Page:Southern Historical Society Papers volume 25.djvu/38

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Southern Historical Society Papers.

satiric wit, the craving for excitement, and the air of melancholy he sometimes wore, his early neglect, and the imagined slights put upon him in his unfriendly youth, the collisions, mental and physical, which he had with others, his brilliant and sudden reputation, and the romantic interest which invested him, make up a list of corres- pondences, still further increased, alas! by his untimely death.

"With such abilities as we have alluded to, and surrounded by such circumstances, he prosecuted the canvass, making himself the equal favorite of all classes. Old Democrats were seen with tears running down their cheeks, laughing hysterically, and some, who, ever since the formation of the parties, had voted the Democratic ticket from coroner up to governor, threw up their hats and shouted for him. He was returned to Congress by a large majority, leading his colleague, who ran on precisely the same question, by more than 1,000 votes.

"The political career of Mr. Prentiss after this time is a matter of public history, and I do not propose to refer to it.

"After his return from Congress, Mr. Prentiss continued to devote himself to his profession, but subsequently to 1841 or 1842, he was more engaged in closing up his old business than in prosecuting new. Some year or two afterwards the suit which involved his fortune was determined against him in the Supreme Court of the United States, and he found himself by this event, aggravated as it was by his im- mense liabilities for others, deprived of the accumulations of years of successful practice, and again dependent upon his own exertions for the support of himself and others now placed under his protec- tion. In the meantime the profession in Mississippi had become less remunerative and more laborious. Bearing up with an unbroken spirit against adverse fortune, he determined to try a new theatre, where his talents might have larger scope. For this purpose he re- moved to the city of New Orleans, and was admitted to the bar there. How rapidly he rose to a position among the leaders of that bar, and how near he seemed to be to its first honors, the country knows. The energy with which he addressed himself to the task of mastering the peculiar jurisprudence of Louisiana, and the success with which his efforts were crowned are not the least of the splendid achievements of this distinguished gentleman.

"The danger is not that we shall be misconstrued in regard to the rude sketch we have given of Mr. Prentiss in any such matter as to leave the impression that we are prejudiced against, or have under- rated the character of, that gentleman. We are conscious of having