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Protests Against Macdonald as Coroner

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Protests Against Macdonald as Coroner

Post by Karen on Wed 20 Jul 2011 - 23:20

ELECTION OF CORONER.

The election for the office of coroner for the district of North-East Middlesex, necessitated by the dividing of the Eastern division of Middlesex, and the appointment of Mr. Wynne E. Baxter to the south-eastern portion, took place at the Hackney Town-hall on Monday. Mr. Sheriff Davies was the presiding officer, and he was assisted by Under-sheriffs T. Beard and Rose-Innes. The poll opened at eight o'clock and continued briskly until four in the afternoon. Large numbers of persons voted as members of radical clubs and friendly societies holding freehold property, while many others claimed to vote as ratepayers in parishes having freehold workhouses. In the latter instances the claim was not entertained, but some of the would-be voters persistently urged the point with the under-sheriffs. It was understood that the Corrupt Practices Act does not apply to coroner's elections and a vast number of vehicles were engaged. Just before the closing of the poll the following protest was handed in: -

"To the Sheriff of the County of Middlesex. - I hereby give you notice that I protest against the validity of the election of Dr. Roderick Macdonald as coroner for the North-eastern division of the said county, on the grounds - (1) That the apparent return of Dr. Macdonald has been secured by open bribery and corruption of voters; (2) that large numbers of voters have voted more than once; (3) that large numbers of persons, not qualified, have committed perjury in order to secure a vote; (4) that no genuine election of the freeholders has taken place; (5) that the corrupt influences and practices by which the apparent return of Dr. Roderick Macdonald has been secured are known to Dr. Macdonald and his agents. Dated June 11th, 1888. - Signed G.E. YARROW. Witness, G.J. Grimwade, election agent of Dr. Yarrow."

The result of the polling was made known at noon on Wednesday. Dr. Yarrow's protest was overruled, and Dr. Macdonald declared elected by a majority of 3,852, the total number of votes being - Dr. Macdonald 4,567; Dr. Yarrow, 715.


DR. MACDONALD, the new coroner, held his first inquest on Thursday morning at the Shoreditch Workhouse. Dr. Forbes welcomed him, and expressed the opinion that he would well fill the chair of their old friend Sir John Humphreys. "Hear, hear," said the jury. When the inquest was over the foreman intimated that the jurymen were anxious to drink the coroner's health. Amidst a burst of laughter the coroner thanked the jurymen, and said he should be pleased "to stand a drink."

Source: The Hackney Express and Shoreditch Observer, June 16, 1888, Page 3

Note: This was a very interesting article to me since I couldn't help but notice that despite Dr. Yarrow's information about corruption on the part of the election of Dr. Roderick Macdonald, he became coroner for Eastern Middlesex on June 16, 1888, and the rest is Ripper history. As you are aware the first Ripper murder occurred just 2 months later, when Martha Tabram was found on the first floor landing at George Yard Buildings in the early morning hours of August 8, 1888.

Then when the inquest of Mary Jane Kelly took place on November 12, 1888, Dr. Macdonald assumed authority over the proceedings, despite the fact that Kelly was murdered in Baxter's jurisdiction. And what's more, the inquest was very brief and Dr. Macdonald, it is reported, cut the inquest short which caused Hutchinson's testimony not to be heard at the inquest. He then had no choice but to go to see Abberline at Scotland Yard and also give statements to the newspapers. It almost seems as if Macdonald's election as the new coroner for Eastern Middlesex was an aforethought to the chain of events which subsequently followed. And most, if not all, of the jury members were Freemasons.

***************************************
Karen Trenouth
Author of: "Epiphany of the Whitechapel Murders"
Author of: "Jack the Ripper: The Satanic Team"
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