14 November 1888
Mr. SAMUEL SMITH asked the Home Secretary whether his attention had been drawn to the report that the two boys now waiting their trial for murder in Maidstone Gaol had been addicted by their own confession to the reading of such books as "Dick Turpin," "Varney the Vampire, or the Feast of Blood," and "Sweeney Todd," and that one of them told a correspondent of the Tunbridge Wells Advertiser that he was prepared for his fate now he had made his name known; whether he is aware that there is an enormous circulation of criminal literature among the young, and that about 25 English newspapers have recently been publishing the lives of Charles Peace, William Palmer the Rugeley poisoner, and the murders of Burke and Hare; whether these stories, attractively written, are widely circulated and read by enormous numbers of children, and investigate many of them to the commission of crime; what check can be put upon the circulation of these pernicious works; and whether a record could be kept of the class of books or papers found on the persons of youthful criminals when arrested, as a guide to future legislation on the subject.
Mr. MATTHEWS said he had seen the statement referred to by the hon. member that such literature had a large circulation. The Government were prepared to take such steps as they were able to check the circulation of these pernicious works, and he would undertake to give careful consideration to the matter.
Mr. MATTHEWS. - In order to avoid misunderstanding as to the grounds of Sir Charles Warren's resignation, which I announced yesterday, I ask leave of the House to make a statement. On the 8th November I directed the following letter to be written to Sir Charles Warren:
Mr. Secretary Matthews directs me to state that his attention has been called to an article signed by you in this month's number of Murray's Magazine, relating to the management and discipline of the metropolitan police force. He desires me to forward to you the enclosed copy of a Home Office circular, which was duly communicated to the Commissioner of Police in 1879, and to state that the directions in that circular were intended to apply to the metropolitan police and to every officer in the force from the commissioner downwards. I am accordingly to request that in the future the terms of this order may be strictly complied with.
I am, Sir, your obedient servant,
(Signed) "E. LEIGH PEBERTON."
The enclosure from the Home Office was in these terms:
"The secretary of State having had his attention called to the question of allowing private publication by officers attached to the department of books on matters relating to the department, is of opinion that the practice may lead to embarrassment and should in future be discontinued. He desires, therefore, that it should be considered a rule of the department that no officer should publish any work relating to the department unless the sanction of the Secretary of State has been previously obtained for the purpose."
I received the following reply:
I have just received a pressing and confidential letter stating that a Home Office circular of 27th May, 1879, is intended to apply to the metropolitan police force. I have to point out that had I been told that such a circular was to be in force I should not have accepted the post of Commissioner of Police. I have to point out that my duties and those of the metropolitan police are governed by statute, and that the Secretary of State for the Home Department has not the power under the statute of issuing orders for the police force. This circular, if put in force, would practically enable everyone anonymously to attack the police force without in any way permitting the Commissioner to correct false statements, which I have been in the habit of doing whenever I found it necessary for three years past. I desire to say that I entirely decline to accept these instructions with regard to the Commissioner of Police, and I have again to place my resignation in the hands of her Majesty's Government.
I am, Sir, your obedient servant,
(Signed) "CHAS. WARREN."
I answered this letter on the 10th of November in the following terms:
I beg to acknowledge your letter of the 8th inst. In that letter, after contending that the Secretary of State had not the power under statute of issuing orders for the metropolitan police, you decline to accept his instructions that the Commissioner and all the officers of the force should comply with the Home Office minute of the 27th May, 1879, by which officers attached to the Home Department were enjoined not to publish any work relating to the department without the previous sanction of the Secretary of State, and you place your resignation in the hands of her Majesty's Government. In my judgment, the claim thus put forth by you, as Commissioner of Police, to disregard the instructions of the Secretary of State is altogether inadmissible, and accordingly I have only to accept your resignation. At the same time, I am glad to acknowledge the services which you have rendered to her Majesty's Government during the course of your administration of the police force."
The Government accepted the resignation of Sir Charles Warren on the ground stated in the correspondence I have read, and on no other ground. The failure of the police to discover recent crimes in the metropolis and the differences of opinion between Sir Charles Warren and Mr. Monro had nothing to do with the action of the Government in parting with an officer so distinguished and so zealous in the discharge of his duties as Sir Charles Warren has been. I wish to add, in justice to Mr. Monro and Mr. Anderson, that since Mr. Monro's resignation he has not interfered in any way with the conduct of the business of the Criminal Investigation Department, nor has he been consulted by myself or by anyone else, to my knowledge, on that subject. The advice I have sought from Mr. Monro has been confined to the general question of the organisation proper for the department in the abstract, without any reference whatever to the daily current business of the department.
Mr. LABOUCHERE asked what was now the precise position of Mr. Monro.
Mr. MATTHEWS. - Mr. Monro holds no office of any kind in connexion with the metropolitan police.
Mr. CONYBEARE. - May I ask if it is the fact, as stated in more than one evening newspaper, that the appointment vacated by Sir Charles Warren's resignation has been offered to the hon. member for Sheffield (Mr. Howard Vincent)?
Mr. MATTHEWS. - That statement, as well as others pointing to different individuals, may be regarded as without foundation whatever.
MR. MATTHEWS, in answer to Lord H. BRUCE, said he was informed by the commissioner that the police in the metropolis were located according to the wants of each particular district, and not according to the population or to the rates. He had no reason to believe that they were overworked or undermanned as to their ordinary duties, and when there were extra duties to perform they were always cheerfully undertaken.
MR. W. JOHNSTON. - Who is the commissioner who gave the information?
MR. MATTHEWS. - Sir Charles Warren.
The Press association says that since the termination of the coroner's inquest on Monday the police have become possessed of a most important link in the chain of evidence in the case of the murder of Mary Jane Kelly. This information may not result in the immediate capture of the assassin, but it will, it is thought, place the police in a position to guard effectually against further outrages. For obvious reasons certain particulars are withheld. The person who has had an opportunity of being within speaking distance of the supposed assassin is an individual whose veracity is not doubted for a moment. It is now conclusively proved that Mary Jane Kelly, having spent the latter part of Friday evening in the "Ringers," otherwise the "Britannia" public-house, at the corner of Dorset-street, returned to her home about midnight with a strange man, whose company she had previously been keeping. Nothwithstanding that no evidence was produced at the coroner's inquiry to show that she left her apartment after one o'clock, at which hour she was heard singing, there is every reason to believe that she came out after that hour. This circumstance will account for the fact that no light was observed in the room after one o'clock, as stated by one of the witnesses at the inquest. The police have received statements from several persons, some of whom reside in Miller's-court, who are prepared to swear that the deceased was out of her house and in Dorset-street between the hours of two and three o'clock on the morning in question. It has been established to the satisfaction of the police that the unfortunate woman had been murdered at three a.m. or thereabouts on Friday morning. The name of the man who has given the information referred to to the police is purposely withheld for reasons which are necessary for his own safety. He states that he knew Mary Jane Kelly well, and that on the morning of Friday last he was in Dorset-street shortly after two o'clock. There he saw the deceased with a strange man. He spoke to the murdered woman. In consequence of the recent crimes his suspicions were aroused by the man's appearance, and he did not leave the vicinity, but watched the couple and saw them enter Miller's-court. After the lapse of a few minutes he went to the court, but could see no one about, and after waiting sufficient time he concluded that all was right and retired from the scene. He afterwards heard of the murder, but for certain reasons which it would be imprudent to state he did not immediately put himself in communication with the police. He took elaborate notes of the man's appearance, from which it appears that the supposed assassin's age is about 35 years, height 5 feet 6 inches, pale complextion, dark hair, curly dark moustache. He was wearing dark long overcoat, trimmed on collar and cuffs with astrachan, dark short coat beneath, light waistcoat, check trousers, white collar, black necktie with horseshoe pin, hard felt hat, and button boots with gaiters and light buttons. He also displayed from his waistcoat a gold chain. The detective officers engaged in the case attach the utmost importance to this statement, and are acting accordingly.
Throughout the day statements made by persons who supposed that they can throw light upon the affair have been made at all the East-end stations, but inquiries have proved them of no value, while letters, postcards, and telegrams have been received by almost every post from "Jack the Ripper." Amongst the latter may be mentioned the following. This letter was received at Commercial-street police station by the first post yesterday morning:
Just a line to let you know that I got over the job all right. I shall do another job in about two or three hundred of the same spot in about two or three days.
Yours, J. the R."
Mr. J. A. Cohen, the proprietor of the "Paul's Head Tavern," Crispin-street, Spitalfields, and a prominent member of the local vigilance committee, received three threatening letters and a postcard, two from London and one each from Hastings and Newhaven by the same post yesterday. While very little importance is attached to these documents, which are all in the possession of the Scotland-yard authorities, it is pointed out as significant that in one letter received previous to the Mitre-square and Berner-street tragedies a "double event" was predicted, while in another letter received previous to the last murder "Jack the Ripper" stated that he would take the ears of his next victim.
The recently-formed Vigilance Committee held a meeting at the "Paul's Head" Tavern last night, when a committee of seven gentlemen were appointed from a very representative meeting to take immediate steps to bring to justice the murderer, and also to send a deputation to Mr. Matthews to urge a reconsideration of his decision regarding the offer of a reward. Mr. Samuel Montaque, M.P., will head the deputation, which will wait on Mr. Matthews at the House of Commons at two o'clock to-morrow.
At one o'clock yesterday morning four men were detained at Commercial-street police-station on suspicion, while at Leman-street an equal number had been apprehended during the evening, but only one was detained at that hour. The man, who gave the name of Thomas Murphy, was arrested at the Holborn Casual Ward, with a formidable knife in his possession, had not been released at midnight, his identity not having been satisfactorily established.
A very painful scene occurred in the Marylebone Police Court on the hearing of a charge against Philip Gad Cornish, 23, a schoolmaster, of Ratling Hope School, Pontesbury, near Shrewsbury, Salop, who was said to be a lunatic wandering at large and not under proper control. Before being brought into the court the poor fellow was heard shouting and kicking violently at the door. When brought into court by two officers both his hands were tightly pressing the top of his head, his eyes were glaring wildly, and he generally presented a very distressing appearance.
Police-constable 192 F said he found the man in Praed-street about five o'clock on Monday behaving in such a manner as to convince him that he was not of sound mind, so he arrested him. There was a companion with Cornish, and from the two he learned that they had come to London to catch the Whitechapel murderer. The officer's evidence was frequently interrupted by the violent behaviour of Cornish, who shouted at the top of his voice, threw himself about, stamped his foot, and demanded that the witness, who was, he said, the son of perdition, should be made to tell the truth.
The young man who had accompanied the prisoner said he was a blacksmith. On Monday morning Cornish asked him to accompany him from Ratling Hope to London, as he had been appointed to come up to catch "Jack the Ripper," the author of the Whitechapel murders, and for which he was to receive a large sum of money. The witness thought it was all right, so he left his work, and accompanied Cornish, and they arrived in London in the afternoon. He thought Cornish was all right when they started, but he said a change came over him while on the journey.
The magistrate's clerk left the bench to get a printed document applicable to the case before the Court, when Cornish, in peremptory terms and loud voice, told him to come back and take his notes. There was no need for him to fear, the truth would have been told.
Mr. De Rutzen directed that the poor fellow should be taken to the workhouse in a cab, which was at once done.
John Brinckley, 40, a porter, of Wilmington-place, Clerkenwell, was charged, before Mr. Bros, at the Clerkenwell Police Court, with being disorderly in Goswell-road, late the previous night.
Police-constable 192 G proved seeing the prisoner in Goswell-road with a woman's skirt on over his other clothes. There were several persons round him, and he cried out, "I'm Jack the Ripper. I'm going down City-road to-night, and I'll do another there." The constable took him into custody.
Brinckley, in defence, said he did not remember putting on the skirt; someone must have put it on him for a lark. All he said was that he would "try and find 'Jack the Ripper.'" He had worked hard all his life at Covent Garden-market.
The goaler said he knew the prisoner to be a hard-working man, but he often acted foolishly, and had on more than one occasion been fined at this court.
Mr. Bros: I said yesterday that I should send all persons to prison who are charged before me with acting as you have done. You were not only drunk, but you played the fool under circumstances which might lead to a deal of mischief. There is a great deal of public excitement just now about a particular matter, and I will send you to prison for 14 days.
The prisoner begged for a fine to be imposed, but the magistrate peremptorily refused, and Brinckley was removed to the cells.
At Worship-street Police Court yesterday, before Mr. Montaqu Williams, Q.C., Geo. Bartlett, 36, described as a jeweller, with no fixed abode, was charged with the unlawful possession of a silver sceptre and other articles, supposed stolen.
Detective- Inspector Reid, H division, deposed that on the previous night, in Spitalfields, his attention was drawn to the prisoner, who was carrying a black shiny bag (produced). In appearance he somewhat answered the description circulated of a man who had been seen in the neighbourhood of the recent murders. He was followed, and in Brick-lane stopped, and requested to give some account of himself, particularly as to what he had got in the bag. He displayed great objection to exhibit the contents, and the police found the bag secured with a padlock. The man was removed to the station in Commercial-street, and there produced the key of the bag. On opening it various articles were seen, consisting of ladies' handkerchiefs, a book, a screw-driver, and the silver staff, described as a sceptre, in question, but no knives. In a back pocket of the prisoner's trousers there was also found a shell, silver mounted. The prisoner was charged with the unlawful possession, but during Tuesday it transpired that the church of Old St. Pancras had been broken into, and the articles, with others - one stated to be a cross, given by the Duke of York - carried off.
On the application of the inspector, the prisoner was given back into custody, to be charged at Clerkenwell with sacrilege.
The magistrate (Mr. Montagu Williams, Q. C.) commended the inspector for the "intelligence and activity" he had shown in the capture.
At the Southwark Police Court yesterday, before Mr. Wyndham Slade, John Newman, 34, a respectable-looking man, described as a fitter, of 57, Lower Kennington-lane, was charged with being drunk and disorderly in Blackman-street.
Police-constable Tilley, 33 m R, said that early that morning he was on duty outside the Blackman-street police-station, when the prisoner came up holding a man by the collar, and said he wished to give him into custody, as he was "Jack the Ripper." As he (the constable) knew the gentleman to be a respectable man who had lived for a very long time in the neighbourhood he told the prisoner to let him go. He did so after some demur, and said the constable must take the consequences of letting him go. Prisoner was told that he had better take himself off-home, and he went away, but returned a few minutes afterwards, saying he was not going away. Some gentlemen came up, and seeing he was drunk one of them offered to pay his cab fare if he would go home, but he refused, and using a foul expression threw himself on his back, and said he would be locked up. Witness obliged to take him into custody and charge him. At the station the prisoner said that he had broken his leg. The divisional surgeon, Dr. Evans, was at once sent for and examined the prisoner, and certified that the man had received no injury whatever. Benjamin Polyn, 18 M. R., gave corroborative evidence.
The Chief Clerk (Mr. Nairn) : Does the gentleman named bring any charge against the prisoner?
Police constable Tilley : No, sir. He treated his arrest by the prisoner as a good joke.
The prisoner said he might have been drunk, but he had been brutally kicked by a policeman in the Borough-road, and he was black and blue all over. He could not say by whom, but he could call witnesses to the fact.
Both officers present denied using any violence to the man.
Mr. Slade said he should have an opportunity of calling his witnesses, and remanded him for a week in custody.
At the Westminster Police Court yesterday, before Mr. D'Eyncourt, Daniel Jones, 38, who called himself a labourer, was charged with loitering for the purpose of committing a felony, between one and two yesterday morning, at Little George-street, Westminster.
Sergeant Moyle, 28 A, saw the prisoner climb over the low railing outside a private house, and apparently try to open a low window on the ground floor. A street lamp at the spot had been extinguished, so that the place was almost in darkness. Witness asked the prisoner what he was doing there at that time of the morning, and he replied "It's all right. I am looking for Jack the Ripper. " - (Laughter.) This answer was not considered satisfactory, and he was locked up. He was searched, and two new leather wristbands were found in the lining of his coat.
Mr. D'Eyncourt remanded him, so that the police might find out as to his antecedents.
TO THE EDITOR OF THE MORNING ADVERTISER.
TO THE EDITOR OF THE MORNING ADVERTISER.
Whilst others in East London have been making public the needs of the poor in their respective districts I have been silent, and would have remained so, but the means at my disposal for my relief work are completely exhausted, and I am compelled to seek help for the suffering poor of my district. Day by day I meet with the wailing cry of hundreds of starving little children, half-clad and utterly miserable, and the quiet heart-breaking appeal of the pale wan face of heart-crushed men and women, which tell a deeper tale of want and sorrow than any words can express. During the eight years I have ministered in East London there have been a yearly development of increased poverty, and now, on the first appearance of winter, the bitter cry of want is just as loud and real as ever. To assist the needy and deserving poor, I am anxious to provide from our soup kitchen halfpenny dinners for famished children, and men and women, who are out of work. One pound is sufficient to provide an ample and nourishing meal to 250 persons. Our mission and relief work is wholly unpaid. Every case is investigated, and sheer want is the only qualification for aid. Any funds entrusted to my care will be greatly acknowledged and used in gifts of soups, bread, coals, clothing, and other timely help to the really deserving poor.
I am, Sir, yours, &c.,
J. ROLFE FISHER.
Minister of Burdett-road Congregational Church,
26, Cottage-grove, Bow, E.
Benjamin Dunnell was yesterday committed for trial by the Newcastle magistrates on a charge of attempting to murder Margaret Cooper, with whom he had cohabitated. A day or two before the attack the prisoner had said to the woman, "I will play the Whitechapel murder on you next time I see you."
Mr. Howard Vincent, who is member for the central division of Sheffield, telegraphing yesterday to a constituent who had inquired of him whether it was true that he had been offered the appointment of Chief Commissioner of the metropolitan police in succession to Sir Charles Warren, says: - "There is no foundation whatever for the statement of the James's Gazette."
The workhouse child has always been an object of sympathy to kindhearted people, and not without good cause. Experience has shown that, however carefully he may be tended and taught, what has been called the workhouse taint is apt to cling to him throughout life, and often prevents his achieving even the modest measure of success which might seem well within his reach. Workhouse children will really have to be envied, however, in the future by many in the grades only just above them, if they continue to be pro vided for as they are now under what is called the boarding-out system. Under this system the children who have no parents and no homes, and have become chargeable to the Poor Law Guardians, are placed - one, two, or perhaps three or four together - with honest working people who live in healthy cottages in country districts. They become, for the time of their stay, members of the family, eat at the table of their foster-parents, and are cared for by them as if they were their own. That, at least, is the theory, and it is pleasant to learn from the report of Miss MASON, the lady inspector appointed by the Local Government Board to look after these little waifs and strays, that to a very large extent it is the practice as well. Miss MASON'S accounts of some of the City Arabs who have been located in country homes really help to raise one's opinion of human nature. The foster-parents are paid, of course, and paid sufficiently well to make the charge they undertake fairly profitable. There are things, however, which money cannot buy, and the self-sacrificing kindness which foster-parents often display can only come from a truly benevolent disposition. As one instance out of many we may cite the case of the destitute orphans from Bethel-green, Poplar, Whitechapel, and other poor London parishes, who are boarded out on the shores of Lake Windermere. The people who take them into their homes are reported to be uniformly kindhearted, and, as they say themselves, they could not believe anyone would illtreat an orphan. The London outcasts, here not only enjoy fresh air and splendid scenery, instead of being pent up in the dreary courts and fetid atmosphere where nature had cast their lot, but they have cleanly and healthy homes. They are well fed and clothed, go to school like the other children of the district, and have abundant means of pleasant recreation provided for them. They go every Saturday in summer to play in a garden belonging to Miss PREUSSER, the lady who presides over the local committee entrusted with their supervision, and once a year they and their guardians are invited by their patroness to a regular garden party, or (as happened last year) to a pic-nic on the lake. Striking instances are narrated to show the pleasant relations which subsist between the young people and their foster-parents, who are very seldom indeed chargeable even with the sin of neglect. Anything like cruelty seems to be unknown. A good deal id due, no doubt, to the local committees of ladies. Where these are not efficiently organised homes may be selected which are not suitable, and the vigilance which may be required to keep all but the very best class of foster-parents up to their duty is apt to be relaxed. There was an instance last year which many readers will remember as the facts were made public at the time, at Denmead, in Hampshire, where the children boarded out by guardians of St. Pancras were grossly neglected. Even in that instance, however, so strong was the attachment of the children to those who had taken but imperfect care of them that many refused to return to the workhouse and in five cases the foster-parents continued to keep them at their own cost when the payment was withdrawn. That the service rendered is very often a labour of love is proved by the fact that when the children have been placed out in service they are constantly invited to spend their holidays in their cottage homes and entertained without fee or reward. That the foster-parents are wisely selected as a rule, even when the local committees are not of such exemplary composition as Miss PREUSSER'S at Windermere, is demonstrated by the fact that the inspector only heard a single complaint against character throughout England. There can be no doubt that the system has turned out to be as valuable as its advocates have always maintained it would be proved to be, and it is not surprising that it should be extensively resorted to by benevolent persons interesting themselves in the welfare of the many children who are quite dependent on the guardians of the poor. Herein, however, lies the danger. If the working of the system in private hands is not carefully watched it will degenerate into child farming, with all its abominations and cruelties. Miss MASON has detected some symptoms of this, and the only remedy seems to be the extension to all children boarded out of the protection afforded to those chargeable to the rates by Government inspection.
TO THE EDITOR OF THE MORNING ADVERTISER.
TO THE EDITOR OF THE MORNING ADVERTISER.
Black winter has already settled down on East London. My missionaries give a deplorable account of the distress. Many people are foodless and fireless. My blood curdles as I find decent, respectable people going without food for two days together. I think I am pretty well on guard against cadgers and imposters, after more than 12 years work at the East-end. Our stringent system of continuous and constructive visitation makes us acquainted with the poor as no other system can. But with funds run out I am powerless. If friends of the suffering care to send help, I will see that it is used to the best advantage.
I am, Sir, yours &c.,
W. EVANS HURNDALL
16, Cottage-grove, Bow, London, E.,
Nov. 9, 1888.
About 5,000 persons assembled in Clerkenwell-green last night to celebrate the anniversary of Bloody Sunday. Several bands were present, and the contingents from various Democratic, Socialist, and Radical Clubs carried flags and banners. Four platforms were erected, the principal speakers being Mr. William Morris, Mr. Cuninghame Graham, M. P., Mr. Dadabhai Nairobi (one of the candidates for Central Finsbury), Dr. Aveling, and Mrs. Aveling. A resolution was proposed and carried at all the platforms calling for the release of George Harrison; for the freedom of meetings in Trafalgar-square; and for the dismissal of Mr. Matthews, the Home Secretary.
Mr. Williams Morris declared that he did not wish to be hard on the police, but he wished to strike at the root.
The meeting passed off quietly.
A gentleman applied to Alderman Wilkins in respect to a lady who was missing. Her age was 24, height about 5 ft., light brown hair (cut short), grey eyes, pale, freckled complexion. When last seen she was wearing a long, black, rough cloth jacket, brown velvet hat, dark brown Swede gloves, lace-up boots, with thick soles. She disappeared from Manningtree, Suffolk, on Wednesday last, and it is supposed that she came to London.
The alderman referred the gentleman to the Press.
Information may be forwarded to Mr. C. E. Pearce, 29, Lauriston-road, South Hackney.