rose to ask the Prime Minister if he would have printed and laid on the Table theinstructions to the valuators and surveyors appointed under the 15th and 16th Vict. cap. 3, for the uniform valuation of lands and tenements in Ireland.by Colonel Griffith in the year 1853. He thought it was a very good time for these instructions made some 45 years ago, to be brought to light again. he was sorry to say that by the action of Parliament any valuation of that sort had become obsolete. Comparisons, if fairly conducted, might lead them to some tangible and reasonable result, and if noble Lords would look through these rules they would find that they were a marvel of honesty, industry, and intelligence. For instance, there were 64 instructions in connection with the valuation of tenements. How many of these instructions would the Land Commissioners who were now valuing Ireland look into? These men were reducing the landlords to abject poverty, and were taking the land out of the hands of one set of people to give it to another. They had had the official announcement from a noble Earl—who, he was sorry to say, was leaving them for the Antipodes— that there was no test or examination whatever for the new Sub-Commissioners when they were appointed, but that all of them had been seen by that eminent agriculturist, the Chief Secretary for Ireland. [Laughter.] Whether that was or was not sufficient for the English people he did not know, but it was not sufficient for him and those who thought with him, and he wanted English peers to understand what was well done some 45 years ago under instructions which were now thrown into the waste-paper basket.
§ THE EARL OF DENBIGH
observed that, at the request of the Prime Minister, he would reply to the Question, of the noble Lord. He was afraid the Government considered that, as it was some 44 years since the instructions referred to were issued, it was not advisable to have them reprinted and laid on the Table as suggested. When the Question was put down, it was not known whether the noble Lord was asking for information, or whether, as it now appeared, he was asking that the rules should be printed for the information of their Lordships; and he had brought down with him a copy of the instructions for the benefit of the noble Lord, who he now found did not require it. He was sorry the noble Lord had fault to find with the valuations as now carried on, but the House would hardly expect him to embark at this time upon such a thorny subject as the treatment of the land question in Ireland.
thought he had gathered the noble Lord's determination, but he had not absolutely said he would not have the instructions printed. Again, the noble Lord had only very incorrectly noticed what had been put down in the Question on the Paper. He wanted to have the instructions which the noble Lord held in his hand, printed and laid on the Table of the House. Why should they not be put into the form of a Parliamentary Paper, and laid on the Table? ["Hear, hear!"]
§ THE EARL OF DENBIGH
believed that the instructions were obtainable by any noble Lord who wished to see them. His instructions from the Irish Office were that the Government considered it to be inadvisable to print them, inasmuch as they were printed so long ago.
said that this might be a good reason against reading the Bible, though he did not agree with it. [Laughter.] The statement containing the rules would be just as good now as it was when printed. It was very difficult to get the book. He had a copy of the volume, though it was not his own; but the book was a very different thing from having the instructions laid on the Table of the House as a Parliamentary Paper with the imprimatur of the Government. ["Hear, hear!"] He gathered, however, that the Government did not wish English peers to know how land should be valued in Ireland.
§ EARL SPENCER
supported the appeal of the noble Viscount. He failed to see the force of the argument of the noble Earl against granting this Return. There could be no doubt that this was a matter of deep interest to all who were connected with Irish land. Griffith's valuation had always been looked upon as a. valuable and excellent document. He was not sure whether these regulations were confidential; but, if they were not, he thought that the argument which the noble Earl had used as to their being printed so long ago ought not to prevail. ["Hear, hear!"]
§ House adjourned at Five minutes past Six o'Clock, till To-morrow, a Quarter past Ten o'Clock.