James Ford Rhodes (18481927). History of the Civil War, 18611865 1917.
Over-fond of display and wishing to maintain the state of a European monarch, he surrounded himself with dishonest men to whom he was always accessible, whilst high military and civil officers and worthy Union citizens were obliged to wait days in his anteroom for an interview. The reason was apparent. These last had the sole purpose in mind to defeat the Southern sympathizers and the Confederate army, who were disputing with them the possession of Missouri; but the others were interested in securing fat contracts, a kind of suit for which Frémont had a ready ear; and he was deaf to the entreaties of well-informed Union citizens for an order to reënforce a capable general, who was actively engaged in the field. Distrusted by men of worth and influence in Missouri, flattered by speculators, it is little wonder that the charge was made that the department of Missouri was managed for purpose of making private fortunes rather than for the countrys weal. Such was the posture of affairs on the evening of August 29, when Frémont went to bed, with an undoubted perception of the strength of anti-slavery sentiment in the North and the need of some diversion to maintain his sway. Inspiration must have come to him in the night. At all events he decided upon a proclamation freeing the slaves. Next day he issued it, declaring the slaves of all persons in the State of Missouri, taking up arms against the United States, freemen. That it was a play to retain his power was evident to hard-headed men. The truth is, wrote Montgomery Blair to Sumner, with Frémonts surroundings, the set of scoundrels who alone have control of him, this proclamation setting up the higher law was like a painted woman quoting Scripture.