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  • #16
    Hi Jonathan.

    I’m not one for conspiracy theories and in order for Tumblety to have been seen as an important suspect to Scotland Yard only a conspiracy theory can explain why he was unknown until Littlechild wrote about him. And, although a modern case has been made against him, there is no real evidence that Tumblety was anything more than one of the hundreds of men picked up and questioned then let loose (and we only have his word for that). There certainly seems to be no evidence that he was Monro’s “hot potato.” Therefore the CID silence on Tumblety is deafening only if there was some evidence actually pointing to his guilt and, as Littlechild himself suggests that he was not the Ripper, this seems unlikely.

    One thing seems clear, however, that the police officials of the day had no clue as to who the Ripper actually was. We have been offered various names by various officials but this seems more like men stumbling around in the dark than a grand conspiracy to hide Tumblety’s name from the public. All this has resulted in is more questions than answers. Why not just come up with one theory and have everyone reading from the same page? Why, also, would they want to hide the name of a man who had left England before the deaths of Rose Mylett, Alice McKenzie, the Pinchin Street Torso and Francis Coles? All were part of the Whitechapel Murder Investigation. None could be placed at Tumblety’s door.



    • #17
      Hi Michael.

      The latest A-Z (not counting the brand new one out next spring/early summer) that you could have consulted would have to be the 1996 Headline edition. That’s thirteen years ago and, as you know, a lot more research has been carried out since then. I have written two articles on this very subject so I’m speaking with some knowledge.

      The only connection that has so far been made between Andrews’ trip and the Whitechapel Murders has been through Tumblety. We know of no other reason to connect the murder investigation and the United States at that particular time. However, Andrews didn’t go anywhere near New York and Tumblety even though he was free to do so if he wanted to. Andrews, instead, spent most of his time in Toronto and southern Ontario.

      He reportedly travelled to Windsor and then across the border to Detroit where he had a conference with a man who was possibly ex-Scotland Yard Inspector James Thompson. Thompson was working for the Times trying to persuade Irish revolutionary, and long time British double agent, General Francis Millen to give evidence against Parnell. Andrews also reportedly travelled to Niagara (now Niagara on the Lake) and then to Niagara Falls where he crossed the border and had another conference with three men, one of whom was supposedly Inspector Frederick Jarvis of Scotland Yard. Tim Riordan, in his excellent new book Prince of Quacks, suggests that Andrews was meeting with Pinkertons agents who were also gathering information against Parnell. After this meeting Andrews packed his bags and headed back to England.

      In fact had he been involved in the States on business of the Commission held that winter, he would have also known of Tumblety's associations with Fenian interests…We also have speculation that The Ripper was a senior Fenian organizing the assassination plot on Balfour.
      There is no concrete evidence that Tumblety had any connection whatsoever with the Fenians or any other Irish revolutionary organization. This is pure speculation and is not supported by the actual facts. If Scotland Yard bothered to send Andrews all the way across the Atlantic in pursuit of Tumblety one would have expected him, at the very least, to go to the last place he was known to have been seen, New York City, and try to pick up a lead on the man. As I stated, Andrews didn’t get within 500 miles of New York or Tumblety.



      • #18
        Hi Wolf,

        while I don't particularly think Tumbelty (or indeed anyone particular) was the Ripper, I think a conspiracy theory to explain why he wasnt mentioned/apparently wasnt mentioned by the police until the Littlechild letter a bit drastic. After all, may files, we know are missing, and many of the other main policeman clearly favoured other suspects such as Kosminski. Again, i am not particularly arguing with your main points - as I don't have a strong enough opinion to feel urged to dispute. I do not a lot of interesting work has been done on this suspect recently by Tim Riordian, RJ Palmer, Simon Wood and others.

        My Dad seems to favour Tumbelty - so I always keep a keen eye out for info about him!

        Hope my interpution was not too off topic

        “be just and fear not”


        • #19
          Hot Potato

          Has anyone considered that Monro's words were taken out of context by his son? A hot potato is, in fact, something that no one wants to touch, or that one wants to pass on to another, such as in the game of 'hot potato'.

          Yours truly,

          Tom Wescott


          • #20
            Wolf, I appreicate what you are saying but I am not suggesting a conspiracy in the way that emotive word conjures up.

            Just that certain senior policemen and officials were not interested in ever mentioning that infernal man's name again. Because negative publicity-wise somehow Scotland Yard dodged a bullet in late 1888 and early 1889.

            It makes me wonder if the newspaper proprieters were told that Tumblety was suspected of Irish terrorist activities and therefore, under the Official Secrets Act, his name, his story, one looming so large in American tabloids was not ot be repeated. A bit like the way Americans knew all about Mrs Simpson whilst the British public had practically never heard of her until Edward VIII abdicated -- and that relationship was not even a state secret!

            The few sources we have on Tumblety pass the historical test of making him a major suspect -- if not THE suspect, which is not the same as saying he must have been guilty. It's not evidence which could be used in a criminal trial.

            The strength of the Littlechild Letter as a source is that is primary, albeit late. He was a top cop with no known axe to grind, no bias about the Ripper's identity -- nothing to prove. As a source that is arguably superior to Anderson and Swanson. Littlechild thought Tumblety very likely to be the Ripper. This is despite knowing that the police investigation by CID was not shut down after he fled, and knowing that he was a mysoginist but not a sadist. Littlechild's quater-century old suspicion suggests that Tumblety was never cleared of the murders.

            This primary souce is backed up by the two British papers which mention Tumblety, though not by name, and by a profusion of American tabloids. They claim that Tumblety was a major suspect, which one would expect to be denied from England if he was not.

            No such denial was ever issued because the story never made it back across the Atlantic.

            A case can be made that, amongst Inspector Andrews' multiple duties, was to probe for Tumblety in North America. He could do this by cable. It is just as easy to argue that the Parnell angle was to cover his awkward attemps to liase with NYC police over this Ripper suspect, as it was the other way round.

            Tumblety's interview is a scream but also an invaluable primary source. That he was arrested and charged as the Ripper, which is backed by other US papers -- though not Littlechild -- and that he frequented Whitechapel and that, by implication, he had no alibi for any of the murders as he offered none.

            I agree that Ripper police hunters being so agitated by Tom Sadler in 1891 is a very strong indication that, by then, Scotland Yard were staisfied that Tumblety was not the Fiend -- or at least hoped he wasn't. This does not mean he had not been the major suspect of 1888 -- according to one interpretation of the surviving primary sources.

            Consider this.

            In 1888 there was a major Ripper suspect, a dodgy medico, who managed to escape police/court clutches.

            Twenty years later English readers of George Sims 'know' that the Ripper was an unemployed doctor who barely escaped police clutches -- by drowning himself in the Thames [a much more satisfying story, that second version, for Sims' readers and the police]

            A 1913 letter by a senior policeman, to Sims, exposes -- perhaps inadvertently -- the messy truth about Tumblety behind the cosy 'Drowned Dcotor' myth.

            To me that exposes a bureaucratic embarassment -- inverted into a near triumph for public consumption -- not a conspiracy.


            • #21
              The Return Of Monro To Be Marked By Capture Of Hot potato

              So, could it be that the newspaper columnist who prophesized that Monro's return to the Commissionership, in late 1888, would be garnished by the capture of the Hot potato, was not referring to Cold Toast boring Druitt but....James Kelly?? JOHN RUFFELS.


              • #22
                food for thought

                Hello John. Good post. Your speculation really makes the gravy thick, eh?

                The best.


                • #23
                  Littlechild Liked BAKED POTATOES

                  I have been reading some recollections by Littlechild of his shadowing suspects to their houses and standing outside all night. What with the drizzle and the cold, he said he was glad to finish work and get a Roast Potato!!

                  Given that Monro would have known Littlechild......You don't suppose Monro liked them too? Do you?


                  • #24
                    If Monro really told his son that the Ripper case was a 'hot potato' then it could be because of Druitt?

                    In the sense that Monro, Macnaghten's patron, was referring to Scotland Yard not knowing about Druitt as the chief Ripper suspect until 'some years after' he killed himself?

                    If anybody recalled the Sadler debacle they would see that the police - or as the tabloids would unfairly portray it -- were vainly trying to railroad an innocent man.

                    Monro's cunning protege arguably took care of this hot potato, by creating the canonical five, de-emphasizing Coles and Sadler from the tale, and making Druitt libel-proof to the Home Office [run by the Liberals in 1894] and to the public [The Drowned Doctor 1898 to 1914].


                    • #25
                      Was this the Hot potato ?

                      In 1995 Monro's grandson, Christopher Monro, disclosed that Monro had been convinced that Montague Druitt had been Jack the Ripper but was prevented from saying so. William Druitt, brother of Montague, had threatened that if his brother was named, he would reveal that there were homosexuals in high positions in Parliament, the Bar, the Army and the Church. Christopher Monro was told this by his father Douglas Monro, who had examined Monro's papers after his death.[



                      • #26
                        Originally posted by timsta View Post
                        In the original game of 'hot potato', obviously the idea is that you pass the potato on before you get burned by it. Warren held on to it for too long, and it burned him.

                        I therefore think the term simply describes a 'case' that one would not want to have placed in one's lap. I don't think there's any 'conspiracy' or 'secret information' here.

                        And since Warren was forced to resign, this dumped the Ripper case, all of the unsolved Whitechapel murders squarely on Munro who probably didn't appreciate the favor! Hot potato indeed! I know I would have been scrambling for any sort of answer that would get the bloody mess off my back!
                        And the questions always linger, no real answer in sight


                        • #27

                          Hello MB. Do you have a source for that?



                          • #28
                            Hello MB. Do you have a source for that?

                            Same question for me.

                            I believe that a misunderstanding of Victorian idiom (different to ours) with its allusions and metaphor, maybe at the root of this.

                            I seem to recall that a comment by magnaten (?) to the effect that JtR knocked out a Chief commissioner and settled the hash of a Home Secretary, as literally interpreted by one writer, who envisaged a fight in an office, involving a suspect (White-eyed man?) and Warren and Matthews.

                            The remark related, of course, to the fact that Warren resigned during the Ripper period (his position partially undermined by a failure to capture the Whitechapel murderer) and Matthews was embarrassed politically by the affir.

                            Could the "hot potato" remark have been similarly misunderstood?

                            Phil H


                            • #29
                              Wow, interesting. Moonbeggar is either pulling our leg or he's quoting from another sources I'm completely unaware of. Spiro's book (JTR & Black Magic) is the only book thus far to give any discussion to Monro and his 'hot potato', but none of this appears in Spiro's book. However, he does talk about Monro's descendants discussing two different memoirs from James Monroe - one being the familiar one that Keith Skinner has, that mentions little of value, and a 2nd with all the behind the scenes stuff, secrets, and his theory on the Ripper. The whereabouts of this second volume are unknown, but presumably still in the family, if it ever existed at all (and I, for one, have serious doubt that it did).

                              Yours truly,

                              Tom Wescott

                              P.S. Ironically, I'm literally eating hot potatoes as I type this.


                              • #30
                                Hi All,

                                According to the Wikipedia entry for James Monro, Moonbeggar's quote is from Colin Kendell, "Jack the Ripper: The Theories and the Facts", Amberley, 2010.


                                Never believe anything until it has been officially denied.