HC Deb 07 July 1879 vol 247 cc1723-4

asked Mr. Chancellor of the Exchequer, If he can inform the House whether the endorsement now attached to the "Navy Cat" exhibited in the Cloak Room is the same as was attached to it when at the Admiralty previous to the night of Thursday last; if not, whether he can state by whose directions a different endorsement was substituted; if no order to that effect was given, whether he will cause inquiry to be made, so as to ascertain the party responsible for the suppression of the original endorsement; and, if he can inform the House by whom and when the words "never used" were added to the endorsement attached to the " Duke of Wellington " cat?


As I am responsible for this matter, perhaps the hon. Gentleman will allow me to reply to this Question. The label, and not the endorsement, attached to the "Navy Cat" is not the same as that which the hon. Gentleman the Member for Dundalk (Mr. Callan) saw at the Admiralty. That label I will read to the House. It is—" N. S. 2383–1877—No longer required." Well, it appeared to the Board of Admiralty that this would give no information to the House; and we thought, therefore, it was better that we should give the information to the House which would really enable the House to understand what it was they had before them. We, therefore, put on the label an endorsement that this is the cat which is approved and used in Her Majesty's ships for the usual punishment prescribed by the Queen's Regulations for marines and seamen afloat. I have not given the exact words applied to it; but I can state to the House that it is the " cat " which is, and has been, used in the Service for the usual punishment prescribed in the Queen's Regulations and approved by my Predecessors. I may take this opportunity of saying that the words " never used " added to the label attached to the " Duke of Wellington Cat " were also supplied by the Secretary to the Admiralty by order of the Board for the information of the House. It seemed to me desirable that the House should have all the facts before it. I may also take this opportunity of further saying that the "Marine Cat," to which reference has been made, has, I am glad to say, never been used at all—no punishment has been inflicted with it.


gave Notice that tomorrow he would ask the First Lord of Admiralty, Whether he would cause further inquiry to be made as to whether the label which he read was affixed to the " Navy Cat " when he saw it at the Admiralty on Thursday?