river between St. Louis
and Jefferson City
, in which, as well as in St. Louis
, there was a large element of Germans.
The seeds of Republicanism had been sown in the State
by Thomas H. Benton
, when he appealed to the people against the instructions of the legislature twelve years before.
In the contest which ensued his friends had established an organ in St. Louis
to advocate his cause, and his supporters, under the leadership of Francis P. Blair, Jr.
, had been organized into a party and were a compact and fanatical force in the bodypol-itic.
was a man of great strength of character, and a fearless and sagacious party leader.
In the politics of the State
he was an outlaw, and in the stormy period preceding the war he was more or less a revolutionist.
He had nothing to lose and everything to gain by a bold course.
Besides this, circumstances favored him. When Mr. Lincoln
made up his cabinet, his brother, Judge Montgomery Blair
, was appointed postmaster-general.
Thus Frank Blair
was the unquestioned leader of a considerable and well-organized party in the State
, with the resources of the Federal
government practically at his disposal as far as Missouri
was concerned, and was well fitted by nature and experience to play a bold part in the terrible drama of war and revolution which was impending.
Notwithstanding the comparative insignificance of the Republican
vote in the State
, the contest was not as unequal as it appeared.
knew the elements with which he had to deal as well as his opponents.
He knew, besides, what the policy of the Federal
government would be, and what support he could depend on. Both sides were getting ready to strike a decisive blow.
But the Southern
leaders were playing an open hand, while he was playing a secret one.
The State occupied a precarious position.
It was surrounded on three sides by Northern States, which were organizing and arming their citizens to invade it. The troops of Illinois