[THE FEDERALIST PAPERS]. [HAMILTON, Alexander (1739-1802), James MADISON (1751-1836) and John JAY (1745-1829)]. The Federalist: A Collection of Essays, Written in Favour of the New Constitution, as Agreed Upon by the Federal Convention, September 17, 1787. New York: John and Andrew M'Lean, 1788.
Two volumes bound in one, 12o (159 x 93 mm). (Without the first blank in each volume, small hole without loss repaired on title of first volume.) Early 19th-century full red morocco gilt, covers, spine panels and turn-ins gilt-ruled, t.e.g., by Canape, dated 1807, some rubbing to joints. Provenance: Jacob Read (1752-1816), Revolutionary soldier, delegate to the Continental Congress, and United States Senator from South Carolina (signature dated 1789 on title-page of vol. 1 and his? pencil annotations on some margins).
"ONE OF THE NEW NATION'S MOST IMPORTANT CONTRIBUTIONS TO THE THEORY OF GOVERNMENT" (Printing and the Mind of Man)
AN IMPORTANT ASSOCIATION COPY: SOUTH CAROLINA DELEGATE TO THE CONTINENTAL CONGRESS, JACOB READ'S COPY.
FIRST EDITION, collecting the 85 seminal essays written in defense of the newly drafted Constitution and published under the pseudonym "Publius" in various New York newpapers, 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). Also printed here is the complete text of the Constitution, headed "Articles of the New Constitution," and the resolutions of the Constitutional Convention (vol.II, pp.368-384).
A series of essays "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 engendered by the debate over ratification of the Constitution. Hamilton enlisted John Jay and James Madison to collaborate on a series of interpretive essays supporting the new plan of government and refuting the objections of its 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: A Biography, 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."
The original owner, Jacob Read, joined the Revolutionary movement while a law student in London, where he signed a petition to protest the Boston Port Bill in 1774. After 1776 he came home to fight in South Carolina and was taken prisoner with the fall of Charleston in 1780. Exchanged a year later, he held several posts in South Carolina's government, including a seat in the Continental Congress from 1783-85 and one term as U.S. Senator from 1795 to 1801. A Federalist, he strongly supported the Washington administration and the new national government. A VERY FINE ASSOCIATION COPY OF THIS SEMINAL WORK OF AMERICAN POLITICAL THOUGHT. Church 1230; Evans 21127; Grolier American 19; PMM 234; Sabin 23979. (2)