HAMILTON, ALEXANDER. (1755-1804). American revolutionary, statesman and the nation’s first secretary of the treasury. ALS. (“A. Hamilton”). ¾p. 8vo. Philadelphia, November 24 . To JAMES MADISON (1751-1836), statesman, Founding Father, author of the Bill of Rights and fourth president of the United States. Hamilton and Madison were, of course, the principal authors of The Federalist Papers.
“You will oblige me by taking the trouble to peruse the report which accompanies this; and if the weather permit, I will call upon you sometime tomorrow or next day to converse on the subject of it. I remain with great esteem and regard D[ear] Sir Y[ou]r Obed[ient] Serv[ant]… It will not be disagreeable to me if after perusal you hand it over to Mr. Jefferson.”
An orphaned immigrant from the Caribbean colony of Nevis, Hamilton was involved in revolutionary politics while studying at King’s College, now New York City’s Columbia University. When the American Revolution closed the college’s doors, Hamilton enlisted in a militia, became a captain of artillery and joined General Washington’s staff as an aide-de-camp. After participating in the victory at Yorktown, he returned to his law studies and started his political career by representing New York in the Congress of the Confederation. During his tenure, he advocated, with Madison as his ally, for congressional power to collect taxes. As the country’s financial situation grew worse and mounting discontent among unpaid Continental soldiers threatened the nascent republic, Hamilton continued to advocate for a strong federal government until his resignation in 1783. A year later he founded the Bank of New York, and in 1787 he was chosen a New York delegate to the Constitutional Convention where he began, with Madison and John Jay, to write and publish a series of 85 essays collectively known as The Federalist Papers, which argued in favor of the Constitution’s ratification. Scholars believe that Hamilton authored 51 of the articles, Madison 29 and Jay the remaining five.