To Benjamin Stoddert
N. York July 29th. 1799
A pressure of various business has delayed a reply to your favor of the 19th. instant.
The principle you suggest for my consideration, though if it could be introduced it would work well, cannot in my opinion be put into practice. It would contravene too much, pretensions rooted as well in the human heart as in unconquerable prejudices of the military State, by which expression I include the naval Department. Carrying in the very fact, an avowed preference, humiliating to the pride of the Superior Officer and reversing the order of antecedent relations, a chearful submission could never be obtained.
With very great esteem I have the honor &c
Copy, in the handwriting of Ethan Brown, Hamilton Papers, Library of Congress.