Skip to main content

Death of Harrison

William Henry Harrison
Henry R. Robinson, active c. 1833 - 1851
John Jordan Crittenden, 10 Sep 1787 - 26 Jul 1863
Pike Harrison, active c. 1841
John Bell, 18 Feb 1796 - 10 Sep 1869
Henry Harrison, active c. 1841
N. W. Worthington, active c. 1841
Francis Granger, 1 Dec 1792 - 31 Aug 1868
Thomas Ewing, 28 Dec 1789 - 26 Oct 1871
Daniel Webster, 18 Jan 1782 - 24 Oct 1852
Jane Irwin Harrison, 1804 - 1847
William Henry Harrison, 9 Feb 1773 - 4 Apr 1841
Nathaniel Pitcher Tallmadge, 8 Feb 1795 - 2 Nov 1864
Anna Tuthill Harrison Taylor, 1813 - ?
Hand-colored lithograph
Image: 22.9 x 33.5cm (9 x 13 3/16")
Mat: 40.6 x 55.9cm (16 x 22")
Credit Line
National Portrait Gallery, Smithsonian Institution
Object number
Exhibition Label
Born Berkeley, James City County, Virginia
This deathbed scene, a format popular in the mid-nineteenth century, marks the passing of President William Henry Harrison, who caught pneumonia while giving a long inaugural address in bad weather. The words written on the paper—"Sir I wish you to understand the true principles of government. I wish them carried out. I ask nothing more"—were reputedly Harrison’s final instructions to Vice President John Tyler. In office only a month, the Whig Party’s Harrison had alienated the most powerful Whig in the Senate, Henry Clay, by selecting Clay’s rival, Daniel Webster, to be secretary of state. Harrison had quickly called Congress into session to consider a number of Whig proposals, but Clay, determined to dominate from the Senate, never acted on them. On assuming the presidency, Tyler, a Democrat from Virginia chosen as Harrison’s running mate to win southern support, opposed Harrison’s program. (Interestingly, neither Clay nor Tyler are depicted here.)
Data Source
National Portrait Gallery
See more items in
National Portrait Gallery Collection