A Full Vindication of the Measures of Congress
|Followed by||The Farmer Refuted|
A Full Vindication of the Measures of Congress was one of Alexander Hamilton's first published works, published in December 1774, while Hamilton was a 17-year-old student at King's College in New York City.
In this pamphlet, dated December 15, 1774, Hamilton defend the actions of the First Continental Congress at Philadelphia against the accusations of author A.W. Farmer ("A Westchester Farmer"), a pseudonym of Samuel Seabury, Episcopal rector of Westchester County, who had written an incendiary loyalist pamphlet attacking the Congress, Free Thoughts on the Proceedings of the Continental Congress, dated November 16, 1774. Most political essays of the time were written under pen names. The identity of Farmer was not known at the time Hamilton wrote his reply, although it was generally thought that the author was among the Anglican ministers who were among the most articulate Loyalists. Hamilton might have believed, as others did at the time, that the author of Free Thoughts was the president of his own college, the Reverend Myles Cooper. Cooper was indeed part of a "Loyalist literary clique" that included Seabury and Charles Inglis (later rector of Trinity Church in New York), and was aware that Seabury had written the pamphlet.
Hamilton's thirty-five page reply to Farmer, addressed to "Friends and Countrymen," took two to three weeks to write and is signed "A Friend to America"; it responds systemically to Farmer's argument. Hamilton warns against "the men who advise you to forsake the plain path, marked out for you by the congress" and states that "our representatives in general assembly cannot take any wise or better course to settle out differences, than our representatives in the continental congress have taken."
After A Full Vindication was published, "Farmer" (Seabury) responded with another pamphlet, A View of the Controversy, dated December 24, 1774, but not announced until January 5, 1775. Hamilton then responded with another pamphlet, The Farmer Refuted, on February 23, 1775. With these two pamphlets, Hamilton "embraced wholeheartedly the 'radical' American side" of the growing conflict with Britain.
- Joseph C. Morton, Shapers of the Great Debate at the Constitutional Convention of 1787: A Biographical Dictionary (2006), Greenword: p. 125.
- James Flexner, The Young Hamilton: A Biography (1978), Fordham University Press: p. 67.
- Ross N. Hebb, Samuel Seabury and Charles Inglis: Two Bishops, Two Churches (Fairleigh Dickinson University Press (2010), p. 114.
- Ron Chernow, Alexander Hamilton (2005), Penguin: pp. 57-58.
Links to original sources