§ MR. PARNELL
I beg to ask the honourable Member for Dundalk (Mr. Callan) a Question, of which I have given him private Notice, with reference to the specimen cats now in the custody of the Sergeant at Arms. I wish to ask him, Whether those cats 3vhich are now on view, and in the custody of the Sergeant at Arms, bear any other endorsement or endorsements, or bear the same endorsement or endorsements, which they bore when the hon. Member for Dundalk inspected them the other day at the Admiralty; and, if not, whether any change has been made in the endorsement or endorsements on these cats; if so, I wish to know, what is the nature of the changes which have been made?
§ MR. CALLAN
Mr. Speaker, in reply to the Question, of which the hon. Member for Meath gave me private Notice three hours ago, I have to say that alterations have taken place on the endorsements of two of the cats, one only being unchanged. That which is called the "Navy cat" is the one which has not had the endorsement changed. When I first saw it, and now, it bears the endorsement—" Pattern of Navy cat, approved by the First Lord of the Admiralty, 7th December, 1877; by the Marine Office, 10th December, 1877—G. W. Rodney, Deputy Adjutant General." With respect to the other cat—the cat which came from the Duke of Wellington—when I first saw it at the Admiralty it bore the endorsement—" Navy cat from the Duke of Wellington, 25th June, 1879; Her Majesty's Dockyard, Portsmouth." To that endorsement an addition—and, I think, no one will deny an important addition—has been made. The words " never used " have been added. Those words were not upon the cat when I inspected it at the Admiralty; and if they had been I should have considered it to be my duty to mention it when I drew the attention of the 1550 Committee of the House to it the other day. The endorsement on the other catwas—" Specimen cat, used many years since. Her Majesty's Dockyard, Portsmouth, 26th June." That endorsement, and the paper upon which it was written, have been entirely removed, and a new paper and a new endorsement substituted for it. The cat now bears the endorsement—" Cat approved for use on board Her Majesty's ships for Seamen and Marines." That endorsement has been substituted for—
§ MR. SPEAKER
said, the Question of the hon. Member for Meath was scarcely regular, because it did not refer to any Bill or Motion before the House. He did not feel bound to interfere before; but now that the hon. Member for Dundalk (Mr. Callan) had proceeded to make a statement which might lead to an argument, and which might be controverted, he felt that in that respect it would be going beyond the limits allowed in replying to a Question.
§ Mr. CALLAN
said, he accepted the decision of the right hon. Gentleman at once. He was merely endeavouring to answer the Question that had been put to him, and was not travelling one inch beyond the fact that another instrument had been substituted.