Alexander Hamilton Papers

To Alexander Hamilton from Benjamin Stoddert, 6 February 1799

From Benjamin Stoddert1

Navy Depart. 6 Feby 1799


I have the honor to enclose a paper2 containing the circumstances, & all the circumstances, connected in the relative rank of Captains Truxton, Talbot & Dale.

It appears to me, that Talbot & Dale, cannot now be placed above Truxton, but by dismissing the latter from the Service.

Dale who has permission to make an East India Voyage,3 is reconciled to what He conceives unavoidable, to rank after Truxton. Entertaining a very high opinion of Talbot—I am anxious that he should also acquiesce. From conversation with him, I Judge it is in your power alone, to satisfy him.

The error was in not selecting the three Senior Captains, for the Three Frigates continued in Service. The President, I conceive had no power to continue more Captains, than Frigates.

If Talbot will continue, only Barry Nicholson & Truxton, will be above him. Nicholson cannot be long in his way. Barry is old & infirm, & not satisfied that he is not made an admiral. It is more than probable, Truxton & Talbot may not be on the same service.

I wrote you some Days ago4 respecting Mr. Hy Seaton.5 I ought to have waited long enough for an answer—but his appointment was so much pressed—He was so well recommended—I was so well satisfied, a Story which I had heard, was without foundation—and a Lieut. being instantly wanted—He is appointed. I wish he may turn out well. I am anxious too, that Daubeny6 should continue to deserve your good opinion. They are both ordered on immediate Service.

I have the honor to be with great respect & esteem Sir Yr most obed Servt

Ben Stoddert

ALS, Hamilton Papers, Library of Congress; LC, RG 45, Naval Records Collection of the Office of Naval Records and Library, Miscellaneous Letters Sent by the Secretary of the Navy, 1790–1798, National Archives.

1For background to this letter, see Silas Talbot to H, January 15, 1799.

2This enclosure has neither a title nor a date (D, Hamilton Papers, Library of Congress). The information in the document is similar to that in Talbot to H, January 15, 1799, note 1.

3See Stoddert to Richard Dale, February 1, 1799 (Naval Documents, Quasi-War, November, 1798–March, 1799, 300).

4Stoddert to H, February 1, 1799 (listed in the appendix to this volume).

5Henry Seton, the son of the late William Seton, first cashier of the Bank of New York, was appointed a lieutenant in the Navy on February 5, 1799 (Executive Journal, I description begins Journal of the Executive Proceedings of the Senate (Washington, 1828), I. description ends , 309–10).

6Lloyd S. Daubeny of New York had been appointed a lieutenant in the Navy when the Senate was not in session in 1798. On February 5, 1799, the Senate approved his nomination (Executive Journal, I description begins Journal of the Executive Proceedings of the Senate (Washington, 1828), I. description ends , 308, 310).

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