HAMILTON, Alexander. Autograph letter signed ("Alex Hamilton") to Dr. Benjamin Rush. N.p., 21 November n.y. . 1 full page, 4to, integral blank, with erroneous docket date of 1789.
TWO MONTHS AFTER THE CONSTITUTIONAL CONVENTION, HAMILTON FORWARDS COPIES OF THE FIRST FEDERALIST PAPERS TO BENJAMIN RUSH, AND PREDICTS THAT "WE HAVE A GOOD MAJORITY...IN THIS STATE IN FAVOUR OF THE CONSTITUTION"
An important letter written to Declaration signer Benjamin Rush (1746-1813), not long after the submission of the draft Constitution to the states for ratification. Hamilton had been the only one of three New York delegates to the Constinutional Convention to sign the Constitution, while Rush had just been elected a member of the Pennsylvania Ratifying Convention (in fact, that gathering met for the first time in Philadelphia the very same day as this letter). Here, Hamilton, forwards copies of recent New York newspapers containing the influential essays published by Hamilton, John Jay and James Madison under the pseudonym "Publius" and later collected as the Federalist Papers. He is careful to keep the authorship of the Papers secret, but notes the widespread suspicion that several different authors had contributed to the series: "I send you herewith [not present] a series of political papers under the denomination of the Federalist published in favour of the new Constitution. They do good here and it is imagined some of the last numbers might have a good effect on some of your Quaker members of Convention. They [the Federalist Papers] are going on and appear evidently to be written by different hands and to aim at a full examination of the subject. Perhaps even if they are not wanted with you it might be well to give them a passage through your papers to your more Southern neighbors." In closing, Hamilton reports that "Upon the whole I think we have a good majority thus far in this State in favour of the Constitution." In spite of Hamilton's optimism, ratification in the key state of New York would prove exceedingly difficult, and it was not until the Constitution had been ratified by 9 states and the new plan put into operation, that ratification was finally achieved there.
The first Federalist essay was published in The Independent Journal in October 1787, a mere 4 weeks after the Constitutional Convention submitted the Constitution for ratification. Over the course of the next six months, a total of 85 such essays--strongly arguing in favor of the new form of government, discussing the principles it embodied, and thoughtfully parrying objections to it--were published in a variety of New York newspapers and circulated widely as the crucial debate continued. Later published collectively, the essays comprising The Federalist undoubtedly constitute one of the most significant articulations of American political philosophy.
Published (from a transcript) in Papers 4:332-33.