previous next

An important report.

--We have received a report of the Joint Committee of Roads and Navigation, in reference to the ability of the house of Messrs. Bellot des Minieres, Brothers completion of the James River and Kanawha Canal.

This is an important report, on an important matter, and one which has been the subject of much inquiry through the State. The advantages of a compliance with the contract on the part of the State in this contract were so manifest that many have feared that the French associates either could not, or would not, carry out their contract. Both of these fears have been set at rest by the report of the committee and the accompanying testimony. Much of the latter is exceedingly voluminous, more so than, in our opinion, is necessary or proper; but in it we find proofs of the standing and character of the company of the most convincing character.

The report of the committee upon the character of the company says: ‘ "It exhibits a combined power of capital, of commercial connection, of political strength, and governmental sympathy rarely formed."’ And further: ‘"That the house of M. Bellot, Brothers & Co., and their associates in Europe, constitute one of the most powerful financial organizations of the present day, abundantly able to complete the Virginia water line on the grand scale projected by them; and also to establish and maintain steam and sail lines between its terminus and foreign ports, thus giving promise of realizing, in the fullest manner and in the shortest time, the splendid results long anticipated by the many friends and advocates of this great State improvement."’ The Joint Committee also report ‘"an equal confidence in the disposition of the French capitalists to carry out the stipulations of their agent here, as soon as the condition of the country will justify men of prudence in undertaking a work which requires time, peace, and financial assurance, for its accomplishment."’--This conclusion as to the disposition of the company to carry out their agreement, seems fully supported by extracts of late letters from Mr. E. de Bellot to Col. Ellis, which are given at considerable length. The report closes by saying: ‘"Your committees take great pleasure, therefore, in saying that, in their opinion, there is ample ground for the General Assembly to act upon the propositions which have been made, and that it would be safe and justifiable to grant the charter asked, allowing a reasonable time for the restoration of the condition of things existing when the proposition was submitted"’--a recommendation that seems fully justified by a political and financial embarrassment, over- whelming and unexpected.

The report gives interesting biographical sketches of several of the De Bellot, Bros. & Company, showing their high position, the evidence heretofore furnished by M. Paul, French Consul in this city, and other information highly favorable to the contracting party. Among the proofs furnished by the report on this point, we find the following letters — the first two from gentlemen well known to our readers as two of the first engineers of Virginia, and the other from M. Mercier, the French Minister in Washington.

"Georgetown, D. C., Dec. 13, 1860.
Dear sir:
Since I last wrote to you, I have had conversations with Mr. Mercer, the French Minister, on the subject of your negotiations with the Messrs. Bellot, and the interest taken in their enterprise by his Government.

"A good deal to my surprise, Mr. Mercier told me, yesterday, that he had received communications from his Government, showing a very warm interest in the project, and expressed his own entire confidence in the ability of those parties in France who sustain the Messrs. Bellot, though he is not himself personally acquainted with these gentlemen.

"Mr. Mercier was very decided and unreserved in his communications, and promised to show me the documents which he has received, as soon as they are returned to him from his office in Washington.

"You will have seen evidences of the doubts which I have entertained in regard to the ability of the association to fulfill their engagements with you. I think it due both to them and to you, therefore, that I should give you also this pointed confirmation of their pretensions.

* * * * * * * * *

"I remain, dear sir, very truly yours,

"Charles Elliot. Jr."
"Col.Thomas H. Ellis, &c., &c,. &c"

I read also the following letter addressed to me by Col. Charles F. M. Garnett, formerly Chief Engineer of the Virginia and Tennessee Railroad. and more recently of the Don Pedro, the second Railroad in Brazil:

"Richmond. Jan. 18, 1861.
"Dear sir:
At your request, I state to you in writing what I said to you yesterday.

"While I was in Washington, the French Minister, Mr. Mercier, said to Messrs. Hunter and Garnett the following, in substance:

"That the French Emperor had instructed him to give to the scheme of Mr. De Bellot all the moral aid possible, and to say to parties Interested, that Mr. De Bellot is fully responsible for, and able to perform, all that he undertakes.

"I am, very respectfully.
"Your friend and ob't serv't.

"Chas. F. M. Garnett."

Washington. Jan. 21, 1861.
"Sir: In reply to the letter which you did me the honor to address me, under date of 18th instant, I take much pleasure in informing you that my Government has instructed me to lend as much moral support as is compatible with the reserve imposed by my official position to the Canal scheme of the house of Bellot des Minieres, Bros. & Company, which is now before the Legislature of Virginia for its sanction. This is proof, sir, not only of the interest felt by my Government in the realization of this enterprise, but of the confidence with which the persons who control the measure inspire it in every respect; otherwise the Government would not lend a support which it is not in the habit of grating for light and trivial reasons.

"Mr. Paul, the French Consul at Richmond, will be able to lay before you documents which will show that the Government has not taken this step without first collecting the most exact information with reference to the enterprise.

"I avail myself of this occasion to assure you of my distinguished consideration.

"Henry Mercier.
"Mr. Ellis, President, &c."

We presume these letters, not only that from Messrs. Ellett and Garnett, detailing conversations with the French Minister, but the last one above given from that high functionary himself, will be considered as fully conclusive of the high character, standing and responsibility of the house of Bellot des Minieres Bros. & Company — the more so when it is reflected that the Imperial Government never grants the slightest recognition of any person or enterprise that does not bear the highest character. These conclusions are further borne out by the remarks in the House of the able chairman of the Joint Committee, (Gen-Chapman,) reported in our paper some days since, "that the committees had abundant testimony before them that this was probably the most powerful financial company in the world, and abundantly able to carry out their agreements."

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 United States License.

An XML version of this text is available for download, with the additional restriction that you offer Perseus any modifications you make. Perseus provides credit for all accepted changes, storing new additions in a versioning system.

hide Places (automatically extracted)

View a map of the most frequently mentioned places in this document.

Sort places alphabetically, as they appear on the page, by frequency
Click on a place to search for it in this document.
France (France) (1)
Colorado (Colorado, United States) (1)
Brazil, Clay County, Indiana (Indiana, United States) (1)
hide People (automatically extracted)
Sort people alphabetically, as they appear on the page, by frequency
Click on a person to search for him/her in this document.
E. De Bellot (6)
M. Mercier (4)
Charles F. M. Garnett (4)
Thomas H. Ellis (3)
Minieres Bros (3)
M. Paul (2)
M. Bellot (2)
Henry Mercier (1)
Mercer (1)
C. M. Hunter (1)
Gen (1)
Charles Elliot (1)
Ellett (1)
Chapman (1)
E. Bellot (1)
hide Dates (automatically extracted)
Sort dates alphabetically, as they appear on the page, by frequency
Click on a date to search for it in this document.
January 21st, 1861 AD (1)
January 18th, 1861 AD (1)
December 13th, 1860 AD (1)
18th (1)
hide Display Preferences
Greek Display:
Arabic Display:
View by Default:
Browse Bar: