Sunday Rifle Shooting

From The Arthur Conan Doyle Encyclopedia

Sunday Rifle Shooting is a letter written by Arthur Conan Doyle first published in The Farnham, Haslemere and Hindhead Herald on 28 april 1906.

Sunday Rifle Shooting

Sir, — I observe in your columns a protest against our action in opening our range on Sundays, so courteously and temperately i expressed, that I feel it calls for some word of explanation and justification on our part.

In the first place, I may say that this action has been taken, after mature consideration, by the unanimous vote of the whole committee, some ten in number, representing men of all shades of religious opinion. I need not say that we foresaw opposition, and that we intend to live it down.

At the same time, nothing is further from our wishes than to assume a defiant or offensive attitude towards the religious sentiments of the general community. The range is only open at such an hour in the afternoon as will clash with no religious service. The firing entails work to no-one, but harmless occupation to all. The noise in a Morris tube is so small as to cause no public inconvenience.

In these days when Sunday cycling, motoring, boating, and even golf, are universal, it is difficult to see any logical cause for an objection to the one form of amusement which may serve an important public purpose.

As to the general question of the uses of the Sabbath, I would remind you that our Protestantism came from Germany and our Puritanism from Holland and from Switzerland. In all three countries, and especially in the land of Calvin, it is quite usual to shoot on Sunday, indeed, Sunday is the day specially set apart for that purpose. In the time of James I of England, although this country was Protestant, shooting was, I am informed, compulsory on the Sunday. Our present views of Sunday observance, or rather, the views of our fathers — for the last twenty years have materially altered them — have no warrant in the history either of England or of Protestantism, but are the outcome of that somewhat local Puritanism which lingered as a last legacy of the theological disputes of the 17th century.

I am, Sir, yours faithfully,

Undershaw, Hindhead, Haslemere.