Best Lincoln Stories Tersely Told
by J. E. Gallaher
Pub. in 1898


Lincoln Removes a License on Theaters.

One of the most interesting anecdotes about the beloved Lincoln is the one quoted from Joe Jefferson’s autobiography. Jefferson and his father were playing at Springfield during the session of the legislature, and, as there was no theaters in town, had gone to the expense of building one. Hardly had this been done when a religious revival broke out. The church people condemned the theater and prevailed upon the authorities to impose a license which was practically prohibition.

"In the midst of our trouble," says Jefferson, "a young lawyer called on the managers. He had heard of the injustice and offered, if they would place the matter in his hands, to have the license taken off, declaring that he only desired to see fair play, and he would accept no fee whether he failed or succeeded. The young lawyer began his harangue. He handled the subject with tact, skill and humor, tracing the history of the drama from the time when Thespis acted in a cart to the stage of to-day. He illustrated his speech with a number of anecdotes and kept the council in a roar of laughter. His good humor prevailed and the exorbitant tax was taken off. The young lawyer was Lincoln."

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