London lies to-day under the spell of a great terror. A nameless reprobate - half beast, half man - is at large, who is daily gratifying his murderous instincts on the most miserable and defenceless classes of the community. There can be no shadow of a doubt now that our original theory was correct, and that the Whitechapel murderer, who has now four, if not five, victims to his knife, is one man, and that man a murderous maniac. There is another Williams in our midst. Hideous malice, deadly cunning, insatiable thirst for blood - all these are the marks of the mad homicide. The ghoul-like creature who stalks through the streets of London, stalking down his victim like a Pawnee Indian, is simply drunk with blood, and he will have more. The question is, what are the people of London to do? Whitechapel is garrisoned with police and stocked with plain-clothes men. Nothing comes of it. The police have not even a clue. They are in despair at their utter failure to get so much as a scent of the criminal.
Now we have a moral to draw and a proposal to make. We have carefully investigated the causes of the miserable and calamitous breakdown of the police system. They are chiefly two: (1) the inefficiency and timidity of the detective service, owing to the manner in which Sir Charles has placed it in leading strings and forbidden it to move except under instructions; (2) the inadequate local knowledge of the police. Our reporters have discovered that the Whitechapel force knows little of the criminal haunts of the neighborhood. Now, this is a state of things which obtains in no other great city in the world but London, and is entirely due to our centralised system. In New York the local police know almost every brick in every den in the district, and every felon or would-be felon who skulks behind it. In Whitechapel many of the men are new to their work, and others who have two or three years' local experience have not been trained to the special work of vigilant and ceaseless inspection of criminal quarters.
Now there is only one thing to be done at this moment, and we can talk of larger reforms when we do away with the centralised non-efficient military system which Sir Charles Warren has brought to perfection. The people of the East-end must become their own police. They must form themselves at once into Vigilance Committees. There should be a central committee, which should map out the neighborhood into districts, and appoint the smaller committees. These again should at once devote themselves to volunteer patrol work at night, as well as to general detective service. The unfortunates who are the objects of the man-monster's malignity should be shadowed by one or two of the amateur patrols. They should be cautioned to walk in couples. Whistles and a signalling system should be provided, and means of summoning a rescue force should be at hand. We are not sure that every London district should not make some effort of the kind, for the murderer may choose a fresh quarter now that Whitechapel is being made too hot to hold him.
We do not think that the police will put any obstacle in the way of this volunteer assistance. They will probably be only too glad to have their efforts supplemented by the spontaneous action of the inhabitants. But in any case, London must rouse itself. No woman is safe while this ghoul is abroad. Up, citizens, then, and do your own police work!
"Horror on horrors head accumulates" in Whitechapel. This morning the district was thrown into a panic by a fourth murder committed in an exactly similar manner to the three mysterious and unpunished crimes which have preceded it. The scene of this latest horror is Hanbury-street, hardly a stone's throw from Osborne-street and Buck's-row, where the two other victims were butchered. Indeed, through Hanbury-street on Thursday Mary Ann Nicholls' terribly-mutilated body was carried on the way to its place of burial. The fourth victim to what must be a madman's insatiable thirst for blood, is, like the other three, a poor defenceless walker of the streets. A companion identified her soon after she had been taken to the mortuary as "Dark Annie," and as she came from the mortuary gate bitterly crying said between her tears, "I knowed her; I kissed her poor cold face."