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Old September 16 2012, 05:05 AM   #26
stj
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Re: Lincoln Full Trailer

Re Tommy Lee Jones' bad "haircut," via Google:

I was reminded recently of the story of the woman who asked Thaddeus Stevens for a lock of his hair. By way of background, Stevens was totally bald and wore a wig that was apparently recognizable as such on sight. Here is a version I found in Ballou's Monthly Magazine (1891):
Thaddeus Stevens, it is narrated by a New York paper, was sitting in his office one day chatting with a few friends, when an old lady wearing a poke-bonnet and blue goggles, and carrying a green umbrella, walked into the room. She looked about her as if in search of some one, and then asked solemnly, "Can you tell me where to find Thaddeus Stevens, the Apostle of Liberty?"

"I am Thaddeus Stevens," replied the owner of the name curtly — for he was not a man given to sentiment.



Stevens was a fearsome trial lawyer. In one case he was so biting on points of law the judge cautioned him against manifesting contempt of court. "Sir, I am trying mightily to conceal it!"

A man once approached him for his support for the post of county Poor Commissioner. Stevens replied that the fellow should be given the job, for no one would be a poorer commissioner.

Once, watching a Congressman pace up and down the floor during a tedious orations, he ask if the man would put in for mileage.

As he was dying, a visitor commiserated with him over his unhealthy appearance. Stevens looked and him and remarked that it was not his appearance that concerned him, but his disappearance.




"Are you Thad-de-us Stevens, the Apostle of Liberty?"

"I suppose I am, ma'am."

"Well," said the old lady, "I came from Bucks County to see Thaddeus Stevens, the Apostle of Liberty, and to take home with me a lock of his hair."

"The Apostle of Liberty" took off his red wig and handed it to her.

"There it is, ma'am," said he. "Take as much as you want."
Re Lincoln's voice: Not only was Lincoln's voice high-pitched, it had a notable accent.

Prediction: Lincoln's predilection for dirty jokes in unmixed company will not be displayed.

PS Lincoln's first secretary of war, Simon Cameron, was a major Pennsylvania politico and long-time enemy of Stevens. Stevens said of the secretary that he would not steal a red-hot stove. Cameron's friends protested and demanded that Stevens retract this slander. Stevens agreeably said that Cameron would steal a red-hot stove!

PPS Can't resist a couple others about Stevens. Listening to a Congressman orate as he paced up and down, Steven interrupted to ask if he was going to ask for mileage.

Stevens was a fearsomely biting trial lawyer. A frustrated judge warned Stevens that he was in danger of displaying contempt for the court. Stevens replied that he was struggling mightily to conceal contempt for the court.

After introducing a bill, he looked over at an opponent who would speak next, against his bill, and announced that the next speaker would add a few feeble remarks on the subject.

In parliamentary session, where is it not done to forthrightly call a man a liar, he observed after a speech that nothing the man said was currently under judgment in a court of law.

In his last days, being carried into Congress, he once looked down at his porters and asked them who would carry him in when they were dead and gone.

Also in his last days, when a visitor commiserated on his unhealthy appearance, Stevens retorted that it wasn't his appearance that concerned him, it was his disappearance.

Every indication is that Stevens never planned a joke or anecdote but ad libbed. Apparently his best work was left out of the Congressional Record, being asides to other members on the proceedings.

In my youth I read The Clansman in my grandparents' library, where Stevens starred as one Stoneman, the true villain of the novel. Lincoln is barely acceptable nowadays, Stevens is much too radical to be acceptable. Stevens had crazy ideas about Freemasons, no crazier than Lincoln's ideas about colonization, but Stevens is barely remembered.
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Last edited by stj; September 17 2012 at 03:04 AM.
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