moment was George Mason
, the successor of Washing-
ton in the representation of Fairfax county
He was a devoted member of the church of England; and by his own account of himself, which is still preserved, ‘though not born within the verge of the British
isle, he had been an Englishman in his principles, a zealous assertor of the act of settlement, firmly attached to the royal family upon the throne, well affected to the king personally and to his government, in defence of which he would have shed the last drop of his blood; one who adored the wisdom and happiness of the British constitution, and preferred it to any that then existed or had ever existed.’
For ten years he claimed nothing for his countrymen beyond the liberty and privileges of Englishmen, in the same degree as if they had still continued among their brethren in Great Britain
; but he said: ‘The ancient poets, in their elegant manner of expression, have made a kind of Being of necessity, and tell us that the gods themselves are obliged to yield to her;’ and he left the private life that he loved, to assist in the rescue of his country from the excesses of arbitrary power to which a seeming fatality had driven the British
He was a good speaker and an able debater; the more eloquent now for being touched with sorrow; but his great strength lay in his sincerity, which made him wise and bold, modest and unchanging, while it overawed his hearers.
He was severe, but his severity was humane, with no tinge of bitterness, though he had a scorn for every thing mean, and cowardly, and low; and he always spoke out his convictions with frank directness.
He had been truly loyal; on renouncing his king, he could stand justified to his