SERGEANT, John, (son of Jonathan Dickinson Sergeant, grandfather of John Sergeant Wise and Richard Alsop Wise, and great–grandfather of John Crain Kunkel), a Representative from Pennsylvania; born in Philadelphia, Pa., December 5, 1779; attended the common schools and the University of Pennsylvania at Philadelphia; was graduated from Princeton College in 1795; studied law; was admitted to the bar in 1799 and practiced in Philadelphia for fifty years; deputy attorney general for Philadelphia in 1800; commissioner of bankruptcy for Pennsylvania in 1801; member of the state house of representatives 1808-1810; elected as a Federalist to the Fourteenth Congress to fill the vacancy caused by the death of Jonathan Williams; reelected to the Fifteenth, Sixteenth, and Seventeenth Congresses and served from October 10, 1815, to March 3, 1823; chairman, Committee on the Judiciary (Sixteenth and Seventeenth Congresses); was not a candidate for reelection; president of the Pennsylvania Board of Canal Commissioners in 1825; envoy to the Panama Congress in 1826; elected as an Adams candidate to the Twentieth Congress (March 4, 1827-March 3, 1829); unsuccessful candidate for reelection; unsuccessful National-Republican candidate for election as Vice President of the United States in 1832; president of the state constitutional convention in 1838; elected as a Whig to the Twenty-fifth, Twenty-sixth, and Twenty-seventh Congresses and served from March 4, 1837, until his resignation on September 15, 1841; chairman, Committee on the Judiciary (Twenty-sixth Congress); died in Philadelphia, Pa., November 23, 1852; interment in Laurel Hill Cemetery.

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

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External Research Collections

Historical Society of Pennsylvania

Philadelphia, PA
Papers: 1783-1897. ca. 1,200 items. Correspondence and other papers relating to banking and economic matters, canals and communications, Indians, legal cases, patronage, and personal matters.
Papers: In the Thomas A. Biddle Business Records and Correspondence, 1771-1837, amount unknown. Persons represented include John Sergeant.
Papers: In the Peter Stephen Du Ponceau Papers, ca. 1663-1844, amount unknown. Persons represented include John Sergeant.
Papers: In the Hopkinson Family Papers, 1735-1863, 19 volumes. Persons represented include John Sergeant.
Papers: In the Meredith Family Papers, ca. 1756-1964, 61 linear feet. Persons represented include John Sergeant.

Duke University
Rare Book, Manuscript, and Special Collections Library

Durham, NC
Papers: In the Hugh Lawson White Papers, 1834-1848, 27 items. The papers include a letter, 1838, from John Sergeant containing an anecdote about Sir Walter Scott.

Library of Congress
Manuscript Division

Washington, DC
Papers: 1837 and 1840, 2 letter. Two letters written by John Sergeant to Jonathan Meredith (1837 April 1) and Richard Smith (1840 February 7) relating to banking matters.
Papers: In the J. Kelsey Burr Bank of the United States Collection, 1774-1865, 800 items. Correspondents include John Sergeant.
Papers: In the Henry Clay family papers, ca. 1732-1927, 30 linear feet. Correspondents include John Sergeant.

The Morgan Library
Department of Literary and Historical Manuscripts

New York, NY
Papers: 1818, 1 item. A letter from John Sergeant to Henry Wheaton written on April 2, 1818.

New-York Historical Society

New York, NY
Papers: 1793-1838. 11 letters. Finding aid in repository.

Princeton University Library
Mudd Manuscript Library

Princeton, NJ
Papers: In the Sergeant Family Collection, ca. 1776-1852, 0.2 linear foot. Persons represented include John Sergeant.

Rosenbach Museum and Library

Philadelphia, PA
Papers: 1805, 1 item. A letter from John Sergeant to Jacob Sitler written on May 7, 1805. In the letter, Sergeant presses Sitler for an answer to an earlier query.
Papers: 1815, 1 item. A letter from John Sergeant to Peter S. Du Ponceau written on December 21, 1815. In the letter, Sergeant informs Du Ponceau of the process by which the Philosophical Society may obtain some documents from the Secretary of State.
Papers: 1808, 1 item. A letter from John Sergeant to S. W. Wager written on October 21, 1808. In the letter, Sergeant informs Wager that Captain Walton says that he will be unable to repay his debt to Wager until the spring.
Papers: 1835, 1 item. A testimonial from John Sergeant on October 9, 1835. Sergeant approves the qualifications of Joseph Reed to prepare the latest edition of the Digest of the laws of Pennsylvania. Also signed by Hon. Binney, Charles Chauncey, Edward King, Thomas McKean Pettit, John Morin Scott, Archibald Randall, Joseph McIlvaine, and George Mifflin Dallas.
Papers: 1840, 1 item. A letter from John Sergeant to John D. Steele written on October 31, 1840. In the letter, Sergeant discusses the election. The letter accompanied another letter and two packages.

Temple University Libraries
Special Collections

Philadelphia, PA
Papers: 1817, 1 item. A letter from Congressman John Sergeant to an unidentified recipient written on May 9, 1817. In the letter, Sergeant writes concerning two books about the Institutes of Humanity in Paris.

University of Chicago Library
Special Collections Research Center

Chicago, IL
Papers: 1827, 1 item. A letter from John Sergeant to Joseph S. Lewis written on December 31, 1827. In the letter, Sergeant writes that he is unable to find some papers Lewis has asked for.
Papers: 1836, 1 item. A letter from John Sergeant to Virgil David written on February 27, 1836.
Papers: 1841, 1 item. A letter from John Sergeant to Richard Smith written on March 12, 1841. Sergeant writes concerning personal banking matters. Richard Smith was Cashier of the Bank of the Metropolis.
Papers: 1848, 1 item. A letter from John Sergeant to Richard Smith written on July 24, 1848. In the letter, Sergeant refers to a deed of trust. Richard Smith was Cashier of the Bank of the Metropolis.

Wisconsin Historical Society

Madison, WI
Papers: 1831 and 1841, 1 folder. Two autograph letters written by John Sergeant, a lawyer in Philadelphia and member of the Pennsylvania Legislature and the U.S. Congress: one dated April 4, 1831 to N. F. Williams, Baltimore, concerning political events in Pennsylvania; and one dated March 6, 1841 to Richard Smith, Washington, referring to a financial matter.
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Bibliography / Further Reading

Binney, Horace. Remarks to the bar of Philadelphia, on the occasion of the deaths of Charles Chauncey and John Sergeant. Philadelphia: C. Sherman, printer, 1853.

[Democratic party. Pennsylvania. Philadelphia]. Letters addressed to John Sergeant, Manuel Eyre, Lawrence Lewis, Clement C. Biddle, and Joseph P. Norris, Esqs. authors of An address to the people of Pennsylvania. Philadelphia: Printed by W. Stavely, 1828.

Meredith, William Morris. Eulogium on the character and services of the late John Sergeant. Philadelphia: Crissy & Markley, printers, 1853.

Sergeant, John. An address delivered at the request of the managers of the Apprentices' Library Company of Philadelphia, 23 November, 1832. Philadelphia: Printed by J. Kay, Jun. & Co. [1832].

------. An address delivered before the citizens of Philadelphia, at the House of Refuge, on Saturday, the twenty-ninth of November, 1828. By John Sergeant, president of the institution. Published by order of the Board of Managers. Philadelphia: Jesper Harding, printer. 1828.

------. Argument in the case of the Cherokee Nation vs. the State of Georgia, before the Supreme Court of the United States, March 5, 1831. Philadelphia: N.p., 1832.

------. Eulogy on Charles Carroll of Carrollton: Delivered at the request of the Select and Common Councils of the City of Philadelphia, December 31st, 1832. Philadelphia: Printed by L.R. Bailey, 1833.

------. A lecture delivered before the Mercantile Library Company of Philadelphia, November 1, 1839. Philadelphia: H. Perkins, 1839.

------. Opinions of Hon. John Sergeant and Horace Binney as to trusts under Mr. Girard's will. [Philadelphia?: N.p., 1838?]

------. Select speeches of John Sergeant, of Pennsylvania [1818-1828]. Philadelphia: E.L. Carey & A. Hart, 1832.

------. Speech of John Sergeant on the judicial tenure: Delivered in the convention of Pennsylvania, on the 7th and 8th November 1837. Philadelphia: James Kay, Jun. & Brother, 1838.

------. Speech of Mr Sergeant. [Washington?: N.p., 1819].

------. Speech of Mr. Sergeant in the House of Representatives, March 7th, 1822. [Washington: D. Rapine, printer, 1822].

------. Speech of Mr. Sergeant of Pennsylvania, on the Sub-treasury bill. Delivered in the House of Representatives, June 24, 1840. Washington: Printed by Gales and Seaton, 1840.

------. Speech of Mr. Sergeant, on the Missouri question. In the House of Representatives of the U. States. [N.p., 1820].

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