§ MR. CALLAN
asked Mr. Chancellor of the Exchequer, Whether, previous to the further consideration of the Army Discipline and Regulation Bill, he will have any objection to make the necessary arrangement to have the specimen cat-o'-nine-tails for use in the Navy, the sealed cat-o'nine-tails stated to be the specimen for use in the Marine service, and now also at the office of the Admiralty, the cat-o'-nine-tails in actual use on board H.M.S. "Duke of Wellington," now also at the office of the Admiralty, and the prison cat used for criminals deposited in some convenient place in this House for the inspection 1422 of Members? He also wished to ask the right hon. Gentleman a Question, of which, he was sorry to say, he had not had time to give him even private Notice—namely, Where the cats can be inspected, as they appear to have departed from the Admiralty?
§ THE CHANCELLOR OF THE EXCHEQUER
Sir, With regard to the various specimens of the cat-o'-nine-tails, they have always been, as I understand, open to the inspection of Members of this House who might desire to inspect them. They have been kept at the proper offices, and there has been no indisposition on the part of Heads of Departments to allow any Member of this House to inspect them on his wishing to do so. It would be extremely inconvenient, and, I think, open to serious objection, that these implements should be brought down and placed in a position where they would be open to the public at large, or where there would be any such inspection of them as there might be if they were placed in the more open part of this House. On the other hand, there is no desire on the part of the Government to put Members to the unnecessary inconvenience of going to different offices at some distance from this House; and there will not be the slightest objection to place the cats in such a place as will be convenient for their inspection by Members, but only by Members, of this House. If, therefore, an arrangement can be made by which they will be placed under the custody of the Serjeant-at-Arms, there could be no objection to that arrangement.
§ MR. W. H. SMITH
Sir, I wish to make a short personal explanation, and to apologize to the hon. Member for Dundalk (Mr. Callan) for contradicting him yesterday on a question of fact as to the existence of what is called the "Marine cat." The hon. Gentleman visited the Admiralty at a time when I was not aware of his visit, and I was not aware of the circumstances of it. There is an instrument, as I have since ascertained, which can be called a "Marine cat;" but I should have misled the House, and been guilty of creating a much more false impression, if I had allowed the House to understand that that cat was used on board Her Majesty's ships for the corporal punishment of Marines. That is not the case. The 1423 "Marine cat" which the hon. Gentleman saw is one which is identical with the Army cat, and it is used for Marines, under the provisions of the Marine Mutiny Act, when they become liable to corporal punishment when on service on shore. These circumstances are so extremely rare that I was not aware of the fact when I spoke on the subject; but, as I stated to the House yesterday, the cat which is used on board ship is a cat which was approved by my right hon. Predecessor, which the hon. Gentleman saw, and which is used alike for the seamen and Marines of the Fleet, in cases of necessity, under the Naval Discipline Act. The hon. Gentleman referred to a cat which came from Her Majesty's ship the Duke of Wellington, at Portsmouth. That cat will be produced with the others, but I have ascertained from Portsmouth that it is a relic, and has never been used at all. I make this statement for the information of the House, and I regret that I was not in a position yesterday to give it.
§ MR. CALLAN
I accept, unreservedly, the explanation given by the right hon. Gentleman. I felt deeply pained last night when we came into conflict, and the explanation which he has now given is such as I then expected he would give. His statement bears out fully the extreme accuracy of the statement I made last night.
§ MR. CHAMBERLAIN
With reference to the statement which has just been made by the First Lord of the Admiralty, in which he said that the Marine cat is the same cat as that used in the Army, and in reference, also, to the statement made last night by the hon. Member for Dundalk (Mr. Callan), that this cat had knots in it, I wish to ask if it is not the fact that the Army cat has also knots in it?
§ COLONEL STANLEY
I think I ought to answer that Question. As far as I am aware, there is some doubt as to whether there is a sealed pattern or not. The cat, as far as I am aware, is similar to that in use in the Navy. It is difficult to say whether there is a sealed pattern or not.
§ MR. CHAMBERLAIN
Has it knots in it? On a former occasion the right hon. and gallant Gentleman stated that the Army cat had no knots.
§ MR. CALLAN
The cat which I described to the Committee last night was a cat-o'-nine-tails, each with nine knots in it. [Cries of "Order!"] Well, if I am not permitted to go on, I shall move the adjournment of the House.
§ MR. SPEAKER
If the hon. Gentleman wishes to move the adjournment of the House, of course, he is in Order. At the same time, I wish to say that any reference to the proceeding's of the Committee yesterday is clearly out of Order.
§ MR. CALLAN
I wish to make no reference to what occurred yesterday; I simply desire to answer the Question of the hon. Member for Birmingham. If I am allowed to do so without a Motion, I will do so; but if I am to be interrupted by hon. Members opposite, then I will move the adjournment of the House. The cat which I inspected at the Admiralty consisted of three plaits for about six inches. It then developes itself into nine tails, and on each of these tails there are knots—I think nine; I am not quite certain of the exact number—but they are severe knots of whipcord. The cat bears this inscription, which I took down from an Admiralty paper—Sealed pattern cat-o'-nine-tails, approved by the First Lord of the Admiralty on the 7th of December, 1877.—Signed, Royal Marine-office, 10th December, 1877.—G. W. RODNEY, D.A.G.—which I took to be Deputy Adjutant General.