The first news of an arrest of a Ripper suspect at Euston Station came in the 'Special' edition of the London Globe newspaper timed at 6.30pm on Saturday, 17 November, 1888, which was on the streets for sale by 7pm that evening. A copy of that particular edition does not survive but we can reconstruct the report from information provided by the next morning's News of the World and Lloyds Weekly News so that we can say it would have read something like this:
'This afternoon, the London police received a communication from the Birmingham detectives to the effect that a man suspected of being concerned in the Whitechapel murders had left Birmingham by train for London. Acting on this information, Detectives Leach and White, of the Criminal Investigation Department, proceeded to Willesden Junction and Euston respectively, and at the latter station, Inspector White, on the arrival of the Birmingham train, arrested the suspected individual and conveyed him to Scotland-yard. It is stated that the man under arrest has been staying at a common lodging-house in Birmingham since Monday, and the theory is that if he is connected with the East end crimes, he left the metropolis by an early train on the morning of the tragedies. The prisoner, said to be a medical man who was some years ago practising in London with another gentleman of some repute, is of gentlemanly appearance and manners. It is alleged that he resembles the man described by witnesses at the inquest as having been seen with Marie Jeanette Kelly early on the morning she was murdered.'
On the very same day (time unknown) the London correspondent of the New York World was filing a report about the respective arrests on suspicion of Sir George Arthur and Dr Tumblety (the latter erroneously referred to as 'Kumblety') which made no mention of any arrest at Euston Station but which, in respect of Tumblety, said:
'Another arrest was that of a man who gave the name of Dr. Kumblety, of New York. The police could not hold him on suspicion of having been guilty of the Whitechapel crimes, but have succeeded in getting him held for trial at the Central Criminal Court under the special law passed soon after the "Modern Babylon" exposures. The police say that Kumblety is the man's right name, as is proved by letters in his possession from New York, and that he has been in the habit of crossing the ocean twice a year for several years. A score of other men have been arrested by the police during the past week on suspicion of being the murderer, but the right man still roams at large, and everybody is momentarily expecting to hear of the death of another victim. The large sums offered for the capture of the fiend have induced hundreds of amateur detectives to take a hand in the chase. But it is all of no avail. Mr. Leopold Rothschild has offered an income of $10 a week for life to the man who gives information which will lead to the arrest and conviction of the assassin.' (See footnote here)
The impression given in the report is that the arrest of Tumblety (Kumblety) had happened at least some days earlier, as the police would obviously have needed time to get him held for trial on other offences after the arrest.
At midnight on 17 November, a reporter for the News of the World, curious about the Globe's story, made some enquiries about the Euston arrest and filed the following report which appeared in the next morning's paper:
'At midnight, on our representative inquiring at Scotland Yard, it was positively stated that no arrest had been made. Proceeding to Euston station it was found that detectives were busy actively watching the trains as they arrived. The last train from Birmingham came in at 10.25, and there being no one answering the description, the detectives left shortly afterwards without making an arrest.'
The reporter making these enquiries also appears to have filed a report with Lloyd's Weekly News which carried a similar denial on 18 November:
Reynolds's Newspaper of the same day also reported the arrest but added a caveat to the foot of its story, timed at 1.30am on the Sunday morning in the following way:
'On one of Lloyd's representatives applying at Scotland-yard he was assured that whatever communication might have been received from Birmingham, no such arrest had taken place. Inquiries were then made at Euston station with the same result. Detectives were, however, in waiting there; but after seeing the passengers alight from the train which came in at 25 minutes past 10, they left without any arrest taking place.'
'The information telegraphed from Birmingham to the London police was considered of sufficient importance by the authorities to send Detectives Leach and White, of the Criminal Investigation Department, to Willesden Junction and Euston respectively, to meet the train from Birmingham by which the suspected man was to arrive. Inspector White on the arrival of the train arrested the suspected individual and conveyed him to Scotland-yard. It is stated that the man under arrest has been staying at a common lodging house in Birmingham since Monday last, and the theory is that if, as is supposed by the police, he is connected with the East-end crimes, he left the metropolis by an early train on the morning of the tragedies. The prisoner is a medical man who was some years ago practising in London with another gentleman of some repute. He is of gentlemanly appearance and manners, and is declared to resemble the man described by witnesses at the inquest as having been seen in company with Marie Jeanette Kelly early on the morning that she was murdered. The prisoner is still detained pending further inquiries.
Sunday Morning 1.30
The report of a man having been arrested at Euston Station yesterday afternoon who had travelled from Birmingham, is incorrect. The authorities at Scotland-yard decline to give any information on the subject; but from many circumstances it is believed the report is unfounded.'
At about this time of night, the London correspondent of the Birmingham Daily Times must have been writing his daily London letter to his newspaper because, while being dated 'Saturday night', it referred to the events of 'last night' when mentioning the arrest. His letter, which was published in the Birmingham Daily Times on the Monday morning, said:
'The police are maintaining a more than ordinary appearance of secrecy with respect to the alleged arrest at Euston yesterday of a doctor who came from Birmingham. The announcement created a big sensation last night. From the fact that the police refuse to say anything, it is thought that, notwithstanding contradictions, an arrest has been made which the Scotland Yard people regard as important. Just as I am about to despatch this I learn that there has been a curious circumstance in connection with this affair. There was an arrest I am told, but it was the arrest of the wrong man. The man the detectives caught was not only not the murderer but he was not even the man concerning whom the Birmingham police had sent information.'
In contradiction of its own correspondent, the Birmingham Daily Times, on the same day, in a separate news report, carried the following information, evidently based on information received from the Birmingham police, which is reproduced here for the first time:
'The medical man from Birmingham who was taken into custody at Euston Railway Station on Saturday and invited to give an account of himself with reference to the last Whitechapel atrocity was able to fully satisfy the police as to his whereabouts on the night of the murder. He was consequently released and is now in London whither he had gone, it seems, to take up a situation as assistant surgeon. The circumstances under which he was arrested are rather remarkable. About a week ago he came under the notice of the local police as answering the published description of one of the two men, of whom descriptions have been issued in connection with the crime. He had a sandy moustache and side whiskers, and altogether bore a striking resemblance to the suspected criminal. To some extent the suspicions thereby aroused were confirmed by the fact that he was staying at a model lodging house in Rea Street, and paying fourpence a night for his bed. Added to this he seemed rather to shrink from observation. The police had found on inquiry that he was reputedly a fully qualified medical man, and until recently filled the post of assistant to a London practitioner. The circumstance of a man in his position staying at a common lodging-house, coupled with his strange resemblance to a man spoken of as having been seen in company of Kelly shortly before the murder, induced the police to keep a sharp eye upon his movements, and detectives shadowed him all the week. At the lodging house in Rea Street nothing unusual was noticed about his behaviour, which might had (sic) been that of a criminal or a gentleman in reduced circumstances anxious to attract as little attention as possible. On Saturday morning he appears to have received several telegrams, and as a result went to New Street and booked for London. Detective-Inspector Stroud, who had been watching him, got the number of his ticket from the booking clerk, and after seeing him off by train reported the matter to Superintendent Black. That officer at once wired to Scotland Yard, stating that a suspicious looking man would arrive at Euston at an hour mentioned in the message, and asking that he might be watched. On receipt of the telegram Detective Inspectors White and Peach (sic), of the Criminal Investigation Department, were told off to Willesden Junction and Euston respectively to await the arrival of the train. The man was missed at Willesden, but White recognised him at Euston from the description wired to Scotland Yard by Superintendent Black, and at once took him into custody. The information being that the man had been staying in Birmingham since Monday last, the theory of the police was that if he were connected with the East End crimes he must have left the Metropolis by an early train on the morning of the tragedies. Upon being closely interrogated as to his movements and whereabouts during the time of the murder the suspect gave so satisfactory an account of himself that he was speedily liberated. The precipitate action of the London police in arresting the man instead of watching him, does not, under the circumstances, much matter, and may have been dictated by reasons of which the public are ignorant. The man is not the only one who has been watched in Birmingham, but as yet nothing has come of the watching. When the news of the arrest leaked out on Saturday night it of course caused an immense sensation in the town, and there was no end of speculation as to who the suspected man could be. For obvious reasons his name is withheld from the public. As the incident has turned out to have nothing in it, no good purpose would be served by publishing his name, while it would do the gentleman himself considerable injury in his profession.'
The Observer, in the meantime, had already reported on the Sunday morning that the man in question had been released:
At some point on the Sunday afternoon or evening, someone who appears to have been an agency reporter filed a short report which was eventually published in the Daily Colonist of 22 November, in which the name of the hitherto unidentified man who had supposedly been arrested at Euston Station was given as Dr Tumblety (although, like the World's Correspondent, this writer too recorded the name as 'Kumblety'). The day of the arrest was wrongly said to have been earlier that day, hence the report stated:
'Yesterday afternoon a communication from the Birmingham detectives to the effect that a man suspected of being concerned in the Whitechapel murders had left Birmingham by train for London was at once acted upon by Detectives Leach and White, of the Criminal Investigation Department, who proceeded to Willesden Junction and Euston respectively, and, at the latter station, Inspector White on the arrival of the Birmingham train, detained the suspected individual and conveyed him to Scotland-yard. It is stated that the man had been staying at a common lodging-house in Birmingham since Monday last, and the theory was that if, as was supposed by the police, he was connected with the East-end crimes, he left the metropolis by an early train on the morning of the tragedies. The suspect was a medical man who was some years ago practising in London with another gentleman of some repute. He was of gentlemanly appearance and manners, and somewhat resembled the description of witnesses at the inquest as having been seen in company with Kelly early on the morning that she was murdered. Upon being minutely questioned as to his whereabouts at the time of the murders, the suspect was able to furnish a satisfactory account of himself, and was accordingly liberated.'
'On the arrival of the Birmingham train this morning, a Dr Kumblety was arrested on suspicion of being the Whitechapel suspect. He greatly resembles the individual seen in company with the latest victim on the evening of the last murder. A score of other men have been arrested by the police this week on suspicion of the murders. Everybody is momentarily expecting to hear of another victim. The large sums offered as private rewards have induced hundreds of amateur detectives to take a hand in the chase, but to no avail. Leon Rothschild has offered an income of £2 a week for life to the man who gives information that leads to the arrest and conviction of the assassin.'
This is that report as it appeared in the Weekly edition of the Colonist, on 23 November 1888:
On the same evening, i.e. the evening of 18 November, the London correspondent of the Birmingham Daily Mail filed his daily letter (published the following morning) which cast doubt on the denials of any arrest in the Sunday morning newspapers (but corroborated the Birmingham Daily Times' account published that same day) when he wrote:
'The report that a medical man from Birmingham had been arrested at Euston Station last night on suspicion of being the Whitechapel murderer, caused a big sensation in London, especially at the East End. Doubts have since been thrown on the fact of any such arrest being made, but an acquaintance of mine was present at the time, and saw the individual taken to Scotland Yard. The London detectives refuse to give any information on the subject, but it is understood that they acted entirely on the advice of the Birmingham police, who had for some time kept an eye on the eccentric movements of the medical gentleman referred to - whoever he may be. The enquiries, however, that were made seem to have quickly satisfied the authorities here that the individual was not the one wanted, and after explanations and apologies, he was allowed go on his way.'
The information in the letter that an acquaintance of the author had actually seen a man being taken away by the police does suggest that something happened at Euston on the Saturday, even if an arrest had not actually taken place.
Monday's Globe repeated the story, adding more details from Birmingham:
A few extra details could be found in other reports that morning, hence, according to the Nottingham Daily Guardian of 19 November 1888:
'As briefly reported in our special edition on Saturday night, a medical man who travelled up from Birmingham on Saturday afternoon was arrested on the arrival of the train from Euston. It was stated that the accused had been staying at a common lodging-house in Birmingham since Monday last, and the theory was that, if as was supposed by the police, he was connected with the East-end crimes, he left the metropolis by an early train on the morning of the tragedies. The suspected man was of gentlemanly appearance and manners, and resembled the description of the person declared by witnesses at the inquest to have been seen in company with Kelly early on the morning that she was murdered. Upon being minutely questioned as to his whereabouts at the time of the murders, the suspect was able to furnish a satisfactory account of himself, and was accordingly liberated. It has since transpired that when he left Birmingham on Saturday the Metropolitan police were advised to continue to "watch" him, not to arrest him. He had been staying at in Birmingham since the 12th inst. at a very cheap common lodging house No.109 Rea-street; yet he was reputed and, indeed, represented himself to be a medical man with several qualifications. A day or two after his arrival in Birmingham the police were informed of his presence, and at once set a watch upon him. He was almost destitute, and it is believed that he borrowed from some acquaintance or friend the money wherewith to pay his fare to London. He left Birmingham by the 11.45 London and North-Western train on Saturday. The action of the Metropolitan police in at once apprehending him was doubtless due to the resemblance already spoken of. He has a sandy moustache and whiskers and is, in point of height and otherwise, like the man with whom Kelly is stated to have passed her last night alive.'
…..The suspect was a medical man who was some years ago practising in London with another gentleman of some repute, and it was also said that he had practised at Nottingham and Manchester.....
This is the version of the story which appeared in the Birmingham Daily Post on 19 November:
'The medical man from Birmingham who was taken into custody at Euston Railway Station on Saturday and invited to give an account of himself with reference to the last Whitechapel atrocity, was able to fully satisfy the police as to his whereabouts on the night of the murder. He was consequently released and is now in London, whither he had gone, it seems, to take up a situation as assistant surgeon. The circumstances under which he was arrested are rather remarkable. About a week ago he came to the notice of the local police as answering the published description of one of the two men, of whom descriptions have been issued in connection with the crime. He had a sandy moustache and side whiskers, and altogether bore a striking resemblance to the suspected criminal. To some extent the suspicions thereby aroused were confirmed by the fact that he was staying at a model lodging house in Rea Street, and paying fourpence a night for his bed. Added to this he seemed rather to shrink from observation. The police had found on inquiry that he was reputedly a full qualified medical man, who had practised in Manchester and Nottingham, and until recently filled the post of assistant to a London practitioner. The circumstance of a man in his position staying at a common lodging-house, coupled with his strange resemblance to the man spoken of as having been seen in company of Kelly shortly before the murder, induced the police to keep a sharp eye upon his movements, and detectives shadowed him all the week. At the lodging house in Rea Street nothing unusual was noticed about his behaviour, which might had been that of a criminal or a gentleman in reduced circumstances anxious to attract as little notice as possible. On Saturday morning he appears to have received several telegrams, and as a result went to New Street and booked for London. Detective-Inspector Stroud, who had been watching him, got the number of his ticket from the booking clerk, and after seeing him off by train reported the matter to Superintendent Black. That officer at once wired to Scotland Yard, stating that a suspicious looking man would arrive at Euston at an hour mentioned in the message, and asking that he might watched. On receipt of the telegram Detective-Inspectors White and Peach (sic) of the Criminal Investigation Department, were told off to Willesden Junction and Euston respectively to await the arrival of the train. The man was missed at Willesden, but White recognised him at Euston from the description wired to Scotland Yard by Superintendent Black, and at once took him into custody. The information being that the man had been staying in Birmingham since Monday last, the theory of the police was that if he were connected with the East End crimes he must have left the Metropolis by the early train on the morning of the tragedies. Upon being closely interrogated as to his movements and whereabouts during the time of the murder the suspect gave so satisfactory an account of himself that he was speedily liberated. The precipitate action of the London police in arresting the man instead of watching him, does not, under the circumstances much matter, and may have been dictated by reasons of which the public are ignorant. The man is not the only one who has been watched in Birmingham, but as yet nothing has come of the watching. When the news of the arrest leaked out on Saturday night it of course caused an immense sensation in the town, and there was no end of speculation as to who the suspected man could be. For obvious reasons his name is withheld from the public. As the incident has turned out to have nothing in it, no good purpose would be served by publishing the name, while it would do the gentleman himself considerable injury in his profession.'
The mention of the lodging house in Rea Street is a detail which adds credence to the story (and the manager of the lodging house subsequently wrote to the newspaper to complain that it was not 'common' as it had been described).
A report from London dated 19 November 1888 by an agency reporter for the Ottawa Free Press was telegraphed to Canada and appeared in the Canadian newspaper saying that:
'Over London the Whitechapel murders still hang like a pall. Arrests of suspects have been numerous, but one after another they have been discharged. Great importance, however, is attached to an arrest made on Saturday. The Birmingham police have lately watched a man whom they suspected because of his habit of travelling to London on Saturdays. On the arrival of the train at Euston station he stepped out of the carriage briskly and was at once arrested and taken to Scotland Yard for examination. What gives particular force to the suspicion is that the prisoner is a doctor formerly holding a good position and large practice, but recently living in lodging houses. He greatly resembles the "gentleman" seen in company with the latest victim on the morning of the murder. Should he prove to be the criminal, the police will at once be rehabilitated.'
The Euston arrest story, without any further details, was repeated in many other newspapers on Monday, 19 November, but the conclusion of the same story in the Midland Weekly Herald of 23 November 1888 added a tiny snippet:
'Upon being closely interrogated as to his movements and whereabouts during the time of the murder the suspect gave so satisfactory an account of himself that he was speedily liberated. It seems that the Birmingham detectives did not venture to take upon themselves the responsibility of the man's arrest because it would have involved considerable expense in identifying him. A communication has been received from Scotland Yard to the effect that the man has given a satisfactory account of his movements during the time the murder was committed, and that he had therefore been liberated.'
At the same time as all the newspapers were reporting on the arrest, a Press Association story was in circulation that the police had received information that the Whitechapel murderer was supposed to travel regularly to London from Manchester, Birmingham or another town in the Midlands. It stated that 'Detectives have been engaged at Willesden and Euston watching the arrival of trains from the Midlands and the north, and looking for any suspicious passenger, but their efforts up to the present have not met with success.' While this was reported separately from the Euston incident it must, surely, have been based on the fact that detectives had been in attendance at Euston and Willesdon on the Saturday waiting for a passenger on a train coming from the north.
So, did someone actually get arrested at Euston Station on 17 November? And, if so, was that person Tumblety, as the Daily Colonist had stated?
Dealing with the first of these two questions, it does look like something must have happened at Euston on that day. The Birmingham press seem to have obtained reliable information that the London police had been tipped off by the Birmingham police that a suspected person was arriving by train and the London police clearly attended at the station as a result. Even the reports denying that the arrest happened confirm that detectives were waiting for the Birmingham train at Euston. There is obviously a dispute as to whether anyone was arrested at the train station and, if the caveats in the Sunday newspapers were all we had to go on, we would be forced to conclude that no such arrest occurred. After all, how could we do better today than a newspaper reporter who actually made inquiries in person at Scotland Yard and Euston Station on 17/18 November?
Yet, we not only have the correspondent of the Birmingham Daily Mail telling us that an acquaintance of his saw a man being taken away, but the Birmingham Daily Times actually seems to have known the name of this man. It may be that the issue is one of semantics whereby the man wasn't actually 'arrested' but voluntarily agreed to accompany the police to Scotland Yard to assist with their enquiries. Being totally innocent, the police didn't want to say that an arrest had taken place.
There is also something rather unbelievable in the denial stories. If the police had been tipped off that a suspect had caught the 11.45am train from Birmingham, why on earth did they supposedly wait at Euston until 10.25pm when they would surely have known that the 11.45am train would have reached London about three to three and a half hours after its departure, or, in other words, at about 2.35pm to 3.05pm?
I say 'about' for an inspection of the London and North Western railway timetable, which seems to have been the one current as at 17 November 1888, for it was published in the Bucks Herald of 29 September 1888, reveals that there was no 11.45am train leaving Birmingham for London! There was an 11.25am train but this departed from Northampton, a few stops (and about an hour) down the line. This train was scheduled to arrive at Euston at 1.55pm. Departing from Birmingham on either side of this there was a 7.30am train which arrived at Euston at 10.30am and a 2pm train arriving at Euston at 5.50pm. The last train out of Birmingham was the 4pm train which arrived at Euston at 7.30pm. There were other trains on the line going to London: the last train from Cheddington arrived at Euston at 9.15pm and the last train from Bletchley arrived at 11.13pm.
Having said all this, it is dangerous to contradict information provided by newspaper reporters who would surely have been far better informed about the train timetables than we can be today. Perhaps further research will reveal what trains they were talking about. Even if they do, mind you, it won't explain why the police supposedly waited at Euston until the last train had arrived at 10.25pm.
Of course, by 10.25pm on Saturday, 17 November, the Globe's story of an arrest was already in circulation. Indeed, that arrest must have happened some time prior to 6.30pm. Probably some time significantly earlier than 6.30pm for it to have been able to feature in the Globe's Special edition. If the police really were still at Euston until 10.25pm that day, it would suggest that the man they were looking for didn't arrive, so that if they did take someone to Scotland Yard it was the wrong man, which is what was suggested by the London correspondent of the Birmingham Daily Times.
One can't help feeling, though, that the Birmingham Daily Times correspondent, in his haste to complete his letter, misunderstood an expression such as 'he was not the man wanted' - which possibly meant no more than 'not the Whitechapel murderer' - and wrongly took it to mean that the man arrested was not the man who had been identified by the Birmingham Police.
Not much is clear cut but a medical man certainly seems to be at the heart of this even if he was never arrested on suspicion of the murders.
Was this man Tumblety?
Before we attempt to answer this question, it's worth pointing out that Hawley clearly believes that Tumblety was the man and that the Daily Colonist report was entirely accurate in this regard. In many ways, it is curious that he thinks so because it seems to undermine an important point he has long been trying to make about some comments written in a letter to an acquaintance by William Smith, a Canadian deputy minister at the Department of Marine, on 1 December 1888. This is what William Smith said in that letter about Tumblety:
'He is the man who was arrested in London three weeks ago as the Whitechapel murderer. He had been living in Birmingham and used to come up to London on Saturday nights. The police have always had their eyes on him every place he went and finally the Birmingham Police telegraphed to the London Police that he had left for London, and on his arrival he was nabbed accordingly.'
For Hawley, the significance of this letter has long been that Smith had, impressively, been aware that Tumblety had been arrested three weeks prior to the date of his letter of 1 December. Thus, said Hawley in his 2015 article 'Anderson's Furtive Mission in North America' , Ripperologist 144:
'Since the letter is dated 1 December 1888, this would put the initial arrest on or about 7 November, which is exactly when the November and December London Criminal Court Calendars stated Tumblety was initially taken into custody.'
The point is repeated in his 2018 book where he says, 'Interestingly no one knew the initial arrest date on gross indecency was 7 November', thus ignoring the fact that Smith doesn't mention the arrest for gross indecency in his letter but clearly states that Tumblety was arrested as the Whitechapel murderer three weeks ago! Hawley claims that Smith was the only person who got 'the time of the month correct' yet Hawley himself tells us in the Howlercast that he thinks Tumblety was arrested on suspicion of being the Whitechapel murderer in early October, in which case Smith, far from being spot on, must have got the date of arrest completely wrong!
Hawley points out, inaccurately, that a New York World story of 27 November 1888 (which, he tells us, Smith would have read) stated that Tumblety had been arrested on 16 November, a date which, Hawley confidently explains to us, 'refers to the court assigned warrant arrest on 16 November 1888'. This is a double mistake, firstly because the New York World did not date the arrest as having been on 16 November - it said it was on 18 November - and, secondly, because there was no such thing as a 'court assigned warrant arrest', whatever he thought he meant by that. The only warrant at this time was a warrant of committal dated 14 November. But Hawley told us:
'Not only does Smith write a different, earlier date, the date matches the court calendar, while the papers got it wrong. If Smith received all his information from the article, why did he not state the initial arrest as reported in the story -16 November?'
This is supposed to show that Smith was privy to inside information ('private cable communications in Ottawa' says Hawley) thus showing that news of Tumblety's arrest was being privately transmitted by Scotland Yard to the Canadian authorities in Ottawa, proving how important an incident it was. And Smith, Hawley tells us, 'had the perfect opportunity to have known about Scotland Yard wiring the Ottawa government'.
There are a number of problems with Hawley's theory.
If Smith's words in his letter are taken literally, as Hawley seems to want us to take them, this would mean that Smith believed that Tumblety was arrested on 10 November 1888, which was exactly three weeks prior to 1 December, but three days after he was first entered in custody following a remand hearing at Marlborough Street Police Court. So that doesn't match.But Hawley never really took Smith's words literally and was sufficiently flexible with them to adjust the 'three weeks' to incorporate 7 November 1888, although that would presumably have been the date of the arrest for the indecency offences so, even on Hawley's adjusted account, Smith would still have been wrong bearing in mind that, as already mentioned, Hawley himself now tells us in the Howlercast, as well as in his 2018 book, that he thinks Tumblety was (or might well have been) arrested on suspicion of the Whitechapel murders on 1 October 1888 (but actually seems to mean on 30 September).
Given that Hawley himself adjusts the date of the arrest being spoken of by Smith from the precise period of three weeks up to three and a half weeks, it is a little difficult not to think that Smith, when writing on 1 December, might have adjusted it in the other direction, having had in mind the World report of 18 November which had been widely circulated and thought that Tumblety must have been arrested shortly before this report, thus roughly three weeks prior to the day on which Smith wrote his letter rather than exactly three weeks.
Hawley doesn't seem to realize that Smith has always been clearly telling us that Tumblety was the man arrested on suspicion of the Whitechapel murder at Euston Station, having come down from Birmingham, on 17 November. One can only assume that Hawley thought that this might have happened on 7 November. But we now know for sure that it (i.e. the supposed arrest at Euston) occurred on 17 November. And we now have the Daily Colonist telling us (and Hawley believing it) that Tumblety was the medical man who was arrested on that day.
So how does Hawley reconcile the fact that Smith is supposedly revealing private and confidential information in his letter, which, Hawley tells us, he could only have obtained from Scotland Yard, saying that Tumblety was arrested on suspicion on 7 November yet at the same time be giving an account of Tumblety being arrested on a tip off from the Birmingham police which we know for a fact occurred ten full days later on 17 November?
The answer is that I have no idea. Hawley never even acknowledges the complete contradiction let alone explains it. When he awkwardly introduces the Daily Colonist extract into his section on William Smith in his 2018 book, he prefaces it with the words, 'Note, though, the following report, which conflicts with the claim that Smith combined newspaper reports'. He then reproduces the Daily Colonist report about the arrest of Kumblety on the arrival of the Birmingham train 'this morning' (i.e. 18 November) and then moves on rapidly without explaining what he means about the report conflicting with the claim that Smith combined newspaper reports and without explaining how it was possible that Smith could have thought that Tumblety was arrested ten days prior to the very arrest that he was describing!
In fact, despite Hawley's belief that the deputy minister had some kind of inside information, it's perfectly obvious that, when writing his letter, Smith took all the details of the arrest on 17 November from newspaper reports. One particular part appears to be sourced directly from the report in the Ottawa Free Press of 19 November. According to Smith:
'He [Tumblety] had been living in Birmingham and used to come up to London on Saturday nights. The police have always had their eyes on him every place he went...the Birmingham Police.... '
The Ottawa Free Press report had stated:
'The Birmingham police have lately watched a man whom they suspected because of his habit of travelling to London on Saturdays.'
It's only the report in the Ottawa Free Press (that we know of) which says that the man arrested at Euston travelled to London on Saturdays. The original Globe report had stated that, 'he left the metropolis by an early train on the morning of the tragedies.' This was repeated by the other British newspapers. The Nichols and Kelly murders had been on a Thursday night/Friday morning, so that would spoil the Saturday travel theory if it were true, but the Ottawa Free Press reporter, noting that the Chapman murder and double event had occurred on Saturday night (or Sunday morning), evidently decided that the 'morning of the tragedies' must have meant Saturday mornings but just wrote 'Saturdays' which William Smith has interpreted as Saturday nights.
In short, everything that is found in Smith's letter about the arrest at Euston, which Hawley ascribes to some sort of secret government intelligence, can be found in the Canadian newspapers! This includes the naming of the man arrested as Tumblety/Kumblety.
Of this, Hawley says in his 2018 Rippercast presentation that Smith, being in Ottawa, 'would not have seen' the Daily Colonist article but he offers no source for this statement and he must simply be guessing; it's clearly impossible for him to know whether Smith did or did not read that newspaper back in November 1888. But, of course, Smith doesn't need to have read the whole newspaper. Someone could have sent him a clipping of the article or written him a letter about it or spoken to him about it. Or, for all we know, the report in the Daily Colonist was reproduced in other Canadian newspapers. I don't suppose it's been possible to check every newspaper in Canada, even every newspaper in Ottawa, including every edition of every newspaper.
Hawley accepts that the Ottawa newspapers paid for the New York World's news cable service so that Smith would probably have seen the stories about Tumblety's arrest on suspicion of being the Whitechapel murderer. If he also saw a story published at the same time about a medical man having been arrested in London on suspicion of being the murderer, he could easily have put two and two together (to make five) himself, it didn't necessarily need the Daily Colonist reporter to help him; but knowing as we now do that there was a report in a Canadian newspaper that Tumblety was that man, it really doesn't need any further debate to conclude that Smith was probably aware of this report, or a version of it, and there would have been absolutely no reason for him to have disbelieved it.
Hawley's daft focus on the 'three weeks' which, as we have seen, if strictly accurate, not only contradicted what Smith was saying in the rest of the letter but was inconsistent with Tumblety being arrested on suspicion in October, is a red herring. Once it is known that all the information in Smith's letter could have been taken from publicly available sources, Hawley's entire point about Tumblety's arrest being so important that it had been referred to by Scotland Yard in private correspondence to the Canadian authorities dies a complete and deserved death.
This only takes us back to the original question. Was the Daily Colonist reporter (as well as William Smith) correct in saying that Tumblety was the man arrested at Euston on 17 November?
Well, nothing about the description of the man provided in the London or Birmingham newspapers screams Tumblety. As far as we know, he had never practised in London with another gentleman of some repute nor had he practised in Nottingham and Manchester. He certainly wasn't a 'fully qualified medical man' and was unlikely to have been about to take up a situation as an assistant surgeon. He is also not known to have had a sandy moustache and whiskers. The only man said at the inquest to have been seen with Kelly on the night of the murder was described as a short stout man with a blotchy face and heavy carrotty moustache (and 'carrotty' might equal 'sandy'). If, on the other hand, it was believed that George Hutchinson had given evidence at the inquest, then, although the man he saw was said to have had a heavy moustache curled up, which could fit Tumblety, he was also said to have been about five feet six inches in height which doesn't match with the much taller Tumblety. No other known descriptions of the murderer which had been circulated prior to 17 November seem to match Tumblety. Further, none of the reports say that the man arrested at Euston was an American.
Most important of all, if the information in the newspaper reports was accurate, Tumblety could not possibly have been the man arrested, for it was stated that this man had been under constant police observation in Birmingham since Monday, 12 November, yet we know for a fact that Tumblety was in London, at Marlborough Street Police Court, on 14 November and in Holloway prison for the entire day of 15 November and at least some of 16 November. So that alone would rule him out of the equation.
It's only the short report of 18 November - clearly from a London press agency - published in the Daily Colonist which states that the man arrested was Tumblety. Is it possible that this reporter was mistaken?
When one subjects the Daily Colonist report to close analysis it is perfectly evident that all the information in that report (aside from the actual fact that Tumblety was the man arrested in Euston) comes from two separate newspaper accounts.
Regarding the details of the arrest at Euston, the use of the phrase 'on the arrival of the Birmingham train' by the Daily Colonist's reporter betrays the fact that he was repeating what had been published in the London papers because they all used that phrase, which had first appeared in the original Globe report.
The only other sentence about the man arrested at Euston which appears in the Daily Colonist report can also be traced to the original Globe report. This is the claim that:
'He greatly resembles the individual seen in company with the latest victim on the evening of the last murder.'
According to the Globe report:
'It is alleged that he resembles the man described by witnesses at the inquest as having been seen with Marie Jeanette Kelly early on the morning she was murdered.'
More interesting is that the rest of the story, not concerning Tumblety, is derived from information in the report by the World's London correspondent published on 18 November. Analysis of this story reveals that the Colonist reporter did not obtain his information directly from the World (or the World's source) but from the slightly different copyrighted version of the World's story which was cabled to other newspapers and then filtered through the editor of the San Francisco Chronicle.
Here is the version of part of the report which was published in the New York World with some words or phrases highlighted in colour.
' A score of other men have been arrested by the police during the past week on suspicion of being the murderer, but the right man still roams at large, and everybody is momentarily expecting to hear of the death of another victim. The large sums offered for the capture of the fiend have induced hundreds of amateur detectives to take a hand in the chase. But it is all of no avail. Mr. Leopold Rothschild has offered an income of $10 a week for life to the man who gives information which will lead to the arrest and conviction of the assassin.'
Now compare to the corresponding version in the Colonist with equivalent words or phrases coloured:
'A score of other men have been arrested by the police this week on suspicion of the murders. Everybody is momentarily expecting to hear of another victim. The large sums offered as private rewards have induced hundreds of amateur detectives to take a hand in the chase, but to no avail. Leon Rothschild has offered an income of £2 a week for life to the man who gives information that leads to the arrest and conviction of the assassin.'
It might be helpful to compare that with the same reports appearing in three other newspapers on 18 November:
Chicago Daily Tribune
'A score of other men have been arrested by the police this week on suspicion of being the murder (sic), but the right man still roams at large and everybody is momentarily expecting to hear of another victim. The large sums offered in private rewards induced hundreds of amateur detectives to take a hand in the chase, but with no avail. Leon Rothschild has offered an income of £2 a week for life to the man who will give information that will lead to the arrest and conviction of the assassin.'
'A score of men have been arrested by the police this week on suspicion, but the right man still roams at large, and everybody is momentarily expecting to hear of another victim. The large sums offered by private individuals as rewards have induced hundreds of amateur detectives to take a hand in the chase, but to no avail. Leon Rothschild has offered an income of £2 a week for life for the man who gives the information leading to the arrest and conviction of the assassin.'
San Francisco Chronicle
'A score of other men have been arrested by the police this week on suspicion of being the murderer, but the right man still roams at large. Everybody is momentarily expecting to hear of another victim. The large sums offered as private rewards have induced hundreds of amateur detectives to take a hand in the chase, but to no avail. Leon Rothschild has offered an income of £2 a week for life to the man who gives information that leads to the arrest and conviction of the assassin.'
We can see that the World reporter correctly identifies Mr Rothschild's first name as Leopold whereas the Daily Colonist (like all other reports) says it was Leon. There was no-one called 'Leon Rothschild'. Leopold Rothschild (or Leopold de Rothschild) was a well known racehorse owner and merchant banker, although there is no known report in any British newspaper of him offering a reward for the capture of the Whitechapel murder, which rather defeats the purpose of it, if such a reward really was offered and was not a figment of E. Tracy Greaves' imagination. The World reported the income offered in reward as being $10 a week whereas all other reports converted it to the sterling equivalent of £2 a week.
Suspicions are raised about the accuracy of the World's story by the fact that, only a few days earlier, Baroness Burdett-Coutts publicly offered a reward of £1 per week for life for any person who captured or gave information leading to the capture of the murderer. This was first reported in a number of evening newspapers on 14 November 1888, including the St James's Gazette, and was still being reported in the regional press on 17 November, the very day that the World correspondent would have been writing his report for publication on 18 November about a very similar offer supposedly being made (in secret as far as the British newspaper reading public was aware) by Rothschild.
Most of the other differences in the Colonist report, as compared to the World report, that I have highlighted in colour, are to be found word for word in the San Francisco Chronicle. But they are not all found in the Chicago Tribune or the Boston Globe (although the latter is closer to the Colonist report than the former).
There are a few edits made by the Colonist reporter himself. Thus, where the San Francisco report says 'A score of men have been arrested by police on suspicion of being the murderer, but the right man still roams at large', the Colonist report abridges this to, 'A score of men have been arrested by the police this week on suspicion of the murders', thus deleting the words 'but the right man still roams at large' which features in all the other reports other than the Boston Globe and changing 'of being the murderer' to 'of the murders' .
We see, however, that the San Francisco Chronicle and the Colonist are the only reports to contain the wording 'The large sums offered as private rewards'. The World said, 'The large sums offered for the capture of the fiend', the Boston Globe said 'The large sums offered by private individuals as rewards' while the Chicago Tribune said (underlining added)'The large sums offered in private rewards.' The San Francisco Chronicle and Colonist were also the only reports to start the preceding sentence with the word 'Everybody'. The San Francisco Chronicle and Colonist (and Boston Globe) use the words 'but to no avail' whereas the World had said 'But it is all of no avail' while the Chicago Times said 'but with no avail'.
The Chicago Tribune also differs from the World in saying that Rothschild would give an income 'to the man who will give information', the Boston Globe has 'to the man who gives the information' but the San Francisco Chronicle, like the World, has it as being 'to the man who gives information', words repeated exactly by the Daily Colonist. Similarly, the World says the reward will go to the who gives information 'which will lead' to the arrest while the Chicago Tribune says 'that will lead' to the arrest, the Boston Globe says 'leading' to the arrest but both the San Francisco Chronicle and the Colonist alone say 'that leads' to the arrest.
This is how we can say for sure that Daily Colonist report doesn't come from the original World story but from the modified cable version of that report in the San Francisco Chronicle which he must have had access to in some form or another. The story as published in the World, incidentally, is copyrighted, despite Hawley claiming in his presentation document that it isn't.
Given that the author of the Daily Colonist report has included zero original information in his report, other than the name of Dr Kumblety, itself involving the same spelling error made by the World correspondent, and repeated by other newspapers, it would seem to be highly unlikely that this cut & paste chap independently managed find out the name of the arrested man.
It's not as if he was immune from error. Only five days earlier we find a 'Special to The Colonist' report, dated as London, 13 November, but published in its issue of 24 November, which refers to 'the testimony at the Kelly inquest of George Hutchinson' and tells us that 'Hutchinson testified that he saw a well-dressed man...'. Given that Hutchinson never testified at the inquest, the Colonist writer simply got it wrong (presumably copying an agency report of the same day which made the same mistake).
We know that the Colonist reporter had access to the San Francisco Chronicle report of 18 November in some form or another which said that a Dr Kumblety had been arrested, and to a report on the same day (i.e. in any one of a number of Sunday newspapers), based on the original London Globe report, which said that a medical man had been arrested, and it does not seem to be beyond the bounds of credibility to suggest that the Colonist reporter, when filing his report on 18 November, made an assumption that the medical man arrested at Euston was also the medical man referred to as having been arrested in the Boston report (i.e. Kumblety).
If that's the case, then we are no nearer to establishing the identity of the man supposedly arrested at Euston than anyone reading the newspapers was in November 1888. We cannot possibly rely on what is likely to have been a stupid mistake made by a lazy (perhaps even drunk) agency reporter, even if that mistake might have been repeated later by the deputy minister of Marine in Ottawa.
I would suggest that the above explanation is overwhelmingly the most likely one for the identification, or rather misidentification, of Tumblety (Kumblety) as the arrested man.
I think we can say to a 90% level of certainty that the name of the medical man arrested or detained or just spoken to at Euston remains unknown.
But 90% is, of course, not quite 100%. We have to allow that there is a 10% element of doubt. Perhaps the Daily Colonist guy did know something after all. Perhaps it really was Tumblety, alias Kumblety, who came down from Birmingham that day. Perhaps the Birmingham police were not very good in their surveillance and Tumblety slipped down to London without them knowing. Perhaps the press got all the details wrong about the medical man's life and description. Obviously I don't think that's the case - the odds are very much against it - but it's nevertheless interesting to consider the possibility that it was him.
If it was Tumblety then he must have immediately travelled up to Birmingham upon being released from Holloway prison on Friday, 16 November, before coming back down to London the following morning. It seems unusual but then again he might have needed to collect some personal items in Birmingham (especially if he was planning to flee the country) or complete some business.
But let's say he steps off the train at Euston on Saturday afternoon, intending to have a conference with his legal team in preparation for a possible trial at the Old Bailey on Monday, only to find himself stopped by Detective White and taken to Scotland Yard as a suspect in the Whitechapel murders. If he was detained overnight while enquiries were made (albeit that his release was reported in the Sunday morning newspapers) it's possible that this might have been used as a reason for his trial to be delayed, i.e. because he had been unable to prepare properly for it with his lawyers due to the police action.
Even better would be if the police were still holding him on Monday morning because this would explain why he failed to appear to plead at the Old Bailey (as stated in the Certificate of Indictment against him) but would also explain why the judge respited his recognizances on 20 November instead of estreating them and agreed to an adjournment of the trial.
Anyway, regardless of the effect of a possible arrest on the Saturday of the timing of his trial, we need to consider whether an arrest of Tumblety on the Saturday is what caused the story to be filed that same day by the London correspondent of the New York World. When the New York World correspondent wrote, 'Another arrest was that of a man who gave the name of Dr. Kumblety of New York' was he referring to an arrest that had happened earlier that day?
One would naturally think not on the basis of the apparent chronology of events set out in the World's report whereby the indecency arrest and committal for trial seems to have followed the arrest on suspicion - but the World's report could be read another way.
Perhaps it could be read as saying:
'Another arrest [today] was that of a man who gave the name of Dr. Kumblety, of New York. The police could not hold him [today] on suspicion of having been guilty of the Whitechapel crimes, but have [already, on Wednesday] succeeded in getting him held for for trial at the Central Criminal Court under a special law passed soon after the modern Babylon exposures.'
Certainly the World correspondent doesn't say that the police could not hold Tumblety on suspicion and THEN committed him for trial. It is implied but not stated. Perhaps the World correspondent wasn't entirely sure himself of the sequence of events. He might have discovered on the Saturday that Tumblety had been arrested (but not told when or where) and also discovered that Tumblety had been committed for trial for indecency offences. He might then have put two and two together himself to come up with a narrative that the indecency arrest came about because the police could not hold him on the murder charge. But that might not be how it happened at all. If the Daily Colonist reporter (and William Smith) got it right about Tumblety being the medical man on the Birmingham train then perhaps the indecency arrest happened before the arrest on suspicion and the two arrests had nothing to do with each other. The indecency arrest might have been wholly the work of the National Vigilance Association which conducted the prosecution (see my article, 'The Prosecution of Francis Tumblety' in Ripperologist 163), with the police only carrying out that arrest on a warrant obtained by the NVA.
In other words, perhaps Tumblety was never suspected by Scotland Yard (and Chief Inspector Littlechild) of being involved in the Whitechapel murders until 17 November at the earliest, while he was on bail for the indecency offences, and that this suspicion only arose on the basis of an unplanned, and possibly mistaken, incident at Euston station.
In this respect, it may be noted that Littlechild never actually says in his 1913 letter to Sims that Tumblety was arrested on suspicion of the murders nor that he was committed for trial on the indecency offences because the police couldn't hold him on the murder charges. An incident such as the one on 17 November, where Tumblety was stopped and questioned, and possibly held, but not actually arrested, would explain this.
Such a scenario might also explain why the World correspondent was given the name of Dr Kumblety or Tumblety in the first place. Perhaps it was available to the London press too but they were asked (or told) by the police not to publish it because it might have prejudiced his forthcoming trial. In contrast, the foreign press would have been able to go ahead because a jury at Tumblety's trial would not have been reading the American or Canadian newspapers.
If the World correspondent had learnt, late on 17 November, that a Dr Tumblety or Kumblety had been arrested on suspicion of committing the Whitechapel murders (possibly not knowing that it had happened at Euston earlier that day) would that mean he would have had to have had a Scotland Yard informant to tell him that the doctor had already been committed for trial? Not necessarily. While Tumblety's committal had not been reported in the British newspapers (as far as we know), this information could have come from a source in the National Vigilance Association which was prosecuting Tumblety or from a reporter covering the Marlborough Street Police Court or from a member of the public who was in the public gallery at that police court or even from the clerk of the court.
As to the latter possibility, in a 2014 Ripperologist article entitled 'Tumblety "Over the Wire"' (Ripperologist, 139), Hawley quotes from a book purportedly authored by T.C. Crawford in which Crawford, a former London correspondent for an American newspaper, purportedly said in 'his memoirs' that American reporters in London during the 1880s would rely on 'the general willingness of court clerks and officers to help him in his calling.'
This is actually a double howler from Hawley. In the first place, the 1889 book by T.C. Crawford entitled 'London Life', from which Hawley claims to have been quoting, is not Crawford's memoirs. As the preface to the book makes clear, 'London Life' contains 'a selection of letters written by me from London to the New York World during a residence of nearly two years.' In any event, Hawley has muddled his references up. What he was quoting from was not Crawford's 1889 book at all, but a 1904 article by Edward A. Dithmar entitled 'The European Correspondent'. But the quote itself is accurate and Dithmar was saying that American correspondents would rely on British court clerks for information.
Why couldn't a clerk at Marlborough Street Police Court, or one at the Old Bailey, have been E. Tracy Greaves' source? Why does it have to have been a police officer? If Tumblety had, in fact, initially been arrested on suspicion, this fact would have been mentioned in the police court and included in the depositions.
Hawley's argument on this issue makes no sense. Referring to the 'Crawford' quote, which we know wasn't by Crawford, in which Dithmar said that the American reporter would also rely on a helpful police sergeant, Hawley says in his 2014 Ripperologist article (Rip 139):
'If Greaves and company went to the Central Criminal Court and received information from the court papers they would have known the correct spelling of Tumblety’s name, yet this did not happen. Given that the contents of the cable suggest that he spoke directly to the police, chances are he visited the police station and saw the arrest in the accessible police blotter and/or he spoke to the sergeant behind the tall desk, just as Crawford (sic) explained.'
You might have noticed here that Hawley seems to be abandoning his claim that Greaves obtained his information from Scotland Yard because now it has become a lowly uniformed sergeant in a police station! But don't worry, he's very flexible because in his more recent Howlercast he simply abandoned what he said in his 2014 article and claimed this:
'I believe that that right there was when E. Tracy Greaves was getting the information when they - he found that an American, a New Yorker, named Kumblety - notice that that was the correct name - I think the person, the information he received that from was not the arresting officer but someone in Scotland Yard that E. Tracy Greaves said on two separate occasions during 1888 that he had a Scotland Yard informant, that person just read the report and I’m convinced it was, he just mixed the letter K and T up .'
So here we now have a Scotland Yard informant, the same one who is the subject of Hawley's 2018 article (discussed further below), providing Tumblety's name as 'Kumblety' to Greaves. It wasn't a lowly sergeant reading from his blotter at all! But whether it was a sergeant at a police station or a more senior official at Scotland Yard there is no logic here as to why a court clerk would have given Tumblety the correct name but a police sergeant, or a Scotland Yard official, would have been mistaken.
Let us look at Tumblety's indictment at the Central Criminal Court. I don't think anyone has ever mentioned this before but the name 'Francis Tumblety' is written on his indictment eight times and each time the surname was originally spelled incorrectly causing it to be overwritten with the correct spelling. Here is an example of how it appears at the top of the indictment:
The same overwriting can be found on every instance that the name 'Tumblety' was written.
I've looked closely at all the examples and I don't think the original spelling was 'Twomblety'. It seems to be 'Trumiblety' (or just possibly 'Trumblety') believe it or not. The below example seems to show this quite clearly:
And in this one you can pretty much see the original spelling of the name beneath the correction:
A dot above the name, indicating the presence of an "i", seems to be there on all occasions. If the dot was a later addition when the correction was made it would mean that the original spelling was 'Trumblety' which seems a bit more likely than 'Trumiblety' but the dot rather looks like it was there from the start and there doesn't seem to be any good reason for one to have been added when making the correction.
The indictment would have been prepared at some point between 14 and 19 November and would thus be the earliest known transcription of Tumblety's name in respect of the legal proceedings against him. The After-Trial Calendar would have been created at the end of the Old Bailey Sessions which commenced on 19 November and could have corrected any mistake made before trial.
While the original misspelling of Tumblety's name on the indictment might have been a clerical error, such an error would have had to have been made eight times. For that reason, a court clerk could just as easily have got Tumblety's name wrong as a police officer.
We may also note that the National Vigilance Association, which was actually responsible for the prosecution of Francis Tumblety, spelt his name as 'Tumulty' in its Annual Report dated 27 November 1888, in which it said that he was standing for trial. That report would have gone to the printers at some point between 14 and 27 November. It shows you couldn't even trust the prosecutor to get his name right!
So Hawley's theory doesn't work. And surely there is just as much chance that Greaves was given the name 'Tumblety' but, in the process of cabling his story across the Atlantic, it was the telegraph operator who misread it as 'Kumblety'. Or perhaps Greaves himself misheard it. That's far from impossible. I mean, in his despatch to the World on 9 November he evidently misheard 'Miller's Court' (or, perhaps, 'Mcarthy's Court') as 'Cartin's Court' and, as Greaves' report was circulated in various newspapers around the United States, was thus responsible for Americans thinking that Cartin's Court was a real place. Greaves, incidentally, also reported that Mary Jane Kelly 'lived for four months on the second floor of a house up an alley known as Cartin's Court, in Dorset Street'. I'm sure I don't need to explain that Kelly didn't live on the second floor.
As for how Greaves stumbled across the news of an arrest in the first place, it may be that during the evening of Saturday 17 November, following the report in the Globe about the arrest of an American medical man at Euston, a curious Greaves made enquiries with his contacts in the court system, asking if they knew the identity of this man, and he discovered (perhaps by coincidence) that an American doctor called Tumblety (or Kumblety) had been arrested on suspicion and committed for trial at the Old Bailey for a different offence.
At the same time, we cannot entirely ignore the possibility that Greaves was repeating something he had read in a London newspaper. It's a common mistake to think that we know everything that was reported in the London papers. We don't. Late editions are not all held at the British Newspaper Library. Some stories might only have appeared in a late edition of a London evening newspaper and not been repeated elsewhere. The fact that the World copyrighted Greaves' despatch of 17 November doesn't necessarily mean it was all based on original information. A despatch by Greaves' on 21 November was also copyrighted but, we shall see (below), he admitted that he relied on the London newspapers when writing that report.
Some of the content of the 17 November story might have been original but the Tumblety story could potentially have come from a London newspaper. If there is an argument against this it is probably that a London newspaper wouldn't be likely to have published a story about Tumblety while he was waiting to be tried at the Old Bailey because, as suggested earlier, it might have prejudiced his defence. But, if that's the case, perhaps Greaves' source was a London reporter who couldn't use the story himself and gave it to Greaves, thus explaining the confusion about the spelling of Tumblety's name through Chinese Whispers.
Hawley wants us to believe that the World correspondent, E. Tracy Greaves, had a Scotland Yard 'informant', an inside man within Scotland Yard in other words. In his 2018 article, 'The New York World's E. Tracy Greaves and His Scotland Yard Informant', Hawley first tries to persuade us that, while admitting to taking information for his reports from the London newspapers, Greaves also 'admitted using information received directly from the London police involving the Whitechapel murders'. He provides two supposed examples of this. The first is a report from the New York Evening World, which Hawley claims in both his 2018 book and his Ripperologist article is dated 2 November 1888, in which Greaves says:
'The sensational London evening newspapers and the police themselves are responsible for the reports sent out from London to all parts of the world yesterday by special correspondents and the Associated Press...'
Here it is, exactly as it appears in Hawley's article:
Had Hawley bothered to carry out even the most basic check as to what Greaves was talking about, he would have discovered immediately that the report was actually from the Evening World of 22 November 1888, not 2 November, and was referring to the way Greaves, and other correspondents, had reported a supposed assault on Annie Farmer on 21 November. This is the actual report in the Evening World clearly showing the date of 22 November:
What Greaves was actually doing in his 22 November report was pleading mea culpa for a false report he had filed the previous day (under copyright) which had been published under a massive series of headlines saying 'The Whitechapel Fiend Uses his Knife Once More...This Time The Murderer is Seen and Pursued...The Woman's Throat Gashed, but she is Not Dead...Her Shrieks Bring Help and Her Assailant Flees...She Recovers Sufficiently to Give a Good Description of Him.'.
The article, dated 21 November, began: 'Another Whitechapel murder was attempted in George street, a short distance from the scene of the last horror, this morning.' It contained the statement that, 'There is little doubt in the minds of the police that this man who has escaped is the same who had committed the whole series of Whitechapel crimes', adding that, 'the police have gained new confidence and believe now they can run the murderer down.' So it was a sensational story but one which turned out to be wholly inaccurate. Some might say Fake News!
This attempted Ripper murder turned out to be no such thing and the police don't appear to have seriously considered it as such. The woman, Annie Farmer, claimed to have been attacked by a man but was not seriously injured. Greaves, in the piece cited by Hawley, was evidently in need of a scapegoat to disguise his own journalistic failings and was trying to put the blame on the London newspapers and the police for misleading him. It wasn't my fault, guv!
As Hawley doesn't explain all this to the readers of his article, because he doesn't have a clue, and gets the date of the report wrong, none of them will have been allowed to have entertained the thought that Greaves doesn't seem to have had very reliable sources of information barely four days after he had filed a report that Tumblety had been arrested on suspicion of the Whitechapel murders. In fact, the very opposite is true because his report of 21 November contained this troubling piece in response to what he thought was an attempted murder of a prostitute:
'What effect this attempt may have on the Twomblety case, and whether he will still be held by the authorities can only be a matter of conjecture. It would, however, seem to be only a proper caution for the Police Department to fully investigate all the circumstances in this new emergency before giving the doctor his liberty.'
Given that Hawley thinks that Tumblety was already on the run as at 20 November, and we know that he was definitely out on bail, this can only have been an inaccurate piece of reporting by Greaves which surely reveals that he wasn't being given any inside information on the 'Twomblety case' by anyone at Scotland Yard.
Moreover, in his 22 November despatch, Greaves doesn't say that anyone at Scotland Yard personally gave him any privileged information, just that the police/Scotland Yard had, supposedly, given a false account of the incident to the press as a whole so that they all got egg over their faces.
But did he, or anyone else, really get any information from Scotland Yard or any other part of the police force? The Star of 21 November which referred to 'a rumour that another murder had been attempted in a lodging-house in George-street, Spitalfields' was already debunking the story with a headline 'A WOMAN'S SLIGHT INJURIES MAGNIFIED INTO MURDER....Gross Exaggerations', and stated, 'The police are very reticent on the subject, and the doors of Commercial-street Police Station are closed to all comers'. So that newspaper wasn't blaming Scotland Yard or the police in H Division for any false reports.
Having reported the incident responsibly, the Star was able to criticize other newspapers, specifically the Echo and the Evening News, for rushing into print with the announcement of 'another horrible murder and mutilation in Spitalfields'.
In response, the Evening News, which realized it had been fooled in its earlier editions, set out, in a later edition, a defence of its cock-up by way of mea culpa as follows (underlining added):
'As we were about to go to press this morning news reached us from several sources that another murder and mutilation, similar to those which have already been perpetrated, had been committed at the East-end. We immediately dispatched two of our staff to the spot to report and obtain confirmation. Meanwhile several inhabitants of the locality arrived at our office confirming the first rumour, which, however, we decided not to publish pending the return of our own reporters. Before they had returned we received from the Central News the intelligence which we printed in our Second Edition. In addition to what appeared in that edition, we received also from the same source a detailed description of the supposed murder and mutilation. Almost immediately came the Press Association with news of the crime to the same effect. Relying as we naturally do upon the news agencies for accurate information, the reports first given by them were of course taken by us as confirming those brought in by persons from the East-end, and we did not hesitate to go to press with the intelligence as furnished to us.'
So, by this detailed account, the police had absolutely nothing to do with the spread of the false story. It was entirely local inhabitants and the news agencies. And the newspaper was admitting that they had run the story before their own reporters had returned from Whitechapel with reliable information. The newspaper also corroborated the Star's account that the police at Commercial Street were saying nothing:
'A third representation of The Evening News, on calling at the Commercial-street Police Station just before noon found a large crowd of people collected in front of the entrance to the station. All efforts made to gain admission, however, proved to be unavailing. A sergeant who was posted at the door, firmly, but courteously, declined to let our representative enter. Questioned as to the cause of this reticence, he stated that the superintendent was inside, and that the strictest orders had been given that under no consideration should any member of the Press be admitted. He further declined to state whether the woman had been brought to the station alive or dead.'
There are some clues in the London newspaper reports of the day which might explain why E. Tracy Greaves thought that that the police were giving out false information. The Evening News said:
'The description of the assailant is as follows: Thirty years of age: height, 5ft. 6in.: fair moustache: he wore a black diagonal coat, and hard felt hat. He is known, and his capture is confidently anticipated by Superintendent Arnold, Inspector Ferrett, and Detective officers Thicke, Dew, Pearce, Record and Macguire, who have this case in hand.'
Similarly, the Echo reported that;
'The police now have a definite description of the man. They hope to effect a capture before many hours'.
Reading all this on the day he filed his original report, Greaves might have misunderstood it, thinking that the police were saying that they were confident of catching the Ripper rather than merely the man who was alleged to have attacked Farmer. This would explain why he wrote that 'the police have gained confidence and believe they can run the murderer down' .
There were two other items in the Echo that day which might also have influenced Greaves into thinking that the police believed the attack on Farmer was an attack by Jack the Ripper. The first is that the Echo reported that, 'The police authorities, under Inspector Abberline and Inspector Reid, together with other officers sent from Scotland Yard, are using their utmost endeavours to effect a capture' and it also published a 'Police Notice' which said:
'The following telegraphic communication has been circulated amongst the police this morning. - "Wanted for attempted murder on 21st inst. a man, aged 36 years, height 5ft. 6in. complexion dark, no whiskers, dark moustache; dress, black jacket, vest and trousers, round black felt hat, respectable appearance; can be identified.'
But it seems that the police said nothing at all to the press during the day to the effect that it had been an another attack by the Whitechapel murderer and the silence was filled with all kinds of rumours.
Confirming that the police had not given out any false information, the next morning's Times stated:
'...in consequence of the reticence of the police authorities all sorts of rumours prevailed.'
The Daily Telegraph made the point that not only did the police say nothing originally but when they did comment it was to deny that the Farmer assault was an attempted Ripper murder, hence:
'the police, whilst observing their customary reticence as to details, freely expressed the opinion that the man who made the attack upon the woman Farmer yesterday is not the individual who has hitherto been the terror of the locality. They base this view upon the fact that the injuries inflicted by the man yesterday were of a superficial character.'
It really doesn't seem very likely that a Scotland Yard or police insider told Greaves that there was 'little doubt' in their minds that the man who attacked Farmer was the Whitechapel murderer. It rather looks like E. Tracy Greaves failed to carry out due diligence on the story which he sent to New York. He might have worked out the truth simply from reading the Star that day! Had he done so it he might have prevented himself from filing a false story and then trying to blame, in part, the police for deceiving him when the fact of the matter is that they appear to have been entirely blameless.
So let's move on to Hawley's second example of Greaves 'admitting' to using information received directly from the police. This is a report in the Evening World of 10 November 1888, following the Kelly murder, in which Greaves says:
'The papers are having enormous sales, though they contain little besides speculation and rumours. Beyond the broad facts of this ninth atrocity the police are endeavouring to keep everything secret...'
Now, do you see anywhere in that extract Greaves saying that he had received any information from the police? No, neither do I. He seems to be saying the exact opposite. It's times like this when one is forced to wonder if Hawley actually reads the stuff he relies on.
But it's okay, we can ignore these two reports, for Hawley is able to provide two examples (but only two) of Greaves stating that he actually had a Scotland Yard informant! Thank goodness. The first is from a despatch by Greaves on 6 October when he says:
'I learned to-day from a Scotland Yard man engaged in working on the case that the mysterious American who was here a few months ago offering money for specimens of the parts taken from the bodies of the victims has been discovered...' (N.B. this is the actual quote from Greaves in the World, not the slightly different version in the Chicago Tribune used by Hawley.)
It's a shame that Hawley had no space in his article to reveal that the American in question was said by Greaves to be a reputable physician from Philadelphia, with a large practice, who had been in London preparing a medical work on specific diseases, thus eliminating Tumblety. But sure, Greaves is saying that he had spoken on this one occasion to a Scotland Yard man and obtained some information.
The second example is a bit less clear cut. It's a despatch dated 9 October 1888 which begins:
'I am informed by a gentleman, who stands in close relations at Scotland Yard, that...'
It's a strange formulation isn't it? Only three days earlier he had said that he had spoken to 'a Scotland Yard man'. Why now say that he had spoken to someone 'who stands in close relations' to Scotland Yard? It suggests that, on this occasion, he hasn't actually spoken to a Scotland Yard official, or someone working inside Scotland Yard, but someone who, for whatever reason, can be expected to know what is going on in Scotland Yard. (See footnote here. ) Well whoever he spoke to clearly sold him a pup.
The man referred to by Hawley as Greaves' 'informant' told Greaves that, having developed a theory that the Whitechapel murderer was influenced by the Robert Louis Stevenson play, 'Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde', Scotland Yard now had a prime suspect who was being kept under constant surveillance: a well-known, prosperous resident of Grosvenor Square. This is what Greaves reported:
'Not only have the police been brought to this astounding position, through what they claim is direct evidence corroboratory of such a theory, but they are industriously working with a particular individual in view, and they believe that they are truly upon the right track. If it be so, London is promised for a not far distant future a sensation of such magnitude that the tragedies leading to it will sink almost into insignificance beside it.'
Yet, none of this can be true. When Robert Anderson filed a report for the Home Office, merely a fortnight after Greaves was exclusively telling his readers that Scotland Yard had the Ripper in its sights, the Assistant Commissioner was telling his political masters that Scotland Yard had not 'the slightest clue of any kind'.
So much for the New York World correspondent's 'informant' within Scotland Yard. In the end, all we really have is a single report in which Greaves actually says that he has spoken to a Scotland Yard man on one occasion. It's not what I would call evidence of him having a regular informant.
We need to bear in mind that Greaves is the original source of the notion that Tumblety was arrested on suspicion of the Whitechapel murders and there is no official corroboration of this. Littlechild didn't mention it in his 1913 letter to Sims. What of the corroboration in other newspapers? Well the Boston Herald of 25 November gave some information which seemed to suggest they had made their own enquiries as follows:
'One of the Whitechapel murder suspects is a curious character known as Dr. Tumblety, who 15 years or more ago was considered an eccentric person of Boston. He was seen quite frequently on the streets and never without attracting attention. He did not live here permanently for any great length of time, but was a frequent sojourner, and subsequently took up his residence in New York. When the London police arrested him the other day on suspicion of being the murderer he said that he belonged in New York. The police found that they could not get enough evidence against him to hold him for trial, but they succeeded getting some sort of a charge, sufficient to hold him under one of the special laws passed after the “modern Babylon” exposures, which created so much excitement a couple of years ago. The doctor’s identity was for a time concealed after his arrest, but the police, who took the liberty of hunting up his lodgings and ransacking his private effects, discovered easily who he was, and they say that he has been in the habit of making two trips yearly to this side of the water…A few years ago the doctor transferred his pimple banishing enterprise to London, where he appears always to have had plenty of money, though the source of supply is a mystery to Scotland Yard.'
When one looks closely at the story, however, it can be seen that everything relating to the arrest can be sourced to the World's report of 17/18 November which has been imaginatively re-written. It will be uncontroversial to say that the part about the London police finding that they didn't have enough evidence to hold Tumblety for the Whitechapel murders, and charging him instead with offences under the special Modern Babylon related law, could have been (and almost certainly was) taken directly from the World report of 17/18 November. But what about this bit:
'the doctor’s identity was for a time concealed after his arrest, but the police, who took the liberty of hunting up his lodgings and ransacking his private effects, discovered easily who he was'.
At first blush, that seems to be new information. But is it really? The World's correspondent had said that, 'The police say that Kumblety is the man's right name, as proved by letters in his possession from New York' . Could not the Boston Herald journalist have easily interpreted this as saying that the police had searched the doctor's lodgings and ransacked his personal effects in order to discover his identity from his letters? I think he could well have done, especially as the Boston Herald journalist continued by saying of the police, 'and they say that he has been in the habit of making two trips yearly to this side of the water'. For this is exactly what the World reporter had said in his earlier report, i.e. 'The police say....he has been in the habit of crossing the ocean twice a year for several years'. It seems to be a classic example of someone taking the same information and writing it in a different way to disguise the source (and let's not forget that the World report was expressly said to have been copyrighted).
It's also worth commenting about the Boston Herald article that there is much in there which has been lifted from the New York Herald. In part of the article not quoted above, for example, the Boston Herald says that Tumblety has 'enjoyed the acquaintance of Inspector Byrnes of New York for over 20 years, and by that official has always been regarded as a suspicious and mysterious individual'. The New York Herald of 19 November had said, 'The prisoner has been known to Inspector Byrnes for over twenty years, and has always been regarded as a suspicious and mysterious individual'. The similarity is obvious (and, as mentioned in 'Hawley's Howlers', the correspondent of the Daily Picayune also used this information in the same way).
The final sentence quoted from the Boston Herald also appears to be derived directly from the New York Herald article of 19 November. Thus, while the Boston Herald said this:
'A few years ago the doctor transferred his pimple banishing enterprise to London, where he appears always to have had plenty of money, though the source of supply is a mystery to Scotland Yard.'
The New York Herald had said this:
'Of late years Tumblety transferred his "pimple banishing" business to London, but during the year he always made a couple of trips across the Atlantic to this city. He appeared to be well supplied with money, but the police were unable to discover the source of his secret revenue.'
The plagiarism here is obvious but, in the process, the Boston Herald has replaced 'the police' with 'Scotland Yard', assuming them to be the same thing. However, it is unlikely that the New York Herald reporter (evidently based in New York) was providing exclusive information about Scotland Yard's investigation into Tumblety in London. On the contrary, he seems to be talking about what had happened in 'this city', i.e. New York, so that it was the New York police who had been unable to discover the source of Tumblety's money.
What is particularly interesting about this piece of borrowing is that the New York World of 27 November, just two days after the Boston Herald report, added a final paragraph to its long report on Tumblety which said this:
'A few years ago the pimple banishing enterprise was moved to London, where the doctor for a time is said to have made money. It was his queer method of spending his money that attracted the Scotland Yard detectives to him, and after a slight investigation he was arrested, the idea being that if he were not the Whitechapel fiend, he is a dangerous character, and is not entitled to his liberty.'
This paragraph is almost identical in structure to the Boston Herald report of 25 November which itself had copied (and twisted) the New York Herald report of 19 November. And what appears to have happened is that the New York World, having become intrigued by the notion that Scotland Yard had been trying to get to the bottom of the source of Tumblety's money (as imagined by the Boston Herald), had decided that Tumblety's money, or his way of spending it, must have been what attracted Scotland Yard to him in the first place! It seems to be a classic example of a dubious story in one newspaper being believed and built upon by another newspaper to create something unrecognizable from its original source (see footnote here).
Hawley tells us categorically in his 2018 book, and in his 2014 Ripperologist article, that the author of the Boston Herald report of 25 November 1888 was 'the Boston Herald's correspondent, the well-respected Arthur Warren.'. But he was not. It's another Hawley howler. I set out the evidence in full below, when dealing with the New York Sun article of 25 November, but, in short, Arthur Warren did not arrive in London until December 1888. He could not possibly have been the author of the Boston Herald report of 25 November unless he wrote it from Boston. At the time of the Kelly murder and subsequently, during November 1888, the Boston Herald didn't have a correspondent in London because, by this time, the previous London correspondent, Ed A. Perry, had already returned to Boston. His replacement, Warren, as I've said, didn't arrive in London until December.
For reports in November subsequent to the Kelly murder, the Boston Herald appears to have been relying on the New York Sun's London correspondent, Arthur Brisbane. For example, the Boston Herald's report from London dated 10 November 1888, published in its 11 November edition, is virtually identical to the London letter from Brisbane in the New York Sun dated 9 November published in its 10 November edition.
In other words, there was no actual London correspondent of the Boston Herald as at 25 November 1888. One of Hawley's big points about the Herald report of that date is that the expression 'to this side of the water' proves that the report was written in London (by Warren). Thus, he says in his 2014 Ripperologist article:
'The Boston Herald certainly printed information in this article on Tumblety found locally in Boston, but the London information - at least in part - must have come out of London. Note the phrase 'to this side of the water'; clearly written by a reporter from this side of the water, ie London.'
I suggest this is wrong. As we've seen, the concept of Tumblety travelling across the Atlantic twice a year has evidently been taken from the New York World's earlier report. The Boston Herald report does not say it was sent from London and there is no reason to believe it was. Indeed, anyone in Boston reading that newspaper would naturally have assumed that 'this side of the water' was the American side because it was an American newspaper! Bearing in mind that the newspaper did not have a London correspondent at the time, we can safely conclude that the report was almost certainly written (or plagiarized) by its staff in Boston and 'this side of the water' referred to the western side of the Atlantic not the eastern side.
The strong possibility that the Boston Herald report is no more than a repeat of the World report is troubling, for it opens the possibility that the London Evening Post's account of Tumblety's arrest, which is the only other corroboration of the World's story, has been influenced by the Boston Herald's account. It will be recalled that the London Evening Post stated on 10 December 1888:
'Tumblety was taken into custody on November 18 on suspicion of being the Whitechapel murderer and his lodgings being searched by police, he was detained on the charge for which he should have taken his trial to-day.'
As the person who first discovered this news report in January 2015 I would like to think it reflects inside information obtained by the Evening Post from the police but one can easily see that if the Post reporter had seen the Boston Herald story, he could well have believed that Tumblety's lodgings had been searched by the police after having been arrested on suspicion of the Whitechapel murders, before being detained for the indecency offences. Yet, as we have seen, it may well be that the Boston Herald journalist in Boston had been doing no more than writing his own interpretation of the World story which hadn't said anything about Tumblety's lodgings being searched.The notion that the Evening Post reporter was simply repeating what an earlier reporter had said is supported by the fact that the Post reporter, at the end of his article, repeats almost word for word what the New York World had published on 27 November, namely:
'A few years ago the pimple-banishing exercise was moved to London where the doctor is for a time said to have made money. It was his queer method of spending his money which first attracted the Scotland Yard detectives to him, and after a slight investigation he was arrested, the idea being that if he were not the Whitechapel fiend, he was a dangerous character, and not entitled to his liberty.'
The World report of 27 November had also stated that Tumblety had been arrested on 18 November, something which the Evening Post seems to have repeated. It has to be considered strange that the Evening Post reporter, if he had spoken to someone at Scotland Yard, only found out one new fact about Tumblety, i.e. that his lodgings had been searched. The idea that this information had come from the Boston Herald cannot be discounted.
It's certainly the case that the Evening Post was monitoring the American newspapers; for, three days after its first story about Tumblety, it repeated a story about Tumblety's history which had appeared in the New York World of 2 December. Thus, on 13 December it said (underlining added):
'The American “Doctor” who was suspected of committing the Whitechapel Murders, but released, is the subject of considerable comment in the New York Press. The man was under recognisances to appear at the Old Bailey on another charge but he failed to surrender. The New York World says....'
A further story from the New York World of 6 December was repeated in its 17 December issue (which also referred back to the story about Tumblety's arrival published in the World on 4 December). When it then returned to the Tumblety story on 16 February 1889, the Post said:
'The New York World devotes considerable space to a notice of an autobiography just published in America by Dr. Francis Tumblety, who was arrested in London on suspicion in connection with the Whitechapel murders, but who was released immediately it was found there was no evidence to incriminate him. The World is probably not aware that Dr. Tumblety was afterwards taken into custody on another charge, arising out of certain correspondence with young men which was found in his possession, that he was committed for trial at the Old Bailey, and that on the day fixed for the trial he failed to appear to his bail.'
The information that the charge against Tumblety arose out of correspondence with young men found on his possession is perhaps the one clear piece of genuinely new information found in the Evening Post. It's close to the previous report that Tumblety had been arrested as a result of his lodgings being searched but, the way it is written, seems to be based on additional inside information.
The charges against Tumblety, involving indecent assaults on four males, would, by February 1889, have been known to the press from the public version of the Central Criminal Court Calendar but the Calendar said nothing about the men being young (although that could have been guessed). It would, however, be extremely ironic if the Evening Post was repeating a repackaged version of the World's original story which had been through a process of Chinese Whispers while claiming that the World was probably not aware of that very story!
An objection to the notion that the so-called 'arrest' of Tumblety occurred at Euston could be made on the basis that Tumblety explained his arrest as being because he was wearing a slouch hat in Whitechapel. But that might have been him not telling the truth. He might well have wanted to build up the story of his arrest on suspicion of murder in order to divert attention from his actual arrest for molesting boys, something which he might have regarded as far more embarrassing than a false claim of being Jack the Ripper. This suggestion was put to Hawley by Jonathan Menges during the Howlercast and Hawley's response was:
'...remember nobody knew it was gross indecency until the 1990s, when that reporter was reporting on this, that reporter did not know that he was arrested for gross indecency, that he was only arrested for this Maiden Tribute Act so - which would conform to Jack the Ripper because it’s girls. So the interest that journalists had would have had nothing to do with the gross indecency, it would have everything to do with Jack the Ripper, that’s why he wanted that. So to me Tumblety was not hiding the fact that he had this gross indecency thing because nobody knew it.'
Hawley says that 'nobody knew it' on the basis that it wasn't reported in the newspapers but he doesn't seem to appreciate that reporters often have access to unpublished information (including, in the UK, the After-Trial Central Criminal Court Calendar, of which a public version was available). Even if the American reporters didn't know the nature of the charges it might well have been in his interest for Tumblety to let them believe that his arrest was basically about the Whitechapel murders rather than sexual offences against young men.
The original World report had also said nothing about the 'Maiden Tribute' Act. It simply referred to 'a law passed after the Modern Babylon exposures'. How can we know today what Americans in 1888 might have thought that meant? In this respect, we may note that the Chicago Daily News of 12 July 1887 wrote of Dr Thomas Barnardo that he had 'saved more than ten thousand boys and girls from ruin in the Modern Babylon', suggesting that it wasn't just girls at risk. Plus there were suggestions in the press in November 1888 that Tumblety had 'an aversion to women'. William Pinkerton went on record in the Chicago Inter-Ocean of 20 November 1888 to speak of him as a man 'who never associated with or mixed with women of any kind' and he also said that, in England, 'a boy' had made a statement to the police which caused a warrant to be issued for his arrest. On the same day, the San Francisco Chronicle published a quote from the stenographer of the Circuit Court, Clement R. Bennett, who said that during the 1870s Tumblety 'cordially invited any young men whom he fancied, wherever he met them, in the parks, squares or stores, to call upon him at his hotel....' and was 'successful beyond comprehension in enlisting and securing the attendance, at certain hours of the day and evening, of good looking young men and boys...'. These types of statements might have caused some suspicion amongst hardened and informed journalists that Tumblety's 'Modern Babylon' arrest possibly related to the Labouchere amendment, involving indecency with young men or boys. Suspicion is not certainty but it might have been enough to have made Tumblety uncomfortable.
In any case, Tumblety's story, as reported in the New York World in January 1889, doesn't quite make sense. For he supposedly said that he was arrested when he inspected Whitechapel, 'because I happened to wear...[a slouch hat] and was an American and because some unknown American doctor was suspected, I was arrested'. Well, one can easily imagine that the police might have seen Tumblety wearing a slouch hat and assumed he was American but how could they possibly have known he was an American doctor? If he really was arrested because he was an American doctor then the slouch hat is irrelevant; the police must have known something about him before arresting him.
Ultimately, it's very unlikely that Tumblety was involved in the Euston incident. Like I said, there's just a 10% chance, if that. Consequently, the scenario outlined that the World report was a result of the Euston incident is unlikely to be correct. It is an interesting one nevertheless.
It's also one that does lead to another disturbing possibility, albeit an extreme one. What if the World reporter had been misinformed about Tumblety's arrest on suspicion of being the Whitechapel murderer and it was a false story?
An immediate objection to this notion is that it would be remarkable if Greaves had wrongly reported that Tumblety was a Ripper suspect at a time when no-one had ever considered him to be one, bearing in mind that Littlechild confirmed in 1913 that Tumblety WAS a Ripper suspect within Scotland Yard.
But what if it was Greaves' report itself that caused Tumblety to become a suspect??!!! Let's say that Tumblety was never considered by Scotland Yard to have been responsible for the Whitechapel murders at any time while he was in England, and wasn't the man arrested at Euston. What if his prosecution for the indecency offences had been initiated by the National Vigilance Association with the police only enforcing the warrant of arrest?
So, in that instance, Tumblety gets committed for trial and flees the country with no-one in London being aware that the American newspapers are running with a (false) story, initiated by E. Tracy Greaves, saying that Tumblety had been arrested on suspicion of being the Whitechapel murderer. Then what happens? Suddenly Robert Anderson, the Assistant Commissioner of the Metropolitan Police, is being bombarded with telegrams about Tumblety from American police chiefs as a result of the World's story. In the process, Scotland Yard receive stories suggesting that Tumblety is a sexual psychopath who hates women, something of which they are (perhaps) completely unaware until that time. Perhaps they also became aware of his supposed collection of female organs.
Well it was too late for them to do anything at this time other than add this new information about Tumblety into their dossier on him. Some senior police officers in Scotland Yard, who could have been aware of the flood of information, such as Littlechild, might have reflected a few years later that the murders stopped after Tumblety left the country.
Tumblety might have been happy to go along with a false story that he had been arrested for the Whitechapel murders for the reason mentioned above, namely that it diverted attention from the male-on-male indecency offences that he had really been arrested for.
I don't say this is what actually happened, only that it suddenly becomes a realistic possibility if we can't rely on the Evening Post to corroborate the World's report. Perhaps less than 10% but nevertheless food for thought.
One certainly has to treat with caution Hawley's claim, which features in his May 2019 Ripperologist article, that, 'There were official records on Scotland Yard's suspicions of Tumblety but they were in the detective division's case files, which were destroyed.' He means suspicions about Tumblety in respect of the Whitechapel murders but this seems to come from Hawley's imagination. Littlechild said nothing about there being any records on Scotland Yard's suspicions about Tumblety in respect of the Ripper crimes. What he said was that Tumblety was a frequent visitor to London whose visits had constantly brought him under the notice of the police so that there was 'a large dossier concerning him at Scotland Yard'. This dossier need not have contained a word about the Whitechapel murders. If Tumblety had been arrested on suspicion of being the murderer then, naturally, one would expect there to have been something in the file about this but this begs the question (i.e. was he, in fact, arrested on suspicion?) and for Hawley to imply that there were definitely recorded suspicions of Tumblety of being Jack the Ripper in a Scotland Yard file is an unnecessary exaggeration; a slight but important shift from what Littlechild actually said. Why not just stick with the facts?
In respect of the question as to whether Tumblety was a genuine police suspect for the Whitechapel murders in 1888 (as opposed to later years in hindsight), a lot does hang on whether the Evening Post articles can be relied on as independently corroborating the New York World report. But there is also one other report which Hawley relies on as potentially corroborating the New York World's story about Tumblety's arrest. This is the inclusion of a short sentence in a much longer piece published in the New York Sun of 25 November 1888 which, in his Rippercast presentation document, he tells us was written by Frank Marshall White, in his role as London correspondent of the New York Sun, whereas in his 2018 book he tells it was written by a completely different London correspondent of the New York Sun, Arthur Brisbane!
We will consider the likely author of the article in the New York Sun of 25 November 1888 in due course but for the moment let's call him Mr X. This is what Mr X said:
'An American doctor named Twomblety is now held because he is an erratic character, and because one theory is that some American medical institution wants specimens of the female uterus which it happens that Jack the Ripper often takes from the bodies of his victims.'
The reason Hawley gets excited about this is only partly because he thinks that Mr X was corroborating Tumblety's claim that he was arrested 'because some unknown American doctor was suspected', although that seems to be saying something different to what Mr X was saying, and it's hard to see what the connection was supposed to be between Tumblety and an American medical institution in any case.
The main reason for Hawley's excitement is that he thinks that, due to the length of the article, it was probably sent by mail across the Atlantic rather than by telegraph, making it a story that was written much earlier than 25 November. Thus, he says in one of his presentation documents:
'The SS Umbria made the trip [across the Atlantic] in a record six days in November 1888, so writing to print was a minimum of seven days, likely more.'
He then adds:
'Six day transit plus one day of publishing equals seven days from sending to publishing, therefore he worked on this article from November 12 to 18, with a drop dead send-off date of Nov 18th.'
In other words, he thinks the letter could have been, and was, despatched on 18 November, the same day that the New York World (and other newspapers) was reporting the arrest of Kumblety, although, of course, not only did Mr X spell the name a little bit more correctly as 'Twomblety' but, as Hawley points out, he seems to be reporting the information about Twomblety's arrest as if it was new information, being revealed for the first time.
From his Ripperologist article, it's not clear what point Hawley is trying to make here but, in his 2018 book, in which, in typical Hawleyesque fashion, he misdates the New York Sun article's publication date as 26 November, he reaches the certain conclusion that the text of the newspaper article was 'sent across the Atlantic Ocean on ship mail', after being 'actually written near the time it was discovered that Tumblety was arrested on suspicion on November 17/18'. That supposedly established, to his own satisfaction at least, Hawley tells us that 'the only logical scenario' to explain this is that the Sun's headquarters in New York, upon receiving the New York World story of 17 November and, on learning that Kumblety was really 'Twomblety', sent an 'immediate cable' to their London correspondent (Mr X) to 'dig further', thus resulting in the article which was published on 25 November (or 26 November according to Hawley's book).
Hawley is not at all bothered by the fact that the New York Sun's London correspondent didn't seem to have dug very much further, discovering only that Twomblety was an 'erratic character' whose arrest was caused by a theory that an American medical institution was seeking specimens of the female uterus. He also doesn't seem to be in the least bit concerned that this correspondent was under the impression on 18 November that Twomblety was 'now held' (for the Whitechapel murders) rather than out on bail for a completely different offence which was the true position at that time. For Hawley, the 'logical scenario' of his own devising 'suggests the London correspondent received the information from the source, Scotland Yard', although why it suggests this is unknowable, the solution existing only in Hawley's mind it seems, for he doesn't share his thought process with us, merely telling us (without any evidence) that obtaining information from Scotland Yard was 'the practice of London correspondents'. He then goes even further and tells us that this demonstrates that the 'harvesting theory' was 'still on the minds of Scotland Yard even after Tumblety's escape' . On this occasion, however, Hawley seems to have confused even himself. If the article published on 25 November was written on 18 November, prior to Tumblety's escape, nothing contained in it can possibly demonstrate what was on the minds of Scotland Yard after Tumblety's escape!
Well I don't wish to spoil a beautiful theory (not that this is one) but it wasn't possible for the London correspondent of the New York Sun to have written an article on Sunday, 18 November, and sent it off by ship mail in order for it to have arrived in New York in time for publication on Sunday, 25 November. In fact, in typical Hawley fashion he's made a complete mess of this point.
It's not untrue that the Cunard Line steamer, the Umbria, sailed westward across the Atlantic in six days in November 1888, although it was actually six days and ten hours (not quite the record at the time which was held by the Etruria which did it in just under six days and two hours in June), but what Hawley is evidently unaware of is that this journey time only includes the passage between the entrance to Queenstown harbour, called Roche's Point, off the coast of Ireland, a good 12 hours sailing time from Liverpool, and Sandy Hook, which was about three hours off the shore of New York. To calculate the actual sailing time between Liverpool and New York itself you have to add on at least another 15 hours (plus any time stopping at Queenstown to drop off and collect passengers and mail). The fast voyage by the Umbria, for example, involved a departure from Liverpool during the evening of 27 October 1888 and arrival at New York during the evening of 3 November: a total journey time, in other words, of seven days.
But that is all a red herring in any case. Six or seven days wasn't the standard crossing time for all vessels by any means and, in the period from 12 November (before which the New York Sun article could not have been completed because it refers to a cable sent on that date) to 25 November, there was no six or seven day crossing by any vessel. In other words, an article written on 18 November could not possibly have reached New York in hard copy form in time for publication on 25 November. Nor could one written on 17 November. Nor could one written on 16 November.
The last vessel sailing from England which reached New York before 25 November was the Norddeutscher Lloyd Line express mail steamer, the Lahn. Nordeutscher LIne steamers, which started their journey at Bremen, departed from Southampton every Thursday and Sunday with an advertised journey time of seven and a half days (which they didn't always achieve). On this occasion, the Lahn, which is recorded to have departed from Southampton on Thursday, 15 November, reached New York as expected on 23 November.
The only other vessels that could possibly have carried correspondence written on or after 12 November from England to New York in time for publication on 25 November were the White Star Line Royal Mail Steamer, the Celtic, and the Inman Line Steamer, the City of Richmond, which both departed from Liverpool on 14 November, and which both arrived at New York on Saturday, 24 November, although the City of Richmond arrived very late on 24 November, possibly too late to have carried Mr X's article for publication in a Sunday morning newspaper.
For the record, the Cunard Line (which included the Umbria) sailed on Saturdays from Liverpool to New York but the Gallia, which departed on Saturday 17 November, didn't match the speed of the Umbria from a few weeks earlier, meeting bad weather in the Atlantic, and only arrived at Liverpool on 27 November, two days after the New York Sun's Sunday edition had hit the streets.
The Guion line steamers could sometimes cross the Atlantic in seven days, although they usually took about ten days, and they also left from Liverpool on Saturdays, so the only choice to have potentially carried Mr X's article would have been the Arizona departing on Saturday, 17 November. But, according to Lloyd's, as reported in the Times, it didn't reach New York until 9am on 27 November (although according to the New York Tribune it arrived at the Bar at 5pm on 26 November).
This means that, if Mr X did send his article on a ship to New York, as Hawley theorizes, it must have been completed by 14 November; or 15 November at the very latest, to catch the Lahn. Hawley's suggestion that it could have been sent as late as 18 November is misguided.
As I've said above, there is nothing in the article itself which can be positively dated to after 12 November so a despatch on either 14 or 15 November is entirely possible. If Hawley has the courage of his convictions, therefore, and believes that the article must have been sent by ship mail, he needs to accept that the New York Sun correspondent had learnt of the arrest of an American, Dr Twomblety, at least two days before the correspondent of the World and at least two days before the report of the arrest of an American medical man at Euston station.
It's somewhat surprising that Hawley doesn't make more of the New York Sun article not least because, as he mentions in his second book, a New York Sun correspondent (whose identity, despite Hawley being convinced it was Brisbane, is unknown) managed to speak to Assistant Commissioner Robert Anderson on 14 November and file a report about that meeting the same day. Then, possibly on the very same day, a New York correspondent despatched a report about the arrest of Tumblety! It's the type of tenuous connection that Hawley normally loves so I don't quite know why he's so bashful on this occasion.
What is rather interesting is that the report of the interview with Anderson, filed on 14 November, didn't get published in the New York Sun until 26 November. Not that Hawley seems to be aware of this because he gives an erroneous publication date of 14 November in his book. Hawley says of this interview that Arthur Brisbane 'struck it big' by obtaining an interview with the Assistant Commissioner. That must, of course, be why the interview wasn't cabled to New York to be published the following day but was held back for 12 days where it was tucked away in a small column in the middle of page 4 of the newspaper! That's how to strike it really big!! This article, if it wasn't cabled, which one assumes it wasn't, given the time delay, must have been carried on the Lahn from Southampton because no other steamer could have reached New York in time (and Mr X or Mr Y was not likely to have been able to get a report of an interview in London on 14 November up to Liverpool in time to catch the Celtic or City of Richmond departing that same day).
Regarding the 14 November interview, Hawley uses it as his only evidence in support of this statement in his 2018 book:
'[Sir Charles] Warren resigned, which allowed special correspondents easier access into Scotland Yard.'
Despite the certainty of this statement it can only be an inference, better described as a guess, from the fact that a New York Sun correspondent managed to speak to Anderson a couple of days after Warren's resignation was announced. But Warren was still the Commissioner on 14 November and, aside from identifying a single interview on 14 November, Hawley hasn't provided any evidence that there was a change of policy in Scotland Yard, allowing greater access to special correspondents of foreign newspapers. Furthermore, the special correspondent of the Washington Evening Star reported in an article published on 13 October 1888 that he had been granted a meeting with Chief Inspector Littlechild, at a time when Sir Charles Warren was very much in charge at Scotland Yard, so how does Hawley explain that?
Hawley's purpose in making the unqualified statement that Warren's resignation allowed easier access into Scotland Yard is obviously to lay the groundwork for his claim that E. Tracy Greaves, the New York World's London correspondent, obtained his information about Tumblety's arrest from Scotland Yard on 17 November. He's already told us that Greaves had an informant prior to Warren's resignation so it's all a bit unnecessary, you'd think, but he now tells us that Greaves was 'not to be outdone' by Brisbane's interview with Anderson and, in this new world of freedom for special correspondents at Scotland Yard (but not for English reporters apparently), he 'received an end-of-the week update on the Whitechapel investigation'. It must be wonderful to be able to speak so positively about something of which you haven't got a clue but Hawley manages it very well with his confident talk of an 'end-of-the week update'. And he goes on to say that Greaves' 'only source for original Scotland Yard news was his Metropolitan Police Department informant'. Yet, again, he is guessing and, in truth, has no idea whether Greaves had a Metropolitan Police informant or not.
The journalist who interviewed Anderson, incidentally, described himself as 'a representative of THE SUN', not necessarily the Sun's London correspondent, and it may or may not have been Brisbane.
In any event, there are plenty of problems with Hawley's theory. Before dealing with these, let's look at the question of the likely authorship of the New York Sun article of 25 November 1888. Why does Hawley think (or, at least, why did he think at the time he wrote his presentation document) that Frank Marshall White was responsible? Well it appears to be as a result of two things. Firstly, according to his Rippercast presentation document, he relies on an undated newspaper extract which says:
'The New York Sun's "bright young man" is Frank Marshall White, at one time literary editor of Life. Mr. White has an office on the Strand and he, like the others, is frequently on the Continent on special missions. Every newspaper man, at least, knows his Sunday letter, which in many respects is the brightest of all the correspondence sent from this side.'
Given that the 25 November article in question by Mr X appeared in a Sunday edition of the New York Sun, Hawley seems to think that the above mention of White as having a reputation for writing 'his Sunday letter' identifies White as the author. This is a false assumption. The piece in the New York Sun of 25 November is not in the form of the normal Sunday letter from London which was always written and despatched by cable on a Saturday and which always appeared in the left hand column on the first page of the Sunday edition of the New York Sun, typically headlined 'LATEST NEWS FROM EUROPE' with a copyright notation e.g. 'Copyright [year] by THE SUN Printing and Publishing Association'. The article which mentioned Twomblety, by contrast, appeared on page 7 of the edition of 25 November 1888 and carried no copyright notice.
In any event, having checked the position, the extract about White quoted by Hawley comes from a newspaper report from September 1891 and has nothing to do with any Sunday letters written in 1888.
From his 2014 Ripperologist article, "Tumblety 'Over the Wire'" (Ripperologist 139), Hawley also seems to think that Frank White was the London correspondent of the New York Sun in November 1888 because of an 1898 obituary of the New York Times journalist Harold Frederic in which Arthur Warren (of the Boston Herald) wrote:
'When I went to London at the end of 1888 as correspondent of the Boston Herald...Frank White had just arrived for the Sun'.
Hawley obviously decided that 'the end of 1888' included November but Arthur Warren was still in Boston during November 1888. In fact, on the very same day that the New York Sun carried the Twomblety article, the Boston Herald noted that Arthur Warren, 'a clever newspaper man', had been present, with his wife, for a performance of 'Shenandoah' at the Boston Museum on 19 November. Furthermore, a book by Charles Hatten Shattuck entitled 'Shakespeare on the American Stage', referring to the American actress Julia Marlowe, stated (underlining added):
'On December 3, 1888 she opened her first engagement in Boston…The next afternoon Arthur Warren of the Boston Herald labelled her "The New American Actress" and prophesised that she would prove "the most important acquisition for several years to the American stage." '
If Arthur Warren was writing about an actress performing in Boston on 3 December 1888 then he obviously hadn't yet taken up his position as London correspondent of the Boston Herald. In fact, Warren's first piece as the London correspondent of the Boston Herald appears to be one dated 22 December 1888 (published in the Boston Herald on 6 January 1889).
For this reason, incidentally, and as noted above, everything Hawley says in his book and Ripperologist article about Warren being responsible for an article in the Boston Herald of 25 November 1888 relating to Tumblety's arrest must be wrong, unless Warren wrote it while he was in Boston.
As for Frank White, we find that Edward A. Dithmar states in his 1904 article, 'The American Correspondent' (underlining added):
'When Frank Marshall White in 1889, succeeded Arthur Brisbane…as London correspondent of the New York Sun…'
It would appear, therefore, that Warren's apparent memory of White having arrived in London as the Sun correspondent prior to his own arrival in late 1888 is wrong and it happened at some point during the following year. Between 1887 and 1889, White was the literary editor of Life magazine. He was, for example, described in a report from New York dated 15 November 1888, published in the St. Louis Republic of 18 November 1888, as 'the young-looking editor of Life' , having been spotted dining at Delmonico's in New York. Six months later the New York World of 22 May 1889 was still describing him as the 'editor of Life'. Arthur Brisbane certainly remained as the London correspondent of the New York Sun during the first half of 1889. The New York Sun described him as its 'London Correspondent' in its issue of 21 March 1889 and he was filing 'Sunday letters' with his initials 'A.B.', up to as late as 28 July 1889. White appears to have resigned from Life at about the end of May 1889 and transferred to England to take up the role of London correspondent for the New York Sun later in the year.
Given that White appears to have been editing Life magazine in November 1888, and was in New York at the time, we can pretty much rule him out as having authored the New York Sun article of 25 November.
We can, I think, also say with a reasonable degree of certainty that the person who wrote the article of 25 November was not Arthur Brisbane. The reason why we can be confident of this is because the author of the 25 November article said this about the name 'Jack the Ripper':
Arthur Brisbane would surely not have made such a basic error. In his 'Sunday letter' following the Double Event, written on 6 October 1888, and published in the New York Sun of Sunday, 7 October 1888, he had said:
'This "Jack the Ripper" who is committing these murders, is so called because after one of the more recent murders a newspaper in London received a letter from Belfast , dated Sept 10. in which a man signed himself in that way and said he meant to kill ten more women.'
'The impression that the murderer is an American still prevails in London, and has been greatly intensified by the publication of certain letters which have caused great excitement. These, which purport to come from the murderer, are sent to the Central News, whose manager, Mr Morre (sic), is addressed as "Dear Old Boss." This the English public has unanimously accepted as an undeniable Americanism. It is true that the letters predicted most of the recent outrages, but so did I and a great many others, and I have no doubt that the letters are the work of a practical joker....They have been printed in fac-simile, and appear broadcast. They are signed "Jack the Ripper."'
So Brisbane knew full well the story behind the Jack the Ripper correspondence. He must have known that it had not come from Belfast and was not sent on September 10th. He certainly knew that it was not sent to a newspaper. He would surely not have made those errors, which, incidentally, were derived from a story published in the American press on 10 November (for example, the New Haven Morning Journal and Courier of that date), which erroneous story was itself evidently based on a report in the Belfast Evening Telegraph of 11 October 1888, and reproduced in the London newspapers, that it had that day received a 'Dear Boss' letter (possibly posted on the previous day, i.e. 10 October) signed in red ink by Jack the Ripper saying he had just arrived in Belfast and was intending to commence operations in that city.
The author of the 25 November article says of Mary Kelly that, 'she took up with a fellow named Kelly, but they quarrelled'. Although Arthur Brisbane had certainly referred to 'Joseph Barnett alias Kelly' , with whom he had spoken, in his 10 November despatch to the Sun, when he subsequently wrote about him on 17 November, he said, 'Last week I saw the man, Joe Barnett who had lived with the woman Kelly...'. This makes it rather unlikely that he would have referred to Barnett simply as 'Kelly' in any article written at that time.
The first part of the article certainly gives the appearance of having been written by someone in London and this person says of the first Ripper murder (said to have been of Emma Elizabeth Smith in April 1888) that 'no detailed description of it has ever been published here' by which he evidently means London. He was wrong about this because reports of the murder of Smith had been carried in a number of newspapers at the time, including the London Daily News of 6 April 1888, and a report of the inquest into her death had also been carried in the newspapers, including the Morning Post of 9 April 1888, but we shall let that error pass because even someone in London might not have known or recalled this.
The article first describes Whitechapel, from the perspective of someone in London, then sets out a history of the murders. But all is not as it seems. For the history of the murders up to the Eddowes murder in the New York Sun article has actually been cribbed from a similar history first published in the New York World of 10 November (which had apparently been despatched by its own correspondent, presumably E. Tracy Greaves, from London on 30 October; and, for the sake of argument while demonstrating this, and also to avoid me having to type 'the London correspondent of the New York World' each time, we'll assume that Greaves was indeed the author).
Both histories start with the murder of Smith in April. Greaves said that she was found with 'a large hole in her abdomen' while the New York Sun writer says 'the lower part of her abdomen was punctured'. When writing about the murder of Tabram on 30 October (as published on 10 November), Greaves had written that 'she had been stabbed in thirty-two places'. All the London newspapers had reported that it was thirty-nine stab wounds but the New York Sun writer says that the killer 'stabbed her in thirty-two places'. Greaves referred to the third victim as 'Polly Nichols' as does the Sun writer and, where the World writer had said that PC Neil 'had passed the same spot scarcely fifteen minutes before', the Sun writer says, 'It scarcely seemed possible for murder to have been done, for he had passed that spot less than a quarter of an hour before' . Neil, of course, testified at the inquest that he had been round the place some half an hour previous to finding the body. 'The victim's front teeth were knocked out and her face much bruised' said Greaves. 'He had knocked some of her teeth out and bruised her face' said the Sun.Moving on to Chapman, it's more of the same. Here is what Greaves had said in the 10 November piece:
'Annie Chapman was once the wife of a well-to-do veterinary surgeon living at Windsor. Drink and immorality separated her from her husband, who allowed her 10 shillings a week to live on. He died, the allowance ceased and the poor woman joined the innumerable army of street walkers. No. 29 Hanbury street, Spitalfields, is a tenement-house let to many families, most of whom keep lodgers. In this house, as in most houses of its class there is no lock to the front door. Anybody can pass into the hall from the street. There is a large yard in the rear of the tenement-houses and it is common for women of the street to take men there for privacy.'
Now compare to what appeared in the New York Sun of 25 November:
'Annie Chapman...was not originally of the class that most Whitechapel women are. She had been married to a respectable man, and had become a drunkard and had been discarded by her husband who gave her a few shillings weekly allowance as long as he lived When this ceased she became a street walker. It was a week after the Bucks Row murder that Jack the Ripper met her. She took him back of the lodgings at 29 Hanbury street, Spitalfields, where families take suites of rooms and rent out what they can spare. The house is one in which each family or lodger locks their or his doors, and the street door is not ever locked. There are many such houses in Whitechapel and the street walkers who use the alleys and dark courts for their business also take men through open houses into the yards behind.'
As can be clearly seen, the New York Sun writer has simply re-written Greaves' piece, adding not a single piece of new information. And so it goes on. Greaves describes Chapman's injuries as follows:
'He killed her, as he did the other women, by almost cutting her head from her shoulders, and then proceeded to disembowel her, attaching a portion of the intestines to her neck. The matrix he cut out and carried away with him'.
The New York Sun writer re-worded this as follows:
'He almost cut her head from her body. He tore out her bowels, and hung part of them around her neck. He took her womb out and carried it off with him.'
Having concluded his re-telling of the Chapman murder, the New York Sun writer does then include one 'new' piece of information which was not included in Greaves' 10 November article. Thus:
'It is said that on the day of the discovery of Annie Chapman's body this legend was written above where she fell: "FIFTEEN BEFORE I SURRENDER".'
The supposed writing by the murderer of "Fifteen before I surrender" was first reported in a Press News Association story carried in the New York Evening World of 1 October (when discussing the earlier murder 'at Hamburg street') and was said to have been written by 'the fiend' in blood on 'the wall'. When repeating this fiction on 9 November, a report carried by 'Special Cable to the Evening World' on that day said that these words were 'written on the wall near the body'. According to the New York Tribune of 10 November, which provided its own history of the murders on this date, the words were written 'on a wall above the mangled body'. This appears to have been a uniquely American legend, not apparently reported in the London papers but widely reported in the American press, although not, until 25 November, in the New York Sun.
This factual error again shows that Brisbane is unlikely to have written the 25 November story. He had reported in his Sunday letter of 9 September (written on 8 September) that he had personally visited the locality of the murder including the courtyard in which the woman had been murdered. He obviously didn't see any such message written on the wall and would surely have known that there never was any such message.
The story of the murders continued in the New York Sun. Both the World and Sun writers describe 'the fifth murder' as being of a woman murdered in Gateshead (a reference to the murder of Jane Beadmore on 22 September 1888 for which William Waddell was subsequently convicted). Amusingly, while Greaves had stated that, 'All the circumstances, even to the peculiar mutilation of the body, point to the Whitechapel fiend as the murderer', the New York Sun writer did not seem to be too happy with this conclusion. Noting that, while the body 'was mutilated somewhat after the fashion of the cutting of Jack's victims' the Sun writer went on to add, 'but that is the only reason for crediting him with the crime.'
When writing about Elizabeth Stride, Greaves had noted her nickname of 'Hippy Lip Annie' which the Sun writer dutifully did too. The short account of her murder is rewritten in similar fashion to the way he rewrote the other murders (although the New York Sun writer, presumably from having read other reports of the murder at the time, suggests that the murderer was probably disturbed by the approach of someone rather than by the noise of people moving in the nearby club, as Greaves had speculated). With the account of the Eddowes murder, the rewriting involves swapping her profession with John Kelly's. What Greaves wrote was:
'The woman was identified as Catherine Eddowes, a street hawker, living with a man named Kelly. If the day's business was bad, as was often the case, she tried to make a little money in the slums at night.'
And what the New York Sun writer turned this into was:
'...Catherine Eddowes...was a kept woman, living with a peddler. When his business was slack she went upon the streets and picked up men.'
Not surprisingly, where Greaves identified the body found 'on the site of the projected Grand Opera House, within a stone's throw of the Grand and Metropole Hotels, and within sight of the police Headquarters at Scotland Yard' as the eighth murder victim, so did the New York Sun writer who told us it was found 'on the site of the proposed Grand Opera House, close to Scotland Yard and several hotels.' It was a nice try but you don't get away with it just by changing the word 'projected' to 'proposed' and swapping the order of the hotels and Scotland Yard!As mentioned above, Greaves filed his history of the murders on 30 October so it didn't include the murder of Mary Jane Kelly. The writer of the New York Sun solves that problem by lifting Kelly's life history from Arthur Brisbane's Sunday letter in the New York Sun of 11 November 1888 and, doing the same with the details of her murder from Brisbane's report in the New York Sun of 10 November (filed on 9 November). However, it would seem that our plagiarist makes a howler of almost Hawleyesque proportions when writing about the date of Kelly's murder. For, despite saying that Jack the Ripper waited until Lord Mayor's Day to commit his ninth murder, the New York Sun writer then says:
'It was early on that morning, Nov. 10, that Jack's latest murder was committed and discovered.'
Would someone who had been in London on Lord Mayor's Day in 1888 really think it had occurred on 10th November? Or did this clever copycat writer see the words in the New York Sun of 10 November, 'At ten o'clock this morning, just as the Lord Mayor was climbing into his golden carriage.....' and make the fatal mistake of thinking this was a reference to the morning of 10 November, forgetting that the report had been despatched from London on 9 November and had been talking about events on the previous morning?
One might think that the fact that the writer used Brisbane's articles as the basis of his summary of the Kelly murder suggests that Brisbane was the author of the New York Sun's 25 November article. But, if that was the case, why didn't Brisbane use his own account of the Eddowes murder rather than use what Greaves had written?
For Brisbane had filed a long report on the Double Event in a despatch dated 30 September and published in the New York Sun on 1 October. In that report he had said of Mitre Square, from his own knowledge, that 'Five lamps throw their light on it.'. Why, then, would have have written in the 25 November piece that Mitre Square was 'reasonably well lighted by a couple of street lamps.'? It just so happens that Greaves had written of Mitre Square in his 30 October history of the murders (as published on 10 November) that 'Two street lamps were burning there'. It would be very odd if Brisbane was using Greaves' memory of Mitre Square rather than his own when writing his November article. The New York Sun author also borrowed from Greaves in stating: 'First he cut her throat, and then he thrust his knife into her abdomen..'. Greaves had written. 'Her throat was cut first, of course. Then the assassin's knife was thrust into the upper part of the abdomen'. Brisbane, however, had said nothing about the order of events and hadn't mentioned the abdomen. His account of the injuries suffered by Eddowes is written in a completely different way to the way it is written in the New York Sun piece. Additionally, both Greaves and the New York Sun writers note that the left kidney and womb of Eddowes was removed but Brisbane had made no mention of this in his own despatch.
So, knowing all this, let's go back to the introductory paragraphs about Whitechapel which give the impression of a first hand account written by someone in London. It's a little curious that the New York Sun writer tells us in his 25 November article that 'This Whitechapel road is very like our Bowery' because Greaves had written on 30 October that Whitechapel road 'is the Bowery of London'. Just fancy that! And Greaves had elaborated a little on this by saying that 'The sky is aglow with the glare of splendid gin palaces, cheap theatres and the smoking naptha lamps of street vendors...Large roomy shops....'. For the New York Sun writer, Whitechapel road had 'horse cars upon it, and no end of gin palaces and theatres and concert halls. It is also lined with shops of all sorts...' It may be a coincidence but it suddenly prompts the thought that perhaps the New York Sun article was written by someone in New York - someone, for sure, who had visited the East End of London at some point in his life - but someone who was pretending to be in London at that particular point in time. It's certainly hard to see anything in the article which demonstrates that its author was in London during November 1888 and the evidence, especially the mistake about the date of the Kelly murder and Lord Mayor's Day, rather suggests otherwise. If that's the case then the article could have been written as late as 24 November, so that the mention of Tumblety's arrest was simply derived from other newspapers.
It would also seem that more than one person contributed to the entire article. In the same paragraph in which Twomblety is mentioned, the author says that the Ripper is 'thought to be the Russian student Wassilyi, of whom we herewith print all that is known'. The 'we' here doesn't sit well with the article having been written by a lone correspondent in London. Furthermore, the part of the article setting out the story of Wassilyi says this (underlining added):
'On Nov. 12 an interesting if not important contribution to the guesses at the personality of the London murderer was cabled from Paris to the Staats-Zeitung of this city. We use the excellent translation that was at once published in the EVENING SUN.'
The Staats-Zeitung was a German newspaper published in New York, so when the author of the article said 'of this city' he must have meant New York. And we can see that the author appears to have been speaking on behalf of the newspaper by using the word 'we'.
If the author of the article was a correspondent of the New York Sun it would seem to be a little unusual (or at least boastful) for him to be referring to the 'excellent translation' in what was, in effect, his own newspaper. Consequently, the impression is given that this article was originally written for and published in another newspaper and repeated by the New York Sun. It's rather difficult to say though. It could have been by someone on the Sun staff in New York who fancied having a crack at telling the story of the murders as if he was in London.
Another relevant factor is that Arthur Brisbane filed his 'Sunday letter' to the New York Sun by cable despatch on 17 November (published on Sunday 18 November) which contained a couple of paragraphs on the Whitechapel murder. In that report he said, 'In England there is not much interest in anything now but the Whitechapel murders and details surrounding them' and adds, 'About the mysterious murders nothing more is known..' . He also tells of men being arrested for drunkenly claiming to be Jack the Ripper with one German man taken into police custody for his own protection. One would have thought that this would have been the perfect time for Brisbane to have included the news of an American doctor being arrested on suspicion of being Jack the Ripper, if he had known about it. True, if he was Mr X, he would already have sent off his despatch by mail at this time and might not have wanted to repeat it but, presumably, he could have sent cabled instructions to edit that bit from the longer piece.
Furthermore, Brisbane's weekly letter for the New York Sun (signed 'A.B.') was published as usual in the newspaper of 25 November 1888 and once again included a paragraph about the Whitechapel murders. This letter was despatched by cable on 24 November. There is no mention of an arrest of any American in this letter.
One can conceive that Mr X might have sent off his long article by mail, intended for the Sunday edition of the New York Sun of 25 November, but then sent a telegram, any time between 17 and 25 November, asking for a paragraph (relating to the arrest of 'Twomblety') to be added into the long article to bring it up to date. This would seem like a sensible thing to have done if he received new information. I don't think we can automatically assume that the entire article was either telegraphed or mailed. It could have been a mixture of both. In which case, it would be impossible to date the creation of the Twomblety story with any degree of confidence.
There is one more factor to take into consideration. The New York Sun carried an article on 19 November headlined "TWOMBLETY WELL KNOWN HERE", which referred to '"Doctor" Twomblety who was arrested in London on Saturday on suspicion of being the Whitechapel fiend' but did not otherwise have any more information about what had happened in London. Why did they not simply cable their London correspondent for more information (if he had any)? Why wait for his letter to arrive?
If, however, the paper's London correspondent didn't have any more information on Twomblety to offer as of 19 November this would explain it.
I think the short point here is that the New York Sun article of 25 November 1888 is a long, long, way from independently corroborating the World's story of Tumblety's arrest of 17/18 November (if that is what Hawley would now like to say about it). The possibility of some sort of Chinese Whispers circulating and building the story up as it passed between different newspapers cannot be eliminated. The arrest of Tumblety could have been added to the article by someone in New York and, indeed, someone in New York could, without much difficulty, have written the entire piece.
As I mention in my 2019 Ripperologist article, 'The Prosecution of Francis Tumblety', the normal way that the National Vigilance Association appears to have initiated criminal prosecutions was by issuing an arrest warrant following a complaint from a victim or friend or relative of a victim. Prosecuting someone who had been arrested on suspicion of being the Whitechapel murderer, where evidence of another offence was found by the police, would have been unusual. For why would the police not have carried out the prosecution themselves? I'm not aware of any other prosecutions being passed off by the police to the National Vigilance Association. I don't say it's impossible and, in my Ripperologist article, I give the example of George Bartlett where the police made an arrest on one offence and a private prosecution followed on another but it nevertheless seems a bit unusual, especially where the the police were supposed to be red hot keen on keeping Tumblety in custody and especially where relations between the police and the National Vigilance Association were not particularly good (as explained in my Ripperologist article). So the notion of Tumblety being arrested on suspicion of having committed the Whitechapel murders and then being passed off by the police to the National Vigilance Association to prosecute him for indecency offences on the basis of evidence which the police had uncovered does seem unlikely to me.
Nevertheless, I would suggest that the balance of the evidence from the newspaper accounts is still in favour of Tumblety having been arrested on suspicion of being the Whitechapel murderer at some point prior to his arrest on the indecency offences. However, I would equally suggest that the balance of the evidence is against him having been arrested, detained or even spoken to by the police at Euston on Saturday, 17 November.
25 May 2019
Minor amendment, 10 July 2019
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