James Madison Papers

From James Madison to Jacob Gideon Jr., 28 January 1818

To Jacob Gideon Jr.

Montpellier 28. January 1818


I have recd. your letter of the 19th. and in consequence of the request it makes, I send you a copy of the 1st. Edition of the “Federalist,” with the names of the writers prefixed to their respective numbers.1 Not being on the spot, when it was in the press, the errors noted in mine were not then corrected. You will be so good as to return the 2 vols. when convenient to you.

The 2d. Edition of the Work comprized a pamphlet ascribed to one of its Authors.2 The pamphlet had no connection with the plan to which the others were parties, and contains a comment on an important point in the Constitution, which was disapproved by one of them who published an answer to it.

I take the liberty of suggesting that as comparative views frequently occur in the work, of the original “Articles of Confederation” and The Constitution by which it was superseded it might be convenient to the reader, to have the former as well as the latter prefixed to the Commentary on both.

J. M

Draft (DLC). Filed with the draft is a note in JM’s hand: “Marginal Note by J. M. to the 18th. No. of the Federalist in a copy of the work sent to Jacob Gideon. ‘The subject of this, and the two following numbers, happened to be taken up, by both Mr. H. and Mr. M. What had been prepared by Mr. H. who had entered more briefly into the subject, was left with Mr. M. on its appearing that the latter was engaged in it with larger materials and with a view to a more precise delineation; & from the pen of the latter, the several papers went to the press.[’]”

1JM sent Gideon a copy of the 1799 edition of The Federalist, published by John Tiebout (Evans description begins Charles Evans, ed., American Bibliography … from … 1639 … to … 1820 (12 vols.; Chicago, 1903–34). description ends 35581), which was composed of copies of the first edition printed in 1788 by John and Archibald McLean (Evans description begins Charles Evans, ed., American Bibliography … from … 1639 … to … 1820 (12 vols.; Chicago, 1903–34). description ends 21127) with new title pages (Linda Quinne Smyth, “The Federalist: The Authorship of the Disputed Papers” [PhD diss., University of Virginia, 1978], 34; Jacob E. Cooke, ed., The Federalist [Middletown, Conn., 1961], xiv–xv).

2The second American edition of The Federalist, edited by George F. Hopkins of New York, appeared in 1802 (2 vols.; Shaw and Shoemaker description begins R. R. Shaw and R. H. Shoemaker, comps., American Bibliography: A Preliminary Checklist for 1801–1819 (22 vols.; New York, 1958–66). description ends 2218). It included Hamilton’s essays signed “Pacificus,” written in 1793 in support of President George Washington’s neutrality proclamation, to which JM’s “Helvidius” essays were an answer (Cooke, The Federalist, xv–xvi).

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