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

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  • #76
    Originally posted by Chris G. View Post
    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

    Hi Jonathan et al.

    I wonder if anyone has looked closely at the term "settled the hash"? It can be read to mean a number of things and here are some examples all found in Google:

    An American Glossary
    Richard Hopwood Thornton, Louise Hanley, 1912
    1824 The parties settled the hash, (came to an agreement,) and retired to comfortable quarters, to quaff cogniac. — The Microscope, Albany, Feb. 28
    Andrew Rawnsley: David Cameron has never really settled the hash with the right in his party.

    Early American proverbs and proverbial phrases
    Bartlett Jere Whiting - 1977
    1807 Weems Murder 3: A stunning knock to the ground settled the hash. 1809
    Jan 7, 2008 – Ants settled the hash of dinosaurs. Himalayan Times, Nepal

    It would seem that Macnaghten means "settle the hash" in terms of doing in a career as in "Ants settled the hash of dinosaurs."

    Interestingly if Jonathan and I are right that Browne made a mere misreading of Macnaghten's biography thinking Mac meant Balfour and not Matthews, an easy mistake to make if I refer to two people as "A" and "B" and don't make it clear who I mean, we have the old idea that the word "assassin" comes from the word "hashish" and that the original assassins of the Middle East were hashish users. Although some say this is a myth. See Google again.

    Best regards

    Christopher T. George, Lyricist & Co-Author, "Jack the Musical" Hear sample song at

    Organizer, RipperCon #JacktheRipper-#True Crime Conferences, April 2016 and 2018.
    Hear RipperCon 2016 & 2018 talks at


    • #77
      To Chris

      Yes, thanks. That's what I think most likely, but it could be dead wrong.

      Woodhall thought it was literally about punching a Commissioner and threatening a minister, or he pretended to. Odell did not realise that 'Laying the Ghost ...' is about the un-named Druitt -- and only Druitt.

      In other words, Macnaghten, trying to cut the knot in his own way' as usual, wrote in an elliptical style. It has misled others.

      I would also add that when you go to the reference to 'Balfour' in the indispensible 'A to Z', and you read about the Irish fellows who were the leaders of the plot against this sec. of state, they are so removed from the Whitechapel affair that it just seems so unlikely. So bizarre. The actual 'leader,' if you like, seems to have been in France?

      No other source in the extant record even suggests such a weird thing as a terrorist who, in his spare time, horrifically offs the dregs of the East End?! Can you imagine the other Irish bomb-thowers putting up with a colleage with that sort of hobby?

      Certainly nothing left by Macnaghten himself suggests such an opinion ever entertained by him.

      The word 'appears' is very telling. Browne is unsure -- about something so definite? It's not like he is writing 'appears' to believe the killer was local, or not local, or something generic. It's a plot against Arthur Balfour?!

      Butthen Browne also suggests that maybe Mac ... didn't mean this ...?

      After all, Browne also thinks that Macnaghten was on side about the killer being a local man. I just think he is quite clueless about what Macnaghten actually believed about 'Jack the Ripper'.

      To Paul

      Yes, Paul I know that the literary flourish of Mac's chapter ending is not meant to be taken literally. and that he is referring to Henry Matthews. I am arguing that Browne has perhaps not realised this.

      Context is crucial here, and when I saw the line in the page it comes from I believe that the more likely meaning is clearer.

      We have a page, in Browne, in which three top cops' memoirs are alluded to ('Days of My Years', whatever the exact nature of the citation, is mentioned by name). The overall meaning of the page, to me, is here are three policemen who, in their memoirs, disagree about the Ripper's true identity.

      But Macnaghten did not disagree with his successor that the best suspect was a suicided man.

      If Browne can miss that, why can he not miss the last lines as not being literally about 'settling the hash' of a sec. of state in terms of a physical threat.

      For me just the sheer coincidence is too much.


      • #78
        While work continues apace on issue 2 of the New Independent Review there is still an opportunity for writers to place an article in the issue. One of the reasons for starting the magazine was to afford new writers a chance to express their ideas in a major Ripper magazine and that still holds. The same opportunity exists for those who may want to do a review.

        All inquiries or submissions should be directed to [email protected] . And for those who have not yet obtained a free copy of Issue 1 it is available at

        Don Souden, editor.


        • #79
          According to Adam

          Hello, Adam.

          First of all, please do not take these comments as adversarial or in any way connected to our banter on the cricket thread in another place.

          Eddowes was drunk when she was picked up. Rat-arsed. Possibly impersonating a fire engine. She was chucked in the drunk tank for a few hours and then released as being able to look after herself. That decision was made by the officer on duty and, presumably, was one he was accustomed to making.

          PC Hutt, for all his failings, cannot be held accountable for what happened to Eddowes. Jack the Ripper is responsible for that.

          It's rather cock-eyed of you to lay the blame at the feet of her would-be protectors (i.e. the police) instead of the actual person who... well, we have all read the inquest testimony.

          Best wishes,

          PS Your lengthy essay could have been summarised like this:
          1) Eddowes was probably still a bit pissed when she was released,
          2) Maybe they should have released her a bit later.

          All the rest was padding, and a great deal of it.


          • #80
            Hi Steven,

            Everybody knows that Jack must bear the ultimate blame for ending Catherine Eddowes' life, however, it would be foolish to suggest that there were not seperate factors which contributed to that.

            I've stated several times now that I believe the police in 1888 did a commendable job with the resources they had - however, logically, medically, scientifically, however you want to look at it, a "rat-arsed" woman as you described her cannot possibly go from that to perfectly sober and in control of all her faculties in just a few short hours. There is no miracle cure which could allow that to happen.

            That means that the police officers, who were fully aware of the Jack the Ripper threat, and the previous patterns of his murders, released a woman who was broke and still under the influence of alcohol to some degree, out onto the streets right in the area of his killing zone!!

            Regardless of how convincing she was, they had a duty to be better informed about her condition and a responsibility to ensure that when she was eventually released, she was removed from the streets safely.

            I'd suggest that even in 2011, police would have some misgivings about releasing a partially intoxicated woman on her own into the streets in the early hours of a weekend's just not something that should be done, never mind the threat of Jack the Ripper added to it.

            Not sure if you've seen it or not but there is a seperate thread where Monty and myself have discussed all of this in more detail already.

            The final point I will make is that it was not an essay, nor was it an the title and sub-title suggests, it's an opinion column. Now i'm sorry if you felt that it was a little overdone but I felt it better to fully explain my theory than say just a few sentences and then have the critics jumping me for not backing up my's a bit of a lose-lose situation sometimes as a writer.

            However, column number two is well and truly completed and it tackles a few different issues in one hit, and in a more compact fashion, so I hope you will enjoy that more.



            • #81
              Hello, Adam.

              Fair play - that was a very good reply. I'm glad you did not take my remarks personally; it's just that I can get a bit het up when the good guys get the blame.

              Of course she cannot have been "perfectly sober" after so short a time but, I would argue, she could have been lucid if a little hung over and well able to look after herself. It's amazing what a few hours' kip can do even when you've been hammered, as Kate undoubtedly was.

              Drunkenness was far from uncommon in Whitechapel at the time and I would suggest that the cells would have been somewhat crowded if all those picked up had only been released when they were completely sober. A copper would have been very well informed about alcohol, its effects, and the sobering up process through his no doubt considerable experience of dealing with drunken people.

              You are right that today's cops might hang onto Kate longer than their Victorian counterparts did. In our increasingly litigious nanny state they would have to. Plus, they would be able to breathalyse her, making a judgement call unnecessary. I would be interested to see any contemporary criticism of the cops in this regard should you be able to find any.

              Just my point of view anyway. Good luck with the column and all future endeavours.

              Best wishes,


              • #82
                I'd like to compliment Adam on having had the most controversial and commented upon piece in the first issue of NIR. I'm looking forward to the next one.

                Yours truly,

                Tom Wescott


                • #83
                  Hey all,


                  Fair play - that was a very good reply. I'm glad you did not take my remarks personally; it's just that I can get a bit het up when the good guys get the blame.

                  Not at all, Steve. I enjoy our banter over on the cricket thread and i'm sure that will continue, but there are times in a case like this when serious issues need to be addressed too, and I would actually be more disappointed I think if the column didn't attract some criticism as its main purpose is to address "grey area" issues that might not otherwise get the discussion they deserve in the pages of a periodical.

                  Drunkenness was far from uncommon in Whitechapel at the time and I would suggest that the cells would have been somewhat crowded if all those picked up had only been released when they were completely sober. A copper would have been very well informed about alcohol, its effects, and the sobering up process through his no doubt considerable experience of dealing with drunken people.

                  Absolutely, drukenness was extremely common. The issue is, however, as already mentioned, that Kate falls right into the category of a likely Ripper victim, based on the previous murders. The police knew at that stage that his prime target were middle-aged women who were probably soliciting and who were not in the best shape at the time.

                  To release, for example, a semi-intoxicated young sailor back onto the streets is one thing, they could fend for themselves. However with all the aforementioned circumstances taken into account, I think we have to admit that the ball was dropped slightly in allowing Kate out in that location at that time. And that should take nothing away from the overall police efforts of 1888, there is no way they could have known that the final outcome would be what it is, but it was a mistake.

                  In 2011, if she was released, which in itself is unlikely, she would be given an escort home. In 1888 she was left to her own devices, the police were clearly more concerned about her drinking again than any other mischief she might get herself into.

                  Good thinking on the part of the contemporary criticism, i'll certainly scout around and see if I come up with anything.

                  Thanks once again for your comments.


                  And thank you as well.....the next one is probably not quite so controversial (though one of the focus subjects is extremely controversial), but I hope you'll find it interesting just the same.