THE year 1864 opened with storm-clouds billowing thickly about the Lincoln Administration, and Frémont watching the omens of trouble with keen interest. Discontent was rife in every quarter--in the Cabinet, in Congress, in the country at large; and everywhere it was breeding political machinations against the President. In these plots, Frémont had no mind to play an active rôle. He had turned at once to his private business pursuits and was willing to lose himself completely in them. But he fully realized that to hundreds of thousands of voters his name still possessed a magical ring.
A new Congress had convened the previous December, and had promptly shown that it was under the domination of radicals who were thoroughly unfriendly to the Administration. Lincoln's candidate for the speakership had been decisively defeated--defeated by the brilliant Indianian, Frémont's warm defender, Schuyler Colfax. The important committees had been filled by men who opposed Lincoln's conservative policy. In the Senate, Charles Sumner, icy, solemn, and pontifical, felt a personal cordiality for Lincoln, but sternly deplored his official course. Zachariah Chandler, a rough backwoods type of politician, blunt and ruthless, took the same attitude. He, like Lyman Trumbull, the irrepressible Illinoisan, John P. Hale, a supercritical, nagging New Englander, and that domineering egotist, Benjamin F. Wade, was a member of the Committee on the Conduct of the War. Wade as chairman had made this body a thorn in Lincoln's side. Its final report on April 3, 1864, was a resounding blast in favor of a more vigorous prosecu-