Open main menu
This page needs to be proofread.

influence of Thomas Gray he was elected a fellow of Pembroke College. He became a devoted friend and admirer of Gray, who addressed him as “ Skroddles, ” and corrected the worst solecisms in his verses. In 1748 he published Isis, a poem directed against the supposed Iacobitism of the university of Oxford, which provoked Thomas Warton's Triumph of Isis. Mason conceived the ambition of reconciling modern drama with ancient forms by strict observance of the unities and the restoration of the chorus. These ideas were exemplified in EU'rida (1752) and Caraclacus (1759), two frigid performances no doubt intended to be read rather than acted, but produced with some alterations at Covent Garden in 1772 and 1776 respectively. Horace Walpole described Caractacus as “laboured, uninteresting, and no more resembling the manners of Britons than of lapanese ”; while Gray declared he had read the manuscript “ not with pleasure only, but with emotion.” In 1754 Mason was presented to the rectory of Aston, near Rotherham, Yorkshire, and in 1757 through the influence of the duke of Devonshire he became one of the king's chaplains. He also received the prebend of Holme in York Minster (1756), was made canon residentiary in 1762, and in 1763 became preceptor and prebendary of Driffield. He married in 1764 Mary Sherman, who died three years later. When Gray died in 1771 he made Mason his literary executor. In the preparation of the Life and Letters of Gray, which appeared in 1774, he had much help from Horace Walpole, with whom he corresponded regularly until 1784 when Mason opposed Fox's India Bill, and offended Walpole by thrusting on him political advice unasked. Twelve years of silence followed, but in the year before his death the correspondence was renewed on friendly terms. Mason died at Aston on the 7th of April 1797.

His correspondence with Gray and Walpole shows him to have been a man of cultivated tastes. He was something of an antiquarian, a good musician, and an amateur of painting. He is said to have invented an instrument called the Celestina, a modified pianoforte. Gray rewarded his faithful admiration with good-humoured kindness. He warned him against confounding Mona with the Isle of Man, or the Goths with the Celts, corrected his grammar, pointed out his plagiarisms, and laughed gently at his superficial learning. His powers show to better advantage in the unacknowledged satirical poems which he produced under the pseudonym of Malcolm Macgregor. In editing Gray's letters he took considerable liberties with his originals, and did not print all that related to himself.

Mason's other works included Odes (1756); The English Garden, a didactic poem in blank verse, the four books of which appeared in 1772, 1777, 1779 and 1782; An Heroic Epistle to Sir William Chambers (1774); an Ode to Mr Pinchbeck (1776) and an Epistle to Dr Shebbeare (1777)-all these by “ Malcolm Macgregor ”; Essay, Historical and Critical, of Church Music (1795), and a lyrical drama, Sappho (1797).

His poems were collected in 1764 and 1774, and an edition of his Works appeared in 1811. His poems with a Life are included in Alexander Chalmers's English Poets. His correspondence with Walpole was edited by J. Mitford in 1851; and his correspondence with Gray by the same editor in 1853. See also the standard editions of the letters of Gray and of Walpole. There is a very leasant picture of Mason's character in Southey's Doctor (ch. cxxvi.)).

MASON AND DIXON LINE, in America, the boundary line (lat. 39° 43' 26~3” N.) between Maryland and Pennsylvania, U.S.A.; popularly the line separating “ free ” states and “ slave ” states before the Civil War. The line derives its name from Charles Mason (1730-1787) and Jeremiah Dixon, two English astronomers, whose survey of it to a point about 244 m. west of the Delaware between 1763 and 17671 marked the close of the protracted boundary dispute (arising upon the grant of Pennsylvania to William Penn in 1681) between the Baltimores and Penns, proprietors respectively of Maryland and Pennsylvania. The dispute arose from the designation, in the grant to Penn, of the southern boundary of Pennsylvania mainly as the parallel marking the “ beginning of the fortieth degree of Northerne Latitude, ” after the northern boundary of Maryland had been defined as a line “ which lieth under the fortieth degree of north latitude from the equinoctial.” The eastern part of the line as far as Sideling Hill in the western part of the 1 These surveyors also surveyed and marked the boundary between Maryland and Delaware. present Washington county, was originally marked with milestones brought from England, every fifth of which bore on one side the arms of Baltimore and on the opposite side those of Penn; but the difficulties in transporting them to the westward were so great that many of them were not set up. Owing to the removal of the stone marking the north-east corner of Maryland, this point was again determined and marked in 1849-1850 by Lieut.-Colonel ]. D. Graham of the U.S. topographical engineers; and as the western part of the boundary was not marked by stones, and local disputes arose, the line was again surveyed between 1901 and 1903 under the direction of a commission appointed by Pennsylvania and Maryland.

The use of the term “ Mason and Dixon Line ” to designate the boundary between the free and the slave states (and in general between the North and the South) dates from the debates in Congress over the Missouri Compromise in 1819-1820. As so used it may be defined as not only the Mason and Dixon Line proper, but also the line formed by the Ohio River from its intersection with the Pennsylvania boundary to its mouth, thence the eastern, northern and Western boundaries of Missouri, and thence westward the parallel 36° 30'-the line established by the Missouri Compromise to separate free and slave territory in the “Louisiana Purchase, ” except as regards Missouri. It is to be noted, however, that the Missouri Compromise did not affect the territory later acquired from Mexico.

MASON CITY, a city and the county-seat of Cerro Gordo county, Iowa, U.S.A., on Lime Creek, in the northern part of the state. Pop. (1905, state census), 8357 (929 foreign born); (IQIO) II,23O. It is served by the Chicago Milwaukee & St Paul, the Chicago & North-Western, the Chicago Great Western, the Iowa Central and the St Paul & Des Moines railways, and also by the Mason City Sr Clear Lake (electric) railway, which connects Mason City with Clear Lake, a pleasure resort, ro m. west of the city. At Mason City is Memorial University (co-educational; founded in 1900 by the National Encampment of the Sons of Veterans, and opened in 1902), dedicated to the Grand Army of the Republic, the special aim of which is to teach American history. The city is situated in a good agricultural region, and there are valuable stone quarries in the vicinity. The manufactures include lime, Portland cement, brick and tile. Mason City was settled in 1853, laid out in 1855, incorporated as a town in 1870 and chartered as a city in 1881.

MASONRY,[1] the art of building in stone. The earliest remains (apart from the primitive work in rude stone-see STONE MONUMENTS; ARCHAEOLOGY, &c.) are those of the ancient temples of

India and Egypt. Many of these early works were constructed of stones of huge size, and it still remains a mystery how the ancients were able to quarry and raise to a considerable height above the ground blocks seven or eight hundred tons in weight. Many of the early buildings of the middle ages were entirely constructed of masses of concrete, often faced with a species of rough cast. The early masonry seems to have been for the most part worked with the axe and not with the chisel. A very excellent example of the contrast between the earlier and later Norman masonry may be seen in the choir of Canterbury Cathedral. In those times the groining was frequently filled in with a light tufa stone, said by some to have been brought from Italy, but more probably from the Rhine. The Normans imported a great quantity of stone from Caen, it being easily worked, and particularly fit for carving. The freestones of England were also much used; and in the first Pointed period, Purbeck and Bethersden marbles were employed for column shafts, &c. The methods of working and setting stone were much the same as at present, except that owing to difficulties of conveyance the

  1. The English word “mason” is from the French, which appears in the two forms, machun and masson (from the last comes the modern Fr. form macon, which means indilierently a bricklayer or mason. In O. H. Ger. the word is mezzo, which survives in the German for a stone-mason, Steinmetz. The med. Lat. form, machio. was connected with machina-obviously a guess. The Low Lat., macheria or maceria (see Du Cange, Glossarium, suv. macio), a wall, has been suggested as showing some connexion. Some popular Lat. form as macio or matlio is probably the origin. No Teut. word, according to the New English Dictionary, except that which appears in “ mattock, " seems to have any bearing on the ultimate origin.