CLIFFORD, Nathan

1803–1881

Biography

CLIFFORD, Nathan, a Representative from Maine; born in Rumney, N.H., August 18, 1803; attended the public schools of Rumney, the Haverhill (N.H.) Academy, and New Hampton Literary Institute; taught school and gave vocal lessons; studied law in New York; was admitted to the bar and commenced practice in Newfield, York County, Maine, in 1827; member of the State house of representatives 1830-1834 and served as speaker the last two years; attorney general 1834-1838; elected as a Democrat to the Twenty-sixth and Twenty-seventh Congresses (March 4, 1839-March 3, 1843); was not a candidate for renomination in 1842; Attorney General of the United States in the Cabinet of President Polk and served from October 17, 1846, to March 17, 1848; commissioner to Mexico, with the rank of Envoy Extraordinary and Minister Plenipotentiary, from March 18, 1848, to September 6, 1849; through him the treaty was arranged with the Mexican Government by which California became a part of the United States; resumed the practice of law in Portland, Maine; appointed Associate Justice of the Supreme Court of the United States, January 28, 1858, and served until his death; president of the electoral commission convened in 1877; died in Cornish, York County, Maine, on July 25, 1881; interment in Evergreen Cemetery, Portland, Maine.

View Record in the Biographical Directory of the U.S. Congress

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External Research Collections

Maine Historical Society

Portland, ME
Papers: 1831-1881, 1 linear foot. The papers of Nathan Clifford contain correspondence, legal opinions (1858-1880) as Justice of the U.S. Supreme Court, and commissions. Includes personal and family correspondence. Many of the letters are from Clifford's son, W. H. Clifford, some relating to the son's legal practice. A finding aid is available in the repository.
Papers: ca. 1869-1882, 1 volume. A scrapbook, chiefly kept by Nathan Clifford, with some additions by others after his death, with clippings, invitations, calling cards, and other materials. Includes calling cards of Rutherford B. and Lucy Webb Hayes and other Washington notables, articles on a variety of subjects such as George Washington, the visit of President James Monroe in Portland, Parsonsfield, Me., a lecture in Windham, Me., the White House, Washington Monument, and a Boston music festival, and miscellany reflecting Clifford's activities and life in Washington.

Brown University
John Hay Library

Providence, RI
Papers: In the Replies to Dinner Invitation from President Buchanan, 1858, 16 items. Other authors include Nathan Clifford.

Cornell University Library
Department of Rare Books

Ithaca, NY
Papers: 1837, 1 leaf. A letter from Nathan Clifford to the editor of the Belfast Intelligence, written on August 14, 1837. In the letter, Nathan Clifford Clifford terminates his subscription to the Belfast Intelligence on political grounds and criticizes the nature of its political influence.

Duke University
Rare Book, Manuscript, and Special Collection Library

Durham, NC
Papers: 1843, 1 item. A letter from Nathan Clifford to J.H. Hedges written in 1843. In the letter, Nathan Clifford writes concerning the residence of Joshua A. Lowell, late congressman from Maine.

Library of Congress
Manuscript Division

Washington, DC
Papers: In the Miscellaneous Manuscripts Collection, n.d., 1 item. Signature of Nathan Clifford.

University of Chicago Library
Special Collections Research Center

Chicago, IL
Papers: 1875, 1 item. A letter from Nathan Clifford to Ulysses S. Grant written on January 14, 1857. In the letter, Nathan Clifford recommends the reappointment of U. S. Marshal R. G. Usher of the Massachusetts District. The letter is tipped into: The Supreme Court in United States History by Charles Warren.
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Bibliography / Further Reading

Clifford, Nathan. Remarks of Mr. Justice Clifford in the consultations of the Electoral Commission respecting the electoral votes of the state of Florida. Washington: Joseph L. Pearson, printer, 1877.

------. Speech of Mr. Clifford, of Maine, on the resolution of Mr. Campbell, of South Carolina, concerning the New Jersey disputed election. Delivered in the House of Representatives, January 10 and 11, 1839. Washington [D.C.]: Printed at the Globe Office, 1840.

------. Speech on the bill to distribute the proceeds of the public lands among the states. [N.p., 1841].

------. Speech of Mr. Nathan Clifford, of Maine, on the tariff bill, delivered in the House of Representatives, July 11, 1842. Washington: Globe Office, 1842.

Clifford, Philip G. Nathan Clifford, Democrat, 1803-1881. New York: G.P. Putnam's Sons, 1922.

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