Thanks for that Wolf. I didn't know about that other newspaper reference.
For what's it worth I find this explanation that the English Ripper-driven tabloids would not report the story of the American suspect because they had moved on, unconvincing.
It maybe what happened, but we can only go on probabilities. I do not think it probable.
I would expect them to devour the story of the American fugitive from British justice even if it was to say that the Yanks had it all wrong. It was still a great story. It seemed to include a British detective watching the suspect's home. Who cares if it's not true?
I also have to respectfully disagree with the idea that no police hunt to NYC [which Littlechild never mentions, nor does he claim Tumblety was arrested for the murders -- nor that he was sadist] weakens Tumblety as a suspect.
I think, for what it is worth, that Stewart Evans finding the Littlechild Letter and R J Palmer finding the Tumblety interview are two of the greatest and most fascinating primary sources of the entire mystery.
Where I perhaps differ from those brilliant writer/researchers is that I see some kind of fusion of Druitt and Tumblety to propagate to the Edwardian public that there was a super-efficient police hunt which nearly nabbed the deviant doctor. That this myth cunningly -- and effectively -- covered over an acute embarassment regarding the investigation of 1888, perhaps the 'hot potato'.
Until the Littlechild bombshell -- which had no sequel until 1993.
Since Major Griffiths published his senior-police driven 'scoop' in 1898, Sims embraced and enlarged upon it from 1899: the 'Drowned Doctor' Super-suspect. A suspect who conveniently has no family to offend, and no friends to offend [they already knew] and no patients to offend [he had been an unemployed recluse for years].
Knowingly or not, Littlechild shredded Sims' pompous profile! Yes, there was a major, contemporaneous suspect, who was indeed a dodgy medico, but he was this Tumblety, an Irish-American homosexual, who vanished, 'believed' to have suicided.
In other words the great George Sims is being alerted that his top police contacts have perhaps ... misled him?
The titanium strength of Littlechild is that he was a senior, highly regarded policeman of 1888, who was never publicly associated with the Ripper case and thus had nothing to prove -- no rep' to rescue.
In the shadow of Anderson's 1910 memoirs, which favoured a suspect as far removed from Tumblety as possible and who did not name the chief suspect or the reporter who made up the 'Jack' name, Littlechild bluntly does both. [The limitation of Littlechild is that he is writing 25 years later in a private letter in which he can write what he likes.]
Tumblety 'admits' to being arrested as the Ripper [even charged] and this maybe true as many men were arrested and not charged. On the other hand he is a con man, who is deflecting attention away from his real outstanding charges -- for 'perversion'.
Nevertheless, I think, that his hilarious bluffing and blustering expresses real anguish that he was, rightly or wrongly, targeted as a major Ripper suspect. Critically, I think it reveals that despite being a sociable eccentric Tumblety had no alibi for any of the murders [eg. in custody whilst Kelly was being eviscerated].
And that he fled as quickly as he could when he realized how determined the police were to get him into a cell and keep him there, on any charge that would stick.
Or, the police hoped that Tumblety, an affluent swine, would jump bail and flee back to the States?
I think that, subsequent to his fleeing, some kind of game seems to be being played here by the senior police regarding who they told, and what they did not say, or commit to file, about Tumblety.
That alleged comment of Macnaghten's, according to Doug Browne, about the Ripper being involved in an assassination plot against Balfour, is truly bizarre.
Is this ... Druitt?? I hardly thinks so. Or somebody else, whom Macnaghten later dropped?
Or, some garbled version of Tumblety's false arrest for the assassination of Lincoln? Did Anderson, the old spymaster, fictionalize this point to convince Macnaghten, his insufferable 'Ripper tragic' subordinate, to accept 'Dr Druitt' as the middle-aged, under-employed, 'sexually insane' medical man who killed himself at the end of 1888?
Anyhow, the CID silence on Tumblety is deafening.
But there are potential shadows of the American suspect in the early secondary sources: the unlikely Ostrog as a sort of poor man's Tumblety, the 'Drowned Doctor' of course -- and Sims' 1907 opus which also claims that the police's top alternative theory is a young American medical student.
The desperate 1891 lunge for Tom Sadler suggests that either they had concluded by then that Tumblety was not the Fiend, or they wanted [hoped?] somebody else to be it? This may explain the enthusiasm for Druitt [by Macnaghten] and Kosminski [by Swanson and Anderson] as the anti-Tumblety suspects who will forever nullify the enigmatic Quack.
By the way I agree with your argument that the American tabloid source on Tumblety having a collection of uteri -- and being once married to a pro' -- is terminally weak [I feel the same about the single, error-riddled source which claims Druitt was sacked.] On the other hand Littlechild does not make that claim either.
In the original game of 'hot potato', obviously the idea is that you pass the potato on before you get burned by it. Warren held on to it for too long, and it burned him.
I therefore think the term simply describes a 'case' that one would not want to have placed in one's lap. I don't think there's any 'conspiracy' or 'secret information' here.
I must say my suspicion is that Monro was simply saying that the Ripper case was a "hot potato" - in the sense of something very difficult to handle.
But on the other hand Monro's grandson, as reported by Howells and Skinner, said that it was Monro's theory that was a hot potato, not just the case itself. Then again, he was reporting a conversation at second hand, so there could have been some misunderstanding.
Andrews never got within 500 miles of New York City and he wasn't after Tumblety. His trip to Canada was apparently connected with gathering evidence for the Parnell Commission.
I had to pull out my A-Z when I read the above to be sure, ..but your comments do not jive with what is reported in that book.
It said that ..."The Telegraph noted, but dismissed, a hostile rumor that Andrews had been sent to collect material for the Parnell Commission."
In fact had he been involved in the States on business of the Commission held that winter, he would have also known of Tumblety's associations with Fenian interests, and likely, the suspicions by some in authority that he might have links with the Ripper murders as well, as per the Littlechild Letter. We also have speculation that The Ripper was a senior Fenian organizing the assassination plot on Balfour. I think to state empirically that Andrews was not in American on business that concerned the Ripper murders might be too strong....even tangentially, he may have been.
I’m not one for conspiracy theories and in order for Tumblety to have been seen as an important suspect to Scotland Yard only a conspiracy theory can explain why he was unknown until Littlechild wrote about him. And, although a modern case has been made against him, there is no real evidence that Tumblety was anything more than one of the hundreds of men picked up and questioned then let loose (and we only have his word for that). There certainly seems to be no evidence that he was Monro’s “hot potato.” Therefore the CID silence on Tumblety is deafening only if there was some evidence actually pointing to his guilt and, as Littlechild himself suggests that he was not the Ripper, this seems unlikely.
One thing seems clear, however, that the police officials of the day had no clue as to who the Ripper actually was. We have been offered various names by various officials but this seems more like men stumbling around in the dark than a grand conspiracy to hide Tumblety’s name from the public. All this has resulted in is more questions than answers. Why not just come up with one theory and have everyone reading from the same page? Why, also, would they want to hide the name of a man who had left England before the deaths of Rose Mylett, Alice McKenzie, the Pinchin Street Torso and Francis Coles? All were part of the Whitechapel Murder Investigation. None could be placed at Tumblety’s door.
The latest A-Z (not counting the brand new one out next spring/early summer) that you could have consulted would have to be the 1996 Headline edition. That’s thirteen years ago and, as you know, a lot more research has been carried out since then. I have written two articles on this very subject so I’m speaking with some knowledge.
The only connection that has so far been made between Andrews’ trip and the Whitechapel Murders has been through Tumblety. We know of no other reason to connect the murder investigation and the United States at that particular time. However, Andrews didn’t go anywhere near New York and Tumblety even though he was free to do so if he wanted to. Andrews, instead, spent most of his time in Toronto and southern Ontario.
He reportedly travelled to Windsor and then across the border to Detroit where he had a conference with a man who was possibly ex-Scotland Yard Inspector James Thompson. Thompson was working for the Times trying to persuade Irish revolutionary, and long time British double agent, General Francis Millen to give evidence against Parnell. Andrews also reportedly travelled to Niagara (now Niagara on the Lake) and then to Niagara Falls where he crossed the border and had another conference with three men, one of whom was supposedly Inspector Frederick Jarvis of Scotland Yard. Tim Riordan, in his excellent new book Prince of Quacks, suggests that Andrews was meeting with Pinkertons agents who were also gathering information against Parnell. After this meeting Andrews packed his bags and headed back to England.
In fact had he been involved in the States on business of the Commission held that winter, he would have also known of Tumblety's associations with Fenian interests…We also have speculation that The Ripper was a senior Fenian organizing the assassination plot on Balfour.
There is no concrete evidence that Tumblety had any connection whatsoever with the Fenians or any other Irish revolutionary organization. This is pure speculation and is not supported by the actual facts. If Scotland Yard bothered to send Andrews all the way across the Atlantic in pursuit of Tumblety one would have expected him, at the very least, to go to the last place he was known to have been seen, New York City, and try to pick up a lead on the man. As I stated, Andrews didn’t get within 500 miles of New York or Tumblety.
while I don't particularly think Tumbelty (or indeed anyone particular) was the Ripper, I think a conspiracy theory to explain why he wasnt mentioned/apparently wasnt mentioned by the police until the Littlechild letter a bit drastic. After all, may files, we know are missing, and many of the other main policeman clearly favoured other suspects such as Kosminski. Again, i am not particularly arguing with your main points - as I don't have a strong enough opinion to feel urged to dispute. I do not a lot of interesting work has been done on this suspect recently by Tim Riordian, RJ Palmer, Simon Wood and others.
My Dad seems to favour Tumbelty - so I always keep a keen eye out for info about him!
Has anyone considered that Monro's words were taken out of context by his son? A hot potato is, in fact, something that no one wants to touch, or that one wants to pass on to another, such as in the game of 'hot potato'.
Wolf, I appreicate what you are saying but I am not suggesting a conspiracy in the way that emotive word conjures up.
Just that certain senior policemen and officials were not interested in ever mentioning that infernal man's name again. Because negative publicity-wise somehow Scotland Yard dodged a bullet in late 1888 and early 1889.
It makes me wonder if the newspaper proprieters were told that Tumblety was suspected of Irish terrorist activities and therefore, under the Official Secrets Act, his name, his story, one looming so large in American tabloids was not ot be repeated. A bit like the way Americans knew all about Mrs Simpson whilst the British public had practically never heard of her until Edward VIII abdicated -- and that relationship was not even a state secret!
The few sources we have on Tumblety pass the historical test of making him a major suspect -- if not THE suspect, which is not the same as saying he must have been guilty. It's not evidence which could be used in a criminal trial.
The strength of the Littlechild Letter as a source is that is primary, albeit late. He was a top cop with no known axe to grind, no bias about the Ripper's identity -- nothing to prove. As a source that is arguably superior to Anderson and Swanson. Littlechild thought Tumblety very likely to be the Ripper. This is despite knowing that the police investigation by CID was not shut down after he fled, and knowing that he was a mysoginist but not a sadist. Littlechild's quater-century old suspicion suggests that Tumblety was never cleared of the murders.
This primary souce is backed up by the two British papers which mention Tumblety, though not by name, and by a profusion of American tabloids. They claim that Tumblety was a major suspect, which one would expect to be denied from England if he was not.
No such denial was ever issued because the story never made it back across the Atlantic.
A case can be made that, amongst Inspector Andrews' multiple duties, was to probe for Tumblety in North America. He could do this by cable. It is just as easy to argue that the Parnell angle was to cover his awkward attemps to liase with NYC police over this Ripper suspect, as it was the other way round.
Tumblety's interview is a scream but also an invaluable primary source. That he was arrested and charged as the Ripper, which is backed by other US papers -- though not Littlechild -- and that he frequented Whitechapel and that, by implication, he had no alibi for any of the murders as he offered none.
I agree that Ripper police hunters being so agitated by Tom Sadler in 1891 is a very strong indication that, by then, Scotland Yard were staisfied that Tumblety was not the Fiend -- or at least hoped he wasn't. This does not mean he had not been the major suspect of 1888 -- according to one interpretation of the surviving primary sources.
In 1888 there was a major Ripper suspect, a dodgy medico, who managed to escape police/court clutches.
Twenty years later English readers of George Sims 'know' that the Ripper was an unemployed doctor who barely escaped police clutches -- by drowning himself in the Thames [a much more satisfying story, that second version, for Sims' readers and the police]
A 1913 letter by a senior policeman, to Sims, exposes -- perhaps inadvertently -- the messy truth about Tumblety behind the cosy 'Drowned Dcotor' myth.
To me that exposes a bureaucratic embarassment -- inverted into a near triumph for public consumption -- not a conspiracy.