Mason Locke Weems (11 October 1756 - 23 May 1825), often referred to as Parson Weems was an American printer and author known as the author of Life of Washington (1800), the source for several of the most famous legends about George Washington, "the Father of his Country," including the famous tale of the cherry tree.
- Even common passions... will put him up to his mettle.
- Life of Washington, i. 6. (1800)
- I cannot tell a lie, I did it with my little hatchet.
- Portrayed as the words of the young George Washington, confessing to have damaged a cherry tree in Life of Washington (1800)
- Feeling that the silver chord of life is loosing, and that his spirit is ready to quit her old companion the body, he extends himself on his bed — closes his eyes for the last time, with his own hands — folds his arms decently on his breast, then breathing out "Father of mercies! take me to thyself," — he fell asleep. Swift on angels' wings the brightening saint ascended; while voices more than human were heard (in Fancy's ear) warbling through the happy regions, and hymning the great procession towards the gates of heaven. His glorious coming was seen far off, and myriads of mighty angels hastened forth, with golden harps, to welcome the honored stranger.
- Description of Washington's death in Life of Washington (1800); this fanciful account bears no relation to the report of Washington's last words by his personal secretary Tobias Lear, who wrote in his journal (14 December 1799): About ten o'clk he made several attempts to speak to me before he could effect it, at length he said, — "I am just going. Have me decently buried; and do not let my body be put into the Vault in less than three days after I am dead." I bowed assent, for I could not speak. He then looked at me again and said, "Do you understand me? I replied "Yes." "Tis well" said he.