#hamildays at AAS (006)

Act I, Track 6
The Farmer Refuted
Original post: October 27, 2015

"My dog speaks more eloquently than thee!"

For today’s #hamilton exploration, I visited his writings in our stacks. Hamilton wrote two pamphlets in response to #samuelseabury, A Full Vindication of the Measures of Congress (1774) and The Farmer Refuted (1775). A Full Vindication expresses exasperation at Seabury’s Loyalist writings, which “contai[n] nothing else” but “ridiculous quibbles” and bad logic, but it focuses more on Seabury’s arguments than Seabury. However, Hamilton wields a much sharper pen in The Farmer Refuted, which was his response to A View of the Controversy Between Great-Britain and Her Colonies, Seabury’s response to Hamilton. (Pamphlet wars ftw! In the meantime, I suspect that James Rivington, the publisher of both Seabury’s and Hamilton’s pamphlets, cheerfully sold them all.)

#hamiltunes #hamildays #pamphletwars #frontispieces #pamphlets #americanantiquarian

Upper left: portrait of Samuel Seabury. The frontispiece of Discourses on Several Subjects by Samuel Seabury (Hudson, N.Y.: William E. Norman, 1815), v. 1.

Upper right: title pages from: A Full Vindication of the Measures of Congress by Alexander Hamilton (New York: James Rivington, 1774); A View of the Controversy Between Great-Britain and Her Colonies (New York: James Rivington, 1774); The Farmer Refuted by Alexander Hamilton (New York: James Rivington, 1775).

Bottom: excerpt from The Farmer Refuted, p. [1].

tl;dr - The Farmer Refuted opens as above, calling the “spirit that breathes throughout [A View of the Controversy] so rancorous, illiberal and imperious” and its arguments “so puerile and fallacious,” et cetera. In the second paragraph, Hamilton continues, “You have not even imposed the laborious task of pursuing you through a labyrinth of subtlety. You have not had ability sufficient, however violent your efforts, to try the depths of sophistry; but have barely skimmed along its surface.” Ouch. (Hamilton gets to the political theory, history, and current events, it just takes a few pages to do so, and comments about Seabury’s abilities pop up throughout.)


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