Abolition Party and Fremont

John Fremont explored the vast wilderness looking for a place and time slavery did not exist. He was ridiculed for his attempt. Where is Lincoln? He appears to be a man without  a cause and a nation. While Fremont rides into the valley of 500, Lincoln is testing the muddy waters of the Old Wishy-Washy. How supportive was he of Fremont? Was he betting on him to lose – who wouldn’t – and dishonest Abe could pick up the shattered pieces of an experiment gone wrong? When Lincoln won, John returned the favor. The West was his. I believe John was thinking about forming a new nation if the Confederacy won. Every state east of the Mississippi would be a slave state. Losing to Stonewall Jackson put an end to Fremont’s new nation. This was the excuse to fire John. Abe’s all free, or all slave speech was the other thorn in his side.

Breckenridge was the VP candidate on the winning ticket. Joseph Lane of Oregon would be the VP pick next time. The South knew what Fremont and Benton were up to. All Oregonians today, except one, do not own a clue.

Who are these anti-slavery emigrants being handed rifle – when they got off the ship? These are my grandfather, the forty-eighters, who lost to the combined army of the Czar and the Habsburgs. Here is a photo of them taken in the Oakland Hills next to Joaquin Miller’s home and Bohemian enclave he called the Hights. There is a rifle hanging in the tree. These are the Stuttmeisters and Brodericks – Germans! There’s also a wreath made of human hair of ‘Our Diseased’.  We were ‘Oddfelows’.

When I came across this photo while looking at our family collection, I asked my mother who they were.

“These are Bohunaks, your father’s people.” She said, not quite sure.

“What is a Bohunk?” asked I.

“A Bohemian.”

These Bohunks were crack shots. They took Habsburg brass out of their saddle. Their enemy had pedigrees and cotes of arms – and the backing of the Pope. They were why the Catholic Mafia never tried to move into California, save one. He was a German. You fuck with one, you fuck with all. That’s the way, we Prescos used to be. The Prescos migrated from Bohemia. These picnickers, are from Berlin.

John Presco



Settle the matter with powder and ball / And I will furnish the rifles. Beecher was linked to the New England Emigrant Aid Society, and was known to have furnished antislavery emigrants with arms to participate in the struggle between proslavery and antislavery settlers in Kansas



John C. Fremont and 1856 Election Cartoon

John C. Fremont and his abolitionist supporters are ridiculed. In particular, the artist condemns the Republican candidate’s alliance with New York “Tribune” editor Horace Greeley and Henry Ward Beecher and Beecher’s role in the Kansas-Nebraska conflict. Fremont (center) rides a scrawny “Abolition nag” with the head of Greeley. The horse is led toward the left and “Salt River” (i.e., political doom) by prominent New York politician William Seward. Fremont muses hopefully, “This is pretty hard riding but if he only carries me to the White house in safety I will forgive my friends for putting me astride of such a crazy Old Hack.” Greeley: “Seward it seems to me we are going the same Road we did in ‘fifty two’ but as long as you lead I’ll follow if I go it blind.” Seward: “Which ever road I travel always brings me to this confounded river, I thought we had a sure thing this time on the Bleeding Kansas dodge.” On the right stands radical abolitionist minister Henry Ward Beecher, laden with rifles. He preaches in verse: “Be heavenly minded my bretheren all / But if you fall out at trifles; / Settle the matter with powder and ball / And I will furnish the rifles. Beecher was linked to the New England Emigrant Aid Society, and was known to have furnished antislavery emigrants with arms to participate in the struggle between proslavery and antislavery settlers in Kansas. A frontiersman (far right), a figure from Fremont’s exploring past, leans on his rifle and comments, “Ah! Colonel!–you’ve got into a bad crowd–you’ll find that dead Horse on the prarie, is better for the Constitution, than Abolition Soup or Wooly head stew in the White House.”

“In that speech Mr[.] Lincoln distinctly proclaimed it as his opinion that our Government Could not last– part slave & part free -: that either Slavery must be abolished every where– or made equally lawful in all the states or the Union would be dismembered. I Can not be mistaken about this– for I was very sorry to hear him express an opinion which I regarded as erroneous & very dangerouss [sic]– After the Meeting was over– Mr[.] Lincoln & I returned to Pike House– where we occupied the Same room– Immediately on reaching the room I said to Mr [.] Lincoln– ‘What in God’s name could induce you to promulgate such an opinion’ Mr [.] Lincoln replied familiarly– ‘Upon my soul Dickey I think it is true’– I reasoned to show it was not a correct opinion– He argued strenuously that the opinion was a sound one– At length I said to Mr[.] Lincoln– ‘Suppose you are right in this opinion, & that our Government Can not last part free & part slave– What good is to be accomplished by inculcating that opinion (or truth if you please) in the minds of the People?– After a moment of silence & apparent reflection Mr[.] Lincoln Said– “I do not see as there is any good to be accomplished [by] the dissemination of the doctrine.” To which replied– ‘I can see much harm which it may do[.]” “You convince the whole people of this– & you necessarily make Abolitionists of all the People of the North & Slavery proponents of all South– & you precipitate a struggle which may end in disunion– The teaching of the opinion it seems to me tends to hasten the calamity’ After some minutes reflection M[.] Lincoln rose & approached me extending his right hand to take mine & Said–

“I don’t see any necessity for teaching this doctrine– & I don’t Know but it might do harm”– At all events from respect for your judgment, Dickey, I[‘]ll promise you I wont say so again during this Campaign”– We shook hands upon it & the subject was dropped– I heard no more of this time [type] of thought from Mr[.] Lincoln until the year of 1858– when he proclaimed it in his famous Speech at Springfield– at the Opening of that years Canvass.13

Mr. Lincoln took an active role in the Republican campaigns for Governor and President that year. His speaking invitations became so numerous that he complained to Iowa Governor James W. Grimes that he was “plagued” by his request to speak in Iowa.”14 At the Republican National Convention in Philadelphia, he was nominated for but lost the nomination for Vice President on a ticket with John C. Frémont. In his campaign speeches, Mr. Lincoln stressed Republicans’ commitment to the Union. The Galena Weekly North-Western Gazette reported: that: “Abraham Lincoln hits the nail on the head every time, and in this instance it will be seen, he has driven it entirely out of sight,— if we succeed as well as we anticipate in re-producing from memory his argument in relation to ‘Disunion.’” The newspaper reported:

Mr. Lincoln was addressing himself to the opponents of Fremont and the Republican party, and had referred to the charge of ‘sectionalism,’ and then spoke something as follows in relation to another charge, and said:

‘You further charge us with being Disunionists. If you mean that it is our aim to dissolve the Union, for myself I answer, that is untrue; for those who act with me I answer, that it is untrue. Have you heard us assert that as our aim? Do you really believe that such is our aim? Do you find it in our platform, our speeches, our conversation, or anywhere? If not, withdraw the charge.15

Mary Todd Lincoln wrote her half-sister after Frémont’s defeat in the 1856 election: “Altho’ Mr L— is, or was a Fremont man, you must not include him with so many of those, who belong to that party, an Abolitionist. In principle he is far from it— All he desires is, that slavery, shall not be extended, let it remain, where it is– My weak woman’s heart was too Southern in feeling, to sympathise with any but Fillmore, I have always been a great admirer of his, he made so good a President & is so just a man & feels the necessity of keeping foreigners, within bounds. If some of you Kentuckians, had to deal with the ‘wild Irish,’ as we housekeepers are sometimes called upon to do, the south would certainly elect Mr Fillmore next time…”16

About Royal Rosamond Press

I am an artist, a writer, and a theologian.
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1 Response to Abolition Party and Fremont

  1. Reblogged this on Rosamond Press and commented:

    I own the OSU History Department who are not related to Benton or any of my kindred. There job is to RECORD history, not later it. https://rosamondpress.com/2011/09/19/german-forty-eighters-in-chile/ https://rosamondpress.com/2011/09/19/here-come-the-forty-eighters/

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