New-York Daily Tribune, June 3, 1861
When Gen. Patterson falls like an avalanche upon the rebels at Harper's Ferry, and the insurgents scud Southward through the romantic "Valley of Virginia," closely followed by the loyal troops, we hope the pursuing column will halt at Winchester long enough to visit the mansion of James M. Mason, late Chairman of the Committee of Foreign Relations in the Senate of the United States, and learn whether that distinguished rebel is spending the Summer at home, or recreating his exhausted powers in parts unknown. Of all the conspirators against the Consti[tu]tion, there is scarcely one whose punishment would give more satisfaction to loyal citizens all over the country, and especially in Virginia, than that of Mason. Davis is a believer in the baleful metaphysics of Calhoun; Toombs is by nature a reckless adventurer; Yancey is a romantic enthusiast; but Mason—his face a chronic frown, his heart gangrened with envy and pride, his mien imperious and repulsive—affects scorn for the South Carolina school of politics, has not a grain of adventure or enthusiasm in his soul, but is simply a cold, calculating, stolid, sour traitor. He has done more than any other man in Virginia to precipitate that State into the gulf of disunion. Wise—erratic and ridiculous, but frank and bold—preferred to carry on the contest within the Union. Hunter—with a powerful body of friends among the Northern Democracy, and naturally cautious and cowardly—lingered on the brink of the precipice, dreading to take the leap. Letcher—wily and conservative by instinct—desired to wait till some act of the Administration could be tortured into a pretext for striking a blow at Federal authority. But this tardy policy did not suit Mason, who combines in his nature the eager energy and tireless malignity of Catiline, with the dogged obstinacy and morose bigotry of Charles I. Drawing around him such fiery young rebels as Garnett and Pryor, the conspirators, first by stealthy steps and then by coercion, he finally carried Virginia out of the Union. Execrated by all loyal citizens of that State, the country demands the speedy arrest and punishment of this arch traitor.