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That poor woman who in all her agony tries to tend her little ones. The Queen sent a bunch of posies to the East End — not for the dying woman, but for the Sisters of Jesus, who were teaching girls to sew.

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That very year, the Earl of Dudley threw a party for his ever-hungry but already overfed friend Edward, the Prince of Wales. At about the time of the description of the dying woman in Whitechapel, historians liked to kid the British that they went to war over such outrages. Victorian schoolchildren were informed of one such escapade. I raise it merely to point out that if Victorian educators wanted a hole to get uptight about, they could have had as many as would satisfy their indignation without the inconvenience of sending an army to India.

Here, the sub-British ate, slept and wiped their arses in cellars full of vermin and promiscuous death. There was no money in it. Thus the Victorians managed to persuade themselves that this suburb of hell was nothing to do with them, and that poverty was somehow engendered by evil.

Stories and Ideas from Prominent Americans

Poverty was portrayed as a lack of morality, rather than a byproduct of greed. Observe the East End streets, and you will notice hundreds, and thousands of little children wandering about in mobs. Their food is scant and they come ten in a family. Like the wretched Hindus, whom a famine, that is really well deserved , has overtaken, and who supinely breed up to the last pound of rice, these Hindus of the East End take no thought for the morrow, and bring into existence swarms of children for a life of barbarism, brutality, and want in the midst of plenty.

In other words, kill them. Was the writer of the above mentally ill, or simply inured to the cruelties of his time? His words are quoted verbatim only the emphasis is mine , but they give a kind of perspective. The nineteenth century was on its famous roll, and the name of the game was gain. Glittering times for those at the top, not so cosy for those pushing the juggernaut. A confederacy of enterprising Englishmen fought their way up — heroes and cowards, saints and shysters — dragging buckets for the gold. On a more prosaic level, the common herd were required to stand behind cordons of policemen and wave little flags at the passing millionaires.


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From time to time they were also required to shell out. Somehow the Victorian elite had managed to amend the mythological affection the peasants had for Robin Hood. It will be remembered that he robbed the rich and gave to the poor. The richest family on earth had turned that on its head. Royalty in England makes a nation of snobs and sycophants out of a nation that otherwise would be sturdy and self-respecting. Given their consanguinity in marriage, their hereditary nervous maladies, their imprisonment in a narrow circle, their illimitable opportunity of self-indulgence, the monotony, the acquisitiveness, which lie like curses on their lives, we must give them the honor that they remain as entirely sane as some of them do.

They are, moreover, heavily and cruelly handicapped by the alliances which they are compelled to form, and the hereditary diseases which they are thus forced to receive and transmit. Mental and physical diseases are common to them, and so are certain attitudes, moral and political. They are almost all great feeders, and tenacious of arbitrary precedence and distinction. No one ever tells them the truth, they are surrounded by persons who all desire to please, that they may profit by them.

Needless to say, this piece was never published in England, but in the American edition of Review of Reviews. Victorian royalty was a gigantic conjuring trick, pomp and pretty circumstance designed to keep your eye off the ball: precisely the reason conjurors use a blonde with big tits.

The trick was mother love and love of mother. Victoria loved her people, and million people loved her. But this proposition sweats a bit under analysis. Her family feared her. Half the world feared her armies and her avarice — young men flocking to heaven in a brainwashed patriotic stupor at the buglecall of her greed. By Victoria had been queen for fifty years. At her Jubilee celebrations she wept joyously at the battalions of young soldiers, but got a bit fraught when asked to contribute to the cost of the festivities.

Marching feet might bring a sting of imperial hubris, but underlying it was the sentiment of a clapped-out cash register.

Victoria had twenty-two grandchildren, and by the time of her death, thirty-seven great-grandchildren. By the late s this regal cavalcade of indulgence at public expense was stretching political and fiscal credibility to breaking point. It had become too much even for the Conservatives. In an attempt to navigate cross-party dissent, the government quietly suggested that the Palace might want to police its own finances.

This was construed by the Queen as a piece of common insolence, as was made pretty evident by the tone in which she batted it back. Clearly she thought it iniquitous that she should be expected to shell out.

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Did not Salisbury realise what all this guzzling cost? Next day she had another seethe at the ingratitude of the masses, via their Parliament. What ever is done you will not and cannot conciliate a certain set of fools and wicked people who will attack whatever is done. Is this letter not as illuminating as it is astonishing? I think Dickens found his Miss Havisham in Queen Victoria — his creation a bitter old woman in white, and his muse this caustic old broken heart in endless black.

Since the death of her husband Albert in she had lived in a perpetual funeral, grieving for her lost love and cut off from reality like Havisham in her rotting wedding gown. The Victorians were subjects of this wretched widow, and in her presence kept a straight face. You had to polish your boots, assume a stiffened aspect, and pretend that everything in the world was serious. Fun was behind her back. This ethic of counterfeit rectitude survives in not a few British newspapers to this very day.

But then, the name of the game is expediency: what do you want to make people think? Politics is reducible to that last defining question: who do you prefer, our liars or theirs? They come from the same newspaper, on the same day, but for a different audience. But this demonstrates that it too is capable of a little political sophistication. These two front pages concern the introduction of the euro. The one on the left is for the British reader, whose government is anti-European, and that on the right is for the Irish, whose government is pro.

In terms of nailing our Whitechapel monster, this is a mistake; but the Victorian public were conditioned to think in this direction by the police and by the newspapers. A psychopath, yes, but not insane. Was Satan insane?

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For a while he was part of the in-crowd, a dazzling angel, Lucifer, the Bringer of Light. During his reign, Henry VIII had 72, people put to death, and he also liked to cut ears and noses off. Was Henry insane?


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    Then he stooped and knelt over and commenced to peel every bit of skin off her body and left her there as a sign for something or other. You just have to hate enough. The Whitechapel Murderer was a beast who hated women one young American woman in particular , but no way was he insane.

    In an American lawyer wrote about the Ripper scandal in a Boston legal journal called the Green Bag.

    Considering his piece is contemporary, it is quite remarkable in its perceptions, and is not remotely taken in by the forest of nonsense being put out at the time. This edited version therefore is mine, as are the emphases. It is surprising that, in the present cases, there has been a failure to discover the perpetrator of the deeds; for they have not been ordinary murders. Not only are the details as revolting as any which the records of medical jurisprudence contain; they are also marked by certain characteristics which at first sight would seem to afford a particularly strong likelihood of the crimes being cleared up.

    My kind of lawyer. Yet this abundance of circumstance gives none. So far from giving a clue, they would seem to conspire to baffle the police. It is the very atrocity of the Whitechapel murders that gave rise to the theory of their being the work of a madman. It is not a novel line of reasoning, this. Only let the deed be surpassingly barbarous, and the ordinary mind will at once leap to the conclusion that it was a maniac who wrought it. Now, the inference is quite fallacious.