"a certain permanent Inspector"

The victim of Hawthorne’s gleefully vicious caricature is Captain William Lee (1770-1851), who appears on the custom house register from 1812. He was the son and business partner of the collector William Raymond Lee, who created roles for him both in his mercantile firm William R. Lee and Co. and at the custom house. He was, Hawthorne suspected, a key agent behind his ejection.