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The Federalist was written shortly after the promulgation of the New Constitution, and addressed to the people of the state of New-York, with the view of explaining its principles, and enforcing the propriety and necessity of its adoption. The papers first appeared in the gazettes of this city, in the order in which they are now published, and were afterwards collected and printed in two coarse duodecimo volumes.
The work is principally the production of a man, whose talents and integrity render him the ornament and boast of this country: the name of HaMilton will be held in sacred respect, long after the malignant attempts which have been made to slander his fame shall have sunk, with their authors, into oblivion. Two other gentlemen, of distinguished abilities, Mr. Jay and Mr. MADISON, contributed some essays. It was at first intended to mark the numbers distinctly which were written by each; but considerations have since occurred which would perhaps render this measure improper. It is understood, that Mr. Jay was the author of only a few numbers; but that the aid of Mr. MADISON was largely given. In justice to these gentlemen,
it is thought necessary to add; that, as far as has been practicable to discriminate their productions, they are not unequal in merit to those which are solely from the pen of General Hamilton.
All parties seem at length united in professions of regard for the Constitution; if they are sincere, this consideration cannot fail to enhance the value of a work which, by employing in its favour all the energy of argument, and all the persuasion of eloquence, was eminently useful in promoting its general ratification. .. Whoever is desirous of being well informed of the principles and provisions of our Government, and the manner in which they have been supported and vindicated; of the objections that were made to the Constitution by its first opposers, and how they were answered, will find these volumes fraught with ample and satisfactory instruction. The study of them must form an essential part of the American statesman. Politicians, indeed, of every country, will here discover materials in the science of government well worthy of their attention-a science, of all others; the most interesting to mankind, as it most deeply concerns human happiness. The Federalist contains principles that may be remembered and studied with advantage by all classes of men, in other countries than our own, and in other ages than that in which we live. The people of America alone have afforded the example of a republic purely representative. In this work it will
appear, that this form of government has been well understood, and thoroughly developed ; and if, unfortunately, the experiment which we have made should hereafter fail, vain will be the attempt to rénew similar systems; for no rational hope can be entertained, that more correct notions on this subject will prevail than are here exhibited.
It has long been wished, that papers of so much intrinsic merit, and such lasting utility, should appear in a typographical dress worthy of their high character. In presenting to the public a new edition of this work, the object has been to render it correct, as well as neat. Some verbal alterations will accordingly be found, though they have been made with caution, and in such instances only as are supposed to have escaped the writers in the hurry of composition, or to have arisen from the manner of the first publication.
Pacificus is from the pen of the same enlightened statesman, who was the chief author of the Federalist. These essays were written in defence of the first leading step which our government took to preserve the neutrality it continued to maintain during the late transatlantic conflict, which seems to have annihilated the minor powers of Europe, and has shaken the civilized world.
Now that the storm has passed over, and the angry and tumultuous passions which at that time agitated our country, have in some measure subsided, these papers will be read with pleasure and with
profit, by the intelligent man of every party. Candour will probably wonder, that any one should have doubted of the fitness of those measures which this writer has so ably advocated, and which experience has so forcibly proved to have been the best adapted to the interests of the country. In what condition should we now be, had our government given way to the enthusiasm which at that time swelled the bosoms of our countrymen in favour of the French revolution ? If it had been suffered to pursue its own course, we should have been hurried into a war which would have added us to the victims of folly and perfidy, which have been produced as well by Gallic alliance, as by Gallic conquest. Every considerate man will therefore admire the wisdom which foresaw so dreadful a consequence, and the firmness which guarded us from it, by arresting at once the mad career of popular delusion.
To give to these latter essays a form which shall outlive the fleeting impression of a newspaper, they have also been revised, and are incorporated in these volumes. Publius and Pacificus will serve to keep in just remembrance two very important events in the history of our country.
standing armies, and other institutions
against domestic faction and insurrection 48
ration, in relation to the principle of legis-
the same principles
amples, to show the tendency of federal go-