Page:Dictionary of National Biography volume 36.djvu/439

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For three years he served in the office of Dunn, Wordsworth, & Dunn, solicitors, 32 Threadneedle Street, till in April 1817 he received an appointment in the secretary's office at the East India House on the ground of his father's services—a unique episode in the history of the company's patronage. From 1817 to 1837 he was almost wholly employed upon confidential duties under the committee of secrecy—namely, in 1823 in negotiating a treaty with the government of the Netherlands for the cession of the settlement in the Straits of Malacca to the Dutch; in 1829 in arranging the secret signals for the East India Company's ships; in 1833 in negotiating for the renewal of the company's charter; and in 1834 in the parliamentary inquiry upon matters connected with China. He compiled in 1825–6 ‘An Analysis of the Constitution of the East India Company, and of the Laws passed by Parliament for the Government of their Affairs at Home and Abroad.’ In 1837 he was made secretary of the newly created marine branch of the secretary's office; under his management the Indian navy was greatly improved, the coasts of India were surveyed, and in 1857, on the breaking out of the mutiny, he arranged for the transport of fifty thousand troops to India with great expedition. In September 1858, upon the transfer of the government of India from the company to the crown, he retired from the service, but in January 1859 he was recalled and became secretary of the marine and transport department at the East India House, Leadenhall Street, and afterwards at the India office, Whitehall. The evidence he furnished to the select committees in 1860, 1861, and 1865 on the transport of troops to India led to his being appointed in 1865 the member to represent the government of India on the committee on the Indian overland troop transport service. In accordance with that committee's report of 1867, the Crocodile, Euphrates, Jumna, Malabar, and Serapis were constructed as troop-ships to convey troops to and from India. In April 1867 he retired from the service, and died at 12 Pembridge Gardens, Bayswater, London, 21 Dec. 1881.

By his wife Jane Augusta, daughter of James Ensor, who died in 1878, he left five daughters and an only son, Charles Alexander James Mason, born in 1832, who served in the Indian (home) service from 1848, became assistant secretary in the military department, and retired in 1882.

[Times, 24 Dec. 1881 p. 1, 31 Dec. p. 6; Allen's Indian Mail, 27 Dec. 1881, 2, 9, 18 Jan. 1882; Homeward Mail, 27 Dec. 1881, 9 Jan. 1882; information kindly supplied by C. A. J. Mason, esq.]

G. C. B.

MASON, JOHN MONCK (1726–1809), Shakespearean commentator, born in Dublin in 1726, was eldest son of Robert Mason of Mason-Brook, co. Galway, by Sarah, eldest daughter of George Monck of St. Stephen's Green, Dublin. On 12 Aug. 1741 he entered Trinity College, Dublin, and graduated B.A. in 1746, M.A. in 1761 (college registers). In 1752 he was called to the Irish bar. He sat in the Irish House of Commons as member for Blessington, co. Wicklow, in 1761 and 1769, and for St. Canice, otherwise Irishtown, co. Kilkenny, in 1776, 1783, 1790, and 1798. In parliament he was a fluent, a frequent, and a good speaker. He showed his independence by introducing in 1761 a bill to enable catholics to invest money in mortgages upon land, which was carried by a majority of twelve. It was, however, rejected by the English privy council. In the next session a similar bill, being strongly opposed by the government, was rejected by 138 to 53. The government made a bid for his support by appointing him in August 1771 a commissioner of barracks and public works, Dublin (Hist. MSS. Comm. 12th Rep. Append. x. p. 308), and in 1772 a commissioner of revenue, an office which he held until 1793. Greatly to the anger of Lord Charlemont and the other leaders of the opposition, Mason became thenceforth a supporter of the government. Again his favourite measure was introduced by him in 1772 and again unsuccessfully. When, however, Lord Harcourt's government, in 1773, wished to do something in favour of the catholics, Mason and Sir Hercules Langrishe [q. v.] were requested to bring in the very same bill, together with another permitting catholics to take leases for lives of lands, but both were suddenly dropped (Hardy, Memoirs of Lord Charlemont, 2nd edit., i. 321). During the free trade agitation of 1779 Mason made himself very unpopular. On 16 Nov. he writes to the speaker (Pery) that as he cannot venture to go down to the house ‘without the manifest danger of his life’ he must request him to appoint some other person ‘more agreeable than I am to the present ruling powers’ to take the chair in the committee of accounts (Hist. MSS. Comm. 8th Rep. p. 205). He was consoled by being made a privy councillor, and in the last Irish parliament he voted for the union.

Mason died in Dublin in 1809. In 1766 he married Catherine, second daughter of Henry Mitchell of Glasnevin, co. Dublin, but left no issue. He sold Mason-Brook to the Right Hon. Denis Daly.

In 1779 Mason published at London, in 4 vols. 8vo, an edition of the ‘Dramatick