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[236]

This note indicates, better than pages of description, the kind, helpful, and forbearing spirit with which the President, through the long four years war, treated his military commanders and subordinates; and which, in several instances, met such ungenerous return. But even while Mr. Lincoln was attempting to smooth this difficulty, Fremont had already burdened him with two additional embarrassments. One was a perplexing personal quarrel the general had begun with the influential Blair family, represented by Colonel Frank Blair, the indefatigable Unionist leader in Missouri, and Montgomery Blair, the postmaster-general in Lincoln's cabinet, who had hitherto been Fremont's most influential friends and supporters; and, in addition, the father of these, Francis P. Blair, Sr., a veteran politician whose influence dated from Jackson's administration, and through whose assistance Fremont had been nominated as presidential candidate in 1856.

The other embarrassment was of a more serious and far-reaching nature. Conscious that he was losing the esteem and confidence of both civil and military leaders in the West, Fremont's adventurous fancy caught at the idea of rehabilitating himself before the public by a bold political manoeuver. Day by day the relation of slavery to the Civil War was becoming a more troublesome question, and exciting impatient and angry discussion. Without previous consultation with the President or any of his advisers or friends, Fremont, on August 30, wrote and printed, as commander of the Department of the West, a proclamation establishing martial law throughout the State of Missouri, and announcing that:

All persons who shall be taken with arms in their hands within these lines shall be tried by court-martial, and if found guilty will be shot. The property, real

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