Letter from John Maclean to Peter Petroff 13 November 1917

42 Auldhouse Rd
Newlands, Glasgow

Source: National Archives HO 144/17487. 13 November1917;
Note Maclean was banned from communicating with any internee almost as soon as he got out of prison in July 1917. This was because Petroff sent information through him to Irma. A close reading of the files suggests that they were getting and receiving letters and papers past the Home Office censor via Kentish Town BSP. This previously unknown material all discovered for the MIA by Scott Reeve January 2012;
Transcribed: by Ted Crawford.

Dear Peter

Hope you are well. Got your prison photo and inserted it last week with an article on you in the Cotton Factory Times. I'm showing it all round. We intend taking duplicates and we'll sell large numbers in Scotland as everyone is asking for you and more interested in you than ever in view of events in Russia. Shammes is secretary of our Russian Refugees Release Committee and I'm the chairman. We had Central Halls packed to hear J Kerr (funds to go to your release, Mrs P’s and Tchits)[1] We have issued 1,000 circulars to Trade Union etc. branches in Scotland and you should hear the splendid answers we are getting. Resolutions are pouring into the right quarters. This Sunday our Committee is holding a joint demonstration in the central Halls (after the class) for the release of you all. I have drafted a letter for the press and I'm to draft a leaflet on you all to be sent broadcast. We have waited for a London Committee to be formed for you all, but if nothing happens well do it all from Glasgow. We are getting in money all right. I have managed to get over 13 of the surplus out of my own defence fund for our Russian Committee so we are moving on.

There may be a demonstration on the Russian situation and it will be large; so again we'll have an innings. Whether I write you or not, you may be sure I'm working for you – and it would be better to work than to write. I'm allowing no one to forget you not even Sir G Cave,[2] who wouldn’t let me in to see you.

I was at Kilsyth last Monday and started a new class with a young comrade as teacher. A demand for another came from Larbert. I'm starting the ninth conducted by myself on Friday afternoons at lower (Fife miners.) Jimmie has now 6 running and is forming a seventh at Motherwell. Good classes are now running in London through my influence. Expect to go to Durham for a week in Dec to help class movement there and another to S Wales for same object. Expect also to address an educational conference in Sheffield at close of year.

You'll see in “W Dreadnought” my suggestion as to a Marx centenary gathering in Glasgow. I'll do my best for it. Marxism is growing rapidly now in Scotland and nothing can hold it back.

We are all well at home. Bowhill especially sends greetings remember me to Mrs P[3], whose treatment is becoming widely known here. I'll write to her too.

Yours fraternally
John Maclean


1. Irma and Chicherin

2. Home Secretary

3. Irma