« ForrigeFortsett »
ASTOR, LENOX AND
DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA, to wit:
BE IT REMEMBERED, That on the Eighteenth day of May, in the forty-third year of the independence of the United States of America, Jacob Gideon, junior, of the said district, hath deposited in this office, the title of a book, the right whereof he claims as proprietor, in the words and figures following, to wit:
"The Federalist, on the New Constitution, written in the year 1788, by Mr. "Hamilton, Mr. Madison, and Mr. Jay with an appendix, containing the Letters "of Pacificus and Helvidius, on the Proclamation of Neutrality of 1793; also the "original Articles of Confederation, and the Constitution of the United States, with "the amendments made thereto. A new edition. The numbers written by Mr. "Madison corrected by himself."
In conformity to the act of the congress of the United States, entitled "An act for the encouragement of learning, by securing the copies of Maps, Charts and Books, to the authors and proprietors of such copies, during the times therein men-、 tioned."
Clerk of the District of Columbia.
THE present edition of the Federalist contains all the numbers of that work, as revised by their authors; and it is the only one to which the remark will apply. Former editions, indeed, it is understood, had the advantage of a revisal from Mr. Hamilton and Mr. Jay, but the numbers written by Mr. Madison still remained in the state in which they originally issued from the press, and contained many inaccuracies. The publisher of this volume has been so fortunate as to procure from Mr. Madison the copy of the work which that gentleman had preserved for himself, with corrections of the papers, of which he is the author, in his own hand. The publication of the Federalist, therefore, may be considered, in this instance, as perfect; and it is confidently presented to the public as a standard edition.
Some altercation has occasionally taken place concerning the authorship of certain numbers of the Federalist, a few of those now ascertained to have been written by Mr. Madison having been claimed for Mr. Hamilton. It is difficult to perceive the propriety or utility of such an altercation; for whether we assign the disputed papers to the one or to the other, they are all admitted to be genuine, and there will still remain to either of these gentlemen an unquestioned number sufficient to establish for him a solid reputation for sagacity, wisdom, and patriotism. It is not the extent of a man's writings, but the excellence of them, that constitutes his claim upon his cotemporaries and upon posterity for the character of intellectual superiority: and, to the reader, the difference in this case is nothing, since he will receive instruction from the perusal, let them have been written by whom they may.
The present moment may be regarded as peculiarly favourable for the republication of this work. Mr. Hamilton is dead; and both Mr. Jay and Mr. Madison have retired from the busy scenes
of life. The atmosphere of political passions through which their principles and actions were lately viewed has disappeared, and has been replaced by one more pure and tranquil. Their political virtues are now manifest and almost universally admitted. Time, which tests the truth of every thing, has been just to their merits, and converted the reproaches of party spirit into expressions of gratitude for the usefulness of their labours. It is to be hoped that neither a mistaken zeal of friendship for departed worth, nor an inclination to flatter living virtue, will induce any one to disturb this growing sentiment of veneration.
To the Federalist the publisher has added the Letters of Pacificus, written by Mr. Hamilton, and an answer to those Letters by Helvidius, from the pen of Mr. Madison. As these two eminent men had laboured in unison to inculcate the general advantages to be derived from the Constitution, it cannot be deemed irrelevant to shew in what particular point, as it respects the practical construction of that instrument, they afterwards differed. The community is, perhaps, always more enlightened by the candid criticisms of intelligent conflicting minds than it is by their concurring opinions.
In this collection, the Act of Confederation and the Constitution of the United States also find an appropriate place. They are the text upon which the Federalist is a commentary. By comparing these two national constitutions, and reflecting upon the results of each, the defects of the former and the perfections of the latter will be easily perceived; and the American people may be thence instructed, that however prudence may dictate the necessity of caution in admitting innovations upon established institutions, yet that it is at all times adviseable to listen with attention to the suggestions and propositions, of temperate and experienced statesmen, for the cure of political evils and the promotion of the general welfare.
The Constitution of the United States has had, in the sunshine of peace and in the storm of war, a severe but impartial trial, and it has amply fulfilled the expectations of its friends and completely dissipated the fears of its early opponents. It may, in truth, be asserted, that the ten first declaratory and restrictive amendatory clauses, proposed at the session of congress which commenced on the 4th of March, 1789, and which were ratified by the legislatures