Page:Southern Historical Society Papers volume 25.djvu/195

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.1 Tl-ilull, In llniini-ilhl, J'lliif* Miirfli/ M'lSim. 1!1

enant and bond of union broken, he espoused the cause of the Southern Confederacy, "without fear and without reproach." He incapable of treason. In the war he was honored by President Davis with the high trust, jointly with Mr. Slidell, of Commissioner to the European Powers; his residence was in England, and he was most efficient in obtaining credit, in furthering Confederate priva- teering, and in putting his Government and people in the most re- spectible attitude before the nations and courts of Europe.

On the passage out in October, 1861, he and Mr. Slidell arrived at Havanna, sailed thence on the royal mail steamer Trent, for En- gland, and on the 8th of November, the Trent was boarded by the United States war steamer Sanjacinto, Captain Wilkes in command, and the Confederate Commissioners were captured as prisoners of war, and taken from the British deck to Boston. This was the first time that under any such pretext the British flag was ever violated on the high seas, under Britain's own old pretension of the right of search and seizure, by a United States man-of-war under that same old pretension of Great Britain. After the United States, from In- dependence day down to that time had fought against that pretension and in favor of " Free Trade and Sailor's rights," against Great Britain, and had at last by treaty gained the abandonment of any such claim on the part of England, Captain Wilkes attempted to set it up and enforce it on the part of the United States against the flag of England herself. The prisoners were sent to Fort Warren, but were quickly, though not gracefully surrendered on the peremp- tory demand of Great Britain. We would gladly recall an incident at the time of this capture, or during the captivity of Mr. Mason, which went the rounds of the papers at the time, illustrative of the lofty bearing of the old cavalier, erect, stern, dignified, and com- manding, cutting in his manner and wit like a two-edged sword; but the particulars of the incident escape our memory. The Puritan who accosted him with religious tracts, was so shocked that he set him down as an irredeemable infidel. But Mr. Mason was no infidel, and we rejoice to be informed that in his last hours he had the min- istering of the venerable Bishop Johns, now the head of that Epis- copacy in the State which consecrated the house at Occaquon, in the county of Fairfax, where George Mason led his family of old to worship God.

After the war Mr. Mason remained a while in England, then came to Canada, and there remained until within the last two years, when