George Washington Papers

To George Washington from the Gloucester Committee of Safety, 7 September 1775

From the Gloucester Committee of Safety

Glocester [Mass.] September 7, 1775

May it please your Excellency

We the Committee of Safety for the town of Glocester beg leave to acquaint your Excellency that Capt. Broughton of the armed schooner Hannah has this day brought into our harbour a ship he has retaken, and has committed the care of Vessel & Cargo & Prisioners to us according to the letter from him to your Excellency1—we beg leave further to say that as the Captain of the ship seems very desireous to go back to Portsmouth after his Vessels papers which he says the officers of the Kings ship Lively (who first took him) has taken from him Conserning the ships Clearance gives us a good deal of Jelousey that his proceedings has not been according to the good regulations of the united Counsels of the Colonies—and are afriad if he goes back he may give or that the Enemie by his means may have notice where his ship &c. is, and we in this town be very much expossed to some Violent attack from the Kings ships.

we now send your Excellency the Prisoners Capt. Broughton delivered to us under the Conduct of Capt. John Lane.2

We wait your Excellencys further orders & are Your Excellencys Most Obedient Humble Servents

per order of the Committee

Winthrop Sargent Chairman3

P.S. we understand that Capt. Flag of the Captur’d Ship has purchased Some Quantity of Fish at Isle Shoales after his Vessel was clear’d unbeknown to the owner.4


2The seven members of the captured British prize crew arrived at Cambridge on 9 September. Capt. Lane may be John Lane of Massachusetts who became a captain in the 9th Continental Infantry on 1 Jan. 1776.

3Winthrop Sargent (1727–1793), a merchant in Gloucester, served as a provincial officer on the Louisburg expedition in 1745 and was a member of the 1780 convention that drafted the Massachusetts constitution. His son Winthrop Sargent (1753–1820), who later became secretary of the Northwest Territory, was a volunteer in the Continental army at this time.

4The Portsmouth, N.H., committee of safety announced to the public on 16 Sept. “that Capt. JOHN FLAG, lately sail’d for the West Indies, took on board a Quantity of FISH, at the Isle of Shoals, after he sail’d from this Port, contrary to a Resolve of the Provincial CONGRESS, and of this Committee, Therefore he is hereby deemed as an Enemy to his Country” (New-Hampshire Gazette, and Historical Chronicle [Portsmouth], 19 Sept. 1775). The Isles of Shoals are in the Atlantic a few miles off the New Hampshire coast. The owner of Flagg’s vessel was John Langdon.

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