Sunday, December 01, 2013

"...regard shooting as a useful accomplishment for every citizen of the republic."



   The Schutzenfest, which is to come off on the 27th of June and last till the 6th of July, and which is expected to set New York in a a blaze of glory, is not a festival of such modern date as many supposed. It was first originated in Switzerland about the latter part of fifteenth century, daring the struggle for Swiss independence, when the people used to gather for practice in the use of firearms. There was also observed on these occasions a religious ceremony, but time has obliterated this part of the festival. The formation of large societies, however, for the purpose of testing skill in shooting did not assume character as a festive gathering until the year 1824, when the societies organized and met at Frankfort-on-the-Main, since which it has been biennially observed.

   The first of the German shooting festivals held in this country occurred in 1865, at Highland, Madison County, Illinois, and such was its success that it was agreed to create a society to be called "The American Sharpshooters Society." The next festival was held at Chicago and the third, which is to take place in June at "Jones' Woods," will give to the State of New York the precedence for the extent and grandeur of this great German festival. The building, now in process of erection, is to be one hundred and seventy feet long, by one hundred feet wide, and, including two stories, forty-five feet high. It will accommodate at table five thousand five hundred persons, and will be connected with the hotel, and hall on the grounds by a bridge; which also connects with the committee rooms. The upper part of the building will be used as a ball-room, and the lower part for the shooting gallery. The distance for shooting is six hundred feet, three hundred and sixty feet of which is under cover. The number of targets is fifty-eix, fifty of which may be shot at by any one who pays the one dollar for the privilege of shooting; four of them are reserved exclusively for members of the society, and two of them for the breech-loaders. Deputations from all parts of the country are expected to be present, and invitations have been extended to all the societies of Europe, and it is intended to test thoroughly all of the newest inventions in firearms. There is to be a separate building for the distribution of prizes, which will be under the management of a ladies' committee. The following is a list of prizes up to date:

   1. From the Helvetia Rifle Club, New York, $400 and $500.
   2. From the Helvetia Sharpshooters' Society Highland, $100, gold.
   3. Mrs. A. Kneessy, a fine cow-keeper's cottage, with-glass bell, $25.
   4. Toledo Sharpshooters' Society in Toledo, $50, gold.
   5. New Yorker Sharpshooters' Society, Captain J.F. Gardes, $400 and $500.
   6. Sharpshooters' Society in Newark, N.J., $150.
   7. Cincinnati Sharpshooters' Society in Cincinnati, $250 and $300.
   8. Philadelphia Sharpshooters' Society Philadelphia, $300, gold.
   9. J. Christi, in Newark, all the presidents of the United States of America, in bronze relief, $100.
   10. P.A. Wundermann, New York; one Zimmermann, "World's End," (music), $8, gold.
   11. Committee of the Third German Shooting Festival in Vienna, not named yet named.
   12. Tentonia Sharpshooters' Society, in Boston, Mass., not named yet.
   13. Press Committee for the Third American Shooting Festival, New York; not yet named.
   14. Milwaukee Sharpshooters, Milwaukee, Wisconsin; not named yet.

   The following are some of the articles adopted by the societies:

   To practice and perfect the art of sharpshooting, according to principles generally adopted in modern times.

   To establish and encourage relations of mutual friendship among its members, as well as among the inhabitants of this country in general.

   To establish connections with societies sharpshooters abroad, in order to contribute toward a friendly intercourse of the different nationalities.

   The society ignores all political or religious differences of creed. Its motto is: CONCORD.

   On the committee roll are the names of General Aspinwall, Augustus Belmont, Reuben E. Fenton, Dr. Jacoli, Frederick Kapp, Francis Endicott, General Clinton and Godfrey Gunther.

   This festival is to be conducted on the same plan as the world-renowned Swiss festivals, held during the last few years in Europe. The approaching festival is intended not only for the amusement and entertainment of the participants, but also for the good that must follow to the nationalities represented, by enlarging in every respect the minds and views of those whom they send to take a part therein.

   The festival will be neither exclusively American, German, French, English, nor Italian, but will be composed of, and participated in by men of worth from all nations.

   While our American sharpshooters are busily engaged in bringing into array all their forces for the "Third American National Shooting Festival," similar preparations are made on the other side of the Atlantic, in the Empire of Austria, for a general gathering of sharpshooters from the United States of Germany, the Austrian Provinces, and such other larger and smaller kingdoms and principalities as may be able to put into the field a quota for the grand sport and competition in the "Imperial City" of Vienna.

   Incidentally, if not providentially, the Vienna festival will be, like our own, the third in the new series of national shooting festivals, and from the cosmopolitan character of both cities--one, the great metropolis of the American Republic, the other famous for having been in by-gone times the seat of the Empire Of Germany. One the powerful offspring of a new civilization and the gathering of so many peoples and nationalities, the other the old bulwark against the Turks, and now the rendezvous of thirteen different peoples, united by one supreme power and one dominant language; from these reasons, analogies and opposites, the two festivals will offer to the thinking mind, and especially to those who attend, a great field of speculation and reflection.

   The third American Shooting Festival is not intended to be a mere amusement, arranged by the members of a special organization for their special friends and benefit, but it is proposed to make it a national affair, to be participated in by all those who have an interest in the sport of arms, and who, at the same time, regard shooting as a useful accomplishment for every citizen of the republic.

[The Charleston Daily News, Charleston, S.C., Wednesday Morning, May 6, 1868. Volume VI.--Number 847. Pg. 1]

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