192 Southern Historical Society Papers.
assured that his person would be safe in returning to Virginia, here to die among his household gods, and the silent and familiar things of his reminiscences, and the few faithful friends who remained true to his faith and their own.
It was not in the course of nature, or in the reason of things that he could remain with us longer. The disasters to the Confederacy and the South, the wounds to his pride, the aching agony of seeing all his hopes of liberty and self-government and the State Rights blasted, and the desecration of sacred things, and the devastation and demoralization he witnessed on coming home, were too much tension on the nerves of an aged man of delicate sensibilities and proud sense of honor. After toiling for a settlement near his father's old home at Claremont, near Alexandria, and fixing for a quiet re- tirement, his system collapsed, and he fell under paralysis. His last moments were without pain, and he died as he had lived, composed and firm, April 29, 1871.
He was an honest man, a highly cultivated gentleman, a well trained and practised lawyer, a sound statesman, and a pure patriot. And assure as the assurance of God's own word that "he who doeth truth, cometh to the Light," James M. Mason's great and grand soul, unstained by earth in the natural life, hath now come in the spirit to the Light of Heaven.