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George Upfold.

The life of Major-General William Henry Harrison: comprising a brief account of his important civil and military services, and an accurate description of the council at Vincennes with Tecumseh, as well as the victories of Tippecanoe, Fort Meigs and the Thames online

. (page 1 of 9)
Online LibraryGeorge UpfoldThe life of Major-General William Henry Harrison: comprising a brief account of his important civil and military services, and an accurate description of the council at Vincennes with Tecumseh, as well as the victories of Tippecanoe, Fort Meigs and the Thames → online text (page 1 of 9)
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THE LIFE



OF



MAJOR-GEJVERAL,



— "T



MIAM HENRY HARRISON,



COMPRISING A BRIEF ACCOUNT




OF HIS



IMPORTANT CIVIL AND MILITARY SERVICES,



AM) AN



ACCURATE DESCriPTION



OF THE



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WELT, AS THE ..

ICTORIES OF TlfPPECANOE, FORT MEIGS,
AND VhE THAMES.



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PHILaDP^LPHIA:

GRIGG & ELLIOT, 9 NORTH FOURTH ST.

and t. k. & p. g. Collins, No. i lodge alley.

1840.






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THE LIFE



OF



MAJOR-GENERAL.



WILLIAM HENRY HARRISON:



COMPRISING A BRIEF ACCOUNT



OF HIS



IMPORTANT CIVIL AND MILITARY SERVICES,



AND AN



ACCURATE DESCRIPTION



OF THE



<£outtcU at «tfncemtt* toUh STecumseft,



AS WELL AS THE



VICTORIES OF TIPPECANOE, FORT MEIGS AND THE THAMES.



PHILADELPHIA:

PUBLISHED BY

GRIGG & ELLIOT, 9 NORTH FOURTH ST.
AND T. K. & P. G. COLLINS, No. 1 LODGE ALLEY.

1840.



.L.^32



Entered according to Act of Congress, in the year 1S40, by

T. K. & P. G. Collins,

in the Office of the Clerk of the District Court of ths Eastern District
of Pennsylvania.






STEREOTYPED BV L. JOHNSON.



PRINTED BY T. K. & P. G. COLLINS, PHILADELPHIA.



LIFE OF

GENERAL WILLIAM HENRY HARRISON.



CHAPTER I.



Sketch of the Life of the Father of Harrison — Services in the House of Burgesses —
Takes a decided part with the Whigs in the American Revolution — Elected a
member of the Continental Congress — Anecdote — Important services in Congress
— Calls up Resolutions declaring America independent — Reports and signs De-
claration of Independence — Revolutionary anecdote — Birth of William Henry
Harrison — Educated by the immortal Morris, the Financier of the Revolution, and
Dr. Rush, both Signers of the Declaration of Independence — Determines to enter the
Army, then struggling with the Indians on the Frontier — Commissioned by Wash-
ington — Hardships and dangers of the Service — Defeat of St. Clair — Appointment
of Wayne — Victory — Gallantry of Harrison elicits the admiration and praise of
Wayne — Victory of Maumee Rapids — Harrison again distinguished, and again
publicly complimented by his Commander — Peace with the Indians— Harrison
promoted — Appointed to the command of Fort Washington.

William Henry Harrison was born in Virginia, on the 9th
day of February, 1773, at Berkley on the James River, about
twenty-five miles below Richmond. He was the third son of
Benjamin Harrison, one of the signers of the Declaration of
Independence, and subsequently Governor of Virginia. Benja-
min Harrison* was one of the earliest and most conspicuous
patriots, and the most active, devoted, and fearless political
leaders of the Revolution. His services during and after that
eventful period, were inferior in importance to those of but few
of his compatriots. Before he had attained his twenty-first year,
he was elected to represent his native county in the House

* The facts connected with the life of Benjamin Harrison are taken from Sander
son's " Lives of the Signers of the Declaration of Independence." Vide Life of
Benjamin Harrison.

3



4 THE LIFE OF

of Burgesses, of Virginia. This he did with so much ability
and effect, as to attract immediately the attention of the British
government. In order to rid themselves of the opposition of
one who had already proved himself a stanch and powerful
friend of the People, they proposed to introduce him, notwith-
standing his immature age, into the Executive Council of the
State — a body corresponding in character with the English
Privy Council.

The oppression of the King of Great Britain having been
already felt throughout the colonies, this proposal, notwith-
standing its advantages, was promptly rejected, and Mr. Har-
rison TOOK SIDES WITH THE PEOrLE IN THE APPROACHING
STRUGGLE BETWEEN THEM AND THE CROWN.

On the 14th of November, 1764, he was one of the commit-
tee to prepare a remonstrance against the odious Stamp Act,
which the British Cabinet at that time contemplated. From
this time forward, in company with such men as Lee, Henry,
Nichols, and others, his whole energies were directed towards
a vindication of the rights of the People against the
encroachments of the Crown.

He was a member of the first Continental Congress, which
assembled in Philadelphia on the 5th of September, 1774. It is
well known that the proceedings of this body were conciliatory
and pacific in their character. They adopted an address to the
Crown, and resolved to await quietly its effect.

In the year 1775, Mr. Harrison again appeared as a delegate
from Virginia, in the Continental Congress.

Shortly after Congress had met, the chair, which had been
before occupied by Mr. Harrison's brother-in-law, Peyton Ran-
dolph, became vacant. Congress was divided in the choice of
his successor, between Mr. Harrison and the patriotic John Han-
cock. Mr. Harrison promptly yielded to Mr. Hancock ; and
when the latter, through distrust in his experience and capacity
to discharge the duties of a sit nation so trying, for a moment
hesitated to take the chair, Mr. Harrison, with practical good
humour, " seized the modest candidate in his athletic arms, and
placed him in the presidential chair ;" then turning to the
members, he exclaimed, " We will show Mother Britain

HOW LITTLE WE CARE FOR HER, BY MAKING A MASSACHUSETTS



GENERAL HARRISON. 5

man our President, whom she has excluded from pardon



Br a public proclamation."



On the 4th of June, this year, Mr. Harrison was appointed on
a committee to place America in a state of defence ; and, after
a month's deliberation, the committee made a report, which
formed the basis of the present militia system of the United
States. In September of this year, he was one of a committee
who, in conjunction with the immortal Washington, arranged
a plan for the future support of the army. He was the Chair-
man of the committee through whose agency the gallant La-
fayette and his companions were induced to enter into the
struggle for independence ; and shortly after, he was appointed
a member of the Board of War.

On the 10th of June, 1776, Harrison called up the resolutions
by which the colonies were declared independent, and which
authorized a Declaration of Independence to be prepared ;
and on the ever memorable 4th of July, 1776, he reported
that instrument, (our present glorious Declaration of Independ-
ence,) as having received the approbation of Congress. His

NAME WILL BE FOUND AFFIXED TO IT, AMONG THOSE OF THE
OTHER DELEGATES FROM VlBGINIA.

A curious anecdote is on record, illustrative of the cheerful
temper and intrepidity of the man whom we thus find iden-
tified with every turn in the fortunes of his country ; at a
period when that country was convulsed by a struggle in
which all its rights and very existence were involved. Elbridgc
Gerry, a delegate from Massachusetts, as slender and spare as
Mr. Harrison was vigorous and portly, stood beside Har-
rison, whilst signing the Declaration. Harrison turned round
to him with a smile, as he raised his hand from the paper, and
said, " When the hanging scene comes to be exhibited, I shall
have all the advantage over you. It will be over with me in a
minute, but you will be kicking in the air half an hour after I
am gone."

Mr. Harrison continued in Congress until the year 1778,
when he retired, and afterwards filled some of the most im-
portant offices in his native state. In the year 17S2, on the
resignation of Mr. Nelson, he was elected Governor of Virginia,
and was afterwards re-elected until he became constitutionally

A2



6 THE LIFE OF

ineligible. He continued to serve his country until the year
1791. This year he was unanimously elected to the Legisla-
ture. The day following he died, full of years and full of
honour.

William Henry Harrison, as we have before stated, was
born on the ninth of February, in the year 1773.* His youth,
when impressions are the deepest and most indelible, was
passed amid the scenes and patriots of our glorious Revolution;
and it was then and there that he imbibed that devotion to free-
dom and his country, which has since ranked his name among
the most illustrious of America's champions. His father died
before he had attained his seventeenth year, leaving him no in-
heritance but an untarnished name and a virtuous example.
Whilst he has imitated the latter, he has added resplendent
lustre to the former.

The care of his education, which had been commenced at
Hampden Sydney College, was committed to his guardian, the
illustrious Robert Morris, a signer of the Declaration of Inde-
pendence, the financier of the Revolution, and one of his
father's most intimate friends. Of the patriots of '76, no one
(Washington alone excepted) made sacrifices so great, or effected
so much for his country, as Robert Morris. He fed our famished
soldiers out of his private purse ; and at the darkest era of the
contest, saved the cause of liberty from impending destruction.
Such was the patriot sage who contributed to form the mind
of Harrison. From him was received, by example and precept,
inculcations of that love of liberty, courage, devotedness and
patriotism, which have ever characterized the latter. Under the
guardianship of the illustrious Morris, and the instruction of
the distinguished Dr. Benjamin Rush, also a signer of the De-
claration of Independence, Harrison commenced the study of
medicine in Philadelphia, which he prosecuted until he arrived
at his nineteenth year. At this early period in life, with a dis-
interested and ardent devotion, for which history has few pa-
rallels, he determined to abandon the peaceful walks of science,
and cast his fortunes with the army of his country, at that time



* See Hall's " Memoir of the Public Services of William Henry Harrison," for
these facts.



GENERAL HARRISON. 7

warmly engaged in defending our frontier from the invasion of
the Indians. His wishes were opposed, not only by Mr. Morris,
but by his other friends ; and finding it in vain to solicit their
interposition, and resolved to devote his life to the cause of his
bleeding country, he applied in person to the Immortal Wash-
ington. The Father of his Country, seeing in young Harrison
the germ of future greatness, cheerfully complied with his re-
quest, and in November, 1791, when but nineteen years of age,
conferred on him the rank of Ensign in the United States army.
Immediately on receiving his commission, he repaired to the
west, and joined his regiment then stationed at Fort Washing-
ton, shortly after the defeat of the gallant but ill-starred St. Clair.

The first tour of du-ty he performed, was in the succeeding
winter, when he marched through sleet and snow at the head
of his detachment, with his knapsack on his back, to the fatal
battle-field of St. Clair, to inter the bones of the slain !

It will hardly be imagined that this transition from the full
enjoyment of the comforts and luxuries of a city life, to a win-
ter's campaign against a savage foe, amid the pathless wilder-
ness of the western frontier, could be accomplished without
great sacrifice of ease and imminent jeopardy of life. How
few are there, at this day, of the pampered sons of fortune re-
siding in our great cities, who would willingly encounter the
same hardships and privations for the piotection of their de-
fenceless countrymen from the fire-brand, the tomanawk, and
scalping-knife of the savage ! The youthful Harrison had been
accustomed to live amidst the most refined society ; his only
employment had been the pursuit of knowledge. He aban-
doned the former for the rude fare of a frontier camp, and ex-
changed his books for the sword.

No period of our history has been more gloomy than that
in which Harrison joined the army. The British, in defiance
of the treaty of peace, still held possession of some of cur
most important frontier posts. Among others, Detroit, Niagara,
and Mackinaw were still in their hands. From these, the
agents of the British Government supplied the hostile Indians
along our border, with the munitions of war, and continually
stirred them up to the massacre of the defenceless white popu-
lation. There appeared to be no security but in the rifle. The



8 THE LIFE OF

hatchet was unburied, and the calumet of peace extinguished.
The population of the west, scattered over an immense extent
of country, which rendered intercourse difficult, and mutual
aid impossible, fell, one by one, bleeding victims of savage
ferocity.

Things had remained in this state, with little intermission,
since the treaty of peace.

At the period spoken of, the contest had assumed an aspect
of appalling importance. The various savage tribes had con-
solidated their forces, under the justly renowned chief, Little
Turtle, into a confederacy so formidable, as to call forth the
utmost energies of the government, to protect the frontier in-
habitants from indiscriminate slaughter. The spirit of the
hardy yeomen of the west, promptly responsive to every call,
and equal to every danger, began to shrink beneath continued
defeat. To die by the tomahawk or scalping knife, had been
the lot of all who had gone forth : no wonder then that the
hardiest avoided a war, in which victory brought no laurels*
and defeat came accompanied by death, prolonged by all the
ingenuity of savage torture.

Such was the field into which young Harrison entered at
nineteen years of age, in obedience to the dictates of patriotic
duty ; we say patriotic duty, for to no other motive can we
ascribe the voluntary sacrifices which he made.

Those who served on the frontiers, fought for their homes ;
to protect their families whilst living, or avenge them when
dead. Those who commanded had already acquired laurels
in the field, which were to be increased or withered by the con-
flict. Harrison had neither family nor possessions on the fron-
tier. He had no laurels to guard. Did he seek wealth? The
wilderness has seldom offered it to the soldier. Fame ? A
juvenile subaltern's portion is small indeed, and held by a pre-
carious tenure. Ease? The home and friends he had left
were a paradise to the camp of Auglaise. Safety ? It h
never been found beneath the reeking tomahawk and scalping
knife of a merciless foe. For him at least, the war was one
against hope : a bosom fired with less patriotism had never en-
tered it. The spirit which impelled him to this sacrifice on the
altar of his country's good, will be found to pervade his whole



- *



GENERAL HARRISON. 9

life. He has never been betrayed into selfishness or sednced
into weakness.

The crisis to which we have alluded, was one worthy the
sagacity of the great Father op his Country. In his choice
of a commander whose genius could master these difficulties,
he balanced, for a while, between George Rogers Clarke and
the renowned Anthony Wayne ; and, at length, decided to
appoint the latter. Early in the year 1792, General Wayne
arrived at the seat of war and assumed the command. The
United States Legion, as Wayne's army was called under the
new organization after St. Clair's defeat, was at this time alike
destitute of confidence in themselves, skill in the use of their
weapons, and knowledge of their foe. He revived their con-
fidence, drilled them in rifle shooting, and instructed them in
the artifices of the enemy. About this time Harrison was pro-
moted by General Washington, to a lieutenancy, and shortly
after joined Wayne's Legion. His fearlessness and energy,
with his strict attention to discipline, soon attracted the notice
of his commander, himself a bold and daring soldier and a
rigid disciplinarian, and General, Wayne, not long after his
arrival, selected him as one of his aides-de-camp. It is thus
seen at how early an age, and in what trying scenes, young
Harrison was thought worthy of honourable distinction, and
how soon too he drew upon himself the attention and especial
notice of a man and a soldier like Wayne, whose well known
independence of character was such, that no influence save
that of intrinsic merit was ever known to prevail with him,
and whose daring, and almost reckless intrepidity, had won for
him in our Revolutionary war, the peculiar appellation of "Mad
Anthony." At one period, during the darkest hour of the
Revolution, he proposed to General Washington that a limited
number of men be selected from the British and American ar-
mies — that the command of the Americans should be given to
him, and let the contest between the two nations be thus decided.
Though Washington had the greatest admiration for his bold-
ness and military skill, and Wayne expressed the utmost con-
fidence in the result — and no doubt would have gained an easy
victory — the Father of his Country regarded the hazard too
2



10 THELIFEOF

great to submit the vast interests of America to a pitched battle
or single contest.

Lieutenant Harrison acted as aid to General Wayne, during
the whole of the ensuing campaigns, and his bravery and gal-
lant conduct throughout were such, that he was repeatedly
officially noticed by his commander in terms of the highest
encomium.

The war was conducted by Wayne, with all the cool daring
of a veteran soldier, and the sagacity of a prudent general.
Negotiations with the Indians failing, he had recourse to mili-
tary operations; and, on the 23d of December, a small de-
tachment of infantry and artillery were ordered to re-possess
themselves of the field of battle of the 4th of November,
1791, the scene of St. Clair's defeat. After a sharp conflict it
was done ; and in a general order, issued after the battle, the
gallant Wayne, publicly tendered his thanks to Lieu-
tenant Harrison, for the Courage and Good Conduct ma-
nifested by him during the contest.* If any thing could inflame
the passions of a young soldier, it must be such a notice, by
such an officer, as the patriotic and chivalrous Wayne.

This action, in which Harrison bore so distinguished a part,
turned the tide of war against the foe. In the July following,
Wayne moved into the heart of the Indian country, and took
up a position at Grand Glaise. The Little Turtle here urged
his red brethren to accept the terms offered by General Wayne.
They however rejected them, and the two armies immediately
encountered each other in battle, on the 20th of August, 1794, at
the Maumee Rapids. A bloody and desperate conflict ensued.
Harrison was by turns in every part of the field ; and such
was his bravery, that the commander, in his general orders, a
second time thanked his "faithful and gallant Aid-de-
camp, Lieutenant Harrison, for having rendered the
most essential service, by communicating his orders in
every direction, and by his conduct and bravery encou-
RAGING THE TROOPS TO PRESS FOR VICTORY." Had not his

whole career — a career marked with uniform success, and



* Hall's Memoir, page 87.



GENERAL HARRISON. H

abounding in instances of unexampled heroism — attested the
energy and dauntless intrepidity of Harrison's character, such
testimony would, of itself, be conclusive.

Thus do we find Harrison, a second time the theme of
eulogy with a commander who rarely praised at all, and never
but when it was deserved. He had hardly arrived at the age
of twenty-one years ; but whilst yet a boy he had performed
deeds of daring, and earned, with his sword, a distinction which
few attain throughout a long life. By the sequel it will be
found that the laurels thus acquired, were never suffered to
fade.

The fruit of this victory, so decisive in its character, was the
conclusion of a treaty of peace with all the hostile Indians, on
the 1st of January, 1795, at Greenville, on such terms as our
victorious commander dictated. Harrison took an active part,
under the direction of Wayne, in the formation of this important
treaty. The savages had learned the power of our government
to punish ; they had also been taught the inability of Great
Britain to protect them.

On the conclusion of this treaty, Harrison, now promoted to
the rank of Captain, by the sagacious Wayne, was intrusted
with the command of Fort Washington — a station of more
consequence than any other on the western frontier — and the
management of the public property, chiefly collected at that
post, in charge of which he continued until the death of Gene-
ral Wayne.*



* Hall's Memoir, page 54.



12 THE LIFE OF



CHAPTER II.

Marriage of Harrison — Anecdote — Resigns his Commission — Is appointed by Wash-
ington Secretary of the Northwestern Territory — His well earned popularity — Is
elected Delegate to Congress at the early age of twenty-five — His patriotic course
in dividing the public Lands — Important resuits of that measure — Gratitude of the
West — The People apply for his appointment as Governor of the Northwester!*
Territory — He declines from patriotic motives — Is appointed Governor of Indiana —
Unbounded power of the office — UnexceptionaMy exercised by Harrison — Illus-
tration of his republican purity — Treaties with the Indians — Tecumseh and the
Prophet — Council at Vincennes — Notice of Tecumseh — Decision and gallantry
of Harrison.

While in command of Fort Washington, which occupied
the present site of the city of Cincinnati, Captain Harrison
married the daughter of John Cleves Symmes, the celebrated
founder of the Miami settlements — a lady whose estimable
social and domestic virtues have endeared her to a large circle
of friends. An anecdote is related of his marriage, which illus-
trates the admirable self-reliance that has ever characterized
Harrison, and the entire absence of the advantages of fortune
with which he entered the busy scenes of life. On applying to
Mr. Symmes for his consent to the marriage of his daughter,
Harrison was asked what were his resources for maintaining a
wife. Placing his hand upon his sword, he replied, " This, sir,
is my means of support !" It is hardly necessary to add, that
Mr. Symmes was so much delighted with the daring chivalry
and undaunted confidence of the young soldier, as at once to
yield him an unqualified assent to his proposal of marriage.

Anthony Wayne died in the year 1797. Immediately after
this event, there being no prospect of further hostilities, Captain
Harrison left the army and retired to his farm. In this step he
exhibited the same regard for the best interest of his country,
which has ever distinguished the career of this great and good
man. He had encountered her enemies and had subdued them;
and although his services, acknowledged and applauded by all,
gave him the strongest claim on her for support, and fully justi-
fied his retaining a situation under her, equal to his mainte



GENERAL HARRISON. 13

nance, yet he refused to occupy that station one hour after it
had become a sinecure. He was unwilling to be paid

WHEN HE RENDERED NO SERVICE, OR NOT AN ADEQUATE ONE.

As a reward for his fidelity, the immortal Washington

APPOINTED HIM SECRETARY OF THE NORTHWESTERN TERRI-
TORY, and ear officio Lieutenant Governor. Let it be borne
in mind, that at this period he was only twenty-four years old.
Yet, at this early age, his mer*it, and merit alone, secured
him a place in the confidence of that wise and virtuous man,
which at this day thousands would regard as an ample recom-
pense for a life of labour. Washington, the wise and revered
Washington,* made the appointment. If any are disposed to
doubt the propriety of conferring this high honour upon one so
young, they must first call in question the soundness of judg-
ment, or purity of heart, of the Father of his Country. Har-
rison possessed the merit to attract the attention of Washington,
and Washington had the discernment to perceive, and the justice
to reward it.

In this situation, Harrison mingled with the people in all the
varied tasks, toils, and amusements which characterize frontier
life. In their company he wielded the axe; with them he held
the stilts of the plough, or scattered the seed over the bosom of
the virgin soil ; with them he shouldered his rifle to expel the
howling panther, or to guard them against the subtle Indian.
The farmer, the trader, and the hunter, were his companions.
In the school of experience he learned their wants; in the same
school they had been taught to look to him for relief. His


1 3 4 5 6 7 8 9

Online LibraryGeorge UpfoldThe life of Major-General William Henry Harrison: comprising a brief account of his important civil and military services, and an accurate description of the council at Vincennes with Tecumseh, as well as the victories of Tippecanoe, Fort Meigs and the Thames → online text (page 1 of 9)