escutcheon; he made no palinode of his principles, and soiled not his good faith.
At that day Winchester
was, though less than now, freely accessible to Baltimore
and Washington city
He was often at the two latter places and had full intercourse with the leading men of the day. He had the highest admiration for John Randolph
, of Roanoke
, and Mr. Randolph
had an exalted admiration for him. It was, if we remember aright, in 1828, when the presidential canvass was going on between General A. Jackson
and Mr. John Quincy Adams
, that Mr. Randolph
made his inimitable speech in the Senate of the United States, comparing wisdom and knowledge, the personations of which were Jackson
It was unique in all its characteristics, extremely eloquent, and nicely critical, and was, perhaps, the last, if not the first, speech of Mr. Randolph
which he ever reported for himself.
He called it his ‘longo emendacior
’ speech, had it printed in pamphlet form, and circulated it among his friends and those whom he specially admired.
One of the copies was inscribed by him to Mr. Mason
as ‘a worthy son of worthy sires.’
This was written on the back of the printed speech, and it is to be hoped that the copy has been preserved.
It was an encomium which any man might envy, and this was before Mr. Mason
had any prestige of public service—whilst he was a young man and before he took his seat in Congress.
A young man, just thirty-one years of age, might well be proud to have a compliment such as this paid to him by the most sensitive and observing critic of his age.
In such a community as then governed itself in Frederick
, Mr. Mason
was soon called into the public service.
He was sent to the House of Delegates in the General Assembly of Virginia
, where so many great men had found a school to train them for usefulness and for the glory of their country.
The halls of the General Assembly were then graced by a galaxy of talents, such as those of John Thompson Brown
and others, his peers, and the city of Richmond
was then rich in the grand social graces of the great houses of the olden time, in the midst of which Mr. Mason
shone and became generally known in the State
In the year 1837, in the fortieth year of his age he was elected to the House of Representatives of the Congress of the United States, and served one term, until 1839, when he betook himself again to his profession, and was, eight years thereafter, in the year 1847, elected to the Senate of the United States.
He was never distinguished there for any one great speech, or report