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    From James Madison, one of the supposed authors

    [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. New York: Printed and Sold by J. and A. M'Lean, 1788. First edition in book form of the collected essays, one of the scarce "thick paper" copies. This copy personally gifted by James Madison to early United States diplomat and overseas consul James Maury. Both volumes with holograph note in Maury's hand at recto of front flyleaf, "James Maury / From Mr Madison / one of the supposed / authors." Two volumes. Twelvemo in sixes (6.5 x 3.875 inches; 164 x 100 mm.). vi, 227, [1, blank]; vi, 384 pages. Contemporary diced russia leather, boards with gilt triple-ruled border; all text block edges trimmed and sprinkled brown; marbled endpapers. Both volumes completely lacking spines, exposed backstrips nicked at ends with hairline creases and cracks running parallel to gatherings, a tiny amount of flaking and loss along cracks and over bands. Boards expertly reattached, with subtle evidence of these repairs along joints and hinges. Bands visible near joints; boards worn, with loss to majority of gilt border and some of diced surface; calf darkened and chipped along board edges. Endpapers darkened at edges from exposure to leather turn-ins; previous owner book labels at front pastedowns; nicking and a couple of small chips at edges of free endpapers; front free endpaper of first volume just starting to split at head and foot parallel to hinge. Some mild foxing to flyleaves; fainter, sparser foxing scattered throughout interiors, along with some mild, marginal thumbsoiling; drip stain at fore-edge margin of leaf A3; some dark rubbing to last leaf of second volume, possibly occurred during printing. Stunning, very nearly fine text block in remarkably clear, bright condition, in good boards. Each volume in its own custom black cloth chemise, housed together in black leather clamshell, decorated in gilt.

    The Federalist was undertaken "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," with the first of what would become a collection of eighty-five anonymous essays, submitted under the pseudonym "Publius," appearing on October 27, 1787 in the The Independent Journal, or The General Advertiser (PMM). The essays, authored largely by Hamilton and Madison, began appearing regularly at the rate of about four numbers each week in The Independent Journal and three other papers -- The New York Packet, The Daily Advertiser, and The New York Journal and Daily Patriotic Registe -- until the appearance of number 77 on April 2, 1788. The first thirty-six essays were published in book form on March 22, 1788, followed by a second volume containing essays 37-85 on May 28, marking the first appearance of numbers 78-85 ahead of their release in the popular press, which concluded on October 16, 1788 (Church). The Federalist would go on to be reprinted and issued in new editions several times in the following years, though according to Sabin, "Mr. Madison's papers were much changed in the subsequent editions." It was not until 1818 that Jacob Gideon, with Madison's assistance, published the essays with attribution to their original authors. Printing and the Mind of Man expounds upon the continued importance of the text since its original publication: "As a commentary on the Constitution by men included among its principal architects The Federalist has been used from the beginning of the nineteenth century to modern times as an interpreter of the Constitution not only by laymen but by lawyers and Justices of the U. S. Supreme Court." Church writes, "The true principles of a republican form of government are here unfolded with great clearness and simplicity."

    James Maury (1746-1840) was a Virginia native and the son of the prominent educator and Anglican reverend of the same name, who counted Thomas Jefferson among his students. As Secretary of State, Jefferson petitioned then-United States President George Washington on Maury's behalf for a diplomatic appointment. Maury was appointed United States consul at Liverpool in 1790, heading one of the young nation's first overseas consulates, a position he held for almost forty years. This copy of The Federalist, given to Maury by James Madison, is one of only two known copies in existence to have been the personal gift of one of the work's authors, the other being a copy from Hamilton (also not signed or inscribed by him) in the collection of the Pennsylvania Historical Society on deposit at the Library Company of Philadelphia. The present copy belonging to James Maury is the only one ever offered for sale. They are the closest extant copies to a true presentation copy of the first edition of The Federalist, due to a desire on the part of the authors to maintain their anonymity. It is the most important copy to come on the market, second only to the George Washington copy sold as part of the H. Bradley Martin sale in 1990 for $1,430,000.

    Church 1230 ("There is probably no work in so small a compass that contains so much valuable political information"); Evans 21127; Ford, Bibliography and Reference List Relating to...the Constitution of the United States, 1787-8, pp. 11-12; Grolier American 100, 19; Grolier English 100, 55; Howes H-114 ("Most famous and influential American political work"); Printing and the Mind of Man 234; Sabin 23979; Streeter 1049.

    Auction Info

    Auction Dates
    March, 2020
    4th Wednesday
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