Faced with $200,000 in debts in 1842 from the poor performance of his Caledonia iron
mill, friends suggested that Stevens declare bankruptcy. "Yes I could," he said. "I may be
forced to take advantage of the bankrupt laws in the next world, but that I will never do in
this. . . there is no way out of such things except to pay the uttermost farthing." Great
Leveler, by Thomas Frederick Woodley, page 141
A letter writer to Stevens said he had been told that Stevens was an unbeliever, to which
Stevens replied: "I have always been a firm believer in the Bible. He is a fool who
disbelieves the existence of God as you say is charged on me. I also believe in the
existence of a hell for the especial benefit of this slanderer." Letter to John T. Keagy,
January 23, 1867. The Selected Papers of Thaddeus Stevens, Vol. 2, by Beverly Wilson
Palmer and Holly Byers Ochoa, page 243.
When Stevens was leaving a card game one night, two ministers sought a donation to
rebuild a burnt church. In the dark, Stevens reached into his pocket and from his winnings
gave them a bill. After thanking Stevens, the two ministers walked away and looked at the
money and found it to be a $100 bill. Thinking Stevens had made a mistake, they rushed
back showing him the bill. Stevens refused to admit a mistake. "God moves in a mysterious
way, his wonders to perform," he said. Thaddeus Stevens, Thomas Frederick Woodley,
Stevens was playing cards in a Gettysburg hotel one night when a tenant farmer of his drove
up with a load of hay. Two or three times he called to Stevens, asking where he should put
the hay. Engrossed in the game, Stevens ignored him until finally he said, "Bring it in and
bet it on the ace." Thaddeus Stevens, by Thomas Frederick Woodley, page 29.
Slimy Creatures, Skunks, Asses, Bastards
When walking in Lancaster one day, Stevens turned on to South Queen Street and
encountered his old enemy Alexander Harris. "I never get out of the way of a skunk," said
Harris. "I always do," was Stevens's reply as he walked around Harris. Thaddeus Stevens,
Nineteenth-Century Egalitarian, by Hans L. Trefousse, page 127
One day in the 1830s in the Pennsylvania Assembly, a fellow representative spoke
sharply against a measure Stevens had presented. Stevens took the floor and made a
short speech on the merits of the bill, completely ignoring what the prior speaker had
said. As he was about to sit down, he turned to glower upon his critic and said, "Mr.
Speaker, it will not be expected of me to notice the thing which has crawled into this
House and adheres to one of the seats by its own slime." Great Leveler, by Thomas
Frederick Woodley, page 10.