§ THIRD READING.
§ Order for Third Reading read.
§ Motion made and Question proposed, "That the Bill be now read the third time."
§ (11.36.) COLONEL NOLAN (Galway, N.)
I think I will be in Order on this Motion in alluding to what has taken place at Aldershot, where Private O'Grady, of the Welsh Fusiliers, was ordered by the officer, while on fatigue parade, to cease wearing the shamrock on St. Patrick's Day. I remember when Lord Carlisle was Lord Lieutenant, seeing an officer of high rank coming down with an immense bunch of shamrock all over his breast. I always made a point, when an officer, of wearing the shamrock myself on St. Patrick's Day, and I have seen General Officers almost covered with it. If I had anything to complain about I could write a letter to the Commanding Officer; but I can enter into O'Grady's feelings in this unfortunate matter, because a private soldier is in a very delicate position in that respect. I know considerable fault is to be found with the officer who gave the order to remove the shamrock. Some people do not know the shamrock from a piece of clover; but I think that Army officer, who has reached the rank of a captain, ought to know, when he sees something in an Irishman's hat about the middle of March, that it is St. Patrick's Day—that is, if he has ordinary reasoning powers. If Irishmen are to have their national feelings insulted and trampled on in such a small matter, they will naturally think that the officers will not be fair to them in matters of importance, and that they are in a certain amount of disrepute, which would naturally have a bad effect upon the Army. I should have no objection to Welshmen or Scotchmen wearing their national emblems, and I do not see why Irishmen should be prevented from doing so when they are in the Army. 1771 I do not see how the Secretary for War can justify a Vote for creating local feeling in the Army by means of depôts if, at the same time, the national feelings of Irish soldiers are insulted. What do you expect soldiers to fight for? Surely not for the miserable pittance of pay which they receive, but for a certain regimental and national feeling which you are doing your best to destroy in them by such acts as preventing Irish soldiers taking some pride in themselves and in their nationality. It is casting a slur on a body of men, who, it must be allowed, have acted with great gallantry when required. Some people may say that it is wrong to wear the primrose on Primrose Day in the Army. Let them have their primrose. But I say that that is a Party badge, whilst the shamrock is not a Party badge. I contend that the wearing of the shamrock on St. Patrick's Day should not be objected to in the Army, and that the national feelings of the Irish soldiers should be respected.
§ (11.53.) MR. WALLACE (Edinburgh, E.)
In this Bill there is an appropriation of £110,000 to be distributed towards the reduction of rates in Scotland. This involves a question of momentous importance to Scotland, and it has not yet received adequate attention from this House. It really constitutes a crisis in the educational and social history of our country. The question is, whether a great endowment shall be frittered away in uncalled-for, insignificant, and unjustly distributed doles to individuals, or whether it shall be kept together and devoted to some higher national purpose. The sum of £110,000, which is proposed to to be appropriated under this Bill, is really a first instalment of this great endowment, and we say it has not been properly considered. We ought to have had an opportunity of fully threshing the matter out in Committee. That which was offered to us on the Report stage was a mockery. The First Lord of the Treasury undertook in his time-table arrangements to start the consideration of the question at half past ten on the Friday, but he was 35 minutes behind time. I admit that the right hon. Gentleman did his 1772 best to keep faith, but the Chief Secretary went on talking for twelve mortal minutes beyond the stipulated time, in spite of the remonstrances of his chief. I venture to suggest, although the right hon. Gentleman is no doubt desirous of finding out the best plan of managing the Business of the House, that the Bradshaw system is not a conspicuous success. Now, this proposed appropriation for the relief of rates arose upon a Supplementary Estimate having reference to the financial year now closing. It is in effect a retrospective grant, not for the purpose of enabling the rating authority to diminish the rates in the future, but to help persons who have already paid their rates, and have paid them without a murmur. Now, how can you do that? Strictly speaking, you cannot relieve rates already imposed and paid. Like the celebrated proposal for the unpulling of a man's nose, it comes too late. It is really undertaking to do what is impracticable. As a matter of reality, it is sending the Chancellor of the Exchequer round to the Scottish ratepayers who have paid their rates, with a sackful of half crowns, shillings, sixpences, and threepenny pieces to give each of them what is strictly a "tip" for having done what he could not help doing, and which he made no grumble about having to do. Now, I submit that is a futile and ridiculous proceeding. The sums proposed to be given have been shown by the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Berwickshire (Mr. Marjoribanks) and by my hon. and learned Friend the Member for North Aberdeen (Mr. Hunter) to be absolutely insignificant, not much larger in dimensions than the coins which in some parts of the country are as a matter of custom flung out in the street to be scrambled for on the occasion of a wedding, and when the smallest and weakest among the crowd get the halfpence, the biggest and strongest the more valuable coins. This is precisely the position of the Government, only they are carrying it out in a more secret and more solemn form. For all practical purposes the Government would really do quite as well if instead of leaving this money to be distributed 1773 by Municipalities they were to give it directly to the recipients of these absurdly small gifts. That is what they are doing in reality, and it would be far better if they did it openly. Let us see how the operation would really work. Take my own City of Edinburgh. You would naturally at the outset begin with that important Edinburgh institution, Parliament House, where the Judges administer justice. You would tell off the Lord Advocate and the Solicitor General as your almoners, and they would commence, I suppose, with 6s. 8d. for the two Presidents of the Court of Session, receiving vouchers of course. Then 5s. to the learned Lords of Division. Then, say, 3s. 6d. to the Lords Ordinary, on or off place. Then 2s. 6d. to the Master of the Court, should he happen to be there, and 1s. to the Macers, who would certainly be there. Then 6d. apiece to the Albany and other heralds, if present, and, say, 4d. to the trumpeters, who are bound to be there, and probably would be there in full blast. Then with respect to the laity of the City, the Lord Provost, the Baillies, Councillors, and others, through various grades, you would proceed to distribute in diminishing sums, and so through all classes, down to pence for workmen. If the astounded presentees should ask, "What is the meaning of all this?" the answer would be, "It is the recognition by a satisfied and benevolent Government of the good you have done in paying your own rates and securing your furniture against being impounded and sold at the cross." It may or may not be an edifying spectacle, but that is what is going to be done, and that is how the thing would be expressed in a straightforward way by those persons addicted to giving the right name to a spade. Now, what is the use of so wasting our money? What good do you expect to come out of it when it is done? The sums are far too insignificant to be worth banking or buying Consols with. They will be regarded simply as found money, and we know how people are apt to deal with found money, both in Princes Street Clubs and in High Street public houses. It usually goes in extra 1774 nicotine, alcohol, or other evanescent investment, scattering a fund which, if kept together, might prove a blessing to the nation. Besides the folly of the thing I object to the way in which the money is distributed. No attempt has been made by the Lord Advocate or other responsible Minister to meet the figures, which show most conclusively that while the working classes of Scotland must have paid in taxation half at least of this £110,000 they are only receiving back a quarter or a fifth and the remaining three-quarters or four-fifths goes straight into the pockets of the landlords and wealthier classes. The Lord Advocate says that the money does not come from general taxation, but from Probate Duty and money which is the product of taxation paid by other than the working classes. It seems to me an extraordinary argument to say that the money does not come from general taxation because it is derived from the Probate and other Duties. Are not the two organically connected? I wonder if the Lord Advocate in the course of his professional career had to defend a man against a charge of assault with an effusion of blood, he would expect much success in Court if he argued that his client did not bleed the plaintiff, but only the plaintiff's nose? But that is the argument here. Whoever bleeds the Probate Duty bleeds the general fund of the nation. The two are organically inseparably connected, and when the Chancellor of the Exchequer chooses in his Budget to devote a part of the Probate Duty to local purposes, what he really does is to give money from general taxation of the country to an amount which shall rise or fall with the Probate Duty. Why he should have selected that measure of variation I do not know. It is, I suppose, one of the inscrutable eccentricities of financial genius. I do not know why he should not equally select the death rate or the bank rate, or the barometer, or his own political opinions, or any other recognised standard of mutability and fluctuation. But the Lord Advocate is mistaken in his recollection of the Act of Parliament of 1888, which says that certain duties shall be the measure of the Local 1775 Taxation Account, and this is the Consolidated Fund Bill. Further, I have to say the proposal is inconsistant and self-contradictory. You call it a fee grant, and say it is 11–18ths of the fee grant voted in 1891. If it be a fee grant, why not devote it to that or a cognate purpose? Have we not the right to do what we like with our own? Are we not in the moral position to exercise that elementary right of property? Is there any reason why the fee grant should be diverted from the purpose indicated in its name? You may quote against us the proverb that we cannot eat and have our cake, but here is a case of two cakes—the Probate Duty cake and the Fee Grant cake, and there is nothing to prevent us eating the one and still having the other. The great mass of the Scottish people view with disapproval this frittering away of a grant of £110,000 in the way proposed. Two years ago, when the Probate Grant was to a considerable extent converted into a means of giving free education, no measure passed by the Government was more popular, and even this grant would have received popular acceptation if devoted to a comprehensive extension of education. For the last few weeks the Lobbies and Courts of this House have, to a considerable extent, exhibited a seething mass of Scottish Provosts, Baillies, Deans of Guild, and representatives of a variety of bodies, all clamouring for a share of the plunder, and many clamouring for the whole plunder as their share, and to Scottish Members the precincts of this House have approached a resemblance to—I must not say a terrestrial pandemonium, but certainly something far removed from an earthly paradise. I do not blame these gentlemen. It is their business to keep down the rates; they are professional rate depressors. But there are higher matters to which this grant might be devoted, and we who represent the Scottish people, represent a people who for four centuries have held, and still hold, the principle that the highest interest of any nation is the intellectual and moral elevation of its people. So far I have a mandate from my constituents, and in that con- 1776 nection I may be allowed to remark that the Municipality of Edinburgh, keeping a position conspicuous and honourably isolated among Scottish burghs, devoted every penny of the residue of the grant from the enhanced spirit and beer duties to technical education, not a penny being scattered in the so-called relief of rates. So far as I have any mandate from my constituents, it is that I should give expression to their opinion that if money from Imperial taxation is to be flung about in this fashion then the first use to which it should be devoted is the perfecting of free primary education and continuation evening schools, and secundus to higher and technical education. The very last thing that ought to be done with the money is to waste it over the contemptible object of presenting eleemosynary half-crowns to the well-to-do and flinging insulting threepenny pieces to the humble.
§ (12.18.) MR. P. O'BRIEN (Monaghan, N.)
I desire to raise in a more convenient form than by a question the incident at Aldershot in reference to the wearing of the shamrock on St. Patrick's Day. I hope we may now have a clear understanding, and if it is a crime for an Irish soldier to wear the shamrock, let us have it plainly declared. If it is not a crime, as of course it is not a crime, then I think we have a right to ask that the private soldier who has been punished for misconduct in relation to this wearing of the shamrock shall not suffer further punishment by being deprived of his chance of promotion in consequence of this incident. If it is a crime, then let the right hon. Gentleman declare it so in all ranks of service under the Crown. It is notorious that at Dublin Castle on St. Patrick's Day the decoration is generally worn by the Lord Lieutenant and his suite, and at the present moment it is recognised in all ranks of the Army. Private O'Grady must have witnessed, as I have witnessed on many occasions, the shamrock worn by officers distinguished in the Service, and private O'Grady may well have thought himself perfectly 1777 justified in imitating the example. Now, the only appearance of an apology for the consequences that followed is that Captain Tindal did not know that the 17th March is St. Patrick's Day. Well, in all seriousness I suggest that the School Board may well exert itself in a military direction. But, indeed, I have reason to believe that this battalion was recently in Ireland, and I think I once met some of the men on eviction duty. I really find it difficult to believe that this officer was not aware that 17th March was St. Patrick's Day. Is it not well-known that in times past commanding officers have worn the shamrock, and though Protestants have attended the church parade of some regiments on the anniversary? certainly a very different view from that taken by Captain Tindal. It was not unnatural that private O'Grady should resent an order to remove a decoration he had seen worn by his superiors, but it seems "That in the Captain's but a choleric word, which in the soldier is rank blasphemy." It was a bad policy to inflict this punishment on private O'Grady; it is a bad policy to offer an insult to the national Irish sentiment, for do you not rely on Irishmen for your recruits, and have not Irishmen fought your battles and poured out their heart's blood in your cause? The Irish soldier has won your battles, but, the battle over, he has been deported to Irish workhouses, and the remaining shred of his life has been supported by the rates. It is unwise, I say, to insult the sentiment of the Irish people. If you stop the wearing of the shamrock, then stop the use of all national emblems in the Army—the rose, the thistle, and the leek. I should like to see the commanding officer who would refuse to allow the wearing of a rose on St. George's Day. But my object is to get from the Secretary for War an assurance that with the punishment this soldier has suffered the matter shall drop, and private O'Grady shall not be further punished by loss of promotion or by deprivations consequent upon the punishment he has undergone. Recruiting has been slack in 1778 Ireland of late, and it will be more so, I hope, unless you give an assurance that the Irishmen in the Army shall be free to wear their national emblem on their festival day as is done at Dublin Castle, and by the Minister for Ireland in this House.
§ (12.27.) THE SECRETARY OF STATE FOR WAR (Mr. E. STANHOPE,) Lincolnshire, Horncastle
There are two points involved in this question which it is well to keep separate. On the first point—the conduct of the soldier—I think there will be little or no difference of opinion as to the justice of the punishment inflicted for the offence committed. The punishment was inflicted for gross disobedience of orders, since private O'Grady refused to obey the order of his superior officer, and if you do not punish for such an offence there is an end of all discipline in the Army. The other point is very different, whether or not a soldier should be allowed to wear a distinctive badge. It is the duty of the soldier to conform to the Regulations and the orders of his superior officer, and on duty he must conform to the Regulations as to uniform. The Regulations apply to every part of the Army, and it is for the commanding officer to enforce them. I trust the incident may now be allowed to close, and that the Third Reading of the Bill may be taken.
§ (12.29). MR. JUSTIN M'CARTHY (Londonderry)
The right hon. Gentleman had an opportunity of doing a gracious act, and I am sorry he did not avail himself of it. We do not quarrel with the right hon. Gentleman on the ground that the soldier was punished for disobeying orders, though I can well understand that a soldier being harshly told to throw away the shamrock might sent such an order, and decline to obey it. But that is not the point we lay stress upon. What we want, and what we expect from the right hon. Gentleman is something conciliatory and reassuring that such an incident may not occur again in an Army where Irishmen have always borne such a distinguished part. The right hon. Gentleman has told 1779 us of Regulation in the Army, but are not Army Regulations changed almost every day, and is there any difficulty in making a Regulation which will ensure that on this particular anniversary an Irish soldier, on or off duty, shall be allowed to wear the shamrock? I can tell the House that this is by no means a trivial matter. The Irish sentiment lies deep in the hearts of the Irish people, abroad and at home. Irish soldiers have served in our Army with an extravagant loyalty ill repaid, and it is but a slight concession to allow this exhibition of national sentiment on one day in the year. National sentiment is an important element in an Army. Marshal M'Mahon gave expression to it when he said that at a change in the national tricolour, "the chassepots would go off of themselves." A wise commander would encourage the national sentiment, and at a time when the two greatest soldiers in the Service are Irishmen I think some delicacy towards national feelings might find expression in such a Regulation as I speak of.
§ (12.33.) COLONEL BLUNDELL (Lancashire, S.W., Ince)
There is in the Army not only toleration, but respect for every religion and for every nationality. No distinction is recognised between Englishmen, Scotchmen, Irishmen, and Welshmen, and whether a soldier was born in Ireland or in this island makes no more difference than whether he was born on the Surrey side of the Thames or on this side.
§ (12.33.) MR. SEXTON (Belfast, W.)
We have every respect for the hon. and gallant Gentleman's sentiments, but he has scarcely touched this matter under discussion. I should have thought the right hon. Gentleman would have taken this opportunity to make quite clear his view of this incident at Alder-shot. By way of apology it has been said the officer did not know that the 17th March was St. Patrick's Day. This is a singular state of ignorance, but the inference is that if the gallant officer had happily remembered the anniversary, his action would have been other than it was. 1780 There was, I grant, a breach of military discipline in disregarding the order, but we should like to have the right hon. Gentleman's opinion—does he think that such an order should have been given? There are 27,000 Irishmen in your Army, and I have little doubt that the greater number of them were the shamrock on St. Patrick's Day on or off duty. Did any other commanding officer find it necessary to give such an order? Further, I should be glad to know if it is a fact, as I am assured by a correspondent it is, that the men of this regiment, the Welsh Fusiliers, are required to wear the leek on St. David's Day, 1st March, for "rouse" and "tattoo." Very pertinently my correspondent, who was formerly in the regiment, asks—Why should a man after having been forced to wear the emblem of another country on 1st March not be allowed to wear the emblem of his own country on the 17th?Recruiting has fallen off in Ireland, the Inspector General of Recruiting refers in his last Report to the difficulty of maintaining the supply for Ireland, and you will hot attract men to the Army from Ireland if you countenance such conduct as this towards private O'Grady.
§ (12.36.) THE FIRST LORD OF THE TREASURY (Mr. A. J. BALFOUR,) Manchester, E.
I cannot help thinking that hon. Gentlemen will on reflection see that they attach a great deal more significance to this incident than it deserves. It has been almost suggested that there has been a settled conspiracy on the part of the authorities to discourage national sentiment among Irish soldiers, and allusions have been made to the diminution of recruiting. Now, I think hon. Members will feel on reflection that, whatever may be the reasons for the diminution in the supply of soldiers we in former times had from Ireland, at all events this is not one of them. We on this side of the House have always believed and we still believe that a very keen spirit of nationality is not only not inconsistent but is distinctly consistent with, and more than consistent with the strongest feelings of 1781 loyalty to the Empire as a whole. The very last thing that would occur to my right hon. Friend, or to any man on either side of the House in dealing with the Army, would be to discourage this legitimate feeling of nationality. We know—all who know anything of British history know—the gallant deeds of Irish soldiers in the past: we know these things, we recognise them, we are grateful, and the very last thing any man anxious for the well-being of the Army would do, would be to trample on their feelings of nationality, legitimate and honourable. Now the facts of this case are very simple. The commanding officer may have been to blame in not recognising the 17th March as St. Patrick's Day, but apt as we are to forget dates in which we have a domestic and personal interest, I do not think it is a very great crime to forget the anniversary of the patron saint of a country not your own. For my own part I confess I should be sorry to be required to answer off hand as to what is the date of St. George's Day. St. Andrew's Day I do know, but I frankly confess I do not know the date of St. George's Day. Well, then, I do not think it was a very serious lapse of memory on the part of the officer when he, seeing a soldier wearing a badge in his cap he did not recognise ordered him to remove it. The soldier replied in a manner inconsistent with discipline, and punishment followed.
§ MR. A. J. BALFOUR
I am sure hon. Gentlemen would see if they looked at this matter impartially and not through the coloured medium of national prepossessions, that the commanding officer when the thing went so far could not do less than he did. The idea of premeditated studied insult to Irish national sentiment is out of the question. I hope now that the House will agree, the matter having been very fully discussed, to read the Bill a third time.
§ (12.41.) MR. J. O'CONNOR (Tipperary, S.)
In the speech of the right hon. Gentleman I recognise a conciliatory character which was absent from the speech of his right hon. Colleague (Mr. Stanhope). But we are still at a loss to understand the policy of the right hon. Gentleman and of commanding officers in the future in these matters. It is consistent with the stubborn character of Irishmen that they should resent this interference, and I suppose they are still to be punished. We have heard of the Regulations. Now I have heard of Regulations in connection with another Army, and of an incident in connection therewith, which I suppose the right hon. Gentleman would equally defend if it concerned the English Army. The incident to which I allude occurred in the Russian Army. Three private soldiers declined to salute their officer, and he, with a strong sense of the value of discipline and regard for the proper tone of the Army, drew his revolver and shot down these three men, one after another. He was, I suppose, within the Army Regulations; but I suppose there will scarcely be two opinions about the punishment being greatly in excess of the offence. In like manner, my hon. Friends maintain that the punishment meted out to Private O'Grady was more than the offence demanded. I quite admit that "discipline must be maintained," but I think 48 hours' confinement was more than sufficient punishment. There is such a thing as local influence in recruiting for the Army. You have abolished the numbers by which regiments were known; you give them territorial titles, so that there is a local feeling in the Army, recognised and fostered; and I say you should not discourage the national feeling. It has been said this man was on duty; but on fatigue duty, at half-past 6 in the morning, a soldier goes about pretty much in any dress he likes. This was a slight breach of duty that might well have been overlooked; and, though Captain Tindal had not sufficient knowledge of botany to recognise the plant, and did not 1783 remember the anniversary, the commanding officer who imposed the sentence knew all the circumstances. That commanding officer had probably worn the shamrock himself, or he must have seen, as I have seen, distinguished officers wearing the badge at Dublin Castle. Would the Duke of Wellington have sanctioned such a punishment for a slight offence? I think not. I remember hearing from an old soldier who had served under the Duke in many a bloody campaign a story of how the Duke was reviewing troops before some great Spanish potentate, and one regiment passed the saluting point in straggling order, the 88th Connaught Rangers. They had suffered heavily in the recent campaign, and their ranks had many new levies from other regiments. The men did not march well together, and their straggling order called forth a comment from the Spaniard. "Ah, yes," said the Duke, "but how they marched at Badajoz!" The Duke had a high regard for the feeling of his men. The right hon. Gentleman had not a word of condemnation for the severity of the punishment inflicted on O'Grady, and I take it he endorsed that sentence. But we want the right hon. Gentleman to say, Will Irish soldiers in future be treated as Private O'Grady has been treated, or may they, without fear of punishment, wear the shamrock on St. Patrick's Day? Rest assured that whatever you do, the words of the song will come true—Pluck the shamrock from your hatAnd throw it on the sod;But never fear, 'twill take root there,Though under foot 'tis trod!
§ (12.52.) MR. MACNEILL (Donegal, S.)
I have a letter her from a gentleman in the Service, and he says, what indeed we know to be a fact, that the commanding officer and the Staff at Dublin Castle may be seen on St. Patrick's Day wearing the shamrock as a decoration. If we had had the speech from the First Lord in the first place, we should have been satisfied; but what we now want is an admission that the officer has been guilty of want of 1784 tact and discretion, and that it shall not occur again. We know that on this anniversary the shamrock is sent to the men by mother, sister, or sweetheart, and worn by men in far distant climes where they are on service. In the 18th Royal Irish Regiment, I believe, the shamrock is interwoven in the colours and the decorations of the uniform. As I mentioned before, the late Duke of Clarence were the emblem on a State occasion, and indeed the wearing of the shamrock has been so much an ordinary occurrence that it is difficult to understand how an officer should fall into this indiscretion of which Captain Tindal has been guilty. It was a foolish action, and it is likely to create a bad feeling among Irish soldiers. The Secretary for War has not improved matters; he has not shown himself a friend to the private soldier. His action in this matter will be taken as an affront to Irish soldiers. I confess if I had been in the position of O'Grady I should have done as he did, and I believe his action had the approval of his comrades in the ranks. This is not the spirit to induce Irishmen to enter the Army. Let the Secretary for War take a lesson from the First Lord, who has had some experience of Irishmen, and has made to-night a nice little Nationalist speech. Let the right hon. Gentleman make the amende honorable acknowledge that a mistake has been made, and give an assurance that private O'Grady shall not suffer in the future, and have a black mark against him.
§ (12.55.) DR. TANNER (Cork Co., Mid)
The reply of the right hon. Gentleman the Secretary for War was characterised by the cynicism of the First Lord without his philosophy. I hope we shall hear something from the Treasury Bench calculated to allay the irritation that has been caused. The mistake was on the part of the officer, though, of course, I admit the soldier committed a breach of discipline. But then, he were the emblem out of respect to his nationality, and felt it a degradation to lower his colours. I remember once seeing an Highland regiment embark at Cork on 17th March, and every man were a sham- 1785 rock in his bonnet; and, as we all know it is customary for officers to wear the decoration. I trust that we shall have a declaration that private O'Grady, having suffered for his breach of discipline, will be subjected to no further penalty because of the indiscretion of the officer.
§ (12.56.) SIR STAFFORD NORTHCOTE (Exeter)
I hope it may be possible to close this incident and allay the irritation that has been excited. I entirely agree with my right hon. Friend that discipline must be enforced and am not disposed to lay any blame on the officer who felt it necessary to inflict punishment on the private, yet I do think, considering all the circumstances, it is possible for the War Office to take a lenient view, and, granting that an offence was committed, that may be considered as sufficiently purged by the punishment the man has endured. This private soldier had been accustomed to see gentlemen of high position wear the shamrock on St. Patrick's Day. I do hope that what has occurred may not prejudice his future position, that he will not in any sort of way be a marked man.
§ (12.57.) MR. E. STANHOPE
With the permission of the House I may be allowed to say, in reply to my hon. Friend and hon. Gentlemen opposite, that there can be no doubt that this soldier having suffered punishment for his breach of discipline has purged his offence; and although I do not wish to say—I would rather not be called upon to say—anything as to the previous character of the man, I will take care that representations are made in the proper quarter, so that, if possible, his conduct on this occasion may not be recorded against him to his detriment in the future.
§ (12.58.) MR. CONWAY (Leitrim, N.)
I should like also to hear an assurance that Irish soldiers shall be permitted to wear the shamrock on St. Patrick's Day. It would relieve much anxiety to have such an assurance.
§ Question put, and agreed to.
§ Bill read the third time, and passed.