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Copy of Letter undated from Brent Dow Allinson to unknown recipient
Copy of a letter written by Brent Allinson, Friday, Sept. 13, to Gertrude L. Winslow.
How I have longed to write you! The privation of being unable to communicate with my friends, save indirectly through my family, is the most poignant of my present disabilities for without such friends as I have I should be impoverished spiritually and rendered physically unable to meet the manifold and disheartening injustices of this historic hour. There is so much to tell you as the days go by and one after another of those who have caught the vision of the New World arrive here literally enchained by the Old. Did I ever tell you that I was brought here handcuffed by two armed guards in uniform? And when the 96 I.W.W. arrived last week their special train steamed through the great iron gates and into the brick courtyard; the gates swung to and the men disentrained, and lined up in a long column of twos, each pair chained together (the right ankle to the partner's left) and the column flanked by 50 agents of the D. Of J. whose faces for ignorance and brutality I have never seen surpassed. As the line moved across the area and into the Chapel where they were officially received and exhorted, waves of cheering went up from the different shops and cell-houses all over the enclosure and the tears stood in my eyes as I watched them and realized the tragic significance of the thing. The panorama of human history unfolded before me and it seemed to me that I was watching the Babylonian captivity from a hilltop in Palestine, or the slave trains pouring through Washington in ante-bellum days or the Pyramid builders under the lash of Pharaoh's overseers. And now America, last of the nations, has no more wise and humane method of dealing with economic maladjustment than to incarcerate, for a brutal length of years, those who are its victims. Turning from the window I picked up a copy of the Outlook and read, by way of steadying my nerves, an editorial eulogium upon Quentin Roosevelt in which my eyes discovered and blinked at the following sentence: "All the sons of a Sovereign people are princes of the royal household and there is no royalty equal to that of the common people. That is America. That is the Soul of Democracy." ["]Is this deliberate hood-winking", I said to myself, "or only vapid cant?" -- The I.W.W.s are an interesting lot of men, far different from what in my ignorance I had expected. One of them is a Harvard student and was arrested in Cambridge! Several of them are poets! Mr. Haywood's cell is near mine. And now we are expecting Mr. Debs, whose heroic stand has thrilled us all. -I would not have missed this experience for a great deal. At times I feel just a little pity for you who have to remain in America and cannot escape from it even by the back door!