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  • #46
    Apologies, Stewart, but I have been asleep on the other side of the planet.

    Let's take your objections, one by one.

    I am sure that the Druitt as the Ripper theory was unknown to Sims, probably at least until the publication of Griffith's 1898 work. That still wouldn't mean that he didn't recall a suicide of 1889 that had appeared in the newspapers.

    This is a very unconvincing theory because the fictionalising of Druitt begins with Macnaghten, in the official version of his 'Report', through into the backdated 'draft' (or the other way round) and continues into Sims -- obviously from his pal, who also confirmed that the document was a definitive 'Home Office Report', when it was nothing of the kind.

    You think that Macnaghten had reason to fear 'the Druitt revelation', but why? He continued to espouse, and push, the idea of the 'drowned doctor' in the Thames and it really wouldn't have taken a genius to do a little research and find that the only Thames suicide candidate fitting the essential criteria was Druitt, who was named as the appropriate suicide in the January 1889 press.

    Druitt was a potential tar-baby, politically speaking, because he had been a Tory barrister, from a Tory family, stumbled upon by a Tory MP. Did police really not know about him, or was he tipped off by Tory chiefs that the net was closing. Imagine what Liberal demagogues and Liberal tabloids could do with this humiliating tale -- quite unfairly?

    I think you underestimate the partisan-political context and pressures, as do a number of secondary sources.

    You write that Druitt could have been easily found.

    Yes, but nobody did find Druitt, and in the generation closer to the murders, what would it get you to try and find out?

    George Sims had provided the basic profile, or so people thought -- even what 'Jack' looked like: he looked like Sims. You could not publish the murderer's name without heading towards a potential libel suit.

    In 1929, Leonard Matters rebooted the entire mystery, as a 'mystery' choosing to dismiss the memoirs of Macnaghten (and Anderson) -- which was his right -- by claiming that no such doctor took his own life by drowning himself in the Thames on Nov 10th 1888. So far as I know this was the first attempt, in the next generation, to try and find the 'drowned doctor' in the public records, and he did not find Druitt.

    But then why would you connect a young, barrister-teacher, a working bourgeoisie, from a concerned family, with Sims' affluent, unemployed, middle-aged physician? (in his own memoirs, Macnaghten is so cagey on this point that he drops both 'doctor', which was untrue, and 'drowned', which was true).

    Even with the name, Dan Farson and his researchers in 1959 had so much trouble initially finding 'M. J. Druitt' that they wondered if he existed at all?

    Macnaghten had set up a shield against Druitt being found and until his own daughter handed the name to a famous TV reporter, this shell game held (as the 1899 'North Country Vicar' puts it so well: 'substantial truth under fictitious form'.)

    How can you argue with success?

    Macnaghten made demonstrable errors, but you seem to choose selectively what he said and assign deliberate deceit in order to mislead on his part, rather than admit the most likely explanation.

    Can you give me an example of where I choose 'selectively'? I'm not saying I don't. Undoubtedly I do, but I cannot think of an example because I am too close to it.

    I have tried in my articles, and my unpublished manuscript, to examine every Macnaghten source, and Mac-source-by-proxy, that I can find.

    I have argued against my own theory too.

    For example, the one element which never alters between the MP article, Mac's Report(s), Griffiths and Sims, one of Mac's 1913 comments, and his 1914 memoirs, is that Druitt killed himself within hours of the Kelly murder.

    That this is the 'proof' of his guilt.

    If that is what Macnaghten really believed then he was mistaken, seriously so, because Druitt does not qualify for his 'awful glut' criteria, no more than any other suspect.

    You are the one who is also selective, and you have every right to be, by excluding Macnaghten's memoirs from several of your books -- brilliant books.

    But you make the same choices (eg. this is in and this is out, and this is right and this is wrong) you say I make.

    It has always been obvious that Druitt was a retrospective suspect, and was not suspected in 1888/89.

    Has it?

    That would be news to Cullen, Farson and the early work of Don Rumbelow who all [provisionally] included the McCormick hoax about Albert Backert and therefore claimed that Druitt was a 'police' suspect in 1888 -- because that is what Macnaghten implies in both versions of his 'Report'.

    They all downplayed his memoir, the only document by Macnaghten on this matter, under his own knighted name, for publication, where he concedes that this was not true.

    That he, Mac, and nobody else, had laid the mad miscreant's ghost to rest.

    Macnaghten is such a casually misunderstood figure in some secondary sources that writers think that the preface of his memoirs (unavailable on Casebook) claims that he lamented he was six months too late to hunt the Ripper. Actually he claims -- quite falsely by the way -- that this lament was made up by an 'enterprizing' reporter. That it is up to the readers to make up their own minds.

    Then Chapter IV makes his meaning of the preface clear.

    I was too late to hunt this 'Protean' killer, who was so omnipotent, until he imploded and 'confessed' in deed by killing himself immediately after his 'awful glut', and who had had nearly sunk the Home Sec.

    But Mac asserts that he 'in all probability' -- as the man could not be put on trial -- had posthumously identified the Ripper as [the un-named] Druitt, 'some years after', by information received: 'certain facts' which led to a 'conclusion' -- inclining him to a 'belief', not a suspicion or theory.

    Embarrassingly the police had no idea that 'Jack' had been dead for years; they had been pursuing a phantom, whilst arresting innocent members of the proletariat.

    This quite an admission, going against the expect bias of such a usually unreliable source, though it has to be said that it was also a way to put his thumb, again, in Anderson's eye and debunk the latter's conceited, self-serving claims to have caught the killer alive, but that they were let down by Slavic trash.

    It was this excruciating factor, that Druitt was unknown and long deceased, which guided Macnaghten's machinations over the case for a quarter of a century.

    That is my 'case disguised' interpretation.

    It is a very brief preface in 'Days of My Years' one in which , nevertheless, championship cricket, Jack the Ripper, and an apology for 'inaccuracies' are suggestively juxtaposed.

    Either that is a sly in-joke or just another coincidence, like that sloppy Sims' inaccurate 'drowned doctor' profile luckily protected the Druitt's family privacy ...


    • #47
      A Point

      Jonathan, much as I may enjoy reading your lengthy posts I really do not have the stamina to respond in full. Indeed, it is the very reason I break lengthy posts into separate 'bites' that I can address individually.

      A point which doesn't seem to come into your reckoning on Druitt is that you cannot libel the dead. So you might embarrass the Druitt family but you could not libel anyone by stating that you thought Druitt was the Ripper.

      When I said that it has always been obvious that Druitt was a retrospective suspect I should have added 'to me'. But, then, Macnaghten stated that he was.


      • #48
        Observation and Question

        Then I will keep it short -- for me -- with an observation and a question:

        Observation about Libel:

        The 'West of England' MP titbit refers 'fearfully' to the libel laws; that the reporter is with-holding the entire story he has come across, via the un-named Farquharson. The writer knows the surgeon's son suspect is dead -- long dead.

        Yet, apparently, the libel laws could potentially be triggered. Why?

        I think because if the complete tale claims that the family knew of Montie's murderous madness -- let alone that he confessed to a priest, who was also a family member -- then they could sue for libel on that basis.

        Because it is they who would have been libelled.

        Of course, when the story resurfaces in 1898, and into the Edwardian Era, it is sufficiently altered to shield all concerned from libel: the surgeon's son becomes a surgeon himself, the family become 'friends', a sporty, hard-working barrister-teacher becomes an unemployed, affluent, asylum-vet recluse (the 1891 error, that he took his own life on the same night as the final murder, was retained for that very non-libellous reason: it was not true and thus obscured the real Druitt).

        A question about George Sims' profile.

        Do you think, Stewart, that it is a coincidence that Sims' Edwardian profile of 'Jack' further obscured the real Montague Druitt?

        Look, I believe that coincidences happen too.

        I just want to know if your judgement is that this particular aspect of the Druitt/Ripper saga is a happy accident -- for the Druitts, I mean, 'fearfully' reading Sims -- rather than by some design to protect their privacy.


        • #49

          I still find this topic very interesting and still not 'bottomed out'. Frank Collins Richardson (born 1870) was a barrister and novelist, and was found dead in his chambers in Albemarle Street, Piccadilly, on 1 August 1917, with a wound in his throat. He entered the Inner Temple and was called to the Bar. However, he was a self-admitted failure and began a writing career. Ingleby Oddie was the coroner.


          • #50

            The title page of Richardson's The Worst Man in the World, 1908.

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            • #51
              George R. Sims

              Mention of George R. Sims (indicating that Richardson read Sims' writings).

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              • #52
                Doctor Bluitt

                The Doctor Bluitt reference.

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                • #53
                  Jack the Ripper

                  Jack the Ripper reference.

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                  • #54

                    Another Jack the Ripper reference.

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                    • #55
                      And another...

                      And another.

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                      • #56
                        Last but one...

                        Last but one.

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                        • #57
                          Last mention

                          Last mention.

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                          • #58
                            Dr Bluitt is not Mr Druitt--right?

                            Thanks for posting all that Stewart.

                            Fascinating material, at least for me.

                            I stand by what wrote years before:

                            That if a minor comic writer such as Frank Richardson knew Druitt's name then most certainly so did George Sims.

                            Imagine being a graduate of the Valentine School and reading, in 1908, that reference to Dr Bluitt who flung himself in the Thames--and who was, joshingly, Jack the Ripper.

                            It might trigger a query in your memory about poor Mr. Druitt who, tragically and inexplicably, 'also' flung himself in the Thames ... but he was a barrister and a teacher, not a doctor.

                            Sims, we know now--thanks to the same dogged researcher, Chris Phillips-- wrote about the drowned doctor as 'Dr. ___' in a 1910 column, the one kicking hell out of Anderson over his gaffe-prone memoirs: 'Anderson's Fairy Tales'.

                            This 1910 column is also the first time in the extant record that a 'final' version of the 'Home Office Report' is mooted (allegedly residing at the Home Office) and that this document of state does not decide between the English doctor, the Russian doctor and the Polish Jew Ripper suspects.

                            Absolutely correct, and inside information that could only come from Macnaghten.


                            • #59
                              Thank you Stewart, the 'doctor' lore stuck like glue.

                              John Ruffels posted (click) in 2005 on a Casebook thread:

                              "George R Sims published the interesting fact that the mysterious Jack the Ripper not only suicided, but resided at Blackheath!

                              PEARSONS WEEKLY of July 24, 1915.
                              The quote is:
                              "There was no question of the insanity of revenge upon a certain class of woman as there was in the case of the mad doctor who lived with his people at Blackheath...." "


                              • #60

                                Originally posted by Roy Corduroy
                                Thank you Stewart, the 'doctor' lore stuck like glue.
                                John Ruffels posted (click) in 2005 on a Casebook thread:
                                "George R Sims published the interesting fact that the mysterious Jack the Ripper not only suicided, but resided at Blackheath!
                                PEARSONS WEEKLY of July 24, 1915.
                                The quote is:
                                "There was no question of the insanity of revenge upon a certain class of woman as there was in the case of the mad doctor who lived with his people at Blackheath...." "
                                Yes, I believe that John got this information when I posted the full piece from Pearson's, I have the original issue.