Washington: Jany 3, 1850. 7-3/4" x 9-3/4". Single page. Old folds, Very Good.
"On the receipt of your note of the 26th I [---] it to Prof. Henry who said he would write to you at once-- I look forward with great pleasure to your visit here. We will talk over the organ [underlined in original] to which you refer. As regards the high offices which you so kindly mention in connection with my name- the illusion is gone. I am disenchanted, & it is the last thing I would desire. I can do more good as a private citizen, than in any public station. Besides I have never been so happy as now when out office & intending so to remain.
"I had rather discuss with you the great subjects considered by us last summer than send a report or even a message to Congress.
"Yours most truly | R.J. Walker."
Robert J. Walker [1801-1869] was a lawyer, economist, U.S. Senator from Mississippi, and President Polk's Secretary of the Treasury. He established the Independent Treasury System and wrote the Walker Tariff. Despite his disenchantment with public office, he later accepted President James Buchanan's appointment as the fourth governor of the Territory of Texas, and was a strong supporter of the Union during the Civil War.
Rev. Dr. Caleb S. Henry [1804-1884], Walker's addressee, was a clergyman, Professor of Intellectual & Moral Philosophy at the New York University, and co-founder and editor of the New York Review.
Prof. Henry, the "other" Henry mentioned in Walker's letter, was likely Prof. Joseph Henry [1797-1878], the first Secretary of the Smithsonian Institution. He was a renowned physicist and professor of Natural Philosophy at the College of New Jersey, now Princeton. The Smithsonian's collection of Joseph Henry's papers demonstrate an apparent friendship between him and Walker; at Treasury, Walker helped protect funding for public institutions such as the Smithsonian. Although he and Caleb share the same surname, we found no direct familial connection. Both men held offices in the American Colonization Society; and both were connected with the incorporation of the National Institute of Letters, Arts, and Sciences. Item #36305