Announcement

Collapse
No announcement yet.

Macnaughten Memorandum

Collapse
X
 
  • Filter
  • Time
  • Show
Clear All
new posts

  • Michael W Richards
    replied
    Originally posted by rjpalmer View Post
    Everyone always refers to Robert Anderson as Sir Robert Anderson.

    But most theorists refer to Macnaghten as plain ol' Macnaghten.

    Even the title of this thread misspells his name.

    Sir Mel is given less respect than even Rodney Dangerfield.
    Maybe because his Top 3 suspects for the "5 victims only" attributed to Jack include a man who was in jail during the murders, a local Polish jew who had "circumstances" which made him a strong suspect, and someone who committed suicide.

    And as for Anderson, I just call him Mr Jew Hater.

    Leave a comment:


  • mpriestnall
    replied
    Originally posted by Herlock Sholmes View Post

    It’s a good point Roger. I know that it suits some to wrongly portray him as an idiot though.

    Cue my stalker……….
    To coin a phrase.
    Last edited by mpriestnall; 11-19-2021, 09:10 AM.

    Leave a comment:


  • Herlock Sholmes
    replied
    Originally posted by rjpalmer View Post
    Everyone always refers to Robert Anderson as Sir Robert Anderson.

    But most theorists refer to Macnaghten as plain ol' Macnaghten.

    Even the title of this thread misspells his name.

    Sir Mel is given less respect than even Rodney Dangerfield.
    It’s a good point Roger. I know that it suits some to wrongly portray him as an idiot though.

    Cue my stalker……….

    Leave a comment:


  • rjpalmer
    replied
    Everyone always refers to Robert Anderson as Sir Robert Anderson.

    But most theorists refer to Macnaghten as plain ol' Macnaghten.

    Even the title of this thread misspells his name.

    Sir Mel is given less respect than even Rodney Dangerfield.

    Leave a comment:


  • Simon Wood
    replied
    Hi Stewart,

    I quote from your post #59 on this threadó

    "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 never handled or seen the original Macnaghten Memorandum, but I'm guessing that you have.

    Could you please tell me if the PDF file as seen in 'Official Documents' on Casebook is the original 24th February 1894 document as written by MM.

    Regards,

    Simon

    Leave a comment:


  • Johnr
    replied
    Lingering Macnaghten Matters

    I am indebted to you once again Stewart,

    For taking time out despite your busy writing and researching tasks, to respond to questions which I should readily have been able to turn up here and elsewhere.

    In my last post I said:

    [I]"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).[/
    I]


    I would be very interested in your reply to those questions . Given your vast JTR holdings, your knowledge of police procedures, and your many years toiling in the vineyard of Ripper Studies.

    I agree with you about Anderson and Macnaghten. And particularly, your scenario about Macnaghten sharing more details re the MM with Griffiths than Sims.

    And to Jonathan,

    Thanks for your response too.Whilst it is impossible at this remove to verify what passed unrecorded, between Macnaghten and Sims and others, I still feel Farquharson would have told vastly more people than has so far, been uncovered.

    The Druitt Suspicion was his theory;almost his dogma or religion.
    He was a Druitt " Enthusiast" in current parlance.

    For this reason, I think, not only the 1891 pupil or ex-pupil , or local inhabitant, or local gossip, or fellow political colleague of Farquharson's, but countless dozens of others would have been aware of Farquharson's Theory.

    But. Just as Macnaghten seems to have definitely heard his theory, so to, from some quarter to both Macnaghten and Farquharson, came a warning that some legal retribution might eventuate from publicly articulating the Farquharson Theory.

    Is it possible the Treasury Solicitor or the Solicitor General was consulted after the possible suicide of JTR?

    Another prospect which interests me about Macnaghten.

    Was he a bit of an amateur psychologist? Was Anderson?

    Macnaghten seems to have formed strong views about JTR's mental state and the particular mental affliction he suffered from. I wonder who Macnaghten consulted? JOHN RUFFELS.

    Leave a comment:


  • Jonathan H
    replied
    To Stewart

    I think Anderson telling Griffiths in 1895 about the un-named Kosminski is what triggered an alarmed Macnaghten to propagate, in a couple of years, his preferred suspect, Druitt, and to head off what I think he perceived as his superior's ugly, anti-Semitic-driven agenda.

    That is why, I believe, he composed the 'Aberconway' version, which he deceitfully claimed to Griffths, or at least Sims, was a copy of a 'final' and 'conclusive' Home Office Report -- which it was not.

    Also, if I am wrong, why did Griffiths change the Druitt 'family' into 'friends'?

    The dissemination of the un-named Kosminski and Druitt cannot be separated from the fact that Anderson and Macnaghten were rivals, and loathed each other.

    They never mention the others' suspects, or even each others' existence in their respective memoirs.

    To Johnr

    I think that Macnaghten kept pics of the Ripper killiings not because he was a bit unsavory but simply because he believed, rightly or wrongly, that he, and no other policeman, had 'caught' Jack the Ripper -- albeit posthumously.

    Leave a comment:


  • robhouse
    replied
    I am not sure when Sims learned of the Memorandum, but according to the casebook page (http://www.casebook.org/press_reports/dagonet.html), it seems his first writings on the subject are January 1899, when he wrote:

    "Almost immediately after this murder he drowned himself in the Thames. his name is perfectly well known to the police."

    In March 1903, Sims wrote the following, which suggests that he understood the memo to have been submitted to the Home Office. Not sure if that was actually the case, but anyway:

    ""Jack the Ripper" committed suicide after his last murder - a murder so maniacal that it was accepted at once as the deed of a furious madman. It is perfectly well know at Scotland Yard who "Jack" was, and the reasons for the police conclusions were given in the report to the Home Office, which was considered by the authorities to be final and conclusive."

    Rob H

    Leave a comment:


  • Robert
    replied
    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).

    Leave a comment:


  • Stewart P Evans
    replied
    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.

    Leave a comment:


  • Johnr
    replied
    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.

    Leave a comment:


  • Jonathan H
    replied
    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?

    Leave a comment:


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

    Leave a comment:


  • robhouse
    replied
    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

    Leave a comment:


  • Jonathan H
    replied
    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.

    Leave a comment:

Working...
X