No announcement yet.

The Referee November 1, 1891

  • Time
  • Show
Clear All
new posts

  • The Referee November 1, 1891

    Many thanks to Jon Hainsworth for transcribing.

    The Referee - Sunday 01 November 1891
    “MUSTARD AND CRESS” by Dagonet (George Sims)

    If Jack the Ripper should resume operations in London this winter, the police will do well to take a hint from the Berlin affair of the other day, which seems to run on all-fours with our Whitechapel murders. Not that I think our own veritable Jack the Ripper has been operating in Berlin, but because the motive and circumstances of the crime there committed are somewhat clearer than they were in any of the East-end cases.

    The German victim was a woman of the lowest class; she took home with her a strange man at one o'clock in the morning, and within a very few minutes, swiftly and silently, her throat was cut and her body backed and mutilated In the Whitechapel fashion. But—and this is the important point—the man was seen. He actually pushed his way past a man and a woman who were entering the victim's room, and he is described by the police as "about twenty years of age, of middle height and slightly built, with blonde hair and mustache."

    The lesson here conveyed is that we must dismiss from our minds the idea that the Whitechapel murderer is necessarily an old and hardened criminal, or experienced in the handling of a butcher's knife—or, in a word , the sort of man who might naturally be expected to shed human blood. If the murders had been committed from any ordinary motive we might be guided by our experience of murders in general in looking for the criminal. But they were clearly insane acts, and therefore not to be reasoned about on the ordinary lines.

    I think it extremely likely that the Whitechapel murderer was or is an individual of the type now wanted by' the Berlin police—not necessarily blonde, but young and slight, and possibly refined in appearance--and my reason is this: The insane motive is most probably a desire to see death, to look upon the actual palpitating heart, to feel the warm blood of the victim, and this would be more likely to occur to a student, a dabbler in science, an inquirer into the mysteries of existence, than to a rough, vulgar, or drunken corner man or bully.
    Not only the reckless hacking of the victim's body, but the cleverness of the murderer in escaping detection and eluding pursuit, is to my mind an evidence of insanity. The reputed strength and cunning of the madman are perfectly true ; the very superabundance of his nerve energy may be the cause of his insanity, and his nervous force may not only enable him to put forth abnormal muscular strength, but also to think acutely.

    If the madman's faculties were leveled up all round, be would be possessed of marvelous genius ; but for every exaltation of faculty there is a corresponding depression somewhere, and in the case of the homicidal maniac the regions of the brain concerned in conscience, which is essentially a perception of good and evil effects based upon experience and memory, are torpid. The homicidal maniac has no more conscience than a block of wood. And little boys have less conscience than grown-up people, as witness the case of the youngsters who tried for fun to wreck the Eastbourne express by putting railway chairs on the line. Conscience itself, however, may be exalted in the maniac, and then we get various forms of melancholia.

    The discovery of the Whitechapel maniac, to my thinking, is more a question for medical exports than for detectives. It is very possible that, if still alive, be may change his tactics, and for this reason the recent mysterious case of poisoning in Lambeth, where a wretched woman was induced by a "young dark man" to drink poison out of a bottle, ought to be very closely and assiduously investigated. But possibly the Whitechapel murderer is dead. The homicidal maniac often turns his hand against himself.

  • #2
    "...the (Ripper's) nervous force may not only enable him to put forth abnormal muscular strength, but also to think acutely."

    Sims was on to something there. The Ripper may not have been a constantly physical man, but his repressed energy and hatred could have burst open like a volcano during the murders. He may have been able to sustain a show of strength for a long enough period to commit the crimes, but he might not have been necessarily known as a physical person during the daytime.

    Sims' last sentence in his article had a Druitt theme to it. Although his first sentence in the article left open the possibility that the Ripper could still be out there.


    • #3
      We, the authors of "The Escape of Jack the Ripper" (published once in the UK, and twice in the USA) thank those who have communicated with us to express how much they have enjoyed the book - without necessarily agreeing with it. On this forum, we have been called liars and on the other pretty much the same.

      This is due to the other thread about Druitt's tight cricket schedule supposedly proving Druitt's innocence of being Jack the Ripper. It caused an avalanche of emails by people, mostly hopeful that Druitt's 'candidacy' was debunked at last. We sincerely believe and argue - rightly or wrongly - that if it was so easy for his family to provide a contemporaneous alibi then he could never have become a Whitechapel suspect - dead or alive. If a source turned up that claimed he was at the North Pole during the "autumn of terror" we argue it would strengthen our interpretation, because there is no way he could possibly be suspected, not unless "his people" knew he was not really in the Arctic and they had proof of his crimes.

      The foundation of modern, so-called "Ripperology" is that Sir Melville Macnaghten was an ignorant, incompetent and despicably callous police chief who shanghaied into the mystery a tragic innocent, because he refused to do even minimal checking. Our books are an attempt to show that this paradigm is wholly discredited by an open-minded review of all the sources, old and newly discovered; that Macnaghten must have known Druitt was not a middle-aged surgeon who killed himself on the night of Mary Jane Kelly's murder (and was too discreet to have let Druitt be described as such in public, from 1898, if he thought this profile was accurate). The entire subject has been fundamentally misunderstood from the 1920's on: this was a solved case (at least five of the dozen or so East End murders were solved) and the solution was broadly shared with the public. The "draft" version of the memo had to contain discreet fibs because it was composed to be disseminated to the public.

      That is why we were so excited when my co-writer, Christine Ward-Agius, discovered the primary source that is the subject of this thread. It appeared to be the "smoking gun" that proved, once and for all, that George Sims, and behind him Macnaghten, knew that in late 1891 Druitt was not really middle-aged, not really a surgeon, and that the timing of his suicide did not explain the cessation of [all] the murders. This critical source received only one poster commenting on it. Whereas the cricket source triggered near hysteria.

      We have only just discovered that "Lord Orsam" analysed this Sims' source on his blog with his caustic yet funny, take-no-prisoners style of polemic. Suffice to say he does not agree with our interpretation. We urge people to read it and consider our argument, and then to make up their own minds rather than be driven by the herd who are desperate to cling to the tired old paradigm.


      We also argue that whilst Druitt could have killed sex-workers anywhere in London, we subscribe to Tom Cullen's 1965 theory that, whomever the murderer was, his agenda was political and left-wing: he was a deranged social reformer, a terrorist in an era pustular with terrorist acts, drawing attention to the poverty of the "evil quarter mile" (in the interests of full transparency - Cullen was a socialist and so are we). Most people here do not agree with us, which is fine, but it is unfair and inaccurate to accuse us of not having considered why Druitt kept returning, from his point of view inconveniently and perilously, to the worst slum of the worst slum.


      • #4
        Just in case people want to read in full the post at Casebook that David Barrat was responding to, it's here:
        Whether you consider Druitt as a viable suspect or not it’s a fact that the events surrounding his death hold more than their fair share of mystery. There are so many unanswered questions and examples of strange behaviour that we don’t particularly need to touch on the question of Druitt as a candidate. Posters on


        • #5
          In my opinion, the idea that the OP article is a "critical source" does not really cut the mustard and cress.


          • #6
            Originally posted by Jonathan Hainsworth

            We have only just discovered that "Lord Orsam" analysed this Sims' source on his blog with his caustic yet funny, take-no-prisoners style of polemic. Suffice to say he does not agree with our interpretation. We urge people to read it and consider our argument, and then to make up their own minds rather than be driven by the herd who are desperate to cling to the tired old paradigm.

            Essentially, David is saying you're reading a lot more into that account that can fairly be taken to be implied, isn't he?

            After re-reading what you wrote and what he wrote, I wondered whether you thought he was being unfair in his criticisms, and if so whether you had any specific counter-arguments about the interpretation of what the Mustard and Cress article said (or implied).


            • #7
              David has alerted me that there is a fuller treatment of why he totally disagrees with my interpretation at this link on his site:

              To Chris

              No, not unfair, I just think David is mistaken in his interpretation; its fatal flaw comes from too a narrow a focus on a single source - a mistake I see repeated, over and over, by many people on this subject.

              George Sims had never before suggested in his popular "Referee" columns that The Ripper was deceased, let alone a suicide - let alone an English gentleman.

              In early 1891, a "West of England" MP is reported to be enthusiastically, if indiscreetly, telling people in London that the murderer suffered from a "mania", was a surgeon's son and a suicide.

              We believe that Melville Macnaghten investigated this lead as it suited him so well to do so: the leak had come from the ruling elite of which he was a member. That the MP turned out to be an unreliable gossip, Henry Farquharson, is one of the first things he would have discounted, at least not without further evidence - which he later claimed to find from the killer's "own people".

              In 1893, Sims would join the Liberal press pile-on of the hapless Farquarson over his libel trial, but Sims was the only journalist to mention the MP's indiscretion about accusing people of being The Ripper - and crucify him for that too. It is breathtakingly hypocritical when you know that Sims and Macnaghten agreed with Farquarson's "doctine" but they obviously felt he was a blabbermouth whio had to be cut loose and denounced.

              How did Farquarson find out about Druitt's dual identity?

              Based on the "Crawford Letter" matching cryptic rerefences in letters by Montague's aunt (and that the name "Farquharson" appears in her London address book) we theorize that she approached her son's MP to try and warn the police that The Ripper was dead - to foretsall any inocent man being arrested - without having to reveal their own identity and face inevitable social ruin. In the case of Anderson, the police chief assured her that the killer was still alive, and in Farquharson she did not realise that he was a cad who could not be trusted,

              Sure enough, towards the end of the same year, 1891, Sims reverses himself and now 'speculates' that the fiend was young, a "genius", and has likely committed suicide.

              David counter-argues that Sims is simply inspired, as Sims says, by a comparable German stabber of sex-workers and thus describes the theoretical Whitechapel suspect as perhaps a similar kind of figure, e.g. about twenty years of age - and therefore this cannot be Druitt.

              This reasonable-sounding rebuttal nevertheless ignores the thrust of our entire 'case disguised' thesis.

              Rightly or wrongly, we argue from a range of sources that Macnaghten and Sims, close pals of a Victorian hero: the bomb disposal expert, Colonel Sir Vivian Majendie - who was related to the Druitt clan by a marriage - were committed to not revealing the true identity of the dead Montague. A countervailing pressure on the trio was that Montie's cousin and Isabella's son, the Reverend Charles Druitt, was determined to do the opposite within a decade, perhaps earlier. Without that acute pressure, Sims and Macnaghten would have likely buried the solution.

              Therefore, in late 1891, we speculate, the conscience-stricken reverend, who had taken his cousin, Montague's confession, was preparing to go public and so Macnaghten and Sims got in early - exactly as they would in 1898 when a "north country vicar" does go public at last, but is pipped at the post by Griffiths and then body-slammed as a know-nothing by Sims.

              Sims could not write that Druitt was a 31-year old barrister and teacher, because that would expose the Druitts (and the Majendies) to their neighbours and colleagues, and beyond them the vulture press. Hence, Sims pretending that he is only speculating about the fiend's true identity and that he implies the man is younger than the real Druitt, should, say, the late Mr Druitt's ex-students from the Valentimne School be perusing "Mustard and Cress", and so on.

              Seven years later the public will be authoritatively informed (by Major Arthur Griffiths) that the prime suspect was middle-aged, a qualified surgeon and strongly suspected by his "friends" to be the killer. That last detail is the proof that Druitt is being delibertaely disguised because in the memo(s) it is the Druitt family who "suspect" and/or "believe"; they have been altered to become anomic friends. But that is not the only alteration and we argue these were deliberate too, and not a consequence of Macnaghten, celebrated in his own time for his encyclopediac powers of recall, suddenly becoming incurious and forgetful about a case with which he was candidly obsessed.

              In 1891, Macnaghten and Sims offered a younger Druitt who had only "dabbled" in science, but by 1898 they had settled on a profile where he is older and a fully qualified medico. Neither profile is literally true. In the Edwardian Era, with Charles safely deceased, Sims will add ficitious details that spin the profile further away from the real Druitt who was hardworking, young and sporty - super-rich; a recluse; retired; idle; the scion of a prominent, London-based family; twice a patient in private asylums where he 'confessed' to wanting to savage East End "unfortunates"; and who drowned himself in the centre of London (if Macnaghten only knew about Druitt from PC Moulson's report, then he would have at least known his corpse washed up in Chiswick).

              Finally, the Sims' reference in 1891 to the sucide being a dabbling "student" is not entirely misleading.

              A number of sources refer to Montague Druitt as a "medical student", and we argue he started a medical degree like his father and famous uncle and dropped out. To name but three:

              Abberline in 1903 refers to the [un-named] Druitt as a "student" and a "young doctor".

              Dr Forbes Winslow in 1894 in the USA - just the once - referred to the prime suspect who drowned himself in the Thames as a "medical student".

              What we realised was how loose the Victorians were with such terms: even if you had been a student years before, and never graduated, you could be described as a "medical student" - and in the present tense.

              When Macnaghten wrote "doctor" in the version of his memo to be disseminated to the public he heavily implied that the drowned man was a fully qualified surgeon, as so reported by Griffiths. In the filed version, however, Mac wrote instead: "said to be a doctor"; meaning a medical student at some time because you would have to be told that detail as it would not come from finding the water-logged body of a successful barrister.

              Thirdly, in "The Referee" of late 1894, an article by a Sims' colleague, John Ferguson Nisbett, who had written a book about how certain criminals could exhibit "genius", provides a profile of The Ripper which we argue is obviously the un-named Druitt: affable with his victims; a former medical student; who took his own life whilst in care (we subscribe to the long-standing theory that Druitt was in Chiswick to be a patient at the Tukes' Manor House private asylum, which is within meters of the Thames where he abruptly killed himself when he thought the police net was closing).

              Nisbett confirms our thesis; the anguished family of the murderer had tried to "hush up" the ghastly truth (by implication this cover-up had failed, since it is being mentioned in the press).

              From 1891 to 1917 (Sims' memoirs) the profile of the un-named Druitt as "Jack the Ripper" was "protean": his face was persistently shaped and re-shaped for public consumption. The question is why. We have provided a comprehensive theory and it is up to individual readers to decide how convincing - or not - is our interpretation of incomplete, contradictory and even deceitful data.


              • #8
                Originally posted by Jonathan Hainsworth
                Most people here do not agree with us, which is fine, but it is unfair and inaccurate to accuse us of not having considered why Druitt kept returning, from his point of view inconveniently and perilously, to the worst slum of the worst slum.
                My comment is only a sidebar, but, while I can see that people would find it improbable and unlikely that Druitt, summering down in Dorset, would return to London for a one-night fling in order to murder a woman in the far reaches of Buck's Row, I think the improbability of this would hinge rather strongly on whether or not he was previously concerned in the Martha Tabram murder.

                If he had been carousing in London on the bank holiday and somehow ended up killing Tabram, he might have developed a taste for it. He then returns to Dorset, and after obsessing on his debauch for three weeks, decides to go back for a second round, and seeing a small window of opportunity, returns to the scene of the crime, but is forced to wander even further into the abyss to find a suitable bag lady. I have argued on another thread that Leighton has supplied Druitt with a false alibi for the Tabram murder---there is no credible evidence that he was in playing cricket in Bournemouth as claimed. There is no evidence this match ever took place. For me, at least, it is more palatable to imagine Druitt returning to London for the festivities on the Bank Holiday. And if he dd, that would change the dynamic of the later Nichols murder. Assuming he was the killer, of course.


                • #9
                  Rightly or wrongly, we believe the two sources below support our thesis of certain Victorians being convinced that the late Montague Druitt was the killer, and was included in the American edition and the UK paperback of “The Escape of…”:

                  “The Evening Star” [New Zealand] Jan 1st 1895, in an account its London correspondent had reported on December 14th 1894:

                  THE REAL RIPPER

                  The Kensington murder [of Augusta Dawes by Reginald Saunderson, who was young and insane, yet high fucntioning] having in a small way revived the “Jack the Ripper” scare, the authorities [we think just Macnaghten] have thought it well to acknowledge what many have long suspected – viz. that the mysterious hero of the Whitechapel horrors is dead. The Sun you will recollect, made a rare to-do over the supposed discovery of this assassin some months back, but the police [e.g. Mac again] quietly pooh-poohed its wonderful yarn.

                  The police, however, pointed out that there were self-confessed Rippers in every asylum in Great Britain ... The real Jack, it seems, belonged, as many suspected all along, to the medical profession – or rather was a student. His friends at last discovered the horrible truth and had him confined in an asylum. When he died a year ago [misdirection, we argue] the evidence in their possession was submitted to Scotland Yard, and convinced them they had at last found the genuine Ripper.

                  That second paragraph above is very similar to what George Sims will write in his “Mustard and Cress” columns in the Edwardian era: the mad, fully qualified surgeon’s frantic friends were in contact with police chiefs at the Yard in 1888, just before the body was found in the Thames. Behind this self-serving propaganda, we argue, are a reluctant William and Charles Druitt conferring with Macnaghten and Majendie but only in 1891, and only in the wake of the MP’s leak.


                  “The Referee” Dec 9th 1894, “Our Notebook” by John Ferguson Nesbit (at a time when George Sims was co-owner of this newspaper):

                  For a key to the Whitechapel mystery, in fact, we have only to turn to the Kensington murder. There we see the man, the mode, the opportunity and the escape.

                  The story that the Whitechapel murderer was eventually shut-up in a lunatic asylum [we believe the Manor House at Chiswick] by his friends [by his brother William and cousin Charles], and that he has since died there [committed suicide in the adjacent Thames], I can well believe… if [such a maniac is] recaptured by his friends (from whose custody he may have escaped) before his connection with a particular crime or series of crimes is known, the probability is that his guilt will never be brought to light.

                  I understand that the relatives of "Jack the Ripper" did at last know or suspect the truth about their charge [Mac memos: filed version: “believed”; so-called draft: “suspected”], though, for reasons that can well be understood, they preferred to hush up the affair.

                  From a description given some two or three years ago of the lunatic supposed to be Jack the Ripper [M.P. Farquharson, 1891], I gathered that the wretched being had lost consciousness of his crimes, if indeed, he ever had it. [“North Country Vicar”, 1898] When “on the job” however this monster was probably a plausible, affable gentleman, with nothing to attract attention beyond a strange gleam at times in the depth of his eye, or a little secretiveness and reserve in his habits…Whether the supervision exercised at private asylums or “homes”, as they are very often called, is all that could be desired is a point upon which the public will be glad of information.

                  That line in the second-to-last paragraph about the Druitt family, assuming it is the Druitts, trying to "hush up" their Montague's culpability - and obviously failing when leaked by the MP - is, we argue, cofirmation of what Cullen, Farson and ourselves have long argued.

                  The second source was brought to our attention by our friend, R. J. Palmer - which does not mean he agrees with our interpretation.


                  • #10
                    "Lord Orsam" has made a counter-argument on his website [see link] about our contention that this source is a "smoking gun" as far as showing that the foundations of so-called "Ripperology" is based on a flaw, on a misconception about Macnaghten's reliability - or lack thereof.

                    The Dark Lord has discovered a coup, for those who do not agree with our interpretation: we had the wrong writer in Sims' paper "The Referee" of November 1st 1891. It was not George Sims who wrote this article, as we have reported in two versions of our book bridging the Atlantic, but J. F. Nesbit. Understandably and fairly, Orsam argues that this error on our part is a death-blow to our interpretation of this source:

                    We counter that Nesbit, a writer and critic, was a literary crony of Sims and allowed the latter, and behind him Macnaghten, to begin disseminating a quasi-profile of Druitt - young, a gent and a suicide - at one remove.

                    J. F. Nesbit is exactly the same writer who in 1894 will reveal in "The Referee" that The Ripper died whilst under care and that his respectable family tried to hush it up. Furthermore, Nesbit shows cognition of the two versions of the Mac Report as he describes the family either "suspecting" [Aberconway version] or "knowing" [filed version] the ghastly truth. Sims did not write about [the un-named] Druitt until 1899, and in 1893 had hypocritically savaged MP Farquharson for falsely accusing people of being "Jack". This had perplexed us somewhat because we thought, mistakenly, that Sims had gone on record, under his own pseudonym, in 1891, to in effect agree with the MP's "doctrine". Thank the Lord - and we have privately and now publicly thanked him for his discovery - this issue is now resolved. We feel our interpretation is therefore strengthened.


                    • #11
                      Note. I have just had to delete yet another post suggesting someone else has broken the site rules.

                      Again, please note. If you think someone has broken a rule, please bring it to the attention of the moderators. Don't respond or comment on the thread.


                      • #12

                        Thanks for telling us about Lord Orsam's article, which I haven't yet seen, but which sounds very interesting.

                        We do have a new rule on this site about discussion of suspects (which you may not have been aware of yet). We are now excluding discussion of whether particular individuals committed the murders, while continuing to allow discussion of factual information about people who have been suggested as suspects. So discussing biographical information about Druitt is still fine, and also information about the authorship of press articles referring to Druitt (or possibly referring to him). But people should avoid commenting on whether they think the case against Druitt as a suspect is strong or weak.

                        Incidentally, though it sounds as though David's article may not fall into this category - it is also fine to link to online articles elsewhere containing the kind of suspect discussion that is banned here, just so long as people don't try to have that kind of discussion on this site.


                        • #13
                          If I understand correctly, what David has pointed out is that the extract in the original post in this thread is not attributed to Dagonet/Sims and is not from the "Mustard and Cress" column (which appears elsewhere in this issue of The Referee, on page 7), but is from a different column entitled "Our Handbook" on pages 1 and 2. No author is named for that column, but according to J. F. Nisbet's obituary in 1899 he had contributed "Our Handbook" weekly to The Referee.


                          • #14
                            Originally posted by Chris Phillips
                            If I understand correctly, what David has pointed out is that the extract in the original post in this thread is not attributed to Dagonet/Sims and is not from the "Mustard and Cress" column (which appears elsewhere in this issue of The Referee, on page 7), but is from a different column entitled "Our Handbook" on pages 1 and 2. No author is named for that column, but according to J. F. Nisbet's obituary in 1899 he had contributed "Our Handbook" weekly to The Referee.
                            You’re aware that ‘David’ doesn’t call your Forums members by their real names but gives them insulting nicknames and calls them collectively ‘muppets’? And yet you’re happy to publicise his bile?

                            I remember how he ridiculed my discovery that Polly Nichols’ time in Wandsworth was spent in the household of Francis Cowdry and not that of his father. And here we are celebrating his earth shattering discovery that the Druitt extract was not from Mustard and Cress but from Our Handbook?


                            • #15

                              It's within the rules of the site to post links to other sites, including David Barrat's site.

                              And since Jonathan had brought the article to our attention, I wanted to clarify what it said. That was partly because people might have got the impression that it said other people than Sims had written some of the 'Mustard and Cress' columns, which might have had other implications. It turned out that wasn't the case. I'm not sure anyone (David Barrat included) is presenting this as of particular importance, except perhaps Jonathan.