Page:Southern Historical Society Papers volume 25.djvu/191

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pride of birth and a sense that he had an (scutcheon never to be stained. aluav> t<> be kt-pt in honor. Hut he had no other pride of family than that which required of him every attainment and every virtue to maintain his position in society and his relations to the State. He was far above the boasting of his blood.

Philadelphia, at that day, was not only the cleanest city in the world, with the best founded and governed municipal institutions on this continent, under strict Quaker regime, but had a society of the world, the most cultivated in all its grades. Mr. Mason had free access to that society, sought it, and availed himself of all its advan- tages. Among other families of high "grace and decorum," he was happily intimate in that of the eminent Benjamin Chew, of Ger- mantown, whose house was battered by the balls of the Revolution; and early after graduating in the profession of the law he wedded one of the proudest daughters of that house. It was not a case of "noblesse oblige" but a beautiful love-match between " lady and knight," both accomplished, peerless and true. That lady survives the honored lord, who cherished her devotedly a long life-time through; and next to the solace which God gives to one bereaved like her, she has the comfort of the many pledges of their true love in the children and grandchildren of their marriage.

We are informed that Mr. Mason studied law with Mr. Benjamin Watkins Leigh, of the Richmond bar. He evidently studied law, especially the English common law and its history, more with the view to its application to the science of government than to its prac- tice in the forum. In politics he was hereditarily a Democratic Republican, opposed to all implied powers, for strict construction and strong limitations of constitutional powers of government, and extremely jealous of the separate, independent and sovereign rights of the States, and especially maintained the right of self-government in the States in respect to their own domestic and internal relations. His political faith was of the order of the stock of men from which he sprung it was after the model of his grandfather, and he aspired to political preferment from the first of his career.

He settled in the town of Winchester, in the rich county of Fred- erick, of the valley of the Shenandoah, and the first time we had personal knowledge of him was in 1826, when he was in the twenty- ninth year of his age. On the 4th of July of that year he delivered the oration of the day in that town to a large concourse of citizens, and we were struck with the singularly same ring of metal which sounds in the old George Mason Bill of Rights. He was not, how-