DANE, Nathan

1752–1835

Biography

DANE, Nathan, a Delegate from Massachusetts; born in Ipswich, Mass., December 29, 1752; was graduated from Harvard College in 1778; taught school; studied law; was admitted to the bar and commenced practice in Beverly, Mass., in 1782; member of the State house of representatives 1782-1785; Member of the Continental Congress 1785-1788; served in the State senate in 1790, 1791, and 1794-1797; judge of the court of common pleas for Essex County in 1794; commissioner to codify the laws of Massachusetts in 1795; presidential elector on the Clinton ticket in 1812; was selected the same year to make a new publication of the statutes; member of the Hartford convention of 1814; elected delegate to the State constitutional convention of 1820, but did not serve; died in Beverly, Essex County, Mass., February 15, 1835; interment in Central Cemetery.

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

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External Research Collections

Massachusetts Historical Society

Boston, MA
Papers: 1663-1834, 18 boxes and 1 oversize box. Legal papers, extensive case notes, and correspondence of Nathan Dane. Much of the correspondence concerns the Proprietors of the Kennebec Purchase and other individuals and institutions for which Dane was a legal counsel. Charles Vaughan, agent, and Arodi Taylor, clerk of the Proprietors, were frequent correspondents. Included are several letters from Gen. Henry Knox in regard to the Waldo Patent. Other items include correspondence in regard to the Salem Turnpike and Chelsea Bridge Corp., of which Dane was a Director; a copy of the "Massachusetts Answer to the Resolution of Virginia as to the Alien & Sedition Acts," written by Dane (Jan. 1799); and account books as agent for Mass. relating to the Revolutionary War claims of Massachusetts against the United States. Also included are a letter from James Monroe (Feb. 12, 1795) to Benjamin Lovett in regard to the capture of the schooner Lark by a French privateer and other Lovett materials; correspondence of John, Joseph, and Andrew Cabot with Joseph Gardoqui & Sons regarding trade at Bilbao, Spain and with Dane; a copy of a ten-page letter from Dane to Daniel Webster (May 10, 1832) concerning legislation to provide pensions for veterans of the Revolution; and deeds and other legal documents related to lands in Newbury, Beverly, and other towns in Essex County, Mass. Other bound volumes include Dane's weather diary (1815-34), office receipt book (1789-1817), and lists of real estate taxes (1780-1801) with currency and commodity valuations (1774-1820); docket books of cases at the Essex County (Mass.) Court of Common Pleas (1782-1812); receipt book (1783-84); and 3 account books of client Nathaniel Gould (1758-81).
Papers: In the William Hickling Prescott Papers, ca. 1655-1959; 25 boxes, 1 oversize box, and 9 volumes in cases. Correspondents include Nathan Dane. A finding aid is available in the repository and online.
Papers: In the Shays' Rebellion Papers, 1786-1787, 1 box. Correspondents include Nathan Dane.

Beverly Historical Society and Museum

Beverly, MA
Papers: In the Robert Rantoul Papers, 1792-1900, 25 linear feet. Correspondents include Nathan Dane. A finding aid is available in the repository.

Connecticut Historical Society

Hartford, CT
Papers: In the William Prescott Papers, 1834, 3 pages. A letter from William Prescott to Nathan Dane written on August 4, 1834. William Prescott encloses correspondence from Calvin Goddard suggesting that surviving members of the Hartford Convention contribute toward expenses of publishing its history incurred by Theodore Dwight. Also included are notes by Nathan Dane pointing out other possible solutions that he mentioned in his reply.

Copley Press, Inc.
J. S. Copley Library

La Jolla, CA
Papers: 1788, approximately 3 pages. A letter from Nathan Dane to Dr. Hotten written on June 14, 1788. The letter deals entirely with the new Constitution, and the divisive feelings concerning it that New Yorkers then held.

Dartmouth College
Rauner Special Collections Library

Hanover, NH
Papers: In the Daniel Webster Papers, 1834, 2 pages. A letter from Daniel Webster to Nathan Dane written on May 15, 1834, requesting information on the authorship of a pamphlet he found.

Library of Congress
Manuscript Division

Washington, DC
Papers: In the Miscellaneous Manuscripts Collection, 1785-1814, 29 items. These letters were reproduced by the Library in 1938 from originals that were in the possession of Joseph Dane.
Papers: In the Samuel Holten Papers, ca. 1630-1843, 1.6 linear feet. Correspondents include Nathan Dane. A finding aid is available in the repository and online.

The Morgan Library
Department of Literary and Historical Manuscripts

New York, NY
Papers: 1791, 1 item. A letter from Nathan Dane to an unidentified recipient written on December 13, 1791. This letter is written on the verso of the printed loan certificate. Nathan Dane writes that he is assigning a debt due the recipient from the U.S. Loan Office to the Bank of the United States.

New England Historic Genealogical Society
R. Stanton Avery Special Collections Department

Boston, MA
Papers: In the William F. Abbot Papers, 1150-1915, 1.5 linear feet. Includes political papers of Nathan Dane. A finding aid is available in the repository.
Papers: In the John Wingate Thornton Papers, 1694-1884, 2 linear feet. Correspondents include Nathan Danel. A finding aid is available in the repository.

Peabody Essex Museum

Salem, MA
Papers: In the Tucker Family Papers, 1680-1878, 3.5 linear feet. Correspondents include Nathan Dane. A finding aid is available in the repository.

Wellesley College
Margaret Clapp Library

Wellesley, MA
Papers: ca. 1783-1832, 6 volumes. A reproduction of an unpublished manuscript titled A Moral and Political Survey of America.

Wisconsin Historical Society
Archives Division

Madison, WI
Papers: 1787, 0.1 cubic foot. A letter from Nathan Dane to Rufus King written on July 16, 1787 regarding the Ordinance of 1787.
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Bibliography / Further Reading

Dane, Nathan. A General Abridgment and Digest of American Law, With Occasional Notes and Comments. Nine Volumes. Boston: Cummings, Hilliard, & Co., 1823-29.

___. Letter of Nathan Dane Concerning the Ordinance of 1787. Indianapolis, IN?: Historical Society, 1831.

___. Northwest Territory; Letter of Nathan Dane Concerning the Ordinance of 1787, and Patrick Henry's Secret Letter of Instruction to George Rogers Clark. Indianapolis: The Bowen-Merrill Company, 1897.

___. Prospectus, or Concise View of a General Abridgement and Digest of American Law, with Occasional Notes and Comments. Boston? MA: N. Dane, ca. 1822.

Johnson, Andrew J. III. "The Life and Constitutional Thought of Nathan Dane," Ph. D. diss., Indiana University, 1964.

___. The Life and Constitutional Thought of Nathan Dane. New York: Garland, 1987.

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