Front Page Titles (by Subject) hamilton to mchenry - The Works of Alexander Hamilton, (Federal Edition), vol. 7
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hamilton to mchenry - Alexander Hamilton, The Works of Alexander Hamilton, (Federal Edition), vol. 7 
The Works of Alexander Hamilton, ed. Henry Cabot Lodge (Federal Edition) (New York: G.P. Putnam’s Sons, 1904). In 12 vols. Vol. 7.
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hamilton to mchenry
June 28, 1800.
Sir:—An extraordinary pressure of business since the receipt of your letter of the 10th instant, has delayed a reply to that part of it which respects the rule of promotion.
This rule was not adopted on my recommendation singly, but on the recommendation of the Commander-in-Chief, supported by the opinion of General Pinckney and myself.
Of its expediency with regard to the corps of artillerists and engineers, I have always had some doubt.
The smallness of that corps in point of number avoids the inconvenience of a lineal promotion of captains. The nature of its service, almost always by detachments, causes the reason for a different mode to be inapplicable to it, and the scientific nature of the corps strengthens the inducements to a strict succession according to seniority.
But a uniform rule was thought most eligible; and I have not the least doubt that the rule of promotion, regimentally to the rank of majority, inclusively, is the best with regard to the infantry and cavalry.
In corps which act collectively, there is an advantage in keeping the men as much as possible with the officers to whom they have been accustomed. As often as you bring an officer from another regiment the advantage is lost.
But more justice is done by a regimental promotion than by any other mode. Corps in active service are, in various ways, subject to losses in a much greater degree than those in a state of repose. It is justly congenial with the natural feelings of the human heart, and an incentive to exertion, that promotion should keep pace with danger and suffering.
If, when a regiment had been half destroyed by a bloody action, the advancement of all the remaining officers was impeded by bringing captains from garrisons perhaps a thousand miles off, the effect upon those officers would be very discouraging, and the influence upon the service very inauspicious.
It may be asked, Why not apply this reasoning to the field-officers? The answer is, that when the grade becomes of this importance it carries with it a tenaciousness of the principle of promotion by seniority; and the whole number not being very considerable, the delay of lineal promotion is less sensibly felt and the effect less extensive.
Balancing the opposite considerations, it is judged the least inconvenient to regulate the higher grades by a lineal promotion.
You have herewith a report of Major Hoops concerning the late disturbance at West Point.
North has since set on foot criminal prosecutions against Captain Stille and several of his men for riot and theft. A hot-headed magistrate, without the decency of a previous resort to higher authority, issued a warrant, upon which the captain and those men were apprehended, and after a refusal to bail them, committed them to the common jail of the county. On the representation of the district-attorney, a habeas corpus was issued by our Supreme Court, and the prisoners have all been liberated on easy bail. The honor and success of the service require absolutely that this affair should be probed with all possible attention. I have expressed this opinion; you may perhaps think it expedient to confirm the sentiment.