Skip to main content

Mason, James Murray

James Murray Mason, 1798–1871, U.S. Senator and Confederate diplomat, b. Georgetown, D.C.; grandson of George Mason. He began to practice law in Winchester, Va., in 1820. Mason served in the Virginia legislature (1826–27, 1828–31), in the House of Representatives (1837–39), and in the U.S. Senate (1847–61). A staunch supporter of Southern rights, he drafted the Fugitive Slave Act of 1850 and advocated secession. Jefferson Davis appointed him Confederate commissioner to England in Aug., 1861. Along with John Slidell, Mason was seized aboard the British ship Trent by Capt. Charles Wilkes, commanding the U.S. warship San Jacinto, and was held prisoner at Fort Warren, Boston, until Jan., 1862 (see Trent Affair). After his release he went on to England, but he was never officially recognized by the British government.

See biography by his daughter, Virginia Mason (1903).

Cite this article
Pick a style below, and copy the text for your bibliography.

  • MLA
  • Chicago
  • APA

"Mason, James Murray." The Columbia Encyclopedia, 6th ed.. . 17 Mar. 2018 <>.

"Mason, James Murray." The Columbia Encyclopedia, 6th ed.. . (March 17, 2018).

"Mason, James Murray." The Columbia Encyclopedia, 6th ed.. . Retrieved March 17, 2018 from

Learn more about citation styles

Citation styles gives you the ability to cite reference entries and articles according to common styles from the Modern Language Association (MLA), The Chicago Manual of Style, and the American Psychological Association (APA).

Within the “Cite this article” tool, pick a style to see how all available information looks when formatted according to that style. Then, copy and paste the text into your bibliography or works cited list.

Because each style has its own formatting nuances that evolve over time and not all information is available for every reference entry or article, cannot guarantee each citation it generates. Therefore, it’s best to use citations as a starting point before checking the style against your school or publication’s requirements and the most-recent information available at these sites:

Modern Language Association

The Chicago Manual of Style

American Psychological Association

  • Most online reference entries and articles do not have page numbers. Therefore, that information is unavailable for most content. However, the date of retrieval is often important. Refer to each style’s convention regarding the best way to format page numbers and retrieval dates.
  • In addition to the MLA, Chicago, and APA styles, your school, university, publication, or institution may have its own requirements for citations. Therefore, be sure to refer to those guidelines when editing your bibliography or works cited list.