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Jack the Ripper : The Macnaghten Memoranda

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  • #91
    Surely the importance of the Memoranda is what it tells us about what we do NOT know rather than what we do know.

    It clearly refers to three suspects, and from that we must conclude that at some point in time separate files must have existed on these suspects. Indeed as the memoranda also hints at three ‘more likely suspects’ so it also suggests other ‘missing’ files on other suspects that had been considered.

    There seems to have become a popular modern belief that the documentary record on the Ripper crimes is good? But surely we have no way of knowing what percentage of papers, particularly in relation to suspects, has actually survived?

    We are aware of events that did happen for which there appears to be NO record.

    The importance of the Memoranda is surely what it tells us about what we do not know rather than what we do know?

    Pirate

    Comment


    • #92
      Congratulations

      Originally posted by Jeff Leahy View Post
      Surely the importance of the Memoranda is what it tells us about what we do NOT know rather than what we do know.
      It clearly refers to three suspects, and from that we must conclude that at some point in time separate files must have existed on these suspects. Indeed as the memoranda also hints at three ‘more likely suspects’ so it also suggests other ‘missing’ files on other suspects that had been considered.
      There seems to have become a popular modern belief that the documentary record on the Ripper crimes is good? But surely we have no way of knowing what percentage of papers, particularly in relation to suspects, has actually survived?
      We are aware of events that did happen for which there appears to be NO record.
      The importance of the Memoranda is surely what it tells us about what we do not know rather than what we do know?
      Pirate
      Jeff, please allow me to offer my congratulations on your much improved spelling and grammar.

      Comment


      • #93
        Jeff,

        It clearly refers to three suspects, and from that we must conclude that at some point in time separate files must have existed on these suspects
        Why must we conclude that?

        As it is an independant, unofficial document its contents does not give us a reason to conclude such a thing, surely?

        Monty

        Comment


        • #94
          Stating the Obvious

          Originally posted by Jeff Leahy View Post
          ...
          It clearly refers to three suspects, and from that we must conclude that at some point in time separate files must have existed on these suspects. Indeed as the memoranda also hints at three ‘more likely suspects’ so it also suggests other ‘missing’ files on other suspects that had been considered.
          There seems to have become a popular modern belief that the documentary record on the Ripper crimes is good? But surely we have no way of knowing what percentage of papers, particularly in relation to suspects, has actually survived?
          We are aware of events that did happen for which there appears to be NO record.
          Pirate
          These observations, whilst valid, are actually stating the obvious. The many records which would have existed touching upon the myriad police investigations and enquiries have, in the main, not survived.

          Those records that have survived relate to the overall investigation and some of the more important (at the time) suspects such as Isenschmid, Pizer and Sadler. A careful perusal of the surviving official records will give a better idea of what I am saying here. Also we do know that at some stage prior to removal to the Public Record Office a suspect related file did go missing from the official papers, albeit this contained no mention of Druitt, Kosminski or Ostrog (or Tumblety for that matter).

          I would draw the attention of interested readers to Swanson's report of 19 October 1888, ref- HO 144/221/A49301C, ff 148-159, which gives a good idea of the great scope of police inquiries at that time; and for which much relevant paperwork must, at one time, have existed. Do not forget, every police inquiry initiated by a report from the public or otherwise resulted in the commencement of a docket and record of the necessary actions by the officer tasked with the inquiry, and this would include any statements taken.

          So amongst the missing papers are those relating to the searching of all the present members of the Berner Street Club (and all their statements); details of the house to house enquiries; the statements relevant to 'the persons (of whom there were many)...required to account for their presence at the time of the murders'; the examination of 'over 2,000 lodgers' in common lodging houses; the details of the Thames Police inquiries into sailors on board ships in docks or river; asiatics present in London; the 'about 80 persons detained at the different police stations in the Metropolis' and their statements, plus the results of inquiries into those statements; the details of the inquiries made 'into the movements of a number of persons estimated at upwards of 300 respecting whom communications were received by police', such enquiries being continued at that time; details of the 76 butchers and slaughterers visited and the characters of the men employed obtained; enquiries into the Greek gipsies allegedly (but not) present in London; the three 'persons calling themselves cowboys' (from the American Exhibition of 1887); and so on.

          At that time the number of enquiry dockets was running at an incredible 994 and nearly all these are now missing. And this was as at 19 October 1888. The three Macnaghten named suspects, of course, were not contemporaneously named and post-dated the murders by quite some time, thus enquiries into them may not have even been filed with the original Whitechapel murders paperwork. Anyone familiar with the paperwork and documentation completed by the police will be fully aware of the mass of contemporary material that must be missing, and that also includes individual police officers' pocket books and the special notebooks issued for the house to house inquiries.

          When I was curator of the Suffolk Constabulary police museum I handled all the archive material and there was a lot of Victorian material which indicated that the Victorian police were just about as strapped with paperwork as is a modern force.

          Comment


          • #95
            While not wishing to state the obvious, if the records have not survived surely we cant conclude that Druit, Ostrog's or Kosminski’s name didn’t show up in the initial house to house enquiries (Although granted it is most improbable that Ostrog's would have done so). Indeed it is surely more than possible that JtR could have been interviewed and over looked at first.

            But yes your detailed observations SPE rather illustrate my general point, that it is probable to conclude that MacNaughten was working from, or at least referencing, files that no longer exist. And it is that that makes the MM important, especially when taken with other snippets of information from people with ‘knowledge of’ that now missing information.

            Pirate

            Comment


            • #96
              The mind can only boggle as to which police file or police list Macnaghten would have used when composing his notes on Druitt. How was it possible for him to make such errors?

              Comment


              • #97
                Fair point Robert. However he also gets some of the information on Druitt correct. So perhaps he didn’t have the files in front of him when he wrote the MM. But had at some point gone throw the files or even discussed them with someone?

                So it’s Macnaughten’s knowledge of the historical record we know to be missing that makes the MM important, not the MM in itself.

                Pirate

                Comment


                • #98
                  Indicators

                  Originally posted by Jeff Leahy View Post
                  While not wishing to state the obvious, if the records have not survived surely we cant conclude that Druit, Ostrog's or Kosminski’s name didn’t show up in the initial house to house enquiries (Although granted it is most improbable that Ostrog's would have done so). Indeed it is surely more than possible that JtR could have been interviewed and over looked at first.
                  But yes your detailed observations SPE rather illustrate my general point, that it is probable to conclude that MacNaughten was working from, or at least referencing, files that no longer exist. And it is that that makes the MM important, especially when taken with other snippets of information from people with ‘knowledge of’ that now missing information.
                  Pirate
                  For anyone who understands the surviving material it seems fairly obvious that both Druitt and Kosminski emerged as suspects (albeit ones with no hard evidence against them) after 1888 and probably after 1889.

                  I have no doubt, and I pointed this out many years ago, that Kosminski's name most likely did feature amongst the many names collected in the house-to-house enquiries and whose circumstances must have fitted Anderson's criteria of living in the district and that 'he could go and come and get rid of his blood-stains in secret'. The indicators are that when some further information on Kosminski came to light some time later his name was checked for and found on the lists compiled in the house-to-house enquiries. Hence we have Anderson's comment - "And the conclusion we came to was that he and his people were low-class Jews, for it is a remarkable fact that people of that class in the East End will not give up one of their number to Gentile justice.
                  And the result proved that our diagnosis was right on every point..."

                  However, I am sure that Druitt's name would not have cropped up in the house-to-house enquiries and I believe that he emerged some time later, probably 1891. But the significant factor in all this is that the most relevant suspects looked at in the 1888-91 enquiries are named in the preserved files and overall reports, as I observed. Certainly when Druitt and Kosminski were brought to their attention, by whatever means, there would have been dockets and paperwork on them which are now missing.

                  Apropos of their status as suspects we have Macnaghten stating that "...no shadow of proof could be thrown on any one."

                  Comment


                  • #99
                    Similar Vein

                    Originally posted by Jeff Leahy View Post
                    ...
                    So it’s Macnaughten’s knowledge of the historical record we know to be missing that makes the MM important, not the MM in itself.
                    Pirate
                    In a similar vein we have the cryptic comment made by Douglas G. Browne in his 1956 book The Rise of Scotland Yard (page 208) that "A third head of the C.I.D., Sir Melville Macnaghten, appears to identify the Ripper with the leader of a plot to assassinate Mr Balfour at the Irish Office."

                    We know that access had been granted by New Scotland Yard to the then extant files as the writer who started the project, Ralph Straus (he died and Browne completed the work), "...had the generous help of the authorities at New Scotland Yard in being given access to the records..." which indicates that he must have seen much material that did not survive to the migration to the Public Record Office.

                    I have more recent information, about which I can say no more, to the effect that there was a Yard file on an Irish party related Jack the Ripper suspect.

                    If the missing material had survived and was available to us we would be very much more enlightened as to the intricate details of the enquiry and all the suspects looked at. But I still do not think that we would know the identity of 'Jack the Ripper'.

                    Comment


                    • Originally posted by SPE View Post
                      Jeff, please allow me to offer my congratulations on your much improved spelling and grammar.
                      Is this statement another sarcastic attack on Dyslexics?

                      Or are you insinuating that someone else is writing my posts?

                      Jeff

                      Comment


                      • Never

                        Originally posted by Jeff Leahy View Post
                        Is this statement another sarcastic attack on Dyslexics?
                        Or are you insinuating that someone else is writing my posts?
                        Jeff
                        I have never made a 'sarcastic attack' on a dyslexic, and wouldn't dream of doing so. However, I have been known to insinuate on the odd occasion.

                        Comment


                        • Originally posted by SPE View Post

                          I have more recent information, about which I can say no more, to the effect that there was a Yard file on an Irish party related Jack the Ripper suspect.
                          I realize that you can't elaborate, SPE, and therefore I'm saying it more for others to address than yourself.

                          I have always wondered if the JtR murders were not in fact a Fenian "terrorist" attack, a low cost, high profile way to show the poor that the authorities could care less if they were all butchered. (FWIW, I think the powers that be cared quite a bit, but it's appearance that matters.)

                          Comment


                          • Yes I thought as much. So let me state once and for all that there is absolutely NO truth in the rumors, spread presumably by Ally Ryder, that Paul Begg has anything to do with my postings.

                            Yes Paul is a friend and I have asked his advice on occasions but I see absolutely nothing wrong or underhand in that. Indeed the irony is that Paul actually posts on these forums and is probably reading this post right now. If he wishes to make a comment on anything he is free to do so. Why would he post as me??????

                            I have given my word as a Gentleman, and for another Gentleman that should really be the end of these rather silly and paranoid suggestions . They are NOT true.

                            I will be filming Paul this year at conference, I will be happy to have his company as a friend, but we have totally different views on Ripperology. I simply find his ideas interesting and his witty sense of humour stimulating. (we are both married men and not having an affair!)

                            Know doubt I will now be accussed of ‘Show Boating’, however I have clearly been put in a damned if I do say something and damned if I don’t situation. So as always I have spoken as honestly as possible.

                            I am here to discuss and consider Ripper related matters and would be grateful if we could stay on topic.

                            Trusting this has finally cleared any miss-understanding.

                            Yours Jeff
                            Last edited by Jeff Leahy; September 29, 2009, 02:35 PM. Reason: Dyslexia

                            Comment


                            • Originally posted by Robert Linford View Post
                              The mind can only boggle as to which police file or police list Macnaghten would have used when composing his notes on Druitt. How was it possible for him to make such errors?
                              Perhaps because he larded his memo with personal speculation in places, Rob, rather than relying solely on "official" files. I mean no disrespect to Sir Melville, by the way - but it's as well to bear in mind that one man's "private info" might be another man's tittle-tattle.

                              Comment


                              • Hi Sir Robert,

                                For some time now I have been looking into a possible Fenian aspect to the Whitechapel Murders and have concluded that the idea doesn't really fly. Macnaghten's remark that JtR was part of a plot to assassinate Balfour is compelling, but the closest I can put Balfour to JtR is the Lord Mayor's Banquet at the Guildhall on the evening of 9th November 1888.

                                Also to be borne in mind is the not inconsiderable matter of the Parnell Special Commission, which ran at the Law Courts from October 1888 to November 1889, during which HMG [in the form of Scotland Yard] did its best to rake up damaging evidence [real or otherwise] against Parnell on behalf of The Times. It's interesting that even those Irish anti-Parnell factions did nothing to rock the boat during the Special Commission. But why would they when HMG was doing such a fine job of showing itself up as deceitful and politically underhand.

                                If anti-Parnell factions had wanted to launch a low-cost, high-profile terrorist attack, or if HMG had wanted to create an outrage to blame on the Fenians [it wouldn't have been the first time], why go to all the bother of slaughtering five drabs in haphazard fashion when a couple of strategically-placed barrels of dynamite would have done the trick? Cheap, quick, simple.

                                Fenian involvement in the Whitechapel Murders suggests a plot. Plot implies structure. And the one thing the Whitechapel Murders lacked was structure.

                                What also rules out any Fenian connection in the Whitechapel Murders are the unprecedented levels of official assistance given to promulgate the mythos. I'm thinking specifically of the frankly moronic decision to plaster Dear Boss and Saucy Jacky across London on posters [when exactly was it decided they were the work of an enterprising journalist?] and also Wynne Baxter's grandstanding inquests whose adjournments kept the momentum going long after the murders' best-by date. It's also interesting that the two pivotal C5 murders—Eddowes and Kelly—were taken out of Wynne Baxter's control. The locations of Mitre Square and Millers Court were chosen very carefully.

                                Read the rules.

                                Regards,

                                Simon
                                Last edited by Simon Wood; September 29, 2009, 06:20 PM. Reason: more spolling mistooks

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