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The Rev R. R. M. Sutherland introduced the subject in connection with the report of the Sabbath Observance Committee. He had been out of town the previous Sunday, he said, but he had been told that a number of Senior Cadets had been drilling on the High School ground during service hours last Sabbath morning.
He did not think that was a thing that should be encouraged or allowed if the Presbytery could do anything to put a stop to it. He had six boys of his own, and he would like everyone of them to be thoroughly drilled and trained in the use of arms, so that if the need should arise they might play their part in the defence of the country. But, if this kind of thing was to be allowed it would mean very serious trouble for the whole military movement. He thought the wisest thing would be for the Sabbath Observance Committee first of all to find out who was responsible, and whether it was done with the knowledge and authority of the officer in command of the district; or if it was simply the military ardour of some young lieutenant or officer who had more military ardour than good sense and Christian principle.
The Rev J. Kilpatrick said the Presbytery had discussed this matter very often, but so far it had failed to do almost anything. He moved that a deputation be appointed to wait on the officer commanding the district, and if he happened to be on the deputation he would say what he had to say to him with the greatest freedom. The Rev A. W. Kinmont seconded the motion. Mr P. G. Pryde suggested the deputation, instead of interviewing the officer in command of the district, should interview the Minister of Defence. Mr Kilpatrick agreed to alter his motion in accordance with Mr Pryde's suggestion.
The Rev A. Gray said he wished to enter a word of caution. This matter had been brought up almost ever since he came to the Presbytery. He knew it was against the regulations to do any drill on Sundays. The authorities were thoroughly with them in trying to raise the moral tone of the cadets, and he did not think they would be helping the authorities or their own influence by making too much of some sergeant or other officer, perhaps, going out with no authority at all.
The Rev R. E. Davies said there was no doubt about the facts. He had evidence himself which was sufficiently strong to warrant their moving. The motion was carried, one dissentient voice being heard. - ODT, 4.12.1912
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