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The James River and Kanawha Company.

--The proposed sale of the canal to the French Company has directed public attention to the importance of completing that work, and any facts relating to its history are at this time interesting. The correspondence between Col. Ellis and Mr. E. de Bellot des Minieres brings to light much information on the subject.--The ‘"old"’ James River Company was organized on the 21st of August, 1785. The Presidents, successively, were — George Washington, from the 21st August, 1785, to the 5th October, 1795; William Foushee, from the 5th October, 1795, to the 20th January, 1818; John G. Gamble, from the 21st January, 1818, to the 22d March, 1819; Wilson Cary Nicholas, from the 22d March, 1819, to the 20th February, 1820.

On the 17th February, 1820, the Legislature passed an act entitled, ‘"An act to amend the act entitled an act for clearing and improving the navigation of James River, and for uniting the Eastern and Western waters by the James and Kanawha Rivers."’ The provisions of this act were made subject to the ratification of the James River Company, which having been duly given, the act was thereafter to be considered a compact between the Commonwealth and the company. By the terms of the compact, the rights and interests of the company were transferred to the Commonwealth, the company acting as an agent, and holding in trust for the benefit of the Commonwealth, but executing the improvements under the control, direction, and superintendence of Commissioners appointed by the Legislature. By an act passed February 24th, 1823, this mode of prosecuting the work was abandoned, and from and after that time all the rights, powers, duties, and privileges of the President and Directors were conferred upon the Governor, Lieutenant Governor, Treasurer, Auditor and Second Auditor of the Commonwealth, ex-officio, whose transactions were to be still in the name of the ‘ "James River Company."’ This organization continued until the year 1835. The President under the compact, was John Coalter, from the 29th February, 1820, to the 17th March, 1823. The Governors who were Presidents ex-officio, were James Pleasants, John Tyler, William B. Giles, John Floyd, Littleton Waller Tazewell.

The James River and Kanawha Company was incorporated March 16th, 1832, and organized May 25th, 1835. By the charter the whole interest of the Commonwealth in the works and property of the then existing James River Company was transferred to the James River and Kanawha Company; the State being interested in the latter to the extent of three-fifths of its capital stock, and individuals and corporations to the extent of the remaining two-fifths. No change of organization has since been made. The Presidents have been Joseph C. Cabell, from the 28th May, 1835, to the 10th February, 1846; Walter Gwynn, from the 5th March, 1846, to the 7th May, 1847; William B. Chittenden, from the 7th May, 1847, to the 12th February, 1849; John Y. Mason, from the 11th May, 1849, to the 26th October, 1853; Thomas H. Ellis, from the 26th October, 1853, to the present time.

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