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Complete Explanation:
A portrayal of Treasury Secretary Levi Woodbury as a hen nurturing corruption and shielding New York City customs house officials from congressional scrutiny. Woodbury spreads his wings over several chicks pecking at gold coins beneath him, as two of the chicks swim off toward Liverpool. The foremost one represents former Collector of the Port Samuel Swartwout, found to have defrauded the government of nearly {dollar}1.25 million. The second is federal district attorney William M. Price, a coconspirator. Both fled to England. (See "Price Current" and "Sub Treasurers Meeting in England," nos. 1838-21 and -20.)

Woodbury is threatened by a hawk, "Committee of Investigations," with the head of Kentucky congressman James Harlan, who flies overhead calling, "I'll have you! hen & all." Harlan was chairman of the House committee established in January 1839 to probe the Swartwout defalcations. The hen cries:

"Hawk! . . . run! . . . Fly Sam [Swartwout] & Bill [Price]! take to the water--quick, before he comes! dive or he'll get you! . . . Here Hoyty [i.e., Swartwout's successor Jesse Hoyt]! hide between my legs! . . . hide Ogden! run Phillips! fly Fleming! come Gratiot! Hawk Boydy! . . . Linn! Scud Harris! Fly Spencer! Drop gold & run all! come under! . . .I'll cover you!"

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