William Henry Harrison died suddenly a month after his inauguration, serving as a reminder to readers of Robert Merry’s Museum that death can occur unexpectedly.

“Death of the President” (from Robert Merry’s Museum, April 1841; pp. 127-128)

William Henry Harrison, who became President of the United States on the 4th of March last, died on the night of the 4th of April, just thirty days after he had entered upon the duties of his high office.

This event is calculated to cast a gloom over the whole nation, for Gen. Harrison was generally esteemed a good man, and most persons believed that he would govern the country in a manner to promote the happiness of the people. He had lived to be almost seventy years of age; and now, being elevated to the highest

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office in the gift of the people, he is suddenly cut down, and laid in the same dust that must cover ordinary men. This dispensation of Providence seems almost like quenching a great beacon-light upon the sea-shore at night, just at the moment when its illumination had begun to scatter the darkness around.

A solemn thought is suggested by this event. Gen. Harrison has lived a long life, and has often been in the midst of seeming peril. He has often been in battle with savages and with the British soldiery. He has often trodden the forest amid all the dangers and vicissitudes that beset the traveller there. He has spent many days of toil in the field, laboring as a farmer. In all these situations and conditions—from youth to age—he has enjoyed the protecting care of Providence. But at last he was elevated to a great office; he became the occupant of a palace; he was the hope of a great nation; he was surrounded with friends, with mighty men, with skilful physicians, with tender nurses—with the great, the good, the prayerful—but all in vain. His time had come—the arrow was sped from the bow, and no human arm could stay its flight. And this should warn us all to consider well the lesson conveyed by this event—which is, that life and death are in the hands of God. He can protect us everywhere—in the cottage or the log-cabin, in the forest or the field, or he can take us away in the midst of power and pomp and riches. Let us therefore be ever prepared for the decisions of his wisdom.

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