HC Deb 23 July 1851 vol 118 cc1379-81

Order for Committee read.

The House in Committee; Mr. Bernal in the Chair.


thought it would be better to allow the Preamble in the first place to be discussed, for the purpose of determining whether the town-land valuation or the tenement valuation should be continued.


said, he could not comply with the suggestion of his hon. Friend. The Bill had been discussed at a former stage, and the time was now come for considering the details.


said, he must protest against a Bill which proposed to establish a new system of valuation, when the present system had been in operation for so many years, and when a large sum of money had been expended in carrying it out. He certainly considered that the present system of valuation was a failure; but still he thought they should not adopt at the present moment a new system, when it was utterly impossible to ascertain what was the real value of property in Ireland, and when no person could say what the value of property would be next year. Twenty-six counties had already been valued under the townland valuation, and five of the remaining six had commenced valuation under the tenemental system. The Commissioners had been engaged twenty-one years in the work, and the amount expended was 260,000l.; and now after all this labour and expense, they were called upon to adopt a new system of valuation, on the ground that the one recommended six years ago had utterly and entirely failed. He objected to the postponement of the Preamble.


said, he should support the Bill. He would submit that hon. Members ought not to throw obstacles in the way of the proposed valuation, but that they ought rather to make the Bill as satisfactory as possible, and with as little delay as possible. The passing of this Bill during the present Session was a matter of the greatest importance to that part of Ireland with which he was more immediately connected, for there the existing system of valuation had completely failed. It was clear that the system of tenement valuation in Ireland must be changed. He thought it would be desirable to introduce a clause into this Bill, with a view to the revival of the valuation at the expiration of every five or six years, in connexion with a system of averages such as obtained in England.


hoped the House would proceed with the Bill this Session. He considered it was not a fair course for his hon. Friend (Sir D. Norreys) to object to the postponement of the Preamble, seeing that nothing apparently would satisfy his hon. Friend but the getting rid of the Bill altogether.


said, he entertained, with his hon. Friend (Sir D. Norreys), a serious objection to changing the valuation in Ireland for Poor Law purposes. Grievous complaints were made in many parts of Ireland against the mode of taking the tenement valuation. The failure of the tenement valuation in Tipperary was owing entirely to the mode in which that valuation was carried out. In that county alone 17,000 appeals were lodged against the valuation, 11,000 of which were made on the ground that the valuation was excessive.


said, the usual practice in all Bills of that kind was to postpone the Preamble until the Clauses were agreed to, and he could only regard the Amendment of the hon. Baronet (Sir D. Norreys) as hostile to the Bill altogether. If the present system of valuation in Ireland was bad and erroneous, the best course to pursue was to make a new and a better system, which should supersede it.


said, he would not persist in opposing the postponement of the Preamble.

Preamble postponed.

Clause 1 (Repealing so much of 9 & 10 Vic. c. 110, as relates to Valuation of Counties hereafter to be valued, and apportionment of Poor Law Rating, Grand Jury Cess, and City and Town Rating),


proposed as an Amendment to substitute the word "or" for "and," before the words "the primary valuation." There were many baronies, parishes, and divisions of counties in Ireland, in which the primary valuation was in progress; and the object of his Amendment was to secure the adoption under the new system of that primary valuation, if it had proceeded to a certain extent, giving at the same time to the baronies the right of appeal to the quarter-sessions against the valuation, if it was deemed to be unsatisfactory.

Page 2, line 9, Amendment proposed, to leave out the word "and," in order to insert the word "or."

Question put, "That the word 'and' stand part of the Clause."


said, he must oppose the Amendment.


said, he objected to the Amendment, because the effect of it would be to increase enormously the expense of the valuation in some of the counties.


said, he had no confidence in the report made by the Select Committee which sat on this subject. He complained, not only on his own behalf but on that of his constituents, that both his hon. Colleague and himself were excluded from that Committee. The hon. Member who had charge of the Bill had studiously excluded the representatives of Dublin from the Committee. He wanted to know the meaning of that exclusion. A sum of not less than 260,000l. had been already expended on a patchwork valuation in Ireland; and now, after an experience of twenty years, the right hon. Baronet (Sir W. Somerville) came forward to ask the Committee to undo all that had been done, to take away the right of appeal, and to vest the power of valuation in one commissioner (for it was tantamount to that)—he meant Mr. Griffiths—an experienced man, no doubt, but a man far advanced in years, indeed almost an octogenarian, and who had nearly as many employments as there were letters in the alphabet. The Bill before the Committee was a piece of undigested legislation; and he (Mr. Reynolds) called upon the right hon. Gentleman (Sir W. Somerville) not to persevere with a measure which was fraught with danger and difficulty.

The Committee divided, when the result was—Ayes 65; Noes 8: Majority 57.

Clause agreed to; as were Clauses 2 to 6, inclusive.

House resumed.

Committee report progress.

And it being Six of the clock, Mr. Speaker adjourned the House till Tomorrow, without putting the Question.