John Maclean - Freedom of Speech tea towel

100% Organic Cotton
Made in the UK
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  • Sturdy half panama unbleached US cotton (19" x 27.5")
  • Our special inks mean that colours last in the wash
  • Includes hanging loop
  • Shipping nationwide with USPS, free on orders over $35
  • 100-day money back guarantee if you change your mind

John Maclean (1879-1923) was a Scottish schoolteacher and revolutionary socialist, notable for his outspoken opposition to WWI, which caused his arrest under the Defence of the Realm Act and loss of his teaching post, after which he became a full-time Marxist lecturer and organiser. 

In April 1918 he was arrested for sedition and his trial took place in Edinburgh in May. He conducted his own defence in a defiant manner, refusing to plead and when asked if he objected to any of the jurors he replied, "I object to the whole lot of them." 

His 75-minute speech from the dock, from which the words on this tea towel are taken, became a celebrated text for Scottish left-wingers. He was sentenced to five years' penal servitude, but after a militant campaign to free him he was released after the armistice in November 1918, returning to Glasgow to a tumultous welcome. 

Freedom of Speech was the first of a series of four oil paintings, entitled Four Freedoms, by Norman Rockwell. The works were inspired by United States President Franklin D. Roosevelt in his 1941 State of the Union Address, known as Four Freedoms.

Half Panama unbleached organic cotton (heavy weight, textured finish). Stitched on all four sides. Includes hanging loop. Measures approximately 48cm x 70cm. Machine wash at 40 degrees centigrade max. We recommend that before you use your tea towel for the first time you wash it at least once to soften up the material and make it more absorbent for drying dishes. Please note size can vary slightly.