Alexander Hamilton Papers

First Version: Speech to Federalist Nominating Convention for the City of New York, [20 April 1803]

Speech to Federalist Nominating Convention
for the City of New York1
First Version

[New York, April 20, 1803]

He took a brief view of the disgraceful measures of the general government, and then descended to notice some of the acts of the petty tyrants of our own state. He concluded his address by exhorting his fellow-citizens to lay hold of the present occasion, and wrest the dominion from hands so unfit to retain it. Speaking of the success of elections in New England,2 he observed, that the “Wise men of the East” had lately arisen in their power, and put democracy to flight, and he could not but entertain the hope that their glorious example would be followed in this city. The trunk of federalism, he said, was evidently reviving; the sap was ascending, the buds began to put forth, and he doubted not, its leaves would soon over-shadow the land, and that we should be blessed with fruit more than ever abundant. The address was received with acclamations that made the “welkin ring,” followed by three cheers to the success of the federal ticket.

New-York Evening Post, April 21, 1803.

1The two documents printed above are different versions of a speech which H made at a meeting of New York City Federalists on April 20, 1803. On April 15 a meeting of Federalists electors at the Tontine Coffee House had nominated Egbert Benson as state senator for the Southern District of New York, which consisted of New York, Kings, Queens, Richmond, Suffolk, and Westchester counties (New-York Evening Post, April 16, 1803). On April 20 the Federalists met again at City Hall to confirm Benson’s nomination and to name nine candidates for the Assembly (New-York Evening Post, April 21, 1803). On the same day, the Republicans met at Adams Hotel and nominated John Broome, a New York City merchant, for the state Senate and a ticket for the Assembly ([New York] American Citizen, April 22, 1803). The election was held on April 26 (New-York Evening Post, April 26, 1803), and the Republicans elected their senatorial candidate and their entire Assembly slate (New-York Evening Post, April 29, 1803).

In the account in the New-York Evening Post, the report on H’s speech is preceded by the following statement: “Federalism reviving. At a meeting of the Federalists, last evening, for the purpose of nominating suitable persons to represent the city in the Assembly of this state, it is believed there was a greater collection of persons than has been seen on a similar occasion, since the formation of the constitution. After a respectable ticket had been unanimously adopted by the meeting, and ward committees appointed to take all proper measures to ensure the success of the election, General Hamilton rose and addressed the electors in a speech the most eloquent and animating.”

2This is a reference to the gubernatorial elections which took place in New Hampshire, Massachusetts, and Connecticut in April, 1803, in which the respective governors (John Gilman, Caleb Strong, and Jonathan Trumbull), all of whom were Federalists, were re-elected (New-York Evening Post, April 11, 15, 1803).

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