George Washington Papers

To George Washington from Nathaniel Freeman, 12 December 1775

From Nathaniel Freeman

Sandwich [Mass.] December 12, 1775.

—May it please your Excellency: Colonel Otis, the younger, the author of the letter to your Excellency enclosed herewith, sent the same open to me,1 as we were together in ordering Mr. Lovell apprehended and sent a prisoner to your Excellency. Upon reading it, I thought it would not be improper to add, that the two Lovells mentioned in this delinquent’s letter, owned that they told Shubael Lovell, the prisoner, they wished he had returned their names to the King’s officers as friends to Government, and as having refused to take up arms, &c.

This Shubael, though he appears an ignorant fellow, hath considerable influence among the Barnstable Tories, hath practised coasting to Nantucket the summer past, and I have no doubt hath communicated every thing of intelligence to the navy, if not frequently supplied them with provisions. Doctor Gelston, to whom he alludes in his letter, we have taken a number of depositions of his having supplied them considerably from Nantucket. He swears he will do it in defiance of the people, and threatens communicating the small-pox to any one who resists him. I wish he was taken, but cannot get any one, as yet, to join me in sending on for him. I hope your Excellency will take care that he is taken. The depositions concerning him are now in the hands of Joseph Nye, Esq., at the General Court.2 I shall be furnished with more, and be at Head-Quarters with Colonel Otis, this week, by Thursday, when shall take the liberty to wait on your Excellency. In the mean time, I am, with the greatest sincerity, your Excellency’s obedient, humble servant,

N. Freeman.

Force, American Archives description begins Peter Force, ed. American Archives. 9 vols. Washington, D.C., 1837–53. description ends , 4th ser., 4:1337.

Nathaniel Freeman (1741–1827), a physician and shopkeeper in Sandwich, represented his town in the third provincial congress and the General Court and served as a colonel in the Barnstable County militia during the war.

2On 18 Dec. the General Court ordered Shubael Lovell sent to the Plymouth jail and ordered the arrest of Samuel Gelston (1724–1782), a physician from Nantucket, and on 4 Jan. it appointed a committee to investigate Gelston. While his fate was being debated, Gelston escaped to Rhode Island. He was soon apprehended, and on 3 Feb. the General Court resolved to confine Gelston in jail until further orders (Mass. House of Rep. Journal description begins A Journal of the Honorable House of Representatives of the Colony of the Massachusetts-Bay in New-England. Watertown, Mass., 1775. (Microfilm Collection of Early State Records). description ends , Nov. 1775–Feb. 1776 sess., 53, 111–12, 163, 194–95, 202, 234, 242; “Mass. Council Journal,” July 1775–Feb. 1776 sess. description begins In Journals, Minutes, and Proceedings, State of Massachusetts Bay, 1775–1780. (Microfilm Collection of Early State Records.) description ends , 377–78, 425, 433, 527–28).

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