Thomas Jefferson Papers

Petition of Rivanna Company to Virginia General Assembly, [ca. 5 October 1812]

Petition of Rivanna Company to Virginia General Assembly

[ca. 5 Oct. 1812]

To the General assembly of Virginia,

The petition of the subscribers members of the Rivanna Company respectfully represents—that by an act passed the 30th day of December 1806 they were incorporated for the purpose of extending the navigation of the Rivanna River from the town of Milton to Moores ford opposite charlottsville, That under that act they proceeded to subscribe Money & appoint Directors &C. under whose superintendance the navigation contemplated has been effected. As an indemnification to those who advanced their money in effecting an object of such utility, the act of 1806 makes it lawful for the directors to demand & recieve certain Tolls, to be divided annually among the subscribers in proportion to the sums respectively subscribed, & so soon as the said subscribers shall be reimbursed the principal & interest of their respective subscriptions the said Tolls are to cease & the River to be deemed & taken as a public Highway. Your Petitioners beg leave to state that the rate of tolls established by the act of 1806 are found to be so high as almost to preclude the use of the River for navigation; (the Tolls being but little inferior to the price of Land carriage); And furthermore to state, that in effecting the said navigation they found themselves under the necessity of erecting three locks, which in the course of every ten or twelve years will require to be thoroughly repaired & at a very considerable cost. If the tolls are to cease upon the reimbursement of the subscribers the navigation must also cease shortly after for want of funds to keep the locks in repair—

Upon these grounds your petitioners pray your honorable body either to perpetuate their Charter, or extend it to such time as shall seem most proper, with the power (after the subscribers are reimbursed) of demanding sufficient toll to keep the Navigation up; And after the subscribers are reimbursed to provide for the annual appointment of five directors by the court of Albermarle county to manage the concerns of the institution. They also pray that the present tariff of tolls may be reduced, & that the directors may have the power to regulate them from time to time so as not to exceed the following rate. Viz. For every Hogshead of Tobacco, twenty five cents, for every barrell of Flour four cents, for every bushell of salt, lime, wheat or other grain one cent; for every pipe or Hogshead of wine Rum or Brandy thirty six cents, for every ten gallons of like spiritous liquors in smaller casks three cents. For every Barrell of Beef or Pork or Fish or linseed or other oil six cents, on every barrell of whiskey six cents on every double barrell of ditto twelve cents, on every ton of Hemp, bar or manufactured iron, one hundred cents, on every ton of castings fifty cents, on every hundred pipe or Hogshead staves or heading five cents on every hundred barrell staves or heading two & a half cents, on every hundred cubic feet of plank or scantling twenty five cents, on every hundred weight of al[l] other commodities or packages except mill stones or plaister of Paris five cents, <on every boat or vessel not having commodities on board to yield as much one hundred cents. Provided that an empty boat or vessel returning, whose load has already paid, shall repass toll free>—

And your Petitioners as in duty bound &C—

P. Minor   John. M. Perry
Dabney Minor Wmson Kelly
Alex: Garrett Jesse Davenport
Martin Dawson Jas Dinsmore
John Watson (L M) Benj Brown
James Scott George Swink
Jesse Lewis Rice Garland
George Divers Samuel Carr
Jas Leitch W. D. Meriwether
John Kelly [. . .]1
Reuben Maury Jno H Craven
James Minor
Joel Terril
Jno Burton
Jesse Lewis
D: Carr
Ruthd Woods
Jo Bishop

MS (Vi: RG 78, Legislative Petitions, Albemarle Co.); in Peter Minor’s hand, signed by Minor and at least twenty-seven others; undated; written on two sheets of different sizes, with second sheet consisting of additional signatures; edge frayed; docketed on final page of first sheet: “Rivanna Compy refd to Props Decr 12th 1812” and (in another hand) “(reasonable) reported Bill drawn”; filed with a slip in Minor’s hand reading “Notice A petition will be presented to the next general assembly praying for an amendment of the Act which incorporates the Rivanna Company. Oct 5. 1812.”

l m: Little Mountain.

This petition was received in the Virginia House of Delegates on 12 Dec. 1812 and immediately referred to the Committee of Propositions and Grievances. The committee reported on 17 Dec. 1812 that the petition was “reasonable.” A bill was presented on 7 Jan. 1813, and nine days later it passed its first and second readings and was recommitted. On 19 Jan. 1813 the bill was reported with amendments, and two days later an engrossed version cleared the House. The bill was introduced into the Senate of Virginia on 22 Jan. 1813 and referred to a committee headed by Joseph C. Cabell, who reported on 8 Feb. that it had “made several amendments thereto.” The measure was returned to the House of Delegates on 9 Feb., where its consideration was postponed until 31 Mar., effectively killing it in a session that ended on 23 Feb. 1813 (JHD description begins Journal of the House of Delegates of the Commonwealth of Virginia description ends and JSV description begins Journal of the Senate of Virginia description ends [1812–13 sess.]). For its further consideration and eventual passage in the 1813–14 session, see TJ to Cabell, 7 Nov. 1813, and enclosure.

1First sheet, trimmed, ends here, with apparent losses; petition was once described as containing thirty-one signatures (Virginia State Library, Department of Archives and History, A Calendar of Legislative Petitions Arranged by Counties: Accomac–Bedford [1908; only vol. published], 32).

Index Entries

  • Bishop, Joseph; petition to General Assembly search
  • Brown, Benjamin; petition to General Assembly search
  • Burton, John; petition to General Assembly search
  • Cabell, Joseph Carrington; and Rivanna Company search
  • Carr, Dabney (1773–1837) (TJ’s nephew); petition to General Assembly search
  • Carr, Samuel (TJ’s nephew); petition to General Assembly search
  • Craven, John H.; petition to General Assembly search
  • Davenport, Jesse; petition to General Assembly search
  • Dawson, Martin; petition to General Assembly search
  • Dinsmore, James; petition to General Assembly search
  • Divers, George; petition to General Assembly search
  • Garland, Rice; petition to General Assembly search
  • Garrett, Alexander; petition to General Assembly search
  • household articles; linseed oil search
  • Kelly, John; petition to General Assembly search
  • Kelly, Williamson; petition to General Assembly search
  • Leitch, James; petition to General Assembly search
  • Lewis, Jesse (first); petition to General Assembly search
  • Lewis, Jesse (second); petition to General Assembly search
  • lime (mineral); toll on search
  • linseed oil search
  • Maury, Reuben; petition to General Assembly search
  • Meriwether, William Douglas; petition to General Assembly search
  • Minor, Dabney; petition to General Assembly search
  • Minor, James; petition to General Assembly search
  • Minor, Peter; petition to General Assembly search
  • Moore’s Ford (Albemarle Co.) search
  • oil; linseed search
  • Perry, John M.; petition to General Assembly search
  • pork; toll on search
  • Rivanna Company; act establishing search
  • Rivanna Company; petition to General Assembly search
  • Scott, James; petition to General Assembly search
  • Swink, George; petition to General Assembly search
  • Terril, Joel; petition to General Assembly search
  • Virginia; General Assembly search
  • Watson, John; petition to General Assembly search
  • Woods, Rutherford; petition to General Assembly search