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    [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. Vol. II. New-York: Printed and Sold by J. and A. M'Lean, 1788. First collected edition in book form of "The Federalist Papers." Volume II only. Twelvemo (7.50 x 4.25 inches; 191 x 108 mm). [2, blank], vi, 384 pages (pages 322-323 are uncut). "Number LXX" on page 240 correctly printed (copies exist with "Number LXX" incorrectly printed as "Number LXXX"). In the last two gatherings, watermarks of Delaware's first paper mill, Joshua Gilpin & Company, are visible: the top portion of a fleur-de-lis on outer margin of pages 367/368 and pages 379/380; "JG & Co" vertically down the other margin of pages 371/372; and "BRANDYWINE" vertically down the outer margin of pages 383/384. Page 256 is incorrectly numbered 156.

    This copy is in a box covered by navy-blue cloth and a leather spine, with "The Federalist" and "VOL. II 1788" stamped in gold on the spine. The leather spine is cracked and rubbed. The interior of the box is lined with marbled paper. The volume is in its original publisher's pale gray-green paper boards with cream-colored paper spine. Spine stamped in black ink with the Arabic numeral "2" (copies exist with the spine stamped in black ink with the roman numeral "II"). Binding is overall good, with slight dampstaining on lower outside edge of back cover. Upper front joint just beginning to split at top of spine. Slight toning and foxing throughout. Overall, this is a remarkably well-preserved copy of Volume II of this history-making work.

    Volume II of "the most famous and influential American political work" (Howes), and "one of the new nation's most important contributions to the theory of government" (Printing and the Mind of Man). Sabin 23979, Evans 21127, Howes H114, Printing and the Mind of Man 234, and Streeter 1049.


    More Information: "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 October 27, 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, April 2, 1788. The first thirty-six essays were published in book form on March 22, 1788 by J. and A. McLean of New York and a second volume containing essays 37-85 followed on May 28. Thus numbers 78-85 were published in book form before they appeared in the popular press (Printing and the Mind of Man).

    Volume II contains essay Numbers 37-85, as well as the complete text of the Constitution, headed "Articles of the New Constitution; as agreed upon by the Federal Convention, September 17, 1787," and the resolutions of the Constitutional Convention (pages [367]-384). According to Richard B. Bernstein, Are We to be a Nation? The Making of the Constitution (Cambridge, Massachusetts: 1987), 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."

    "The first volume of the M'Lean edition was issued on March 22, 1788. It reprinted the essays that had been numbered 1 through 35 in the newspapers, subject to four important editorial actions. First, Hamilton tinkered slightly with the order of the essays. The essay that had been number 35 in the newspapers became number 29 in the M'Lean edition, and the numbering of the subsequent essays all increased because of this change. Second, Hamilton divided the essay that had been numbered 31 in the newspapers into two essays (renumbered as 32 and 33). The first volume of the M'Lean edition thus contained a total of 36 rather than 35 essays.... The second volume of the M'Lean edition was published on May 28, 1788. It included the essays that had been numbered 36 through 76 in the newspapers, and renumbered them 37 through 77 (given that the original essay 31 had been divided). The second volume also included eight new essays that had not previously appeared in the newspapers. These new essays were numbered 78 to 85. The new essays subsequently were republished in New York City newspapers, which also numbered them 78 to 85.... John and Archibald M'Lean printed 500 copies of their two-volume collection of the essays. The book initially did not sell very well. The publishers complained in October 1788, long after New York had ratified the Constitution, that they still had several hundred unsold copies. Some copies of the book, however, did travel far. The M'Leans shipped dozens of copies to locations outside New York City, and Hamilton sent about 50 copies to Richmond in time for the Virginia state ratifying convention." Gregory E. Maggs, "A Concise Guide to the Federalist Papers," Boston University Law Review 87 (2007): 813-815.




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    Auction Dates
    October, 2020
    15th-16th Thursday-Friday
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