The Records of the Federal Convention of 1787/Volume 3/Appendix A/CCLXX

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ⅭⅭⅬⅩⅩ. Alexander Hamilton: Reply to Anonymous Charges.[1]

In reference to it, a reply, published by Hamilton in seventeen hundred and ninety-two, to anonymous charges,[2] containing a misrepresentation of his course in the convention, and stated by him “to be of a nature to speak the malignity and turpitude of the accuser, denoting clearly the personal enemy in the garb of the political opponent,” mentions “that the deliberations of the convention, which were carried on in private, were to remain unmolested. And every prudent man,” he observed, “must be convinced of the propriety of the one and the other. Had the deliberations been open while going on, the clamours of faction would have prevented any satisfactory result. Had they been afterwards disclosed, much food would have been afforded to inflammatory declamation. Propositions, made without due reflection, and perhaps abandoned by the proposers themselves on more mature reflection, would have been handles for a profusion of ill-natured accusation. …

In the reply previously referred to, made by Hamilton to an anonymous attack in the year seventeen hundred and ninety-two, at the seat of government, when nearly all the members of the convention were living, to a charge that he “opposed the constitution in the grand convention, because it was too republican,” he remarked, “This I affirm to be a gross misrepresentation. To prove it so, it were sufficient to appeal to a single fact, namely, that the gentleman alluded to was the only member from the state to which he belonged who signed the constitution, and, it is notorious, against the prevailing weight of the official influence of the state, and against what would probably be the opinion of a large majority of his fellow-citizens, till better information should correct their first impressions. How, then, can he be believed to have opposed a thing which he actually agreed to, and that in so unsupported a situation and under circumstances of such peculiar responsibility? To this, I shall add two more facts: — One, that the member in question never made a proposition to the convention which was not conformable to the republican theory. The other, that the highest toned of any of the propositions made by him, was actually voted for by the representatives of several states, including some of the principal ones, and including individuals who, in the estimation of those who deem themselves the only republicans, are pre-eminent for republican character. More than this I am not at liberty to say.”

  1. J.C. Hamilton, History of the Republic of the United States, Ⅲ, 256, 339–340.
  2. In the National Gazette, established by Jefferson and Madison.