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"church, who held the doctrine of the thought among us,—those who give ** Headship of Christ'-or rather, who “the tone to opinion, and lead on the “identified that doctrine with the posi- 'progress of the present into the future, "tion which they maintained- have been -think, we are assured, far otherwise. " ceaselessly busy, disseminating their “The whole current of opinion in the "opinion within the church and with- “higher circles of intelligence is to exalt
The consequence is, that any “the spiritual, and to make less and modification of that opinion is apt to “less of mere forms and machineries." "be regarded as a kind of treason
P. 9. "against the Disruption, an attempt to "whitewash the Establishment, and to The Cardross case has already given "make the sacrifice of the Free Church rise to valuable diseussions of important "a sort of martyrdom by mistake. The principles; and may have also disclosed "extreme party have managed so to hidden internal dangers to the Church "diffuse the leaven of their idea, that immediately concerned. The final deci"all freedom of opinion is well-nigh sion of the Cause may probably_be "silenced; and thoughtful, living, earnest waited without great solicitude. The "Free Churchmen are terrified into mere
Church which Knox planted, having disruption formulas. Nothing could during three centuries survived all the "more emphatically illustrate this spirit storms and convulsions under which " than the way in which Dr. Hanna's Scotland has suffered and attained the "sermon was greeted on its appearance, present maturity, and having been able "and is still very generally regarded.” to keep its hold against the assaults of a · Again, with reference to the sermons powerful neighbour, 'must, although on the other side, there is this important weakened by divisions, be too deeply testimony,—“I believe, indeed, that rooted in the affections of the nation "they only represent a portion of the to be likely to perish by any external “ Free Church community. The men of violence.
A TALK ABOUT THE NATIONAL RIFLE ASSOCIATION MEETING
BY J. C. TEMPLER, CAPTAIN COMMANDING 18TH MIDDLESEX.
Tom. You were at Wimbledon, at the the complete mixture of classes ;-it great national rifle meeting. By all the forced itself on your notice immediately, accounts I have seen of it, it must have and although in the formation of our been a great success; but I should like company I had been somewhat accusto hear some of the details from an eye- tomed to it, it did not come so home as witness ; so tell me about it, for I was when I saw it on a large scale, and confined to my post here by work of all amongst strangers. There were men sorts.
holding the highest social positions mix. Jack. Well, in a desultory sort of way, ing as equals with others not so forI will ; but, remember, I was not pre- tunately placed, and along the whole sent the whole time, as my avocations line of civil society. It came off somecalled me back to London nearly everything in this shape : the volunteers were day. You shall have, and welcome, formed into squads, each about sixteen What passed under my own observation; strong, and the officer in charge took the and I will also give you some thoughts names down on a paper, the surnames that have oecurred to me since.
only, and then called them out as they
came, without titles or additions of any J. The first thing that struck one was kind, thus-Bowling, Buckshorn, John
T. Do so.
son, Childers, Clasper, &c. The first J. Perhaps not; but we may as well might be a peer, the second a working have it correct at first, and now is the man, the third a shopkeeper, the fourth time to rectify these little matters. a yeoman, the fifth a captain in the T. But now tell me about the shootGuards, and so on. There they stood, ing; for, after all, that's the main thing. shoulder to shoulder, intent on the same J. It was surprising, and, to a specobject, to test their skill in a generous
tator who carried back his memory but rivalry; and the volunteer uniform one short year, must have seemed a showed no difference. You will see the marvel. Fancy the squad in which I Times, in giving the names, does the was. Our third round at 500 yards, but
It was the old public school two men missed the target, and one of custom over again, and is a sure sign of them shot from the shoulder, having healthy feeling. Men stood upon their permission to do so, from some disability merits alone, their personal merits in in the knee, which prevented his kneelthe use of the rifle. Besides, the inter- ing. All the others either got outers mixture of classes did more ; it showed or bull's-eyes, as we will now call it. us to each other, and we found the mind Why, a sheep could not have lived for a of the gentleman was common to all. minute there, much less a horse or a
“Fair play and old England ;" The average merit of the squad each man did his best, without striving for five rounds was 3.66 ; and you must after any small advantages; we stood remember this was the first year, with upon honour with each other.
but little opportunity for selection. I T. Do you mean that you all became came myself, not because I was the best acquainted at once with each other? shot of my company, but simply because,
J. Quite so; and it was not long having had no opportunity of testing the before there was great clanship amongst capabilities of any one by reason of our us—just like the old feeling of sides at butts not being erected, I thought, in football and cricket, and, in spite of our case of failure, my shoulders were the individual rivalry, we cheered a success- broadest to bear the responsibility, and, ful shot as reflecting credit on the squad, besides, not having had the advantage —“Well done, Johnson,” “ Well done, of a course at Hythe, I was willing to Buckshorn,” when they got centres. And run the risk of some little discredit so high did this run, that, at the close against the certainty of the advantage of of the day, we wished to challenge any the practice ; so, without having fired a other of the squads; and, had there been round of ball cartridge, I trusted to the time, no doubt plenty of such matches position drill and the mechanical truth would have come off. Talking of centres, of the rifle ; and no doubt there were I think General Hay should alter the numbers of others, who, if not quite in nomenclature at Hythe. You are per- so forlorn a position as my own, at the haps aware that bull's-eyes are confined longer ranges could have had little or to distances up to 300 yards only; after no practice. that, there are no bull's-eyes, properly so Î. Was there much question as to called, but the central part of the target the rifles ? is called the centre. I observed the
J. The contest, virtually, was confined north countrymen, Yorkshiremen, and to the long Enfields, the Whitworths, Swiss, always spoke of it as the bull's- and the Westley Richards. The two eye; and certainly this name conveys to former, as you know, are muzzle-loaders; the uninitiated a better idea, besides the latter breech-loaders. As far as my being more agreeable to the marksman. own observation went, the long Enfield, The division should be — up to 300 up to 600 yards, was equal to either for yards, bull's-eyes, centres, and outers; precision – indeed I should have preand, after that distance, bull's-eyes and ferred mine. You will remember we outers.
shot with those that had been supT. There is not much in that, I think, plied us by the National Rifle Association; and these were more carefully ad- greatly guess-work. I should have prejusted in their sights than those issued ferred a Whitworth ; but they were all by Government to the corps. Besides, engaged by the volunteers who came to the pull of the trigger was reduced shoot for the Queen's prize, and therefrom some 8 or 9-1b., which is the ordi- fore I had no opportunity of trying nary pull of the Government Enfield, to them. But, though not successful myabout 4-lb. ; indeed, every ninth or self, I saw some good practice with tenth rifle in our company will bear its the Westley Richards at these ranges. own weight on the trigger without The rifle I used struck me as too lightspringing it. Now this should not be, not eight pounds in weight, I think-to and it is a pity that all the rifles issued carry such a flight with certainty ; and by Government should not be adjusted it certainly kicked more than the Enfield, to a 3-lb. or 4-lb. pull. It is a great disad- as my shoulder testified the next mornvantage, drilling with one and shooting ing. The breech-loading principle is an ' with another. Now no man can shoot advantage in loading ; but it has the with great accuracy with a 9-lb. pull at disadvantage of the cartridge greasing a trigger; the effort to get the piece off the fingers, and thus preventing the is sure to derange the aim. Nothing firm grip both of the left and right is more nice than the adjustment of the hands. This, unless carefully guarded finger to the trigger; and, out of fifteen against, by rubbing the fingers quite shots, a 4-lb. pull, as compared with a dry (which takes time) is much against a 9-lb. pull, is worth three points, if not true shot. Indeed, the nicety of all the more.
points required at these distances to T. Did you like your own rifle ? I make a successful shot is wonderful. It mean the Enfield you shot with. is eye, hand, nerve, and perhaps the
J. Exceedingly—so much so that I electricity” of the man that all comes have applied to the Association to be into play ; and the singular thing is, you allowed to purchase it for the Company. can tell, as you pull the trigger, if you The decision rests with the War-office, are right. I always felt certain, the and it would seem a pity to return it moment I fired, whether I had hit or into store to remain unused for another missed. It is an indescribable sometwelvemonths. The government might thing that conveys it to you, of which put an enhanced price on it-say 91. or the white or blue flag, some seconds 5l. ; but it would be a great advantage after, is only the communication ; and to the first-class men, or, at least, the
this I found was common to all. marksmen of the Company, to be able
Jacob Knecht of Zurich fire the last to practise with it constantly. I doubt shot that won the Duke of Cambridge's if you could get a better weapon for its prize : he was 8, Lieutenant Lacey range-say of 600 yards. I know
Knecht pulled, and instannothing of its virtues beyond that dis- taneously exclaimed, “Ah, gute, gute, tance; but, if the War-office insist on a bool's eye, a bool's eye,” and made these rifles being returned to them, we almost extravagant exhibitions of deshall be in the same predicament next light. I stood by, I confess, increduyear—that is, practising with rifles with lous ; but, some ten seconds afterwards, a heavy pull, and shooting for prizes the blue flag showed at the butts. A with rifles with a light one.
bull's-eye it was; and, thus scoring 7. Did you shoot at the long ranges ? two, Knecht made ten, and won the
J. Yes, I competed both for the prize. It was an exciting moment. LieuDuke of Cambridge's and for the Duke tenant Lacey, standing by, was second, of Wellington's prize, and only got on when he might well, a moment before, the target at 1000 yards with my have felt almost certain of the prize. ninth shot in the second contest. This Knecht fired sitting. His position was was with a Westley Richards, which I admirably steady; he brought his rifle at had to sight for myself; and it was once to the aim, and then, after a single
moment's dwell, fired. In this lies score on 240 yards was an outside shot the rifleman's dexterity-- to pull at the then ; with the rifle it could be multiinstant his sight tells him he is on. It plied by 4. will not always come off right even then; T. Tell me about the Common itfor the slightest failure of finger to give self. Of course every Londoner knows the impulse will defeat him ; but to pull Wimbledon Common; but what was it when he is not on—and this he must like on the day of the meeting? wait for and work for, if it does not, as J. Well, England is a glorious country. it often does not, come at once—is just She has capacities for everything; her sheer folly, as the shot is sure to be Epsom, her Goodwood, her Doncaster and wasted. The art of shooting is one of Newmarket, are all race-courses made to the mental phenomena ; " trace home our hands by nature, and requiring but the lightning to the cloud," and you little of art to make them as perfect as will find it resolves itself into a brain they are. Look at the broad stretches action, a sense. “ It strikes the electric of the Thames and Isis for an eight-oar chord wherewith we are darkly bound,” match ; the sunny spots by thousands and it is this that creates the excite- that are spread on her green lap for ment. Nothing can be more thrilling cricket; or the glad waters of the than the feeling of the successful shot. Solent, or the Channel, for a trial of Thence arises the affection for the rifle speed in a fore-and-aft rigged yacht itself. You love it; you talk to it. I They are each and all excellent in their could not help whispering to mine in way ; but none surpass in their pecuthe tent, “ If you'll be true to me, I'll liar features the complete, the perfect, be true to you ;” and out of this little natural rifle - range that Wimbledon social compact I got a centre at 600 Common presents. Stretching across yards. No doubt this would be much the common from left to right, there enhanced by longer familiarity. Ву
was ample room for ten pairs of butts, continued practice you could reduce twelve feet high, and twenty-five feet distances to such a certainty that every wide at the base ; while between every 20 yards might be lined off on the second pair stood four others of the slide. The sighting the rifle is the first same size, but farther back, for the grand secret. With that all right the longer ranges ; so that there was no rifleman has confidence ; and confidence difficulty in accommodating from three is the second grand secret in the shot. hundred to four hundred riflemen at a
T. But tell me, what did you do when time, and, from the level nature of the you first came on the ground on the ground, at any range from 200 yards Monday?
to 1000. It looks as if it was intended J. In truth there was not much to by nature for the national rifle practicedo. The volunteers fell in at one o'clock ground ; and, thanks to the kindness of and were marched to the sides of the Lord Spencer, no pains were spared to approach of the Royal Pavilion, under make it worthy of the first meeting. the command of a good-natured gentle. Within an easy distance of London, a man, who screeched “Shoudr-r-r-r-r-a- nearly worthless soil, heather and ling ar-r-r-r-ms !” at us; which we were in no growing on a great bog,-- a little drainage, hurry to do, as shouldering arms, even and the consent of the owners and for a short time is not the best prepara- neighbours, is all that is necessary to tion for accurate shooting. Every tittle secure it as a first-rate ground for the of physical power should be carefully country. husbanded in a match. I had an en- T. Yes; but that consent, I hear, thusiastic young Sherwood Forester near will be hard to get. me; and I could not help thinking of J. So I hear; but, as to the owners Robin Hood, and what a contrast the and commoners, their rights are purchas scene before me must have presented to able ; and, were I interested, I should an archery gathering in his day. Twelve prefer the money-value to the right to feed geese and donkeys—which is that the fame of being a crack rifleabout all that the spot seemed worth. shot would not with a large number be With the neighbours it is, however, enough. Still, if there must be prizes, different; and I can well understand that let the contest be for them and them the place, under a constant repetition of alone,-cups and medals, and such like. such an excitement as was witnessed Let us forego money prizes, and disat the meeting, might be frightened out countenance all bets and betting, and of all its propriety. Servant-girls had sweep away all the hideous devilries of lots of volunteer sweethearts—to say ring and turf. . The thing has been innothing of the gipsy hordes of tinkers, augurated in the right tone. If there hawkers, and vagabonds of all sorts that was a spice of the devil in it at all, it are attracted to such gatherings, as a lurked beneath the smiles of Aunt Sally. matter of course. But much of this was T. Tell me about that lady; was she entirely dependent on the novelty of the like what she is at Epsom? thing; and, were the common once pur- J. Something, but with an improved chased by the nation, and enclosed, and character; and there was, no doubt, the different sites let out to the London sport in the thing. Any one, whoever he Rifle Corps, reserving the right of one was, by paying a shilling, was entitled or more general meeting, the novelty to a shot, and, if he got a bull's-eye, would be over.
shared in the pool at the close of the T. Still, for the work of the annual day with the others who were equally meeting, it would be a sort of Epsom fortunate. This would be innocent jubilee; would it not?
enough, if the betting could be kept out J. I hope not. I do trust the tone of it; but occasionally you heard the of our riflemen will be healthier and “five to one," or larger odds against the more robust than the tone of the turf- shot, break out. This, however, might from which at the very outset I would be corrected by a rule to meet it; and, draw the broadest line of demarcation. while the management is in the hands of I do not see why the gipsies and vaga- the admirable staff of men, from General bonds should be allowed to congre- Hay downwards, who did duty at Wimgate at all, especially as the ground bledon, it would be easy both to impose will be enclosed; and, besides, I should the rules and to see that it was kept. like to cut away from it everything like The officers were educated gentlemen, betting. Why not assimilate it to and held their men in first-rate working cricket and boating? We never played order; hence the absence of all accidents, or rowed for money. If gambling be and the avoidance of all unpleasantness once admitted—legitimatized I might in the agreeable week passed there. If say—as it has been on the turf, depend the national meeting be made the on it, rifle-practice will degenerate. Do standard, you would have the true spirit let us try and keep the thing pure at given to all the provincial meetings first; and, if our children let it down, the throughout the country. Depend on it, fault will rest with them, not with us. if once gambling is allowed to take It a little goes against the grain with place at rifle-meetings, the thing will me that there should be a need of prizes. become a curse instead of a blessing. The nobler and the manlier lesson would T. Well, I agree with you, and will surely be the generous rivalry of being come some day with the best of mine to first.
shoot with the best of yours, for honour T. My good fellow, the thing would and glory alone. not work. You won't get men to come J. Agreed; and I can show you a distances simply to get a name : and, splendid range-a thousand yards-as besides, they must look to something level as a bowling green, and with a fine to pay expenses.
lay of sheep-walk beyond it. It is beauJ. Consider how few after all can tifully situated in the very heart of attain the prizes; and I'm not so sure England.