NEW YORK — A new biography hitting bookstore shelves on Friday paints a dim portrait of President William Henry Harrison.
According to the book, “The Do-Nothing President,” Harrison – who died in 1841 after only 31 days in office – was the most “unaccomplished Chief Executive our country has ever known.”
In a scathing account, author John C. Peacock, an advisor to President Harrison who was fired after only 17 days on the job, portrays our country’s ninth president as a man who took office and then did nothing.
“He came up with one excuse after another,” writes Peacock. “At the conclusion of his presidency Americans felt as if they had been cheated out of an entire month.”
“Oh, I’m sick, I’m dying,” Harrison is quoted as saying throughout the first seven chapters of the eight chapter book. “The phlegm swells within my chest. I shouldn’t have given that two-hour inauguration speech in the rain. Ouch those leeches hurt.”
Such orations, in the eyes of the author, portray a president woefully unable – at times, unwilling — to do anything.
According to Peacock, in 31 days the country went from being excited over the promise of a new presidency, to “awash with horror at the lack of presidential things done.”
Had he lived to see the second month of his presidency, Peacock conjectures that President Harrison would quite possibly have “slowed the country down to an absolute standstill.” Had he survived longer, perhaps into the second or third year of his term, Peacock says he would have hunted him down and shot him, himself, out of “sheer boredom.”
Arthur Bellum, president of the Whig National Convention, called the book overtly political, saying it was written by a “disgruntled insider with a giant chip on his shoulder and zero credibility.”
“I don’t see what the author could possibly gain by demonizing our party’s greatest president,” said Bellum, who died in 1842, “except to try to hurt the WNC’s chances in the 1844 elections.”
Peacock, who died in 1857, was unavailable for comment.