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**New Independent Review : Issue One September 2011**

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  • #61
    Put this all another way...

    To put this all another way what you are saying is that Macnaghten's words '...very nearly settled the hash of one of her Majesty's principal Secretary of State' was mistakenly converted by Browne into, '...the leader of a plot to assassinate Mr Balfour at the Irish Office.'

    There is no way that I, having read Browne's work, can even begin to understand how he would write such a thing. Especially as the first part of this quote, '...after he [the Ripper] had knocked out a Commissioner of Police...' is not mentioned by Browne at all. Indeed, Browne makes it clear that Warren's resignation was as a result of a long dispute with the Home Office and the Receiver for the Metropolitan Police, Sir Richard Pennefather. He notes the Murray's Magazine article which was the 'straw that broke the camel's back' with Warren and minutely details the cause of his resignation which was not the failure to capture the Ripper at all.

    Comment


    • #62
      Your Solution

      Originally posted by Jonathan Hainsworth View Post
      ...
      As for the 'own methods of interpretation' they are just standard, even mundane historical methodology. Not idiosyncratic to myself.
      Eg. Such methodology teaches that when a single source is totally out of step with other comparable sources, it must be treated with great caution.
      ...
      'Standard, even mundane historical methodology', not 'idiosyncratic to yourself' it might be. But I haven't, yet, heard of anyone coming up with your solution to Browne's words.

      I believe that all sources should be treated with due caution, and assessed as to context, reliability, relevance, and correct meaning. That should go without saying. But it seems, to me, a bit unfair to say that Browne's comment should be treated 'with great caution'. Have you read his book? Have you assessed your sources correctly?

      I have listed the things that support such a premise, he saw the official files and may have seen some that are now gone (or not accessible), there was an Irish plot to assassinate Balfour exactly coinciding with the murders and there was a CID file connecting the murders with the Irish Party.

      So it is not 'totally out of step' with other contemporary sources. You might as well say that the CID leger, which we have a copy of, linking the murders with the Irish Party is also 'totally out of step' with other sources. I do not follow your reasoning which, I feel, is very subjective.

      Comment


      • #63
        Yes, a strong counter-argument.

        But Macnaghten thought that Druitt was the fiend, rightly or wrongly. He thought it from about 1891, right through to his death in 1921.

        His own memoirs are -- albeit elliptically, and here's the problem -- about Druitt and nobody else. Not, hey, I thought it was somebody else but I changed my mind, and so on.

        Plus, there is no other reference to such a bizarre suspect in the extant record.

        We know one or two things, do we not, about that aborted plot against Balfour?

        Nothing remotely to do with Jack the Ripper was it?

        The methodology I am applying is like yours and Don Rumbelow -- which I wholeheartedly agree with -- that the 'Kosminski' positive witness i.d. could really just be one source, in your view perhaps a memory malfunction by Swanson passed onto the desk-bound Anderson, and is not recorded or known by anybody else.

        That when Swasnon writes about 'Kosminski' some kind of mix-up mismash with Sadler-Lawende-Aaron Kosminski has happened.

        It's a brilliant theory.

        It's symmetry is so beautiful. I will never forget the day I first read it. My real vision, as you know, is very impaired, but at that moment I had the pleasure of seeing clearly for miles and miles. That's what the best historical theories do.

        I would argue that I am applying the same kind of rigorous assessment of Brown on this point. He is out of kilter with all other sources. Something has gone wrong ...?

        Comment


        • #64
          This debate...

          Originally posted by Jonathan Hainsworth View Post
          ...
          But Macnaghten thought that Druitt was the fiend, rightly or wrongly. He thought it from about 1891, right through to his death in 1921.
          His own memoirs are -- albeit elliptically, and here's the problem -- about Druitt and nobody else. Not, hey, I thought it was somebody else but I changed my mind, and so on.
          ...
          This debate is not concerned with what Macnaghten may or may not have believed, or come to believe. For he does not back up what he says with any sort of identifiable fact, nor is there any independent piece of evidence to support the contention. He obviously did not intend that any such proof should be given, and in 1894 he actually stated that 'no shadow of proof' could be thrown on Druitt. The debate is concerned with what Douglas G. Browne wrote, and what his statement about a plot leader being identified with the Ripper meant. That is all, no more, no less.

          If Browne found an official reference by Macnaghten to such a suspect, and I think that quite probably he did, then that is all it would be, a reference. It may not have meant that it was Macnaghten's preferred suspect, in fact it probably didn't. But as a reference to the possible identity of the Ripper then Browne could use it for illustrative purposes for the non-agreement of senior police officers regarding the identity of the Ripper. In his book, correct me if I'm wrong, Macnaghten refers to his Ripper merely as a madman whose brain gave way altogether; that he lived with his own people; that he absented himself from home at certain times; and that he committed suicide on or about 10th of November 1888 [sic].

          Now you and I (with our wonderful hindsight) both know that that obviously refers to Druitt. But would Browne know that it refers to 'a man who committed suicide in the Thames at the end of 1888' who was one and the same as the suspect described by Thomson as 'a doctor on the borderland of insanity' whose body was found floating in the Thames seven weeks after the Miller's Court murder? We know that Browne used both Macnaghten's Days of My Years and Thomson's The Story of Scotland Yard as sources in writing his book, if his bibliography is to mean anything.

          Also consider that the Irish-connected suspect, Tumblety, was, according to Littlechild, believed to have committed suicide after the murders then it is obvious that suicide was considered as a viable reason for the cessation of the murders. I am not suggesting for a minute that 'the leader of a plot to assassinate Balfour' was Tumblety, there's no evidence for that, I am merely showing that suicide would not be enough in Browne's eyes to positively link Macnaghten's suspect with the one described by Thomson. And if Browne saw a written memo or report by Macnaghten, in the official files, relating to such a suspect he might have easily taken that suspect as Macnaghten's preferred suspect.

          This is not as complex as it might sound and it is far more likely, as I think I have shown, that Browne saw such a reference in the official files and did not misunderstand Macnaghten's 'very nearly settled the hash' remark as referring to Balfour and not Matthews. I understand that you like your own explanation and that you think it the most likely explanation. That's your opinion and you are entitled to it. I do not agree, and I have given my reasons for not agreeing. I have had a brief flit through Stewart's book but cannot find Macnaghten's 'anonymous verse' in there. The book has no index and I don't propose making a lengthy search for it. I assumed you had.

          Comment


          • #65
            Thanked you...

            Originally posted by Jonathan Hainsworth View Post
            ...
            ...
            The methodology I am applying is like yours and Don Rumbelow -- which I wholeheartedly agree with -- that the 'Kosminski' positive witness i.d. could really just be one source, in your view perhaps a memory malfunction by Swanson passed onto the desk-bound Anderson, and is not recorded or known by anybody else.
            That when Swasnon writes about 'Kosminski' some kind of mix-up mismash with Sadler-Lawende-Aaron Kosminski has happened.
            It's a brilliant theory.
            It's symmetry is so beautiful. I will never forget the day I first read it. My real vision, as you know, is very impaired, but at that moment I had the pleasure of seeing clearly for miles and miles. That's what the best historical theories do.
            I would argue that I am applying the same kind of rigorous assessment of Brown on this point. He is out of kilter with all other sources. Something has gone wrong ...?
            I have thanked you before for your kind words about the identification idea suggested in Scotland Yard Investigates. As you well know, not everyone thinks so kindly about it.

            I wasn't applying any conscious methodology to it when I worked it out. It was merely knowledge, experience, and common sense, and it is only a theory. I have a lot of time for you Jonathan, which I hope you realise, and I would not spend all this time debating with you if I didn't regard you as a worthwhile and intelligent writer with a very genuine interest. But you know the old saying about sticking your head above the battlements when you write something for publication...

            Comment


            • #66
              But I have no problem with debate. None at all.

              I have no problem with people disagreeing with me.

              Most of the people who have read my stuff think it is clever and entertaining but hopelessly wrong.

              eg. Macnaghten was told a few things in 1891, and by 1894 he'd half-forgotten them, and so on.

              I think you make a good counter-argument about 'Balfour', which I find unconvincing.

              There are just too many 'coincidences' for my liking.

              But that is a matter of individual judgement.

              I thank-you for taking the time to do this.

              A much more important disagreement we have is over 'Laying the Ghost of Jack the Ripper', as I interpret it quite differently from your good self.

              Comment


              • #67
                Really...

                Originally posted by Jonathan Hainsworth View Post
                ...
                A much more important disagreement we have is over 'Laying the Ghost of Jack the Ripper', as I interpret it quite differently from your good self.
                Really, and how do I interpret that? Apart from the fact that you regard it as the final and defining version of the Macnaghten Memorandum, whereas I regard it as a chapter in a 1914 book of reminiscences, giving the author's thoughts on a twenty-six years old, unsolved, series of murders.

                Comment


                • #68
                  Sorry, the delay in replying is caused by the time zone difference between us.

                  You have summed up our difference in interpreting that source very succinctly, with your last post.

                  As much as Anderson in 1910, I believe that Macnaghten was claiming that it was not an unsolved case.

                  That it had been solved 'some years after' Mac joined the police, and that he was the man who had laid to rest a phantom who had haunted them -- a phantom because the Ripper was long deceased.

                  The whole thrust of my trilogy on Macnaghten is built on that revisionist interpretation, and in arguing that Macnaghten provided Sims with a semi-fictional version of the Druitt tale -- one which he pulled back from in his memoirs.

                  That his 'inaccuracies' were deliberate and he really was, as everybody said at the time, an action man with a formidable memory.

                  Once you compare the memoir with the primary sources -- which show that Druitt was never in the frame whilst alive -- and then the official version of the so-called 'Home Office Report' then the line 'no shadow of proof ...' is clearly a self-serving fiction. This is because it gives the impression that they could not arrest Druitt because the evidence against this minor, hearsay suspect was so weak -- but better than Cutbush!

                  In fact, as the memoir confirms, the reason Druitt was not under threat of arrest was not because of a lack of proof but because of a lack of a pulse.

                  In 1891, the Druitt story, in fragmentary for, surfaced briefly in Dorset. In 1898, Macnaghten repackaged and relaunched that same tale for the public. In 1913 and 1914, with some of the dodgy packaging stripped away, Macnaghten confirmed the essence of the 1891 story: this was 'in all probability' the fiend.

                  It's his theory, based on 'certain facts' pointing to a 'conclusion' about a 'remarkable man', a 'belief' which, of course, could never be tested in court hence its provisional nature.

                  Comment


                  • #69
                    Originally posted by SPE
                    No it doesn't. Also are you saying that Browne, writing a serious history of Scotland Yard, is more likely to have read Woodhall's pulp paperback nonsense than Macnaghten's autobiographical memoirs?
                    No, of course Woodhall didn't figure into it for me.

                    But boy am I glad I commented on this portion of Jonathan's essay as this debate has been very educational for me on this matter, and I have a lot to think about.

                    Yours truly,

                    Tom Wescott

                    Comment


                    • #70
                      One very quick comment, I agree with Stewart on several points, particularly that Browne did not take the rhyme from William Stewart; having done a very rapid scan of the book, I also don't think he mentions it. I think Browne is referring in his footnote to William Stewart being his source for the theories: the sailor (possibly E.K. Larkin's theory), the West End doctor (Leonard Matters) and the midwife (Stewart himself), William Stewart having previously been cited as the source for info about the state of Whitechapel, hence the op cit, and was citing Macnaghten for other examples. A possible explanation for the apparent dichotomy between Days of My Years and the reference to the leader of the Balfour plot, is that Browne was working from the research of Ralph Strauss, whose book it originally was. Strauss and Browne were afforded access to police documents and Browne acknowledges that Strauss had brought the writings down to the 1850s, but it is possible that his research included the Ripper case and that he saw the Macnaghten reference, not Browne. Either way, I'm not sure that it would be clear from a quick perusal of Days that the Thames suicide wasn't the assassination plot leader.

                      Comment


                      • #71
                        Thanks Paul

                        An incisive contribution.

                        Can I just add that Macnaghten is so austere in his description of [the un-named] Druitt as the 'probable' Ripper (the word probable comes from 'Days of My Years' index) that not only is the 'doctor' aspect dropped, but so is the watery demise in the Thames.

                        Which, arguably, backs Paul's point about their opacity.

                        When I finally read Mac's memoirs after being alerted to their candid aspects, by Paul's own 'JTR--The Facts', I was stunned to discover that Mac with-held the most colourful detail about Druitt -- from a book of reminiscences of infamous cases which is, inevitably, on the make.

                        I think the reason Macnaghten dropped the Thames detail is because it is so absurd a tale, with the killer doing himself in on the same morning. If you put in the river detail, you cannot have the words 'on or about the 10th of Nov ...' because such a public location -- and at such a distance -- means the suicide has to be the same morning for a once Protrean maniac who is now reduced to a glutted husk, a self-blasted automaton.

                        Mac retained the telescoping of those three weeks (begun by the MP bit) because it retained the critical theme of a tormented murder, whose very act off remorseful suicide, wherever is happened, is his 'confession' of guilt.

                        I stand by my original opinion about the Target: Balfour element because the coincidence is too great for me that Browne, or Strauss, saw that Mac believed that a Sec. of State was threatened by the fiend, but not actually harmed -- as it is exactly the same as Mac's literary flourish at the end of his chapter: a worthy threatened, but not harmed.

                        'Laying the Ghost of Jack the Ripper', from a cursory glance, is about a murderer who killed himself.

                        Browne is completely ignorant of this in his summation of memoirs in which top cops disagreed -- when Mac did not disagree with his successor.

                        Comment


                        • #72
                          Originally posted by Jonathan Hainsworth View Post
                          Thanks Paul

                          An incisive contribution.

                          Can I just add that Macnaghten is so austere in his description of [the un-named] Druitt as the 'probable' Ripper (the word probable comes from 'Days of My Years' index) that not only is the 'doctor' aspect dropped, but so is the watery demise in the Thames.

                          Which, arguably, backs Paul's point about their opacity.

                          When I finally read Mac's memoirs after being alerted to their candid aspects, by Paul's own 'JTR--The Facts', I was stunned to discover that Mac with-held the most colourful detail about Druitt -- from a book of reminiscences of infamous cases which is, inevitably, on the make.

                          I think the reason Macnaghten dropped the Thames detail is because it is so absurd a tale, with the killer doing himself in on the same morning. If you put in the river detail, you cannot have the words 'on or about the 10th of Nov ...' because such a public location -- and at such a distance -- means the suicide has to be the same morning for a once Protrean maniac who is now reduced to a glutted husk, a self-blasted automaton.

                          Mac retained the telescoping of those three weeks (begun by the MP bit) because it retained the critical theme of a tormented murder, whose very act off remorseful suicide, wherever is happened, is his 'confession' of guilt.

                          I stand by my original opinion about the Target: Balfour element because the coincidence is too great for me that Browne, or Strauss, saw that Mac believed that a Sec. of State was threatened by the fiend, but not actually harmed -- as it is exactly the same as Mac's literary flourish at the end of his chapter: a worthy threatened, but not harmed.

                          'Laying the Ghost of Jack the Ripper', from a cursory glance, is about a murderer who killed himself.

                          Browne is completely ignorant of this in his summation of memoirs in which top cops disagreed -- when Mac did not disagree with his successor.
                          I'm a bit slow on the uptake today, but where did "the Fiend" threaten the Sec of State?

                          Comment


                          • #73
                            This is the contentious quote:

                            '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'. (My Emphasis)

                            Balfour was not assassinated. Yet Browne claims Macnaghten thought a Ripper suspect was the leader of an attempt to assassinate him.

                            Note the word: 'appears'.

                            Browne is unsure. Why?

                            Why is it so ambiguous?

                            You mean maybe he wasn't identifying the Ripper with being the leader of a plot against Balfour?

                            Again the opaque and ambiguous, or perceived to be ambiguous, Mac Memoirs on the Ripper are here in play, I think.

                            'I incline to the belief that the individual who held up London in terror resided with his own people ; that he absented himself from home at certain times, and that he committed suicide on or about the 10th of November 1888, after he had knocked out a Commissioner of Police and very nearly settled the hash of one of Her Majesty's principal Secretaries of State.'(Emphasis mine)

                            A threat to a worthy of state which was not carried out.

                            I think Browne is simply wrong about Macnaghten, for whatever reason.

                            It would be different is he had written words to the effect; that at one time Mac identified the Ripper with a leader of a plot to assassinate Balfour, but later appears to have switched to a suicide. Something like that.

                            Or, a third possibility, Macnaghten did indeed think some Irish assassin was the fiend, and then Browne misread the elliptical memoir as a reference to that suspect -- rather than a 'Simon Pure' who took his own life.

                            Comment


                            • #74
                              Originally posted by Jonathan Hainsworth View Post
                              This is the contentious quote:

                              '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'. (My Emphasis)

                              Balfour was not assassinated. Yet Browne claims Macnaghten thought a Ripper suspect was the leader of an attempt to assassinate him.

                              Note the word: 'appears'.

                              Browne is unsure. Why?

                              Why is it so ambiguous?

                              You mean maybe he wasn't identifying the Ripper with being the leader of a plot against Balfour?

                              Again the opaque and ambiguous, or perceived to be ambiguous, Mac Memoirs on the Ripper are here in play, I think.

                              'I incline to the belief that the individual who held up London in terror resided with his own people ; that he absented himself from home at certain times, and that he committed suicide on or about the 10th of November 1888, after he had knocked out a Commissioner of Police and very nearly settled the hash of one of Her Majesty's principal Secretaries of State.'(Emphasis mine)

                              A threat to a worthy of state which was not carried out.

                              I think Browne is simply wrong about Macnaghten, for whatever reason.

                              It would be different is he had written words to the effect; that at one time Mac identified the Ripper with a leader of a plot to assassinate Balfour, but later appears to have switched to a suicide. Something like that.

                              Or, a third possibility, Macnaghten did indeed think some Irish assassin was the fiend, and then Browne misread the elliptical memoir as a reference to that suspect -- rather than a 'Simon Pure' who took his own life.
                              Hi Jonathan

                              You bring up a most interesting point. It sounds as if you are saying that Browne misread Macnaghten and thought that Sir Melville's wording "very nearly settled the hash of one of Her Majesty's principal Secretaries of State" was misread by Browne as meaning that the Ripper suspect (Druitt, unnamed in Mac's memoirs) was involved in the assassination attempt against Balfour. If that is so, it has nothing whatsoever to do with Tumblety but rather is a mistake on Browne's part. That sounds plausible to me.

                              Best regards

                              Chris
                              Christopher T. George, Lyricist & Co-Author, "Jack the Musical"
                              https://www.facebook.com/JackTheMusical/ Hear sample song at https://tinyurl.com/y8h4envx.

                              Organizer, RipperCon #JacktheRipper-#True Crime Conferences, April 2016 and 2018.
                              Hear RipperCon 2016 & 2018 talks at http://www.casebook.org/podcast/.

                              Comment


                              • #75
                                Originally posted by Jonathan Hainsworth View Post
                                This is the contentious quote:

                                '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'. (My Emphasis)

                                Balfour was not assassinated. Yet Browne claims Macnaghten thought a Ripper suspect was the leader of an attempt to assassinate him.

                                Note the word: 'appears'.

                                Browne is unsure. Why?

                                Why is it so ambiguous?

                                You mean maybe he wasn't identifying the Ripper with being the leader of a plot against Balfour?

                                Again the opaque and ambiguous, or perceived to be ambiguous, Mac Memoirs on the Ripper are here in play, I think.

                                'I incline to the belief that the individual who held up London in terror resided with his own people ; that he absented himself from home at certain times, and that he committed suicide on or about the 10th of November 1888, after he had knocked out a Commissioner of Police and very nearly settled the hash of one of Her Majesty's principal Secretaries of State.'(Emphasis mine)

                                A threat to a worthy of state which was not carried out.

                                I think Browne is simply wrong about Macnaghten, for whatever reason.

                                It would be different is he had written words to the effect; that at one time Mac identified the Ripper with a leader of a plot to assassinate Balfour, but later appears to have switched to a suicide. Something like that.

                                Or, a third possibility, Macnaghten did indeed think some Irish assassin was the fiend, and then Browne misread the elliptical memoir as a reference to that suspect -- rather than a 'Simon Pure' who took his own life.
                                Ah, I think you may find that Macnaghten wasn't referring to a physical threat to Henry Matthews, but to bringing about the end of his career, as knocking out Warren referred to career too.

                                There was a plan to assassinate Balfour.

                                Comment

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