MARCH 2020

MARCH   2020
The Lawyers Carve Up the Golden Goose


Wednesday, June 22, 2016

BLOODY JACK Chapter Twenty-Two

I have to say that Sir Charles Warren, Commissioner of the Metropolitan Police, was not lacking suggestions as to how to catch the Ripper. Queen Victoria – yes, THE Queen Victoria - suggested the Ripper might work on one of the cattle boats that docked in London every Thursday and Friday. It was investigated.
It was suggested that East End boxers might be dressed as women and sent out as decoys. No boxers volunteered. Mr Fred Wellsely wrote the Times, suggesting the police should be mounted on bicycles, to cover more ground. It was never acted upon.
Congregationalist Dr. William Tyler, reverend of the King Edward Street Mission, assured a meeting of the Young Men's Christian Association that the murders were, “largely brought about by the wholesale importation of the scum of other countries.” Closing the borders was considered an over reaction. It was often suggested that a reward should be offered. The government always said no. 
 Mr. Percy Lindly, wrote the London Times on Sunday, 1 October that, “ a breeder of bloodhounds...I have little doubt that had a hound been put on the might have done what the police have failed to do.” The police were receiving 1,200 letters a day offering suggestions, and 800 of those mentioned bloodhounds
And it wasn't that Sir Charles had no ideas of his own. He did a house-to-house search of Gouldston Street - over 2,000 people were questioned, 300 were “investigated” and 80 were detained. The effort produced nothing. Elsewhere in Whitechapel, 76 butchers and animal slaughterers were asked about their employees, going back 6 months. Nothing, again. Doctors were investigated. Again, nothing.
But always fueling the public's frustration was Sir Charles’s huge ego. On 12 October The Paul Mall Gazette, declared that washing the message off the wall above the bloody apron provided “...the last conclusive demonstration...of the utter unfitness of Sir Charles Warren....” And when the Home Secretary reaffirmed his confidence in Warren, the Gazette pounced. “Mr Matthews is satisfied with Sir Charles Warren," said the newspaper, "But he is alone in his satisfaction.”
And when the Whitechapel District Board of Works passed a resolution urging “Sir Charles regulate and strengthen the police force...", Sir Charles took the opportunity to respond in a lengthy written lecture about the difficulties of police work, before adding, “I have also to point out that the purlieus about Whitechapel are most imperfectly lighted...” It other words, the murders were in part the board's fault. 
The London Daily News responded to “the oracle of Scotland Yard”, by asking that if the problem was lack of lighting, “why he waits until he is challenged...then only delivers this important suggestion by way of a crushing retort?”
It was arrogant public relations disasters such as these which drove Home Secretary Henry Matthews to push Warren to at least try one of the public's suggestions. So after the “double event” Warren contacted North Yorkshire dog breeder Mr. Edwin Brough, in Scarborough. Doubtful as well about how the dogs would do on the crowded streets of London, Mr. Brough still sent two of his best bloodhounds – Barnaby and Burgho – for a series of tests in Regent's Park, “as much to please the public as for any other reason”. 
After endless calls for Warren to “do something”, as early as Monday, 8 October, the Daily Telegraph threw cold water on the new project, pointing to the many ways criminals might avoid the dogs, by using “...'buses, and trams, and there are the railways to be reckoned with.”
Days were spent with the dogs chasing human prey around Regent's Park. Once Sir Charles himself was even run to ground. On 20 October the Boston Police News reprinted a story describing “Sir Charles Warren, in his tight military dress...puffing and blowing with his excretions”, after running from the dogs. “He was very mad when the evening papers came out with reports of his mornings doings, which doubtless, were also read and noticed by the murderer.”

The truth was the dogs worked better than expected, but still regularly lost the trail when it was crossed by many other human paths. Still, Warren issued orders that after the killer struck again – as everyone was certain he would – the victim's body should be undisturbed until the dogs could collect “the killer's scent.”
But the real problem with the dogs was the marking of territory. Warren did not want to pay for the dogs out of his own budget, and the bookkeepers at Scotland Yard (above) didn't either. They sent the bill to the Home Office. It was the Home Secretaries' idea, wasn't it?  But the Home Office accountants saw no reason they should pay for this harebrained idea either. 
And while the bureaucrats were passing the bill back and forth, Mr. Brough decided he could wait no longer to be paid. At the end of October Burgho was shipped to participate in a Dog Show in Brighton, while Barnaby returned to his kennel in Scarborough. But nobody told Scotland Yard.
The scorn continued to pile upon Sir Charles. Two wits, Geoffrey Thorn and Edmond Forman, wrote a parody of the popular tune, “Who Killed Cock Robin”. “I said to the Home Secretary, I broke his neck, I killed Cock Warren...Who saw him die? I said the “Pall Mall”, for I'm not his pal. I saw him die, and the “Globe” and the “Star” fell a sighing and sobbing... And the un-muzzled dogs fell a sighing and a sobbing, When they heard of the death of poor Cock Warren...
"Who'll have his place? I said Munro (above), I'll boss that show, I'll have his place, And the bobbies and the tarts fell a sighing and a sobbing...Who'll toll the bell? Mathews" said all, For he's next to fall, He'll toll the bell. And then even he fell sighing and a sobbing, When he thought of the death of poor Cock Warren.”
Other wits rewrote a poem on hunting, to read, "So when Warren (Sir Charles), Makes a miss, he may halt
And declare, with some snarls, That 'twas Matthews's fault.  Matthews vowing 'twas not, But 'twas Warren's bad shot.  Then perhaps both come hard, Down on poor Scotland Yard. But whosever the miss, And whatever is said, One is certain of this -- That a criminal's fled." 
On Saturday, 13 October, Mr Edward Pickersgill, Liberal M.P from Bethel Green, told a crowd gathered to call for more police, “Sir Charles Warren was doubtless a brave soldier...but he knew nothing whatever about the duties of policemen, and ought never to have been put in the position he now occupied.” After waiting for the cheers to die down, Pickersgill blamed Warren for “the demoralization and the corruption of the Metropolitan Police force,” This conclusion was met with loud applause.
Desperate to defend himself, Sir Charles sought out the friendly pages of “Murray's Magazine, a Home and Colonial Periodical for the General Reader”. Scotsman John Murray had been a Royal Marine, and found all his editors at Oxford. Being dedicated to “useful and entertaining” information, but offering “nothing offensive”, the subscription numbers barely rose above 5,000 copies each month. Sir Charles’s November 1888 article, “Policing the Metropolis”, was at once boring, infuriating, self-serving, self-congratitory, self pitying, pedantic and absurd.
London has for many years past,” he began, “been subject to the sinister influence of a mob stirred up into spasmodic action by restless demagogues...It is to be deplored that successive Governments have not had the courage to make a stand...and have given way before tumultuous proceedings which have exercised a terrorism over peaceful and law-abiding citizens....The whole safety and security of London depends...upon the efficiency of the uniform police constable...the primary object of an efficient police is the prevention of crime , the next that of detection and punishment....criticism leveled at police…is based upon absolutely incorrect premises...If the people of London choose to create panics and false alarms, they must prepare themselves for some extra safeguards than the present number of police..."
The Daily News was not impressed. “Sir Charles Warren's splendid endowment of self satisfaction has never been so conspicuous” they said, “as...his article in the new number of Murray's Magazine... The inferential boasting is particularly striking...everyone and everything is wrong excepting Sir Charles Warren...His "poverty of originality" is shown...hundred letters on the Whitechapel murders have contained no more than four proposals...four more than occurred to the police.”
The Star” had been gunning for Warren since the suppression of the protest in Trafalgar Square. Now, sensing their prey was wounded, they described Warren's article as “a comic interlude”, deciding “the problem is...reduced to very simple proportions....Are we going to stand for...our reactionary monomaniac in Scotland Yard?” They called his lecture, “Warrenism...The whole gospel of military despotism...of grapeshot and bludgeon...Sir Charles (above) seems to have some dim idea of isolating our criminal characters in a kind of burglars' retreat. Why not send him down to organize and manage it?”
It was the kind of stupid arrogant statement Charles Warren had made before – the self-satisfied arrogance typical of a “Gilded Age” upper crust Victorian ruling class bureaucrat   But of course a Conservative Government was not going to fire Sir Warren because he was a fair representative of their base. They might, however, fire him if he was embarrassing the leadership – which he was. 
On 8 November, Home Secretary Henry Matthews (above) sent Sir Charles a copy of a nine year old Home Office order that department chiefs were not to issue statements without first receiving his approval. Matthews ordered Sir Warren comply with that order in the future.
As expected Warren (above) wasted no time in refusing to take orders. That same day his reply arrived in Whitehall. "Sir....had I been told that such a circular was to be in force, I should not have accepted the post of Commissioner of Police. I have to point out that my duties...are governed by statute, and that the Secretary of State...has not the power...of issuing orders for the police force. This circular...would...enable every one anonymously to attack the police force without...permitting the Commissioner to correct false statements, which I have been in the habit of doing...for nearly three years past...I entirely decline to accept these instructions...and I have again to place my resignation in the hands of Her Majesty's Government."
Warren (above, left) was, of course, technically correct. His position was governed by law. But he served at the pleasure of the Home Secretary, who was now very displeased with his argumentative, arrogant jackass of a Police Commissioner. Sir Charles had threatened to resign too often. This time the Home Secretary had a replacement all lined up. Still, Henry Matthews waited until morning to send his reply. “In my judgment the claim disregard the instructions of the Secretary of State is altogether inadmissible, and accordingly, I have only to accept your resignation.”
It was done. With that act, one of the primary sparks that ignited the Jack the Ripper case was dampened down. It would take a little while for the  loss to be seen and felt because Sir Charles' resignation was accepted on the very morning that yet another  victim would be found horribly mutilated in the very heart of Whitechapel.
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Tuesday, June 21, 2016


I know that Abraham Lincoln read Shakespeare, which makes the events at the Illinois Republican state convention in Decatur on 9 May, 1860, so revealing. Three times the 22 delegates demanded that Lincoln “identify your work!”, and three times their nominee refused to claim the boards supporting his campaign banners had come from logs he himself had split. Like Julius Caesar three times refusing the crown of a Roman king, each display of modesty drove the crowd into a greater frenzy. It was this invention of “Lincoln The Railspitter” which marked “Honest Abe” as a real contender for the Presidential nomination, one week later at the Republican National Convention. Clearly, Abraham was prepared to perform exactly the kind of theatrics required in politics.
Just a year earlier Lincoln appeared to have given up any Presidential ambitions. In March of 1859 he had written a friend, “Seriously, I do not think I am fit for the Presidency.” But two events in early 1860, changed his mind. First, at the end of February, Lincoln gave a speech at the prestigious New York City private college, the Cooper Union. His arguments against slavery were reprinted in newspapers across the north and positively received. And secondly, in the last week of April the Democratic Party convention in Charleston adjourned after 57 ballots, unable to agree on a nominee. With Democrats splitting into three wings, the young Republican party had a chance to win the November election.
Senator William Seward was the presumptive Republican nominee. At 70 members, his own New York delegation was the largest. The dour NYC banker and merchant Edwin Morgan (above), also a Seward man,   was the Republican Party National Chairman. And the crafty Thurlow Weed, “The Wizard of the Lobby”, who had helped build Seward's reputation for more than two decades, was in Chicago. Even eight members of the Illinois delegation were suspected of preferring Seward to Lincoln. Chairman Morgan had even chosen the city of 100,000 on the lake as a bribe for Illinois Party Chairman Norman Judd., as was the tempting offer to name Judd, Seward's nominee for Vice President.
All that Lincoln had to offer was himself, but for a few that was enough. Their leader was the imposing Judge David Davis (above). He had presided over the Illinois Eighth Circuit Court, deciding almost 90 cases lawyered by Lincoln. And although he decided only forty in Lincoln's favor, Davis trusted the younger man enough to ask him to substitute as judge occasionally. Davis described Lincoln as “a peculiar man; he never asked my advice on any question.” 
But when new lawyer Leonard Swett joined the circuit, he was introduced to Davis and Lincoln, dressed in their nightshirts, as they engaged in a boisterous pillow fight. Swett became Lincoln's most trusted friend. Also working for the prairie lawyer was Lincoln's longtime law partner, the big, jovial hard drinking Virginian born, Ward Lamon (above).
Judge Davis was an abolitionist. Lamon's family owned slaves and he hated abolitionists. Swett (above) preferred a good fight, a guitar and a jug of whiskey over politics. This diverse group, along with a few dozen others, sacrificed their time and money to win the nomination for Lincoln. 
They started late, having to beg families to give up their rooms at the Tremont hotel (above). Davis spent $700 out of his own pocket, and more for whiskey and food, but on the Friday, four days before the convention opened, the Lincoln men were headquartered at the Tremont, ready to the seduce the arriving delegates.  Said Swett,  “I did not, the whole week I was there, sleep two hours a night.”
The delegates arrived by foot and horseback, carried on lake steamers or the dozen rail lines serving Chicago - 10,000 delegates, alternates, reporters and spectators, all converging five blocks from the Tremont, at a two story, 5,000 square foot timber building which had not existed five weeks earlier. They called the $6,000 structure “The Wigwam” (above). 
Writer Isaac Hill Bromley described the scene, “The stage proper (left) was of sufficient capacity to hold all the delegates, who were seated on either side of a slightly elevated dais...
 The galleries were reserved (FG)...the miscellaneous public (center)...four or five thousand stood in the aisles and all the available unoccupied space....the delegates could be seen from all parts of the auditorium...Something of convenience was sacrificed to dramatic effect. The convention was just then ‘The greatest show on earth.”
There were just 465 voting delegates from 24 states, and the District of Columbia. As they arrived - but especially the delegates from the four swing states that would likely carry the November election,  Illinois, Indiana, Pennsylvania, and New Jersey -  they were met and courted by agents representing Seward, Lincoln and a half dozen other “favorite son” candidates. The Seward men,  headquartered in the upscale Richmond House, were particularly blunt in their tactics. Before the convention had even started, on Tuesday, 15 May, the Illinois delegation was offered a campaign chest of $100,000 for the fall, if they would vote for Lincoln as Seward's Vice President. The same offer was made to the Indiana delegation, and New Jersey. It was an attempt to derail Lincoln, and win the nomination for Seward on the first ballot. But it backfired. Illinois party chief Norman Judd felt betrayed, realizing he could was probably just one of many offered the V.P. spot. When the convention opened the next day at ten minutes after noon, Judd threw his full support behind Lincoln.
The 54 members of the Pennsylvania delegation were pledged to vote for their “favorite son”, Senator Simon Cameron (above) on the first ballot. Cameron, meanwhile had assured Thurlow Weed he would sell his delegation for a cabinet post, and Seward expected to win the nomination on the second or third ballot. In fact almost half of Cameron's delegation hated him so much, they were secretly prepared to vote for anybody else. The only question was for who? 
In another sign Thurlow Weed had over played his hand, the dapper Illinois party chairman Norman Judd (above) managed to isolate the New York delegation in the back of the hall, and seated the Keystone delegates between the Indiana and Illinois delegations – 22 and 26 delegates each– where Illinois Lieutenant Governor Gustave Koerner and Indiana Gubernatorial candidate Caleb Smith could reminded the Pennsylvanians that Lincoln was an alternative to Seward and Cameron.
Missouri's delegate's were pledged to vote for Representative Edward Bates (above), despite his being an unrepentant Know Nothing, who despised Catholics and foreigners - such as the German Catholics in St. Louis, Chicago and Cincinnati.  
Bates was being marketed by the owner and editor of the New York Tribune, Horace Greeley (above). Even tho the newspaperman had never been west of Iowa, Greeley was an Oregon delegate, and would deliver Oregon's 8 votes, along with Missouri's 18, to Bates because Greeley was convinced Seward was too radical to carry the swing states.  Ohio's 48 delegates were pledged to support Salomen P. Chase, who was openly opposed to slavery, and therefore even more un-electable, than Seward. 
Seward's perceived radicalism also worried party leaders in Maine and Massachusetts – 16 and 26 delegates respectively. The New York Senator (above, right) had told the truth, that democracy and slavery were in "irrepressible conflict",  just as Lincoln had said "a house divided against itself, can not stand". But Seward told his truth in 1858, on the senate floor, and earned the hatred of Mississippi Senator Jefferson Davis (above, left). The perception was that Seward was the radical. So the New Engenders had already reached a quiet deal with most of the delegates from Pennsylvania and Ohio to jointly, after the first ballot, abandon their favorite sons and support somebody, anybody, but Seward. The only question was, who?. The name that kept coming up was Lincoln. 
Although he had been a favorite son candidate at the 1856 convention, Lincoln was still an unknown quantity to most of the delegates But thanks to Judge Davis' strategy, he had become, the convention's second choice. If they couldn't have Seward, or Bates, or Chase, then the vast majority of delegates was willing to nominate Lincoln. But to strengthen that argument, Judge Davis figured Lincoln had to get at least 100 votes on the first ballot, just under half way to the 233 needed to win the nomination.
It is true that Lincoln telegraphed from Springfield, warning Judge Davis that he would not make political compromises to become President. But years later Chicago Attorney Wirt Dexter suggested that Davis was guilty of the same sin he had accused Thurlow Weed of - offering duplicate rewards to politicians from several delegations. “You must have prevaricated somewhat”, suggested Dexter. To which Judge Davis shouted in his high pitched voice, “PREVARICATED, Brother Dexter? We lied like hell!”
On Friday, as the temperature and emotions inside and outside the Wigwam climbed, Thurlow Weed pulled a final rabbit out of his hat - retired bare knuckle champion, Tom Hyer (above). The 6'2”, 185 pound boxer earned his living as an enforcer for William “Bill The Butcher” Poole, leader of a notorious five points gang, until Bill was shot and killed in an 1855 bar fight. 
The now 41 year old Hyer was reduced to a Know Nothing celebrity thug, and this Friday was leading a brass band and 2,000 New York “pug-ugly” Seward (above) supporters, marching to the Wigwam, singing “Oh, isn't he a dar-ling! With his grace-ful ways,. And his eye so gay. Yes, he's a lit-tle dar-ling. To me he is di-vine. He loves me too, with a heart so true. This charming beau of mine.” 
It was an impressive and enthusiastic parade, until Hyer and his iron voiced shouters reached the convention hall, where their way was blocked by a crowd of perhaps 25,000. When they finally worked their way to the doors and presented their tickets, they were denied entrance to the Wigwam. The spectator gallery, even the standing space between the aisles was already full. And every person inside and outside had a ticket. .
The man responsible for this feat of legerdemain was Lincoln's hard drinking Virginian troubadour,.Ward Lamon (above). He had printed up several thousand counterfeit tickets for the Wigwam, and the Lincoln supporters had presented their forgeries at 9 a.m., flooding the building an hour before the Tom Hyer's men had arrived. The Seward forces made desperate calls for the Sargent-at-arms to check spectator tickets, but given that the day before Judge Davis had charged the Seward forces with handing out counterfeits, and that the building was crammed almost to bursting, the functionaries decided not to get involved in the infighting. Besides, the real battle was on the stage, among the delegates.
When Lincoln's name was placed in Nomination, the screaming was so loud the Wigwam’s windows trembled “as if they had been pelted with hail.” Said Swettt, “Five thousand people leaped to their seats, women not wanting...A thousand steam whistles, ten acres of hotel gongs, a tribe of Comanches might have mingled in the scene unnoticed.” On the first ballot, Seward (being thrown overboard) led as expected,. with 173 votes. But Lincoln (at the stern) was second with 102 votes. Cameron got 50 of Pennsylvania’s 54 votes, just ahead of Ohio's Salomen Chase's 49 votes. The best that Horace Greeley's (right of Lincoln) candidate Edward Bates (right of Greeley)  could collect was 48, with 8 other favorite sons getting less than 14 each.
Immediately Lincoln's men moved for a second ballot, before Thurlow Weed (above) could get the attention of the chairman, or could reach out to sway delegates. At the same time Judge Davis managed to solidify a deal with the the sleazy Simon Cameron of Pennsylvania, agreeing to make him Lincoln's Secretary of War. In fact the Pennsylvania delegates had already agreed to bolt for Lincoln, and on the second ballot Weed gained 11 votes for Seward, but Lincoln gained 79, most of those coming at the expense of Cameron and Bates.
Seward's fate was sealed on the third ballot. He lost 4 votes. Lincoln gained another 50 votes, most coming from Maryland, Kentucky and Virginia. The Rail Splitter was now just one vote away from the nomination. The Wigwam erupted in shouting, cheering and cursing, until the chairman of the Ohio delegation, David Cartter, got the chairman's attention, and stuttered, “I-I arise, Mr. Chairman, to a-announce the ch-change of four votes, from Mr. Chase to Abraham Lincoln!” .
Writer Bromley observed the pandemonium as delegation after delegation clamored for the Chairman's attention to shift their votes to Lincoln “On the platform near me...the Indiana men generally were smashing hats and hugging each other; the Illinois men did everything except stand on their heads; hands were flying wildly in the air, everybody’s mouth was open, and bedlam seemed loose. The din of it was terrific. Seen from the stage it seemed to be twenty thousand mouths in full blast…” The final count for the official third ballot gave Lincoln 364 votes. Lincoln had won.
Buckeye newspaperman Murate Halsted disagreed. “The fact of the Convention was the defeat of Seward rather than the nomination of Lincoln.” That may have been true in May of 1860, perhaps even in March of 1861 when Lincoln took the oath of office as President. 
But on January 1st, 1863, when the Emancipation Proclamation became law, Lincoln became more than a mere politician, more than a mere victor. He achieved the potential that diverse group of men from the 8th Circuit Court had seen in Lincoln, the reason they had sacrificed and worked,to make him president, not because he could be, but because they knew he should be.

On that Friday evening, some of the delegates who had just voted to nominate Abraham Lincoln, were lining up out side of McVicker's Theater, to see Tom Taylor's two year old play, “Our American Cousin” (above). In one month short of five years, Abraham Lincoln would finally see the play, at Ford's Theater in Washington, the night he was murdered. And in 1869 the Wigwam burned down
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