George Washington Papers

To George Washington from Jeremy Belknap, 31 January 1793

From Jeremy Belknap

Boston Jany 31. 1793


I beg leave to lay before you a specimen of a monthly publication in which you will find an account of a new discovery in the pacific ocean, by one of our Citizens who has given the names of the principal Characters in the United States to several islands between the Tropics.1 It is a pleasing reflection that our Countrymen carry their zeal & patriotism into the most remote regions, and that the names of those who have been instrumental of establishing the Liberty of America will in future be inscribed on the map of the Globe. I am Sir with all due Respect yr most obedt Servt

Jeremy Belknap


1The publication that Boston minister Jeremy Belknap sent GW has not been identified, but its subject matter appeared that year on pages 20–22 of the Collections of the Massachusetts Historical Society for the Year 1793 (Boston), in which an extract from the 1790–92 journal of Joseph Ingraham (1762–1800) appeared. This journal recounts Ingraham’s journey as captain of the brigantine Hope on its voyage from Boston to the northwest coast of North America and then to China and back. In April 1792, shortly after stopping at the Marquesas Islands in the South Pacific Ocean, Ingraham sighted seven nearby islands, the first of which he named Washington’s Island. The others he named Adam’s, Lincoln’s, Federal, Franklin’s, Hancock’s, and Knox’s islands (see Joseph Ingraham, Journal of the Brigantine Hope on a Voyage to the Northwest Coast of North America, 1790–92, ed. Mark D. Kaplanoff [Barre, Mass., 1971]). These islands, sometimes collectively called the Washington Islands, constitute the northern part of the Marquesas archipelago. Washington’s Island is known by its Polynesian name of Ua Huka.

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