Mason, Martin (DNB00)

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MASON, MARTIN (fl. 1650–1676), quaker, was probably the son of John Mason, ‘gentleman,’ of St. Swithin's, Lincoln, whose will leaving his son ‘Martin senr.’ his seal ring was proved in 1675. Mason received an excellent education, was well versed in Latin, and became a copious writer, chiefly of controversial tracts. He joined the quakers early, and between 1650 and 1671 was continually imprisoned for his opinions. Most of his writings are dated from Lincoln Castle. He was concerned in the schism of John Perrot [q. v.] about wearing the hat during prayer. ‘The Vision of John Perrot,’ 1682, contains on the back of the title-page some in memoriam verses by Mason, dated 27 Oct. 1676. He seems to have taken a broad-minded view of the controversy, and wrote ‘What matter whether hat be on or off, so long as heart be right?’ (manuscript letters).

In November 1660 Mason wrote from Lincoln Castle ‘An Address to Charles, King of England,’ and an ‘Address to both Houses of Parliament.’ They are clear and forcible addresses, setting forth that all compulsion in religion should be removed. They were printed in broadside.

Mason was one of the four hundred liberated by the king's patent, 13 Sept. 1672. The absence of any record of his death probably implies that he left the society.

He wrote: 1. ‘The Proud Pharisee reproved,’ &c., London, 1655, in answer to a book by Edward Reyner, minister, of Lincoln. 2. ‘A Checke to the Loftie Linguist,’ &c., London, 1655, an answer to one George Scortrith, minister, of Lincoln. 3. ‘The Boasting Baptist dismounted and the Beast disarmed and sorely wounded without any carnal weapon,’ London, 1656. 4. ‘Sion's Enemy discovered’ [1659]. The last two were in answer to Jonathan Johnson of Lincoln. 5. ‘A Faithful Warning … to Englands King and his Council that they may wisely improve this little inch of time,’ &c. [1660]. 6. ‘Innocency cleared; the Liberties and Privileges of Gods People for Assembling together … calmly expostulated; and their refusal of all oaths in meekness vindicated’ [1660]. 7. ‘A Loving Invitation and a Faithful Warning to all People,’ London [1660], translated into Dutch and German, 1661. 8. ‘A Friendly Admonition or Good Counsel to the Roman Catholicks in this Kingdom,’ 1662. 9. (With John Whitehead [q. v.]) ‘An Expostulation with the Bishops in England concerning their Jurisdiction over the People of God called Quakers,’ &c. This has a poetical postscript, and is dated 5 Sept. 1662. It was reprinted with the addition of the words ‘so called’ after bishops in the title-page, and signed ‘J. W.’ only. 10. ‘One Mite more cast into God's Treasury, in some Prison Meditations, or Breathings of an Honest Heart, touching England's Condition now at this day,’ 1665. 11. ‘Love and Good-Will to Sion and her Friends,’ 1665.

A volume of manuscripts, formerly in the possession of a descendant, contained verses and letters addressed to judges and deputy-lieutenants of the county of Lincoln, besides correspondence with Albertus Otto Faber, a German doctor who cured him of ‘a violent inward complaint’ (see Faber's De Auro Potabili Medicinale, 4to, 1677, p. 6). Mason had a daughter, Abigail, buried among the quakers at Lincoln, 4 April 1658, and a son, Martin, married at St. Peter at Arches, Lincoln, 29 July 1679, to Frances Rosse, widow, of Lincoln.

[Works above mentioned; Smith's Catalogue; Whitehead's Christian Progress, 1725, p. 358, for list of prisoners liberated; copy of the manuscript formerly belonging to Pishey Thompson, esq., at Devonshire House, Bishopsgate Street; Lincoln registers, per A. Gibbon, esq., F.S.A.]

C. F. S.