Papers of Joseph Ingraham, 1790-1792: Journal of the Voyage of the Brigantine "Hope" from Boston to the North-West Coast of America


Joseph Ingraham was the master of the brigantine Hope, a 70-ton American ship that was designed and equipped to make the trip around Cape Horn to the west coast of North America, from there to China, and from China back to Boston. In the late 18th century, American fur traders undertook expeditions to the northwestern Pacific, where they obtained furs, which they brought for sale to the Chinese port of Canton (present-day Guangdong). There they acquired tea, silk, porcelain, and other goods for sale in the U.S. market. This work is the original manuscript of Ingraham’s account of one such voyage. Places visited include the Falkland Islands, Cape Horn, the Marquesas Islands, the coast of North America, the Sandwich Islands (present-day Hawaii), and China. The work documents commercial trade, especially the fur trade, with China and includes descriptions and drawings of the fauna, flora, and inhabitants of the places visited, as well as charts and maps of various locations. In April 1791, Ingraham sighted and mapped the Marquesas Islands, which he named for President George Washington, Vice President John Adams, and other American political figures. The United States never formally claimed the islands, however, and in 1842 France asserted control over the group, making them part of what is now French Polynesia.

Last updated: September 18, 2015