Hamilton supervised the entire Federalist project. He dreamed up the idea, enlisted the participants, wrote the overwhelming bulk of the essays, and oversaw the publication. For his first collaborator, he recruited John Jay, a tall, thin, balding man with a pale, melancholy face and a wary look in his deep-set gray eyes. Jay always looked austere, almost gaunt, in paintings, though he could show delightful flashes of wit. Descended from Huguenots, the son of a wealthy merchant, Jay had been the major draftsman of the New York State Constitution. Along with Franklin and Adams, he had negotiated...
Hamilton and Jay invited in three other authors. Madison wrote, “The undertaking was proposed by Alexander Hamilton to James Madison with a request to join him and Mr. Jay in carrying it into effect. William Duer was also included in the original plan and wrote two or more papers, which, though intelligent and sprightly, were not continued, nor did they make a part of the printed collection.”15 Hamilton courted Gouverneur Morris, who said he was “warmly pressed by Hamilton to assist in writing the Federalist” but was too harried by business to consent.16 That Hamilton approached Morris...