John Maclean’s release

From 'The Call', paper of the British Socialist Party, July 19 1917

Our Scottish correspondent writes:

I heard the remark from several prominent Glasgow socialists that the reception to John Maclean last week was among the most inspiring meetings they had ever attended ...

Among the numerous messages of congratulations and encouragement the following telegram from the Russian Workmen’s and Soldiers’ Convention was read:

Hon Maclean, London, England - Convention of All-Russian Council of Workmen’s and Soldiers’ Deputies send their greetings to the brave fighter for the International, comrade Maclean, and express their hopes that the new rise of international solidarity will bring him liberty.

... The dominant note of all the speeches was a plea for socialist unity. Moxton declared with emphasis that he would not spend one ounce of energy or one moment of his time in petty quarrels within the socialist movement. The time had come to present a united front to the enemy - capitalism ... The presentation to Maclean, his wife and two children was made in the name of the subscribers by comrade EC Fairchild, who remarked in the course of an eloquent speech that they should all feel proud in the sense of possession of such an indomitable fighter as John Maclean ...

Words of mine cannot describe the tremendous enthusiasm with which Maclean was greeted when he rose to speak. The revolutionary fervour which always characterised his speeches was displayed with increased vigour.

He attacked the insidious methods by which the Scottish prison authorities seek to weaken and destroy the physique of those who are handed over to their tender mercies. He indicated how in his own particular case by special attention to himself he succeeded in a measure in eluding their nefarious designs. He contended that in many cases the treatment meted out to conscientious objectors was having the effect of unhinging their minds.

Maclean, with his wife and family, has gone for a holiday to the south of England, and to cheer him on his way and to hasten his recovery to health, the military authorities have sent him a notice, calling him up for the 25th of this month. Could downright insolence go further?

Here is a man, sentenced to three years’ penal servitude for expressing his antagonism to conscription. He serves 15 months, and when his health is in danger of complete breakdown, the government release him. Who is blundering now, in view of the fact that Maclean is only getting a little more than a week to recuperate?