October 5th, 1888
The fiendish work of the man or men to whose account must be credited the six or seven recent brutal murders and mutilations that have put London, and Whitechapel especially, into a white terror, still goes on, and at the moment of writing the hand of justice seems as far as ever from paralysing the onward course of the record of atrocious brutality.
These murders have drawn men's minds with peculiar intensity to a consideration of the conditions under which so many people exist not only in the East End of the huge metropolis, but in al the large towns of the country. The horrible dens of vice and crime that blot the fair face of our most thriving communities, are whatever else may be said of them, crying impeachments of the indifference and carelessness with which those in responsible positions, both governmental and social, look upon their less fortunate fellowmen. It would be wrong to say that these particular crimes are to be attributed to general social causes, for if there is one thing more than another proven to the hilt by the experience of history it is this, that human nature even under the most favourable conditions, from time to time gives evidence of the depravity and viciousness of which it is capable.
To say that poverty is the author of vice, would mean that where wealth and pleny abound, there is little or no vice. Unfortunately this is not so. We find among the very poor, honesty, virtue and heroic self-sacrifice in a great degree. It is true, too, that certain classes of crime abound among our poor, but have we not rich and well-to-do who are immoral and vicious just as we have some among them who are noble and good?
Crime and evil-doing are confined to no particular class of society. Our poor will compare favourably in this respect with the rich. It is, therefore, idle to declaim against poverty as the root of all evil. Are we not told that gold is also its root? As a matter of fact wealth produces one class of crime, poverty another, just as wealth gives men an opportunity of practising certain virtues, and poverty calls for certain other virtues.
Many remedies are proposed to meet the evils that afflict our poor districts. What we want is not Acts of Parliament to compel men to do right--at best they can only provide for the punishment of those who do wrong, and in this way they may effect some good but we require a more thorough appreciation of the command "Do unto others as you would have others do to you." That's where the great social want of the time is.
The East End of London with its slums, its rookeries, its gin-palaces, its crowded population living in poverty, and not knowing where its to-morrow's dinner will come from, has claims of the most pressing kind on the West End, where idleness and luxury are the temptations that assail virtue and charity, where in the gilded saloons, at the gaudy parties, in the ball room and the theatre are wasted in empty show or worse, that wealth which is entrusted to those who have it for the dispensation of mercy, for feeding the hungry, clothing the naked and spreading truth where error holds sway.
The nostrums of the politician or the demagogue only touch the fringe of the subject. By all means let us prevent by good laws social injustice, let us keep the hands of the grabber off the throat of the poor, let us put it out of the power of a few men to grind the face of the many. Monopolies and hereditary rights that enable men to take what is not theirs under sanction of law, must be swept away. But when we have upset one order of things and established another, we shall still be at the mercy of those who have the disposal of the good things in the new order. We find that democrats can grind and pilfer just as aristocrats can. The sweater in the West End employs his hands, who again employ others, and sweat them even worse. In Ireland, the middleman takes a big farm and lets it out to his neighbours at 100 per cent profit on his outlay. The farmer extracts from his "cottar" or labourer a rack-rent for his cabin or his half acre plot, greater than that demanded by some London company. The foreman grumbles at the harshness of his employer, and to those beneath himself he is, possibly, a most savage task-master.
These things all show that it is in men themselves that we must seek for the root of so much evil, not in laws or socialabuses. What are these but the outcome of the efforts of legislators, feeble at the best to legislate for good, and incapable of so legislating as to eradicate evil.
Would we reform society then we must begin with those who constitute it. The slums of London and other cities are not to be wiped out by a stroke of a pen. Dismantle ten square miles of dilapidated houses, and you only drive the inmates to another district, perhaps to crowd them together still more.
What all our slums want is more practical charity, more good example, more brotherly tenderness to their inmates from those who live in the gilded mansion, and more knowledge of God and His truths. Religion alone can save the denizens of the slums from their own evil passions, just as religion alone can save the king on the throne or the noblest and wealthiest of the world. That is as certain as that to-morrow's sun will rise. Meantime the life-blood of six or seven victims to the insanity or deviltry of some villain, cries to heaven for vengeance. No fewer than five of them were women separated from their husbands, leading lives of sin in the modern Babylon. Drink in most cases seems to have been at the bottom of the quarrels and separations. Here is something for the social reformer to ponder over. It is not recorded that any of these women were driven to follow their sad calling by want or poverty, at the beginning. Married, in one case at least to a well-to-do husband, drink led to separation, and the rest followed; the want and cold, the gin-palace, murder, mutilation, the coroner's inquest and the pauper's grave.
Fathers and mothers, husbands and wives have a lesson here that should sink deep into their hearts. There is but one way to make good men and women, and that is to train them as children. Impress upon them the responsibilities of life, particularly of that state of life which they enter when they join hands in wedlock. If marriage is not indeed to be a failure, there must be God's grace with it and a determination to bear and forbear. If that does not exist th eills are sure to follow, appal us by their very contemplation. Among the many reflections that arise from a perusal of the facts of these murders and the histories of the victims, no one is more important than this.
THE NEWCASTLE MURDER.
WADDLE ARRESTED AT YETHOLM.
William Waddle, the man suspected of the murder of the woman Savage at Birtley, near Gateshead, recently, was apprehended at Yetholm, near Kelso, on Monday morning. For some time past rumours have been current that the alleged murderer had been seen in the Border district, and these would now seem to have been only too well founded. The circumstances of the arrest are briefly as follows:--On Monday morning Mr William Stenhouse, wool dealer, Yetholm, while proceeding in the direction of Halterbarn, a short distance south-east from the village, came upon a man whom he thought answered the published description of the Birtley murderer. He asked the man if he was in search of harvest work, and receiving an affirmative answer, Mr Stenhouse said it was no use seeking such employment amongst the hills, and that if he accompanied him back to Yetholm, he would find him work. The man agreed, and in the course of further conversation the prisoner said he belonged to Coldstream, and named some people and a hotel he knew there but as none of them were known to Mr Stenhouse, who was familiar with the place and the people, his suspicions were further confirmed. Mr. Stenhouse then asked the man if his name was William Waddle. Hesitating, he said, "No, my name is William Tweddle." To the question, "When did you leave Birtley?" he answered, "On Sunday," presumably the day after the murder. Asked if he knew a woman named Savage, he answered "That is my wife." Now assured that the prisoner was the culprit, Mr Stenhouse took him direct to the police station at Yetholm. He there charged him with the crime, and the prisoner heard the indictment without perturbation. H (sic) offered no resistence. As Constable Thompson at Yetholm was absent on duty in connexion with the search for the prisoner, Waddle was put into the cell by Mr Stenhouse, who awaited the officer's return. Thereafter Inspector Harrison at Gateshead was telegraphed. It is reported that since his apprehension prisoner has made a voluntary confession of having perpetrated the revolting crime with which he is charged. People who have seen the man allege that he seems a simpleton, and has a slatternly gait.
FRESH LONDON HORRORS.
TWO MORE WOMEN MURDERED.
The sensation of horror and fear inspired by the awful crime committed in Hanbury Street, Whitechapel, on the morning of the 8th of September had begun to subside, people had ceased suspecting their neighbours, and the population of the East of London was fast settling down to its normal condition of dogged industry and apathetic misery when the popular dismay and terror were revived and intensified by the discovery of the two murders committed in one night, and to all appearances the work of one fiendish hand. For a while people would not credit the appaling news, but ample confirmation was quickly forthcoming. The wretched and abandoned frequenters of the streets fled in terror to their miserable shelters, and by half-past two not a woman was to be seen throughout the densely populated district.
Unhappily, the circumstances connected with the murders committed on Saturday night or early on Sunday morning do not differ meterially (sic) from those which the previous crimes in the locality, except, perhaps, that the Mitre Square crime was perpetrated with brutal ferocity and reckless daring and rapidity exceeded that exhibited by the fiend who despatched and mutilated poor Annie Chapman in the gloomy back yard in Hanbury Street on the 8th of September.
THE MITRE SQUARE CRIME.
Mitre Square is a sort of huge yard about 120 feet square, and there are three entrances to it, the principal being from Mitre Street; which is broad enough to accomodate two vehicles abreast. There is also a short, covered court, about 20 yards long, leading into St. James's Place, another square, popularly known as the "Orange Market," in the centre of which is a public convenience, a street fire station consisting simply of a waggon on wheels, and also a permanent street fire station in course of erection.
At a quarter to two o'clock on Sunday morning, City Constablel Watkins, 881, was on his beat, and as he passed through Mitre Square he saw a body lying in the south-west corner. He had passed through the square about fifteen minutes previously, and he is certain that then there was no body there. The corpse was that of a woman, and it was lying on its back on the footway, with the head towards a boarding and the feet to the carriage way. The head was inclined on the right side, and both the arms were extended outwards. The left leg was extended straight out, and the right leg was bent away from the body. After the first shock of the discovery, the constable stooped down and felt the body, which he found to be quite warm. Blood was all around and on the body, but it had not congealed. Watkins immediately ran across to George James Norris, a night watchman in the employ of Messrs Kearly, and sent him to Dr. Sequeira, at 34 Jewry Street, and then proceeded to call up Constable Pearce, who as stated lives in one of the houses in the square itself. The constables then returned to the south-west corner, and throwing the light of their lanterns fully upon it, found to their horror that the woman's throat was cut from ear to ear and half way round the head. The clothes had been raised up to the chest and, more horrible still, the body had been completely ripped up from the pelvis right up to the chest, the flaps of flesh being turned back, reevaling the intestines. In addition to these fearful injuries, a portion of the right ear was also cut off, and the nose was slashed half way through. The face was also slashed and cut about in the most brutal fashion, and a portion of the intestines had also been placed on the neck.
THE BERNER STREET MURDER.
The scene of the second murder is Berner Street, Commercial Road on the St George's-in-the-East side and within about two hundred yards of Buck's Row or Hanbury Street, where the last two murders took place. About five minutes to one o'clock on Sunday morning a youth, about twenty years of age, named Joseph Koster, was accosted by a little boy, who came running up to him as he was passing, on the opposite side, 40 Berner Street, used by the International Socialist Club, and told him that a woman was lying in the gateway next to the club with her throat cut. Koster immediately ran across the road, and saw a woman lying on her side in the gateway leading into Dutfield's stabling and van premises. The gate, which is a large wooden one, was partly opened, and the woman was lying partly in the street. He immediately rouses the neighbours, and, by the aid of a candle, it was seen that the woman's throat was cut open very nearly from one ear to another, and her lips were drawn up as if she had suffered sharp pain. She was dressed in black, and appeared to be in mourning. She wore a black bonnet, elastic-sided boots, and dark stockings. In her breast was a small bouquet of flowers, and in her left hand she held a small packet of scented cachous. Constable Lamb, 252 East Division, soon afterwards appeared, and, with the assistance of two other constables, had the body, which was quite warm when found, removed to 40 Berner Street, where it was placed in a back room. To all appearances the woman seems to have been treated like the former victims, carried out and laid openly in the street. The case, in fact, resembles in many points the Bucks Row tragedy. The victim appears to have been about 23 years of age and it is not thought that she belonged to the locality in which she was found. The wound must have been inflicted with a very sharp instrument, no trace of which has yet been found, as it is very deep, and she was lying in a pool of blood, with which her clothes were saturated. The news of the tragedy spread with great rapidity, and a large number of detectives from Scotland Yard, together with superintendents and inspectors of police, were soon on the spot. All those who were near the place at the time were detained, taken into the house, and closely examined as to the discovery, but nothing has yet been obtained which can afford a clue to the murder; and the police, having nothing whatever to go on, seem completely at their wits end. She is described as being of a dark complexion and rather slim, and about 4 feet 10 in height. Her hair is dark and wavy, with a large fringe in front, and the features somewhat delicate and refined. Dr Blackhall and his assistant both examined the corpse, and declared that the woman must have been murdered, as she could not have taken her own life. Dr Philips, who examined the woman in Hanbury Street, was Street, (sic) was also called in, and made an examination of the woman; but he has been asked to keep the result secret at present.
ANOTHER GHASTLY DISCOVERY
A MUTILATED BODY AT WESTMINSTER.
About twenty minutes past three o'clock on Tuesday afternoon Frederick Wildborn, a carpenter employed by Messrs J. Grover and Sons, builders of Pimlico, who are the contractors for the new Metropolitan Police headquarters on the Thames Embankment, was working on the foundation, when he came across a neatly done up parcel in one of the cellars. It was opened, and the body of a woman, very much decomposed, was found carefully wrapped in a piece of what is supposed to be a black petticoat. The trunk was without head, arms, or legs, and presented a horrible spectacle. Dr Bond, the divisional surgeon, and several other medical gentlemen were communicated with, and from what can be ascertained the conclusion has been arrived at by them that these remains are those of a woman whose arms have recently been discovered in different parts of the metropolis. Dr Nevill, who examined the arm of a woman found a few weeks ago in the Thames, off Ebury Bridge, said on that occasion that he did not think that it had been skilfully taken from the body. This fact would appear to favour the theory that that arm, together with the one found in the grounds of the Blind Asylum in the Lambeth Road last week belong to the trunk discovered on Tuesday, for it is stated that the limbs appear to have been taken from it in anything but a skilful manner.
The building which is in course of erection is the new police depot for London. The builders have been working on the site for some time now, but have only just completed the foundation. It was originally the site for the National Opera House, and extends from the Thames Embankment through Cannon Row, Parliament Street, at the back of St Stephen's Club and the Westminster Bridge Station on the District Railway. The prevailing opinion is that to place the body where it was found the person conveying it must have scaled the 8 ft. boarding which encloses the works, and, carefully avoiding the watchmen who do duty by night, must have dropped it where it was found. The body could not have been where it was found above two or three days, because men are frequently passing the spot. One of the workmen says that it was not there last Friday, because they had occasion to do something at that very spot. It is thought that the person who put the bundle there could not very well have got into the enclosure from the Embankment side, as not only would the risk of detection be very great, but he would stand a good chance of breaking his neck. The parcel must have been got in from the Cannon Row side, a very dark and lonely spot, although within twenty yards of the main thoroughfare. The body is pronounced by medical men to have been that of a remarkably fine young woman. The lower portion from the ribs has been removed. The post-mortem examination was held this morning, and the result will be made known at the inquest.