New York, USA
2 October 1888
A Look at the Streets Where Murder runs Riot.
London Correspondent of the New York Sun.
Your correspondent has spent from early evening until now, past midnight, wandering through the Whitechapel slums. The best idea of the awful degradation of the men there can be gathered from a description of the woman, whose ability to keep alive proves the existence of men so low as to consort with them. These wretched women swarm the streets by thousands even now, but keep close together and look sharply around for murderers, even while pretending to laugh and asking each other whose turn to be cut up will come next. The language in which they speak of the fiend, who has made it his business to murder them, it is impossible to reproduce. Such profanity and hideously foul language as may be heard coming from the group of women of any Whitechapel corner can probably not be heard anywhere else. Some of these poor animals have actually grown old in their misery, shrivelled, horrible gin soaked hags, who fight and quarrel on the gutter's edge, and to approach within yards of whom is torture.
The younger women, the queens of these slums, are even more distressing to look at. Some are mere girls, almost children, but all celebrate any stroke of fortune by getting drunk. Bright colors distinguish them. Light blue is the favorite color. Cheap brocades, dragging in the mud, and ostrich feathers as sadly out of curl as the dissipated owners' hair, are favorite outward signs of such prosperity as may be attained at Whitechapel. The poor creatures when born were dropped upon the surface of the worst pool of human degradation that can be boasted by any great city on earth, and all they can do is sink deeper down into it, fighting and drinking cheap gin as they go.
Infants brawling through heaps of refuse in the slums, never having been made jealous by the sight of clean, fat babyhood, were fairly contented, and their parents evidently found their lives much enlivened by the sensation which has come upon them. The scenes of both murders were swarming with curious crowds, preference being given to the place where the most savage murder occurred, and up to tonight morbid citizens were busy lighting wax matches in the dark corner of Mitre Square trying to discover blood stains.
No new theory worth entertaining has been put forward. That first advanced by your correspondent on September 8, namely, that the murderer, whether a maniac or not, must possess some knowledge of surgery, is accepted as proven. The attempt to connect the crime with some American medical student who is supposed to have offered large sums to various hospitals for an anatomical specimen has been given up as ridiculous. The anatomical specimen in question can easily be obtained for a few shillings. It is suggested that the murderer must be a respectable looking individual, as in the present state of terror the most degraded Whitechapel women would not dare trust themselves with a rough. But that is rubbish, for every social law in Whitechapel is based on want and hunger, and the lowest brute on earth with means to procure gin would quickly find a Whitechapel woman eager to help him drink it. The murderer must be very strong, as he appears to have been able in each case to overcome his victim with ease and to stifle any loud outcry.
Besides being strong, the murderer must have had a terribly sharp knife, for I have just come from the mortuary where the first of last night's victims lies. The gaping wound in the throat shows plainly the division of the jugular vein and the windpipe and the notch caused by the knife coming in contact with the vertebrae. The wounds on the throat of the Mitre square victim are almost identical.
It is evident that the police here are not going to do much, and if the legendary detective instinct which sniffs out criminals still exists in America its owner had better come over here, humiliate Scotland yard, earn the thanks of all England, and also earn the £300 reward which would pay his expenses. A detective leaving New York now would arrive just in time for the next batch of murders.