Sprague, Peleg, 1793-1880

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Born on April 27, 1793, in Duxbury, Massachusetts, Sprague received an Artium Baccalaureus degree in 1812 from Harvard University, attended Litchfield Law School, then read law in 1815. He was admitted to the bar and entered private practice in Augusta, District of Maine (then part of Massachusetts) from 1815 to 1817. He continued private practice in Hallowell, Kennebec County, District of Maine (State of Maine from March 15, 1820) from 1817 to 1821. He was a member of the Maine House of Representatives from 1821 to 1822. He was a corporate member of the Maine Historical Society. He resumed private practice in Hallowell from 1822 to 1824.

Sprague was elected as a member of the National Republican Party from Maine's 4th congressional district to the United States House of Representatives of the 19th, 20th and 21st United States Congresses and served from March 4, 1825, until his resignation, effective March 3, 1829, having been elected United States Senator. He was elected to the United States Senate from Maine and served from March 4, 1829, to January 1, 1835, when he resigned. Following his departure from Congress, Sprague resumed private practice in Boston, Massachusetts from 1836 to 1841. In 1840, he served as a presidential elector on the Whig ticket in 1840.

During his time in the Senate, Sprague became a prominent campaigner against President Andrew Jackson's controversial policy of Indian removal, whereby Indians in the Southern states were to be forcibly relocated to West of the Mississippi River. Sprague argued that the policy was corrupt as it largely relied on bribes for support, and he also attacked the plan for its immorality and lack of humanity, claiming that the Indians would receive no assistance in starting new lives in an alien environment.

Sprague was nominated by President John Tyler on July 15, 1841, to a seat on the United States District Court for the District of Massachusetts vacated by Judge John Davis. He was confirmed by the United States Senate on July 16, 1841, and received his commission the same day. His service terminated on March 13, 1865, due to his resignation.

Following his resignation from the federal bench, Sprague resumed private practice in Boston from 1865 to 1880. He died on October 13, 1880, in Boston. He was interred in Mount Auburn Cemetery in Cambridge, Massachusetts.

Archival Resources
Role Title Holding Repository
creatorOf United States. District Court (Massachusetts). Letters received, 1861-1864, by John Shepard Keyes. Boston Athenaeum
creatorOf Sprague, Peleg. Autograph letter signed : Newport, R.I., to Professor Simon Greenleaf. August 24, 1841. Pierpont Morgan Library.
referencedIn Massachusetts railroads collection, 1822-1909 (inclusive). Yale University Library
creatorOf Neal, John, 1793-1876. John Neal letters, 1816-1864. Pennsylvania State University Libraries
creatorOf Concord (Mass.). Committee of Arrangements (1835). Concord Committee of Arrangements for the second centennial celebration of the incorporation of Concord records, 1835. Concord Free Public Library, Special Collection
referencedIn Longfellow, Henry Wadsworth, 1807-1882. Letters to Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, 1761-1904 (bulk 1820-1888) Houghton Library
referencedIn Recognizance of Thomas W. Higginson National Archives at Boston
creatorOf Sprague, Peleg, 1793-1880. Peleg Sprague papers, 1826-1841. Duxbury Rural and Historical Society
referencedIn Record Group 21: Records of District Courts of the United States, 1685 - 2009 Series: Case Files, 1790 - 1917 File Unit: U.S. v. Ocean, Bark and Cargo National Archives at Boston
referencedIn Houghton Library printed book provenance file, R-Z and unidentified Houghton Library
referencedIn Neal, John, 1793-1876. Papers, 1803-1880 Houghton Library
creatorOf Bacon, Leonard, 1802-1881. [Collection of sermons and other addresses on the Pilgrims]. Yale University Library
creatorOf Sprague, Peleg, 1793-1880. Letter to John Neal. Wiscasset, [ME]. 1832 Sept. 11. University of Iowa Libraries
referencedIn Loring, Charles G. (Charles Greely), 1794-1867. Papers, 1768-1866 Houghton Library
creatorOf Fraternity of the Suffolk Bar. Articles of incorporation and minutes of meetings, 1836-1841. Harvard Law School Library Langdell Hall Cambridge, MA 02138
referencedIn Autograph File, S, 1556-1996. Houghton Library
creatorOf Bassett, Elisha,. Letter, 1863. University of Pennsylvania Libraries, Van Pelt Library
creatorOf Webster, Daniel, 1782-1852. [Letter, 1833] [to] John Haven, [Portsmouth, N.H.] / Danl. Webster. Raymond H. Fogler Library
referencedIn Daveis, Charles Stewart, 1788-1865. Charles Stewart Daveis correspondence, ca. 1830-1847. Maine Historical Society Library
referencedIn Massachusetts railroads collection, 1822-1909 Yale University. Department of Manuscripts and Archives
creatorOf Sprague, Peleg, 1793-1880. Letter : Boston, Mass., to Jacob Burnett [sic], n.p., 1848 Apr. 15. Texas Christian University
creatorOf Brent, Daniel, 1774-1841. Letter book, 1833-1836. University of Notre Dame, Hesburgh Library
referencedIn U.S. v. Thomas Higginson National Archives at Boston
Role Title Holding Repository
Relation Name
associatedWith Bassett, Elisha, person
associatedWith Bowdoin College. corporateBody
associatedWith Brent, Daniel, 1774-1841. person
associatedWith Burnet, Jacob, 1770-1853. person
correspondedWith Choate, Rufus, 1799-1859 person
associatedWith Clay, Henry, 1777-1852. person
associatedWith Concord (Mass.). Committee of Arrangements (1835) corporateBody
associatedWith Daveis, Charles Stewart, 1788-1865. person
correspondedWith Everett, Edward, 1794-1865 person
associatedWith Fraternity of the Suffolk Bar. corporateBody
associatedWith Greenleaf, Simon, 1783-1853, person
alumnusOrAlumnaOf Harvard University corporateBody
associatedWith Houghton Library. person
correspondedWith Longfellow, Henry Wadsworth, 1807-1882 person
associatedWith Loring, Charles G. (Charles Greely), 1794-1867 person
memberOf Maine. Legislature. House of Representatives corporateBody
associatedWith Neal, John, 1793-1876. person
associatedWith Taylor, Zachary, 1784-1850. person
associatedWith United States. Congress corporateBody
associatedWith United States. District Court (Massachusetts) corporateBody
associatedWith Webster, Daniel, 1782-1852. person
associatedWith Whig Party. corporateBody
associatedWith Whig Party (U.S.) corporateBody
Place Name Admin Code Country
Plymouth MA US
Boston MA US
District of Columbia DC US
Hallowell ME US
Cambridge MA US
Augusta ME US
Indian Removal
National Republican Party
Practice of law
Presidential candidates
Representatives, U.S. Congress
Senators, U.S. Congress
Slave trade
Whig party
Justice, Administration of
District courts
Fugitive slave law of 1850
Representatives, U.S. Congress
Federal Judge


Birth 1793-04-27

Death 1880-10-13





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