P OLITICALLY isolated and suffering from an undisclosed illness, Wood might well have retired from politics to become a full-time real estate magnate. "Fernando is a played-out politician," the New York Herald prompted, and "we advise him to die gracefully." Wood, however, had no consciousness of guilt or error. He still believed that he could salvage his position by using the principles, hard work, and even deceit that had gotten him up the political ladder. The tasks were easier said than accomplished. By the time the Thirty-eighth Congress gathered for its second session on December 8, 1864, the prospect of a total Union victory had destroyed the Peace Democrats.1
Still, Wood pushed ahead. The previous November, he had responded to rumors that Lincoln and Davis were planning a peace conference by asking the president to select one person "from my wing of the Democratic party." Wood's purpose was to allow at least moderate Peace Democrats some dignity by proving that peace and reunion retained some validity. Gone was Lincoln's need to disrupt the Democracy by encouraging Wood, and he did not bother to answer. With that avenue blocked, Wood sought another means of personal absolution by reviving the politics of loyalty. On January 31, 1865, he introduced a resolution that the president was correct to employ every legal and constitutional means to maintain the Republic. Moreover, Lincoln must not "proffer or accept negotiations" that would recognize "by the remotest implication the existence of any other Federal or Confederate Government within the territory of the United States." Although the House approved it against extremist Peace Democratic opposition, Wood gained no plaudits from either his party or the public. In February, Wood tried again. He made a stunning reversal and voted with prowar groups, 108 to 30, to prevent die-hard Peace Democrats from tabling a resolution congratulating Lincoln for opening peace negotiations leading to "the restoration of the Union" at the Hampton Roads conference.2
Questia, a part of Gale, Cengage Learning. www.questia.com
Publication information: Book title: Fernando Wood:A Political Biography. Contributors: Jerome Mushkat - Author. Publisher: Kent State University Press. Place of publication: Kent, OH. Publication year: 1990. Page number: 152.
This material is protected by copyright and, with the exception of fair use, may not be further copied, distributed or transmitted in any form or by any means.