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Southern Historical Society Papers, Volume 25. (ed. Reverend J. William Jones), Sergeant Smith Prentiss and his career. (search)
to their elements more rapidly or surely than he resolved the most complicated facts into primary principles. His statements—like those of all great lawyers—were clear, conspicuous and compact; the language simple and sententious. Considered in the most technical sense, as forensic arguments merely, no one will deny that his speeches were admirable and able efforts. If the professional reader will turn to the meagre reports of his arguments on the cases of Ross v. Vertner, 5 How., 305; Vick et al, v. the Mayor and Aldermen of Vicksburg, 1 How., 381; and the Planters Bank v. Snodgrass etal, he will I think, concur in this opinion. Anecdotes are not wanting to show that even in the Supreme Court he argued some cases of great importance without knowing anything about them till the argument was commenced. One of these savors of the ludicrous. Mr. Prentiss was retained, as associate counsel, with Mr. (now General) M——, at that time one of the most promising, as now one of the m