Mason, George (1735-1806) (DNB00)
MASON, GEORGE (1735–1806), miscellaneous writer, born in 1735, was eldest son of John Mason (d. 1750), distiller, of Deptford Bridge, whose widow remarried Dr. George Jubb [q. v.], regius professor of Hebrew at Oxford. He matriculated at Oxford from Corpus Christi College on 7 Feb. 1753, but did not graduate, and was called to the bar from the Inner Temple in 1761 (Foster, Alumni Oxon. 1714-1886, iii. 924). Having inherited ample means, including the estate of Porters, in the parish of Shenley, Hertfordshire, and another property at Havering, Essex, he was enabled to fully gratify his taste for letters and landscape-gardening. He bought also with rare discrimination some of the scarcest books in Greek, Latin, and English literature, including a perfect copy of Dame Juliana Bernes's 'Boke of Haukyng and Huntyng' (1486), which fetched 73l. 10s. at his sale, and a few choice manuscripts. In 1772 he sold Porters to Richard, earl Howe, whose biographer he afterwards became, and thenceforward resided at Aldenham Lodge, Hertfordshire (Cussans, Hertfordshire, vol. iii., 'Dacorum Hundred' p. 311). A portion of his library was sold by Messrs. Leigh & Sotheby in four distinct parts in 1798 and 1799, Lord Spencer buying some of the rarest items (Dibdin, Bibliomania, pp. 559-564). The sale catalogue (4 pts. 8vo, London, 1798-9) was formerly prized by collectors.
Mason, who was a director of the Sun Fire Office, died unmarried at Aldenham Lodge on 4 Nov. 1806 (Gent. Mag. 1806, pt. ii. p. 1169). He left his landed property to his brother's son, and provided handsomely for a natural daughter.
His works are: 1. 'An Essay on Design in Gardening' [anon.], 8vo, London, 1768; 2nd edit., greatly augmented, 1795. An 'Appendix,' in answer to Uvedale Price's publications, appeared in 1798. 2. 'A Supplement to Johnson's "English Dictionary," of which the palpable errors are attempted to be rectified, and its material omissions supplied,' 4to, London, 1801. 3. 'The Life of Richard, Earl Howe' 8vo, London, 1803. 4. 'A Review of the Proposals of the Albion Fire Insurance: also a Continuation of the ... Globe's History from where Mr. Stonestreet's ends. ... A Narrative of gross misbehaviour towards the Public, in the British Critic ... on the subject of the Appendix to the Supplement to Johnson's Dictionary' 8vo, London, 1806. He is also accredited with the authorship of a pamphlet called ' A British Freeholder's Answer to Thomas Paine.'
From a manuscript in his possession Mason published a selection of 'Poems by Thomas Hoccleve, with a Preface, Notes, and Glossary' 4to, London, 1796, a very creditable performance.
Mason's correspondence with William Herbert, whom he assisted in the preparation of a new edition of Joseph Ames's 'Typographical Antiquities' and with Samuel Pegge on the subject of a glossary to 'Hoccleve' may be found in Nichols's 'Illustrations of Literature' (iv. 550-70). He also had frequent correspondence with Owen Manning [q. v.], the historian of Surrey, who thought him a ' very sensible and ingenious person' (ib. viii. 287).[Nichols's Lit. Anecd. ii. 659.]