To Benjamin Stoddert1
[New York, August 8, 1798]
Capt. Robert Hamilton, a first cousin of mine,2 is desirous of entering into our naval service. He is regularly bred to the sea which he has followed since he was fourteen years old. His opportunities have been of the best, among others that of voyages to the East Indies. I feel myself warranted in recommending him as an able well informed seaman—who adds to this qualification the sentiments of a Gentleman and a good moral character, intelligence and prudence. I verily believe he will be an acquisition to our navy and as I feel myself extremely interested in his success I shall esteem his appointment a personal favour to myself. He is now about Thirty years of age.
Were it not that he is a foreigner, I should think myself warranted to solicit for him the Commission of Captain, but under this disadvantage I ask for him that of first lieutenant. It is his intention to settle in the Country & become naturalized as soon as our laws permit.3 Being on the point of departing on a journy4 I can add no more than the repetition of a strong wish that he may be able to obtain this appointment.5
With great respect & esteem I have the honor to be D Sr Your Obed ser
The Secretary of the Marine
ALS, RG 45, Naval Records Collection of the Office of Naval Records and Library, Subject File: Personnel (NN), National Archives; DfS, dated August 7, 1798, Hamilton Papers, Library of Congress.
1. For the draft, which is substantially the same as the letter printed above, see JCHW description begins John C. Hamilton, ed., The Works of Alexander Hamilton (New York, 1851–1856). description ends , VI, 336, and HCLW description begins Henry Cabot Lodge, ed., The Works of Alexander Hamilton (New York, 1904). description ends , X, 306.
2. Robert W. Hamilton was the son of William Hamilton of Scotland, who was the brother of James Hamilton, H’s father.
3. See “An Act supplementary to and to amend the act, intituled ‘An act to establish an uniform rule of naturalization; and to repeal the act heretofore passed on that subject’” (1 Stat. description begins The Public Statutes at Large of the United States of America, I (Boston, 1845). description ends 566–69 [June 18, 1798]).
5. On February 5, 1799, the Senate confirmed the appointment of Robert W. Hamilton as a lieutenant in the Navy, and he was assigned to the frigate Constitution (Executive Journal, I description begins Journal of the Executive Proceedings of the Senate (Washington, 1828), I. description ends , 308, 310).