AbstractLetter by Joseph Ritner, Washington County, January 17, 1835, to William Ayers, H. Representatives, Harrisburg, Penn. The letter is three pages and, in part, concerns the service of Gen. William Henry Harrison during the War of 1812. Ritner writes that “I have noticed some of the proceedings in regard to Genl Harrison at Harrisburg. There is certainly no man in the Union, of whom I have any knowledge, who deserves more from his country. I served a six month tour under him in the winter of 1812-13, no General ever paid more attention to his duty, nor evinced more deep concern for the health, and comfort of the troops under his command than Genl. Harrison. No. Genl. during the late war with England performed the duties assigned him more faithfully, nor with better success. He failed in nothing. He was successful in all the undertakings which he had the power to control. He has as you say been neglected; his enemies have been advanced over him, as well as others, who have performed less services and if masonry has been the cause of all this (and indeed it looks as if some mysterious agent has had a hand in controlling his destiny) I would rejoice to see him at the head of affairs, especially if he is duly sensible of the mysterious agency, and would openly avow himself the enemy of the ‘Hydra monster’”. Ritner also discusses the Anti-Masons in the recent election, noting that “…M. Lawrence…did not particularly complain of harsh treatment by the anti-masons in the election of the U.S. although from what you mentioned in your letter, and from what I had previously learnt through other sources, I was unable to see that he (especially when he first informed on his rejection in your caucus) felt quite uncomfortable. He assured me in his letter that no bad feelings existed between the whigs and anti-mason, that there was an apparent difference, and that apparent difference might in the end prove injurious…I soothed him as much as I could under the circumstances and have no doubt but that he will act in good faith with the Anti-Masons henceforth. Indeed any other course would be a death blow to his future Political prospects in this country and would inflict a deep and lasting injury on our party…” The last page of the letter refers to the school law and funding for a school system. A small portion of the last page has been removed, where Ritner’s signature would likely have been. A typewritten transcription of the letter is included.
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