Simon Greenleaf Papers, 1792-1853: Box 1, Folder 15
Available at http://bit.ly/sgpapers17, seq. 107
After his retirement from Harvard Law School in 1848, Royall (1833-1846) and Dane Professor (1846-1848) of Law Simon Greenleaf (1783-1853) stayed active, becoming involved in the American Colonization Society. Greenleaf was one of two elected vice presidents at the 1841 founding of the Massachusetts Colonization Society, an auxiliary organization of the American Colonization Society. The Society was setting up the government of Liberia, a colony for freed American enslaved people, which became a nation in 1847. Greenleaf drafted the country’s original constitution, modeling it on that of the United States, and advised the country’s leaders on developing its system of legal education.
A particular concern of Greenleaf’s was the education of Liberian citizens. In 1848 he and Boston clergyman Joseph Tracy (1793?-1874) founded the Trustees of Donations for Education in Liberia, dedicated to establishing and maintaining a college there. Unfortunately Greenleaf did not live to see the fruits of his efforts; construction of Liberia College commenced five years after his death. In this 1852 letter, J.J. Roberts (1809-1876), Liberia’s first president and a free man who had emigrated to Liberia from Virginia, informs Greenleaf of the recent foundation of Liberia College, and requests any improvements to the college’s recently drafted Act of Incorporation.