Letter from George F. Hopkins to John C. Hamiton

[This transcription is from the handwritten transcript accompanying the original letter.]
 
New York, Feb. 8th 1847.
Dear Sir,

In reply to your inquiries concerning the edition of the Federalist that I published in 1802, (being the first octavo edition of the work) your father's attention was called to the subject at my request through the urgent solicitude of two respectable professional gentlemen, both of whom have long since departed this life. Your father, it appeared, did not regard the work with much partiality, but nevertheless consented to its republication on condition that it should undergo a careful revision by one of the gentlemen above alluded to. Accordingly the work (two coarse duodecimo volumes, abounding with errors) were obtained with some difficulty and placed in his hands for correction. Having performed his duty, he put the volumes into the hands of your father, who examined the numerous corrections, most of which he sanctioned, and the work was then put to press. Here I deem it proper to remark, that the most scrupulous delicacy was observed in relation to any alterations in the numbers written by Mr Madison; so much so indeed, that the alteration of one word, (a favorite one with Mr. M.) having escaped notice, that part was required to be reprinted and the original word restored.

It was proposed that the name of the writer should be prefixed to each number; but this, as I was told, met with your father's decided disapprobation. But after the publication appeared, the Hon. Egbert-Benson gave me in writing, a key to the respective numbers, which I understood he had previously received from your father, and which I kept for many years. This key was subsequently made use of in an edition of three volumes, published by Williams & Whiting of this city, to which was appended the official reports made by him to Congress while Secretary of the Treasury.

The letters of Pacificus were added at your father's suggestion, and corrected with his own hand. He remarked to me at the time that some of his friends had pronounced them to be "his best performance."

With sincere respect
I am your ob. servt
G. F. H.
John C Hamilton Esq