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Egbert Benson, and left there a slip of paper in his own handwriting, which read as follows:
"Nos. 2, 3, 4, 5, 54, by J.
"Nos. 10, 14, 37 to 48 inclusive, M. "Nos. 18, 19, 20, M. & H. jointly. "All the others by H."
Mr. Egbert Benson was absent when Hamilton called, but Mr. Robert Benson, his nephew, was present, saw the paper deposited by Hamilton in a volume of Pliny, and afterwards examined it himself. Judge Benson on his return pasted the slip thus left by Hamilton on the fly-leaf of his own copy of the "Federalist." Thence he removed it, after making a copy, and presented it for safe-keeping to the New York Public Library, where the paper remained for some years. It was still there in 1818 when, in the controversy which then sprang up, William Coleman, the editor of the New York Evening Post, referred to it, and informed the public that they could call and examine it. At some subsequent time this valuable document was stolen, and it has never been recovered. In 1802-1803 John C. Hamilton, at the request and dictation of his father, sent a list to Philip Church, a nephew of General Hamilton, which agrees precisely with the Benson list. In 1807 the executors of Hamilton's will deposited in the New York Public Library Hamilton's copy of the "Federalist," in which the authorship of the various numbers was said to be designated in his own handwriting. Attention was called to this fact by a letter in the Portfolio, attributed to Chancellor Kent, who there gave from the copy thus deposited a list of the anthors, corresponding exactly with the Benson list. In 1810 an edition of Hamilton's works was published in New York. The second and third volumes contain the "Federalist," and the author of each paper is designated, as we are informed in the preface, "from a private memorandum in his own (Hamilton's) handwriting." The designation of authors in this edition is the same as the Benson list, with one striking exception: No. 54 is given to Hamilton, and
Jay is left with only four numbers. This difference would indicate either that the Portfolio list was wrongly given, or that the editor of the 1810 edition had some list of which nothing is now known.
In a copy of the "Federalist" belonging to Fisher Ames, one of Hamilton's intimate friends, the authors of the papers are designated in accordance with the Benson list.
I have in my possession a copy of the " Federalist " of the edition of 1802, which belonged to my great-grandfather George Cabot, who, like Ames, was a very close personal friend of Hamilton. To the preface Mr. Cabot appended this note: "Those by Mr. Jay and Mr. Madison are now marked in this edition, those without a mark are from the pen of Hamilton." The marking corresponds with that of the edition of 1810, from which it may have been taken, and gives No. 54 to Hamilton as well as No. 64. In the second volume, however, Mr. Cabot has wafered in a slip of paper giving a list of the authors which corresponds exactly with the Benson list.
Then there is a list made and preserved by Chancellor Kent, which he says was revised by Hamilton, and which differs from the Benson list by giving 64 instead of 54 to Jay and 49 and 53 to Madison in addition to the fourteen assigned to him in the other Hamilton lists.
Finally, there is the Washington list, which, so far as I am aware, has never been published before, and for which I am indebted to the kindness of John R. Baker, Esq., of Philadelphia. At the sale of Washington's library Mr. Baker purchased the General's copy of the "Federalist," of the first edition of 1788. On the fly-leaf of the first volume occurs the following memorandum in Washington's wellknown handwriting:
"Mr. Jay was author of Nos. 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, and 54.
"Mr. Madison of Nos. 10, 14, and 37 to 48, exclusive of the last.
“Nos. 18, 19, 20 were the production of Jay, Madison, and Hamilton.
"All the rest of Gen. Hamilton."
Washington died in 1799. He speaks of Hamilton, it will be observed, as "General," and that fixes within a year the time when his list was written. It must have been made up after July, 1798, and before December, 1799, and is therefore much the earliest list we have. It contains some curious variations from all the other lists, and these differences would seem to indicate that Washington made it up from recollection of information derived several years before from the authors. The striking and important fact is that this, the earliest list, drawn up by a singularly accurate man years before there was any thought of controversy, agrees in the main with the Benson list, and assigns the twelve disputed numbers unhesitatingly to Hamilton.
The first appeared
We now come to the Madison lists. in the National Intelligencer, April 18, 1817, in a letter signed "Corrector," and was stated to be from "indubitable authority a pencilled memorandum in the handwriting of Madison himself." The second was given by Madison to Richard Rush at about the same time apparently as that of "Corrector." The third was published in the City of Washington Gazette, December 15, 1817, and was stated "to be furnished by Madison himself." The fourth appeared in Gideon's edition of the "Federalist," published at Washington in 1818, and was taken from Madison's notes in his own copy of the work.* These lists all agree in giving the twelve disputed numbers to Madison, but they differ among themselves as to other numbers in a very marked degree.
There are two Jefferson lists. One was in his copy of the "Federalist," and corresponds with the most erroneous Madison list, that furnished to the Washington Gazette, while the other was given to his friend Gideon Granger, and is identical with the Benson list.†
*This copy is now in the possession of the government in the library of Congress.
The Granger list is now in the possession of the Hon. Robert C. Winthrop, of Boston.
The only information derived from Mr. Jay was that he was the author of Nos. 2, 3, 4, 5, and 64.
Thus we find that the two principal authors of the " Federalist" are at variance as to the authorship of twelve important numbers.
Having stated what the authorities are, it merely remains to examine them. Suggestions have not been wanting that the principal Hamilton list, that of Benson, never existed. It is difficult to see how any one could seriously entertain such an idea, but in this inquiry I do not propose to pass over any theory which has even been hinted at. In his introduction to the "Federalist," which is marked by the most extraordinary care, and is thorough to the last degree in details, Mr. Dawson says that he had an interview with Mr. Robert Benson, who was present in the office when Hamilton came in and left the memorandum, and from this eye-witness Mr. Dawson received the whole story. Mr. Benson said that he saw Hamilton and saw the list which was in Hamilton's handwriting; that his uncle made a copy of it, which still exists, and that his uncle then deposited the original in the New York Public Library. There, as has been said, the list remained for many years. There it could have been and no doubt was seen by any one who chose to look at it, and in 1818 public attention was called to it and everybody was invited to examine it. During all those years its existence and its authenticity were never questioned for a moment, even in the somewhat sharp controversy which then arose. To suppose that it did not exist, is to assume that Egbert Benson and his nephew were either liars or forgers, or both, and the mere statement that such an assumption is necessary, is sufficient to destroy at once any theory that the Benson list never existed in Hamilton's handwriting.
All the Hamilton lists agree except as to No. 54, which the edition of 1810 gives to Hamilton. Chancellor Kent's list gives 64 to Jay, which is correct, and 49 and 53 to Madison. As to the two last the difference is peculiar, but
the Chancellor corrected his list in later years, and owing to the confusion between the original and the modern numbering, the changes as to 49 and 53 seem to lose significance, especially as they are two of the first ten of the disputed numbers, and these ten all coming consecutively, must on any reasonable theory be assigned to one or the other of the authors in a block.
The next step is to find out the errors of the different authorities as to the undoubted numbers, in order to properly test their value as to those in dispute. The one unquestioned error made by Hamilton was as to number 54. He gave Jay his correct total of five numbers but assigned him 54 instead of 64. We are now trying the value of these lists simply as documents by the ordinary rules of historical evidence, and this error may be justly said to impair their authority. This being admitted, let us apply the same rules to the Madison lists. In Gideon's edition of 1818 Madison concedes 18, 19, and 20 to be the joint work of Hamilton and himself, and gives 17 and 21 to Hamilton and 64 to Jay. In his first list, that of the National Intelligencer, he claims 18, 19, and 20 as exclusively his own work, and also 64, which belonged to Jay. In the Rush list Madison again claimed 18, 19, and 20 for himself alone. In the Washington Gazette list he takes 17, 18, 19, and 21 to himself, two of them being joint and two belonging to Hamilton, and gives 20, which was the third joint number, wholly to Hamilton. The authority of the lists other than that of the edition of 1818 cannot be questioned, for Madison says in a letter to Gideon, dated August 20, 1818 (Writings, III., 110): "It may, however, be proper, perhaps, to observe that it [his copy lent to Gideon] is not the only one containing the names of the writers correctly prefixed to their respective papers. I had, a considerable time ago, at the request of particular friends, given the same advantage to their copies."
In the Hamilton lists, then, we find two errors as to two numbers, while in the Madison lists there are twelve errors as to six numbers. Tried, therefore, by the list of admitted