As you well know, Littlechild was a Chief Inspector and Departmental head with an office in Scotland Yard. He could choose how involved he got in physical activity. However, he didn't suffer a 'nervous breakdown', just a deterioration in general health due to stress. 'I went off in my health' means his health went downhill, not that he was off work. At least that's what he indicates, but the probability is that he was merely looking for early retirement with the benefit of the new pension rules. As a ex-police officer you should understand that.
Does he mention anything about his health in his later book of which i do not have a copy
All these disparate pieces of information, however contradictory they may be to mainstream thought and belief, are part of our challenge in constructing an accurate picture of the times, events and all the characters involved.
J G Littlechild was a great police officer, and his 1913 letter to Sims is one of the most fascinating and priceless sources regarding the Jack the Ripper saga.
It is not a colourful sideshow, nor a misleading 'red herring'. It is Jack the Ripper mystery; a breakthrough source which takes us right into the heart of the labyrinth of the contradictory surviving fragments.
Via Littlechild we glimpse Scotland Yard's original chief suspect of 1888, though always there in the US media but remaining dormant to a succession of researchers who were limited by time, or funds, or geography -- or all three burdens.
Mind you, the American Confidence Man's mythologised identity has always been right in front of us -- though this could not have been known by the public without a tip-off -- ever since Major Griffths, and then George Sims, promulgated the 'Drowned Doctor' chief suspect, which was Littlechild's essential, subversive point he was gingerly making to the famous writer.
Yes, I doubt that Tumblety was ever cleared, in any substantive or official sense, because I think Littlechild would have mentioned this to Sims [or would that have been going too far in making a fool of his social 'superior'?]
The 1891 agitation over Tom Sadler can be viewed as evidence that Tumblety, at some point, indeed had been cleared, or that certain people at Scotland Yard, like Anderson and Swanson, hoped that the very fact the Ripper had struck again with Frances Coles was the moment of the Confidence Man's being cleared. Until of course, that all blew up in their faces.
From that moment Anderson seems to have committed himself to a foreign, Jewish, poor wretch rather than the foreign, Irish, affluent swine.
To me, it is significant that when Macnaghten prepared the official version of his Report in 1894, and the suspects should have been the doctor [Tumblety] and the local Jew [Pizer] and the sailor [Sadler], instead we have Druitt-Kosminski-Ostrog -- who?
The wording gives the impression that these were 'homicidal maniacs' who were suspected of being the fiend allegedly before they died, or were institutionalised [Sadler is mentioned but as a footnote when he was, briefly, nothing of the kind in 1891].
In his own memoirs, Macnaghten restored himself as a source consistent with the primary ones on Coles/Sadler by conceding what he does not in that official document -- apparently sent nowhere and seen by nobody -- that Druitt was not contemporaneously suspected [but we know that Tumblety sure was?] until 'some years after' he had killed himself.
Something missed by many people is that the Aberconway version, rightly viewed as less accurate in its details, nevertheless has the more accurate lines about the suspects being suspected 'at one time or another' [eg. potentially posthumously or post-incarceration] and that no 'proof' could be 'brought against them' [eg. due to being dead or incarcerated] rather than that no proof existed at all, not even its 'shadow'.
By the time of the Aberconway document Druitt is well on his way to evolving into a more Tumbletyesque figure of the Edwardian Era [see: Sims]. Whether deliberate, or unconscious, it suggests that, no, The American was never cleared as Littlechild confirms, by the time the latter tries to disentangle the historical 'Dr T' from Sims' mythical 'Dr D'.