Sprague, Peleg Papers

Scope and Content:

            The collection consists of letters to Peleg Sprague from Daniel Webster, Henry Clay, Edward Everertt and Rufus Choate.  Much of the correspondence deals with Whig party politics, election results, and other political or judicial subject matter.  Also included is a letter from a young Henry Wadsworth Longfellow while at Bowdoin College.

Biographical Information:

Peleg Sprague (April 27, 1793 – October 13, 1880) was an American politician and U.S. Federal judge.  He was born in Duxbury, MA to Seth Sprague and Deborah Sampson.  He graduated from Harvard University in 1812 and then studied law in Litchfield, CT.  He was admitted to the bar in 1815 and practiced in Maine.

Sprague served in the Maine House of Representatives from 1821-1822.  In 1823 he was elected to the U.S. House of Representatives from Maine’s Fourth Congressional District (1824-1829).  He then was elected to the U.S. Senate (1829-1835).  In 1835 he resigned from the Senate and practiced law in Boston from 1836-1841.  In 1840 he was a presidential elector for the Whig party.

In 1841 Sprague became a Judge for the United States District Court for the District of Massachusetts.  Due to his failing eyesight, he retired from the bench in 1865. 

Peleg Sprague married Sarah Deming in 1818.  Together they had four children: Charles, Seth, Sarah, and Francis.  He died in Boston in 1880 and is buried in Mount Auburn Cemetery, Cambridge, MA.

Organization:

The collection is separated into four series:

            Series I – Correspondence from Daniel Webster (1826-1851)

            Series II –Correspondence from Henry Clay (1827-1836)

            Series III – Correspondence from Edward Everett (1827-1839)

            Series IV – Correspondence from Rufus Choate (1841)

            Series V – Correspondence from Others (1827-1841)                

            Series VI – Notes, n.d.

 Series List

Series I – Correspondence from Daniel Webster (1826-1851); 17 itmes.

 Folder 1

  1. Daniel Webster (Boston, MA) to Peleg Sprague (Hallowell, ME); August 10, 1826. Re: Topographical map of New England by Mr. Hale.
  2. Daniel Webster (Boston, MA) to Peleg Sprague (Hallowell, ME); Sept. 20, 1828. Re: Thanks Sprague for election information and reports campaign results in NY and NJ.
  3. Daniel Webster (Boston, MA) to Peleg Sprague (Hallowell, ME); July 2, 1830. Re: Concerns reaction to nomination of Henry Clay.
  4. Daniel Webster to Peleg Sprague; Nov. 8, 1830. Re: Advising Sprague to put in an appearance at Fanueil Hall, Boston.
  5. Daniel Webster (Boston, MA) to Peleg Sprague (Hallowell, ME); Sept. 29, 1832. Re: Response to Sprague’s invitation to visit him in Maine and a commentary on the news from Albany, NY.
  6. Daniel Webster (Boston, MA) to Peleg Sprague; Oct. 3, 1834. Re: Webster’s concern with Sprague’s pending resignation from the Senate.
  7. Daniel Webster (Boston, MA) to Peleg Sprague (Hallowell, ME); Oceober 29, 1834. Re: Regret that Sprague is considering resigning from the Senate, Whig vs. Tory situation.
  8. Daniel Webster (Marshfield, MA) to Peleg Sprague (Boston, MA); July 28, 1836. Re:  Hopes to meet Sprague with Mr. Gardiner “in town.”
  9. Daniel Webster (Washington, DC) to Peleg Sprague (Boston, MA); Jan. 14, 1838. Re: A letter from Mr. Silsbee concerning a transaction. 

 Folder 2

  1. Daniel Webster (Washington, DC) to Peleg Sprague; Dec. 19. 1840. Re: Cabinet appointments and hints of jealousies on the part of the South.
  2. Daniel Webster (Washington, DC) to Peleg Sprague; April 12, 1841. Re: District Judge in Massachusetts position and Sprague’s health.
  3. Daniel Webster (Washinton, DC) to Peleg Sprague (Boston, MA); July 17, 1841.  Notice from the Department of State appointing Sprague signed by Webster.
  4. Daniel Webster (Washington, DC) to Peleg Sprague (Boston, MA); July 24, 1841.Re: Delivery of 21 Volumes of the Session of Congress.
  5. Daniel Webster (Washington, DC) to Peleg Sprague; March 12, 1843. Re: Recommending the speeches of Rufus Choate and Mr. C(?). w/envelope
  6. Daniel Webster (Washington, DC) to Peleg Sprague (Boston, MA); Mar. 31, 1851. Re: Information for Dept. of State regarding Joab B. Bartlett, jailed in Greenfield.
  7. Daniel Webster (Washington, DC) to Peleg Sprague (Boston, MA); Mar. 21, 1851. Re: Comments of Sprague’s charge to the jury in Boston.
  8. Daniel Webster to Peleg Sprague; n.d. Re: Congratulation Sprague on speech.

 Series II – Correspondence from Henry Clay (1827-1836); 6 items 

  1. Henry Clay (Washington, DC) to Peleg Sprague; Nov. 10, 1827. Re: Disputed Maine boundary with Great Britain.
  2. Henry Clay (Ashland, KY) to Peleg Sprague (Washington, DC); Dec. 25, 1829.Re: Petition being made in Congress regarding the boundary of Maine.
  3. Henry Clay (Olympian Springs) to Peleg Sprague (Hallowell, ME); Aug. 22, 1830.
  4. Henry Clay (Ashland, KY) to Peleg Sprague; Aug. 25, 1832. Re: Kentucky elections in which Jacksonian candidate won the Governorship.
  5. Henry Clay to Peleg Sprague; Mar. 26, 1834.
  6. Henry Clay (Ashland, KY) to Peleg Sprague, Oct. 22, 1836. Re: The election results of 1836.

Series III – Correspondence from Edward Everett (1827-1839); 5 items.

  1. Edward Everett (Boston, MA) to Peleg Sprague (Hallowell, ME); April 20, 1827.
  2. Edward Everett (Charlestown, MA) to Peleg Sprague; July 19, 1830. Re: Nomination of Henry Clay.
  3. Edward Everett (Charlestown, MA) to Peleg Sprague; July 22, 1830. Re: Nomination of Henry Clay.
  4. Edward Everett (Council Chamber) to Peleg Sprague (Boston, MA); Jan. 28, 1837. Re: The case of Ezekiel D. Dyer, convicted of passing counterfeit money.
  5. Edward Everett (Council Chamber) to Peleg Sprague (Boston, MA); Jan. 24, 1839.

Series IV Correspondence from Rufus Choate (1841); 6 items.

  1. Rufus Choate to Peleg Sprague; Nov. 2, 1840.
  2. Rufus Choate (Washington, DC) to Peleg Sprague (Boston, MA); June 21, 1841.
  3. Rufus Choate (Washington, DC) to Peleg Sprague; July 15, 1841.
  4. Rufus Choate (Washington, DC) to Peleg Sprague; July 15, 1841.
  5. Rufus Choate (Washington, DC) to Peleg Sprague, July 16, 1841.
  6. Rufus Choate (Washington, DC) to Peleg Sprague, July 16, 1841, ½ past 3.
  7. Rufus Choate (Washington, DC) to Peleg Sprague, July 19, 1841. (envelope only)

Series V Correspondence from Others (1827-1841); 9 items.

  1. Richard Rush (Treasury Dept.) to Peleg Sprague (Hallowell, ME); Aug. 25, 1828.
  2. Samuel Tucker (Bremen) to Peleg Sprague( Washington, DC); Dec. 1, 1828.
  3. Samuel Southard (Navy Dept.) to Peleg Sprague (Washington, DC); Feb. 17, 1829.
  4. Gales and Seaton (Washington, DC) to Peleg Sprague (Hallowell, ME); Oct. 25. 1828.
  5. A. H. Everett, N. Hale & J. B. Davis to Peleg Sprague (Halowell, ME); July 19, 1830.
  6. Henry Wadsworth Longfellow (BowdoinCollege) to Peleg Sprague (Washington, DC); Feb. 23, 1834.
  7. Harriet Martineau to Mrs. Sprague; March 9 [1836].
  8. Josiah Quincy (Cambridge, MA) to Peleg Sprague (Boston, MA); July 21, 1837.
  9. Winfield Scott (Washington, DC) to Gentlemen; Oct. 25, 1841 (copy of letter).

Series VI Notes (n.d.); 1 item.

  1. Notes entitled “Webster” (copy)
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