HL Deb 07 August 1860 vol 160 cc818-9

rose to move that the measure was of so urgent a nature as to come within the exception to the Resolution adopted by the House, and stated that the object of the Bill which he proposed to read a second time was to afford facilities to Rifle Volunteer corps throughout the country for acquiring practising grounds. The Bill had been introduced into the other House of Parliament by a private Member sitting on the Opposition benches, and was not in any sense a Government measure; but in the altered shape in which it had come up to their Lordships' House it appeared to be a Bill to which it was desirable they should give their assent. In requesting their Lordships now to read it a second time as a matter of urgency, he would observe that Rifle Volunteer corps through the country had the utmost difficulties presented to their acquiring practising grounds. It was quite unnecessary that he should remind their Lordships of the public spirit and patriotism which had been exhibited throughout the country in the formation of these corps. They had seen in the Metropolis, at the review held by Her Majesty some time ago, proofs of the high degree of efficiency in drill which these corps had attained; and no doubt the review which ho believed was at that moment going on in the city of Edinburgh would show that the corps in Scotland and the north of England were in an equally advanced condition of efficiency. But it was one of the first essentials of rifle corps that the members should be good shots—that they should know how to use the rifle well, and be practised in the use of it. This could not be without good practising grounds. There were considerable difficulties in many parts of the country in acquiring land for establishing these grounds, and if the Bill did not pass, and the remainder of the summer were allowed to go by without giving the Volunteers the facilities required, the efficiency of the corps already raised would be very seriously impaired, and the formation of others proportionally discouraged. The provisions of the Bill had now nothing in them of a compulsory character, and he trusted their Lordships would mark their sense of the public spirit evinced by these corps and their desire to promote their efficiency by removing all technical obstacles to their acquiring practising grounds. He concluded by moving to resolve— That as the Means of acquiring proper Training and Efficiency in the Use of the Rifle will he denied to the Members of many Volunteer Corps and the raising of new Corps discouraged unless practising Grounds can be secured forthwith, the Want of which has been already felt in many Places, and for the obtaining of which increased Facilities are greatly required, the Circumstances which require Legislation on this Subject appear to this House to be of such real Urgency as to render the immediate Consideration of the same necessary.


most cordially approved the Volunteer Rifle corps movement. Its utility, however, depended on its permanence; and it had elements which he thought would tend to make it permanent. Among its various recommendations there was, first of all, the manly exercise which all effective members of Volunteer corps must have; there was also the social intercourse which was inseparable from their meetings, and there was the crowning feeling that in participating in those enjoyments they were conferring a benefit on the country by assisting in its defence. Above all there was the charm of rifle shooting, which was so very popular in Switzerland, America, and Germany; and from what he had seen in the Metropolis and in the country districts he would say should be equally popular in England. Rifle shooting would be one of the great means of keeping corps together, and he hoped their Lordships would agree to this Resolution and read the Bill a second time, not only with a view to increase the efficiency of corps in rifle shooting, but also as a means of really making permanent the Volunteer movement.

Resolution agreed to.

Bill read 2a (according to Order); and committed to a Committee of the whole House on Thursday next.