previous next

The James River Canal.

The Legislature is slow in deciding the fate of the proposition now before it, for the consideration of which, be it remembered, it was originally called together. It is, no doubt, proper that it should be thus. The case should be thoroughly studied. Every member should make himself well acquainted with all its incidents, and all its bearings. Investigation, thus far, has proved eminently serviceable to it. It has been established that the company is not only abundantly able to execute this work, but any other work of quadruple its magnitude. It has been proved that it is one of the richest associations in the world.--That it commands the entire confidence of the French Government, has been shown by the report of Mr. Paul, and by many other pieces of testimony which have been before the Committee. That the parties are able to complete the work, the French Ministerial Washington has added his testimony to that already alluded to, to prove. The idea of its being a ‘"humbug"’ is, therefore, an exploded idea. One hundred millions of hard dollars do not look like a humbug. That objection, can no longer be relied on.--The only other is the hold which it is feared France will obtain here, by means of this contract. It is hard to deal with such a fear as this. It is like the old notion that the United States Bank was a British concern, because Englishmen held large amounts of stock.--Throw open books of subscription to-morrow for James River stock, and assuredly we should be glad to hear that it was all taken. We should not be apt to enquire whether the takers were Frenchmen or Americans. The money is the thing in such cases. The Frenchman's hundred francs, the Englishman's four pounds, and the American's twenty dollars, all amount to the same thing. They are all money, and one is just as good as the other. The French Government would have no more interest here than it would have in any other case where the capital of its citizens is largely interested. If we expect foreigners never to take any of our stocks, we had best stop all improvements at once.

Upon the merits of the scheme, in so far as its results may be anticipated, we have dwelt until we have become almost ashamed of our own earnestness. We regard them of invaluable importance. We can see no reason why this canal, if sufficiently wide, sufficiently deep, and sufficiently well managed, should not command the entire trade of the great West, of the Northwest, and of the Southwest to a great extent. Let any man look at the country, and he will see that we do not speak without probabilities to back us. As long as the navigation of the Mississippi continues to be as dangerous as it is — as long as Lake Erie and the Erie Canal continue to be frozen up six months in the year, so long will the trade which they now command hang trembling in the balance, ready to follow the first rival route that shall present itself. That route is the James River and Kanawha improvement — cheap, safe, short, leading to ports of unrivalled capacity.

We hold this truth to be self-evident: That the State of Virginia never can be developed to its full capacity until a city shall have grown up in its eastern quarter which shall be able to dispose of all its resources. This city must grow as these resources are devel oped. There must be action and reaction. The development of resources builds up the city, and the exigencies of the city stimulate further development of resources. Give Virginia the trade which this canal will command — at Norfolk, or at York, or somewhere upon the deep waters, there will be a great commercial city. It will receive and dispose of all the resources of Virginia. It will stimulate production to the highest point possible.

We hope the Legislature, when it does act, will settle this question — so important to every part of Virginia — in a manner that shall ensure her future greatness.

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)
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.
Paul (1)
Americans (1)
hide Display Preferences
Greek Display:
Arabic Display:
View by Default:
Browse Bar: