Abraham Lincoln," here are eight of the worst jokes Abraham Lincoln ever made.

8. Critters. "I heard a good story while I was up in the country.

  • Judge D was complimenting the landlord on the excellence of his beef. I am surprised,' he said, that you have such good beef. 
  • You must have to kill a whole critter when you want any.' 
  • Yes,' said the landlord, we never kill less than a whole critter.' "

7. All Right. After Secretary of War Edwin Stanton replied to a telegram demanding urgent instructions with "all right, go ahead": Lincoln replied:

  • "I suppose you meant," said Mr. Lincoln, "that it was all right if it was good for him, and all wrong if it was not. 
  • That reminds me," said he, "of a story about a horse that was sold at the cross-roads near where I once lived. The horse was supposed to be fast, and quite a number of people were present at the time appointed for the sale. 
  • A small boy was employed to ride the horse backward and forward to exhibit his points. One of the would-be buyers followed the boy down the road and asked him confidentially if the horse had a splint. 
  • Well, mister,' said the boy, if it's good for him he has got it, but if it isn't good for him he hasn't.' "

6. Broke. Addressing a gathering of newspaper editors,

  • "Mr. Lincoln said that he was very much in the position of the man who was attacked by a robber, demanding his money, when he answered, My dear fellow, I have no money, but if you will go with me to the light, I will give write you a note (check!).' "

5. Bridge to Hell. "I once knew," Lincoln said, "a good sound churchman, whom we will call Brown, who was in a committee to erect a bridge over a very dangerous and rapid river.

  • Architect after architect failed, and, at last, Brown said, he had a friend named Jones who had built several bridges and could build this. Let us have him in,' said the committee. 
  • In came Jones. Can you build this bridge, sir?' 
  • Yes," replied Jones. I could build a bridge to the infernal regions if necessary.' 
  • The sober committee were horrified. But when Jones retired, Brown thought it but fair to defend his friend. I know Jones so well,' said he, and he is so honest a man, and so good an architect, that if he states, soberly and positively, that he can build a bridge to Hades, why, I believe it. 
  • But I have my doubts about the abutment on the infernal side.' 
  • When politicians said they could harmonize the northern and southern wings of the democracy, why, I believed them. But I had my doubt about the abutment on the southern side."

4. Fleas. From Lincoln secretary John Hay's diary:

  • "The President said the Army dwindled on the march like a shovelfull of fleas pitched from one place to the other."

3. Good news? (same source): "Tonight the President said he was much relieved at hearing from Foster that there was firing at Knoxville yesterday.

  • He said anything showing Burnside was not overwhelmed was cheering: Lil Sally Carter, when she heard one of her children squall would say, 
  • "There goes one of my young uns, not dead yet, bless the Lord." "

2. Contagion. From the Feb. 17, 1864, New York Post's "Several Little Stories by or about President Lincoln":

  • "One of the latest reported is his remark when he found himself attacked by people asking favors. 
  • Well,' said he, when the contagious disease was coming upon him, I've got something now that I can give to everybody.' "

1. The Farting Carver. (via William Herndon his long-time law partner):

  • "Well there was a party once, not far from here, which was composed of ladies and gentlemen. A fine table was set and the people were greatly enjoying themselves. Among the crowd was one of those men who had audacity -- was quick-witted, cheeky and self-possessed -- never off his guard on any occasion. 
  • After the men and women had enjoyed themselves by dancing, promenading, flirting, etc., they were told that the table was set. 
  • The man of audacity -- quick-witted, self-possessed and equal to all occasions -- was put at the head of the table to carve the turkeys, chickens and pigs. 
  • The men and women surrounded the table, and the audacious man being chosen carver whetted his great carving knife with the steel and got down to business & commenced carving the turkey, but he expended too much force & let a fart -- a loud fart so that all the people heard it distinctly. 
  • As a matter of course it shocked all terribly. A deep silence reigned. 
  • However the audacious man was cool and entirely self-possessed; he was curiously and keenly watched by those who knew him well, they suspecting that he would recover in the end and acquit himself with glory. 
  • The man, with a kind of sublime audacity, pulled off his coat, rolled up his sleeves, put his coat deliberately on a chair, spat on his hands, took his position at the head of the table, picked up the carving knife and whetted it again, never cracking a smile nor moving a muscle of his face. 
  • It now became a wonder in the minds of all the men and women how the fellow was to get out of his dilemma. 
  • He squared himself and said loudly & distinctly: 
  • "Now, by God, I'll see if I can't cut up this turkey without farting."

Alexandra Petri writes the ComPost blog, offering a lighter take on