Monday, 8 October 1888
Fears were expressed among the police on Saturday that the night would not pass without some startling occurrence, and the most extraordinary precautions were taken in consequence. It must not be supposed that the precautions taken apply only to the East-end of London. It is fully understood that the murderer, finding his favourite haunts too hot for him, may transfer his operations to another district, and arrangements have been made accordingly. The parks are specially patrolled, and the police, even in the most outlying districts, are keenly alive to the necessities of the situation. Having efficiently provided for the safeguarding of other portions of the large area under his jurisdiction, Sir Charles Warren has sent every available man into the East-end district. These, together with a large body of City detectives, are now on duty, and will remain in the streets throughout the night. Most of the men were on duty all last night, and the work has been found very harassing. But every man has entered heartily into the work, and not a murmur has been heard from any of the officers. They are on their metal, and if zeal were the only thing needed to hunt down the murderer, his capture would be assured.
Yesterday evening all was quiet in the district, and the excitement had somewhat subsided. Nevertheless, the police and the local Vigilance Committee have by no means relaxed their watchfulness, and the inhabitants of the district, disregarding the improbability of the murderer risking his freedom under those circumstances, still appear to expect the early commission of a new crime. During Saturday night and the early hours of Sunday morning several persons were arrested and detained at local police-stations until all the circumstances in connexion with their apprehension were thoroughly sifted. Several of these were given into custody on grounds which proved in inquiry to be flimsy and even foolish, and the police have in consequence been put to a good deal of trouble without any corresponding result. It seemed at times as if every person in the streets were suspicious of everyone else he met, and as if it were a race between them who should first inform against his neighbour.
Alfred Napier Blanchard, who described himself as a canvasser, residing at Handsworth, was charged at Birmingham on Saturday, on his own confession, with having committed the Whitechapel atrocities. He had been arrested in consequence of a circumstantial statement which he made in a publichouse of the manner in which he had effected the murders. He now denied all knowledge of the matter, and said he had spoken under excitement, caused by reading about the murders, and heavy drinking. The Bench declined to release him, however, till to-day, in order to allow time for inquiries.
Up to a late hour last night no important arrest had been reported in connexion with the murders at the East-end at any of the City police-stations. Many communications continue to be received at Scotland-yard and by the City police, describing persons who have been seen in various parts of the country whose conduct is suspicious or who are supposed to resemble the man seen talking to the victim of the Berner-street murder on the night of her assassination.
In answer to the petition to Her Majesty, presented by Mr. George Lusk on behalf of his Vigilance Committee and the inhabitants of Whitechapel generally, the following letter was received late on Saturday night:-
"Sir - The Secretary of State for the Home Department has had the honour to lay before the Queen the petition signed by you praying that a reward may be offered by the Government for the discovery of the perpetrator of the recent murders in Whitechapel, and he desires me to inform you that though he has given directions that no effort or expense should be spared in endeavouring to discover the person guilty of the murders, he has not been able to advise Her Majesty that in his belief the ends of justice would be promoted by any departure from the decision already announced with regard to the proposal that a reward should be offered by Government.
"I am, Sir, your obedient servant,
"E. LEIGH PEMBERTON.
"George Lusk, Esq., 1, 2, and 3, Alderney-road, Mile-end-road, E."
In reference to the great interest taken by Mr. Lusk in the welfare of the inhabitants of the district, there seems to be no doubt that he has been marked down, for on Saturday evening it became necessary to call in the police for the purpose of keeping a look-out for a mysterious stranger who has been prowling round his premises and his son's house with the object, it is believed, of striking through Mr. Lusk at the Vigilance Committee. After an interview with a constable and a detective-sergeant, the matter was deemed of sufficient importance to warrant the attendance of an inspector from Bethnal-green, and at 10:30 waited on Mr. Lusk and heard his statement on the matter. The description given of this man is as follows:- Height, 5ft. 9in., aged 38 to 40, full beard and moustache, matted and untrimmed, dent on the bridge of the nose, florid complexion, wide nostrils, eyes sunken, dressed in a rusty frock coat, white turn-down collar, black tie, no watchchain, deerstalker hat, and the left boot broken out on the left side; carried a brown stick with round top.
According to a Reuter telegram from New York, the New York Herald declares that the seaman named Dodge, who recently stated that a Malay, whom he met in London, threatened to murder a number of Whitechapel women for robbing him, said he knew the street where the Malay stayed, but that he would not divulge the name until he learnt what chance there was of a reward. He stated, however, that the street was not far from the East India Dock-road; but he was not certain about the house where the man lived. Another seaman said he thought the Malay was now on a vessel plying in the North Sea.
Sir, - Since the bloodhound ceased to be used in the pursuit of sheep stealers, the breed has become scarce, and he is now chiefly regarded as an ornament to our dog shows and a good model for the artist.
I hope that you will allow me a little space to advocate the restoration of this noble hound to his old position in the detection of crime. I may say that I have been a breeder of bloodhounds for nearly 20 years, have had some experience in training to hunt "the clean boot," and take great interest in the history of the breed and its great possibilities of usefulness.
I find that most people have the impression that the bloodhound is a savage treacherous brute. I think that this idea is the result of recollections of "Uncle Tom's Cabin," "Dred," and books of that kind. The Cuban bloodhound, which was used for slave-hunting, was a savage animal, and would pull his man down when he came up to him, but this is quite a different breed to our bloodhound, and does not resemble him at all either in appearance or disposition. I often run men that my hounds have never seen, and when the hounds come up and have smelt them over they take no further interest in them. The bloodhound may be of great use in tracking criminals, but will be of little service in capturing them.
In moss-trooping times it was no uncommon thing to run the scent of a man who had 10 or 15 hours' start, and to do so successfully, although the hounds of that time were so slow that when the pursuers came to soft ground where the track was plain they took up the hound and carried him on the saddle-bow to save time and laid him on again when they came to hard ground.
I have letters from two men who have the charge of hounds which are attached to penitentiaries in Texas. They give most wonderful accounts of the capture of convicts with hounds, although the men had in some instances 24 to 36 hours' start, and in one case they ran their man over 40 miles. These hounds are a cross between the Cuban bloodhound and foxhound, splendidly trained and kept constantly at the work.
Our English bloodhound is infinitely superior to this or to any other breed in natural scenting power, for, luckily, our breeders have developed the long, narrow, peaked head and immense flews, always associated with this faculty, to an extent never known before.
The misfortune is that scarcely any owners of bloodhounds take the trouble to train them, and although the latent power is there and the hounds are very easily entered to man-hunting, it will take some years of careful training to attain the best results. If a few intelligent men who have had some experience in working hounds or in breaking dogs to the gun would take the matter up the capabilities of the bloodhound would be made so manifest that he would be constantly used by the police, and the deterrent effect would be incalculable.
The bloodhound can hunt a lighter scent than any other hound, and when properly trained will stick to the line of the hunted man, although it may have been crossed by others.
I doubt whether there any bloodhounds in England sufficiently trained to have a good chance of tracking a man in crowded thoroughfares such as Whitechapel, and unless laid on at once the chances are that the hound might hit off the wrong trail, but if a well-trained bloodhound had been tried at Gateshead before the scene of the murder had been much trampled over he would have been very likely to run the man down.
Some years since a so-called bloodhound caused great excitement in connexion with the Blackburn murder. The animal was a mongrel with little, or no trace of bloodhound about it, but it led to the discovery of the murderer by finding some bones concealed in a chimney. Of course any other cur would have done as much.
The great value of the pure bloodhound is that he can be trained to hunt the scent of a man through his boots and without any artificial aid such as blood. It is scarcely likely that a murderer would be so obliging as to smear his boots with the blood of his victim.
I shall be pleased to give any further information to any one interested in the training of bloodhounds, or to answer any queries that might suggest themselves to your readers.
Wyndyate, near Scarborough, Oct. 5