The Federalist
The Federalist
The Federalist
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"Let [every man] reflect that the object upon which he is to decide is not a particular interest of the community, but the very existence of the nation..." (Alexander Hamiton, Federalist No. 85)
The Federalist

HAMILTON, MADISON, JAY, 1788

Details
The Federalist
Hamilton, Madison, Jay, 1788
HAMILTON, Alexander (1759-1804); MADISON, James (1751-1836); and JAY, John (1745-1829). The Federalist: A Collection of Essays Written in Favor of the New Constitution, as Agreed upon by the Federal Convention, September 17, 1787. New York: Printed and sold by John and Andrew M'Lean, 1788.

William Loughton Smith’s copy of the thin paper first edition, collecting all 85 seminal essays written in defense of the newly drafted Constitution and published under the pseudonym "Publius" in various New York newspapers, together constituting "the most thorough and brilliant explication of the Federal Constitution (or any other constitution) ever written" (Page Smith, The Constitution: A Documentary and Narrative History, pp. 263-264). "One of the new nation's most important contributions to the theory of government" (Printing and the Mind of Man).

Included here is the complete text of the Constitution, headed "Articles of the New Constitution," with the accompanying resolutions of the Constitutional Convention (vol. 2, pp. [367]-384). Essays 78 to 85 were printed first in this volume and then published in the newspapers, timed to coincide with the New York State Convention in Albany.

This series of essays is "justly recognized as a classic exposition of the principles of republican government" (R.B. Bernstein, Are We to be a Nation? The Making of the Constitution, 1987, p.242). The Federalist Papers grew out of the heated pamphlet wars and tumultuous debate over ratification of the Constitution. Concerned that the state of New York might refuse to ratify, Hamilton enlisted John Jay and James Madison to collaborate on a series of interpretive essays supporting the new plan of government and refuting point-by-point the objections of its many detractors. "Hamilton wrote the first piece in October 1787 on a sloop returning from Albany... He finished many pieces while the printer waited in a hall for the completed copy" (R. Brookhiser, Alexander Hamilton: American, 1999, pp.68-69). Due to Jay's illness and Madison's return to Virginia, the bulk of the 85 essays, in the end, were written by Hamilton. "Despite the hurried pace at which they worked—they ground out four articles nearly every week—what began as a propaganda tract, aimed only at winning the election for delegates to New York's state ratifying convention, evolved into the classic commentary upon the American Federal system" (F. McDonald, Alexander Hamilton, p.107). Washington, the former President of the Constitutional Convention, precisely spelled out the work's importance when he wrote that The Federalist "will merit the Notice of Posterity; because in it are candidly and ably discussed the principles of freedom and the topics of government, which will always be interesting to mankind."

This copy belonged to William Loughton Smith (1758-1812), who formed part of the Congressional delegation from South Carolina during the first five Congresses (1789-1797). During his third and forth terms, Smith allied himself with the Federalists, and as Chair of the House Ways and Means Committee, served as the House spokesman for the polices of Alexander Hamilton. Smith resigned his seat in Congress to accept the post of United States Ambassador to Portugal in 1797. Returning to South Carolina in 1801, he ran again for Congress, but lost to his Democratic-Republican opponent. By the end of the decade his politics began to sway away from Hamilton toward Jefferson, supporting the 1808 Embargo.

Church 1230; Cohen 2818; Evans 21127; Ford 17; Grolier American 100; Howes H-11 ("c"); Federal Hundred 19; PMM, 234; Sabin 23979; Streeter sale 1049. R.B. Bernstein, Are We to Be a Nation? The Making of the Constitution, (1987), p.242. R. Brookhiser, Alexander Hamilton: American (1999), pp.68-69. F. McDonald, Alexander Hamilton: A Bibliography, p. 107.

Two volumes in one, 12mo (168 x 100mm). Several pencil emendations, most notably in No. XXIX (On the Militia) and ink corrections for the misprints of numbers XLVIII & XLIX. Contemporary speckled sheep, spine gilt-ruled in compartments, green morocco lettering piece (joints starting, wear at spine ends, corners just showing). Red morocco pull-off case. Provenance: William Loughton Smith, (1758-1812, member of Continental Congress; bookplate, ownership inscription on title) – Gift of Rev. J. Adams to Elizabeth A. Bigelow, 1833 (ownership inscription on front endpaper, ink annotation on p. 371) – penciled notes at back in French listing the few dozen pencil emphasis marks and x's to the text – John Gainey, 1901 (inscription on rear pastedown).

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