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Sale 2461 Lot 26
LETTER ON THE FEDERAL CONSTITUTION SIGNED "A FEDERALIST" WEBSTER, NOAH. Autograph Manuscript Signed, "A Federalist," complete draft of a possibly unpublished open letter on opposition to the Constitution. Numerous holograph corrections throughout. 8 pages, 4to, written on recto and verso of separate leaves; uneven toning with some brittling to edges throughout, few scattered short separations at folds repaired with paper, ink burn to first leaf with minor text loss. Np, circa 1800
Estimate $15,000 - 25,000
"In advocating the true interests of our Country--the Friends of justice and civil liberty have a difficult part to act. The Constitution which was formed to cement the union, insure protection, and advance the happiness of these States, employed the talents and evinced the virtues and energy of many great and good men. . . . [I]n all civilized societies the restless passions and selfish motives are often found to prompt an opposition to the wholesome restriction of law and Government. It could not be expected that the rising [fortunes] or happy prospects of our Country should protect them against an evil so . . . interwoven with the social State of man . . . that the best laws framed in wisdom and administered with Justice could afford no protection against the cavils and calumny of discontented and designing men.
"When our constitution was about to be adopted the efforts of these men became conspicuous and alarming. . . . [T]he factious leaders of opposition to all Governments of all description for these thousand years--Robertspiere [sic] and Marat--Those sanguinary wretches whose names have become proverbial . . . were extravagantly attached to the people. Their greatest enormities were constantly palliated or justified by their . . . love for the People. . . .
". . . In the hour . . . of our greatest political danger, the united exertions of the true Patriots of our Country saved us from impending anarchy, perhaps from the horror of a civil war. The Constitution was adopted and for twelve years was administered with an example of public virtue and private happiness which has seldom if ever been equalled. . . ."
Not cited in or found among any of the following sources: A Bibliography of the Writings of Noah Webster, ed. Skeel, New York, 1958; Letters of Noah Webster, ed. Warfel, New York, 1953; all letters signed "A Federalist" published in 1795 and 1796 in the Gazette of the United States or the Columbian Centinel; the Noah Webster Papers at the New York Public Library.
From the collection of Milton R. Slater.