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The Order of St Anne

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  • The Order of St Anne

    Hi All,

    Although there is little in the facts of the "Ripper" case to support Sir Robert Anderson's assertion about a Polish Jew being the Whitechapel murderer many people believe his account to be true. This belief is based upon Martin Fido's assertion that a study of Anderson's deep Millenarist religious beliefs reveals that it would have been anathema for him to have lied in the interests of self-interest within the pages of a book written for a general readership.

    Paul Begg has written that, "What Martin's critics should do is establish whether or not Martin's assessment of Anderson's religious beliefs is correct, whether Anderson did consider it anathema to lie in self-interest and, if he did, whether that supports Martin's conclusion that Anderson was telling the truth about the Ripper." And Martin Fido wrote, "I've only ever been asked one really challenging question about my Cohen-Kosminsky position, and not surprisingly it came from Paul Begg."

    Hmmn. While this might not seem to bode well for us lesser mortals, any theological debate would serve little purpose, as it is impossible to discern from someone's religious beliefs whether or not they might lie on any given occasion. It's a complete red herring. So what else can we employ to get at the facts of the matter? There is, of course, the Swanson endpaper notation, but this should be treated with caution as it is probably the most opportune piece of supporting evidence in the history of opportune pieces of supporting evidence. What we need is some sort of factually-based litmus test as to Anderson's veracity.

    With this in mind, my curiousity was recently piqued by a later footnote in The Lighter Side of My Official Life, during the reading of which I was struck by the notion that you don't so much read Anderson as try to decode him.

    The footnote, spanning pages 279 and 280, follows a romanticized account of Anderson receiving his CB from Queen Victoria in 1896—

    Page 279—"In the following year I was offered another honour, which I declined for somewhat quixotic reasons which I need not mention here; and I have ever since regretted that I did so. On the 20th of September, 1897, I had a visit from M. Goremykine (the Russian Minister of the Interior) and M. Ratchkoysky, to express anew the Tzar's appreciation of the Police arrangements for his safety during his visit. And on the following

    Page 280—"day M. Ratchkosky called again to offer me the insignia of the Order of St. Anne. I afterwards received a personal token of His Majesty's approval."

    We know that Anderson could not have accepted this honour, firstly because in order to be allowed to accept and wear a foreign decoration British subjects had to seek the license and authority of the monarch, as shown by this cutting from The Times, 11th September 1897—

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    During Anderson's lifetime no announcement of any such permission being accorded him appeared in either the London Gazette or The Times.

    Secondly, in the frontispiece of The Lighter Side of My Official Life is a photograph of the newly knighted Anderson in 1901. He is wearing the full dress uniform of the Assistant Commissioner of Police and sporting his KCB insignia and neck decoration plus two other medals.

    But he is not wearing the distinctive insignias of the Order of St. Anne—

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    Anderson being offered the Order of St. Anne wasn't mentioned in A.P. Moore-Anderson's biography of his father, although the book does lend weight to Anderson's final footnote remark that "I afterwards received a personal token of His Majesty's approval"—

    "The detectives deputed to guard foreign royalties received many personal gifts. Occasionally their Chief was also remembered in this way, twice by the ill-fated Nicholas II of Russia, the first time when he was Czarevitch [he visited London in July 1893 and July 1894], the gift being a Russian salt-cellar. The second present was a diamond ring of such dimensions that it might fit a super-size thumb. The diamonds with the Imperial monogram made a fine brooch for my mother. The gold ring, reduced to normal size, with the Russian N, II and crown reproduced, I am wearing to-day." [my brackets]

    Whilst this might suggest some sort of warm and cosy relationship between the Tsar and Robert Anderson, anyone interested in how Imperial largesse was dispensed should read "Gifts the Czar Left", New York Times, 3rd November 1889. It is also worth mentioning that a 5th July 1893 entry in the Chief Constable's Register records "Three occasional informants re: Czarevitch". This is in addition to an entry concerning three other informants "Visit of Czarevitch—Kraft 1, Rumph 1, Martin 1", but it is not clear if it was Anderson who authorised the payments [see Clutterbuck].

    Anderson next pinpoints a specific date—20th September 1897—on which he was visited by two Russian worthies.

    A trawl through The Times, New York Times and other newspapers reveals no 1897 visit to London by Russian Minister of the Interior Ivan Goremykin which might have required police protection. Nor do various English, Russian and American political archives turn up anyone of note by the name "Ratchkoysky" or "Ratchkosky" [note the different footnote spellings on each page], someone who must have been of an elevated status in order to be able to offer Anderson the Order of St. Anne, an honour traditionally bestowed by the Emperor or Empress and, occasionally, Russian ambassadors.

    Was either "Ratchkoysky" or "Ratchkosky" a typo missed during proof reading—in which case a casual reader might reasonably conclude that one of the two versions was correctly spelled—or is it possible they were two intentional misspellings to thinly veil the identity of Pyotr Ivanovich Rachkovsky, Tsar Nicholas II's personal emissary in secret matters and, from 1884-1902, head of the Okhrana's Foreign Bureau in Paris?

    Bernard Porter and other intelligence historians tell us there was more than a measure of 'unofficial' cooperation between Scotland Yard and the Okhrana; also that the relationship was fairly ad hoc but frowned upon in certain political circles—although William Melville was fairly chummy with Rachkovsky during the 1890s. So perhaps such a meeting shouldn't completely surprise us.

    There have been accusations of Anderson playing the anti-Semitic card in accusing a Polish Jew of being the Whitechapel murderer, which makes this meeting especially curious given the fact that Ivan Logginovitch Goremykin and Pyotr Ivanovich Rachkovsky were the two men most heavily involved in the creation and promulgation of The Protocols of the Elders of Zion, the faked manifesto purporting to detail a massive Jewish world-conspiracy. The Protocols were rumoured to be based upon a pamphlet stolen from the political journalist Elie De Cyon [Ilya Tsion] by Rachkovsky in 1897, the same year as his visit to Anderson in London. It's an interesting coincidence. So is it a further coincidence that Anderson's September 20th 1897 meeting with Goremykin and Rachkovsky took place just three weeks after the close of the First Zionist Congress, held in Basle, Switzerland?

    At face value it's a conundrum. However, further investigation adds a measure of factual clarity regarding Anderson's story.

    The history of Russian railways records that in 1889 the engineer P.I. Balinsky submitted the design of a metropolitan railway to the St. Petersburg Chief of the City Administration. Nicholas II ordered the setting up of a Special Highly Approved Commission of Ministers, which found the project a necessary one but rejected any financial support. The reason was that the Ministry of Finance was at that moment raising RUR [roubles] 120 million for military loan facilities.

    Balinsky decided to go abroad for a subsidy, and in the summer of 1899 left for England together with the officials who accompanied the Minister of the Interior Ivan Goremykin. Balinsky found an opportunity in England to get a subsidy in the amount of RUR 290 million and managed to convince the investors to come to Russia and invest RUR 25 million as a pre-payment.

    At the time Sergei Witte was the Minister of Finance and one of the most powerful figures in the Russian government. The negotiation of loans for railway building, trade, and determining the size of naval and military budgets was his responsibility.

    Witte's memoirs record the following—

    "Before leaving the subject of Goremykin I want to say something about Rachkovskii [sic], the head of our secret police in Paris, and his trip to England with Goremykin in the summer of 1899.

    "Rachkovskii had been named to his post by Emperor Alexander III. As our relations with France improved, so did his status, because the French, who had given Russian terrorists asylum, began to take a less kindly attitude towards them, thus helping Rachkovskii. Also, his position was strengthened by the fact that he was a remarkably intelligent man, in fact the most gifted and intelligent police official I have ever met . . . Rachkovskii's position in Paris was strengthened, too, by the insignificance of our ambassadors there, Mohrenheim and Urusov.

    "Consequently, Rachkovskii was able to exercise more influence on the course of our rapprochement with France than did our ambassadors: he exercised this influence with the help of our ministers of interior, our palace commandants, and our ambassadors. In what high regard he was held in France can be judged from the fact (which I learned from President Loubet) that when the president had to go to Lyons, where threats had been made against his life, he entrusted the arrangements for his security there to Rachkovskii because he had more confidence in him than he had in his own security force.

    " . . . Also travelling with Goremykin were the engineer Belinskii [sic], whose father was a well-known psychiatrist (and later part-time literary figure, part-time police agent), and M.M. Liaschenko, who was to end up in an insane asylum; his father was a cavalry general.

    "Well, the members of Goremykin's party made agreements with various English industrial firms, among them an agreement to build a circular railroad on the docks near Petersburg. The "well-known" Tatischev, our financial agent in Paris, reported to me (I filed the report in the archive of the Ministry of Finance) that there had been some improprieties in connection with these agreements and added that he could not believe that Goremykin was aware of them. But a reading of the report indicates that if Goremykin had not had a hand in these arrangements, he was certainly aware of them."

    As early as March 1899 there had been rumours of Tsar Nicholas II's dissatisfaction with Ivan Goremykin and that he was soon to be replaced by Sergei Witte. The axe fell whilst Goremykin was in England negotiating the railway loan behind Witte's back. He was sacked in absentia, only learning about it on his return to Russia in October 1899, and as a consequence Balinsky lost his financial support.

    How does all of this square with Anderson's footnote?

    Firstly, Anderson is out by two years in his alleged meeting with Goremykin and Ratchkovsky on their only trip together to England. Secondly, we have to ask why Tsar Nicholas II would bestow a prestigious honour upon Anderson for protecting Goremykin [this was the purpose of Rachkovsky's presence], a man who at the time was undermining the authority of his Minister of Finance and who was destined for the political wilderness [he later redeemed himself, partly because of The Protocols of the Elders of Zion, to become Prime Minister in 1906].

    So from where could the story have come of Rachkovsky offering Anderson the Order of St. Anne, an honour he "declined for somewhat quixotic reasons" and "ever since regretted that I did so"?

    Perhaps its genesis is to be found here, in "Fontanka 16" [the title is the St Petersburg address of the Tsarist secret police], by Charles A. Ruud and Sergei A. Stepanov, published by McGill-Queen's University Press 1999—

    S.E. Zvoliansky, an emissary from the department of police, investigated Pyotr Ivanovich Rachkovsky's Paris Okhrana operation, concluding that the Foreign Agency was "among the best (if not the best)" of Russia's security sections, and that all credit belonged to Rachkovsky.

    "Zvoliansky helped bring about the awarding of a medal to Rachkovsky, when a report deplored his lack of decoration despite 'fifteen years' of accomplished security work. [In early 1899] Rachkovsky received the Order of St. Anna, third class."

    Pyotr Ivanovich Rachkovsky died in 1910, the year of Anderson's memoirs.

    These are the historical facts at our current disposal. More will emerge in the future. In the meantime I leave it to you to decode Sir Robert Anderson's footnote and decide its truthfulness.


    Last edited by Simon Wood; 06-13-2010, 11:57 PM. Reason: rogue asterisks

  • #2

    Hello Simon. Thanks for posting this. A good deal of research is involved here. This will challenge some of us to rethink a few things about Sir Robert.

    I look forward to your further posts.

    The best.


    • #3
      To Simon

      A brilliant bit of research. Absolutely fascinating!

      It comes as no surprise to me, regarding the Order of St Anne conundrum.

      My take on the Anderson memoirs, for what this is worth, is that they reveal a terribly vain man who could never admit a mistake. Moreover, he had to be the hero, or the cleverest person, in all his tiresome anecdotes.

      Yet who was also, on balance. not a racist or anti-Semite -- at least not compared to the rigidly sectarian standards of his own time.

      Reactionary and conservative about crime and poverty, Anderson was also trying to be a straight, principled, Christian law enforcer -- as he understood it. For example, he claims in his memoirs that when he raided some den of iniquity frequented by middle or upper-class gentleman gamblers, he made no allowance for the culprits being members of the 'better classes'. Admirably fair if true [I cannot imagine Macnaghten doing such a thing? I think he'd have tipped off his fellow 'clubby cronies' without a second thought]

      Anyhow, 'The Lighter Side of My Official Life' is pretty standard stuff for memoirs: egocentric, self-serving, and often inaccurate.

      My opinion is that Anderson, on the Ripper, was sincere but mistaken.


      • #4

        Hello Jonathan. I like your take on Anderson (and MacNaughten!). And, as a matter of fact, your opinion is worth a good deal--at least, from my point of view.

        I wish we could determine just how good/bad Anderson's memory actually was. I wonder if his vanity could have forced him into what psychologists refer to as reconstructed memories?



        • #5
          Hi Lynn and Jonathan,

          Thank you for your comments. Unlike myself, you are both uber-charitable about SRA's forgettery.

          I believe Anderson knew full well the "identity" of JtR, but was buggered if he was going to tell anyone [traditions of his old department etc], and picked the Polish Jew from Macnaghten's memorandum just to keep his go-to guy reputation intact and the Ripper "mystery" nicely simmering.

          Interesting, don't you think, that in 1910 not a soul believed him?

          That should tell us a lot.




          • #6
            Originally posted by Simon Wood View Post
            ...Rachovsky died in 1910...

            Hello Simon,

            So forgive me.... let me get this right...... he writes about an offered honour, (which happens to be the same one the Head of Ochrana is given), which cannot be proven, after the man who DID get the award had died?....and his claim cannot be verified after various international archives have been delved into? Err.... what is there to tell us this claim is actually truthful?

            Forgive my cynicism.

            Excellent research once again Simon, very intruiging, and well presented. Many thanks for sharing this with us.

            best wishes

            Chelsea FC. TRUE BLUE. 💙

            Justice for the 96 = achieved
            Accountability? ....


            • #7
              This is very interesting. The main thing that strikes me here is Ratchkosky (sp) would not have had the authority to offer the Order Of St Anne or any other Russian order.If the Tsar had wanted to offer an order it would have been done by somebody higher ranking.The Russians had very strict protocol about these things.

              That is odd. It doesn't reconcile with Andersons ideas about honesty because either Ratchkosky lied to Anderson or Anderson was perhaps misinterpreting what he was being offered.

              An overview of Russian Orders

              Last edited by belinda; 06-14-2010, 06:05 AM.


              • #8
                brave brave Sir Robert

                Hello Simon. You are right. I am being VERY charitable here. I try to overlook the peccadillos of another being aware of my own full fledged peccata.

                Of course, the upshot is the same in either case--Anderson's assessment is to be taken cum grano salis as evidenced by the fact that (as you rightly point out) his opinion seems to have reached "chuckle status" later on ("[heh-heh] Anderson only THOUGHT he knew.").



                • #9
                  I don't think I am being charitable.

                  I think somewhere between 1881 and 1895 Anderson chose a suspect whom Macnaghten had found, who was local, mad, perhaps suspected by his own relations, certainly permanently incarcerated and -- according to Anderson's memoirs -- this Polish Jew's name was on some kind of Whitechapel police list done in 1888.

                  Anderson over-reached about this legit suspect for a number of reasons, the most important of which was his fading, self-serving memory projecting back his strong police suspicions into 1888.

                  Another contributory factor, I believe, was that Macnaghten -- whom he despised -- had chosen Montie Druitt; a fellow English, Gentleman, Gentile, Anglican and so the incredibly mean-spirited Anderson chose the polar opposite: Kosminski [first name forgotten].

                  This was a minor suspect rejected by Mac, yet Anderson chose him as the anti-Druitt to annoy his junior officer, to frustrate him, to deny him the glory -- initially an internal-bureaucratic one -- of having found the fiend in the drowned barrister of years before. This embarrassing suspect, unknown to Scotland Yard, made a chump out of Anderson and this was thus unacceptable to his brittle ego.

                  To be fair, Anderson may have also thought that Druitt was not nearly as strong a suspect as Macnaghten blathered on about; this insufferably amateur ''Sherlock swooning over a supposedly real life 'Jekyll-Hyde' maniac.

                  Then Anderson began hinting to the press about the un-named Kosminski, without mentioning the possibility of the un-named Druitt being the fiend.

                  In response to this bastardry, Mac began briefing credulous ,literary cronies making it very clear, in the Aberconway Rewrite, that Druitt was his suspect, not his superior's, and that the Polish Jew suspect was not the killer -- as the latter was harmlessly out and about for a considerable time after the Kelly murder (Sims, 1907).

                  I think that the rivalry between Anderson and Macnaghten over the Ripper, and who identified the mad miscreant, is one of the elements of the mystery completely missed by many researchers. That this rivalry was very personal but also very English; neither mentions the other by name in their respective memoirs.

                  Anderson's foolish bragging about a 'definitely ascertained fact', his playing fast and loose with the hunt for Sadler and the failed identification by Lawende, is really an expression of this intense, bitter rivalry -- of his rejection of Mac's 'Drowned Doctor' mythos. Strange that Anderson, so quick and tart with with his criticisms of just about everybody, never mentions the tormented figure promoted by Griffiths and Sims, nor even alludes to this suspect to, at least, dismiss it as balderdash?

                  Because that would mean giving Mac any credibility at all. Plus the latter was the Assistant Commissioner by then.

                  This was a bitterness rendered forever acute if Mac warned Anderson, in 1891, not to bother with Sadler as the fiend if he had just received hot information about Druitt from Farquharason, or at least to proceed cautiously. As in, let us not get burned again by the tabloids [they were burned, and by Sims too] over the elusive East End assassin.

                  Macnaghten, in his 1914 memoirs, dealt with Kosminski by simply dumping him completely, plus adding the passing jibe that the killer was never in an asylum, and never the subject of a satisfying eyewitness account [this required Macnaghten risking offending Sims whom he had briefed in 1902 that Druitt had 'twice' been temporarily incarcerated in an asylum].

                  Anderson honestly exaggerated, but he was also driven by top cop rivalry -- in my opinion.


                  • #10

                    Hello Jonathan. Fascinating. Do you think also that Anderson's self image as a devout person further set him at loggerheads with Mac whose image may have appeared to Sir Robert as something of a playboy/clubman type?



                    • #11
                      Hi Lynn and Jonathan,

                      I'll bet Anderson found Macnaghten insufferably amiable, and Macnaghten found Anderson just plain insufferable.

                      It's interesting that neither man mentioned the other in their memoirs. Funny what tricks the memory can play.




                      • #12
                        To Lynn

                        I would not go so far as to say 'playboy' in connection with Anderson's derisive opinion of Macnaghten. More likely 'coward' which is much stronger and more offensive.

                        For that is is the only un-named reference to Macnaghten [according to Swanson's other annotation] in Anderson's memoirs. Imagine you are the Assistant Commissioner and that old coot has brought out his laughably vain memoirs and the only reference to yourself, after a dozen years of serving under that old coot, is the tiny but extremebly bitchy mention of a senior policeman who was frantic over some threatening correspondence.

                        Mac saw himself as the Action Man, the Etonian Super-Cop, rushing to the scene of every major crime. He even had that poor, innocent, wrongly convicted Adolf Beck over for tea in his own home.

                        So this was a low blow by Anderson in 1910. Even if true, Macnaghten's service as a top cop amounted to more than that, amd yet this is the only reference. Mac responded in his own memoirs by dedicating them to Anderson's successor, the finest cop he ever knew, and not mentioning his loathed predecssor at all. He also of course wrote very differently about the Ripper too -- for an entire chapter!

                        Oh yeah the fiend's identity was pretty close to a 'definitely ascertained fact' alright, it is just that Scotland Yard did not zero in on him until 'some years after' he suicided. They had some facts about the chief suspect but were too incompetent to follow them up. He makes it very clear that he himself was not responsible for this blunder, but takes credit for 'laying the ghost' of the murderer at some future date.

                        Macnaghten also poignantly claims that he went down to Whitechapel and felt compassion for the harlots he met with, and gives all the victims at least the dignity of their names. By contrast, Anderson does not name them, and pretty much blames these 'criminals' for their own deaths at the hands of this minor, tabloid-enlarged maniac.

                        Macnaghten pictures the Ripper as an omnipotent, sexually-insane madman, an East End Nero, one who could look a perfectly ordinary person in a London crowd, and who made government officials tremble -- and even resign. Macnaghten further twists the knife into Anderson by making ti clear that the police were still hunting a victim in 1891 [the un-named Coles] believeing that this might be the work of the same 'mad miscreant'.

                        Therefore, Macnaghten's 1914 version of the Whitechapel murders are diametrically opposed to Anderson's of 1910; the fiend was a Gentile, not a poor Jew, one who had never been incarcerated in an asylum, nor picked out by a Supergrass. The police did not get onto him in 1888, but years later when it was too late as he had killed himself -- because of some horror-meltdown and not a police dragnet -- after the Kelly murder.

                        This war of the memoirs is an upper-class, British-style Stalinism; the air-brushing out of your hated rivals and their careers.