James Madison Papers

To James Madison from Charles W. Goldsborough, 20 September 1809

From Charles W. Goldsborough

Washn. 20 Sep. ’09


As you are probably less occupied now than you will be on your return to the seat of Government, I take the liberty of transmitting, for your perusal, the accompanying papers. Altho’ you may not, at this time, approve the project, yet it will I hope afford you pleasure to find that we have in our navy men of columbian ambition. The writer of these papers is not, I am persuaded, inferior in talent or enterprize, to either of the great navigators he has mentioned.1

The severest fatigues could not dishearten, nor could the greatest dangers appal, him in the execution of a duty assigned to him by his Government. With the greatest respect I have the honor to be sir, yr mo ob st.

Ch: W: Goldsborough

RC (DLC). Enclosure not found, but see n. 1.

1Goldsborough probably enclosed a copy of Master Commandant David Porter’s proposal for a naval voyage of discovery in the northern Pacific. Porter sought permission to search for the Northwest Passage and to claim lands between California and Nootka Island, to “prevent a dangerous neighbour from settling at our backs.” He cited the earlier explorations of Capt. James Cook, the comte de La Pérouse, and George Dixon. Porter never received a written response to his proposal, but his interest in the Pacific Ocean resulted in his wartime voyage to the Marquesas Islands in 1813–14 (Porter to Paul Hamilton, 16 Aug. 1809 and 1 Mar. 1810 [DNA: RG 45, Master Commandant Letters Received]; see also Porter to Jefferson, 17 Aug. 1809, and enclosure [DLC: Jefferson Papers]).

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