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Casebook: Jack the Ripper - Message Boards » Police Officials » Andrews, Inspector Walter » Andrews' Mission to America, December 1888 « Previous Next »

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Stephen P. Ryder
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Registered: 10-1997
Posted on Sunday, August 17, 2003 - 10:22 am:   Edit Post Delete Post View Post/Check IP Print Post    Move Post (Moderator/Admin Only) Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

There is some confusion as to the ultimate purpose of Inspector Andrews' December 1888 mission to America... whether it was a general Ripper inquiry, or a focused inquiry into Tumblety alone, or possibly a mission completely unrelated to the Ripper. The following New York Herald article claims that his mission was largely based on the Parnell Commission (click for more info). The A-Z reports that this connection was "rumoured" in the American press, and subsequently denied by the Telegraph... yet this article indicates that Inspector Andrews himself admitted that his ultimate purpose in America was indeed devoted to the Parnell investigation (itself a news story larger than the Ripper, from 1887 to 1889)


23 December 1888

Alleged Indiscretion of an English Detective with Regard to His Doings.

Montreal, Que., Dec. 22, 1888.—Prominent Irish nationalists of this city are much excited over an avowal of Inspector Andrews, of Scotland Yard, who brought Roland Gideon Is[r]ael Barnete [Barnett], the wrecker of the Central Bank, of Toronto, that he has also occupied his time, both here and in Toronto, in working up evidence for the London Times with the object of associating the Parnellite party with outrages and murders in Ireland.

Ever since his arrival in the country and his subsequent lengthy stay in Toronto rumors have been current to the effect that he was one of many men in the employ of the British government, arrayed against the representatives of the Irish people in the search for the least evidence that will seemingly injure the Parnellites, but until now Andrews has flatly denied it.


This morning, however, on the eve of his departure for home the emissary of Scotland Yard admitted that he could not deny the charge, and practically acknowledged that that was his mission. He had, however, to admit that he had not been very successful, many of the men whom he had interviewed declining to become informers on their trusted leaders. Some evidence of an unimportant character may have been gathered, but it is the gen[e]ral belief here that it will not affect the proceedings before the Parnellite Commission to any material extent. Mr. Andrews distinctly said he had not been looking after Fenians and Invincibles, confining his attention to members of the National League, especially recent arrivals from Ireland, though he had had communications with the English police agents in the United States and from this latter source he hoped much.


Though he could not divulge the secrets of his profession, he could say that there was an organized detective system in behalf of the British government both th[e] Canada and the United States, and that if the names of these detectives were made public Irishmen all over the world would receive a shock that would cause a sensation beside which the Phoenix Park tragedies would pale into insignificance.

These men were in the inner circles, in many cases occupied high positions in Irish societies, and every important move was instantly reported to the London authorities by either a secret cable cypher or by mail. Many of these men received annual allowances from the British government, but in all cases the payments were made through some private persons so as to avoid suspicion and detection.

The chiefs of this detective service were Fred Jarvis and Chief Inspector Shore, and he (Andrews) had had a conference with them at Niagra which he hoped would be fruitful. Other members of this British service were employed by the Pinkertons, while still others occupied high positions in mercantile life.


Andrews further said that the greater portion of the Times evidence has been secured in the United States, and he hinted that they had secured some correspondence between the Irish leaders in Britain and the extremists on this side of the Atlantic.

Irish Leaguers here are very indignant at these statements, and unhesitatingly denounce them as the fabrications of a seeker after notoriety. Henry J. Cloran, president of the National League, declared that Andrews’ avowals were nothing new to him. Long before he left London the leading Irishmen here were notified that he was coming, and ever since Andrews landed at Halifax he had been watched by men in his own business, so that his every move was known. They feared nothing from Andrews’ mission, for he had not been able to persuade even one poor wretch to offer to perjure himself and curse his country; this notwithstanding the fact that several Leaguers offered to go to London and tell what they knew on payment of a lump sum, which would have been handed over to the Parnell fund.


Already several cases of this kind have occurred, and in this way the Times has helped to pay Parnell’s expenses. Members of the League in Canada did not care if Scotland Yard sent all its officers wandering through the country. It would create no alarm if it was learned that English detectives had been in the habit of attending their meetings.

Judging by the experience of the Times with some of its witnesses, Inspector Andrews was so dubious of the material offered to him that he concluded to make his return journey alone. Immigrants recently from Ireland could probably tell many strange things, but their evidence might not be of a character suited to the purpose of the Times.



"In 1887, the Times of London published a series of articles, “Parnellism and Crime”, in which the Home Rule leaders were accused of being involved in murder and outrage during the land war. The Times, produced a number of facsimile letters, allegedly bearing Parnell’s signature and in one of the letters Parnell had excused and condoned the murder of T.H. Burke in the Phoenix Park which he had publicly condemned. Parnell immediately declared the letter a forgery and the government set up a Special Commission to investigate the charges made against Parnell and his party. The commission sat for nearly two years. In February 1889, one of the witnesses admitted to having forged the letters; he then fled to Madrid, where he shot himself. Parnell’s name was fully cleared and the Times paid a large sum of money by way of compensation. The closing months of 1889 marked the high point of Parnell’s popularity. He received a standing ovation in the House of Commons, was presented with the freedom of the city of Edinburgh, and stayed as Gladstone’s guest at Hawarden. "
Stephen P. Ryder, Editor
Casebook: Jack the Ripper
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Stephen P. Ryder
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Post Number: 3117
Registered: 10-1997
Posted on Saturday, June 05, 2004 - 9:07 pm:   Edit Post Delete Post View Post/Check IP Print Post    Move Post (Moderator/Admin Only) Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

Some more information on Roland Israel Gideon Barnett, from the Wandsworth and Battersea District Times, 15 September 1888:

The Charge Against a Theatrical Manager

Roland Israel Gideon Barnett, who described himself as a theatrical manager, was re-examined on the charge of obtaining a sum of £45 from Henry Charles Britton, a butcher of Tooting, with intent to defraud, the offence having, it was alleged, been committed in 1879. – Mr. Pollard appeared to prosecute on behalf of the Solicitor to the Treasury, and Mr. Poland, instructed by Mr. Bernard Abrahams, defended. – Mr. Pollard asked the magistrate to deal with the case on the evidence already before him, and said the only additional witnesses he could call were the clerk of the bank on which the particular cheque in question was drawn, and Inspector Andrews, of the Criminal Investigation Department, by whom the accused was arrested. – Mr. Plowden said he had had an opportunity of reading the information on which the warrant was granted, and unless it could be supplemented by additional evidence, he would take upon himself the responsibility of discharging the prisoner, believing that no jury would convict. Mr. Pollard said he thought it right to tell the magistrate that he had no additional evidence. – Mr. Plowden then discharged the prisoner, observing that he would be required to clear himself of another charge of a more serious character. – The prisoner then left the dock, and on his arrival in the precincts of the court, he was immediately rearrested by Inspector Andrews on an extradition warrant for obtaining large sums of money by false pretenses in America. He will be taken to Bow-street Police-court, and charged with the offence.


Interesting to note the name "Henry Charles Britton", described as a butcher from Tooting. There was a "Charles Brittain/Britton", also a butcher, involved in the Polly Nichols murder investigation.
Stephen P. Ryder, Exec. Editor
Casebook: Jack the Ripper
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Unregistered guest
Posted on Saturday, December 03, 2005 - 9:13 pm:   Edit Post Delete Post View Post/Check IP Print Post    Move Post (Moderator/Admin Only) Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

According to the 1881 Census, Inspector Walter Andrews was born in 1848 not 1847. Is this just an oversight or a typo?

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