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A WAG ON THE VOLUNTEER MOVEMENT. In the debate on the Army Estimates on Friday evening Sir Robert Peel made a most amusing speech on the Rifle Corps Movement. It will be seen that the right hon. baronet is thoroughly opposed to the volunteers, but advocates an increase in the regular army and navy in case of danger. He deprecated what he termed the extravagant talk uttered throughout the country, as follows :— An hon. friend of his towards the close of the year made a most amusing speech at a place called Eye. The poet had well said,— Where ignorance is bliss 'tis olly to be wise;" for the enthusiastic rifleman, addressing the Suffolk bumpkins (a laugh), made their hair stand on end by stating that there were hundreds of thousands of troops on the other side of the Channel waiting to come across. (Laughter.) Really, when such extravagant language was used to excite a national zeal for volun- teer corps, the sooner a stop was put to it the better. Schools were turned to strange purposes now-a-days, and he was not surprised that a rifle meeting had been held in St. Peter's School, Pimlico. One of the speakers, waxing very eloquent indeed, declared that he hoped to see the day when every man in England, like the Swiss, would have a rifle hung behind his door. (Cheers.) No doubt, there were a great many riflemen in Switzerland, but those who cheered should recollect that we paid upwards of 30,000,000?. for our army and navy. For his own part, he should like to see the stalwart youth of England turning their atten- tion to some legitimate and useful pursuit, instead of hankering after fire-arms and knickerbockers. (Laugh- ter.) STOKERS AND POKERS-THE SIX-FOOT GUARDS. But the climax was still to come. At the same meeting in Pimlico a Mr. Denman informed his auditors that in 1790 a body of 1,400 French troops landed in Pembroke- shire, but were immediately dispersed by the red petti- coats of the Welsh women seen on a distant hill. He must say that Mr. Denman did not offer a very flatter- ing suggestion to the gallant Pimlico Fencibles. "But," continued the orator, "Mr. Fox declared that England did not recover from the effects of that descent for twenty years." It was certainly high time to show up" meetings at which such speeches were made. Perhaps the Committee would derive a little amusement from the names of some of the rifle corps. The leaders of the movement, judging from their absurd nomenclature, seemed to have gone mad. It was a fact. Certain gentlemen, who had evidently been reading Carlyle's Life of Frederick the Great," were advertising daily in the Times on behalf of a corps, to be called the Six Foot Guards. There were corps composed of the stokers and pokers of the r?rH ■. -ays. He had already mentioned the Pimlico Tcucibles, but what did the Committee think of the Westminster Volunteers of St. John the Evangelist? What St. John the Evange- list had to do with rifle corps he could not for the life of him understand. It v. as really too bad that so venerable a name should be associated with a band of idle striplings playing at soldiers. (A laugh.) BELLIGERENT LAWYERS. There was the Volunteer Corps of the Aldermen and Corporation of London, and last, but not least, there was the Rifle Corps of the Inns of Court. He admired the patriotism of lawyers, but nothing could well be more absurd than the idea of a lot of barristers from the Inns of Court meeting the cuirassiers of the Im- perial Guard in deadly conflict. Serjeant Parry seemed to be an active member of the corps. No doubt that distinguished legal luminary would earn a grade, and become Sergeant-Major Parry. The Serjeant was kept in countenance by Dr. Balls-a capital name for a sol- dier (a laugh),—Counsellor Butt, and his old friend of the time of the French Conspiracy Bill, Lawyer Bodkin. (Laughter.) These gentlemen, and many more of the same kidney, leaving the study of Coke and Blackstone, were devoting their days and nights to "Plutarch's Lives," "Caesar's Commentaries," and "The Rifle: How to Use It." (Continued laughter.) How heavy lawyers expected to be able to crawl along hedges upon their bellies and climb up trees he could not compre- hend (a laugh), and he hoped they would not be very much offended if he applied to them the somewhat apt quotation, "In Medio tutissimus ibis," which, being literally translated, meant, You are a good deal safer in the Middle Temple." (Great laughter.) THE LONDON CATS IN DANGER! It appeared that some of the riflemen had attained great proficiency in shooting. At Hythe the first prize was carried off by a genuine Cockney. Upon being asked how he had acquired his extraordinary skill and pre- cision, "Oh! said he, "I live in London, and have had considerable practice in shooting at the cats of my Brompton neighbours." It was not, perhaps, of much consequence in the depth of winter, but no man could tell what a scene London would present at the height of the season. Everybody would be shooting at his neigh- bour's cat, and there would be no end to the inhuman massacre of the feline tribe. (Prolonged laughter.) He trusted, however, that before that time a stop would be put to the volunteer movement. If the country was really in danger, let the Government, in- stead of subscribing 101. to a rifle corps-as the Minister of War had done-give up their official salaries in aid of the necessary measures of defence. Were there real danger—all classes of men would com- bine to defend the institutions of the country. As it was, two dukes of great territorial influence had had the courage to decline to contribute to this movement because they conceived it to be absolutely unnecessary. and it had received no encouragement from the Royal family-who in case of danger would be the first to put themselves forward-beyond the patronage of a volunteer ball. He was as ready as any man to main- tain the necessary strength and efficiency of the legiti- mate defences of the country, but he entered his protest against what he believed to be a most extravagant ex- penditure of the national resources.

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