1820 letter from Boston to Supreme Court Judge Story Washington D.C.

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Letter from Jeremiah E. Sprague in Boston to Supreme Court Judge Story in Washington, warning him that his letters may have been opened and to take precautions.

Judge Story, the youngest person ever nominated to serve on the U.S. Supreme Court, was part of many important decisions. including the Amistad.

Boston March 3. 1820
Dear Sir,
Three letters from you have come to hand with the seals broken two to – White (1) & one to Mrs(?) Story - one sealed with a wafer & two with wax - will you in order to detection write two or three letters by --- mails send them first with wafer & then with wax over the wafer in order to detection for it is possible that these letters might have been accidentally opened. The wax seals were so entire that with the eye it could be seen that they were broken unless they were bent & there are some wafers that split with the least pressure.
Yours truly
J.E. Sprague
(1) Joseph White Jr. was Story’s brother-in-law.


On front ‘Free J.E. Sprague’.

Red ‘BOSTON --- 3 MS’ cancellation.

Folded to form a letter. Vertical fold.


Joseph Story (September 18, 1779 – September 10, 1845) was an American lawyer and jurist who served on the Supreme Court of the United States from 1812 to 1845, during the Marshall Court and early-Taney Court eras. He is most remembered for his opinions in Martin v. Hunter's Lessee and The Amistad case, and especially for his magisterial Commentaries on the Constitution of the United States, first published in 1833. Dominating the field in the 19th century, this work is a cornerstone of early American jurisprudence. It is the second comprehensive treatise on the provisions of the U.S. Constitution and remains a critical source of historical information about the forming of the American republic and the early struggles to define its law.