THE very worst bit of evidence against Sir Charles Warren is given in the letter of a provincial chief constable to the editor of the Pall Mall Gazette, by way of comment on the Robber's Record of that journal. "I would not," says this gentleman, "be allowed to hold my place another day if such a state of things existed under my jurisdiction." This is simply damning, but it is not too strong when one discovers that in noted "E." and "E.C." thoroughfares there is an average of more than one robbery for every house in the street - most of them dating within the last two years. It is now time to insist that Sir Charles Warren shall go, and Mr. Matthews, too, if he backs up the Chief Commissioner.
NOW it will be necessary to keep a sharp eye on this matter. It is no longer a question of party politics, and every shopkeeper in London should press his member to vote for an inquiry into the monstrous system, or want of system, which leaves London a prey to its freebooters, and into the conduct of the man under whose rule Alsatia after Alsatia has sprung up in our midst. It is highly promising that the Vestries are moving, and are one by one addressing remonstrances and suggestions to the Chief Commissioner. The thing to do now is to bring such pressure to bear on the London Tory members that they will not dare to resist the demand for inquiry. We dismissed Sir Edmund Henderson for an isolated act of bad judgement; are we going to let Sir Charles Warren go free for a series of follies unexampled - as the anonymous "Chief Constable" evidently thinks - in the history of police administration in any civilised country in the world?
ON the particular point of the obliteration of the handwriting on the wall we are not disposed to blame Sir Charles Warren so heavily as some of our friends in the press. The point is not so important as it at first appeared to be. It is, we believe, quite untrue to say that "Juwes" is Yiddish for "Jews." "Jews" in Yiddish is Yiddin, the ordinary Hebrew plural, so that the supposition that the writer is a Jew falls to the ground. The only other point that could be proved from the inspection of the handwriting was that the writer was identical with "Jack the Ripper," which would no doubt be valuable. Of course, Sir Charles acted with blundering haste and military rashness; but his motive seems to have been just a trifle more creditable than usual. The real gravamen of the charge against him is his general failure to protect the lives and property of the poor. For instance, every one of the murders of which we gave a list the other day were committed on the persons of the poor; and every one of the ransacked neighborhoods mentioned in the Pall Mall Gazette were poor districts. That is why we want one united effort to hurl the usurper from his place.
THE best clerical comment on the "moral of the murders" is Mr. Chapman's, which we publish on page 4. Mr. Chapman says that the rich must give up luxuries, or there will be a revolution. Of course, this is only a non-scientific, non-economic way of saying that the rich must give up appropriating the surplus value of what the poor produce. Root remedies for root evils.
WHEN Mr. Herbert Burrows wrote a mock sermon for the Bishop of London he did more for the people's cause than he anticipated. The sermon is still going the round of the Press in America. The Bishop was made to give a valedictory sermon from the text, "Go to now, ye rich men, weep and howl for your miseries that shall come upon you." He addressed his people as "Fellow citizens," he arraigned the Church, declared that he had been living in a fool's paradise, and announced his determination to abandon his bishopric, his palace, his seat in the Lords, his ten thousand a year, and devote his life to the cause of suffering humanity. This burlesque sermon was reproduced in all seriousness some months ago by the Journal of United Labor, the official organ of the Knights of Labor in America, which has a million readers. It continued Westward, and we notice it has now reached British Columbia, where it is naturally regarded as a "startling Christmas sermon," and spoken of as "terrible denunciation from the pulpit." It occupies the most prominent place in the Victoria Daily Times of 8 Sept., and is introduced with rows of startling headlines. Mr. Burrows may congratulate himself on having fooled a continent and at the same time advanced the cause he has at heart.
The scandals in connection with the Finchley Cemetery belonging to the St. Pancras Vestry have assumed a new and more sensational turn. The Special Committee appointed to examine the accounts and inquire into the working of the cemetery have discovered another and a more disgraceful scandal than that which led to a criminal prosecution being instituted against one of the officials. The Vestry asked the committee to pursue inquiries, which they did. The reason was this : - In the course of the investigations evidence was offered to the effect that bodies after interment in one grave had been removed to another. This led the committee to examine into matters in greater detail. Two of the Finchley gravediggers were examined, and testified to their recollection of having taken part in
Those bodies, they state, were taken off, but where and for what purpose they could not tell. On another occasion eight or nine coffins were brought to the surface, in order to get at the body of an elderly female. Candles were used in the grave at this task. The night chosen for the ghoulish work was very dark. When the coffin was brought up the candles were blown out and the body removed from the old coffin to a new one in waiting, then put into a conveyance and
after which the old coffin was broken up and reburied with the other coffins which had been disturbed in the grave. The chairman of the Special Committee of Investigation, finding that the editor of a local paper, the St. Pancras Guardian, was about to publish the above particulars, wrote asking him not to adopt such a course. The letter does not contain a categorical denial of the allegations.
At the next meeting of the committee they hope to get evidence from the coachman who drove the conveyance as to where the bodies were taken to. Doubtless if the midnight Jehu owns up, the destination of his uncanny freight will prove to be some dissecting room, and in this connection inhabitants of the district are recalling the fact that there formerly used to be a school of anatomy at the back of Brunswick-square. Neighbors raised a great outcry at the stench caused by this business, and the proprietor moved to the Surrey side of the river. Not the slightest evidence has been forthcoming that this gentlemen was the receiver of the corpses, and his name is only mentioned when the possibilities of the case are canvassed by those who remember his establishment and remind themselves of the fact that he had to
Mr. Andrew Sweet, the chairman of the special committee, says that it may, and probably will happen, that the details of the removal of the bodies "will be found to be without foundation, and without any vestige of truth in them." But if so, the gravediggers who have given evidence would obviously be guilty of misrepresentation on a matter not of opinion but of fact. One of the gravediggers was the foreman, and both had been in their present situations at the cemetery for about a score of years. They had no complaints to make of the way they had been treated at all, though invited to state any grounds there might be for such complaint, so that their statements were evidently not made out of spite against any superior officer. Therefore, Mr. Sweet's doubt concerning their allegations hardly seems justified as yet; and, indeed, when a Star man mentioned to Mr. Vears, another member of the special committee, that Mr. Sweet believed the allegations would be discredited, Mr. Vears' significant comment was, "I don't know how it's going to be done, then." The committee had no information of this grave scandal until it was supplied them
They put fishing questions to the grave diggers, asking them if they knew of any irregularities at the cemeteries, and the gravediggers at once spoke up about the body-snatching. There is reason to suppose that when the committee bring up their report they will not dwell upon this part of the case with any more emphasis than is necessary, as a great pecuniary harm might be expected to follow on the disclosures if established.
Mr. Andrew Sweet, in a conversation on the subject to-day with a Star man, said the committee had not yet concluded their investigations for several reasons. In the first place, Mr. Green, the Clerk to the Burial Board, was not at present well enough to be examined; and then the committee had not yet had an opportunity of having before them Dunsford, the cemetery superintendent, as he is at present waiting on bail to answer another charge which has been preferred against him. Dunsford says there is a conspiracy against him to injure him, and the committee in fairness to him intend to look into the allegation. In fact, in order to entirely avoid doing
(except in a court of justice), the committee will not submit their report until the prosecution now proceeding is completed. After that the report will be at once forthcoming. In some cases the removals of the bodies have only been from one grave to another, but in the cases of the pauper bodies, they have been taken back to the workhouse, for what reason Mr. Sweet could not tell. "If," he said to our reporter, "the bodies have as you, with some justice perhaps, infer, gone to a dissecting room, you may rely upon it we shall spare no endeavor to get to the bottom of the matter, for I consider that paupers' bodies are entitled to quite as much consideration as those of other people."
The force of police and detectives on duty in the Whitechapel district was strengthened somewhat last night, as the murders have generally been committed on the Friday and Saturday nights. The number of amateur policemen on the look-out for the murderer was also greater than usual, but up to the hour named their vigilance had not been crowned with any success. During the evening a number of domiciliary visits were made by the detectives, but no arrests were made.
Statements made to our representatives, and correspondence we have received, show that the Jews strongly resent the attempts which have been made to connect a member of their community with the murders through the handwriting on the wall. They urge very reasonably that nothing is more probable, supposing the writing to have been the handiwork of the murderer, than that its object was to divert suspicion from himself to some member of the community against whom prejudice already exists. They also strongly resent the attempt to bolster up the theory by the assertions made yesterday that anyone acquainted with the German-Hebraic lingo spoken by the foreign Jews, and called Yiddish, would be likely to spell "Jews" "Juwes," as it appeared on the wall. The statement is not only ridiculous, but dangerous, as tending to excite race hatred.
The Belfast Evening Telegraph, which received a "Jack the Ripper" letter before the arrest of the man Foster, gives this description of the prisoner as he appeared in the dock. He did not bear that low-class criminal appearance which might be supposed to characterise a murderer. He had quite a tradesman-like aspect. He has flaxen hair, crispy and hedgehog-like, ruddy complexion, and short-cut sandy moustache, his hands being somewhat bronzed and not too clean. His ears project, and might be described as somewhat "cocked," while his eyes - his most characteristic trait - appear to look somewhat outwards. He has a wrinkled brow, and his head, which he slightly inclined to the right while he was standing in the dock, is remarkable for length rather than breadth or height. He was attired in a black frock coat and black vest, and his shirt, several inches of which could be seen, was of much the same color. He wore a dickey and a large black breast tie. His white turned-down collar has apparently a spot of blood, but this might be the result of a mishap in shaving, and stress need not be laid upon it. He was not particularly anxious-looking as he leaned on the front rail of the dock with his arms folded during the progress of the trial. It may be added that the prisoner speaks with an English accent.
The man was apprehended at 11, Memel-street, on the strength of "information received." He was in bed when the police made their visit. He gave the name of William John Foster, and said he came from Greenock, at which place he stopped two days, he couldn't say with whom. Previously, he said, he had been four days at Glasgow, and that he had been in Edinburgh, but didn't know how long. The police found in his possession a large clasp knife, a table-knife, a chisel, a small knife, and some watchmaker's tools. There was a bag into which these things could be put. Foster said he was a watchmaker by trade, but didn't work as he had an income from his father, a brewer in London. In his pockets were found a watch and chain and a piece of a lady's necklace.
Rev. F. Adamson, vicar of Old Ford, writes to the Times this morning on the subject of the prevention of prostitution among women in middle-life. He says sheer necessity has to do with middle-life prostitution. Drink produces this necessity. He says the drink traffic of East London will have to be grappled with. Legislative restrictions of a drastic character will have to be introduced. The whole public-house system demands reform. The police should be freed from the supervision of the public-house system, and a separate force of detectives in plain clothes constituted to supervise and to prosecute, both for drink offences and acts of prostitution. Steps must also be taken to punish the men as well as the women. At present the law is unfair and oppressive to one sex. Let the balance be adjusted, and considerable improvement will appear in the morals of the masses. One thing is worthy of notice. These middle-life women, who are said to be driven from downright starvation to vice, can find a home in the unions. Why do they not? Many loathe the honest existence within unions because they love license (or, as they term it, liberty) and strong drink. It is better to face facts than to ignore them. How is this to be grappled with? I have long thought that there should be two grades of unions: one for the lazy, vicious, and criminal, and the other for the honest distressed and industrious. They should not be required to herd together under one stigma of reproach."
An unfortunate told the police last week that a man, who she declared had a knife, accosted her in Great Portland-street, and said he had just come from the Whitechapel murders. Yesterday she informed the police that the same man had accosted her again, and that when she told him she would give him up to the police he ran away.
"Stars" Brought Him Stripes.
Alderman Tyler, at the Guildhall, fined a lad named John Walker 2s. 6d. for assaulting a little boy, John Roberts, who was selling The Star, at Ludgate-circus, last night. Walker, a rough-looking lout, tore the boy's papers, and struck him a heavy blow in the mouth.
An old woman named Mary Cassidy was charged at Wandsworth with being drunk and disorderly. - Constable 57 V said he found her sitting asleep in a doorway. He woke her up, and she said, "You are 'Leather Apron' - go away!" She screamed "Murder!" and would not go away. - Mr. Plowden discharged her with a caution.
Mr. Richard Mansfield has shown a wise discretion in selecting a piece of pure comedy for his benefit performance next Friday in aid of the Bishop of Bedford's Home and Refuge Fund for the East-end Poor. The real horrors of Whitechapel have just now put the sham horrors of the stage to shame, and Mr. Mansfield is quick to recognise the situation. "Prince Karl" was produced about four years ago at the Boston Museum, was transferred to the New York Madison Square Theatre, where it ran for a year, bringing its author, Mr. Archibald Gunter, a royalty of £40 a week, and so giving him leisure and means to write his "Mr. Barnes of New York." Assuredly Mr. Mansfield has much to answer for! By the way, he tells me he has abandoned his intention of producing "Nero" in London, his season terminating as early as 1 Dec. His next novelty after "Prince Karl" will be an original play by an English author, name not stated. I should not be surprised if it turned out to be Mr. A Jones.
SIR. - Kindly forgive any seeming presumption in adding to your correspondence on this subject, but it appears to me a fair case for the criticism of those who have dedicated their lives to the service of the poor. I will try to make my remarks at once trenchant and tender.
The difficulties suggested range themselves under two heads - social and moral. Socially, the whole affair points unmistakably to the regulation and comparative suppression of vice by the State, unflinching and absolute equality being dealt out to both sexes. So-called "degraded" women are the result of equally degraded men, and vice versa, but there is not an atom of difference in the guilt of either.
The men who morally assert the contrary are not men, whoever they may be and whatever the position they may occupy. The drink traffic is at the bottom of half this misery and vice. Let it be dealt with as it deserves, and let the blow be struck at the fountain-heads, on whom will fall the curse when justice is meted out. The poverty is in the end traceable to the most despicable and common sin, "love of money" on the part of landlords and "sweaters," who ought to be heartily ashamed of thus grinding the faces of their poorer brethren.
The dismal, unhealthy, overcrowded, and underlighted streets with cul de sacs inviting to evil, should be dealt with by each Vestry separately, and drastic measures, however expensive or apparently stern, should be taken for the eventual good of the community, by means of a rate levied on ground-rents throughout the metropolis generally. The burden would thus fall on the proper shoulders. Nothing is more instructive than the difference between the East and the newer parts of South London in this respect. In the latter locality such events as the recent murders could never have occurred without discovery. It is an absurd thing, however, to throw the blame on the police, who, as known to us clergy, are amongst the most hardworking and hardly tried of the population, and it shows a still grosser lack both of taste and reason to cast the slightest innuendos against Sir Charles Warren or the Home Secretary in this particular. The fault is with the State, and the cause must be looked for at St. Stephen's where such a question should absorb our legislation in place of this eternal wrangling about Ireland.
Morally the keynote is "piecework of individual sacrifice," which is repellent to theorists, of whom the majority is composed. One "Home" is a drop in the ocean. One "parish" is a cipher, though it gain a spurious notoriety for the moment. So long as men and women are selfish, and so long as they live in luxury or break the law of purity, they have not the slightest right to cast a stone at a single incident throughout the transaction.
In plain language, it means that the rich must confine themselves to necessities, or some day there will be a revolution, which is only a matter of time, and which will have the best hearts in the country on its side. It means that ladies should personally befriend and raise their downtrodden because fallen sisters, if not by actual contact, at least by money and sympathy. Above all, it means that the young men of the present day should themselves abstain from vice, and that our would-be statesmen should learn a little more of what they intend to talk about by living for a time on the spot, or else that they should be decently silent.
No man can be a saviour without being crucified. This is the whole business in a nutshell, and we must set our faces like flints to live out this truth if we would not be ashamed. "The remedy of all blunders," says Emerson, "the cure of blindness, the cure of crime, is love." - Yours, &c.,
THE STAR has the Largest Circulation of any Evening Paper in the Kingdom. Its Daily Circulation is At least Fifty Thousand More than that of any London Evening Journal. Its Superiority therefore as an Advertising Medium is unquestionable.
|Press Reports: Star - 1 November 1888|
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|Dissertations: Jacob the Ripper?|
|Dissertations: Responses to the Ripper Murders: Letters to Old Jewry|
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|Ripper Media: Jack the Ripper in Fact and Fiction|
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|Ripper Media: Jack the Ripper: A Suspect Guide - William John Foster|
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|Dissertations: The Strange Case of Dr Jekyll and Saucy Jacky|
|Message Boards: Richard Mansfield|
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|Ripper Media: Jack the Ripper: A Suspect Guide - Richard Mansfield|