The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 50, July 1946 - April, 1947 Page: 409
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tion to the Southern Biography Series in this attractively bound
study of Seargent S. Prentiss (1808-1850). Mr. Dickey's work
is more objective than the ones by Prentiss' brother, George,
(A Memoir of S. S. Prentiss, New York, 1855), and by Joseph
D. Shields (The Life and Times of Seargent Smith Prentiss,
Philadelphia, 1883). In addition to the two earlier biographies,
newspapers of the period, new material on Prentiss's college
career at Bowdoin, court records, and other implementing
sources have been used effectively in picturing one of the most
colorful and fluent orators of the Old South during the second
quarter of the nineteenth century. In the "Critical Essay on
Authorities," of particular interest to the student of history of
the ante-bellum South, it is stated that access was denied to one
private collection of letters. Other collections, however, have
been examined and have contributed much to the quality of
Seargent S. Prentiss, a native of Maine, went to Mississippi
at the age of nineteen, and his career is somewhat typical of
many eager and ambitious Easterners who went to the South-
west in the early part of the nineteenth century. His experi-
ences as schoolteacher, law apprentice, lawyer, politician, drink-
er, gambler, dueler, defender of the institution of slavery, and
owner of an imposing home are not unusual among the more
successful of these migrants. Prentiss had, however, some traits
that set him apart. His oratorical eloquence was, even in a
great age of oratory, most outstanding, and Mr. Dickey, a pro-
fessor of speech at Louisiana State University, ably analyzes
the orator Prentiss. He had little interest in holding public
office. He served a short term in the Mississippi legislature
(January, 1836-February, 1837) and one term in the national
House of Representatives (1838-1840). He was defeated for
the United States Senate in the Mississippi legislature in 1840;
however, he might have extended his career as a public officer
had he made the effort for himself that he made for his party.
Prentiss took an extremely active part in opposition to the
repudiation of Mississippi bonds, in unseating Claiborne and
Gholson following the disputed congressional election of 1837,
and in support of the Whig party in the 1840's. Professor
Dickey has presented a lucid picture of the political stage upon
which Prentiss moved and the facts essential to an understand-
ing of the action that took place. Although not among the
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Texas State Historical Association. The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 50, July 1946 - April, 1947, periodical, 1947; Austin, Texas. (texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth101117/m1/489/: accessed March 30, 2017), University of North Texas Libraries, The Portal to Texas History, texashistory.unt.edu; crediting Texas State Historical Association.