Rank, courtesy, or lot, decides the order in which a group of archers stand at the commencement; after that, merit alone gets precedence. Thus, if I hit any part of the gold, I am coryphæus of the bowmen, provided no other arrow is nearer than mine to its exact centre. The same rule applies to each of those concentric rings of which the target is composed. If, on the contrary, my arrows fly over, or fall short of the target, or, even hitting it, are still in colours of less value than those struck by my associates, I take a position in the rear of all.
And here I think I cannot do better than introduce some rules for the guidance of young toxophilites in the formation of large, or more select, societies; because all such knotty points of precedence, &e. are there accurately enlarged upon.
In the first place, then, they shall have those of the Kentish Bowmen, to whom his Majesty George the Fourth was captain general; secondly, those of the United Society of Woodmen of Arden, Broughton Archers, and Lancashire Bowmen, because their regulations specially refer to the ladies, and, thirdly, those of the Derby and Kiddleston Archers, because distinguished by a laudable brevity.
SOCIETY OF KENTISH BOWMEN. MEETINGS.
That the Society of Kentish Bowmen be continued on Dartford Heath.
That the meetings commence annually tile first Saturday in May, and continue every Saturday during the months of May, June, July, and August.
That twelve members form a meeting competent to transact all business, except the repeal of the rules.
That every candidate be proposed by a member; and, upon his being seconded, such member shall cause his name to be hung up in some public part of the rooms; that he shall be balloted for at the next meeting, twelve members at least being present, and two black balls excluding.
That if any candidate is rejected, the member who proposed him shall be at liberty to have the harlot tried once again, and no more.
That no candidate who has been rejected be again proposed that year.
That the ballot be brought forward immediately after dinner, and at no other time.
That every member, upon his election, shall pay ten guineas; which sum shall include his entrance money and first annual subscription.
That every member shall pay annually 1l. 11s. 6d., out of which, he shall be allowed part of the expenses of his ordinary at every meeting; and he shall pay one guinea annually for his four target dinners.
That every subscriber for one year be considered as such for each subsequent one; and be liable to be called upon for such year's subscription, unless notice of his intention to withdraw his name be sent to the secretary or treasurer in writing, on or before the first day of May each year, on which the subscription shall become due.
That in ease any gentleman elected does not pay his subscription, the member who proposed him shall be called upon for it.
That every member who does not pay his subscription and all arrears to the Society by the first of June, every year inclusive, shall forfeit the sum of one guinea.
That if any member shall neglect attending at some one meeting each year, or sending an excuse for such neglect, the admissibility of which shall be determined by the members present at the last target day, on or before which day the excuse must be sent, he shall be no longer considered a member of the Society.
Ordered by his Royal Highness the Prince of Wales, Jan. 1789--
A grass green coat, buff linings, and buff waistcoat and breeches; black collar to the coat, uncut velvet in winter, and tabby silk in summer, with yellow buttons.
That there be a forfeit of 2s. 6d. for not wearing the uniform coat at all meetings of the Society, and of 5s. for not appearing according to the above resolutions upon target days, and such member not to be permitted to shoot.
That the fines for not appearing in uniform be remitted to those members who appear in family mourning.
That an R.K.B. button, with a gold loop to a black round hat, and small black feather, be part of the shooting uniform; and no member to shoot without it, under the penalty of 2s. 6d.
That all captains, captains of numbers, and lieutenants, shall wear a gold or silver arrow embroidered in their collar.
That all clergymen belonging to the Society do wear a uniform button of papier maché
That the number of ex-county members be limited to thirty six.
That any member or candidate possessing any of the underwritten qualifications be considered as a county member or candidate.
1st. A freehold of 101. per annum in the county of Kent.
2nd. Any person resident and holding a lease of 201. per annum in the county of Kent for no less time than three years.
4th. Sons of leaseholders as above, resident with their fathers.
5th. Any person entitled to a freehold of 201. per annum in the county of Kent, either in reversion or remainder.
That the bill be called for at eight o'clock.
That every member appearing upon the ground? either before or after dinner, shall pay 10s. 6d.; and that every member who dines shall pay the like sum, to clear his expense till the bill is called; the surplus, if ally, to go to the general fund; the deficieney, if any, to be paid out of the general fund.
That every member, upon his marriage, shall present the Society with three dozen of claret.
That no stranger be admitted to the dinners of the Society but such as, at the time of their appearance, are resident with the members who introduce them.
Officers and committees.
That there be appointed to the Society, every year, the following officers:--
|Vice-President,||Four Standard Bearers,|
That none but members be permitted to shoot.
That no greater number than six shoot rubbers, or games at any of the butts; and that the same set do not shoot two rubbers together, if any other wishes to occupy them.
That the large targets are never shot at a less distance than one hundred, nor the small at a less distance than sixty yards, under the penalty of 1s. each shot.
That any member who shoots games at the small targets forfeits 2s. 6d. for each game.
That the order of shooting rubbers or games be determined by the oldest member concerned.
That any member shooting out of his turn shall not reckon the arrow so shot, and the rest to shoot according to the first order.
That the side which won the last end shall always lead.
That seven be the game, and two games in three the rubber.
That if any member borrows any implement of archery, and does not return it safe, or pay the prime cost, and if the member from whom it is borrowed refuses to accept the prime cost, they shall forfeit 5s. each to the Society.
That there be four targets every year, to be shot in the four respective months during the continuance of the meetings.
First target in May, to be fixed by the Society at the first or second meeting, to be shot for at three different distances according to the rules of shooting for the Prince of Wales's prize; and the three distances then determined upon shall be the distances at which his Royal Highness's prize shall be shot for.
Second, his Royal Highness the Prince of Wales's prize to be shot for in June, with his approbation.
Third, anniversary target, July 15.
Fourth, institution target, August 28.
[N. B. There are in the Society three pair of medals for three of the above named targets, and the Prince's prize for the fourth.]
That the officers of the last target deliver the medals to those who hit the gold and red circles first, who shall again deliver them to better shots as they are won; by which means, the two shots nearest the centre in the course of the day are the captain and lieutenant of the target.
That the members who win the medals be obliged to produce or send them to the first meeting upon the Heath in the following year, or forfeit 5s.
That no one member shall receive the captain's and lieutenant's medals at one target.
That the members in possession of the medals appear with them at all the meetings, or forfeit 1s.
That the members in possession of the medals forfeit one guinea if they do not produce or send them to the respective targets.
That the two last targets, namely, the anniversary and institution targets, be shot at the distance of one hundred yards.
That after the targets are pitched, and the shooting commenced, any two members may continue it.
That any member, having once loosed an arrow, be called upon for his target money.
That the subscription, or target money, may be enlarged, first beginning with 2s. 6d., and when the first subscription is shot out, any member may withdraw his name, being only answerable for such subscription.
That a separate committee be appointed to conduct every target on target days, consisting of seven members at least.