HAMILTON, ALEXANDER, JAMES MADISON, AND JOHN JAY | 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: Printed and Sold by J. and A. M'Lean, 1788
The Property of a Gentleman
The Property of a Gentleman
HAMILTON, ALEXANDER, JAMES MADISON, AND JOHN JAY
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: Printed and Sold by J. and A. M'Lean, 1788
2 volumes. 12mo (6 1/4 x 3 1/2 in.; 160 x 90 mm). Internally fine but for inner margin of G6 of Vol. I restored, and a small repair to outer margin of L3, repair to Ii4 in Vol. II. Contemporary American calf binding, sides with blind-rolled borders of dots and fleurons; sympathetically rebacked with gilt rules and green morocco lettering pieces, some minor restoration to corners. Half morocco slipcase. A very handsome copy.
First edition, fine-paper issue, of The Federalist: "A classic exposition of the principles of republican government" (Bernstein).
The essays in The Federalist are now recognized as one of America's most important contributions to political theory. Alexander Hamilton was the principal force behind the entry of "Publius" (the pen name shared by all three authors) into the ratification pamphlet wars, but he enlisted Virginian James Madison and fellow New Yorker John Jay as collaborators. Each was assigned an area corresponding to his expertise. Jay naturally assumed responsibility for foreign relations. Madison, knowledgeable in the history of republics and confederacies, wrote on those topics. Having drafted the Virginia Plan, it also fell to him to outline the structure of the new government. Hamilton took on those branches of government most congenial to him: the executive and the judiciary; and he also covered military matters and taxation.
At the time of the writing of the essays, Hamilton and Madison "were so close in style and outlook that scholars find it hard to sort out their separate contributions" (Chernow, Alexander Hamilton, p. 251). The Library of Congress attributes with certainty fifty-one essays to Hamilton, fifteen to Madison, and five to Jay, three to Hamilton and Madison together, and nine as being written by either Hamilton or Madison.
The first thirty-six Federalist papers were collected and published by the M'Lean brothers in March 1788, and the final forty-nine—together with the text of the Constitution and a roster of its signers—followed in a second volume two months later. In fact, the final eight essays were printed in book form before they appeared serially in newspapers. In 1825 Thomas Jefferson urged the adoption of The Federalist as a required text at the University of Virginia, describing it as "an authority to which appeal is habitually made by all … as evidence of the general opinion of those who framed, and of those who accepted the Constitution of the United States, on questions as to its genuine meaning."
The significance of the work remains unchallenged: constitutional scholar Michael I. Meyerson wrote in his study that "The Federalist not only serves as the single most important resource for interpreting the constitution, it provides a wise and sophisticated explanation of the uses and abuses of governmental power from Washington to Baghdad" (Liberty's Blueprint: How Madison and Hamilton Wrote the Federalist Papers, Defined the Constitution, and Made Democracy Safe for the World, 2008, p. ix).
The Heartman-Lilly Copy
Bernstein, Are We to Be a Nation?, pp. 239–242; Church 1230; Evans 21127; Ford, Bibliotheca Hamiltoniana 17; Grolier, American 19; Printing and the Mind of Man 234; Sabin 23979; Streeter 2:1049
Charles F. Heartman (morocco book label); Josiah K. Lilly (morocco book label); Lilly Library Duplicate release stamp dated 8 November, 1962 to rear endpaper of second volume
Condition as described in catalogue entry.
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