Sale  945
Lot   281
[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.

2 volumes bound in one, 12mo (167 x 92 mm). (Lacking initial blanks, Vol. I E6 and Vol. II Q2 with marginal paper flaws not affecting letterpress, Vol. II 2b5 printing flaw affecting one line of letterpress, some minor browning or spotting as usual, a few early pencil or ink annotations or underlinings.)  Contemporary sheep, smooth spine gilt-ruled, contemporary red morocco lettering-piece gilt (upper joint separating, front free endpaper becoming loose, small split to lower joint, some overall wear). Provenance: Thomas Evans, (presumably ca 1755-1815), member of the Virginia House of Delegates and elected as a Federalist to the United States House of Representatives (18th-century signature); Maggie Richardson (ownership inscription dated 9 July 1865); J. D. Belote (note indicating purchase in his sale, December 1912 by); John S. Tyler (pencil note).


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 newspapers; the complete text of the Constitution, headed "Articles of the New Constitution," and the resolutions of the Constitutional Convention (signed in type by Washington) appear on pp.368-384 of vol.2.

"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 essays grew out of the heated pamphlet wars engendered by the question of the ratification of the Constitution. Hamilton enlisted John Jay and James Madison (a Virginia delegate) to collaborate on a series of 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, most 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 ratifying convention, evolved into the classic commentary upon the American Federal system" (F. McDonald, Alexander Hamilton: A Biography, p.107). Washington who had served as President of the Constitutional Convention, 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." Church 1230; Evans 21127; Grolier American 19; PMM 234; Sabin 23979.

Property from the Estate of Professor Ethan D. Alyea, Jr., Bloomington, Indiana
  • Estimate$40,000 - $60,000

Sold for $175,000

Sold prices are inclusive of Buyer’s Premium