Letters from The Federal Farmer
(Richard Henry Lee ?)
Note: Taken together, the following eighteen essays present the most compelling contemporary anti-federalist argument against the proposed Federal Constitution. Styled as letters addressed to “The Republican” and pseudonymously signed by “The Federal Farmer,” they puportedly were written between 8 October 1787 and 25 January 1788. The first five were printed in early November 1787 by the editor of the New York Journal, Thomas Greenleaf, in a pamphlet entitled Observatons Leading to a Fair Examination of the System of Government Proposed by the Late Convention; and to Several Essential and Necessary Alterations in It. Between 14 November and 2 January the Poughkeepsie County Journal reprinted the essays, and newspapers in New York, Pennsylvania, Connecticut, and Massachusetts followed suit. In May 1788 Greenleaf printed the remaining thirteen essays in a second pamphlet, An Additional Number of Letters From the Federal Farmer to the Republican Leading to a Fair Examination of the System of Government Proposed by the Late Convention; To Several Essential and Necessary Alterations in It; And Calculated to Illustrate and Support the Principles and Positions Laid Down in the Preceding Letters. “The Republican” was most likely George Clinton, governor of New York.
For nearly two centuries, the Federal Farmer was thought to be Richard Henry Lee, one of the staunchest anti-federalists of Virginia. Lee was in New York at the time, serving as a member of Virginia's delegation to the Confederation Congress, and could have taken part in the writing or printing of the pamphlets. In the 1970s, however, historians began to challege the identification of Lee as the author of the essays, citing a difference in Lee's writing style and the fact that Lee's papers contain no hints of his authorship. Scholars have suggesed a number of other anti-federalists as as an alternative to Lee as the author of the essays, but so far the identity of the Federal Farmer remains a mystery. Until the identity of the Federal Farmer is settled, the Lee Family Digital Archive includes the essays under Lee's questionable authorship.
Letters from the Federal Farmer
|Letter 1,|| 8 October 1787|| ||Letter 10,|| 7 January 1788|
|Letter 2,|| 9 October 1787|| ||Letter 11,|| 10 January 1788|
|Letter 3,|| 10 October 1787|| ||Letter 12,|| 12 January 1788|
|Letter 4,|| 12 October 1787|| ||Letter 13,|| 14 January 1788|
|Letter 5,|| 13 October 1787|| ||Letter 14,|| 17 January 1788|
|Letter 6,|| 25 December 1787|| ||Letter 15,|| 18 January 1788|
|Letter 7,|| 31 December 1787|| ||Letter 16,|| 20 January 1788|
|Letter 8,|| 3 January 1788|| ||Letter 17,|| 23 January 1788|
|Letter 9,|| 4 January 1788|| ||Letter 18,|| 25 January 1788|