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February 2013 issue

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  • February 2013 issue

    Greetings all,

    This message is from Joe Chetcuti:

    Adrian Morris has put together another issue of the Whitechapel Society Journal. He is an old pro at this. Appreciation goes out to Adrian and to all the editors of Ripper journals who keep rejuvenating this field of study.

    A big thank you also goes to the people who donated their work to the February 2013 issue. The Whitechapel Mysteries covered a lot of territory, and many writers are needed to report on all aspects of the case.

    As for the article Ripping Diatribes, both Chris Phillips and Robert Linford were a big part of its research. In the course of our study, Chris found many 1875 newspaper reports at the British Newspaper Library in Colindale. These articles have never been shown on the message boards, but they will be made public very soon.

    In the upcoming two weeks, 12 postings will appear on the Ripper message boards. Some will appear on the Jack the Ripper Writers web site, some on the Jtrforums, and the rest will be posted here on this thread. The recently discovered news reports from Colindale will appear in those postings.

    I hope all the subscribers enjoy the current issue of the Whitechapel Society Journal, and I hope everyone likes the articles that Chris has found.
    The Ripper's Haunts/JtR Suspect Dr. Francis Tumblety (Sunbury Press)

  • #2
    The Liverpool Leader
    January 2, 1875
    Page 9


    Unappreciative, stupid, and ungrateful as we may appear, we have to make a serious complaint against a well-known yet mysterious personage who has recently vouchsafed his presence to Liverpool, and who, by his own account, should be welcomed as an unsurpassed, perhaps unequalled benefactor. We are dissatisfied with the conduct of the gentleman who calls himself "The Great American Doctor." In our opinion he is injuring himself and the public. We are not content to leave him in his error; and as a stitch in time saves nine, we must seriously remonstrate with this self-praising immigrant from "British North America."

    Let us put our thoughts into questions. First, then, what is "the Great American Doctor's name?" Though not among his patients, we know that he is great in stature, that he wears a great cloak, that his pretensions are great, and that his bottles of physic are great. Great also are the sums of money the Mercury receives for inserting his advertisements, and great is the number of people who, accepting his assertions as facts, rush to 142 Duke-street, and there ask his advice, pay his heavy fees, and receive bottles of medicine which is said to be so compounded by new and infallible processes that it will effect cures where all other doctors have despaired. Now, at present we will not assert that these medicines are mischievous, that their vendor is a quack, or that his patients are simpletons. We are unprepared to say that "the Great American Doctor" should be hunted out of Liverpool, as a pretender likely to do more harm than good. Indeed, being candid, fair minded, and ready to receive further light, perhaps we should be ere long the warmest admirers of the talented advertiser. But really it is impossible for us to believe in him at present. No friend of ours should go in his direction without our dragging violently at his coat-tails. For about "the great American doctor's" ways are all the peculiarities of the most peculiar sort, and that we may refrain from doing him injustice, that the public may secure good advice from us, and that he himself may be saved from loss and contempt, we request that the gentleman will publish his name.

    Whatever may be the feeling in "British North America," that vague and immense region from which he says he comes, in England people like to know with whom they are dealing before they entrust to them their cash or their health. A man who hides his face or changes his name is supposed to have something to conceal; and when he carefully conceals something he is generally set down as fleeing from justice. This need not be the case with "the Great American Doctor," who, knowing nothing of his antecedents, we cannot say is either bad or good. But we wish he were not anonymous, especially because gentlemen who have done much good in a country are generally known and popular. If this gentleman was as useful in America as he professes to be here, why did we never hear of him before, and why did he leave believers in himself to come to infidels. America affords abundant scope for clever men, particularly eccentric one; so we wonder at this man, who says he is clever, not remaining in America. Will he tell us his name?

    To this concealment of his identity may be ascribed, the non-publication of his diplomas, as they would only show it, but would also disclose at what college, under what professors, he acquired the difficult art of healing. This is important, for men without diplomas are nearly always the next thing to medical humbugs; and, however audacious in advertising way, deserve to be counted as foes to the community. Does "the Great American Doctor" know this? We venture to assert that he knows it perfectly well. He knows that in England he should produce his diplomas as well as not conceal his name.

    Some readers may say, in the bluff, hearty, straight-forward style which characterizes working men, "Never mind his name; look at his actions. Read the names and addresses of decent people whom he has cured, for these are better than a dozen diplomas to prove his ability." No doubt, worthy reader; no doubt, -- if that be all that it seems. But is it? We feel uneasy in this matter that we venture to ask have you been to these addresses? Are you sure that such persons live there? If so, are you satisfied by other testimony than their own, that they were cured? For it is possible you may be surprised by the result. Or do you happen to know how many patients have been made well by his drugs, and how many have died? If not, try to learn, and perhaps the result will surprise you again. We will not speak positively to-day on this subject; but from information with names, addresses, and dates which lies before us, we think we know one reason why this doctor does not publish his name.

    However, we make no charge to-day. A great many men and women are paying heavy fees to this anonymous stranger in Duke-street, and although we think them dreadfully foolish we will not say to-day they will regret going to him. One question, however, we ask, and we seriously recommend the gentleman to reply at once, who is "the Great American Doctor?"
    The Ripper's Haunts/JtR Suspect Dr. Francis Tumblety (Sunbury Press)


    • #3
      The Liverpool Leader
      January 9, 1875
      Page 19


      A week ago we enquired somewhat curiously who is "the great American doctor?" The startling and incredible rumours current respecting this recent arrival here having entitled the community to a reply; but up to the time of going to press the anonymous big man in a cloak who goes by that name had not enabled us to answer the question. We still are ignorant of his name, his place of education, and the other antecedents which entitle him to public respect or to public abhorrence. He prefers to live inside a perpetual disguise. Well, this being a free country, no one can force him to throw off the mask at present. But he must take the consequences of his conduct. We now ask, what is "the great American doctor?"

      Passing over the thought that so mysterious a being may be -- though there is nothing to prove it -- some fugitive quack who has found "British North America" too hot to hold him, we turn to the certificates of talent which he publishes in the Mercury and Albion as given him by residents in this neighbourhood. If these be genuine, we are partly convinced that he is not a dangerous quack; but even if they are, there remains a doubt if the writers were cured as they assert. As will be seen presently, this latter doubt is important.

      Now if our enquiries have led us astray we are open to confess and apologize for our error; yet they suggest to us that a great deal of mystery surrounds these testimonials. For instance a Mr. HOLT of 105 Tithebarn Street, says this doctor cured him of consumption: is it not strange that our agent finds a Mrs. WILKINSON there, but cannot find Mr. HOLT? It is asserted, and we believe that this lady has written to "the great American doctor" in severe terms, and though she called him everything but a gentleman, he did not apologize or explain. Again: JOHN DRYDEN, of 15 Arundel Street, is said to have been cured of scurvy, yet this young man says he never saw the fellow. Nor are these all. The list might be greatly extended. Sufficient, however, is before us to justify the assertion that "the great American doctor" is what Americans call "a fraud."

      Turn from his deceptions to which suggests that he is audacious and cruel. There comes to us a tale of a decent woman from the Isle of Man who sought his advice respecting a bad leg. He told her it was due to the immorality of her parents, but would cure it for 3. This she declined, whereon he ordered her to get out legs and all or else he would kick her out! Other women young and unmarried, have fled in alarm from his premises, and say his language and conduct suggested danger. Perhaps they were wrong. We are open to conviction that he is an estimable, modest, pleasant man, but at present all our enquiries suggest that he is something else.

      There remain a large number of cases in which males and females have become no better after swallowing what "the great American doctor" calls his medicines; others in which he has returned fees to silence furious clamourers who called and denounced him; and still others in which the unexpected deaths of patients, whose friends demanded from him the medical certificates needed for their burial have led to strange scenes. But why say more to make our readers themselves answer the question, what is "the great American doctor?"

      Let him call at our office, and though his entrance would make us shrink probably, we will fairly hear his explanations. Or let him select a respectable medical man resident here, who in his behalf shall meet one named by us, and the matter shall be investigated. But it must not remain as it is. It seems to us that this anonymous stranger is an audacious quack who should be hunted out. The work belongs to the legitimate members of the medical profession, with whose nervous hesitation we cannot sympathise. In their absence the police should take immediate steps to arrest fools who are parting from their money and risking their lives, perhaps, at the bidding of they know not whom. But whether the doctors and the police move or not we mean to satisfy ourselves and our readers; and we shall have a good deal more to say about "the great American" deceiver.

      The Ripper's Haunts/JtR Suspect Dr. Francis Tumblety (Sunbury Press)


      • #4
        Thank you Mike, for posting these illuminating pieces. Although Tumblety's name is never mentioned, it's reasonably certain that he is the subject of attention in these January 1875 articles. Yet more information regarding his earlier travels abroad and deceptive behavior.


        • #5
          Originally posted by Scott Nelson View Post
          Thank you Mike, for posting these illuminating pieces. Although Tumblety's name is never mentioned, it's reasonably certain that he is the subject of attention in these January 1875 articles. Yet more information regarding his earlier travels abroad and deceptive behavior.
          Very true Scott. Looking forward to reading Rip.
          The Ripper's Haunts/JtR Suspect Dr. Francis Tumblety (Sunbury Press)


          • #6
            The Liverpool Leader
            January 30, 1875
            Page 49


            HIS FLIGHT.

            The adjourned inquest on the body of Edward Hanratty having terminated on Wednesday with a verdict which saved "the Great American Doctor" from the imminent danger of imprisonment, yet blamed him severely for prescribing and selling medicines, there was little hope for the Duke-street practitioner that he could any longer gull the public in this neighbourhood. What result his solicitor, Mr. Murphy, expected is evidenced by his saying that he could not advise Tumilty to attend the inquest; what Tumilty thought is disclosed by his secret and hasty flight before the inquest was resumed.

            The solicitor must have grieved at losing such a prosperous customer, who moreover was likely to be often at law; the quack must have torn his hair at having to leave a town where fools and their money are so easily parted. But there was no alternative. When Mr. Murphy stood up on Wednesday to use his most peculiar legal talents on Tumilty's behalf, that mischief-maker was already a fugitive.

            Our task of hunting this pest out of Liverpool being accomplished, we need not dwell on the subject, unless to congratulate our fellow-townsmen on their escape from further pollution by his presence, and to commiserate the numerous victims who suffered during his brief stay here. On the first point we may remark that as he practised in Liverpool less than a year, was much resorted to during only half that time, and yet induced so many persons to pay him fees varying from 30s. to 10, that he went off with more than 3,000, his exit will save credulous invalids from a very large outlay, as useless and dangerous as it would have been thoughtless and absurd. Now that he has escaped, however, he is somewhere else where he will resume his old tricks, just as he did here when he had been hunted out of Canada. Let every one, then, who has friends at a distance, either in this country, in Australia, or in America, send them the last four numbers of the LIVERPOOL LEADER, marking our articles and warning their friends against any advertising "doctor" with a similar title. By this simple device, the story of his misdeeds will be spread throughout the English speaking world, and wherever he attempts to resume his mischievous career he will be at once recognised, checked, and driven away.

            For his victims here we feel sincere pity. Their number is appallingly large. Three hundred persons visited him on one day ! On all sides, in the town and its outskirts, men and women abound who not only have lost their money, but -- far worse -- are irreparably injured by visits to the "Great American Doctor." Faces which bore only a few pimples are now indelibly scarred; eyes which were merely dim, have closed in total blindness; hearts which were slightly affected are now on the verge of stopping altogether; in a word, of all who confided in this pretender few got any good, and most have been made worse. Of the dead we scarcely can trust ourselves to write. Unfortunately the case brought before Mr. Aspinall was probably the slightest among many. The general dislike to inquests and the mistaken kindness of medical men have combined to prevent inquests which should have been held long since and which like the case we described a fortnight ago -- would have shown worse mischief than what Hanratty suffered.

            Had Francis Tumilty dared to remain, we have reason to believe that cases still more dreadful than any generally known at present would have become public. His wickedest deeds have been the most secretly perpetrated, so that the full details of some about which we suspect more than we care to print are not forthcoming. But enough is known to us to excite fear that more deaths were caused by his malpractices than he, however callous his conscience, can remember without shuddering.

            Dr. Bligh has earned the thanks of the entire community by his refusal to certify Edward Hanratty's death. Mr. Clarke Aspinall also, by the prominence he gave to the inquest, has made Tumilty's future wrong-doings more difficult.

            For ourselves, we rejoice that one month's vigorous effort has enabled us to do our townsmen this service. Others remain to be done. Quacks more secret but perhaps as dangerous as Tumilty remain in Liverpool, and to these we shall at an early date draw the serious attention of our readers.
            The Ripper's Haunts/JtR Suspect Dr. Francis Tumblety (Sunbury Press)


            • #7
              In 1875, The Liverpool Leader printed numerous articles entitled "Our Medical Quacks". It was an extensive report that exposed the quack profession. Here is an excerpt of the very first article that was published. - Joe

              The Liverpool Leader
              February 20, 1875
              Page 85

              OUR MEDICAL QUACKS.

              ...(We ask our readers why in Liverpool) so much which is delusive and mischievous in the professors of the healing art passes without general reprobation -- nay, excites a smile among thousands who perceive its baneful effect; and is so little disturbed that the perpetrators of vile deception -- wicked as they are -- can go forward year after year, unchecked, till they realise fortunes by their villainy, or when exposed and driven away, as in the case of the "Great American Doctor," retreat with thousands of pounds, gathered in a few months from the self-destroying credulity of the public.

              ...(Herb Doctors), men and women without even a claim to medical education, who trade on that strange infatuation which leads poor and uneducated persons to consult some one in their own station of life, no matter how unlikely they are to be useful advisers. These are they who, like dragons in a den, are found in secluded and gloomy little alleys, surrounded by bunches of herbs. They are most dangerous pests to society. Poor girls who have strayed from the paths of virtue are their chief victims, and thousands of the women who linger through life with feeble constitutions and undermined powers owe their debilitated state to the interference of one of these wretches. They find many customers also among uneducated sailors and labourers who suffer from diseases of a peculiar nature, and who stupidly go to the first person whom some equally stupid acquaintance or some lodging house keeper, who thus earns a commission, recommends as clever in such cases. Ordinary practice, such as treatment of fevers, they never attempt. This is too risky. It is on the glaring and self-punishing vices of human nature that these medical quacks depend for their wretched earnings.

              (The next 'Liverpool Leader' article that was found at Colindale can be seen now on Post 18 at this web link:
              The Ripper's Haunts/JtR Suspect Dr. Francis Tumblety (Sunbury Press)


              • #8
                This is the 12th and final segment of the series. Once again, appreciation goes out to Chris Phillips, Robert Linford, and Mike Hawley for all their help. - Joe

                The Liverpool Leader
                April 3, 1875
                Page 166


                "Who is the Great American Doctor?" is a question not yet answered, although many curious persons have searched his recently published pamphlet hoping to find out; but, after long delay, one person has disclosed himself as the G.A.D.'s friend. This demented individual is the editor of the Evening Express. Perhaps we should say, of the Courier, for it and the Express, like a Scotch terrier's head and hind-quarters, are so much alike that they are not easily distinguished. The same proprietors are responsible for both, the same staff compile them, they are issued from the same office, the same articles may generally be found in both; in fact the only distinction seems to be that if, as now and then happens, a contemptibly absurd bit of nonsense appears in one, it may by good luck not appear in the other. However, we waive this, and assume that the G. A. D.'s friend is the gentleman who edits the Evening Express. 'Tis a curious friendship. For the sake of humanity and of the overworked Borough Coroner, we hope the editor will not be prescribed for by this crony.

                Some time ago we asked some searching questions about this anonymous visitor who was publishing fabricated testimonials, and some of whose patients we could prove had suffered seriously through swallowing his dangerous nostrums; but he did not think it advisable to answer them, although we proffered him facilities for the purpose. Our questions created alarm -- too late, however, to avert a good deal of mischief; and a critical coroner's inquest which disclosed his almost utter ignorance of diseases was followed by the "Doctor's" hasty flight, as had been the case in some of the places he visited before he came hither. At that time the Mercury, the Albion, and the Courier were not ashamed to publish advertisements which carried deception on their face; but not one of them defended him, and when he departed the Courier and the Express at once published sarcastic and depeciatory articles about him. Since then, he (or some hired writer more capable) has composed a huge yellow poster in which the Liverpool Leader is alluded to as all that is mischievous and hateful, and also a little pamphlet which professes to answer the questions we put. Of course it does not answer them -- it is a mere bragging and shallow bit of vagueness. His parentage and education remain undisclosed; his medical diplomas are not enumerated, nor is even one specified; the greater portion of his life is not accounted for; his claims to friendship with eminent men are not supported by proofs; from beginning to end the pamphlet is a disappointment. After reading it, therefore, we were convinced that we had not erred in attacking this man persistently until he fled. Yet -- mirabile dictu ! -- there is one person who thinks otherwise, a Conservative, a (presumably) cautious journalist, and, which is more lamentable, a writer in the halfpenny sheet which numerous persons buy as they go homeward in the evening ! Here is a paragraph published in last Tuesday's Evening Express, without one qualifying word or phrase to weaken its force or dilute its silliness: --

                " 'PASSAGES IN THE LIFE OF THE GREAT AMERICAN DOCTOR.' Forty-six pages. Price 3d. Liverpool Lantern-office, 2 South Castle-street. -- This pamphlet, now being eagerly bought up, has effectually silenced the social empirics who, until the time of its publication, abused its author with malignant relentless. Its evidence is indisputable, and its sincerity of purpose manifest, and it has gone far to re-establish the American Doctor in the favour of the people of this town. For racily-written reminiscences of distinguished personages on both sides of the Atlantic, the little publication must be commended; whilst for trenchant criticisms on the old school of medicine, agreeably varied with the story, it must command the attention of every one who suffers from diseases falsely thought to be incurable."

                Now we ask every sensible person who remembers the facts, and who knows somewhat of the frightful mischief done by medical quacks, whether any Liverpool journalist ever committed a more monstrous indiscretion than this? "Effectually silenced the social empirics," who exposed an empiric ! "Its evidence is indisputable" ! "Sincerity of purpose manifest" ! Why it is equal to the advertisements for printing which the proprietors of the Courier and Express were so handsomely paid. Had the fellow himself been allowed to write it, he would not have produced a more uncompromising insult to the whole medical profession, or a more audacious endorsement of the tricks which deterred even their practiser from facing Mr. Clarke Aspinall. Yet this appeared in a Liverpool paper which most persons suppose is conducted with care and intelligence !! What do educated and reputable medical men think of it? What say our ministers of religion and others who wish to dissipate popular ignorance and readiness to follow clamorous pretenders? Is there in all Liverpool one man with a character to lose who will affirm that this paragraph is not an injury to the general public and a fraud on its readers? Can its bona fides be accepted? Nay, until it has been retracted and apologised for, can any one place confidence in a single sentence of praise or blame which may appear in the Evening Express? No one will approve of it. We turn from it with thorough contempt and disgust, and leave its author to the reprobation of all honest men and to the reproaches of his own conscience.
                The Ripper's Haunts/JtR Suspect Dr. Francis Tumblety (Sunbury Press)