.
LONDON. MONDAY, 24 SEPTEMBER, 1888.
AT the recent meeting of the British Association the dovecots were much fluttered by the appearance of a strange and rather startling figure. A tall, thin man, with a very pale and very gentle face, read a paper which calmly denounced as robbers some of the men the world is accustomed to regard as the ornaments of society, the patterns of morality, and the pillars of the church. This was Mr. GEORGE BERNARD SHAW. The whole thing was done, not with the savagery of a wild and illiterate controversialist, but with the light touch, the deadly playfulness, and the rapier thrusts of a cultivated and thoughtful man. Mr. SHAW is as yet little known to the general world, but he is a power, as he deserves to be, among the militant Radicals of the metropolis. He represents one of the wings - he himself would call it the moderate and rational wing - of the Socialist party. To the propagation of his ideas, he gives up willing time, labor, the opportunities of self-advancement. To such men we can forgive much; their enthusiasm, and their self-devotion are more important than their opinions.
We publish a letter to-day from Mr. SHAW. It is on the hideous and squalid tragedies which, occurring in the East, have stirred up the West-end to unusual and unaccustomed interest in the fate of the poor and the disinherited of the nation. Mr. SHAW writes with what will be considered violence by many, if not by most of our readers, and his proposals are far in advance of those which even some of our most advanced Radicals will be disposed to adopt. They are certainly in advance of any measures that we ourselves are ready to recommend. But we willingly give Mr. SHAW the opportunity of ventilating his ideas; first, because we are in favor of free discussion; and secondly, because though we may not accept his remedies, we sympathise largely with the protest he makes against the fashion in which some of our contemporaries have treated the Whitechapel murders. His revolt against the gush and the cant which are now appearing in certain aristocratic journals, is timely and called for. These journals, which are now calling upon the West to do its duty to the East, are the very journals, as Mr. SHAW points out, which but a few months ago were applauding Sir CHARLES WARREN as warmly and enthusiastically as though he were another Mr. BALFOUR. In the House of Commons, and still more in the drawing-rooms of the West-end, gilded youths and Primrose matrons were pluming their feathers on the spirited way in which the mob had been taught to conduct itself; and after the triumphant reply of Mr. MATTHEWS in the House of Commons, and the splendid majority - largely made up of men calling themselves Liberals - all the reactionaries were congratulating themselves on the excellent results of a policy of coercion in London, as well as in Ireland. On these gratulations come four hideous and squalid tragedies, and at once the same society, that was exultant with class triumph, has grown pale with class terror, and follows with babbling, childish, unctuous proposals - as much a remedy for the state of things revealed as the buns of the French lady for the starvation of the French revolutionaries. We may ask why it required these murders to call attention to the state of the poor at all? The deaths of these unhappy women certainly call aloud for vengeance, and the officials through whose incompetence such things are possible, will be called by-and-bye to a heavy account. But death, sudden, swift, possibly painless - and especially to those who have tried the game of life and have lost honor, self-respect, hope, everything - is infinitely less of a tragedy than the daily struggle for work that can't be got; for food that can't be earned. Give to many of the thousands that stand shivering every morning outside the portals of our great dockyards; give to the man that haunts the coffee shop or the newspaper office every morning to search out the places that are vacant; give to the father of children that meet him at night with the cry for food he hasn't to give - give to many of these the choice between the continuance of life and the painless passage through sleep to death, and the result would be that death would be their choice. It is the tragedy of defeated life, and not the calm of triumphant death, that should appeal to our hearts and imaginations.
And now as to the remedies. First we want better, truer, more honest teaching in our churches. As will be seen from another portion of our impression, a parson is very indignant with us because we have opened our columns to a discussion on the failure of Christianity. The free discussion of any subject is doubtless a soreness and an affliction to many reactionaries - especially when they wear a black coat and have taken service in the Established Church. How can anybody - how can the poor, especially - think well of Christianity when those who are its most eminent - its most highly paid teachers - always take the side which means the further enrichment of the rich, and the deeper impoverishment of the poor? When the landlords had the tax on corn, starvation walked abroad through the land. When reformers like COBDEN and BRIGHT proposed to bring food home to the poor, the clergymen of the Establishment were among the most active apostles of the continued reign of high rates and dear bread, and starved homes. Take the whole talk which is the outcome of these Whitechapel tragedies; does anybody suppose that the interest, shallow and purposeless and resourceless as it is, would have shown itself at all in the days before the people had got some voice in the control of the country? It is the voter and not the man that has excited the interest; and did not, again, the clergymen of the Establishment head the party in town, and still more the country, that opposed by every means in their power the admission of the artisan and the laborer to the franchise? How, we ask again, can we expect humble men to believe in a Christianity which is always on the side of privilege, unjust burdens, deeper poverty, greater helplessness of the weak?
But we can place little confidence in the good teaching of others - or even in their goodwill. The salvation of the disinherited must come largely, if not mainly, through themselves. We have no objection to men like Mr. SHAW preaching their gospel of social regeneration, though we may regard some of their opinions as unwise and impracticable, and the majority of them as unattainable for a considerable time to come. What we ask is that they and their friends shall not neglect the political machinery through which ultimately all changes - social as well as political - have to be attained; and that if they care but little for these things, they will allow others who have taken this work in hand, to go forward without interruption. For our part, we think some of the humblest of these political changes would do much to solve some of the most gigantic of our social problems. Suppose, for instance, that our politicians and our divines, and our social philosophers, and even our Home Secretaries and Police Commissioners, had to deal with a London in which every citizen had a vote - does anybody think that the cry of distress would be drowned in the tumult of bayonets and the clanging of swords? As it is we have to deal in London with masses that are still almost unenfranchised. The vote of London is not a working class, but a middle-class, vote. As long as that state of things lasts, we shall have no proposals for the fundamental changes that will reduce our poverty. We shall have to put up with such canting and shallow philosophy as that which Mr. SHAW so triumphantly assails in our columns to-day.
SIR, - Will you allow me to make a comment on the success of the Whitechapel murderer in calling attention for a moment to the social question? Less than a year ago the West-end press, headed by the St. James's Gazette, the Times, and the Saturday Review, were literally clamoring for the blood of the people - hounding on Sir Charles Warren to thrash and muzzle the scum who dared to complain that they were starving - heaping insult and reckless calumny on those who interceded for the victims - applauding to the skies the open class bias of those magistrates and judges who zealously did their very worst in the criminal proceedings which followed - behaving, in short as the proprietary class always does behave when the workers throw it into a frenzy of terror by venturing to show their teeth. Quite lost on these journals and their patrons were indignant remonstrances, arguments, speeches, and sacrifices, appeals to history, philosophy, biology, economics, and statistics; references to the reports of inspectors, registrar generals, city missionaries, Parliamentary commissions, and newspapers; collections of evidence by the five senses at every turn; and house-to-house investigations into the condition of the unemployed, all unanswered and unanswerable, and all pointing the same way. The Saturday Review was still frankly for hanging the appellants; and the Times denounced them as "pests of society." This was still the tone of the class Press as lately as the strike of the Bryant and May girls. Now all is changed. Private enterprise has succeeded where Socialism failed. Whilst we conventional Social Democrats were wasting our time on education, agitation, and organisation, some independent genius has taken the matter in hand, and by simply murdering and disembowelling four women, converted the proprietary press to an inept sort of communism. The moral is a pretty one, and the Insurrectionists, the Dynamitards, the Invincibles, and the extreme left of the Anarchist party will not be slow to draw it. "Humanity, political science, economics, and religion," they will say, "are all rot; the one argument that touches your lady and gentleman is the knife." That is so pleasant for the party of Hope and Perseverance in their toughening struggle with the party of Desperation and Death!
However, these things have to be faced. If the line to be taken is that suggested by the converted West-end papers - if the people are still to yield up their wealth to the Clanricarde class, and get what they can back as charity through Lady Bountiful, then the policy for the people is plainly a policy of terror. Every gaol blown up, every window broken, every shop looted, every corpse found disembowelled, means another ten pound note for "ransom." The riots of 1886 brought in £78,000 and a People's Palace; it remains to be seen how much these murders may prove worth to the East-end in panem et circenses. Indeed, if the habits of duchesses only admitted of their being decoyed into Whitechapel back-yards, a single experiment in slaughterhouse anatomy on an aristocratic victim might fetch in a round half million and save the necessity of sacrificing four women of the people. Such is the stark-naked reality of these abominable bastard Utopias of genteel charity in which the poor are first to be robbed and then pauperised by way of compensation, in order that the rich man may combine the idle luxury of the protected thief with the unctuous self-satisfaction of the pious philanthropist.
The proper way to recover the rents of London for the people of London is not by charity, which is one of the worst curses of poverty, but by the municipal rate collector, who will no doubt make it sufficiently clear to the monopolists of ground value that he is not merely taking round the hat, and that the State is ready to enforce his demand, if need be. And the money thus obtained must be used by the municipality as the capital of productive industries for the better employment of the poor. I submit that this is at least a less disgusting and immoral method of relieving the East-end than the gush of bazaars and blood money which has suggested itself from the West-end point of view. - Yours, &c.,
The Saturday Review says: "There is a pestilent doctrine openly asserted by some gentry of the Press, and acted on by others who would hardly dare to assert it openly, that the public has a right to know things. The public has no right to know anything whatever save matters which come before the Queen's Courts, while even this right is limited."
This, writes a correspondent, explains the partiality of Tory prints for fiction.
A Clapham Parson Says We Possess an Incredible Capacity for Falsehood.
"T. D. H." writes:- I entered St. Paul's Church, Clapham, yesterday morning, and great was my surprise to hear the preacher, a man certainly of considerable power as a speaker, introduce his discourse by an attack upon The Star. He referred to the letters sent to your columns on "Is Christianity a Failure?" and in calling attention to the subject he said:- "Last week I took up an evening paper which advertises itself as possessing a circulation of over 100,000 a day, a number, however, which is not authenticated in the usual way by an auditor's statement, and which anybody who understands anything about the matter would know at once could not be relied upon." . . . "A paper you never look at, and place no reliance upon . . . Than which hardly anything more appalling, more detestable, possessing a more incredible capacity for falsehood, and of stating facts not as they are, but as they are not, could not well be imagined."
These are a few of the remarks I jotted down at the time, and can answer for almost verbal correctness. I was led to ask myself, "Why this attack upon The Star?" I think, whatever be its cause, that it shows that everywhere in London The Star is becoming a mighty influence, that all classes of society are touched by its fearless exposition of the truth, and moved either to abuse or gratitude.
But, sir, is it any wonder that vital Christianity is a failure amongst so many, when men hear the exponent of its teaching uttering slanders of the above description in a place where they could not well be rebutted? Is this the practice of that "charity" which "hopeth all things?"
"A Sprinter," writing from Edgware-road, states from the experience of himself and about a dozen other men who frequent Regent's-park for running practice, that rowdyism there is almost a nightly occurrence. "We often hear screams," he continues, "and on two or three occasions have stopped men of the rough class running away, but as it was dark the females assaulted could not identify their assailants, and we let them go." He says the men hide behind the palings and trees, their presence in the park being for the purpose of blackmailing unfortunate women. The police sometimes turn these sprinters away from their practice ground, but would be far better employed in hunting up these parasites.
Late on Saturday evening a waterman found the body of an insensible man in the Thames off Old Chelsea Church. The man was brought ashore and seen by Dr. Fitzgerald, who ordered his removal to the Chelsea Infirmary. This morning he was still in an insensible condition, nothing being on him which gave any clue to his identity. The following is a description of the man: - Age apparently about 38 years, complexion fair, ditto whiskers, black cutaway coat and vest, dark trousers, side spring boots, all much worn.
During some excavations on the site of Cave Cottage, High-road, Chiswick, some workmen on Saturday came upon a skeleton - presumably that of a female - with a bullet wound through the skull. It is supposed to have lain in the ground between 50 and 100 years. The place where it was found was formerly a portion of the old high road to London, the scene of so many notorious murders.
A HORROR AT GATESHEAD.
A Crime Very Similar to Those which have Startled Whitechapel.
Gateshead has been the scene of a Whitechapel murder. The victim is a young woman named Jane Beatmoor, 28 years of age. She was in delicate health, and on Saturday went to the Gateshead Dispensary for medicine. After returning home she went out again to purchase some sweets to take with her medicine. She called at several farms while she was out, and at half-past seven at night left the house of an acquaintance named Mrs. Newall, evidently with the intention of returning home. She had not arrived at 11 o'clock, and her mother and stepfather went to look for her, without success, and concluded she must have spent the night with some neighbor. Early yesterday morning a miner named John Fish, going to work, found the body of the deceased at the bottom of the railway embankment
The county police were communicated with, and Superintendent Harrison and Sergeant Hutchinson, of Birtley, were soon on the spot. A closer inspection revealed the fact that the lower part of the deceased's body had been cut open and the entrails torn out. She was also cut about the face. The affair has caused quite a panic in the district, the resemblance to the Whitechapel tragedies encouraging the idea that the maniac who has been at work in London has travelled down to the north of England to pursue his fiendish vocation.
The unfortunate woman is stabbed in three places, once in the bowels and twice in the face.
is very deep, the knife having knocked a piece off the vertebral column. The body was found only a few hundred yards from the Girls' Home, by the side of the colliery railway. There were no marks of a struggle where she was found, and no trace of footsteps. The police are completely baffled, as the murderer has left not the slightest clue. Yesterday thousands of persons visited the spot.
Another account says: - The woman Beatmoor was more commonly known in the district as Jane Savage. She resided with her parents at a place called Whitehouse, near Northside, situate on the dreary tract of country known as Birtley Fell. Her mother married a second time, her present husband being one Joseph Savage, and by her stepfather's name Jane Beatmoor was more commonly known. Savage follows the calling of a miner, and is a sober, industrious man, much respected by all his neighbors. His stepdaughter, also, was of a quiet, inoffensive nature, and was generally liked. On Saturday evening she called at the Moor Inn, near Birtley, where sweetstuffs and general stores are kept. She purchased some sweets, and resumed her journey to a neighbor's farm. She was last seen alive on the way to the farm about eight o'clock, and several persons state that she was
It was about seven o'clock yesterday morning that a fitter named John Fish, employed at Ouston Colliery, when at at a point known as Sandy Cut, suddenly came upon the woman's body. The place is a dreary spot, and one in which a foul deed might be perpetrated with little fear of detection or interruption. The body lay about three or four feet from the line,
about nine or ten inches deep. The young woman's legs were pointed towards the line. The body leaned partly on the left side. On the right side of the throat just below the ear, a frightful gash was visible. Police-constable Dodds, stationed at Eighton Banks, about a mile distant, was at once sent for, and the body was removed to the deceased's house. The house was securely locked up and the occupants transferred to a neighboring dwelling.
A woman named Ellen Chambers, living with her niece, Mrs. Evans, at 21, Green-street, Blackfriars-road, attempted suicide this morning by cutting her throat. The woman has been living at the address given for about two years, and has been separated from her husband for about 14. She is 59 years of age, and of late the neighbors have noticed a slight strangeness in her manner. The wound was inflicted with an ordinary table-knife, which, together with the woman, Police-constable 83 M removed in a cab to Guy's Hospital. There the woman at present lies, but apparently not in a very dangerous condition.
He Didn't Remain to Pray.
A rough-looking young feeling, giving the name of Charles Sharp, well-known to the police, was charged at Dalston with disorderly conduct at the Salvation Army Barracks, St. Thomas-street, Haggerston. He disturbed the congregation by talking and cracking nuts. He was requested to desist, but he declined and an attempt was made to eject him. In the lobby of the hall he threw off his coat. When the constable came on the scene Sharp put himself into fighting attitude and knocked the policeman's helmet off. Convictions for stabbing and violent assaults were proved against him and he was sentenced to two month's hard labor.
Elizabeth Owen was charged at Bow-street with being drunk and disorderly. - Beaumont Kent, a reporter, said that he saw the constable use very great violence towards the woman. He rushed at her, drove her against the wall, and then dragged her across the street to an empty shop, and taking her by the throat knocked her head against the shutters three or four times. Witness stepped up and remonstrated. The constable told him not to interfere, and pushed him back roughly. He tried to get hold of him by the throat, and said he would run him in if he had any more of his cheek. Witness followed to the station, and there the same constable asked him rudely what he was doing. Witness said, "You know what I am doing." The constable ordered him to leave the station, and threatened to chuck him out. He declined to leave, and was then seized by the arms and pulled very violently away from an iron bar he was holding. His hands were injured, two of the small bones being put out. - Mr. Bridge said witness might have a summons against the constable, or report the matter to the Commissioners. - Mr. Kent said, in the interest of the public, he should prefer to have a summons. He should not be satisfied with an investigation before the Commissioners. There was no dispute about the woman Owen being drunk, and she was fined 2s. 6d., or one day's imprisonment.
Some one representing himself as a detective called at a number of boarding establishments in Great Ormonde-street on Saturday afternoon, making inquiries for a man by the name of Morford, who was supposed to have had lodgings in that street up to 10 Sept., but who since that time has mysteriously disappeared. At some of the places called at the detective said something about a letter having been received by the authorities which led to the idea that Morford might throw some light on the Whitechapel murders. He was described as a man who had been educated as a surgeon, but who had lost standing in the community through drink. It seems that attention was directed to him through a pawnbroker, who took several surgical instruments in pledge from him, and who afterwards had reason to suspect that he was not of sound mind. A shopkeeper in Great Ormonde-street thought he knew the man who was being searched for, but as the detective had no address but "Morford, Great Ormonde-street," he was not able to make much progress without letting the whole neighborhood know what he was about.
Last evening, at half-past nine, the attention of Police-constable 457 D was called to a brown-paper parcel lying behind some railings at the corner of Devonshire-street and Great Portland-street. On pulling open one corner he noticed that it contained some under-clothing with apparently bloodstains upon it. He took it to the Tottenham-court-road Police-station, where the contents were found to consist of a drab flannel shirt, a pair of men's drab pants, a pair of cuffs, and a collar. The two first-named articles were saturated with blood, but the collar and cuffs were only slightly splashed. The Divisional Surgeon was sent for, and gave it as his opinion that the blood was human.
The young lady whose body was washed up at Eastham, Cheshire, on Saturday, has been identified as having left the Eastham Ferry Hotel on the previous night in company with a young man, dressed as a clerk, and aged about 29. The only clue to her identity are the words scratched on her purse, "Kate S. Tee" and the initials on the band of her petticoat, "A. L."
A party of moonlighters visited the house of John Fitzgerald, a farmer, at Shannacrinner, near Abbeydorney, last night. They fired two shots at him, one entering the right thigh. The man is not dangerously injured.
Warrenism in the Provinces.
Sir Charles Warren's example in transforming the police from a civil body for looking after criminals into a military body for attacking public gatherings is being followed in the provinces. Chief-constable Hitchman, the head of the Norwich police, has just laid a report before the local town council asking that the number of men on the force may be increased, and giving as his reason that "the duties of the police have much increased of late in consequence of meetings being held in open and public spaces, rendering it necessary to have a force of police in reserve ready to act in case of emergency." Mr. Crotch, a Socialist member of the town council, pointed out the decrease of crime in the city as a reason for not granting the constable's request, but the council is Tory, and the Tory instinct that open-air meetings of democrats are dangerous and must be looked after prevailed, and the demand of the East Anglian Warren was granted.
Is Christianity a Failure?
SIR, - The principles of Christianity are - as they were when the great Author taught them on earth, when the apostles preached them, and when the martyrs consecrated them in the voluntary surrender of their lives - precious and living truths. The people heard them gladly - the poor - and deemed it a privilege to suffer; and aloof from them stood the Pharisees.
And now? The reverse of all that is the truth. They are the Pharisees who be the lip, ear, and eye worshippers of Him who preached the Sermon on the Mount. Strange thing, this. And the people? They are as far alienated from its spirit, and of Him who breathed life into it, as they are in sympathy and social caste from their oppressors.
And the world still wags its head and stones its prophets. Religion is still taught as an academic idea suitable for academic minds, and this being so no wonder its influence is feeble, its light less searching, where it should have been bold and fearless in the cause of right, justice, and oppression.
And yet Christianity, per se is no more accountable for these, than can be temperance (or any other principle) for drunkenness or excess. All principles, whatsoever their source or origin, or whatever object they serve or constitute - their fruits are but what man chooses to make them. The principles are obscured, but the evil predominates. Thus with Christianity, so divine its origin, so intrinsic in its worth, apart from higher objects, is to-day identified in history, past and present, with class ascendency, with wealth in all degrees, with Queen's writ and crowbar brigade - against men whose crime is in their poverty - who will listen with placidity to a nation's wrongs and crimes against flesh and blood. Christianity still remains, the difference is it is preached by men whose lives rebuke their sincerity, who live only unto themselves. - Yours, &c.,
SIR, - Does not your correspondent "Homo Sum" in divesting Christianity of its dogmas deprive it of its very "centre" and reason of existence? I do not think Christianity has failed in 2,000 years to bring happiness to the masses because it has, like all religions, dogmas. But because the dogmas of Christianity, like those of Buddhism and Judaism - in fact, of all religions - are based, not upon undoubted certainties - i.e., such axioms as two and two are four or Euclid's mathematics - but upon the beliefs and faiths of men.
The true aim of the man who desires the greatest happiness to the greatest number, it seems to me, should be to banish or ignore so-called "religious beliefs," and to strenuously insist on righteous action by man to man - to do to others as he would be done by; and, finally, to insist on the truth of that inexorable law of Nature which tells us "As thou sowest so shalt thou reap;" that the law of cause and consequence knows of no exception; and that reason and experience are our only teachers. Such teachings even as "Love your neighbor as yourself" are utopian, beyond the reach of men. - Yours, &c.,
SIR, - Your able correspondent, "Homo Sum," when he says "Christianity is delightful but Christians are often frauds," strikes the keynote of the question "Is Christianity a failure?" Christianity as taught and practised by its great Founder has never been tried nationally, very seldom individually. Till it is tried, its precepts acted on, and the perfect brotherhood of man as taught by Christ recognised, we are not in a position to say whether or not it is a failure.
Christ has given us a strong foundation, a solid basis, and man has raised a rotten superstructure that must and ought to crumble away. But the foundation will still be there ready for a building in accord with its Founder's design.
In our schooldays most of us have learnt imperfectly or been badly instructed. We act unwisely if, in after life, we blame the subject taught rather than ourselves for not accurately receiving the instruction imparted or our teachers for their wrong teaching. - Yours, &c.,
SIR, - "Homo Sum" wishes to know how on this religion of unselfishness has been founded a society so banally selfish. My answer is an Hibernicism: Because it has not been founded on it. There would be no trouble in Ireland to-day (or elsewhere) if only men would do unto others as they would like men to do unto themselves, and there would be no murders in Whitechapel (or elsewhere) if men loved their neighbors as themselves. - Yours, &c.,
714, Old Kent-road, S. E.
The Average Daily Circulation of
For the Week ending 14 Sept. was
The Number of Copies Circulated
during the Six Days was
1, 140, 200.
This Number is Greater by
Than the Number Ever Circulated in
any week by any other
EVENING PAPER IN LONDON.