Friday, 20 February 1891
Another Whitechapel murder- the tenth of a mysterious series- has naturally in London revived the public feeling of sickening bewilderment that we experienced in the year 1888 to an especial degree, and again in 1889. Assuming that these butcheries were all committed by the same hand - and surely it is not possible that there can be more than one such fiend on the face of the earth - the intervals between the crimes ought to be very closely studied in searching for a clue. We had six murders during the late summer of 1888, and then the monster was quiet. Then he re-appeared again in about the same period in 1889. Last year he was again lying low. Now he comes with early spring. All this looks as if the man were a traveller. The police, however, have at last become fully alive to the danger of giving any information to the Press. The papers, with their modern system of private detectives, and conversion of offices into amateur police-courts, are a hindrance rather than an assistance to justice, and a clever villain has only to read them to know how to escape suspicion. But for the confession of a dissolute sailor see how much would have been made of the possession of a second hat by the poor wretch last assassinated. In a moment the cry was raised that a woman had always been believed to be the murderer, as if these victims would be likely to be enticed into dark corners by one of their own sex. But the simple statement of the boozy Sadler reduced this false scent to ridicule. Even on this theory much nonsense is written. "No woman," it is said, "would be strong enough to commit these murders." After what Mrs. Pearcey did with Mrs. Hogg this argument has had the bottom knocked out of it. As to the bloodhounds, they have not been used because the police are negligent, nor because they have run away, but because, fairly tested in the country, they were proved to have lost their instincts of following the track of a blood-stained garment. The suggestion that slum sisters should be employed to obtain confessions is absurd. After the manner in which the confession of the Tunbridge Wells youth who was hanged for murder was at once used to bring him to justice, there will be no more confidences of that description.