"the President’s commission in my pocket"
James Knox Polk - official White House portrait (1858)
Public DomainJames Knox Polk - official White House portrait (1858) - Credit: George Peter Alexander Healy
James K. Polk in c.1846
Public DomainJames K. Polk in c.1846 - Credit: Albert Newsam

Democratic President James K. Polk officially stamped the commission that approved Hawthorne’s appointment as custom house surveyor on 3rd April 1846. This pledged to him a four year tenure at $1,200 a year (approximately $36,400 in today’s money). However, he was prematurely ejected after three years when Zachary Taylor, a Whig, was elected into office on 4th March 1849.