Wednesday, 3 October 1888
Yesterday afternoon Mr. Wynne E. Baxter, coroner for the South-Eastern Division of Middlesex, resumed his inquiry at the Vestry-hall, Cable-street, St. George's-in-the-East, respecting the death of Elizabeth Stride, who was found murdered in Berner-street on Sunday morning last.
Detective-inspector E. Reid, H Division, watched the case on behalf of the Criminal Investigation Department.
Police-constable Henry Lamb, 252 H, deposed as follows: - About 1 o'clock, as near as I can tell, on Sunday morning I was in the Commercial-road, between Christian-street and Batty-street. Two men came running towards me. I went towards them and heard them say, "Come on! There has been another murder." I said, "Where?" As they got to the corner of Berner-street they pointed down the street. Seeing people moving about some distance down Berner-street, I ran down that street followed by Constable 426 H. I went into the gateway of No. 40, Berner-street and saw something dark lying on the right-hand side, close to the gates. I turned my light on and found it was a woman. I saw that her throat was cut, and she appeared to be dead. I at once sent the other constable for the nearest doctor, and I sent a young man that was standing by to the police-station to inform the inspector that a woman was lying in Berner-street with her throat cut, and apparently dead.
The CORONER. - How many people were there in the yard?
Witness. - I should think 20 or 30. Some of that number had followed me in.
The CORONER. - Was any one touching the body when you arrived?
Witness. - No. There was no one within a yard of it. As I was examining the body some crowded round. I begged them to keep back, and told them they might get some of the blood on their clothing, and by that means get themselves into trouble. I then blew my whistle. I put my hand on the face and found it slightly warm. I then felt the wrist, but could not feel the pulse.
The CORONER. - Did you do anything else to the body?
Witness. - I did not, and would not allow any one to get near the body. Deceased was lying on her side, and her left arm was lying under her.
The CORONER. - Did you examine her hands?
Witness. - I did not; but I saw that her right arm was across the breast.
The CORONER. - How near was her head to the wall?
Witness. - I should say her face was about five or six inches way.
The CORONER. - Were her clothes disturbed?
Witness. - No. I scarcely could see her boots. She looked as if she had been laid quietly down. Her clothes were not in the least rumpled.
The CORONER. - Was the blood in a liquid state?
Witness. - Some was, and some was congealed. It extended close to the door. The part nearest to her throat was congealed.
The CORONER. - Was any blood coming from the throat at that time?
Witness. - I hardly like to say that, Sir. If there was it must have been a very small quantity. Dr. Blackwell, about ten minutes after I got there, was the first doctor to arrive.
The CORONER. - Did any one say whether the body had been touched?
Witness. - No. Dr. Blackwell examined the body, and afterwards the surrounding ground. Dr. Phillips arrived about 20 minutes afterwards; but at that time I was at another part of the ground. Inspector Pinhorn arrived directly after the doctor arrived. When I got there I had the gates shut.
The CORONER. - But did not the feet of the deceased touch the gate?
Witness. - No; they went just behind it, and I was able to close the gates without disturbing the body. I put a constable at the gate and told him not to let any one in or out. I then entered the club and, starting from the front door, examined the place. I turned my light on and had a look at the different persons there, and examined a number of their hands and also their clothing to see if I could detect any marks of blood. I did not take up each one's hand. I should say there were from 15 to 20 persons in the club-room on the ground floor. I then went into every room, including the one in which there was a stage, and I went behind it. A person was there who informed me he was the steward.
The CORONER. - You did not think to put him in charge of the front door?
Witness. - No, I did not. When further assistance came a constable was put in charge of the front door. I did not see anyone leave by that entrance, and could not say if it was locked. After I examined the club, I went into the yard and examined the cottages. I also went into the water-closets. The occupiers of the cottages were all in bed when I knocked. A man came down partly dressed to let me in. Every one I saw, except this one, was undressed.
The CORONER. - There is a recess in the yard, is there not? Did you go there?
Witness. - Yes; and I afterwards went there with Dr. Phillips. I examined the dust-bin and dung-heap. I noticed there was a hoarding, but I do not recollect looking over it. After that I went and examined the steps and outside of Messrs. Hindley's premises. I also looked through the windows, as the doors were fastened.
The CORONER. - How long was it before the cottage doors were opened?
Witness. - Not long. The people seemed very much frightened and wanted to know what was the matter. I told them nothing much, as I did not want to frighten them. When I returned from there Dr. Phillips and Chief Inspector West had arrived.
The CORONER. - Was there anything to prevent any one escaping while you were examining the body?
Witness. - It was quite possible, as I was then there by myself. There was a lot of confusion, and every one was looking towards the body.
The CORONER. - A person might have escaped before you arrived?
Witness. - That is quite possible. I should think he got away before I got there, and not afterwards.
Inspector Reid. - How long was it before you passed that spot?
Witness. - I was not on the beat; but I passed the Commercial-road end of the street some six or seven minutes before I was called. When I was fetched I was going in the direction of Berner-street. Constable Smith is on the Berner-street beat. The constable who followed me down is on fixed-point duty from 9 to 5 at the end of Grove-street. All the fixed-point men ceased their duty at 1 a.m., and then the men on the beats did the whole duty.
Inspector Reid. - These men are fixed at certain places, so if a person wanted a constable he would not have to go all the way to the station for one.
The CORONER. - Did you see anything suspicious?
Witness. - No, I saw lots of squabbles and rows such as one sees on Saturday nights. I think I should have seen any one running from the gate of 40, Berner-street if I had been standing at the Commercial-road end of it. I could not tell if the lamps on the plan are correct.
The CORONER. - I may mention there are four lamps between Commercial-road and Fairclough-street. Is the street as well lit as others in the neighbourhood?
Witness. - It is lit about as well as side streets generally are, but some I know are better lighted.
A Juryman. - I think that street is lighted quite as well as any other.
In further examination, witness said, - I remained in the yard the remainder of the night. I started to help convey the body to the mortuary, but I was fetched back.
Edward Spooner said, - I live at 26, Fairclough-street, and am a horse-keeper at Messrs. Meredith's. Between half-past 12 and 1 o'clock on Sunday morning I was standing outside the Bee Hive publichouse, at the corner of Christian-street and Fairclough-street, along with a young woman. I had previously been in another beershop at the top of the street, and afterwards walked down. After talking for about 25 minutes I saw two Jews come running along and shouting out "Murder" and "Police." They then ran as far as Grove-street and turned back. I stopped them and asked what was the matter. They replied, "A woman has been murdered." I then went round with them to Berner-street, and into Dutfield's yard, adjoining No. 40, Berner-street. I saw a woman lying just inside the gate. At that time there were about 15 people in the yard, and they were all standing round the body. The majority of them appeared to be Jews. No one touched the body. One of them struck a match, and I lifted up the chin of the deceased with my hand. The chin was slightly warm. Blood was still flowing from the throat. I could see that she had a piece of paper doubled up in her right hand, and a red and white flower pinned on to her jacket. The body was lying on one side, with the face turned towards the wall. I noticed that blood was running down the gutter. I stood there about five minutes before a constable came. It was the last witness who first arrived. I did not notice any one leave while I was there, but there were a lot of people there, and a person might have got away unnoticed. The only means I had of fixing the time was by the closing of the publichouses. I stood at the top of the street for about five minutes, and then 25 minutes outside the publichouse. I should say it was about 25 minutes to 1 when I first went to the yard. I could not form any opinion about the body having been moved. Several persons stood around. I noticed that the legs of the deceased were drawn up, but the clothes were not disturbed. As soon as the policeman came I stepped back, and afterwards helped to fasten the gates. When I left it was by the front door of the club. Before that I was searched, and gave my name and address. I was also examined by Dr. Phillips.
By the CORONER. - There was no blood on the chin of the deceased, and I did not get any on my hands. Directly I got inside the yard I could see that it was a woman lying on the ground.
By the jury. - As I was going to Berner-street I did not meet any one except Mr. Harris, who came out of his house in Tiger Bay (Brunswick-street). Mr. Harris told me he had heard the policeman's whistle blowing.
Mary Malcolm said, - I live at 50, Eagle-street, Red Lion-square. I am married to Andrew Malcolm, a tailor. I have seen the body in the mortuary. I saw it on Sunday and twice yesterday. It is the body of my sister, Elizabeth Watts.
The CORONER. - You have no doubt about that?
Witness. - Not the slightest.
The CORONER. - You had some doubts at first?
Witness. - I had, but not now. I last saw her alive at a quarter to 7 last Thursday evening. She came to me where I worked at the tailoring, at 59, Red Lion-street. She came to me to ask me to give her a little assistance, which I have been in the habit of doing off and on for the last five years. I gave her 1s. and a little short jacket. The latter is not the one she had on when found in Berner-street. She only remained with me for a few moments, and she did not say where she was going. I could not say where she was living except that it was somewhere in the neighbourhood of the tailors and Jews at the East-end. I understood she was living in lodging-houses.
The CORONER. - Did you know what she was doing for a living?
Witness. - I had my doubts.
The CORONER. - Was she the worse for drink when she came to you?
Witness. - She was sober, but unfortunately drink was a failing with her.
The CORONER. - How old was she?
Witness. - 37.
The CORONER. - Was she married?
Witness. - Yes, to Mr. Watts, wine and spirit merchant, of Walton-street, Bath. I think his name is Edward Watts, and he is in partnership with his father, and they are in a large way of business. My sister left her home because she brought disgrace on her husband. Her husband left her because he caught her with a porter. Her husband sent her home to her poor mother, who is now dead. She took her two children with her, but I believe the boy has since been sent to a boarding school by his aunt, Miss Watts. The other child, a girl, was dead. I have never seen my sister in an epileptic fit - only in drunken fits. I believe she has been before the Thames Police-court magistrate on charges of drunkenness. I believe she has been let off on the ground that she was subject to epileptic fits, but I do not believe she was subject to them. I believe she lived with a man who kept a coffee house at Poplar. His name was not Stride, but I could find out by to-morrow. She had ceased to live with him for some time, for he went to sea and was wrecked on the Isle of St. Paul. That was about three years ago. Since then she had not lived with any one to my knowledge.
The CORONER. - Have you ever heard she has been in trouble with any man?
Witness. - No, but she has been locked up several times. I have never heard of any one threatening her, or that she was afraid of any one. I know of no man with whom she had any relations, and I did not know she lived in Flower and Dean-street. I knew that she was called "Long Liz."
The CORONER. - Have you ever heard the name of Stride?
Witness. - She never mentioned that name to me. If she had lived with any one of that name I am sure she would have told me. She used to come to me every Saturday, and I always gave her 2s.
The CORONER. - Did she come last Saturday?
Witness. - No; her visit on Thursday was an unusual one. Before that she had not missed a Saturday for between two and three years. She always came at 4 o'clock in the afternoon, and we used to meet at the corner of Chancery-lane. On Saturday afternoon I went there at half-past 3 and remained there until 5, but deceased did not turn up. On Sunday morning, when I read the paper, I wondered whether it was my sister. I had a presentiment that it was. I then went to Whitechapel and spoke to a policeman about my sister. I afterwards went to the St. George's mortuary. When I first saw the body I did not at first recognize it, as I only saw it by gas light; but the next day I recognized it.
The CORONER. - Did not you have some special presentiment about your sister?
Witness. - About 1:20 a.m. on Sunday morning I was lying on my bed when I felt a kind of pressure on my breast, and then I felt three kisses on my cheek. I also heard the kisses, and they were quite distinct.
A Juryman. - Did your sister have any special mark about her?
Witness. -Yes; a black mark on her leg, and I saw it there yesterday. I told the police I could recognize her by this particular mark. The mark was caused by my sister being bitten by an adder some years ago, and I was bitten on the finger at the same time. Here is the mark (showing it to the Coroner).
The CORONER. - Has your husband seen your sister?
Witness. - He has seen her once or twice some three years ago. I have another sister and a brother who are alive, but they have not seen her for years.
The CORONER. - I hear at one time you said it was your sister, and at another time you said it was not.
Witness. - I am sure it was.
The CORONER. - Have you any one that can corroborate you?
Witness. - Only my brother and my sister. This disgrace will kill my sister. The best thing will be for her brother to come up. I have kept this shame from every one. (Here the witness sobbed bitterly.)
The CORONER. - Was there any special mark on your sister's feet?
Witness. - I know she had a hollow at the bottom of one of her feet, which was the result of an accident.
The CORONER. - Did you recognize the clothes she wore?
Witness. - No, I did not. I never took notice of what she wore, for I was always grateful to get rid of her. Once she left a baby naked outside my door, and I had to keep it until she fetched it away. It was not one of the two children already mentioned, but was by some policeman or another. I do not know any one that would do her harm, for she was a girl every one liked.
The CORONER. - Would your brother recognize her? Witness. - I am positive he could, although he has not seen her for years. I can now recognize her by the hair.
The CORONER. - I think you ought to go again to the spot where you have been in the habit of meeting your sister to see if she comes again. You say she has not missed a single Saturday for two and a half years. How about the Saturday when she was in prison?
Witness. - She has always been fined, and the money has been paid.
Mr. Frederick William Blackwell said, - I live at 100, Commercial-road, and am a surgeon. At 10 minutes past 1 on Sunday morning I was called to 40, Berner-street. I was called by a policeman, and my assistant, Mr. Johnson, went back with him. I followed immediately I had dressed. I consulted my watch on my arrival, and it was just 1:10. The deceased was lying on her left side completely across the yard. Her legs were drawn up, her feet against the wall of the right side of the yard passage. Her head was resting almost in the line of the carriage way, and her feet were about three yards from the gateway. The feet almost touched the wall, and the face was completely towards the wall. The neck and chest were quite warm; also the legs and face were slightly warm. The hands were cold. The right hand was lying on the chest, and was smeared inside and out with blood. It was quite open. The left hand was lying on the ground and was partially closed, and contained a small packet of cachous wrapped in tissue paper. There were no rings or marks of rings on the fingers. The appearance of the face was quite placid, and the mouth was slightly open. There was a check silk scarf round the neck, the bow of which was turned to the left side and pulled tightly. There was a long incision in the neck, which exactly corresponded with the lower border of the scarf. The lower edge of the scarf was slightly frayed, as if by a sharp knife. The incision in the neck commenced on the left side, 2 ½in. below the angle of the jaw, and almost in a direct line with it. It nearly severed the vessels on the left side, cut the windpipe completely in two, and terminated on the opposite side 1½in. below the angle of the right jaw, but without severing the vessels on that side. The post-mortem appearances will be given subsequently.
By the CORONER. - I did not ascertain if the bloody hand had been moved. The blood was running down in the gutter into the drain. It was running in an opposite direction to the feet. There was a quantity of clotted blood just under the body.
The CORONER. - Were there no spots of blood anywhere?
Witness. - No. Some of the blood had been trodden about near to where the body was lying.
The CORONER. - Was there any blood on the side of the house, or splashes on the wall?
Witness. - No. It was very dark at the time, and I only examined it by the policeman's lamp. I have not since examined the place.
The CORONER. - Did you examine the clothing?
Witness. - Yes. There was no blood on any portion of it. The bonnet was lying on the ground, a few inches from the head. The dress was undone at the top. I know about what deceased had on, but could not give an accurate description of them. I noticed she had a bunch of flowers in her jacket. The injuries were beyond the possibility of self-infliction.
The CORONER. - How long had the deceased been dead when you saw her?
Witness. - From 20 minutes to half an hour when I arrived. It was a very mild night and was not raining at the time. There was no wet on deceased's clothing. Deceased would have bled to death comparatively slowly, on account of the vessels on one side only being severed, and the artery not completely severed. Deceased could not have cried out after the injuries were inflicted as the windpipe was severed. I felt the heart and found it quite warm. My assistant was present all the time. Dr. Phillips arrived from 20 minutes to half an hour after my arrival, but I did not notice the exact time.
The CORONER. - Could you see there was a woman there when you went in?
Witness. - Yes. The doors were closed when I arrived. I formed the opinion that the murderer first took hold of the silk scarf, at the back of it, and then pulled the deceased backwards, but I cannot say whether the throat was cut while the woman was standing or after she was pulled backwards. Deceased would take about a minute and a half to bleed to death. I cannot say whether the scarf would be tightened sufficiently to prevent deceased calling out.
At this stage the inquiry was adjourned until today.
Great satisfaction was expressed yesterday throughout the City at the promptness with which the Lord Mayor, on the part of the Corporation, and at the instance of Colonel Sir James Fraser, the Commissioner of the City Police, has offered a reward for the discovery and conviction of the murderer or murderers of the woman who was found butchered in Mitre-square. There is reason to believe that the identification of the victim has been established. It appears that on Saturday night a woman - who gave the name of Mary Anne Kelly, and her address as No. 6, Fashion-street, Spitalfields - was taken, intoxicated, to the Bishopsgate-street police-station. It is customary in such cases for a constable who may be on duty at the station to visit at frequent intervals the person detained, to see how he or she may be progressing. The woman in question was attended to in this manner on Saturday night by Reserve Constable Hutt, who noticed that she had on a pair of men's boots, and at the same time he observed the bonnet which she was wearing as well as her attire generally. Having become sufficiently sober to be discharged, the woman was liberated on Sunday morning at 1 o'clock, when she stated that she was afraid to go home, it was understood, on account of her husband. Hutt saw her leave the station, and observed that, instead of going in the direction of Spitalfields, she turned to the left, towards Houndsditch, and consequently in the direction of Mitre-square. After the examination of the body of the murdered woman in the City mortuary in Golden-lane the boots and bonnet were left there with the keeper, the rest of the clothing being taken to the police-station. On going to the mortuary Hutt saw the boots and bonnet, and identified them as belonging to the woman who had been detained at the police-station. He then gave a general description of the rest of her dress, and on an examination being made afterwards at the police-station, where, as above stated, the other clothing had been taken, it was found to correspond fairly accurately with his account. Another constable, named Simmons, has also seen the body, and he believes too, that it is the woman who was discharged at 1 o'clock on Sunday morning from the Bishopsgate-street police-station. Inquiries have been made by the City police for a Mary Anne Kelly at the address given in Fashion-street, but no person answering the description of the woman who was detained is known there. It is, however, a common practice for persons under detention to give false names and addresses.
Up to a late hour last night no arrests had been made in connexion with the murders by the City police. No clues, in addition to the very slender ones mentioned in The Times yesterday, have been discovered; but it is fully believed by the police that the lurking place of the murderer is not very far from the scenes of his atrocious crimes.
Last night, between 9 and 10 o'clock, a labouring man, giving the name of John Kelly, 55, Flower and Dean-street - a common lodginghouse - entered the Bishopsgate-street Police-station, and stated that from what he had been reading in the newspapers he believed that the woman who had been murdered in Mitre-square was his "wife." He was at once taken by Sergeant Miles to the mortuary in Golden-lane, and there identified her as the woman, to whom he subsequently admitted he was not married, but with whom he had cohabited for seven years.
Major Henry Smith, the Assistant Commissioner of the City Police, and Superintendent Foster were telegraphed for, and immediately went to the Bishopsgate-street Station. Kelly, who was considerably affected, spoke quite unreservedly, and gave a full statement as to his own movements and those of the ill-fated woman, as to whose identity he was quite positive. In this statement he was borne out by the deputy of the lodginghouse, Frederick Wilkinson, who knew the poor woman quite well, and who had just seen the body. Kelly, in answer to questions, stated that the last time he saw her - referring to her as "Kate" - was on Saturday afternoon. The last meal she had with him was a breakfast which had been obtained by the pledging of his boots for 2s. 6d. Asked if he could explain how it was that she was out so late on Saturday night, he replied that he could not say. He left her in the afternoon, believing that she would return to him at the lodginghouse in Flower and Dean-street. He had told her to go and see her daughter, and to try and get "the price of a bed for the night." "Who is her daughter?" he was asked, to which he replied, "A married woman. She is married to a gun-maker, and they live somewhere in Bermondsey, in King-street, I think it is called; but I never went there." He was then asked if he knew the murdered woman's name, and if he could explain the meaning of the initials "T.C." on her arm. He at once replied that Thomas Conway was the name of her husband, but he could not state whether Conway was dead or alive, or how long, in the latter case, she had been living away from him. Being asked why he had not made inquiries before relative to her absence on Saturday night and since, he replied that he thought she had got into some trouble and had been locked up, and he thought he had better wait. She was given to drinking. He had cautioned her not to stay out late at night on account of the previous murders. The reason which had induced him at length to call at the police-station was his having read about pawntickets being found near the murdered woman relating to pledges in the names of Kelly and Birrell. Further questioned on this point, he repeated the reference to the pledging of his boots with a pawnbroker named Jones, of Church-street, and stated that the ticket for the other article (a flannel shirt), pledged in the name of Emily Birrell, had been given to them by the latter, who had been with them hopping, and who had slept in the same barn with them. He further stated that he and the murdered woman were "both Londoners," and that the latter was born at Bermondsey. They had just returned from hopping at a place which he was understood to call Hunton, adding that it was about two miles from Coxheath, in Kent. To the question how he obtained his living, he replied, "I job about the markets now." He added that he had worked pretty constantly for a fruit salesman named Lander for over 12 years. He and "Kate" had, he said, gone through many hardships together, but while she was with him he "would not let her do anything bad." He was asked if he knew whether the woman had any relatives besides the daughter mentioned, to which he replied that "Kate's" sister was living in Thrawl-street, Spitalfields, with a man who sold farthing books in Liverpool-street.
An officer was dispatched from the station for the ward beadle, who brought notices in blank with him, and two of them were filled up and served on Kelly and Wilkinson to attend the inquest, which, as already announced, will be held to-morrow at the City Mortuary.
Kelly is a man of about 40 years of age, of medium height, and judging from his appearance is a poor, but hard-working man. He was quite sober. It will be seen from his statements that the belief which was expressed earlier in the day by the police-constables Hutt and Simmons - to which reference is made elsewhere - as to the identity of the murdered woman with the female who had been detained for drunkenness at Bishopsgate-street Station, and who was discharged about an hour before the murder was committed, is confirmed. The boots and shirt referred to by Kelly as being in pledge are now in the possession of the police, having been obtained from the pawnbroker.
While Kelly was making his statement a man entered the station and made a confession that he was the murderer. He strongly objected to being searched, but this was done with the aid of two or three constables. Major Smith, who was present at the station, attaches no importance to the confession, the man having been drinking and having nothing of an incriminating nature in his possession. He was, however, detained.
At the annual dinner of the Royal East Berks. Agricultural Association, held at Maidenhead last evening, Sir George Russell, M.P. for the Wokingham Division of East Berks, made reference to the Whitechapel murders. He said the Home Secretary was blamed for not offering a reward for the detection of the murderer, but he reminded his hearers that Mr. Matthews was acting on a resolution adopted by his predecessor Sir William Harcourt. This step was the result of careful consideration and inquiry.
Sir, - Will you allow me to recommend that all the police boots should be furnished with a noiseless sole and heel, of indiarubber or other material, to prevent the sound of their measured tread being heard at night, which would enable them to get close to a criminal before he would be aware of their approach?
Junior United Service Club, S.W., Oct. 1.
Sir, - It was estimated in New York that every street electric lamp saved one policeman and was less expensive to maintain.
If every street were well lighted, and every court and alley were brilliantly lighted, deeds of darkness would be diminished and morality promoted.
I am, Sir, your obedient servant,
Kingswood, Enfield, Oct. 1.
Sir, - Another remarkable letter has been written by some bad fellow who signs himself "Jack the Ripper." The letter is said to be smeared with blood, and there is on it the print in blood of the corrugated surface of a thumb. This may be that of a man or a woman.
It is inconceivable that a woman has written or smeared such a letter, and therefore it may be accepted as a fact that the impression in blood is that of a man's thumb.
The surface of a thumb so printed is as clearly indicated as are the printed letters from any kind of type. Thus there is a possibility of identifying the blood print on the letter with the thumb that made it, because the surface markings on no two thumbs are alike, and this a low power used in a microscope could reveal.
I would suggest - (1) That it be proved if it is human blood, though this may not be material; (2) that the thumbs of every suspected man be compared by an expert with the blood-print of a thumb on the letter; (3) that it be ascertained whether the print of a thumb is that of a man who works hard and has rough, coarse hands, or whether that of one whose hands have not been roughened by labour; (4) whether the thumb was large or small; (5) whether the thumb print shows signs of any shakiness or tremor in the doing of it.
All this the microscope could reveal. The print of a thumb would give as good evidence as that of a boot or shoe.
I am, yours, &c.,
FRED. W. P. JAGO.
TO THE EDITOR OF THE TIMES.
Sir, - It was with the profoundest concern that I noted a communication in The Times of this morning from your Vienna Correspondent, relative to the alleged existence of a superstition that in certain circumstances a Jew might be justified in slaying and mutilating a Christian woman. "Woe unto the ears that hear this; woe unto the eyes that see this!" I may exclaim with an ancient Hebrew sage. I can assert, without hesitation, that in no Jewish book is such a barbarity even hinted at. Nor is there any record in the criminal annals of any country of a Jew having been convicted of such a terrible atrocity. These facts were conclusively proved by Professor Delitzsch, of Leipsic, and Dr. Bloch, a member of the Austrian Imperial Diet, on the occasion of the trial of Ritter, who, living in an atmosphere surcharged with anti-Semitism, had been accused of this crime, but who was ultimately acquitted, there being, as your Correspondent admits, no doubt as to his innocence.
We are, then, surely justified in hoping that, after the experience of many centuries as to the falsehood of such and similar charges, after the concurrent testimony borne by eminent Christian divines and scholars to the horror with which Judaism and Jews have at all times viewed the shedding of blood, this mediaeval spectre has been exorcised forever. And, in sooth, the tragedies enacted in the East-end are sufficiently distressing without the revival of moribund fables and the importation of prejudices abhorrent to the English nation.
I remain, Sir, your obedient servant,
Office of the Chief Rabbi, 16, Finsbury-square,
London, Oct. 2.
Sir, - It is with utter amazement and stupefaction that I read in your to-day's issue (2nd October) the following passage which your correspondent from Vienna found necessary to convey to you by wire:- "There is no doubt that the man [Ritter, accused of foul murder of a woman] was innocent; but the evidence touching the superstitions prevailing among some of the ignorant and degraded of his co-religionists remains on record, and was never wholly disproved."
Has the writer never seen and never heard that all those depositions and quotations were clumsy fabrications? That the absurd fable - the legend of the blood - has been " wholly disproved " by a host of eminent writers?
Is he going to play the role of the "bloodhounds" recommended by various correspondents and, based upon a superstition, place these horrible crimes at the door of my unfortunate coreligionists?
I cannot find expressions strong enough to condemn these atrocious crimes; but it makes man still more despair of the progress of mankind when one sees this revival of absurd legends disposed off long ago.
Some 30 or 40 years ago Professor Theodoras refuted them in the columns of The Times, and in such a conclusive manner, that we thought we had heard for the last time of these legends in England, or in an English paper.
For your correspondent this, however, does not seem to exist; he has probably never heard of the publications of Professor Delitzsch, Chwolson, and a host of others. Nor does he seem to know that these superstitions do not prevail among the Jews even in the most degraded position, but that these are superstitions entertained against the Jews from which the Jews turn with horror and disgust.
Not the slightest shadow of a doubt has been left. This absurd legend has been "wholly disproved." It is forming now only a portion of medieval folk-lore.
Being regularly the outcome of the then ecclesia militans, all the religious sects which formed a minority had in turns to suffer from that calumny. Shall I repeat here all those eloquent and vehement protestations of the Fathers of the Church (Tertullian, Minucius Felix, Justinus Martyr, Athenagoras, Origen, Epiphanius, &c.), when the heathen mob accused them of such horrible crimes as the "Feast of Thyestes?" Shall I repeat the denunciations of the Albigenses, Manicheans, Kathars, and after their extirpation, of the Jews during the Middle Ages? or all that has been written against the Schismatics (Raskolinski) in modern times in Russia?
Baseless and without foundation as these legends are, they are dangerous even in normal times; how much more in abnormal? Who can foresee to what terrible consequences such a superstition might lead, when the people frantic with rage and terror, get hold of it and wreak their vengeance on innocent men?
I consider it as a duty imposed upon me by my position to protest most energetically against this and similar calumnies, still more as a duty towards truth, to brand it as a calumny, and not to let it even for a moment pass as having any foundation whatsoever.
Elsewhere we have to look for the perpetrator of these horrible crimes, which cast a gloom over the most civilized town in Europe.
I am, Sir, yours truly,
M. GASTER, Ph.D., Chief Rabbi of the Spanish
and Portuguese Jews' Congregations of England.
19, Brondesbury-villas, Kilburn, N.W.
London. Oct. 2.
Charles Ludwig, 40, a decently attired German, who professed not to speak English, was brought up on remand, charged with theatening to stab Elizabeth Burns, an unfortunate, of 53 Flower and Dean street, Spitalfields, and also with threatening to stab Alexander Finlay, of 51 Leman street, Whitechapel. Elizabeth Burns stated about half past 3 on the early morning of Tuesday week she went with the prisoner up Butcher's row, Whitechapel road. Prisoner put his arm round her neck, and she saw an open knife in his hand. She screamed and two policemen came. The evidence of Finlay showed that at 3 o'clock on the morning of Tuesday fortnight he was standing at a coffee stall in the Whitehchapel road, when Ludwig came up in a state of intoxication. He pulled out a long bladed knife, and threatened to stab witness with it. Ludwig followed witness round the stall, and made several attempts to stab him. A constable came up and prisoner was given into custody. Evidence was given that on the way to the police station the prisoner dropped a long bladed knife, which was open, and when he was searched a razor and a long bladed pair of scissors were found on him. Inspector Prinley, H Division, stated the prisoner had fully accounted for his whereabouts on the nights of the recent murders. The magistrate, taking into consideration that prisoner had been in custody a fortnight, now allowed him to be discharged.
At Worship street, Mary M'Carthy, a young woman, well known at this Court, was charged at the close of the day's business with stabbing Ann Mason in the face. The prosecutrix said she was deputy of a common lodging house in Spitalfields, and the prisoner was a lodger.
The magistrate (Mr. Montagu Williams, Q.C.) - Is it one of the common lodging houses one hears of?
Witness - Yes, sir.
Mr. Williams - Then tell me this. How many beds do you make up there?
Witness - Twenty eight singles and 24 doubles.
Mr. Williams - By "doubles" you mean for a man and a woman?
Witness - Yes.
Mr. Williams - And the woman can take any man she likes - you do not know if the couple are married or not?
Witness - No, we do not ask them.
Mr. Williams - Precisely what I thought. And the sooner these lodging houses are put down the better. They are the haunt of the burglar, the home of the pickpocket, and the hotbed of prostitution. I do not think I can put it stronger than that. It is time the owners of these places, who reap large profits from them, were looked after.
The witness then continued her evidence, and said that because the prisoner had become quarrelsome the mistress told witness to refuse the prisoner's money for the future, and the prisoner out of spite stabbed witness in the face and neck with a piece of a skewer.
Mr. Williams - Who is the mistress you mention?
Witness - Mrs. Wilmot.
Mr. Williams - She is the owner then, but she does not live there?
Witness - No, in Brick lane.
Mr. Williams - What is she?
Witness - A baker.
Mr. Williams - Has she any more of these common lodging houses?
Witness - Yes, two in Wentworth street, close by where I am in George yard.
Mr. Williams - And how many beds does she provide there?
The Prisoner - Sixty or 70.
Mr. Williams - What is the price of a bed?
Witness - Fourpence and eightpence.
Mr. Williams - Eightpence for a double. Was prisoner a double or single?
Witness - Double. She always had a man with her.
Mr. Williams - Is she married?
Witness - No, I do not think so.
Mr. Williams - Then the place is a brothel?
(The inspector on duty in the Court said that the beds were let for the night.)
Mr. Williams - That makes no difference - whether let for a short time or for a night. The witness says that any woman can take any man in there, and so long as 8d is paid no question is asked. What is that but a house carried on for immoral accommodation?
Mr. Enoch Walker, vestry clerk of Shoreditch, said that he had had a good deal of experience with such places, but they could only be touched by one section of the Criminal Law Amendment Act.
Mr. Williams - Then I hope they will not be exempt from future legislation. They are places where, according to the witness, the thief or the criminal can hide all day for the payment of 4d or 8d for a bed each night. As a magistrate I have made it my business to go over some of these places, and I say that the sooner they are put down the better. In my humble judgement they are about as unwholesome and unhealthy, as well as dangerous to the community, as can well be. There are places among them where the police dare not enter, and where the criminal hides all day long. I have seen so much that I hope what I have said will do something to call attention to them. The prisoner, after the evidence of a police constable had corroborated that of the lodging house deputy, was sentenced to a month's hard labour. She left the dock threatening the prosecutrix.