John Y. Mason

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John Young Mason (1799–1859) was an American statesman.

Mason was born in Greensville County, Virginia, and learned the law under Tapping Reeve at Litchfield, Connecticut. Following his studies, he passed the Virginia bar in 1819. He was elected to the Virginia legislature for four terms (1823-1831) and to the U.S. Congress for three terms (1831–37). In 1837, he was appointed U.S. district Judge for Virginia and served until 1844. In 1844, he was appointed by President Tyler to be Secretary of the Navy. Upon James K. Polk's election, Mason was appointed U.S. Attorney General. At the Mexican-American War, Mason again served as Secretary of the Navy. In 1849, Mason took a retired from government, but in 1853 accepted appointment from Millard Fillmore to be Minister to France. While in France, he developed with James Buchanan and Pierre Soulé the Ostend Manifesto. He died in Paris in 1859.