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to timothy pickering - Alexander Hamilton, The Works of Alexander Hamilton, (Federal Edition), vol. 10 
The Works of Alexander Hamilton, ed. Henry Cabot Lodge (Federal Edition) (New York: G.P. Putnam’s Sons, 1904). In 12 vols. Vol. 10.
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to timothy pickering
June 7, 1798.
My Dear Sir:
As McHenry will probably have left Philadelphia before this reaches that place, I take the liberty to address the subject of it to you.
I have received a letter from Capt. Van Rensselaer, in which he informs me that he is a candidate for a commission on board our navy, and requests my recommendation of it. As a connection of our family, I cannot refuse it, as far as truth and propriety will warrant.
When he first began his career, the young man did things which were not pretty, but he has since that retrieved his character by a conduct which has rapidly raised him to the command of a ship, which he has had of several. I have particularly inquired concerning him, and my inquiries have been satisfactorily answered, so that I really conclude he is a deserving man. But of this you can be better ascertained from persons in Philadelphia, in whose employ I believe he has sailed.
My only intention is to request attention to his pretensions, as far as they appear to be good, and in the proportion which they bear to those of other candidates. I owe this to him as a family connection, and I may add that he is of a brave blood.
What do the British mean? What are these stories of the Thetis, etc.? In my opinion, our country is now to act in every direction with spirit. Will it not be well to order one of our frigates to Charleston, to protect effectually our commerce in that quarter, and, if necessary, control the Thetis? This conduct will unite and animate.
P. S.—If an alien bill passes, I would like to know what policy, in execution, is likely to govern the Executive. My opinion is, that while the mass ought to be obliged to leave the country, the provisions in our treaties in favor of merchants ought to be observed, and there ought to be guarded exceptions of characters whose situation would expose them too much if sent away, and whose demeanor amongst us has been unexceptionable. There are a few such. Let us not be cruel or violent.