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Southern Historical Society Papers, Volume 25. (ed. Reverend J. William Jones), Sergeant Smith Prentiss and his career. (search)
r. Prentiss had scarcely passed a decade from his majority when he was the idol of Mississippi. While absent from the State his name was brought before the people for Congress, the State then voting by general ticket and electing two members. He was elected, the sitting members declining to present themselves before the people, upon the claim that they were elected at the special election ordered by Governor Lynch, for two years, and not for the called session merely. Mr. Prentiss, with Mr. Word, his colleague, went on to Washington to claim his seat. He was admitted to the bar of the House to defend and assert his right. He then delivered that speech which took the House and the country by storm; an effort, which, if his fame rested upon it alone, for its manliness of tone, exquisite satire, gorgeous imagery and argumentative power, would have rendered his name imperishable. The House, opposed to him as it was in political sentiment, reversed its former judgment, which declared