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James Murray Mason

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

James Murray Mason
President pro tempore of the United States Senate
In office
January 6, 1857 – March 4, 1857
Preceded byJesse D. Bright
Succeeded byThomas J. Rusk
United States Senator
from Virginia
In office
January 21, 1847 – March 28, 1861
Preceded byIsaac S. Pennybacker
Succeeded byWaitman T. Willey
Member of the U.S. House of Representatives from Virginia's 15th district
In office
March 4, 1837 – March 3, 1839
Preceded byEdward Lucas
Succeeded byWilliam Lucas
Member of the Virginia House of Delegates from Frederick County
In office
Preceded byWilliam M. Barton
Succeeded byConstituency reorganized
In office
Preceded byGeorge Kiger
Succeeded byWilliam M. Barton
Personal details
Born(1798-11-03)November 3, 1798
Analostan Island, D.C., U.S.
DiedApril 28, 1871(1871-04-28) (aged 72)
Alexandria, Virginia, U.S.
Political partyDemocratic
Spouse(s)Eliza Margaretta Chew
Alma materUniversity of Pennsylvania, College of William and Mary (law)
ProfessionPolitician, Lawyer

James Murray Mason (November 3, 1798 – April 28, 1871)[1][2] was a US Representative and US Senator from Virginia. He was a grandson of George Mason and represented the Confederate States of America as appointed commissioner of the Confederacy to the United Kingdom and France between 1861 and 1865, during the American Civil War.

In November 1861, Mason was among those captured by Federal troops during the Trent Affair in November 1861 while he was on a mission to England.

YouTube Encyclopedic

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  • ✪ Harvey Mason: Becoming A Chameleon Behind The Drums (FULL DRUM LESSON)
  • ✪ Capitalism on the Edge - Paul Mason
  • ✪ Iain Murray - Life of Robert L. Dabney (Christian biography)
  • ✪ Bob Murray APPEALS in John Oliver / Last Week Tonight Lawsuit


- I started in 1970 and I was playing everything then and I'm still playing all kinds of different music. That love of all kinds of music, and being prepared, and wanting to work and play all the time. So if you want to work all the time, rather than just concentrating on one area, you should diversify, you know, it's just incredible. It's a serious gift. And I have passion about music, there's just nothing like it. (jazz music) - (laughs) Yeah. (host applauds) Well done, well done. Ladies and gentlemen, the legend himself, Mr. Harvey Mason. Here at Drumeo. - Wow, I'm here at Drumeo. - [Dave] Thank you so much for coming. - Thanks for having me, Dave, it's great being here. You kidding? - Absolutely. Yeah, yeah, well we got a really cool lesson for you. And if you don't know who Harvey Mason is, I doubt that. He is one of the most recorded drummers, I would say. And your resume is way too long to list. We'd be here the whole hour, if I were to talk about all the, all the cool stuff you've done. But just a quick, quick recap, I guess. He's recorded with Herbie Hancock. In fact, you co-wrote the song Chameleon. - That's right. - You did a rendition of that just now. - Yes. - You've also recorded with Chick Corea, you've recorded with Seal, Kiss From a Rose back in the 90s. - Oh yeah. - You've recorded with Quincy Jones, James Brown live, Duke Ellington, Larry Carlton, your own band, Fourplay. - Fourplay. - Which is great. And one of the coolest things is you just recorded the latest soundtrack for the Star Wars-- - Star Wars Eight. - Star Wars number eight. With John Williams. - JW. - That's crazy. So your resume's just massive. I can't believe we have you on Drumeo. And the lesson we're gonna talk about is how to become a chameleon behind the drums, the art of versatility. - Very, very important. - [Dave] I think so. - I've been working in LA since 19, 1970. - Wow. And you've done the works. We're gonna dive into that a little bit deeper. But of all the drummers to talk about being versatile behind the drums, I think we've got the right guy right here. So thank you so much. And a huge thanks to the sponsors for helping make this happen. Also, Betts, your manager, he's been great to work with. Canopus went above and beyond to bring in this amazing kit for us. Remo Heads. Your cymbals, Murat Diril cymbals. - Yes, absolutely, Murat Diril. - Very cool sounding cymbals. Vic Firth as well. Now you were saying that you were one of the first endorsers of Vic Firth. - Actually for his, what we call dance drumsticks. - Dance drumsticks. - He'd been making classical drums 60 years, and then when I was taking lessons with him, he used to bring the newspaper in, with a new set of sticks and say, try these out and see what you think about those. And I'd give him an assessment. "Well, they feel okay, maybe a little thicker here, "A little bit there." So I got into that sort of thing. When he started having endorsers, he came to me right away and I was really happy to be one. - No kidding, very cool. - Yes, a long time. - He also gave you lessons too. - He was my teacher as well, one of the greatest timpanists in the world I studied with. - That's crazy. - It's fantastic. - Also, to DW Pedals and Stands, and Roc-N-Soc. - Roc-N-Soc, absolutely. - You're sporting a Roc-N-Soc throne today, which is great. - Yes, sir. These great endorsers. - So if you guys want to follow Harvey online outside of Drumeo, please do so. He'd love the love, and I'd love to see you guys keep an eye on what's coming up from Harvey. And you can do that on Instagram and on Facebook, just @Harveymasonsr, Harvey Mason, Sr. And you can also go, even though you're not a senior, go to if you want to check out his website as well. You're gonna be updating that, I imagine. - Oh yeah. - And, you have some stuff coming out. You're working on an album. - Working on a new CD with both my sons. One's a producer, and one's an A and R person and a manager. So Max and Harvey, we're working on a new CD, and it's gonna be killer, looking forward to it. - Awesome. - And I'm going to Europe, going to London. - Oh yeah? - Play at Ronnie Scott's. In July I'm playing with Qunicy Jones in a big concert in Italy for his 85th birthday celebration. - Holy cow. - That's gonna be fun too, a huge band. - That's gonna be amazing. Open invite, no? - Oh sure, absolutely, come on. (laughs) - Awesome, so make sure you follow him online, and give him a like, and share his stuff as well. So again, we're gonna talk about becoming versatile on the drums, and how to become a chameleon behind the kit. But before we do that, let's get you to play another song for us, if you don't mind. - Really. - Is that cool? - Sure it's cool, are you kidding? - Awesome. Silver Streak. - Streak. - By Fourplay. - Yes, it's a tune I wrote for Fourplay. - Off of the Silver record, right? - Yes, it's off of Silver, our 27th anniversary record. - [Dave] Crazy. - Actually, 25th anniversary record. - But you'd been together for 27 years. - It's 27 now. - And you're still going? - We're still going. - Crazy. All right, let's check out Silver Streak, and then we'll get into the lesson. ("Silver Streak" by Fourplay) (Dave applauds) - Well done, that was so smooth. It's like you're just effortless. - Thank you Dave. - You're welcome. And the crowd goes wild out there. We're all saying how smooth it sounded. It was really well done. So let's talk about this topic, becoming a chameleon behind the drums. What does that mean to you? - Well, it means being versatile. Being able to play lots of, almost any style. And really loving music. Because all that comes from really loving music, even more so than you love drums. You just, you know, the music really should dictate what you're playing and, and that love of all kinds of music and being prepared and wanting to work and play all the time. So if you want to work all the time rather than just, just concentrating on one area, you should diversify, you know. Be versatile, because then you'll work all the time. - Right. - I started in 1970, and I was playing everything then, and I'm still playing all kinds of different music. Which makes me really, really happy because there isn't, there is almost not a day that goes by that I wasn't working playing some kind of music. Commercials to movies, to records, to live shows, to, I mean, you name it. - Right. Now, when you started, I remember you were telling me when you moved to LA at first you spent three years not even playing the drums. - Well, I was playing underground on some records. But primarily I was a percussionist, you know? I graduated from the New England Conservatory, and I was prepared to play in an orchestra. Vic had me ready, playing all the repertoire. But my dream was to come to LA and work in the studios. And the way I got in the beginning was the Lucille Ball Show, which not too many of you probably know, that was my entree into working with studios. And I was a percussionist. Timpani and mallets, and hand percussion, and the works. And I thought that was gonna be it for me. That was, I was, I was right into it. - Yeah, so when did you get that switchover from being a percussionist into actually playing? - Well, it happened so gradually. And in some ways it happened rapidly. But I think I was doing the Bill Cosby Show with Quincy Jones, and that came on. Then I played when their record was the hit record. And they said, Harvey played on my record. And Quincy said, oops. So then he started calling me. And another time I was playing with Gerry Mulligan, playing vibes, and the drummer was late. And we got to the hour hour, the hour, and they said, let's call somebody. And I said, I can fill in until he comes. So I filled in, and they hired me. - No kidding. - And that was on the spot. They fired the other guy. And Dave Grusin was in the band at the time. And we became lifelong friends. And I started doing all of his movies. For those and other ones I was just playing drums. But he had me playing some of the stuff as well. So it was a gradual process, but then it happened and sort of exploded, you know? But at the time, certain people are music-driven, some people are music percussionists, so it was very interesting. - Yeah, so how did you become such a versatile drummer? - Well, Coming up, growing up in Atlantic City, New Jersey, I had a chance to play surfing music. I played a lot of bar mitzvahs, I worked at strip clubs, playing shows. And I worked in top 40 bands, and I played jazz at a club called the Winter Gardens, which was an amazing club. And I also played in DCI Drum and Unit Corps, the Seahorse Lancers from Brigantine, New Jersey. So I had a lot of different experience. And I played with orchestras, I played in a dance band, I played at a band with the Uni where all the guys were 80 years old, and I got to play with them, and chug along. So I had a lot of experience very early on. And little did I know that those experiences would be my bread and butter. But I loved playing everything and anything. I have to say that. When I was in college, I played in a country and western band, where everyone wore cowboy suits except me. It was right across the street from Harvard, the club there, so. And then in Boston also played in a place called The Cave, where we played Latin music. I played drums and timbales. And all the dancers from Arthur Murray and everything would come there and dance every night. So I got to play with some authentic Latin guys there. And so I've had a lot of different kinds of experiences. - Are you self-taught? How did you develop your skill when you started? - Well, I started at seven, taking drum lessons in public school. Thank goodness for public school music education. I'm a big advocate for that. And they came to the auditorium, and they showed us all the instruments and said, if you want to play a lesson, we'll give you lessons. And I of course chose drums because I'd been fooling around with them when I was crawling around. Playing with pots and pans at the first opportunity. I was seven, I started taking lessons on drums. And I started with just reading and playing snare drum, and playing in the elementary school orchestra. Playing, you know, limited versions of classic tunes. So that's how I started playing drums. Just reading and playing snare drum, that's it. - Now you start, and we were talking before the lesson, you were talking about all these different ways that you're versatile. And I wanted to kind of ask you a little bit about some of those. One of them you were talking about was the sound that you create. Playing all these different styles requires different sounds from your kit. And you focus a lot on the sound more so than the pattern itself. Can you elaborate on that, and show us how you do that? - Well, for me, playing tympani and playing percussion it was very important to me, the sound that I get from the drums. It really translated to recording. That's why I think I ended up recording a lot. Because I had a very unique sound. Even when I first moved to LA, sound wasn't that important. We played single-headed toms that were muffled, really dead. They were hard to play. But as time went on, we had a chance to play drums that had double heads on them, and they sounded so much better. And they were so much more fun to play. Exercises I used to do to try and make sure I was playing the center of the head, I'd start. (drum music) Trying to stay on the center of the drums. So I would just do that over and over and over again. (drum music) And also do sort of a tympani grip, which is French style, the palms facing each other. (drum music) - Very cool. - I concentrate a lot on getting the good sound. And that seemed to be most important, 'cause you're not gonna play a lot of stuff on most records. And sound's very important. So I concentrate a lot on the sound. And that's why I switch a lot, sometimes you'll see me playing traditional. (drum music) And other times I'll be playing. (drum music) I start playing really open doubles, accentuating the second beat. (drum music) Almost like even, like singles. (drum music) And even with the left. (drum music) - [Dave] Yeah. - So I used to practice trying to play doubles really open to emulate single strokes. 'Cause it's easier. I used to be able, I could play with, what I could play with the left, matching I could play even with the double. - Oh really, traditional grip? - I used to work on that. Let me show you. (drum music) - Yeah, I see. So your focusing not, a lot of drummers, they focus on how fast they can play, what kind of patterns they can play. But you focus on the sound and accuracy on where you're hitting the drums. - Sound, accuracy, and articulation. And also, let the music dictate what I'm gonna play. I try and play in character within the genre all the time. Let the music dictate, rather than something that I practice, or practice a lick and then try and fit it in. I've never done that. And I try and find fresh and exciting new things to play when I'm playing. But I hope that it's all within character. - Yeah. Well, talking about versatility, you switched sticks when you did that demonstration. What are you playing on now? - Well, these are some sticks I love to play songs with. They're a Vic Firth, and they're felt tip, they remind me of playing timpani, you know, because. (drum music) - Yeah. - It's kind of different. - You got quite a diverse bag. You were showing a couple of other sticks. What do you all have in your stick bag right there? - Well, brushes of course, and I have rods of course. Rods are very, very, very, they're used a lot nowadays. (drumsticks clatter) A lot of times, people play with these rods, as opposed to using drumsticks. (drum music) - Right. - Rods, you know. - Yeah. - Of course, there are basic mallets, and then just different sticks. These are Vic Firth. (drum music) They're a good model, but I love those. (drum music) These are actually classical sticks, and I love the way they feel, they feel so balanced and so well. (drum music) - Well, what about Latin, Brazilian, funk? You've done all that as well. - Well, I played it a lot. Because I recorded with Joe Beam, and Di Giovanne, and Simone, and I can't think of all them. Guillaume Milentes. On and on and on. And I started, earlier I came to LA and I worked with a guy named Moises Santos, he was a Brazilian composer brought there Henry Mancini. And he wrote up all the rhythms. Some real interesting rhythms, like. (drum music) So many different rhythms. - Yeah, yeah, I see what you mean. So, tell me then, how did all this diversity in the styles that you know, how did that help with your career, like, what was the main thing that you took away from that? - Well, first of all, I loved it all, and it was so interesting to play so many different kinds of music. It made every day very interesting, and it also, it kept me working. Because there was so much going on. If I played just one style, I would have worked one day and maybe not the other five or six days. So I was working all the time, and all different kinds of music. And it was just so much fun, and still remains fun. To just play different things. And not know exactly what you're gonna play, but normally you go in there, you're gonna have a new adventure. You might even learn something new you know? - Right. - So for me, it was always trying to keep it fresh, and trying to really, really excel, and making it feel good, and making the artist feel very happy, that that's what they heard in their head. Or if not, that they loved it better than what they heard in their head. So that was the idea, you know. - So how do you, what tips would you give to students out there in becoming more versatile behind the kit? - Well, I would say research, first of all. Because first of all, you have to fall in love with the music, you have to be very passionate about music in general, all kinds of music is what I preach. And then research, and listen to it all. Fall in love with it. Find out what are the keys from the drum chair that make the music sound unique, and sound totally into the genre. And lots of records from all those genres. When I first did, with Frank Sinatra and I went out and just listened to the, listened to the music. And just kind of got into, in the early days. When I had a session, I didn't know if I was gonna do something with some artist, Carol King or whoever it was gonna be. I had to go listen to their music so I could get into the vibe or what was going on, you know. So it's a matter of research, so you really know what's going on. Once, you know, I did a country and western TV show. We sat on the sides of the stage and we were playing country music. Johnny Rodriguez and Roy Clark, it was fun, it was another thing to do. - Right, right. - So for me, it was always something fresh, something new to do. - Well, you look at all the different styles that you know and that drummers can learn, and it's sometimes overwhelming. What are your tips to drummers who just might not have the time, or they can just see it as an overwhelming mountain to climb? - Well, first of all, if you love music, it doesn't need to be overwhelming. It's really not. And there's only so much you can play the drums. I mean, it's all right here. It's not like you have to reinvent the wheel. Most of the stuff is pretty straight ahead, you know. It's not like you have to be a complete master of it. Even though you want to be as good as you possibly can be, but you can, basically, if you are in the ballpark, you're good. Then you can begin to learn how to interpret within different genres and they're really straight. So interpretation and being creative within that is also very important. Especially recording, because it, 'cause the composers have the chance to say to you, well, do this or do that, you know, you have to take some initiative, and you have to understand music you feel. And the note fairy has to be there for you. - Right. I love that interpretation. That's a big point that we were talking about before. Can you expand on that? Like, I mean when you're thinking about a drummer, they want to learn beats and fills and all that, but you focus on musical interpretation. - I focus on music. - Yeah. - You know? You can learn basic beats and things like that. But I think if you go with a preconceived idea, you kind of push everyone into a certain area where you have to go. I think you have to really listen to the music. And let the music guide you, as far as what we play, within the genre as well. So, you know, learn it, learn something, listen to it, put it in your vocabulary, and don't just throw it out there just make for the right music to come in there and then let it flow out. Let it flow and relax, and just enjoy. And be thankful, just go for it. Be positive in the. It's a picnic, it's so much fun when you think about it. - Yeah. - And I look back now at all the stuff I've done, I guess I'm getting to that point where I'm looking back and saying, wow, I did that, I did that. You know, you're mentioning these different things, and I'm saying, "Oh yeah, I played "On the movie of prepper rays, yeah I did the movie." - That's crazy. - So you know. And then you say, well, oh yeah, I did that. I mean, I did so many movies, I thought it is crazy. I think about it, it's crazy. And I don't know what the answer is. I just love music, and be versatile. That's all I can say. There was a time I was working three sessions almost every day except Saturdays and Sundays, and sometimes they were working on Saturdays too. - Wow. - And then flying into New York just to do sessions, and back and forth. And so, you know, that's why my resume is as it is. Which I'm extremely proud of. - Yeah, well I would be, I would be too. The music industry has changed a lot over the years. Does that, has that changed your approach on how you think students should kind of take on the drums? Or is it more important now to be versatile than ever? - I think it's important to be versatile now, but I also think not only just on your instrument, I think you have to learn, you know, learn recording engineering techniques, Pro Tools, you have to learn how to write music. You should learn how to write music, and of course read it. And learn a lot about the business. And gain people skills, you know, it's all very important because you may not hit this path, but you might have to go left or right. I tell the story of a young kid that I know. A grown man now, but he wanted to study just jazz saxophone. He was going to Michigan and I gave him a big lecture. I said, look, you go there, you lean to play in the orchestra, you learn engineering, you learn about writing, you learn the whole works. He came back out, they had a job, an intern with Hans Zimmer. And now he's the second, the two composers of the Thrones, the Game of Thrones or something. - You're kidding. - No, there you go. - So he just wanted to learn jazz sax. - He just wanted to, because he learned everything else. He came out and he's prepared, here are the other players. - Well, that's like one of the biggest tips right there, is not just be a drummer. - I think. - Be a musician. - I think you have to be a musician. I think that's the key, being a musician. If you love music, you'll love being in the business. Just learn as much as you can. I'd rather be doing something in music than doing something else. If I wasn't playing my instrument, you know. - Exactly. - So I think it's really important to really expand, expand your knowledge. And if you love music, then music is everywhere. It's just incredible. It's a serious gift. And I have passion about music. It's just, there's nothing like it. - How important do you think reading is? - I think it's important. Because it's another avenue into playing and a lot of situations where you wouldn't if you couldn't read. A lot of situations, especially if you're doing studio work, you have to be able to read. You have to be pretty quick, and you have to have a lot of experience about reading. No one can tell you, you just have to be able to interpret and read, and know what's going on. So I think it's important. I think it's very important. At least to me it was really, really important. I think if someone wants to be a really well-rounded musician, you'll do that because otherwise you'll miss out on some things that are really, really important that you might want to do. So why leave that stone unturned? - Exactly. - If you're a young person and you have a sharp mind, go for it. - Yeah. - You know, get prepared for everything on your instrument. That's the way I look at it, you know. And if you can go beyond it, if you have time to go beyond it and play percussion as well, I mean that just sort of puts you in the ballgame even more. So for me, I'd say you get the first couple years, almost three years I was playing percussion, I was sitting in the percussion section watching all the great drummers playing. It was like an education for me, you know? I mean, I played percussion on so many records. I even got to play with Earth, Wind and Fire, playing timpani and vibes on all their early records. I just love hearing that stuff and knowing that I'm not playing drums, no, I'm playing-- - You're playing percussion, or you're playing vibes. - Yeah, can you believe I was playing vibes with Gerry Mulligan in a live situation. - That's nuts. - Isn't that crazy? - Yeah. - And then I end up making a very important record with him in Carnegie Hall playing drums after that. - Yeah, look at that. So your connection from not even the drums got you a drum gig. - With Gerry Mulligan and Chet Baker. One of the great recordings I've done. - Do you want to play us a solo? - A solo? Let's think about, let's think about the note fairy. If the note fairy comes to me. Let's see if it happens with that. - Do you want to try some, something big band-ish? - I'll play a solo. - Play a solo. Show us some of your versatility behind the drums. - Okay, let's see. - All right. (drum music) (applauds) - A little something. It needed a little something, something, something, something. - It had a little something, and I loved it. - Something something. - You went all over the place, it was great. - A little something going on this. - Yeah. - A little control. In and out of different colors and. - Dude. Very good, so smooth. And your transitions between the styles, and even the tempos was great. You chose the right tools. (laughs) Okay, we're getting close to the hour. Time goes by so fast during these. So let me ask you a couple more questions before we wrap up. First one is the biggest question, is what tips can you give to the viewers watching, the drummers watching, to become more like you are, a chameleon behind the kit, you can play all these different styles. You can play all these different instruments. Not just the kit, you're a percussionist. You can play timpani. What kind of tips would you give to drummers who are looking to get more like you? - Oh boy, well as we're going to be reiterating here but, first of all you have to have a very serious love for music. And so much so that you really want to investigate and research what makes music tick as far as from a drum chair, a drum point of view. Listen to a lot of drums that are playing. There's a difference in particular styles that you're interested in. And borrow from them but don't necessarily really copy, but use that as a starting point. So you have that tool in your toolbox. And then really understand about the music and try and interpret the music. But I think it all begins with a real serious love for music, and really wanting to play all kinds of music, and really wanting to always be able to play. And I think that's it. And as far as the percussion, that's a whole other animal. And that takes another deep love and appreciation for music. And again, one, you'll be versatile, and think about playing in an orchestra. You don't want to be left out of any musical situation that has to do with your instrument. And that's the way I approach it. I wanted to be prepared to play in an orchestra. I mean, last year in May, I played with the London Symphony Orchestra, I was a guest. I played Holt's Planets, and I played timpani with the orchestra, it was like a dream come true. That was the second time I played with them. I played with them as an extra before. But it was great to play with those guys. And so I kind of have been trying to leave no stone unturned. And for me that was a very emotional moment, to kind of cover that at that level. That's one of the best orchestras in the world. So that and then, I mean I've done probably 23 Academy Award shows, where we were reading three and a half hours or more of music on the spot, and those things meant and mean a lot to me. And then the, to have so many special recordings, and so I think you have to have a very serious love for music, and just allow, allow it to let it go. Let it go. Learn it, listen to it, practice, study, and just let it go. - Well, Nathaniel in the Drumeo chat said, "You can see the difference his classical training has made. "He's also mentioned he's played vibes. "So he can read notation as well. "He is a very, very, very well-prepared musician." I think that's the key right there. Is you're prepared for anything. - Yeah I was prepared. When I came here, I felt very prepared. Not as prepared today. (laughs) - Well, I threw everything at you. I remember before we were in the lesson, we went through a big band piece, which we might not even have time to play live, we'll have to do it for our course. - Another time, another time. - Another time. I also threw you a funk track that you didn't even hear, and you nailed it almost on the first take. So you're definitely very prepared. - I thought I was more prepared, but now I don't do it every day. And this is just change, as you talked about. There are a lot more, many, many, many more drummers, and not as many recording opportunities. Everyone's recording in their home, they're using machines still. And so it's a little tougher now to get that resume that I have. But I'd still hold out, the great guys can still get through. And just practice, practice, practice. And fall in love with music. That'll get you through, that will definitely get you through. - Very cool. For those watching, we're gonna be doing a whole course. And we're gonna dive even deeper into this topic. We only had an hour, and I wanted to get a lot of playing from Harvey, which we did. So please find us on You can go to, get a free trial, see what we have inside. We're gonna dive into some of the artists that you've played with, some of the experiences you've had, and some of the styles that you've kind of learned throughout the years. And we're also gonna do a podcast tomorrow with you as well. So, make sure you find us there, check out Harvey on Instagram and Facebook @Harveymasonsr, Harvey Mason Sr, and be sure to give him a like and a follow. Anything else you'd like to add before we wrap up? - It's great being here. I look forward to seeing you again. And stay tuned, Drumeo is the best. - You're too kind. - I'm real happy to be here, and thanks Dave, it's been great. The crew here and everything is amazing. And I think you're gonna really learn a lot about drums and about music and about life here. So stay tuned, I'll see you the next time. - Thank you so much, thank you so much. And a huge thanks to Betts as well for making this all happen. He's been great. So we're gonna get you to play us out, if that's all right, one more song. This song is called The Bird. It's a very, very cool track. It kind of goes all over the place. And again, another great way to showcase the versatility that you have. All right, sound good? - I go all over the place. - (laughs) But in a good way. - Good, okay. - All right Harvey. Thank you so much again. And we'll see you guys all later. ("The Bird") (jazz music)


Early life

He was born on Analostan Island, now Theodore Roosevelt Island, in the District of Columbia. He was a graduate of the University of Pennsylvania (1818) and received a law degree from the College of William and Mary (1820).

Political career

He practiced law in Virginia and was a delegate to the Virginia Constitutional Convention of 1829-1830 and a member of the House of Delegates. He was elected to the Twenty-fifth United States Congress in 1836 as a Jackson Democrat.

In 1847, he was elected to the Senate after the death of Isaac S. Pennybacker, and he was re-elected in 1850 and 1856. Mason famously read aloud the dying Senator John C. Calhoun's final speech to the Senate, on March 4, 1850, which warned of disunion and dire consequences if the North did not permanently guarantee the South equal representation in Congress. He also complained of personal liberty laws: "Although the loss of property is felt, the loss of honor is felt still more."[3]

Mason also drafted the (second) Fugitive Slave Law of 1850, enacted on September 18, 1850 as a part of the Compromise Measures of that year. Mason represented the majority view in leading the Senate committee that investigated the John Brown raid on Harper's Ferry in October 1859. (The document was published as the U.S. Congress, Senate Select Commission on the Harper's Ferry Invasion (June 15, 1860) but is often referred to as the Mason Report.[4])

Mason was President pro tempore of the Senate during the Thirty-fourth and Thirty-fifth Congresses but was expelled from the Senate in 1861 for support of the Confederate States.

While he was traveling to his post as Confederate envoy to Britain and France on the British mail steamer RMS Trent, the ship was stopped by USS San Jacinto on November 8, 1861. Mason and John Slidell were confined in Fort Warren, Boston Harbor, precipitating the Trent Affair, which threatened to bring Britain into open war with the United States.

The US public erupted with a huge display of triumphalism at this dramatic capture. Even the cool-headed Lincoln was swept along in the celebratory spirit, but when he and his cabinet studied the likely consequences of a war with Britain, their enthusiasm waned. After some careful diplomatic exchanges, they admitted that the capture had been conducted contrary to maritime law and that private citizens could not be classified as "enemy despatches." Slidell and Mason were released, and war was averted. The two diplomats set sail for England again on January 1, 1862. Mason represented the Confederacy there until April 1865. One of his first acts in London was to raise the issue of Union blockades.[5]

Until 1868, he lived in Canada, and he then returned to the Clarens Estate near Alexandria, Virginia. He died at Clarens in 1871.[1][2] He was interred in the churchyard of Christ Church, Alexandria, Virginia.[1][2]

James M. Mason, photograph by Mathew Brady
James M. Mason, photograph by Mathew Brady


Marriage and children

Mason married Eliza Margaretta Chew (1798–1874) on 25 July 1822 at Cliveden in Germantown, Pennsylvania.[1][2] The couple had eight children:[1]

  • Anna Maria Mason Ambler (31 January 1825 – 17 August 1863)[1]
  • Benjamin Chew Mason (1826–1847)[1]
  • Catharine Chew Mason Dorsey (24 March 1828 – 28 April 1893)[1]
  • George Mason (16 April 1830 – 3 February 1895)[1]
  • Virginia Mason (12 December 1833 – 11 October 1920)[1]
  • Eliza Ida Oswald Mason (10 August 1836 – 16 December 1885)[1]
  • James Murray Mason, Jr. (24 August 1839 – 10 January 1923)[1]
  • John A. Mason (17 November 1841 – 6 June 1925)[1]

He was a grandson of George Mason (1725–1792); nephew of George Mason V (1753–1796);[1][2] grandnephew of Thomson Mason (1733–1785);[1][2] first cousin once removed of Stevens Thomson Mason (1760–1803) and John Thomson Mason (1765–1824);[1][2] son of John Mason (1766–1849) and Anna Maria Murray Mason (1776–1857);[1][2] first cousin of Thomson Francis Mason (1785–1838), George Mason VI (1786–1834), and Richard Barnes Mason (1797–1850);[1][2] second cousin of Armistead Thomson Mason (1787–1819), John Thomson Mason (1787–1850), and John Thomson Mason, Jr. (1815–1873);[1][2] second cousin once removed of Stevens Thomson Mason (1811–1843);[1][2] and first cousin thrice removed of Charles O'Conor Goolrick.[1][2] A first cousin 5 times removed was Betty Mason (1836-1899) first wife of Gen. Edward Porter Alexander.[6][7][8]

See also


  1. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o p q r s t u Lee, Michele (May 18, 2011). "James Murray Mason". Gunston Hall. Retrieved 2009-03-07.
  2. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l "Mason family of Virginia". The Political Graveyard. June 16, 2008. Retrieved 2009-03-07.
  3. ^ James M. McPherson, Battle Cry of Freedom: The Civil War Era (New York: Bantam Books, 1989), p. 79.
  4. ^ "Senate Select Committee Report on the Harper's Ferry Invasion". West Virginia Division of Culture and History. June 15, 1860. Retrieved July 25, 2016.
  5. ^ Appletons' annual cyclopaedia and register of important events of the year: 1862. New York: D. Appleton & Company. 1863. p. 193.
  6. ^ Mason genealogy
  7. ^ Stafford County family Group Sheets
  8. ^ Mason Genealogy

External links

U.S. House of Representatives
Preceded by
Edward Lucas
Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from Virginia's 15th congressional district

March 4, 1837 – March 4, 1839
Succeeded by
William Lucas
U.S. Senate
Preceded by
Isaac S. Pennybacker
 U.S. Senator (Class 1) from Virginia
January 21, 1847 – March 28, 1861
Served alongside: William S. Archer and Robert M. T. Hunter
Succeeded by
Waitman T. Willey
Political offices
Preceded by
Jesse D. Bright
President pro tempore of the United States Senate
January 6, 1857 – March 4, 1857
Succeeded by
Thomas J. Rusk
This page was last edited on 23 August 2019, at 23:26
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