Front Page Titles (by Subject) III.: James River. - Report of the Secretary of the Treasury; on the Subject of Public Roads and Canals
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III.: James River. - Albert Gallatin, Report of the Secretary of the Treasury; on the Subject of Public Roads and Canals 
Report of the Secretary of the Treasury; on the Subject of Public Roads and Canals; made in pursuance of a Resolution of the Senate, of March 2, 1807 (Washington: R.C. Weightman, 1808).
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A Company incorporated by the state of Virginia, for the improvement of the navigation of the river generally, has removed some obstructions in the upper part of the river, and is bound by the charter to render it so far navigable that there may never be less than 12 inches of water over any of the shoals or rapids, from the upper end of the lower or great falls to Pattonborough, a distance of 220 miles. The natural navigation of the river through that extent is considered as better than that of any other Atlantic river above the falls.
A communication has been opened by the company from Westham, at the upper end of the great falls, to Shockoe hill in the city of Richmond, in the following manner: The water is drawn at Westham from the river into a canal 200 yards in length, at the end of which, boats descending 34 feet through three locks re-enter the river, and after using its natural navigation three miles, are brought by a canal 3 miles and a half in length to a bason on Shockoe hill, where the navigation terminates.
That bason is about 80 feet above tide water, and one mile and a half from Rockets, the port of Richmond. The whole fall from the upper end of the canal at Westham to the bason, may be stated at 48 feet, and the distance at six miles and a half. The canal is 25 feet wide, and admits boats of eight tons drawing three feet of water. The locks 80 feet long, and 16 feet wide, are of solid masonry; but the cement is defective. Three aqueducts have been thrown across valleys intervening in the course of the canal; and some difficult digging was necessary on the side of hills, and through ledges of rocks.
The canal, according to the charter, was intended to have been brought down to tide water. The performance of that condition is now suspended by an act of the legislature of Virginia, and there seems to be a considerable diversity of opinion on that subject. In a national point of view, the plan which will at the least expense put coals on board vessels lying at Rockets, deserves the preference. For coal is in no other part of the United States found in abundance in the vicinity of tide water. At present the expense of transportation by the canal is already reduced to one third of the land carriage.
The original capital of the company amounted to 140,000 dollars, of which the state of Virginia owns fifty thousand; and 91,000 dollars arising from the proceeds of tolls, had before the 1st January, 1805, been applied to the work, making together an expenditure of 231,000 dollars. The annual tolls raised on fourteen thousand tons of country produce, and on two thousand coal boats, have amounted to 16,750 dollars: and the annual repairs and expenses are estimated at 5000 dollars. But as the company draw also a revenue from the rent of water, applied to mills and other water works erected along the canal, they have been able in some years to make dividends of 16,800 dollars, being at the rate of 12 per cent. on the original capital, but of only about 7 per cent. if calculated on the sum of 244,000 dollars, the amount of capital expended, and interest accrued before any dividend was made.