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Peleg Sprague (Maine politician)

Peleg Sprague (April 27, 1793 – October 13, 1880) was an American politician from the U.S. state of Maine, and a United States federal judge.

Peleg Sprague
Peleg Sprague (1793-1880) at the age of 51.jpg
Judge of the United States District Court for the District of Massachusetts
In office
July 15, 1841 – March 13, 1865
Appointed by John Tyler
Preceded by John Davis
Succeeded by John Lowell
United States Senator
from Maine
In office
March 4, 1829 – January 1, 1835
Preceded by John Chandler
Succeeded by John Ruggles
Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from Maine's 4th district
In office
March 4, 1825 – March 3, 1829
Preceded by Stephen Longfellow
Succeeded by George Evans
Member of the Maine House of Representatives
In office
Personal details
Born April 27, 1793
Duxbury, Massachusetts
Died October 13, 1880(1880-10-13) (aged 87)
Boston, Massachusetts
Political party National Republican
Alma mater Harvard University


Born in Duxbury, Massachusetts, Sprague graduated from Harvard University in 1812, and studied law at the Litchfield Law School in Litchfield, Connecticut. He was admitted to the bar in August 1815 and began practice in Augusta, Maine. In 1817, he moved to Hallowell, where he continued his practice.

Sprague's political career began when he served as a member of the Maine House of Representatives from 1821 to 1822. In 1823, he was elected to the U.S. House of Representatives from Maine's fourth congressional district, serving from March 4, 1825, to March 3, 1829, when he became a member of the United States Senate. Sprague continued to serve in the Senate until January 1, 1835, when he again resigned. 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.[1] After resigning from the Senate in 1835, Sprague practiced law in Boston from 1836 to 1841. He was a presidential elector on the Whig ticket in 1840.

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

Sprague died in Boston in 1880. He is buried in the Mount Auburn Cemetery in Cambridge. Sprague was a corporate member of the Maine Historical Society.


  1. ^ Georgia and the Conversation over Indian Removal. By: Morris, Michael, Georgia Historical Quarterly, 00168297, Winter 2007, Vol. 91, Issue 4

External linksEdit

  • Peleg Sprague at the Biographical Directory of Federal Judges, a public domain publication of the Federal Judicial Center.
  • "Peleg Sprague". Biographical Directory of the United States Congress.
  • Peleg Sprague. 1815–35 Chapter in: William Willis, A history of the law, the courts, and the lawyers of Maine, from its first colonization to the early part of the present century (1863)
U.S. House of Representatives
Preceded by
Stephen Longfellow
Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from Maine's 6th congressional district

Succeeded by
George Evans
U.S. Senate
Preceded by
John Chandler
U.S. Senator (Class 2) from Maine
Served alongside: John Holmes, Ether Shepley
Succeeded by
John Ruggles
Legal offices
Preceded by
John Davis
Judge of the United States District Court for the District of Massachusetts
Succeeded by
John Lowell
Honorary titles
Preceded by
Walter Lowrie
Most Senior Living U.S. Senator
(Sitting or Former)

December 14, 1868 – October 13, 1880
Succeeded by
John King