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The `Reverand Dott letter to Australia

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  • #31
    Originally posted by Abby Normal View Post


    Hi Paul
    for me its the harshness expressed to the "jew Kominsky" and his "devil tongue" and hanging etc. from such a loving and spiritual person.
    the brevity of the letter is strange too.
    Yes, you're probably right about the harshness. As for the brevity, it was considered good manners in Victorian times to reply to letters, but that put a burden on the recipient to find interesting things to say, rather like having to write a relative a thank you note for a present received at Christmas or a birthday. Letters could be short and inconsequential for that reason.

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    • #32
      Originally posted by Sam Flynn View Post
      I don't really find it odd, Paul - quite the contrary, in fact. The letter seems to be following a "make your own Victorian" recipe: formal but slightly iffy phrasing ("I duly received your letter"?), praising God and saying prayers, sentimentality, illness, death. Then, like a bolt from the blue (or an elephant in a room) there's this sudden burst about Kosminski, before the letter ends with a genteel whimper, with a few more religious references thrown in like a Good Victorian™.
      God, illness, sentimentality, and death. The Victorian obsessions. You'd find them in a genuine Victorian letter and you'd find them in a fake. I'm interested in what distinguishes the one from the other. And why a faker would have chosen to reflect those obsessions evangelistically, even to the point of mentioning 'dispensation'. When discussing fakes we always seem to run into the same old problem of a supposed faker apparently having the sort of knowledge that means he could have produced a better fake. Do we see the reference to Kosminski as a 'sudden burst' of interest between banalities because Kosminski means something too us? Would it seem that way if the name was Smith or Jones?

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      • #33
        Originally posted by Harry D View Post
        Assuming for the sake of argument that it's completely legit, what does it prove? Attacking someone with a pair of scissors isn't quite the same as methodically killing and mutilating people. And we already know Kos had piques of violence when he threatened his sis with a knife and threw a chair at an asylum attendant.
        It doesn't prove anything or even add anything to what we already know. But it would be another little peep through the keyhole into the past, a sort of written photo of an incident. And I guess there's always the hope that we might learn more about Kosminski if the author and particularly Mary and where she ran back to could be identified. Every little helps...

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        • #34
          Originally posted by PaulB View Post

          God, illness, sentimentality, and death. The Victorian obsessions. You'd find them in a genuine Victorian letter and you'd find them in a fake. I'm interested in what distinguishes the one from the other. And why a faker would have chosen to reflect those obsessions evangelistically, even to the point of mentioning 'dispensation'. When discussing fakes we always seem to run into the same old problem of a supposed faker apparently having the sort of knowledge that means he could have produced a better fake. Do we see the reference to Kosminski as a 'sudden burst' of interest between banalities because Kosminski means something too us? Would it seem that way if the name was Smith or Jones?
          yes, someone would still probably find some connection to the ripper lol.
          and thanks for responding to my last post.
          "Is all that we see or seem
          but a dream within a dream?"

          -Edgar Allan Poe


          "...the man and the peaked cap he is said to have worn
          quite tallies with the descriptions I got of him."

          -Frederick G. Abberline

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          • #35
            Originally posted by PaulB View Post

            God, illness, sentimentality, and death. The Victorian obsessions. You'd find them in a genuine Victorian letter and you'd find them in a fake. I'm interested in what distinguishes the one from the other. And why a faker would have chosen to reflect those obsessions evangelistically, even to the point of mentioning 'dispensation'.
            Well, the letter was allegedly discovered in a book by Booth in the library of a theological college. So anyone planting it there would probably have an interest in the subject.

            Do we see the reference to Kosminski as a 'sudden burst' of interest between banalities because Kosminski means something too us? Would it seem that way if the name was Smith or Jones?
            It strikes me that the letter implies that "the jew Kosminski" was not just a well-known character in the area, but also that it was common knowledge he was responsible for the Whitechapel murders. When was the first mention of the name in press or police files?
            I'd perhaps be more inclined to believe it was genuine if the name was Piser.

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            • #36
              I agree that the letter doesn't really tell us anything new. But isn't this a small point in favour of its authenticity? If you were a forger trying to make a splash, wouldn't you write something more sensational such as, "There's a local man called Kosminski who's well known to be violent, he's been seen with blood all over him after some of the murders and his own family are privately admitting that they think he's Jack the Ripper"?

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              • #37
                Originally posted by Joshua Rogan View Post
                It strikes me that the letter implies that "the jew Kosminski" was not just a well-known character in the area, but also that it was common knowledge he was responsible for the Whitechapel murders. When was the first mention of the name in press or police files?
                I'd perhaps be more inclined to believe it was genuine if the name was Piser.
                This is the trouble I have with the letter. It is dated July 89 but the Swanson marginalia implies that Kosminski wasn't sent for ID [ thus suspected ], until early 91. If Kosminski was a suspect in the summer of 89 why not put him forward for ID then?
                Regards Darryl



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                • #38
                  If the letter is legit and the writer is Rev William Dott this may be of interest - https://www.stedsdringhouses.org/his...-patrick-dott/.
                  I note that he graduated from Oxford in 1889 and his first curacy was in Croydon, not far from the east end. So a possible connection
                  Regards Darryl

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                  • #39
                    Originally posted by AndrewL View Post
                    I agree that the letter doesn't really tell us anything new. But isn't this a small point in favour of its authenticity? If you were a forger trying to make a splash, wouldn't you write something more sensational such as, "There's a local man called Kosminski who's well known to be violent, he's been seen with blood all over him after some of the murders and his own family are privately admitting that they think he's Jack the Ripper"?
                    More sensational = less believable.

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                    • #40
                      I would agree with Joshua that the Kosminski reference does seem odd unless Kos was notorious. Otherwise one would expect an anonymous reference, such as "a madman with scissors".
                      Now had the writer written "none other than HRH Prince Albert Victor attacked her with scissors" we could all relax.

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                      • #41
                        Originally posted by Darryl Kenyon View Post
                        If the letter is legit and the writer is Rev William Dott this may be of interest - https://www.stedsdringhouses.org/his...-patrick-dott/.
                        I note that he graduated from Oxford in 1889 and his first curacy was in Croydon, not far from the east end. So a possible connection
                        Regards Darryl
                        Hi Darryl,

                        It appears to me that the St. Edward the Confessor, Dringhouses, York, website has it wrong.

                        Dott enrolled in Oxford in May 1889, and was there for the next four years (documents on ancestry.com and other places confirm this). He actually appears to have received his BA in 1893.

                        I think some people are confused about the meaning of the word "matriculate" (it means enroll, not graduate), hence the error. The Oxford lists for 1892 state that he matriculated in 1889. They do not list him as having received a BA.

                        Cheers.

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                        • #42
                          PS. The way I understand it, someone can be enrolled in a college without having matriculated. To matriculate is to enroll with the intension of receiving an actual degree. Adding to the confusion, in Canada, and elsewhere, they sometimes use the word "matriculate" to mean someone has graduated from High School.

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                          • #43
                            Originally posted by Joshua Rogan View Post
                            Well, the letter was allegedly discovered in a book by Booth in the library of a theological college. So anyone planting it there would probably have an interest in the subject.
                            Not really. The letter doesn't reflect everyday Christian beliefs, as one might expect, but the evangelicalism of groups like the Plymouth Bretheren with dispensation and so on. One might not consider that an obvious choice for a faker, be it one in a theological college or not. That's the point I am making

                            Originally posted by Joshua Rogan View Post
                            It strikes me that the letter implies that "the jew Kosminski" was not just a well-known character in the area, but also that it was common knowledge he was responsible for the Whitechapel murders. When was the first mention of the name in press or police files?
                            I'd perhaps be more inclined to believe it was genuine if the name was Piser.
                            No, that might be what a faker wants you to infer, but the letter writer need not be referring to the Whitechapel murders, and it is open to question that anyone would have called the Ripper's victims 'girls'. I would also imagine that the author would have expressed deep outrage if he thought Kosminski was the Ripper and hadn't been arrested, not mere 'wonder'.

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                            • #44
                              Originally posted by PaulB View Post

                              ...the letter writer need not be referring to the Whitechapel murders, and it is open to question that anyone would have called the Ripper's victims 'girls'. I would also imagine that the author would have expressed deep outrage if he thought Kosminski was the Ripper and hadn't been arrested, not mere 'wonder'.
                              I agree that the term "girls" seem odd when speaking of the Ripper victims, then again, I think the older the writer is, the more likely is he or her to use that term about middle-aged women. Then again, it seems W P Dott was born in 1867...?
                              As for the outrage you look for, isnīt that reflected in how the writer says that Kosminski should have hung for what he did to those girls? And if the writer do not speak about the Ripper victims, what other girls (plural) could Kosminski have done things to that ought to have earned him an encounter with the henchman? To me, the inference is that the writer does speak of the Ripper "girls".

                              Hoax or not.
                              Last edited by Fisherman; 01-09-2020, 07:35 AM.

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                              • #45
                                Even if the letter is true and verified it is still one person's hearsay about another person's character. We also need to be careful about confusing these "acts of violence" as being even remotely close to what the Ripper did. They are worlds apart. Kosminski was clearly not a well individual but I have always struggled with the "crazy jew" theory for so many reasons. He seems a convenient coat peg for others to hang their prime suspect coats on both then and now.
                                Last edited by erobitha; 01-09-2020, 08:13 AM.

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