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LONDON. MONDAY, 15 OCTOBER, 1888.
WE are sorry to have to announce that the disgraceful attempts to hold riotous meetings in Trafalgar-square are about to be resumed, and, what is still more astounding, that they are to receive the countenance and support of the chicken-hearted authorities of Scotland-yard. We are informed by our own chief commissioner that it is intended to hold a secret meeting on Tuesday next in the very heart of the square. The proceedings have been kept a profound secret, but the ring-leaders' names are known, and are in the possession of the police, who, astounding as it may appear, are not only winking at this flagrant breach of the law, but are absolutely promoting it. The infamy of the proceedings may be judged when we state that the meeting is to be a gathering of the unemployed, who, as we have always understood, are a class of people whose heads were made for the sole purpose of having them broken by the police.
NOW what is the meaning of this gross betrayal of the public trust in our once lion-hearted Commissioner? It is suggested to us that the meeting on Tuesday is to be a private meeting of certain members of the aristocracy in whose behalf the hoarding round the Gordon statue is to be quietly removed, while they are to deliver speeches before the very noses of the outraged lions. Furthermore we are informed that men of the firm employed on the statue have been asked to keep the matter a profound secret, and that invitations to the gathering have been limited to the unemployed of Piccadily, and have not been extended to the unemployed of Whitechapel. We reject the idea with scorn. Is not Sir Charles Warren a man of his word? Has not Mr. Matthews already broken his pledge about bon‚ fide meetings that he must be asked to break it again? Incredible! Impossible!
THE figures which are being freely used as missiles in Sir Charles Warren's conflict with public opinion require some interpretation. The statement that in 1849 there was only one constable to 468 citizens, whereas now there is one to 439, becomes much more serious when we take into consideration the formidable net of telegraph and telephone wires through which the criminal has now to break, and the lightning messages he has to outstrip. The eyes and ears of the police have been multiplied, and space and time annihilated for them out of all reckoning. Consequently it would seem that a smaller number of constables might easily do the work of the 1849 staff. But there is a grim set-off to this which Sir Charles might plead if the subject were not too ticklish a one for official insistence. The Vicar of St. Jude's, Whitechapel, in his collected essays just published, says - and he speaks with knowledge - "Poverty in London is increasing both relatively and actually." One would have imagined that it had reached its worst long ago; but, no; it is "increasing, both relatively and actually." With it inevitably increases the ignorance, squalor, and callousness which accustom their victims to violence and crime. That is what is beating the police even more than their commander's deficiency in courage and good sense. And if George Washington were raised from the dead and made Chief Commissioner, it would beat him, too, in the long run. There is a writing on the wall that concerns society much more deeply than the scrawl which Sir Charles so easily got rid of. How much longer does society intend to go on disregarding it?
MR. RICHARD MANSFIELD.
TO-NIGHT at 9, DR. JEKYLL AND MR. HYDE. At 8, LESBIA.
MATINEE SATURDAY, at 2.
Friday next, PRINCE KARL. Mr. Mansfield as Prince Karl, his original character.
Performance for the benefit of the Poor at the East End of London.
Box-office (Mr. J. Hurst) open daily from 10 to 5.
Thieves, it seems, are becoming emboldened by the common talk of the inadequate protection afforded by our police. "A Victim" writes :- Last evening, in Clerkenwell-road, my progress was stopped by a procession. Whilst crossing the road to get to a tramcar I was attacked by about eight roughs, who tried to throw me down, but unsuccessfully. I considered myself fortunate in escaping, but I discovered upon rebuttoning my overcoat that my gold watch and the greatest portion of a very heavy gold chain had been abstracted. I write this to show the need for carrying a stick and a police whistle, and also to rouse the energy of the police.
J. Ferry saw near the school gates, Horseferry-road, on Saturday night, at a quarter to twelve o'clock, a gentleman pushed to the ground by two or three roughs, who rifled his pockets. The thieves were followed, and one was caught.
In his yearly report the Vestry Clerk of St. Luke's details the steps taken ineffectually to get better police protection of the district. After receiving two disappointing replies from Sir Charles Warren, the Vestry forwarded details of daring outrages to the Home Secretary, who was asked to institute an independent inquiry. Up to the present nothing has been done.
The police will not be anxious (writes a correspondent) for a repetition of the Trafalgar-square disturbances, if it is true that one constable who had his head broken on 13 Nov., and has been unfit for duty ever since, has been starving up to the present on 14s. 6d. weekly. One would think a sick man would need more than his ordinary pay - not have it cut down to less than half.
Peter Anderson, a quarry worker, of Ladymoss Cluny, near Aberdeen, was charged to-day with the murder of his wife. It is alleged that during a quarrel a few days ago the prisoner stabbed her in the abdomen with a clasp knife. The woman died this morning.
A working man complained to the Dalston magistrate that a weekly paper had reported him to have committed suicide. He read the paragraph complained of :- "The body of George Cully, of 108, Duncombe-road, Upper Holloway, was found in the shrubs at the Alexandra Palace on Thursday afternoon. A bottle supposed to contain laudanum was found beside the body." (Laughter.) - Applicant: It is my name and my address. Can't I get some recompense from the paper? - Mr. Smith: I daresay it is a silly joke. The editor of the paper perhaps would insert a correction. The man really found was a Charles Beall, and the applicant himself made the discovery.
The Police Have No One in Custody Now - Matthews Still Inactive.
Inquiries at the police stations in the eastern district at four o'clock this morning, showed that there is at present no one in custody in connection with the Whitechapel murders. Shortly before midnight a man was arrested, on suspicion of being the murderer, in a lodging-house in Brick-lane, by Sergeant Cook and other officers. The inmates regarded his conduct as suspicious, and informed the police. He was conveyed to Commercial-street Station amid some excitement, but in the course of half an hour he was set at liberty, as he was able to convince the authorities he was not the man for whom they are searching.
The Home Secretary has had under consideration the question of granting a pardon to accomplices in the Whitechapel murders. The result of his "consideration" is a letter to the Whitechapel Vigilance Committee, which says: "It is obvious that not only must such a grant be limited to persons who have not been concerned in contriving or in actually committing the murders, but the expediency and propriety of making the offer must largely depend on the nature of the information received from day to day, which is being carefully watched, with a view to determining that question. With regard to the offer of a reward, Mr. Matthews has, under the existing circumstances, nothing to add to his former letter."
The Rev. H. B. Chapman took for his text last night at St. Luke's, Rosemary-road, Peckham, "The Moral of the Murders," and in the course of a striking sermon dwelt upon the duty of the State, of the citizen, and of the Christian in connection with the present state of Whitechapel. He held that the State must give every man and woman the chance to live, and if it did not now, it would eventually be forced to do so. Half the trouble of the Whitechapel type arose through
and this would be met by adopting the eight hours system; but in that case the disaster would be immense - there would no longer be tremendous dividends for wealthy shareholders. The earnings of the working classes, who were treated like beasts of burden, went into the pockets of the rich, and the comforts of life were not for them.
Coroner Thomas and Chairman Robinson Explain the Statements of the Gravediggers.
Coroner Danford Thomas at the close of an inquest, which he held on Saturday at St. Pancras Coroner's Court, said the jury had probably seen in The Star of the preceding evening a startling account of the disinterment of paupers' bodies in Finchley Cemetery, and their removal thence. He had the power, even if a person were buried, to order the disinterment of the body should an inquest be afterwards deemed necessary. Occasionally half a dozen old folks would be lying dead at the St. Pancras Workhouse and awaiting interment at one time, and he distinctly remembered that several years ago one old lady was buried in mistake for another. An inquest was to be held on the old lady who had been interred; and her relatives being unable to identify the corpse which was at the mortuary in her stead, led to the discovery that the two bodies had been placed in wrong coffins. He gave an order for disinterment, the inquest took place, and the matter was set right. This might be one of the cases of alleged "body snatching" referred to in The Star, and perhaps the others could be as easily explained. Prior to an inquest the power of disinterment was with the coroner, but subsequently it rested with the Home Secretary.
Mr. Nathan Robinson, chairman of the Workhouse Committee of St. Pancras, expresses to The Star the hope that the public will suspend judgment on the charges of body-snatching in Finchley Cemetery until the special committee now sitting upon the subject shall have finished their investigation. Mr. Robinson is the last man to throw any obstacle in the way of the investigation, but in his character as Guardian, he fells called upon to state why he believes the stories to be without foundation in fact. He says he has personally inquired into the matter, and is satisfied that the only pauper bodies that have been disinterred from Finchley have been taken to St. Pancras Mortuary
and that there have been only two of these in eight years. In cases of this kind the bodies are always re-coffined, entered upon a fresh sheet, and sent back to the cemetery. Grave diggers, says Mr. Robinson, are not inquisitive. "Rattle his bones over the stones," say they; so they would not be expected to know where bodies were going. When someone asked in the inquiry where it was supposed the bodies were taken, one of those present, Mr. Purchese, jocularly remarked, "Perhaps they were sold to Mr. Cook." This, Mr. Robinson thinks, was the origin of one part of the story. The coachman says that in
for the Board he has never had the hearse out except at the regular times for interments, and never has visited the cemetery except on those occasions. The master of the workhouse says it would be impossible for the hearse to be taken out night or day without its being regularly booked. It is further stated as an argument against the traffic in corpses, that, notwithstanding the legal privilege granted the public institutions of London, the St. Pancras authorities have not had a single application for a body in two years.
A fire of an exciting character, which has resulted in one death, took place on Saturday afternoon at No. 63, Back Church-lane, Commercial-road, Whitechapel, a building, consisting of six rooms, in a dilapidated condition. Mr. Issac Green, chandler's shopkeeper, occupied the ground and first floors, and the two rooms overhead were rented by other tenants with families. When the alarm of "fire" was first raised, the neighbors assert that smoke and flames were perceptible in the upper part, from which cries for help were repeatedly heard, but the rapid spread of the fire rendered it impossible to ascend to rescue those within. The unfortunate persons were Mrs. B. Solomon and Mrs. Jane Lowden, both of whom jumped from the second floor window, and the injuries they sustained in the fall rendered it necessary to remove them to the London Hospital. Becky Solomon died in the hospital yesterday after great suffering.
SIR, - The terrible crimes perpetrated within these last months must fill every true woman's heart with pity for her poor fallen sisters, and surely their own sex will be willing to show them some practical sympathy. It was suggested in one of the daily papers that every woman in London should give one penny for the sake of these poor outcasts, and the amount would be sufficient to provide clean and good lodgings for them. Surely no one would grudge so small a sum.
But that is not all that is requisite: a refining influence must be shed over these low London slums, and who could do it better than the ladies of England "who dwell at home at ease"? Surely there are some who have leisure and money to befriend these poor, homeless women. One can but feel indignant at the conduct of Mr. Matthews in this case. Even the poor blind Tories must condemn it. Excuse the liberty I have taken, and believe me, yours, &c.,
The Effect of a Regular Fruit and Grain Diet Upon Pocket and Health.
The tragedies at Whitechapel have brought a good many social questions to the fore, and among others Mr. Barnett's suggestion for the removal of the East-end slaughterhouses with their associations of blood has been echoed in more than one quarter. So we thought we would consult vegetarians on the point as to whether meat-eating has had anything to do with the ferocious spirit which the murders have brought to the surface. Flesh food is regarded by a good many people as a kind of food-alcohol, or vitriol madness which flushes up into the cheeks of Whitechapel murderers. The admirable organising secretary of the London Vegetarian Society, Mr. W. S. Manning, was communicative enough. "The position of vegetarianism," said Mr. Manning, "is this. Until this London Vegetarian Society was started, now about two years ago, soi-disant vegetarianism was only a negative doctrine of abstinence from fish, flesh, and fowl. But we now preach the positive gospel of the ideal fruit, grain, and nut diet - that is to say, the natural, the perfect, and therefore the moral diet for human nature in all climates. We hold that all disease is the result of a breach of the laws of nature. Man has yet to find -or, at any rate, to universally adopt - his specific and proper food, and when that is ascertained and used, alcoholic and sexual excesses, together with tobacco and a host of other evils, will vanish into
"That seems sound doctrine," we observed, "but has your society formulated anything like a creed? What are your cardinal points of doctrine?"
"Standing upon the bedstone of science," said Mr. Manning, and believing our theory to be in accordance with revelation, we claim for our principles the promotion of universal health, economy, temperance, and humanity."
"One at a time," we suggested,
"Well, on the ground of health we maintain that when people realise that they live in a world governed by fixed laws they will find that there is a right and a wrong food for every living thing, from the canary bird upwards. The right food is found by studying the law of nature. A study of chemistry, physiology, and, above all, comparative anatomy shows that man can only be classed amongst the fruit-eating species. We admit this, and we hold that the laws of nature are the commands of God."
"Pass to the question of economy," said the Star man.
"That's a strong point with us. A diet of cereal food for a family, if purchased wholesale, could be bought for a penny per head per day."
"But that does not cover fruit?" we remarked.
"If you add the item of fruit, it would cost 3d. per head per day, or, as one of our platform men puts it, "You may live like fighting cocks on 6d. a day."
"Now, as to temperance? In this paper you have given me (the Vegetarian), I see a working blacksmith says he had a decided preference for unfermented bread and uncooked fruit to supply both food and drink for his daily work. Do you find any of your laboring-men members take a fruit dinner and beer with it?"
"Never. They neither need it nor crave it. As a fact, ripe, good fruit contains from 85 to 90 per cent. of moisture, and as we abstain from fatty food, condiments, and sugar, we have no desire for drinks. We get nourishment and satisfy the appetite from unfermented bread, and we please our palates and build up our bodies with ripe, sound, uncooked fruit."
"You appear to utterly ignore cooks?"
"I do, and most of our adherents do also. I take no tea or coffee, and I have come to the conclusion that if you want to take bread of which you will not tire you must have whole-meal bread without any admixture of leaven, baking powder, or ferment. That is a dietetic discovery of the age; and another discovery is that to enjoy fruit as food it must be taken without any interference from the cook."
"Will you give me your views as to the moral effects of your kind of living, Mr. Manning?"
"The moral effects are tolerably obvious. If you train people to eat just what they require, and that of the right kind, you abolish the bad craving for unnecessary stimulants. Wholesome food leads to wholesome homes, and health and cleanliness are first class fillips to thrift. Ours is a 'Disease Abolition Society.' Educate people to eat and drink aright, and clean houses, healthy bodies, thrifty habits, and gentle characters will accrue."
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