Sub Treasurer Meeting in England

Description (Brief):

This 1838 print is a commentary on two financial scandals involving Collector of Customs for the Port of New York, Samuel Swartwout, and United States District Attorney for New York, William M. Price. Following the expiration of his term as Collector of Customs, Swartwout left for England, taking two hundred thousand dollars to pay remaining fees from his term with him. It soon became clear that he and his employees had embezzled over a million dollars, but Swartwout had fled before the charges were filed. He was ordered to forfeit his personal property to pay the deficit, and only returned to the United States after being guaranteed that he would not be arrested upon arrival. The term “Swartwouted out” came from this scandal, and refers to when someone flees the country after embezzling from the United States government. In this print, Swartwout on the right, is holding a sack labeled “120,000,000 behind his back while embracing Price who is holding a sack labeled “150,000,000” behind his. Both men profess their admiration for the other, saying “of Ex collectors you’re the man I wear within my heart of hearts,” and “Welcome thou pearl of wondrous Price.”In the background of the print, is a poster reading “Theatre Royal.” This poster satirizes their scandals, turning their appearance in England into a spectacle, encouraging people to “catch him who can.” While the context of this print suggests that Price was also involved in a scandal involving money and him leaving the country for England, at this time it is unclear what it actually was.

Description (Brief)

The lithographer of this print is Henry R. Robinson (1827-1877). Robinson worked in New York, and had a store to sell his prints. In 1842, he was arrested for selling obscene pictures and books leading to the September 28, 1842 court case, People vs H. R. Robinson found in the District Attorney Indictment Papers, Municipal Archives. He was politically affiliated with the anti-Jackson Whig party which was made obvious by the wig silhouette used in 1838 as an advertising logo for his shop.

Date Made: 1838

Depicted: Swartout, SamuelPrice, William M.Maker: Robinson, Henry R.

Location: Currently not on view

Place Made: United States: New York, New York City

Subject: EconomyPolitical PartiesChronology: 1830-1839Political CaricaturesU.S. National Government, executive branchTheater


See more items in: Home and Community Life: Domestic Life, Clothing & Accessories, Peters Political Prints, Art, Domestic Furnishings


Exhibition Location:

Credit Line: Harry T. Peters "America on Stone" Lithography Collection

Data Source: National Museum of American History

Id Number: DL.60.3376Catalog Number: 60.3376

Object Name: LithographObject Type: Lithograph

Measurements: image: 14 1/8 in x 11 in; 35.8775 cm x 27.94 cm


Record Id: nmah_325601

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