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  • SPE
    replied
    Book

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

    Click image for larger version

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  • SPE
    replied
    Interesting

    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.

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  • Jonathan Hainsworth
    replied
    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.

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  • SPE
    replied
    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.

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  • Jonathan Hainsworth
    replied
    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 ...

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  • SPE
    replied
    I am sure...

    Originally posted by Jonathan Hainsworth View Post
    No, I don't think so Stewart.
    I think it is you who are making assumptions, ones which fly in the face of the more likely explanation.
    That the Druitt story is clearly unknown to Sims, except for what he gets from Macnaghten -- beginning in 1899.
    Macnaghten had every reason to fear the Druitt revelation, a Tory Ripper, for the Yard with the Liberal-Radical jackals.
    On the other hand, if the story re-emerged out of Dorset it would be better if they had soemthing on file, but with Druitt only as a minor, hearsay suspect who may, or may not have been a medical man.
    As for the unreliability of memoirs?
    You are right, in general, but wrong about Macnaghten's.
    Because he is reliably candid up to a point about the un-named Druitt, and when exactly the 'police' actually learned of the [probable] Ripper's identity.
    Eg. some years later ...
    That goes against the expected bias of such a source.
    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.

    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.

    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.

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

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  • Jonathan Hainsworth
    replied
    No, I don't think so Stewart.

    I think it is you who are making assumptions, ones which fly in the face of the more likely explanation.

    That the Druitt story is clearly unknown to Sims, except for what he gets from Macnaghten -- beginning in 1899.

    Macnaghten had every reason to fear the Druitt revelation, a Tory Ripper, for the Yard with the Liberal-Radical jackals.

    On the other hand, if the story re-emerged out of Dorset it would be better if they had soemthing on file, but with Druitt only as a minor, hearsay suspect who may, or may not have been a medical man.

    As for the unreliability of memoirs?

    You are right, in general, but wrong about Macnaghten's.

    Because he is reliably candid up to a point about the un-named Druitt, and when exactly the 'police' actually learned of the [probable] Ripper's identity.

    Eg. some years later ...

    That goes against the expected bias of such a source.

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  • SPE
    replied
    But...

    Originally posted by Jonathan Hainsworth View Post
    So, this is the sudden addition to the Old Paradigm: like a Tyrannosaur, roaring and uncomprehending, as it sinks into the tar-pit.
    Sloppy Mac meet Sloppy Tatcho ...
    But press reports and personal memoirs are noted by historians for their unreliability.

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  • SPE
    replied
    Fact

    Originally posted by Jonathan Hainsworth View Post
    Now just consider, Stewart, what you wrote for a moment.
    That William Druitt was searching for Montie appears in one newspaper article, which we know about, and then is fictionalised by Sims in the 1900's.
    If you have access to that article which mentions this detail, then you would know that Druitt -- though he is not named in that article -- was a barrister, and that he killed himself in early December, and that he was 31 (and that his body was found with a season rail ticket between Blackheath and London)
    Then how come Macnaghten begins fictionalising Druitt, and the Druitt family by them becoming 'friends' in Griffiths and this is maintained in Sims.
    I am guessing that you will say, well, to protect their privacy.
    Since the 1889 articles about Druiott's suicide clearly shows that he was a young barrister, how do you know that Macanghtenb was not engaged in a bit of deceit to protect the privacy of the family, and their deceased member by also turning Montie into a middle-aged doctor?
    Isn't a poor memory on the part of Macnaghten, a police chief famous for his retentive memory, also a pretty big assumption ...?
    I was indicating the fact that a search for a suicide victim in the Thames was reported and was hardly unlikely or unknown. As a journalist in 1889 Sims might well have remembered reading something about a suicide in the Thames and that the body had been about a month in the water undiscovered.

    I do not know that 'Macnaghten was not engaged in a bit of deceit to protect the privacy of the family' any more than you know that he was. But the fact is that the errors in the memorandum exist when there should be no need whatsoever for any deliberate falsification of Druitt's details in that document.

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  • SPE
    replied
    No...

    Originally posted by Chris G. View Post
    Hi Stewart and Jonathan
    I would expect that the memorandum was sent to the Home Office as well. However, if so, why isn't there any trace of it in the Home Office files?
    Chris
    No, it is an internal memorandum, hence the fact that it is usually referred to as that. As such it would be submitted by Macnaghten to Bradford (probably via Anderson) for his information. Macnaghten did not report directly to the Home Office, Bradford did.

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  • Jonathan Hainsworth
    replied
    Now just consider, Stewart, what you wrote for a moment.

    That William Druitt was searching for Montie appears in one newspaper article, which we know about, and then is fictionalised by Sims in the 1900's.

    If you have access to that article which mentions this detail, then you would know that Druitt -- though he is not named in that article -- was a barrister, and that he killed himself in early December, and that he was 31 (and that his body was found with a season rail ticket between Blackheath and London)

    Then how come Macnaghten begins fictionalising Druitt, and the Druitt family by them becoming 'friends' in Griffiths and this is maintained in Sims.

    I am guessing that you will say, well, to protect their privacy.

    Since the 1889 articles about Druiott's suicide clearly shows that he was a young barrister, how do you know that Macanghtenb was not engaged in a bit of deceit to protect the privacy of the family, and their deceased member by also turning Montie into a middle-aged doctor?

    Isn't a poor memory on the part of Macnaghten, a police chief famous for his retentive memory, also a pretty big assumption ...?

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  • Jonathan Hainsworth
    replied
    So, this is the sudden addition to the Old Paradigm: like a Tyrannosaur, roaring and uncomprehending, as it sinks into the tar-pit.

    Sloppy Mac meet Sloppy Tatcho ...

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  • SPE
    replied
    Implausible

    Originally posted by Jonathan Hainsworth View Post
    ...
    The detail about the frantic friends searching for the doctor comes from somebody who knew the full story about Druitt.
    We have a 1907 brief letter from Mac to Sims in which he -- to me -- leads his pal well away from digging up 'Ripper' murders after Kelly.
    The reason Macnaghten did not submit his 'Report' is that he knew it contained a range of deflections and deceptions, the most dodgy of which was the one about Cutbush and Cutbush being related.
    On the other hand, if he did not at least put Druitt on file, and subsequently the entire, embarrassing story spilled out of Dorset ...
    Your reasoning is contrived and implausible. The fact that Druitt's friends had missed him and that his brother searched for him was reported in the newspapers at the time.

    Macnaghten's 1894 memo is very obviously written in response to the Sun's allegations concerning Cutbush. His memo was put on file and remained archived at New Scotland Yard from where it was transferred to Kew in the 1970s. And reports that have been filed may be seen by anyone accessing the old files. Whatever reason would Macnaghten have for leaving an erroneous report on file if he was the only one who had seen it? He could, at any time, have modified or replaced it with a different version. Especially after he had replaced Anderson as head of the CID.

    The memo was obviously submitted for the information of the Chief Commissioner (Bradford) so that he could respond to the Home Office if the necessity arose. It didn't and the then unrequired memo was simply filed. It would have no stamps or marking as an information only internal memo - which it was.

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  • SPE
    replied
    Simply do not know...

    Originally posted by Jonathan Hainsworth View Post
    ...
    The reason I do not think that it is Sims who is embellishing the extra 'drowned doctor' material in his writings, that it comes from Macnaghten, is that they were close pals. At any point, Macnaghten could have reigned in 'Tatcho', and asked him not to repeat such 'errors'.
    He could have corrected him, and he did not. Because they originate with him. For example the Druitt family becoming 'friends' which began with the Major.
    Nothing like that happened, right up to 1917.
    The detail about the frantic friends searching for the doctor comes from somebody who knew the full story about Druitt.
    ...
    You simply do not know this, you assume too much.

    Macnaghten might well have said to Sims that he hadn't quite got it right, and Sims could have replied along the lines that it was only minor and the readers wouldn't know the difference, or that it didn't matter. Macnaghten may well have been cavalier over it anyway.

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  • SPE
    replied
    What reference...

    Originally posted by Jonathan Hainsworth View Post
    You won't find my answers any more plausible, Stewart, sorry.
    There is no reference in the extant record to this document.
    Anderson never made a comment on Druitt which has survived -- nothing --from which I believe that he knew nothing about him.
    Otherwise he would have debunked the preferred suspect of his despised second-in-command.
    ...
    What reference should there be 'in the extant record to this document', a mere internal memo submitted for information?

    Anderson would, obviously, have known about the 'drowned doctor' theory, but chose to ignore it. Why should he write about other theories? He was concerned only with his own, which dismissed all other theories anyway - most emphatically.

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