Greenleaf, Simon (1783-1853)
Autograph Letter Signed, Cambridge, May 7, 1836 20 min past 3, to Hon. P. Mellen, Portland, Maine

quarto, two pages, plus stamp-less address leaf, formerly folded, in very good, very clean and legible condition.

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        “Dear Sir,

             … Mr. Hilliard says and authorizes me to repeat, that the plan he delivered to Mr. Longfellow is not the original, but a copy; yet it is of great value to the heirs, being the plan from which certain writings were drawn. The original is in the hands of W. C. Whitney Esq.; and is also recorded in Oxford Registry. You probably can obtain the original from Mr. Whitney. But if the copy is desired, Mr. H. says that as you are ‘known to be a careful man’, he is willing that Mr. Longfellow should loan it to you for the ensuing term, taking such Security for it as he may think proper. Though, ‘if it was Judge Parker, he would not let him have it’! As to Bro. Downes’s bill in equity, I intended merely to intimate that as he paid the costs, should you charge him only a reduced fee in this case, he would doubtless make it up to you by retainer in other…”

            An intriguing, if cryptic letter, by the Maine lawyer who was then Harvard Professor of Law and with U.S. Supreme Court Justice Joseph Story, a founding father of Harvard Law School. Greenleaf writes to Mellen, first Chief Justice of the Maine Supreme Court (of which Greenleaf had been clerk) and he probably refers to Maine lawyer Stephen Longfellow – whose son Henry, the poet, had just become another Harvard Professor. He also refers to Cambridge lawyer Francis Hilliard, whose prolific legal writings were required reading for many Harvard law students. George Downes was a Maine State Senator and, like Mellen, an Overseer of Bowdoin College, where the younger Longfellow had taught before moving to Cambridge. A typically intimate linkage of the early New England elite.                                                                                                                

       American National Biography, volume 9, pp., 542-543