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  • Anderson--Begg contra Russo

    Thread for Messrs. Begg and Russo to debate the Hove Identification.

    Please place your comments on the appropriate thread ( The One on One--Sidelines).
    To Join JTR Forums, Contact :
    Howard@jtrforums.com

  • #2
    To state it simply, it has always been my contention that the Anderson suspect ID never took place. There is a wealth of information that, when pulled together, lends credence to this.

    Since a portion of this debate already took place on the Anderson up or down thread, I will simply challenge my esteemed opponent to counter my remarks regarding the fabricated suspect ID.

    Comment


    • #3
      Originally posted by Stan Russo View Post
      To state it simply, it has always been my contention that the Anderson suspect ID never took place. There is a wealth of information that, when pulled together, lends credence to this.

      Since a portion of this debate already took place on the Anderson up or down thread, I will simply challenge my esteemed opponent to counter my remarks regarding the fabricated suspect ID.
      It's slightly difficult - well, it's impossible really - to counter this argument when I don't know what the 'wealth of information' is to suggest that the identification never took place.

      There is no particular reason for supposing that Anderson would claim that the identification took place when it didn't and when he knew that other people knew that it didn't, and a collolary of that is that if he'd lied about it how would he have expected to get away with it if asked for proofs such as the police reports and other documentation by interested parties such as the Commissioner or the Home Secretary?

      What we have is Anderson stating that the identification happened, we have Swanson providing additional details in some personal and private notes, and we have Macnaghten's reference to the suspect in an internal and confidential memoranda. If the identification never took place, how did these people get suckered into believing that it did (or in the case of Macnaghten, that 'Kosminski' was a legitimate suspect)?

      Anderson could have compltely misjudged or misunderstood the evidence against 'Kosminski' and been totally wrong about his guilt, but to concoct the whole story about the eye-witness identification seems to me so fraught with logistical problems that nobody would ever have tried to do it. Any argument to the contrary would have to be very good indeed to overcome the immediately visible problems.

      Comment


      • #4
        The wealth of information I am referring to is information about the case that to this point has not been connected to Anderson's 'alleged' suspect ID. This information includes not only JTR documentary information but also information from outside sources that impact aspects of the case directly related to not only Anderson but to other factors that, when brought together, make sense and shed light on events in the case that seem unexplainable.

        I know that seems vague, at best, but I will list a number of pieces of information that have not been connected to the Anderson suspect ID, which greatly impact its veracity.

        a) The errors within the Swanson Marginalia
        b) The 1895 Alfred Aylmer article
        c) The Littlechild Letter
        d) The original MacNaghten Memo
        e) The rediscovered memoirs of James Monro
        f) The September 22nd Evelyn Ruggles Bryce Memo
        g) The 1956 book by Douglas Browne and Ralph Strauss
        h) The commonly agreed upon fact that MacNaghten was almost transferred from the Met in 1890, only to be back in the good graces of the department without any recorded reason
        i) The 1894 official MacNaghten memo
        j) The timeline of Anderson's writings
        k) The outside knowledge, from numerous books, that there was no Fenian plot against Balfour or any English official in 1888
        l) Anderson's previous work, specifically his job within the department from 1885 to 1888
        m) Monro's almost sudden resignation only hours after the Nichols murder
        n) The daily meetings between Anderson and Monro the first week of September
        o) The use of Special Branch men to investigate the JTR murders only hours after the Nichols murder
        p) The fact that they knew the whereabouts of Tumblety to arrest him on four separate counts of gross indecency, one of which beinmg the night of the Nichols murder.
        and many more, which I will share along the way.

        Please feel free to choose any or all to counter.

        Comment


        • #5
          Hi Stan,
          I'm sorry, but it's impossible to respond to any of these without knowing how they supposedly impact on Anderson. For example, I don't know how the arrest of Tumblety in 1888 has any real bearing on how or why Aaron Kosminski came to police attention in 1891. And whether or not there was a Fenian plot to assassinate Balfour strikes me as is irrelevant as it was based on information seen in the files in the 1950s and possibly misunderstood by the person who saw it.

          Cheers
          Paul

          Comment


          • #6
            Paul,

            Well, it interesting that you chose those two,of the bunch, because I do believe they do have a direct impact on the fabricated Anderson ID.

            The assassination attempt on Arthur Balfour, which directly linked this assassination plot to the JTR murders, was attested to by Ralph Strauss and Douglas Browne, in their 1956 book. Mentioning it back then, in 1956, did not mean a whole lot, specifically due to the fact that we did not know of the MacNaghten memo and Anderson's suspect, which we all probably believe was Kosminski.

            Now, in the pages of the Swanson Marginalia, from his scribblings, he attests that MacNaghten (Ch. Const.) vexed Anderson,making undue fuss about a threatening letter. What was this threatening letter? Putting two and two together, it could have been this letter regarding the assassination of Balfour and its connection to the JTR murders. It was probably this letter, since independant confirmation that MacNaghten knew about it exists from Strauss and Browne. The Dear Boss letter was public - there's no reason for MacNaghten to bother Anderson about it when he could read the file notes on it.

            However, if MacNaghten, who was a known Ripperphile, found a document that did connect the JTR murders to an assassination plot on Balfour, who better to bother about it then Anderson?

            This explains the fact that MacNaghten was almost transferred in 1890, most likely due to constant annoyance of Anderson, enough to vex him, over this threatening letter.

            How this relates to Tumblety's arrest in 1888 is simple - to make an arrest on Tumblety, they had knowledge of four separate occasions where he frequented a gay brothel, one on the night of the Nichols murder. To know this, they were most likely tailing him, as the Littlechild Letter indicates, that whenever he (Tumblety) came to London, he was under constant notice of the police.

            Why was Tumblety under notice, enough to gather this detailed information about his whereabouts? Is it possible that the Met, or more specifically, the Special Branch/CID (both run by the same two key people - Monro and Anderson) had been sent a letter that claimed there would be an assassination plot on Balfour which was connected to the JTR murders?

            I can only perceive the answer to be yes because we have independant verification of such a letter and probable confirmation, from Swanson, that MacNaghten bothered Anderson about it.

            The problem with believing Anderson lied about the suspect ID has always been motive. Why would he lie? I even got you to state that a credible motive may change your way of thinking about whether Anderson lied about the ID.

            Anderson, a Special Branch officer of over 20 years, at the time of the murders, a spymaster involved in handling one of the key spies infiltrating the Fenian movement, would have been personally involved in any Fenian threats at the time of the murders,specifically against Arthur Balfour. If this assasination letter existed, which we have verification/confirmation it did and it was seen by someone who was not supposed to see it, such as MacNaghten, whom we know did see it and connected it to the JTR murders, wouldn't it have been prudent for Anderson, who thought of England before everything else except God, to throw him off the scent of this possible Fenian connection to the murders by handing him either the name Kosminski?

            We know, or at least should know that it had to be Anderson, or Swanson acting on information from Anderson, who gave the name Kosminski to MacNaghten. We also know that the original MacNaghten Memo, attested to by two separate sources, lists Druitt (although he gets his first name wrong),
            a Polish Jew cobbler nick-named Leather Apron and a feeble minded man who went around following young girls and stabbing them (which we can safely assume was Thomas Cutbush). In this document lies the seeds for Anderson to supply MacNaghten with the name Kosminski, replacing Leather Apron, who was John Pizer and cleared of the Nichols and Chapman murders with an alibi, with the name of another Polish Jew, Kosminski.

            A lot, I know - but we can discuss it step by step, which will clear things up that I may have accidentally made convoluted.

            Comment


            • #7
              Hi Stan,
              You present an interesting hypothesis, but it's based almost wholly on conjecture and it illustrates how conjecture can lead even to a logically constructed theory that's completely wrong. And I'm sorry to have to say that so bluntly.

              The foundation of the theory is that the threatening letter send to Macnaghten concerned an assassination attempt on Balfour which it linked to the Ripper murders,

              (1) The threatening letter threatened to kill Macnaghten and appears not to have had any connection with Jack the Ripper. (2) It was from William Henry Townsend, who in April 1893 was charged and found guilty of sending a letter threatening Gladstone’s life and with discharging a pistol near Downing Street. There is no reason to suppose that the letter sent to Macnaghten significantly predated the letter sent to Gladstone. (3) As Macnaghten was almost transferred in 1890, the reason had nothing to do with a threatening letter received subsequent to that date. (4) We have no idea what Browne/Strauss saw, but it was not the letter sent to Macnaghten by Townsend because the whole point of Anderson’s anecdote was that he destroyed that letter. (5) Townsend has no connection with Jack the Ripper. (6) The letter threatening Macnaghten’s life had no connection with Tumblety.

              Originally posted by Stan Russo View Post
              Anderson, a Special Branch officer of over 20 years, at the time of the murders, a spymaster involved in handling one of the key spies infiltrating the Fenian movement, would have been personally involved in any Fenian threats at the time of the murders, specifically against Arthur Balfour. If this assasination letter existed, which we have verification/confirmation it did and it was seen by someone who was not supposed to see it, such as MacNaghten, whom we know did see it and connected it to the JTR murders, wouldn't it have been prudent for Anderson, who thought of England before everything else except God, to throw him off the scent of this possible Fenian connection to the murders by handing him either the name Kosminski?
              Well, first of all your are presupposing that Macnaghten saw a letter he shouldn’t have seen, which is as questionable as it is theoretical, and secondly, even if he did see a confidential document he was not authorized to see, Macnaghten was nevertheless a senior policeman who presumably Anderson had no reason to distrust with confidential material. And thirdly, unless you can demonstrate that Anderson thought Macnaghten untrustworthy with confidential material, what possible reason would he have had for throwing Macnaghten off the scent by inventing the eye-witness identification story, which there is no suggestion the Macnaghten knew about anyway. On top of all that, the idea that Anderson invented that story is chock full of logistical difficulties, such as convincing Swanson about it.

              Originally posted by Stan Russo View Post
              We know, or at least should know that it had to be Anderson, or Swanson acting on information from Anderson, who gave the name Kosminski to MacNaghten. We also know that the original MacNaghten Memo, attested to by two separate sources, lists Druitt (although he gets his first name wrong), a Polish Jew cobbler nick-named Leather Apron and a feeble minded man who went around following young girls and stabbing them (which we can safely assume was Thomas Cutbush). In this document lies the seeds for Anderson to supply MacNaghten with the name Kosminski, replacing Leather Apron, who was John Pizer and cleared of the Nichols and Chapman murders with an alibi, with the name of another Polish Jew, Kosminski.
              First off, as you have acknowledged, Macnaghten was a Ripperphile who need not have been 'given' the name kosminski by anyone, but could have come across him in the files. Secondly, by 1894 Macnaghten thought Jack the Ripper was Druitt, and as Druitt has no known connection with plots to assassinate anyone, it would seem that by 1894 he had abandoned or was not talking about the idea that the Ripper murders were connected with a plot to assassinate Balfour, and that Anderson therefore had no need to feed him information about Kosminski. Thirdly, the Donner material could be a mismemory of something seen some two decades earlier. That this was indeed the case is suggested by the fact that the whole purpose of the memoranda was to refute allegations in the Sun that Cutbush was the Ripper, so Macnaghten is hardly likely to have indicated that Cutbush was a leading suspect.

              And on top of all of this, even if Anderson concocted a wholly fictional story to throw Macnaghten off the scent, why wouldn't he have sworn Macnaghten to secrecy about it. Why would h bring Swansn into it, let alone write about it in his memoirs when he knew that nobody else involved in the investigation would confirm it, especially whe there's a fair chance that sombody in authority will ask to see the relevant documentation.

              I wouldn't discard the hypothesis entirely, however, because Townsend did threaten the life of Gladstone, not Balfour, and I think I'm right in saying that Townsend had Home Rule papers on his person, which could connect him with the Fenians, and, of course Townsend was the name Tumblety used when fleeing the country, albeit that that was five years before the threatening letters.

              Cheers
              Paul

              Comment


              • #8
                Paul,

                There's no need to apologize for being blatant - you believe my interesting hypothesis that led to a logically constructed theory is incorrect. That is fine.

                However, I disagree with your assessment and here is why.

                You state that the threatening letter spoken of in the Swanson Marginalia was a letter that threatened to kill MacNaghten. Of course, this is speculation as well. Nowhere does Swanson identify the threatening letter and one can argue that it would make no sense for a police officer, even one as incompetent as MacNaghten, to "vex" a senior officer such as Anderson over receiving a threatening letter.

                Two main points lead me to this conclusion.

                a) In 1890, as you have backed me up on this, MacNaghten was possibly being transferred. No reason has ever been given for this possible transfer. As such, despite the fact that many feel this has nothing to do with the case, the reasons for this transfer, I feel, must be addressed. Knowing what we know about MacNaghten, one can argue that what got MacNaghten almost transferred out of the CID, in 1890, was the constant discussion of the JTR case, due to the fact that he was a known Ripperphile. If this is the reason for why MacNaghten was almost transferred out of the CID, this would make perfect sense, from a timeline perspective, out of what Swanson referred to when he said that MacNaghten "vexed "Anderson about a threatening letter.

                b) The 1956 book by Strauss and Browne. As a prominent researcher once exclaimed to me, "we have no reason not to accept what they said at face value ". since there has been no sufficient reason to doubt their credibility, we must conclude that what they said was correct. What they said was "A third head of the CID, Sir Melville MacNaghten, appears to iddentify the Ripper with the leader of a plot to assassinate Mr. Balfour at the Irish office". Additionally, it has been confirmed that Strauss and Browne had direct access to the Home Office and Scotland Yard files. This is confirmed by direct passages in their 1956 work matching passages only known to exist in the HO and SY files. That, I know, from reading the A-Z by Fido, Skinner and yourself.

                So, if the threatening letter was this letter that Browne and Strauss state MacNaghten found and "vexed" Anderson about it, this would explain why he was almost transferred out of the CID. Remember, Anderson was Special Branch and if there was documentary evidence connecting the JTR murders to an assassination plot against Balfour, which was found by MacNaghten, Anderson would be the person to "vex" about it, especially if one was a Ripperphile, as we know MacNaghten was.

                Regarding the letter that threatened MacNaghten - I have never heard of this letter threatening to kill MacNaghten, from William Henry Townsend. I also see no reason, stated in a previous paragraph, why MacNaghten would "vex" Anderson about a letter such as this. I especially believe this since as you argue, which I would concur with your assessment, that this letter would have been sent much closer to the date of the letter sent to Gladstone, if this was the letter MacNaghten "vexed" Anderson about in the Swanson Marginalia, the argument behind that thoery would be that after MacNaghten was almost transferred out of the CID in 1890, three years later he was bothering the hell out of Anderson, in charge of the CID, by making "undue fuss" over this letter. This does not make any sense, when looked at from this angle.

                Now, back to the Balfour assassination letter - in Monro's memoirs, which we actually have, rediscovered in 1987, he attests that "the Fenians inaguarated a system of assassinations of eminent persons, especially Mr. Balfour". Monro went so far as to name the person chosen for this, an Irishman named J.S. Wlash, who had been involved in the Phoenix Park murders. We now know that not only was Walsh not involved in any assassination attempts on Balfour during 1887-1889, but know that in 1888, the Fenian movement had moved from attacking the English through bombings and assassinations to trying to infiltrate American politics and strengthening their forces on the Canadian border. This comes from documented testimony of Fenians, most notably John Devoy, who was particularly upset with Alexander Sullivan's leadership of the Fenian movement in America, as well as Ireland.

                This becomes another background source for the Browne and Strauss find and one directly from the known writings of the absolute head of the Special Branch and Anderson's immediate boss, James Monro. It was also James Monro who was a close personal friend of MacNaghten and resigned in 1890 due to political problems within the Met. Interestingly enough, in 1890, MacNaghten is suddenly under the threat of transfer. The possibility that these two items are connected is not out of the realm of plausible theory, regardless of where you fall on the Anderson suspect ID.

                With regards to Tumblety, the argument that everything we know about the police involvement in his arrest on November 7th has nothing to do with the JTR investigation is a flawed argument. From newspaper reports in November, December and January, we know that Tumblety was, in some way, believed to be connected to the murders. Before we get the wrong idea, I do not believe Tumblety was JTR, but that is not the same as saying Tumblety has no place in the JTR argument as an important piece in the puzzle.

                If MacNaghten saw a document that was under Special Branch jurisdiction, as a threatening letter connecting Balfour to the JTR murders would have been, then yes, he should not have seen that document, having not been a member of the Special Branch. I think there is a big difference between Anderson distrusting MacNaghten and Anderson allowing MacNaghten to see Special Branch documents. I hope you could agree with me on that one. One must ask the question how did he get access to that document, which is verified by Monro, two researchers and yourself under the comments you made regarding the 1905 City Press article on the Anderson up ... Anderson down thread.

                With regards to MacNaghten knowing about the Anderson suspect ID, that can be backed up by his own 1894 internal memo attempting to clear Cutbush. If there was a suspect ID and that suspect was Kosminki, how would MacNaghten have known about it, yet no one on the force other than Swanson know about it, at least as we can certainly state because no one else on the force has ever attested to it. If Anderson simply told MacNaghten about the suspect ID, which can be logically theorized when analyzing the evolution of MacNaghten's three separate memorandums, I am not sure why it is such a hard strectch to believe he could have simply told Swanson about it as well, especially when Swanson was not Special Branch and Anderson could always use that reason to justify keeping Swanson away from a suspect ID.

                Regarding Cutbush, I think,with all due respect, that you have it backwards. The Donner material, seen by two people who have never been deemed as non-credible sources or have ever had their memory challenged on anything other than this, actually confirms the reason why MacNaghten was chosen to write the 1894 internalmemo on Cutbush. Who better to write it than someone who initially suspected Cutbush as one of his three likely suspects, which included Michael John Druitt (MacNaghten's reference, although from Donner/Loftus) and a Polish Jew named Leather Apron. It should be obvious, even for someone like MacNaghten, that to view these three suspects as likely, one would have to gather information on them.

                Compare the first version of the memo, which we can assume, from what we know about the arrest of Thomas Cutbush, was written sometime in 1891, with the Lady Aberconway version. Druitt, the Polish Jew nicknamed Leather Apron and Cutbush to Druitt, the Polish Jew Kosminski and Ostrog, now defending Cutbush as not the murderer.

                Now, ask yourself why MacNaghten was suddenly back in the good graces of the CID in 1891, which we know is a recorded fact. Could it be that his "private info" led him away from the Balfour letter to Druitt and this finally led him to stop bothering Anderson, a Special Branch officer, about the assassination letter, a Special Branch document?

                If Anderson concocted the whole suspect ID, as I believe, his Special Branch stature could easily cover for a secret witness/suspect ID, which produced a suspect that he stated was MacNaghten's Polish Jew, yet was not Leather Apron, but Aaron Kosminski. There would be no reason to swear anyone to secrecy, as you obviously do not reveal to anyone, Swanson included and most definately not MacNaghten, that the suspect ID was fabricated.

                The alias Tumblety used was "Frank Townsend" and it has been suggested that he was the person who purchased the knives used in the Phoenix Park murders, transporting them from England to Dublin and giving them to the Invincibles. It has also been suggested that Tumbelty was an English spy, but that has never proved fruitful and there is way too much against it as a theory to facilitate it. Tumblety, through the Townsend alias, could have been labeled as a Fenian or a Fenian conspirator - this would have brought him to the attention of the Special Branch and why he would have been known to Chief Inspector Littlechild. This also explains why they knew enough about him to arrest him on gross indecency charges in November, had a Special Branch officer follow him to Boulougne (spelling) and across the Atlantic to NYC, where three officers, including Byrnes,were waiting to keep tabs on him. Not arrest him, but keep tabs on him.

                It seems as if Tumblety was and is a key aspect of the JTR investigation, but not as the murderer. It is in this connection that his involvement is directly connected to Anderson's suspect ID.

                Sorry for the loooooooooong response, but I felt it was warranted.

                I look forward to your response.

                Comment


                • #9
                  Hi Stan,
                  I'm afraid it isn't speculation that the threatening letter threatened the life of Macnaghten. The incident of the treatening letter was referred to i The Lighter Side of My Official Life and the recipient, unnamed by Anderson, was identified as Macnaghten in a marginal gloss by Swanson. The passge (I have emboldened the part about the recipient's life being threatened) in Anderson's memoir reads in full:-

                  'The public never realised what a marvellous escape Mr. Gladstone had in April, 1893, when the lunatic Townsend, with a loaded revolver in his pocket, lay in wait for him in Downing Street. A lunatic is often diverted from his purpose as easily as a child; and the man's own explanation of his failing to fire was that the Premier smiled at him when passing into No. io a providential circumstance that, for Mr. Gladstone was not addicted to smiling. That case cost me much distress of mind. " Never keep a document," should be the first rule with a criminal. " Never destroy a document," should be an inexorable rule in Police work. But in this case I had destroyed a letter that would have proved an important piece of evidence. I always ignored threatening letters myself, and I have had my share of them ; and when one of my principal subordinates brought me a letter threatening his life, I felt so indignant and irritated at the importance he attached to it, and the fuss he made over it, that I threw it into the fire. That letter was from Townsend, and though no harm came of my act, I could not forgive myself for it.'

                  Here the full facts are plainly provided, the letter threatened Macnaghten's life, it was from Townsend, Townsend afterwards sent a threatening letter to Gladstone and intended to assassinate him, this happened in April 1893. There is no reason to suppose that the letter was received significantly earlier - altough research into the life of Townsend might suggest otherwise - and certainly no reason to suppose that Townend had anything to do with Jack the Ripper or that this lone madman was the leader of a plot to assassinate Balfour. Prima facie a letter sent to Macnaghten in or shortly before 1893 will have had nothing to do with anything that happened to Macnaghten in 1890. Browne/Strauss could not have seen that letter because Anderson states he destroyed it by throwing it on the fire, so whatever they saw it was not that letter or had any connection whatsoever with it.

                  There seems little point in examining the rest of your argument if this crucial foundaton on which it is constructed is wrong, and the threatening letter treatened the lif of Macnaghten, was from Townsend, was probably received in or shortly before 1893, and was destroyed by Anderson. It was not a 'Special Branch' document (Anderson would hardly have destroyed it if it was) and appears to have been sent to Macnaghten personally, was not a document Macnaghten shouldn't have seen, Macnaghten wasn't almost tranferred from the C.I.D. becasue of it, and... well, the theory basically collapses.

                  Cheers
                  Paul

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Originally posted by Stan Russo View Post
                    Regarding Cutbush, I think,with all due respect, that you have it backwards. The Donner material, seen by two people who have never been deemed as non-credible sources or have ever had their memory challenged on anything other than this, actually confirms the reason why MacNaghten was chosen to write the 1894 internalmemo on Cutbush. Who better to write it than someone who initially suspected Cutbush as one of his three likely suspects, which included Michael John Druitt (MacNaghten's reference, although from Donner/Loftus) and a Polish Jew named Leather Apron. It should be obvious, even for someone like MacNaghten, that to view these three suspects as likely, one would have to gather information on them.
                    As briefly as possible, let's take a quick look at the Loftus version.

                    There are possibly three versions of the Macnaghten Memoranda:

                    (1) is contained in the Scotland Yard files and is commonly deemed to be the ‘final version’,

                    (2) is a copy of what appears to have been a draft version. It is titled, ‘Memorandum on articles which appeared in the Sun re JACK THE RIPPER on 14 Feb 1894 and subsequent dates’. The original belonged to Macnaghten's daughter, Julia Donner, and was borrowed and copied by her sister Lady Aberconway. The copy was typed by Lady Aberconway's secretary, except for the pages relating to the suspects which were hand copied by Lady Aberconway herself. The original document was then returned to Julia Donner and its fate is unknown.

                    (3) Is a still earlier version which may have existed and in the early 1950s was in the possession of Julia Donner's son, Gerald Melville Donner, being seen about that time by a friend of Gerald Donner's named Philip Loftus. Loftus wrote a letter to Lady Aberconway on 11 August 1972, having read Tom Cullen’s book Autumn of Terror and Dan Frason's Jack the Ripper, saying that his recollection of the document was that the suspects were ‘Michael John Druitt’, ‘a feeble-minded man (probably Thomas Cutbush), who followed young girls and stabbed them . . . with nail scissors’, and ‘a Polish Jew cobbler nick-named Leather Apron’. In October of that same year Loftus wrote in the Guardian newspaper that the document he saw were private notes ‘in Sir Melville’s handwriting on official paper, rather untidy and in the nature of rough jottings’, and ‘gave three suspects: a Polish tanner or cobbler; a man who went round stabbing young girls in the bottom with nail scissors; and M. J. Druitt’. The Donner version has never been seen since.

                    Now, it is possible that what Loftus saw was:

                    (a) the version inherited by Julia Donner, which Lady Aberconway copied and which has since disappeared. We do not know what that document looked like and it could well have been rather untidy, rough jottings. If Loftus saw the version borrowed by LAdy Aberconway from Julia Donner then it is self-evident that Loftus misremembered the names.

                    (b) On the other hand it could have been an earlier draft of the Donner draft. But, and this is the important point, it would still have been a draft of the document written to refute the Sun’s allegations against Cutbush, as the title given to the Donner/Aberconway version clearly states (seee 2 above). As such it would hardly have listed Cutbush among the suspects - if, indeed, Cutbush was the man who stabbed girls in the bottom with nail scissors - and Loftus only suggests this as a probaility - which again suggests that Loftus's memory is at fault.

                    (c) Or the Loftus document was an altogether different from the memorandum, but if that was the case then we don't know what it was about or when it was writteh. It need not have predated the memoranda, and there is no reason to suppose that it would have done, and could, for example, have dated from 1899 and concerned allegations about the identity of the Ripper from press and public and cited the contemporary references to Leather Apron, the later press allegations about Cutbush, and the private communication about Druitt. In short it may not have been offering those named as serious suspects at all.

                    No matter how you cut it, the fact is that Philip Loftus was remembering a document he saw once and was remembering after an interval of maybe two decades and after reading and perhaps having his memory contaminated by Cullen and Farson's books. The added probability that what he saw was the Donner/Aberconway version, the content of which we know, suggests that he did misremember the named suspects, or saw an earlier draft of that document further suggests that he misremembered the named suspects. The idea that Macnaghten favoured Cutbush depends on the assumption that the Loftus verson was not written to refute the allegations against Cutbush,which mens it was not an earlier draft of the Donner/Aberconway version, and the assumption that whatever it was it predated 1891 when that version was written. Neither assumption seems to have any reason for being outside the fact that you want Macnaghten to have been pro-Cutbush,and as far as I can recall there is no evidence that anyone ever thought Cutbush was the Ripper before the [I]Sun[I]'s allegations.

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Paul,

                      I think it should be noted that we run the risk of convoluting our arguments with so much information being given, on both ends.

                      It is important to understand that within any theory there are elements that may be incorrect, such as you have officially pointed out, yet the theory does not need to be discarded or thrown away because of it.

                      Case in point, if the threatening letter, referred to by Swanson, was this 1893 letter from Townsend, this by no means verifies that there was a suspect ID. I have not been privy to the additional scribblings of Swanson in his personal copy of Anderson's 1910 book, yet there still exists a number of issues that you are claiming that there is "little point in examining", such as the Balfour letter, which was seen by MacNaghten, was a Special Branch document and was a threatening letter.

                      Even you can admit that it is not out of the realm of possibility that one could see a connection between what Swanson wrote and what Browne and Strauss saw, which has been verified by Monro. The threatening letter by Townsend still does not invalidate what I have referred to in my post, even though you believe it does. I understand that you have seen one element of my theory as incorrect - to believe that this invalidates the rest of my theory or warrants not examining other issues within my theory seems nonsensical.

                      And, there still exists, the Balfour letter.

                      And there still exists a recollection of rough jottings of the MacNaghten Memo. Of course one must question whether or not the version seen by Philip Loftus can be taken at face value, whether it be from a faulty memory or whether it was nothing more than an attempt to get his name in the press. However, since we have a very important question that seems to have been ignored for many years, which is perfectly answered by the existence of this document, I lean toward the side that Loftus' memory was not faulty and that his remeberences of this document are as accurate as he claims. Once again, there is no reason to challenge his credibility, so that is not a question. His memory may be faulty, so what he says must be examined, however, when what Loftus says makes such sense as to answer an incredibly important question of the case, dismissing it due to 'alleged' bad memory or perhaps because you don't like it, seems inconsistent with what you say in other cases, such as on the Anderson up or Anderson down thread. Just because we do not have it as documented proof, does not mean it did not exist.

                      I am never one to use the above ideology, yet it is what Loftus says about this earlier version, that leads me to believe it was the early draft of MacNaghten's memo, probably made sometime in or around 1891. Why 1891? The answer is another analyses of the information provided in pieces here and there, but he had to do something to get back in the good graces of the CID. If finally finding what he thought was an answer to JTR question, this may have got him back in the good graces of the CID for a variety of reasons, most notably because he could finally get back to his job but more probably the reason was because he was not bothering Anderson and or Swanson about the JTR case, including the letter threatening to assassinate Balfour that was in some way connected to the JTR murders.

                      A few statements must be made about points I made that have gone unanswered:

                      You still have not given me any reason why MacNaghten was almost transferred from the CID in 1890.
                      You still have not given me any reason why suddenly, in 1891, he was back in their good graces.
                      You still have not addressed the Balfour threatening letter.
                      You still have not addressed the key element to validate the existence of the Loftus/Donner early draft of the MacNaghten Memo.

                      Perhaps the notion of why MacNaghten was specifically chosen to write the 1894 internal memo should be addressed again:

                      Why MacNaghten?

                      So far, I have not seen one valid explanation of why Melville MacNaghten was chosen to invalidate the candidacy of Thomas Cutbush as JTR.

                      In my theory, which I have laid out, MacNaghten was specifically chosen by Anderson to write this internal memo because he had already gathered enough information on Cutbush to name his as one of his three likely suspects, in his original verison. Of course, we know that MacNaghten's preferred suspect was Druitt, indicated by his 2 later versions of the memo. Do you think it would be that difficult to ask him to refute the Sun's allegations of Cutbush, especially since he was head over heels with Druitt as the murderer and had already gathered information on Cutbush? So why MacNaghten? Well, it seems pretty simple as to why, if you accept that the Loftus/Donner version did actually exist and that the man who went around stabbing girls with nail scissors was Cutbush, which would place the early draft at or around some time after March, 1891.

                      MacNaghten was not pro-Cutbush, in the same way that he was most decidely not pro-Kosminski or pro-Ostrog. However, there exists no reason whatsoever for MacNaghten to write a memo on refuting Cutbush as JTR when he did not work one day on the actual murder case, unless,and this is a pretty important unless, he actually had investigated Cutbush enough to be able to write a refutation about him. Even from the Loftus/Donner version,if one accepts that it did exist, you get the feeling that Druitt was his primary suspect, because he is the only suspect that MacNaghten actually names. that is important when it comes time to see where and why he got the name Kosminski, for his Polish Jew cobbler/tanner nicknamed Leather Apron.

                      I think its important to reiterate that MacNaghten was not pro-Polish Jew/cobbler/tanner Leather Apron either. His guy was Druitt, as clearly indicated above. In examining the Lady Aberconway version that Dan Farson used for his 1959 show and subsequent books in the 1960's (by other authors as well) and 1970's, and comparing it to the official document in the Scotland Yard files, there is a distinct difference in how Kosminski is addresed as a suspect. An examination of this leads one to believe, since MacNaghten was solidly pro-Druitt, that perhaps the official version was edited for content and evened out a bit not to overtly favor Druitt, as the Lady Aberconway version does, and simply name 2 other suspects but to promote Druitt as MacNaghten's suspect and offer/imply that Kosminski was a valid suspect as well. Ostrog remains almost an after thought in both versions.

                      If that does not wreak of Anderson's editing handiwork then perhaps we should never make any analyses of anything at all and simply hold hands and try and have JTR parties every year. What I am getting at is that this is an unsolved murder case and it appears that the notion of hypothetical analyses is under attack. If one element of a theory is incorrect, and we still do not know for an absolute fact that MacNaghten did not bring the Balfour letter he saw to Anderson's attention but only that it is most likely not the threatening letter written about by Swanson, then the whole theory must be flawed. In this instance, theories as a whole are under attack, not just facts within them.

                      Still, we have the issue of MacNaghten discovering a document that would have been a Special Branch document and who do you think he would have asked about that, being the known Ripperphile that he was? If he didn't go to Monro, his friend, it would have been none other than Anderson. If Monro told him that there was a Fenian element to the JTR murders, do you honestly think that Anderson, who is the only logical choice in giving the name of the Polish Jew to MacNaghten, would not have told him anything to get him off that scent?

                      And we didn't even go into Tumblety.

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Stan,
                        Let's deal with one point at a time: your contention is that Macnaghten saw a document he was not authorised to see and that as a consequence Anderson invented the suspect ID story, and you believe that what Macnaghten saw was a letter threatening the life of Balfour and that that letter was the same letter as te one he so vexed Anderson over.

                        Well, the letter he vexed Anderson over had nothing whatsoever to do with Balfour, but was sent to Macnaghten, threatened Macnaghten's life and was written by Townsend probably in 1893. It was not what Browne/Strauss saw because Anderson had thrown the letter on the fire and destroyed it (the whole point of Anderson's anecdote). And I am not referring to additional 'scribblings' by Swanson of which you are unaware, the quote I gave about the letter from Townsend threatening Macnaghten's life is from The Lighter Side of My Official Life by Robert Anderson. Swanson merely made a marginal gloss identifying the recipient, unnamed by Anderson, as Macnaghten.

                        Turning to the Balfour letter. There is no Balfour letter. Or perhaps I have misunderstood you and I don't know which letter you are talking about. The threatening letter threatened MAcnaghten's life and had nothing to do with Balfour. We do not know that whatever Browne/Strauss saw was a letter, all we know is that Browne/Strauss saw something which led them to conclude that Macnaghten possibly thought Jack the Ripper was the leader of a plot to assassinate Balfour. However, what they wrote was, ‘A third head of the CID, Sir Melville Macnaghten, appears to identify the Ripper with the leader of a plot to assassinate Mr Balfour at the Irish Office.’ There is reason to suppose that what they saw was a letter and please also note the word 'appears', which implies that they were less than certain and that whatever they saw was not an explicit statement of fact.

                        There is no reason to connect what Browne/Strauss saw with the threatening letter, or, and this is important, to suppose that either was information Macnaghten should not have seen. And if there was no reason for him not to have seen it, there is no reason for Anderson to have invented the suspect ID story.

                        As far as Loftus is concerned, sorry Stan but there do exist reasons to question Loftus's credability, at least as far as his memory of what he saw is concerned. Look, the memoranda was specifically written to refute the claims in the Sun that Cutbush was Jack the Ripper. The memoranda therefore would never have named Cutbush amoing the suspects. Loftus's memory therefore has to be at fault. The only alternative possibility is that Loftus did not see an early draft of the memoranda, but saw an altogether different document, but in that case we don't know the context in which the suspect's were named or the date it was written.

                        To reiterate, the memoranda because of the Sun articles which were published in 1894. An early draft of that document therefore has to post-date 1894. If whatever Loftus saw pr-dated 1894 then it was not and could not have been a draft of the memorandum, but would have to have been a different document, albeit one that Macnaghten drew upon for the memorandum. But we don't know that it predates the memorandum. It could post-date it.

                        Now, your hypothesis is built upon the foundation of Macnaghten having seen something he shouldn't have seen and which necessitated the invention of the suspect ID. You postulate that this was a document linking the murders to a plot to assassinate Balfour, and you believe this document was the letter that vexed Anderson.

                        The FACT is that the letter that vexed Anderson was sent to Macnaghten and had nothing whatsoever to do with a plot to assassinate Balfour, that it was destroyed by Anderson and cannot have been what Browne/Strauss saw, and that whatever Browne/Strauss saw it was not explicit. And on top of that, whatever Browne/Strauss saw, there is not one scintilla of evidence that Macnaghten should not have been party to it. All your other stuff is very largely irrelevant.

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Paul,

                          Let's step back for a second. I have conceded the point that I was incorrect regarding the particular letter Swanson was referring to in his Marginalia. I accept that. I still do not see how my entire argument is based upon that one miscalculation. I guess we're throwing out the baby with the bathwater.

                          Turning to the Balfour letter. I find it strange that you positively exclaim that there was no letter, despite independant verification from James Monro, the head of the Special Branch himself. However, since we have never seen this threatening letter, despite additional confirmation, we must assume it did not exist? Once again, I have to point out the error in consistency.

                          First let's examine a few things about this issue. Monro stated that the Fenians planned a system of assassination attempts against eminent officials, most notably Balfour. According to Nick Warren, Monro sent what he referred to as a direct incitement to the assassination of Balfour, in June of 1889, to Henry Matthews. I have to directly ask the question - what could Monro have sent to Matthews?

                          Even if you could argue that Monro sent Matthews information not from a document he saw outlining the assassination attempt on Balfour, there still exists something that MacNaghten saw, enough to validate the Browne/Strauss comment in their 1956 book, because they saw something that gave them the "appearance" that MacNaghten connected this assassination attempt on Balfour to the JTR murders.. Incidentally, according to Nick Warren, the issue of Monro sending Matthews confirmation of an assassinateion attempt against Balfour, appears in the 1956 book as well.

                          If Anderson is a reliable source, which many, including myself disagree, for different reasons, then you would have to argue that James Monro was as reliable a source as Anderson. How do you rationalize what he said in his personal memoirs regarding this Balfour assassination. Additionally, please address how Browne/Strauss saw something that "appeared" to them that MacNaghten may have connected this assassination attempt of Balfour to the JTR murders?

                          Additionally, do you acknowledge the difference between the CID and the Special Branch? If so, do you then acknowledge that if there was anything to connect a Fenian assassination attempt on Balfour to the murders, even if it was a letter, which seems to be apparently a far-fetched notion, it would be a Special Branch document? If you agree to that, which I continue because I cannot see how anyone who understands the case as you do could disagree with either of those statements, do you agree that MacNaghten, not having been a Special Branch officer, would not have had free access to Special Branch documents? If you agree to that, which once again I can't see how one cannot, do you agree that if MacNaghten saw a Special Branch document, such as an assassination attempt on Balfour connected to the JTR murders, whether it was a threatening letter, which the dicsovery of an assassination attempt usually goes hand in hand with, a Special Branch officer would be the first person he went for an explanation of this discovery, having been a known Ripperphile?

                          What I am getting at here, which you seem not to grasp from what I am saying, with all due respect, is that there is multiple confirmation of an assassination attempt on Balfour, which has been connected to MacNaghten identifying the leader of this plot with the JTR murders, yet for some reason, you find it necessary to speculate on the fact that it was most definately not a letter, due to the fact that I was incorrect about the threatening letter referred to by Swanson in his Marginalia.

                          Additionally, since I made this mistake, which I find to be an honest one when looking over the circumstances laid out above, all backed up by sources, with of course the glaring omission of anyone ever mentioning the word "letter", you find the entire rest of my theory unworthy of discussion based on this monumentally minute (an oxymoron I know) miscalculation.

                          I'm at a loss here, because I respect what you have done in the field and your knowledge of the case. I am glad you pointed out that the threatening letter was from Townsend in 1893 and not the one I believed it was. I have no problem being corrected if I am wrong. However, all I am seeing here is throwing the baby out with bathwater. Now that I have admitted, for the second time, that I was mistaken about the threatening letter, is it really productive to argue the merits of whether or not what Monro forwarded to Matthews & what MacNaghten saw to connect the Balfour plot leader to the murders & what Browne/Strauss saw to give them the impression of what MacNaghten saw to connect this, was actually a "letter"? Is it more plausible that Monro had a spy within the Fenians supply him the information and they shipped him around for Matthews to get this information, stick him in a file room for MacNaghten to discover and bury him in the files for Browne/Strauss to have seen?

                          That last part was sarcastic but I feel well deserved. I honestly feel that the struggle to keep hold of Anderson's credibility, in the face of many contradictory opinions and information that seems to be picked apart by stalemate arguments, is seriously affecting this debate.

                          Take your Loftus/MacNaghten memo comments as a perfect example.

                          I argued that the version Loftus saw must have been an early version of the Memorandum he was asked/told to write in 1894. I fully understand that the 1894 internal memo was specifically designed to refute the 1894 allegations by the Sun against Thomas Cutbush, therefore you are correct that it was not a "DRAFT" of the document. The possibility that it was the precursor for the assignation of MacNaghten to write the document now becomes a moot issue because of the accident in describing what should have been patently obvious within my argument, as I clearly stated that I believed the early draft, which now I must clarify was not an early draft of a document MacNaghten could not have known he would write 2-3 years later, but his early musings on the identity of JTR. I thought by explaining as much as I did my notion would be patently obvious. However, it was clearly not and the concept that this version, as I claim it existed, could possibly post-date the 1894 memo, which is of course preposterous but I believe the indended goal of arguing that I could believe that.

                          I'll close the same way you close, with the exception of trying to progress the argument, rather than stalling one side of it. I think we all get it, I was mistaken about the threatening letter that Swanson referred to, but you keep harping on that in the attempt to state that my entire argument is invalid. Plus, you have not addressed why MacNaghten was chosen to write the memo refuting Cutbush? I only ask that you take a moment to understand that I know, or believe that Cutbush was one of his early suspects, but I allow for the fact that since MacNaghten did not fully believe in his guilt as JTR, he would have been able to alter his opinions and use the information he gathered initially to argue that he was one of three likely suspects to argue against his candidacy, especially since he wholeheartedly believed in Druitt.

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Stan,

                            Balfour Letter
                            Perhaps you could remind what what letter this is. I am aware that James Monro wrote of a plot to assassinate Balfour, but I don't recall any mention of this being revealed in a letter.

                            Macnaghten
                            Frankly, I don't know that Macnaghten would necessarilly have been unauthorised to see 'Special Branch' documents relatng to the Fenians. But even if he did see highly confidential documents he was a serior policeman who could be trusted and was anyway subject to non-disclosure rules.

                            Balfour and Browne/Strauss
                            Browne/Strauss wrote, ‘A third head of the CID, Sir Melville Macnaghten, appears to identify the Ripper with the leader of a plot to assassinate Mr Balfour at the Irish Office.’ As already stated, the word 'appears' means that Browne/Strauss did not see an expicit statement to that effect, but saw something which either gave that impression to them or it was an impression received by the author of the document they saw. Furthermore, we could possibly deduce that whatever they saw, it was not a letter from someone else that connected the plot with the Ripper because such a letter would not have conveyed the impression that Macnaghten accepted or believed it. It would, on the contrary, most likely have been a report or a summary of a report, presumably by Macnaghten or referring to Macnaghten, in which the Balfour plot and the Ripper were discussed in such a way as to suggest to Browne/Strauss that Macnaghten accepted a link between the two.

                            Assassination Plot
                            As I understand it, in 1888 the Fenians planned a campaign of assassinations aimed especially at killing Balfour and it was put in the hands of General Millen, who the previous year had been in charge of the Jubilee Plot, and he travelled to Boulogne where he was confronted by Chief Constable Williamson. Another man involved in the plot, Roger McKenna, was seen in Paris and basically told that he was under close surveillance. The leading perpetrator in England, a man called Walsh, was exposed and the plot came to nothing. As far as we know none of these men had anything whatsoever to do with the Jack the Ripper murders and the only possible connection was that one of the men involved in the Jubilee Plot the previous year, Michael Harkins, had attracted the attention of H Division who reported him to Monro and the Secret Department kept him under observation. Early in 1888 Harkins was sentenced to 15-years in prison.

                            It is hugely difficult to understand how the plot of 1888 could tie in with the Ripper crimes at all, especially as all three of the 'leaders' are known to us and apparently had no known connection with the crimes, so the most obvious and simple solution is that Browne/Strauss misunderstood whatever it was they saw, a possibility perhaps supported by an uncertainty suggested by their use of the word 'apparently' and by the fact that we know that within a few years of joining the Met Macnaghten received information which apparently convinced him that Druitt was the murderer, and Druitt (if indeed he was the man about whom Macnaghten received private information) has no apparant connection with the Fenians or plots to assassinate anyone.

                            Loftus
                            As stated, Loftus either saw an early draft of the memorandum, or he saw an altogether different document. Since you acknowledge that a draft of the memorandum would not have named Cutbush as a suspect, what Loftus was a distinct document. If that was the case then we don't know the context of the document or when it was written. In other words, whilst it could pre-date the memorandum of 1894, it could equally post-date it. You suggest that it pre-dated the memorandum, but is there any evidence whatsoever to support that?

                            Conclusion
                            You argued that Macnaghten saw a letter linking Jack the Ripper with a Fenian plot to assassinate Balfour and that he made such a fuss about this document to Anderson that (a) he was almost transferred to the uniformed branch, and (b) that his inquiried had to be derailed by the invention of the suspect identification story.

                            But the letter over which he vexed Anderson was not one mentioning the Balfour assassination plot and as it was received three years after the transfer incident it cannot be related to it. Now, the important bit, even if one still allowed that Macnaghen saw something he shouldn't have done, without the evidence that Macnaghten made a fuss over it and vexed Anderson you have no reason to suppose that Anderson would have invented a story to halt further questioning or investigation. That's why I say your argument crumbles. But even if Anderson did have to invent a story, the more probable story for him to have invented was private information implicating Druitt, for it's that story, if any, which derailed the assassination story. And thirdly, there's no reason to suppose that Macnaghten knew about the suspect identification anyway. He doesn't mention it.

                            I'm sorry, Stan, but what you're asking is that we suppose that Macnaghten may not have been cleared to see a document which we don't know for sure ever existed, which may have made a connection between Jack the Ripper and a Fenian plot to assasinate Balfour which is otherwise without any sort of corroboration and is prima facie improbable, and which was uncertainly made by a writer who saw a now missing document in the 1950s. This we must accept despite the fact that we know that from the early 1890s Macnaghten believed the Ripper to have been Druitt who had no known or even suspected connection with Fenians or assassination plots. And dspite the fact that Macnaghten was a senior policeman who we know of no reason to suppose Anderson had cause to distrust and who was subject to fairly strict non-disclosure rules, we are to suppose that Macnaghten made such a fuss about it, despite the lack of any evidence that he did, that Anderson invented the story of a suspect identification - a story which Macnaghten shows no real sign of having heard - and which prima facie is less likely to have been invented for him than the private information implicating Druitt. And on top of this, instead of swearing Macnaghten to absolute secrecy, Anderson spread the story to Swanson and wrotes about it in his autobiography.

                            To be honest, Stan, it doesn't sound very likely.

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Paul,

                              We will go one step at a time.

                              Do you accept that I acknowledge the threatening letter mentioned by Swanson was not the letter I thought it was?

                              I only ask because you continue to bring it up despite my mentioning numerous times, in this debate, that I understand in was an error in calucluation.

                              Comment

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