The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 34, July 1930 - April, 1931 Page: 176
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Southwestern Historical Quarterly
by the new Republican party in 1856. [And the most sanguine
members of the party had no thought of winning the election, so
there was no thought of his fitness for the office.] Between a half
and a third of his married life was spent in drifting from home
and drifting back again. His entire career was built largely on a
series of circumstances over which he exercised little or no control.
"As the chameleon's skin takes on the color of the particular
object which it touches, so Fremont's habits and actions were pecu-
liarly determined by the influences under which he lived."
In the episode of the Bear Flag revolt, the book shows conclu-
sively the utter impossibility of Fremont's having had hints either
from the government or from his father-in-law that a conquest of
California would be welcomed. On the contrary, his meddling
was diametrically opposed to the government's California policy.
He had no encouragement from Gillespie, he had no encourage-
ment from Larkin, and the evidence from his own contemporary
letters seems conclusive that he had every intention of leaving
California for the East about July 1, 1846. He joined the Bear
Flag revolt with hesitation and against his better judgment. The
outbreak of the Mexican War and the arrival of the news in Cali-
fornia later enabled him to put a false, but plausible, face upon
This is the author's interpretation of the incident (pages 103,
105, 106, 108, 120, 121, 132). Unfortunately, perhaps inad-
vertently, a sentence on page 150 apparently beclouds his conclu-
sion: "Fr6mont, an explorer, acting on the discretion which he
believed had been given him, abruptly terminated his explorations
and ultimately assumed the leadership. of a filibustering expedi-
tion in a foreign country." There is no evidence that he believed
at the time that any such discretionary authority had been
It is unnecessary to go into Fremont's later career in this brief
notice. The author's interpretation, which seems well within the
facts, is that "morally Fr6mont was a loose constructionist. He
adjusted his moral outlook very largely to the environment in
which he lived."
The book is written in easy style, and is entertaining reading.
The author has successfully assimilated his most comprehensive
bibliography and woven his materials into a smoothly flowing
narrative. EUGENE C. BARKER.
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Texas State Historical Association. The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 34, July 1930 - April, 1931, periodical, 1931; Austin, Texas. (texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth101091/m1/186/: accessed May 21, 2018), University of North Texas Libraries, The Portal to Texas History, texashistory.unt.edu; crediting Texas State Historical Association.