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 9 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 9 of 9)
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Affairs, which before his time had been customarily paid. For
his services as commander of the expedition to Tippecanoe, he
never asked nor received any compensation! And subse-
quently, when in command of our north-western army, though
he lived as frugally and fared as hardly as any of his fellow-
citizens in the ranks, yet, at his own expense, he purchased
clothing and necessary comforts for his sick and wounded sol-
diers, until he not only exhausted his pay as commander-in-
chief, but seriously encroached too on his own private means.
He therefore retired without the spoils of office, and with only
a competency barely sufficient for his support; but rich in what
he esteemed of far greater value — in a reputation undimmed
by a single stain, and in the honour and respect of all his

We cannot refrain here from alluding to a circumstance which
evinces the peculiar delicacy and honour which have always
swayed General Harrison in his pecuniary transactions. A few


years ago, it was ascertained that a large tract of land near
Cincinnati, which had been sold some time before for a mere
trifle, under an execution against the original proprietor, could
not be held by the titles derived from the purchasers, on account
of some irregularity in the proceedings. The legal title was in
General Harrison and another gentleman, who were the heirs
at law. This tract of land was exceedingly valuable, and would
have constituted a princely estate for both these heirs, had they
chosen to insist on their legal rights : or they might have made
some amicable arrangement with the purchasers, to which they
would gladly have assented, and have retained at least one half
of this property, by giving up the remainder. But General
Harrison had never yet suffered his interest to blind his true
sense of justice and high-minded honour, nor did he in this
instance. On being informed of the situation of this property,
he obtained the assent of his co-heir, and immediately executed
deeds in fee simple to the purchasers, without claiming any
consideration except the trifling difference between the actual
value of the land when sold and the amount paid at the
sheriff's sale. There were in this tract, too, twelve acres of
General Harrison's private property by donation from his
father-in-law, which had been improperly included in the sale,
and which he might have retained both legally and equitably;
but such was his nice sense of honour and scrupulous regard
for the rights of others, that he suffered even these twelve acres
to be included in the deed given to the purchasers. This por-
tion of the land thus relinquished by General Harrison, is now
worth more than one hundred thousand dollars !

In person, General Harrison is tall and slender ; his features
are irregular, but bold and strongly marked; his eyes are dark,
keen and penetrating ; his forehead is high and expansive ; his
mouth peculiarly denotes firmness and genius; and the expres-
sion of his countenance is highly indicative of intelligence and
benevolence of character. From early manhood he has never
had the appearance of possessing a robust constitution ; but
from the activity and temperate habits of his past life, few men
at his age, enjoy their moral and physical energies in such
remarkable vigour. His manners are plain, frank and unas-
suming; and his disposition is cheerful, kind and generous,
12 h2


almost to a fault. In his private intercourse, he is beloved and
esteemed by all who know him. In the various civil and mili-
tary offices he has held, he has always been jnoderate and for-
bearing, yet firm and true to his trust. No other commander
has ever been more popular with our militia, and the true
secret cannot be better explained than by his own reply, when
asked how he had gained this influence: " By treating them,"
said he, "with affection and kindness; by always recollecting
that they were my fellow-citizens, whose feelings I was bound
to respect ; and by sharing with them, on every occasion, the
hardships which they were obliged to undergo."

His suavity of manners, his generosity and kindness of heart,
invariably won him the warm affections of those who were
placed under his authority, while his moderation, his disinte-
restedness, his scrupulous attention to the public interests, and
the wisdom with which he exercised the extensive powers
intrusted to him, commanded the respect and confidence of his

General Harrison is likewise strictly and truly a pious man.
Though he has always been noted for his particular attention
to public worship and Christian offices, yet religion with him
has not been a Sabbath-day garment only, but rather an every-
day familiar habit — not a mere sense of incumbent duty, but
a warm and spontaneous feeling, kindled into life in his early
youth, and forming the hope and firm reliance of his manhood
and declining years. The writer of a biographical notice of
him, declares that he deems it no betrayal of confidence to say,
that he has more than once, on entering at daybreak the cham-
ber of General Harrison, found him on his knees at his bedside,
absorbed in his devotions to his Maker, when he could not
have supposed that any eye save that of his God was resting
on him.

In the republican institutions of our country, birth and
parentage are comparatively of very little importance ; and no
candidate for public favour can found thereon the slightest
claim to the respect or the support of his fellow-citizens. We
have happily shaken off the thralling prejudices of the old
Avorld, and a title to office and honourable distinction is not with
us hereditary ; but every man must earn his own good name, and


his claim on the favour of the people by his own good deeds.
Yet aware, as every one must be, of the powerful influence of
early education, it is worthy of remark, as well as gratifying:
to know, that a candidate for public office, in whom we feel an
interest, passed all the early years of his life with the brightest
examples of virtue constantly before him ; and under the
tuition of illustrious patriots, whose memory is revered by
every true-hearted American. It is pleasing to be assured,
that his first political sentiments were imbibed in a school of
the purest republican principles. And when we trace up the
career of this remarkable man, from the spring-time of his
youth, to the summer of his manhood, and to the early autumn
of his years, and see those principles closely adhered to through-
out, we can scarcely resist the conviction, that his future course
will be consistent with the past; and that, with matured abili-
ties, he will still b.e more conspicuous for his republican prin-
ciples, his moderation in office, his firm integrity, and his
extended and enlightened views as a statesman. Such were
the early advantages of William Henry Harrison ; such has
been his course thus far through life ; and such is now the
bright promise, to a realization of which we may safely look
forward, should the people see fit to place him in office.

The principles that would govern General Harrison, should
he be elected to the Presidency, may be known by the following
extracts from a letter addressed by him to the Hon. Harmar
Denny, on the 2d of December, 1S3S.

" Among the principles proper to be adopted by any Executive sincerely desirous
to restore the administration to its original simplicity and purity, I deem the following
to be of prominent importance.



the exception of such part of it as may be appropriated by law to carry on the
public services, and that to be applied precisely as the law may direct, and drawn
from the treasury agreeably to the long established forms of that department.

"III. That he should never attempt to influence the elections either
by tlie People or the State Legislatures, nor suffer the Federal officers under his
control, to take any. other part in them than by giving their own votes when they
possess the right of voting.

" IV. That in the exercise of the veto power, he should limit his rejection of
bills to i 1st. Sueh as are in his opinion unconstitutional. 2d. Such as tend to
encroach on the rights of Stales or individuals. 3d. Such as, involving deep


interests, may in his opinion require more mature deliberation or reference to the
will of the people, to be ascertained at the succeeding elections.

" V. That he should never suffer the influence of his name to be used for pur-
poses of a purely party character.

"VI. That in removals from office of those who hold their appointments
during the pleasure of the executive, the cause of such removal should be stated,
if requested, to the Senate, at the time the nomination of a successor is made.

"And last, but not least in importance,

" VII. That he should not suffer the Executive department of the government
to become the source of Legislation ; but leave the whole business of making laws
for the Union to the department to which the Constitution has exclusively assigned
it, until they have assumed that perfected shape, where and when alone the opinions
of the Executive may be heard."

Our coufined limits restrain us from making more liberal
extracts from this admirable letter, the noble and purely repub-
lican sentiments of which, together with its plain yet manly and
vigorous language, forcibly remind us of the invaluable writings
of our revered Washington.

The friends of General Harrison found no especial claim on
his military services. His friends would scorn, as much as
he would, any attempt to dazzle a single one of their fellow-
citizens by the glory of his military renown, brilliant though it
be. They would point rather to his numerous civil services, in
the forty years he has devoted to his country; to the various
and important offices he has so ably filled, — in the territorial
governments, in the Legislature of his own state, and in the
House of Representatives and Senate of the United States;
and to the high order of abilities displayed in his speeches in
Congress, in his public acts, and in his voluminous public cor-
respondence. And we here take occasion to say, that all his
letters and public papers have been exclusively written by him-
self; and that so far from his having called in the mental aid
of another to prepare his messages and despatches, as some of
our distinguished men have condescended to do, he has never
even employed an amanuensis to perform the manual labour
of his correspondence. His ruling principles through life appear
to have been, an ardent love for his country and an earnest
desire to serve her best interests ; with a devotion to the pure
republican maxims of the Revolution, always unwavering and
consistent : unlike the scheming politicians of a more modern







009 841 678 A

fcerjolution passed by the Legislature pf Kentucky: -■■ Resolved, that in the late cj
again&i the Indians on the Wabash, Governor }f r . If, Harrison has, in the opiriiorj
Legislature, behaved like a Her", a Pal-riot, and a (r.ner'!i; and that for his coo!, dt
skilful andgallant conduct in the late battle of Tip pecans, he deserves the v
of the nation."

The gallant Cohu.vl Daviess, vho fell at Tippec;.noe, thus speaks of General liar:]
letter written a short time before the battle: — " I .nake free to declare that I have
there were two military men in 'tie West, and General Harrison is the first of the t\|

A letter was addressed to General Harrison by he immortal Perry, about the lir
appointment of the former, to t % command, from which we make the Following ej
"You know what has been 1113' opinion as to the future uc >■ -ander-in c'.ief of the
pride myself not a little, I assm j you, on seeing n.y predictions so neai being verif
my dear friend, I expect soon t hail y^u as the diief who is to redeem the honoj
arms in the North/'

In a letter addressed to G m d Harrison by Colonel Richard M. Johnson, dated
1813, assigning the reasons which influenced him a id the brave Kentuckians under!
mand, to join the ar>\y o f " General Harrison, we find the following remarks: — "'][
objects induced us to vc .ie; firs., to be at the rega ; m,ng of our own territory and Dc
at the taking of Maiden ; and sec >ndly, to serve under an officer in whom we have cd
We would not have engaged in tire service without such a prospect — we did noJ
serve under drunkards, old grann es, cowards, nor traitors, but under one (General
who had proved himself »- ' ; r i ■>,, prudent, and brave."

Thomas Ritchie, the able edit r of <he Richm >a J Inquirer^ remarked; — "Gonj
rison's detailed letter tells us of e\\ r y thing wo wish to knov. about the oineers e>
self. He does justice to every one but to Harriso:i, the world mus. therefore do jusj
man who was too modi ' to bejusi '<> h'. i&elfi"

We cannot betto illusti its the < stimate of (General Harrison, formed by one
him well, having served under him in several campaigns, than by making the
extract from a speech delivered in the House of Representatives of the United Staj
2d, 1831, by the. Hon. Richard PL Johnson, of Kentucky, now Vice-President, on
the relief of .T. C. Harrison — d." eased :-—• One of the securities is General Win.
son — and who is General Harmon ] The son of one of the Signers of the l>c<
Independence, who spent the •• ater part of his large fortune in redeeming the J
then gave of 'his fortune, life, aul sacred honour,' to secure the liberty of 'bis couj

"Of the career of General Harrison I need not speak — the history- of the V\|
history. For forty years he has been, identified with its interests, its perils, „ndl
Universally belov d in tl'.e' walks of peace, and distinguished by bis ability in tl
of his country, he has Been yet more illustriously distinguished in the field,

"During the la„e war iie was longer in active service thin any other general]
w r as perfiaps oftener in action than any one of them, and never sustained a defeat.

When General Harrison was asked by a fellt w-officer how he managed to j

over his. troops which he possessed, he answertv :— " By treating them with afj
kindness, — by always re. 1 Meeting that they we How-citizens, whose fees

bound to respect, and sharing, .a every occai be hardships they were"

undergo.' \

Hon. Langdon Cheves, of South Carolina, said \the floor of Congress : — '
c: Harrison was such as would have secured to a ^man general, in the best!
"public, the. honours of a triumph. He put an end to the war in the uppermost j

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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 9 of 9)