Sloper’s Declaration of Independence

Now then, you may notice that banner across the top of this journal of mine, the one which proclaims ‘Ally Sloper’s Half Holiday’. This same banner was the one that festooned the humorous periodical featuring your humble servant which was run by my second patron Gilbert Dalziel. You can see that I have struck out that name and scrawled my own moniker alongside, this being a stand I have taken to declare that I am now my own man and I will have no other putting words in my mouth.

For I was used as a mouthpiece, Ladies and Gentlemen. My masters stuffed my mouth so full of words I could have choked on ‘em on occasion. Having said that, the wage I was paid was just and fair and it does have to be said that I moved upward in society at a fair pace on the back of those political machinations.

But, when all was said and done, I was nothing more than a puppet much of the time and those in charge, being full aware of my popularity amongst the lower classes, would use my voice, it being the whitest of Whitechapel voices, as a Clarion Call to those without to do the bidding of those with.

Just look at some of the get up they got me up in, here is your Sloper resplendent in his Pith and Puttees waving the good old flag like any true Englishman. But should I be held to account if any man was fool enough to fall for such a deceit?

ally pith helmet

In truth, I never was a one for the politics. I could never affiliate myself with any particular faction of the establishment, beings as no particular faction of the establishment ever tried to affiliate itself with me.

No, I was always what you might call an Independent Thinker. I was wont to follow my own merry path through life, it may be said that it was a crooked, twisted and bent path and I would not argue with that, after all, a straight path may be easier to follow but you will reach the end in a much hastier fashion.

With all this talk of politics I find my mind returns to when I was Young Sloper. 1848 it was, a time when the streets were a-buzz with the sound of unrest. It seemed that all through Europe the lowest of society were standing against their masters in uprising. Unseasonal weather had caused crops to fail and what with those in higher positions having their fill first, there was not enough scraps left over to throw to the lowest.

And if you empty the belly of a peasant a fire will soon fill it.

At the same time there was a rise in the popular press spreading political affairs far and wide and a surge in pamphleteers giving a voice to those that did not have one previous, mix these things with an austere existence and the whisper of revolution soon appears.

This uprising blazed its course across The Continent, no country was untouched by the impassioned peasantry that wanted to break from the established rule of law.

Course, the whole affair was orchestrated by those middle-classes what wanted a bigger slice of the pie than they was already receiving and they was agitating the poor to use as their battering ram.

But, such is life. In truth the middle classes will always think the lower classes should be revolting.

And just to lighten the mood after all this talk of violence and upheaval, I do still own my old Pith but I shall not be donning it in deference to the Establishment again. If I do wear it, which I may well see fit to do in warmer climes, then I shall wear it as a free man and this shall be my salute.

Ally Sloper's Pith Helmet

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