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Macnaughten Memorandum

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  • #46
    Originally posted by Johnr View Post
    Thinking about Chris' question and yes, I have read the Ripperologist article, it should be borne in mind that there may well have been three copies of the Macnaghten Memo.
    The grandson who flitted off to India had one, Lady Aberconway had a second, and the police file contained a neat copy.
    Alarmingly, Macnaghten seems to have been, not only a frustrated frontline detective, ( he reportedly attended several fresh crime scenes ), but he was also a busy collector of Official police property!
    The red ink JTR postcard graced the Macnaghten family home for some years...Macnaghten nearly frightened the life out of his little girl one Sunday after church, when she opened her father's desk drawer and proceeded to open a photo was not recorded she actually laid eyes on the JTR victim photos, but it has been admitted Macnaghten had copies ( true, these could have been copied from the Police negatives).
    But rather as has been argued against Sir Robert Anderson, the morality of these senior officers seemed, at times," a moveable feast".
    As to which of the three versions of the MM was first, and which last, it is interesting Donald Rumbelow in his book "The Complete JTR ", seems to think the one in the SY file is the final copy.
    It is the neatest and least full of (writing) mistakes.
    As to the MM being "full" of mistakes. To me, it appears Anderson, Macnaghten and Abberline and Swanson may have made errors in their written presumptions too. JOHN RUFFELS.

    Not sure why this should be alarming.

    MM himself visited the scene of a murder in which fingerprints brought a conviction (the first such case in the UK). During this visit he helped discover that a major mistake had been made by a PC on the scene.


    • #47

      'bout as radical as a radish, still in the ground, Chris.

      Interesting turn of phrase indeed. Since I'm sure you know that both radish and radical ascend from the same Latin root, radix, radicis (f), which itself means a plant root. Indeed, then, nothing could be more radical than a radish still firmly rooted in the soil.

      "To expose [the Senator] is rather like performing acts of charity among the deserving poor; it needs to be done and it makes one feel good, but it does nothing to end the problem."


      • #48
        The only radish I see, or understand, is on my plate.
        I'll leave you to pull them out of the ground.


        • #49
          Very interesting Jason_C,
          I did not know those facts.Thanks.
          However, I was rather suggesting it was not normal for a high-ranking police bureaucrat to insert himself into sensitive and important crime scenes.
          If it was for an experiment with new procedures (fingerprints) then that's different. But I understand he attended at several other murder sites.
          This could have gotten him a reputation as a bit of a nuisance.
          My reference to his crime scene swoops was more as an aside to my main point that he disregarded police regulations concerning proper disposal of police property.
          And there is also the unexplained presence of crime scene souvenirs in Macnaghten's pal, G. R. Sims' "Crime Museum". Hmmmm. JOHN RUFFELS.


          • #50
            Originally posted by Johnr View Post
            Very interesting Jason_C,
            I did not know those facts.Thanks.
            However, I was rather suggesting it was not normal for a high-ranking police bureaucrat to insert himself into sensitive and important crime scenes.
            If it was for an experiment with new procedures (fingerprints) then that's different. But I understand he attended at several other murder sites.
            This could have gotten him a reputation as a bit of a nuisance.
            My reference to his crime scene swoops was more as an aside to my main point that he disregarded police regulations concerning proper disposal of police property.
            And there is also the unexplained presence of crime scene souvenirs in Macnaghten's pal, G. R. Sims' "Crime Museum". Hmmmm. JOHN RUFFELS.
            Fair enough points.

            More info on MM attending the murder scene in which fingerprints led to the first conviction for murder can be found in his book. From memory, a clumsy PC picked up the murder weapon with his bare hands.



            • #51
              So Where Did The "Final Draft" Copy Of The MM Come To Rest?

              The reason I went on a bit about Macnaghten's possible reputation as a "busybody" turning up at crime scenes and souveniring items...and getting copies of official SY crime scene photographs...was to colour an impression of the personality of the man.
              I think it stuck in his craw that the Metropolitan Police Force were stuck with the slur of failing to capture a serial killer who slew five victims - some under their very noses.
              SPE has said that Sir Robert Anderson would have been aware of Macnaghten's list of suspects.
              So, exactly which file did the MM end up in?
              Is it true the MEPOL files on JTR were officially closed in 1892?
              If the MM was inserted as a secret/ confidential memorandum after the files were closed, is it likely anybody knew it was there? Other than Macnaghten of course.
              I get the impression Anderson did not give sufficient support to the finding of JTR because he had moral attitudes about the victims.Until it was all too late.
              Exactly what was the nature of Anderson's illness which took him urgently to Switzerland ?
              I too think MM's all-knowing aura was assumed after SY was safely sure the JTR murders were definitely over.
              JOHN RUFFELS.


              • #52
                I believe that the Macnaghten Report, nicknamed the 'Aberconway' version', was written around 1898, and backdated to 1894.

                Therefore, I am proposing that the conventional wisdom that it was a 'draft' version of the official version of Macnaghten Report, Feb 1894, filed in Scotland Yard's archives -- is mistaken.

                When I say written I really mean that Macnaghten copied it out almost exactly except for the suspects section, and the lead-in to the suspects section, which he significantly altered to make it more acceptable, and plausible, to literary cronies such as Major Griffiths and George Sims.

                I would like to hear from anybody regarding arguments for and against this theory?


                • #53
                  Macnaghten and his 'Memoranda'

                  John, it is easy to build an impression of Macnaghten's personality from modern secondary sources, but I suggest that a close examination should be made of the contemporary sources and descriptions given by those who knew him, such as Arthur Griffiths.

                  As second in command of the CID it would not be unusual for him to be in possession of victim photographs in cases of particular interest. As we know, Anderson also kept copies of Ripper victim photographs and showed them to a press interviewer. It was not a trait peculiar to Macnaghten. There is no doubt that Andersdon and Macnaghten were very different characters, but it must be remembered that Macnaghten was Anderson's confidential assistant, as well as second in command of the Criminal Investigation Department at Scotland Yard.

                  Of course Anderson would have been aware of the 'Macnaghten Memoranda' of February 1894, naming the suspects. The seven-page 'Macnaghten Memoranda' ended up filed in the Scotland Yard file MEPO 3/141, ff 177-183. Do you not have the standard reference works?

                  The question of the files being 'officially closed' in 1892 is an old chestnut and has been much discussed in the past. This date was arrived at as there are markings on the files 'Closed until 1992', thus indicating, as per the 100-year closure rule, the date of 1892.

                  However, it should be noted that files on unsolved murders are not 'officially closed' until there is no possibility of apprehending an offender. Although there are files in the 'Whitechapel Murders files', post-dating 1892 (1893 and 1896), practically, the active investigation did cease in 1891/2, the 100 years closure rule being convenient to remove the documents from living memory.

                  A study of all the available literature should be sufficient to answer many of your queries, and I should have thought that these sources were available to you. Anderson's views are well known and much-discussed. As regards his 'illness' of September 1888, he stated that "...I was at that time physically unfit to enter on the duties of my new post. For some time past I had not had an adequate holiday, and the strain of long and anxious work was telling on me. 'A man is as old as he feels,' and by this test I was older at that time than when I left office a dozen years later. Dr. Gilbart Smith, of Harley Street, insisted that I must have two months' complete rest, and he added that he would probably give me a certificate for a further two months' 'sick leave.' This, of course, was out of the question. But I told Mr. Matthews, greatly to his distress, that I could not take up my new duties until I had had a month's holiday in Switzerland."

                  Warren's comment to Anderson, on his application for sick leave ( letter dated 28 August 1888) was, "I expect to return to London about 7 Sept. and I see no reason why you should not be able to go on leave a day or two after - you do not say how long you wish to be away - but this will no doubt depend upon the position of affairs...If a month will be enough to put your throat right I think we can manage it." So, make of that what you will.

                  Jonathan H makes a very interesting point and no doubt proposes that the 'Aberconway version' of the Macnaghten Memoranda was written by Macnaghten for Griffiths to use in his Mysteries of Police and Crime which was published in 1898. The version rendered by Griffiths, in this book, closely follows the Aberconway version. A plausible, though debatable, contention I should have thought.

                  Treat me gently I'm a newbie.


                  • #54
                    Thanks Stewart.

                    I will try and debate the proposition, putting forward the majority argument followed by the minority counter-argument.

                    People can then see the merits and demerits of my thinking, for what it is worth, on this thorny issue.

                    The Aberconway version says it is a 'memo' not a Report, and that it pertains to events [eg. 'The Sun's articles about the un-named Cutbush] which happened in Feb, 1894.

                    This seems to establish when it was written, as why on earth would it be written any time later -- and then deceitfully backdated?

                    Since it is different from the filed version in certain details -- most noticeably the latter's deletion of Macnaghten's personal intrusion/opinion into the suspects' section -- it does have the feel of a too-enthusiastic, too-conclusive first draft.

                    A draft which was rejected [perhaps by Anderson] and then rewritten with less personal opinion and more official reserve.

                    It is also not addressed to anybody, as if it is a try-out and not the genuine article [trouble is, neither is the filed version].

                    Also, Macnaghten's daughter, the Dowager Aberconway referred, in the late
                    50's I believe, to this document to be her 'father's notes', again suggesting a draft.

                    The very fact that this copy was kept by Macnaghten, and preserved by his family, strongly implies that it is not an official document. Whereas, an almost identical version of the same document did reside in Scotland Yard's files, and was finally disseminted to the public, in 1975, by Constable Rumbelow.

                    Again, that seems to be compelling evidence that 'Aberconway' came first and the official version -- perhaps composed within mere days, or even hours -- was written second, all in Feb 1894.

                    Then why did Macnaghten, perhaps as late as 1898, show Major Griffiths the 'draft' version rather than the filed version? Which Major Griffiths then used almost word for word in his officially-sanctioned Ripper scoop ['Mysteries of Police and Crime']?

                    A simple answer surely is convenience.

                    Macnaghten entertained the Major, whom he knew well, yapping away in his office about the Ripper case, and claimed that Scotland Yard did have some excellent suspects -- or suspect. How much easier, and less bureaucratically stressful, for Macnaghten to simply reach into the drawer in front of him and hand Griffiths the 'draft' version.

                    After all, why would you bother to go all the way to the cold, dusty official archives?

                    Especially if Macnaghten wanted his crony to be impressed by how much he favoured a particular suspect [eg. Druitt], a strong opinion which had had to be deleted on orders from his stiff-necked, kill-joy superior?

                    I don't buy any of this for the following reasons.

                    First of all, the Aberconway Version is not a set of 'notes' or a memorandum, but a Report.

                    It is Lady Aberconway herself who hand-wrote the suspects section, and it is Lady Aberconway, I believe, who titled it a 'memo', and it is her again who assumed it must have been written at the time of the events it describes -- not her father. [Although these were all fair assumptions].

                    Macnaghten's other literary crony, George Sims, in his 'Drowned Doctor' press battle with Abberline in 1903, refers to the 'Aberconway' version seen by Major Griffiths as a 'final' and 'conclusive' 'Home Office Report'. It is upper class/radical Sims' trump card over this working class ex-cop. As in, I'm pals with the top brass AND I have knowledge of the 'Home Office Report' so what would you know, you vulgarian, lumpen hack!

                    But this is quite a fib if that comes from his pal Macnaghten, by then Assistant Commissioner.

                    Not only did the document not go to the Home Office, nor did the official version.

                    Of course the Major and Sims would have been told that this document was a 'copy' or 'draft' of the definitive Home Office Report, which reflected an 'exhaustive' inquiry [Sims, 1902] which nearly nabbed the [alleged] Blackheath, English Doctor who was homicidally insane towards East End prostitutes.

                    The problem with this, quite apart from Sims' errors about Druitt, is that the version these writers saw, or were briefed about, does not reflect the thrust of the official version at all.

                    In the 1894 version, for file, Macnaghten has not just excluded his personal opinion -- he has totally changed the meaning of the document from one to another.

                    The Official Version essentially says that Cutbush, a cop's nephew', was not the Fiend. Now here are a few suspects, against whom there was no hard evidence whatsoever, but who are far more likely to have been the Ripper -- though not likely in themselves to really have been the Ripper.

                    This is to say the least a very slippery and convoluted argument, especially as these suspects are characterised, quite hyperbolically, as 'homicidal lunatics' when none are known to have killed anybody [Kosminski threatened his sister with a knife; Ostrog tried to do harm to himself whilst cuffed to a cop; and Druitt was known only to have been a danger to himself].

                    Neverthless the Likelier-but-Unlikely trio are listed just after Macnaghten has suggested that they do fit pre-existing npolice notions of what the killer's fate might have been: eg. incarcerated in a Nuthouse [Kosminski] or topped himself [eg. Druitt].

                    Thus these mens' ultimate fates are what gives them their greatest cache as Ripper suspects rather than Cutbush; because they were removed from the scene, right after, or relatively soon after, the Kelly atrocity.

                    There was 'no shadow of proof' against these suspects, which presumably explains why there is no suggestion from Macnaghten that they were ever arrested, or even questioned. Yet, upon reflection, their fates do provide an explanation for the Ripper's sudden cessation of the murders in a way that a living, and temporarily at large, Cutbush does not.

                    Except for one glaring factor.

                    In the Druitt paragragh are two extraordinary and contradictory claims.

                    Macnaghten accepts it as fact that Druitt was 'sexually insane' and also provides 'proof's shadow' by writing that the family 'believed' their member to be Jack the Ripper.

                    This is whilst being uncertain as to whether the suspect was a doctor or not?

                    How could this be?

                    How could you not know such an easily checked matter of indisputable public record, and yet be so certain about the man's private debaucheries, and his family's worst beliefs about their tragic sibling's dual identity?

                    Yet conventional wisdom claims that either Anderson, or simply Macnaghten himself, rejected the Aberconway' draft and started again.

                    But that earlier 'draft' is much more sensible about what is known and not known about Druitt.

                    We are to believe that Macnaghten looked at this 'draft' and removed his personal theorising about Druitt as inappropriate.

                    That's fair enough.

                    Yet what is inexplicable is that he then reassembled the Druitt section and made it ludicrous and bureaucratically indefensible?

                    By this I mean that the Aberconway version is perfectly plausible about Druitt [leaving to one side that it is factually inaccurate] and yet he muddied the waters for THE SECOND VERSION, to be perhaps shown to the Home Sec?!

                    Consider that in Aberconway, supposedly a 'draft', Macnaghten is sure of the public aspects of Druitt's life: a doctor, middle-aged, and seems to have lived at Blackheath with a 'fairly good' family. It is only an allegation that their member was 'sexually insane' [eg. never charged] and they only had a 'suspicion' that he was the Ripper.

                    That all makes sense, the public and private aspects being facts and suspicions in the respective order they should be.

                    It also makes sense in calling the Druitt's a 'fairly good' family because if they were just 'good' they might have contacted police sooner, or their suspicions might have hardened into a 'belief'. But they were only 'fairly good' so the police were hamstrung by these not-very-observant, and not-very-reliable family members.

                    But for the official version Macnaghten not only removes his individual belief in Druitt's guilt, he now reverses what was known and not known about Druitt in a way which makes no police sense, and no common sense.

                    Now Druitt is 'rumoured' to have been a physician, his age and locality are unknown, but we are sure about his private beastiality because the family had no doubt whatsoever (??) Furthermore, they ARE a 'good family' despite knowing/believing that their Montie was a sexually dysfunctional monster.

                    In effect, Macnaghten has transferred his own 'belief' in Druitt's guilt to the family, whilst veiling who exactly this 'M J Druitt' was, or what he did, or where he lived.

                    To me the excuse of memory lapses is implausible, because according to the conventioanal wisdom he was creating the official version from the 'draft' -- presumably right there in front of him.

                    It might just make sense if there was no file to check, and so Macnaghten pulled back on every detail about this suspect; his profession, his age, his locality -- and family suspicion. Instead that last crucial factor, family suspicion, is hardened, as is the reliability/integrity of the family supplying it?

                    If Macnaghten was trying to make the official version seem less reliant on his own personal observations then he failed miserably.

                    For he does not write 'might be a doctor' instead writing 'said to be a doctor', and 'said to be of good family', and 'said to be in the water upwards of a month'.

                    In other words Macnaghten is accusing a deceased gentleman, with no known criminal record, on the basis of hearsay?!

                    Even the circumstances of his vocation and death, easily checkable, are ... hearsay? This apparently comes from 'private information' which he carefully does not identify. So nobody could even check his source?

                    And this is the OFFICIAL version, for file, and possibly also for the Home Sec. to be briefed to answer a potential awkward question, about the Cutbush allegation/implication, in the Commons.

                    Therefore, this is not a version he could possibly have shown to a gruff Major in 1898. Where's the scoop? Where's any reliable information about this Druitt, whom Macnaghten claimed the best bet to be the Fiend?

                    That the Aberconway version is so perfect to showing to a crony to disseminate to the public, then to be expanded upon by London's most popular writer and 'criminologist', is to me too lucky to be true.

                    Macnaghten did not just reach into a drawer and pull out this 'draft', so different from the official version, and -- by luck again -- provide a writer with a plausible chief supect.

                    Macnaghten, I think, in 1898, knowing he was meeting privately with Griffiths, did indeed brave the cold, dusty files of Scotland Yard and pulled out his official 1894 version.

                    Macnaghten had a good hard look at it, and began reconceiving how TO MAKE IT 'scoop' friendly.

                    Aberconway is therefore a 'rewrite', almost word for word, except when it came to the suspects' section.

                    Craftily, Macnaghten transferred the family's certainty to himself whilst ruthlessly down-grading them as somewhat unreliable and uncertain. He also changed the lethally silly 'said to be a doctor' into 'doctor', upped Druitt's age by a decade, and, via the train ticket, gave the impression that Montie lived with family at Blackheath. Furthermore, Kosminski's plausibility gets beefed up too [cop witness] and so does Ostrog [carried surgical knives].

                    This shell game kept the real Druitt, a young barrister with family in Dorset and Bournmouth -- with a city office a stone's throw from the East End -- well hidden from a writer [by no means a journalist, take note] he knew would do zero independent verification. He also knew that Griffiths would not, of course, be using Druitt's name, and even convinced him -- due to the threat of libel -- to further obscure Druitt by changing 'family' into 'friends', and the Major complied.

                    Conventional wisdom, which may be correct, is that this was all a series of happy accidents that the draft was more credible to be shown to a writer, than the second 'authentic' version.

                    If that were so, then why is the official version such an awkward mess of contradictions, if it is the rewrite?

                    I think this strongly indicates that Macnaghten was forced, in the official version, to write something which left him somewhat exposed but he took the gamble.

                    The truth was quite different from the theme of likely-unlikely susoects of the official version. [For one thing, the reason Druitt was not questioned, let alone arrested is no because the ebidence was so thin -- but because he was dead. Their entire knowledge of his very existence was all posthumous, by two years.]

                    That what really happened is that Macnaghten was caught in a bureaucratic bind.

                    In 1891, he met with blabbermouth Farquharson but then took the dangerous and momentous step of meeting with the Druitt family, or a Druitt.

                    They, appaled that their terrible secret had leaked to an M.P., briefed the police chief candidly on their 'belief' in Montie's guilt, and their knowledge of his sexual deviance. They did this because Macnaghten could assure them/him that Farqy would be told to officially shut up, and that their secret would be forever protected.

                    Why wouldn't it be? You cannot arrest the dead.

                    The Druitts also [eg. William the lawyer] made it very clear to Macnaghten, and his unwelcome intrusion into their shattered lives over this Ripper horror, that if they ever saw their name, or any details about themselves or Montie which could identify them -- even amongst just their circle of friends -- they would sue Scotland Yard for libelling their respectable name. On the basis that they had been arguably defamed for not doing enough to stop, or bring to justice, their mad sibling.

                    Macnaghten was very satisfied that he now thought he knew the Fiend's identity, and it might have been left there.

                    Except for the sudden threat of the Cutbush potential-scandal a couple of years later.

                    Hence the official version of Macnaghten's Report -- which was the first version -- having to perilously navigate between the Scylla of exposure [the Druitt's suing] and the Charybdis of truth; that the senior men of Scotland Yard really had at least two Super-suspects much more likely to be the Ripper than this cop's nephew.

                    This is why Macnaghten is careful to give away as little as possible about Druitt.

                    The name is fine [though retracted to Christian initials only], because Home Sec. Asquith will never read that out aloud. So, Druitt's age, his locality, even exactly when he killed himself, are kept out or veiled. Rather than say barrister or teacher, he is given his father's profession of doctor, and if this is incorrect -- which Macnaghten knew it was -- then he has the source of 'private information' to blame.

                    This was risky as it looked like dismissable laziness, but Macnaghten calculated that a politician would let it go, and just say in Parliament 'doctor' and hopefully not query why the police were uncertain about what they would have to be certain about. He also got it onto the record that the family were reliable and 'believed' in their member's guilt.

                    The initial source, M. P. Farquharson, had to be left a conspicuous blank -- even in the version prepared for Major Griffiths.

                    It was both embarassing for the police that a completely non-police source had stumbled upon the Ripper's indentity, when they had been unable to, and it was also political poison to have a Tory backbencher revealed as the Ur-source to a Liberal govt. who might make delicious mischief with the extraordinary revelation that the chief suspect was some sort of cog in the Conservative Party machine.

                    Sims was a slightly different and more dangerous crony to brief on all this because he really was a journalist. He would want to know more, possibly even do some real research.

                    Therefore, Macnaghten dazzled him with the Aberconway re-write, falsely claiming it to be a copy of a definitive Home Office Report. To forestall any attempts by Sims to learn more about the Blackheath doctor, Macnaghten fed him more information, expanding on the fictitious portrait which hid Montie; now he is an unemployed recluse, who lived with chums, and had been twice in an asylum. A gentleman of great affluence, who had not practiced medicine for years and who rode around on public transport to pass the time.

                    All these are completely fictional are traceable exaggerations of the Aberconway version [except for the unemployment detail which is either lifted from Dr Jekyll, or is a gross exaageration of Druitt's dismisal from one of his jobs].

                    In his memoirs Macnaghten pulled back from this deceit -- up to a point. 'Laying the Ghost of Jack the Ripper' is, in effect, the thrird version of his Report, though it never metnions any such Report, for the Home Office or anybody esle. It drops the un-named Kosminski and Ostrog altogether, and strips the un-named Druitt to his bare essentials: a suicided, Christian gentleman about whom the police knew bugger all.

                    Stewart has argued, very sensibly, that the official version of Macnaghten's Report is what should be considered his real opinion of Druitt, not self-serving memoirs published for profit over a generation later.

                    I would agree, except that the memoirs are not as self-serving as they could be, mnot by a long shot. It is the official version which wriggles and contorts all over the place, as one might expect of a document prepared for possibly unsympathetic political masters -- with a lawsuit hanging over the Yard's head.

                    Whereas the memoir admits to something which goes totally against its expected bias [unlike Anderson's]; that the un-named Druitt was not a weak suspect about whom there was little evidence, but rather was a very strong suspect about whom the police were way too late to do anything about.

                    Because Druitt was already long dead.

                    Macnaghten's memoirs admit, towards the end of his life -- in the only Ripper document under his own name for public consumption -- what he would not admit to the Home Sec. or to his literary pals, in either version of his cagey Report.

                    This defacto third version of the Macnaghten Report is Macnaghten liberated, yet with Druitt even more completely unrecoverable; no drowning, no medical job, no Blackheath or Dorset locations, no asylum stays -- almost nothing: Jack the Blank.


                    • #55
                      A very brief comment... re: Sims etc.

                      There are several discrepancies between Sims' Lloyds Weekly News article and the memorandum... for example, Sims says that the Polish Jew "had at one time been employed in a hospital in Poland." This is of course not in the memorandum (or anywhere else)... but I assume that Macnaghten simply told Sims several additional details about Kozminski (and the other suspects). In other words, I picture them sitting around chatting about the suspects in the memo, and Macnaghten filling in some of the details.. etc.

                      Rob H


                      • #56
                        Originally posted by Jonathan H View Post
                        You cannot arrest the dead.
                        Who says so? Lots of dead people have been arrested.


                        • #57
                          To Robhouse

                          Yes, that's my theory.

                          That Sims was more likely to stray than Griffiths, so to speak, and would have to be appeased with more details.

                          Macnaghten simply made up stuff about Druitt, and perhaps Kosminski too.

                          In a sense the Littlechild reply shows exactly the kind of probing by Sims -- getting in touch with other retired top cops from 1888 -- which I think Macnaghten hoped he would not do.

                          And Sims, via Littlechild, really was shown the curtain pulled back to reveal that the Wizard of Oz is all humbug.

                          It is after this letter, in 1915, that Sims, for the only time, names 'Blackheath' as the suburb the Ripper resided in, and also that he lived with his 'people', the same phrase as in Macnaghten's memoirs. That suggests he knew by then that 'friends' was a polite fiction and that it was really 'family' the Fiend lived with -- and that was a lie too.

                          Perhaps to prove Littlechild wrong, or talking about the wrong suspect, Macnaghten showed his anxious pal the 'copy' of his 'Home Office Report' to prove that M J Druitt really was an English doctor who killed himself in the Thames?


                          • #58
                            Belated thanks and ponderings..

                            Thanks very much Stewart,

                            For providing those succinct answers to my many questions. Your patience is considerable.
                            Yes, I should had looked at ' The Ultimate JTR Sourcebook ".And that would have shown me Macnaghten acted as Confidential Secretary to Sir Robert Anderson. thus indicating a closeworking relationship.

                            I do however, have a little difficulty with Macnaghten having his album of JTR victim photos in his desk.Vicarious voyerism? Or Macnaghten's proof the man had to be off his head to commit such crimes?
                            Sure, I am convinced many police souvenired, or acquired prints of lurid crime scene photos.

                            But how did Sims obtain the crime scene items for his Crime Museum? Like the alleged clay pipe? Did Sims have access to murder scenes?

                            I am not sure that Macnaghten's commandeering of the "red Ink JTR letter" original was as legal as his obtaining of copy prints of JTR murder victims.
                            (See Farson's book).

                            And I have always been troubled by the lack of endorsing or initialling of the Macnaghten "Aide Memoire" known as the "official" version of the " Macnaghten Memorandum ".

                            If Anderson read it, and presumeably, Permanent Under Secretaries too, in anticipation of using its contents (or not) in the House, why did that perusal not generate further requests for lines of enquiry? Or suggested other points thought necessary to be included in any paper for the Home Secretary to use?

                            Was Macnaghten the only person to see the MM? And if Anderson did, why did he not record having done so?

                            Finally, turning to Jonathan's scenario and his ingenious theory:it surprises me that not one person, having become the beneficiary of Macnaghten's
                            Solid Gold Tip-Off about the identity of JTR, did not feel the surreptitious urge to go out and find out more about the alleged chief suspect.

                            Weren't they human beings with a spark of curiosity?This was the biggest crime sensation of the Nineteenth Century! JOHN RUFFELS.


                            • #59
                              The Macnaghten Memoranda

                              Originally posted by Johnr View Post
                              Thanks very much Stewart,
                              And I have always been troubled by the lack of endorsing or initialling of the Macnaghten "Aide Memoire" known as the "official" version of the " Macnaghten Memorandum ".
                              If Anderson read it, and presumeably, Permanent Under Secretaries too, in anticipation of using its contents (or not) in the House, why did that perusal not generate further requests for lines of enquiry? Or suggested other points thought necessary to be included in any paper for the Home Secretary to use?
                              Was Macnaghten the only person to see the MM? And if Anderson did, why did he not record having done so?
                              Finally, turning to Jonathan's scenario and his ingenious theory:it surprises me that not one person, having become the beneficiary of Macnaghten's
                              Solid Gold Tip-Off about the identity of JTR, did not feel the surreptitious urge to go out and find out more about the alleged chief suspect.
                              Weren't they human beings with a spark of curiosity?This was the biggest crime sensation of the Nineteenth Century! JOHN RUFFELS.
                              The 'Macnaghten Memoranda' is written on official embossed 'Metropolitan Police Office' paper and remained in the Metropolitan Police files. It is dated 23rd Feb. 1894.

                              I have discussed all this in the past and it is covered in the new edition of The Man Who Hunted Jack the Ripper. The resurgent press interest in 'Jack the Ripper' at that time was obviously causing the police some concern especially as a 'rogue' detective inspector (Race) had apparently leaked information to the press as a result of his frustration at not having been credited with the apprehension of the murderer (Cutbush). It requires little imagination to picture the consternation of the Chief Commissioner (Sir Edward Bradford), especially as there were rumblings of a public investigation. "What is all this about!", we can imagine him crying to his subordinates Anderson and Macnaghten at their daily briefing. Answers were needed and a certain detective inspector had seriously blotted his copybook.

                              This, then, was the genesis of the 'memoranda'. The scenario is that Macnaghten was tasked with supplying Anderson and the Commissioner with enough information to address any queries that may have emanated from the Home Office in this regard. Indeed, The Sun of 19 February 1894, just four days before Macnaghten penned the 'memoranda', indicated their desire to carry the matter further and they consulted the radical MP Henry Labouchere. Macnaghten would have submitted the 'memorandum' directly to Anderson, observing usual police protocol, and there would be no need for any endorsing or initialling of such a report which was confined to the eyes of the 'top three' officers involved.

                              In the event the whole matter seems to have 'died a death', no doubt put down to press sensationalism and it was probably felt better to ignore it rather than give it any sort of official recognition. No questions were raised in the House and the 'memoranda' was duly filed, possibly for future reference should it be required. No report, apparently, was asked for by, or sent to, the Home Office but the matter may well have been discussed at the Police/Home Office routine briefing.

                              There has been (and is) considerable discussion about the Aberconway, or draft, version of this report. We have seen it discussed here in this very thread. It must be looked at in context and with reference to all the surrounding circumstances and personalities involved. Other than the senior officers at New Scotland Yard the only others apparently aware of it, or the contents, were Major Arthur Griffiths and George R. Sims. Griffiths, like Macnaghten, Anderson and Bradford, was a senior government official and not a 'civvie' as we would call them today. Sims, although of high social status and renown, was not an official and was also a journalist. It is fair to assume that Griffiths would be privy to more than Sims and at an earlier date. It is for this reason that I think that Griffiths would have been aware of the suspects, and have discussed them, with both Anderson and Macnaghten as early as 1894/5 just after the Cutbush controversy. This is borne out by Griffiths article of early 1895 published in the Windsor Magazine. In this article Griffiths says of Anderson, "He has himself a perfectly plausible theory that Jack the Ripper was a homicidal maniac, temporarily at large, whose hideous career was cut short by committal to an asylum", indicating that Anderson had imparted the incarcerated Polish Jew suspect theory to Griffiths.

                              Treat me gently I'm a newbie.


                              • #60
                                Stewart, any idea why TP O'Connor didn't raise the issue in the House? According to the Hansard site, 1894 was the only year in his 49 year career as an MP in which he didn't speak at all (except for 1929 which was his last year as an MP).