Robert J. Walker Letters

Manuscripts Collection 180

Overview of the Collection

Repository: G. W. Blunt White Library, Mystic Seaport
Creator: Walker, Robert J. (Robert John), 1801-1869
Title: Robert J. Walker Letters
Dates: 1846-1848
Extent: ca. 255 items
Abstract: Letters to C.W Lawrence, Collector of Customs at the Port of New York, dealing with the interpretation of tariff acts and enforcement of customs regulations, including information concerning import duties, drawbacks, expenses for maintaining revenue vessels and customs property, and the names of many vessels.
Identification: Coll. 180

Biography of Robert J. Walker

Born July 19, 1801 in Pennsylvania, Walker had a distinguished career as a United States Senator, Secretary of the Treasury (1845-1849), and Governor of the Kansas Territory. In the Senate he was considered an ardent supporter of American expansion and Texas independence. As Secretary of the Treasury, appointed by President Polk, he worked for a more independent treasury system, and the tariff bill of 1846 was largely a product of his “tariff for revenue only” philosophy. A major development of Walker’s term was the establishment of a warehousing system for the various customs districts to handle imports.

Top →

Scope and Content

The letters in this collection were all signed by Walker as Treasury Secretary, between 1846 and 1848, and were addressed to Mr. C.W. Lawrence, who was the Collector of Customs at the Port of New York during this period. They deal primarily with interpretation of tariff acts and enforcement of customs regulations as applied to specific cases at the port. Included are details about payments of import duties and drawbacks, and information regarding expenses for maintaining of a warehouse on the “Atlantic dock” that was used by the customs district, and an account of an appraiser being fired for “irregularities in performance of his duties.” Walker also authorized several payments for work done on a new revenue brig that was under construction in 1848. Numerous references are found to the tariff acts of 1842 and 1846. There are description of articles being imported into New York, and the names of many revenue schooners and steamers are also mentioned.

Top →


Restrictions on Access

Available for use in the Manuscripts Division.

Restrictions on Use

Various copying restriction apply. Guidelines are available from the Manuscripts Division.

Top →

Index Terms

This collection is indexed under the following headings in the catalog of the G. W. Blunt White Library. Researchers desiring materials about related topics, persons or places should search the catalog using these headings.


Lawrence, C.W.–Correspondence

Corporate Entities:

United States. Dept. of the Treasury


New York (N.Y.)


Customs administration–New York (State)–New York
Customs administration–Officials and employees
Customs administration–United States Embargo
Tariff–United States

Document Types:



Public officers

Return to the Table of Contents

Administrative Information

Preferred Citation

Coll. 180, Manuscripts Collection, G. W. Blunt White Library, Mystic Seaport Museum, Inc.

Top →

Detailed Description of the Collection

The following section contains a detailed listing of the materials in the collection.

Correspondence; 1846-1848.

Box Folder
1 1 Correspondence. Images
2 Correspondence. Images
3 Correspondence. Images
4 Correspondence. Images
5 Correspondence. Images
6 Correspondence. Images
7 Correspondence. Images
8 Correspondence. Images
9 Correspondence. Images