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A Letter from Phocion to the Considerate Citizens of New-York, on the Politics of the Times, in Consequence of the Peace
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Currently offered only as part of the Alexander Hamilton Collection: The Story of the Revolution & Founding.

As “Phocion,” Hamilton articulates an early incarnation of the Federalist creed, including compliance with the 1783 peace treaty with Britain, an end to attacks on Tories and Tory property, and the submission of the states to the central authority of the United States. This essay was only Hamilton’s third political tract, and the first of his mature writings on policy.

ALEXANDER HAMILTON. Pamphlet. A Letter from Phocion to the Considerate Citizens of New-York, on the Politics of the Times, in Consequence of the Peace. Philadelphia: Robert Bell, 1784. Modern green half morocco and cloth, spine gilt. One of two Philadelphia editions of this influential political tract, after the first New York printing that same year. 16 pp.

Inventory #24313       PRICE ON REQUEST


It was the policy of the revolution, to inculcate upon every citizen the obligation of renouncing his habitation, property, and every private concern for the service of his country, and many of us have scarcely yet learned to consider it as less than treason to have acted in a different manner. But it is time we should correct the exuberances of opinions propagated through policy, and embraced from enthusiasm; and while we admit, that those who did act so disinterested and noble a part, deserve the applause and, wherever they can be bestowed with propriety the rewards of their country, we should cease to impute indiscriminate guilt to those, who, submitting to the accidents of war, remained with their habitions [sic] and property. We should learn, that this conduct is tolerated by the general sense of mankind; and that according to that sense, whenever the state recovers the possession of such parts as were for a time subdued, the citizens return at once to all the rights, to which they were formerly entitled.… The common interests of humanity, and the general tranquility of the world, require that the power of making peace, wherever lodged, should be construed and exercised liberally; and even in cases where its extent may be doubtful, it is the policy of all wise nations to give it latitude rather than confine it. The exigencies of a community, in time of war, are so various and often so critical, that it would be extremely dangerous to prescribe narrow bounds to that power, by which it is to be restored. The consequence might frequently be a diffidence of our engagements, and a prolongation of the calamities of war.”

Full text of A Letter from Phocion.

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