Page:Southern Historical Society Papers volume 25.djvu/193

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irheon; he made no palinode of his principles, and soiled not

his good faith.

At that i lav Winchester was, though less than now, freely ac< ble to Baltimore, Alexandria 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 can- vass was iM)ing 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 and Adams, contrasted. 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 mao, 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. Ma- son 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 gen- erally 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 Con- gress of the United States, and served one term, until 1839, when he betook himself again to his profession, and was, eight years there- after, in the year 1847, elected to the Senate of the United States. He was never distinguished there for any one great speech, or re-