After the Easter Rebellion of 1916 in Ireland, Eamon De Valera was sentenced to penal servitude. En route to his prison, he took out his pipe and was about to light it when he stopped suddenly and said, "I will not let them deprive me of this pleasure in jail!" He immediately threw away the pipe and from that day never smoked again.
At the Garrick Club (a famous London club of which several leading actors were members) on New Year's Eve, Freddy Lonsdale was asked by Seymour Hicks to make up over a quarrel he had previously had with one of his fellow members. "You must," Seymour said. "It is very unkind to be unfriendly at such a time. Go over now and wish him a happy New Year." Freddy crossed the room and spoke to his enemy. "I wish you a happy New Year," he said, "but only one.
Abraham Lincoln's secretary of war, Edwin Stanton, had some trouble with a major general who accused him, in abusive terms, of favoritism. Stanton complained to Lincoln, who suggested that he write the officer a sharp letter. Stanton did so, and showed the strongly worded missive to the president, who applauded its powerful language: "What are you going to do with it?" he asked. Surprised at the question, Stanton said, "Send it." Lincoln shook his head. "Put it in the stove. That's what I do when I have written a letter while I am angry. It's a good letter and you had a good time writing it and feel better. Now burn it and write another."