Description

    A Foundational American Text
    from the Library of Federalist Samuel Boyd

    [Alexander Hamilton, 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. In Two Volumes. New-York: Printed and Sold by J. and A. M'Lean, 1788. First collected edition of the "Federalist Papers," one of only 500 copies printed. From the library of Samuel Boyd, prominent New York lawyer and one of a powerful group of Federalists, who, led by Alexander Hamilton, would found the New-York Evening Post (now New York Post) in 1801, with his ink signature on each title-page. Two twelvemo volumes (approximately 6.25 x 3.25 inches). vi, 227, [1, blank]; vi, 384 pages. Bound without the initial blank leaf in each volume. Contemporary tree calf, skillfully rebacked to style in modern brown calf. Covers decoratively tooled in gilt in a Greek-key pattern, spines decoratively tooled and ruled in gilt, with green and red gilt morocco lettering labels, gilt board edges, contemporary marbled endleaves. Some wear to boards, some light damage to front board of Volume I at the upper corner, moderate toning and intermittent foxing in text. Volume I with faint offsetting to title-page; light occasional marginal dampstaining; expert paper repair to one leaf (pages 107/108), with very minor loss. Volume II with early ink correction on page 193. Chemised in a quarter brown morocco clamshell case. A fine copy of this uncommon item, one of the most important documents on the founding of the Constitution of the United States, and among the most important political documents of the nascent United States.

    "These eighty-five essays on the Constitution, almost entirely written by Hamilton and Madison...and published in the New York newspapers under the name of 'Publius,' were a step in Hamilton's campaign to win over a hostile majority in New York for a ratification of the Constitution. To the people of the time the collected essays were little more than a huge Federalist pamphlet. A generation passed before it was recognized that these essays by the principal author of the Constitution and its brilliant advocate were the most authoritative interpretation of the Constitution as drafted by the Convention of 1787. As a commentary and exposition on the Constitution the influence of The Federalist has been profound" (Grolier, 100 American). "When Alexander Hamilton invited his fellow New Yorker John Jay and James Madison, a Virginian, to join him in writing the series of essays published as The Federalist, it was to meet the immediate need of convincing the reluctant New York State electorate of the necessity of ratifying the newly proposed Constitution of the United States. The eighty-five essays, under the pseudonym 'Publius', were designed as political propaganda, not as a treatise of political philosophy. In spite of this The Federalist survives as one of the new nation's most important contributions to the theory of government...The first number of The Federalist appeared on 27 October 1787 in The Independent Journal, or The General Advertiser and newspaper publication continued in this and three other papers, The New York Packet, The Daily Advertiser, and The New York Journal and Daily Patriotic Register, through number 77, 2 April 1788. The first thirty-six essays were published in book form on 22 March 1788 by J. and A. McLean of New York and a second volume containing essays 37-85 followed on 28 May. Thus numbers 78-85 were published in book form before they appeared in the popular press" (Printing and the Mind of Man).

    Samuel Boyd (1768-1839) was the son of blacksmith Robert Boyd, Jr. (1734-1804), who was born in Ballyhalbert, County Down, Ireland. His family had settled in the vicinity of New Windsor, Ulster (Orange) County, New York, and in June 1775, Boyd established a forge for the manufacture of guns and bayonets on Quassaick Creek. The Provincial Congress of New York contracted "with Robert Boyd & Henry Watkeys, that they shall make one thousand good Muskets with Steel Ramrods & Bayonets with Scabbards at the price of 3£ 15sh" (the Committee of Safety musket by Watkeys & Boyd of New Windsor, Ulster County, New York). In February, 1776, Boyd was able to write that he had "the best, gunsmiths' shop in the colonies" (E. M. Ruttenber, History of the County of Orange: With a History of the Town and City of Newburgh (1875), page 281). Active in local affairs, he was a member of the Committee of Safety of Ulster County, New York, 1775-1777. After the British evacuated New York City late in 1783, he, with many others, came to help rebuild the city, and was involved in the founding of the General Society of Mechanics and Tradesmen in 1785, becoming its first president. In 1787, Boyd was appointed sheriff of the County and City of New York, serving until 1791. As sheriff, he participated in George Washington's inaugural parade on April 30, 1789, riding on horseback from the President's mansion to Federal Hall.

    His son, Samuel Boyd, was a prominent member of the New York Bar, in partnership with Anthony Dey, and one of a powerful group of Federalists, who, led by Alexander Hamilton and including Robert Troup, Richard Varick, and Archibald Gracie, would found the New-York Evening Post (now New York Post) in 1801. He also served on the board of directors of the Bank of New York, which was established by Alexander Hamilton in 1784; was a Trustee of Columbia College (now Columbia University), 1826-1835; and a shareholder, along with Richard Varick, Jacob Radcliff, and Anthony Dey, in the Associates of the Jersey Company, which was founded in 1804 in order to purchase property in and develop the area that would become Jersey City, New Jersey (its charter drawn up by Alexander Hamilton). Samuel Boyd was married to Elizabeth Pearson, also Pierson (1771-1811), in 1793; and in 1812, he married Anna Maria Bayard (1779-1869), daughter of Colonel John Bubenheim Bayard. In his will, dated 20 January 1838, Samuel left to his wife "Anna Maria furniture, books and income from estate for life." His death was announced in The National Gazette (Philadelphia), March 26, 1839: "It is with sincere regret that we announce the death of Samuel Boyd, Esq., a distinguished member of the New York Bar, who died suddenly in this city on Thursday last" (http://wc.rootsweb.ancestry.com/cgi-bin/igm.cgi?op=GET&db=treebz65&id=I10665).

    According to Bernstein (p. 237), "it is now agreed that Hamilton wrote Nos. 1, 6-9, 11-13, 15-17, 21-36, 59-61, and 65-86; that Madison wrote Nos. 10, 14, 18-20 (with reference to some material provided by Hamilton), 37-58, 62, and 63; and that Jay wrote Nos. 2-5 and 64." Church 1230; Evans 21127; Ford, Bibliography of the Constitution, 43; Ford, Bibliotheca Hamiltoniana, 17; Grolier, 100 American, 19; Grolier, 100 English, 55; Howes H114 ("The most famous and influential American political work"); Printing and the Mind of Man 234; Sabin 23979; Streeter 1049.




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