It is safe to say that interest in the Whitechapel murders – as well as in the identity of the unknown miscreant who was carrying them out, increased dramatically in the aftermath of the murder of Annie Chapman, which took place in the backyard of number 29, Hanbury Street, on the 8th of September, 1888.
INTEREST IN THE WHITECHAPEL MURDERS
As the public interest increased, newspapers began to ponder in their editorials what the possible motivation for the crimes could be, and numerous editorials appeared concerning the subject.
On Monday the 10th of September, the St James’s Gazette published such an opinion piece:-
THE WHITECHAPEL MURDERS
Everybody is talking of the Whitechapel murders, and nobody has anything to say about it. The thing remains a mystery – the more tantalizing because the margin between the known and the unknown is so small.
We know practically all about them – or at any rate about the last two – except the name and personality of the murderer.
AN EXERCISE OF IMAGINATION
A very small exercise of the imagination, indeed, is required to realize all that took place between the time that the wretched woman Annie Chapman was turned out of the common lodging house in Dorset-street, and the time when her mangled remains were found in the back yard in Hanbury Street.
We know that these poor creatures, dazed and stupefied with drink, are taken to some quiet spot in the streets or just off them, and are swiftly and silently despatched.
NOT TOO PUZZLING
How the murderer manages to get time to do his subsequent work of ghastly butchery unobserved and unnoticed is no doubt puzzling enough.
But it is not so puzzling as it appears at first sight.
There is scarcely a street in London in which it would not be tolerably easy to get twenty minutes or so for any deed of darkness in the small hours of the morning.
NOT A REPROACH AGAINST THE POLICE
We are not making this a reproach against the police.
As we have said over and over again, the force under Sir Charles Warren’s control is ridiculously inadequate to its numerous duties. How can 13,000 men watch and patrol by day and by night every yard of hundreds of leagues of pavement, of hundreds of square miles of courts, alleys, dark areas, and similar places?
COULD NOT BE PREVENTED
Even if the London police force were twice as strong as it is, it could not prevent an insane wild beast getting possession of some wretched drunken outcast, taking her into a dark corner, and then and there quietly assassinating her.
This is a point worth remembering at a time when wild deductions are drawn from this affair, which, startling and terrifying as it is, it does not in the smallest degree warrant.