Mason Locke Weems (October 11, 1759 – May 23, 1825), usually referred to as Parson Weems, was an American book agent and author who wrote the first biography of George Washington immediately after his death. He was the source of some of the apocryphal stories about Washington. The tale of the cherry tree ("I cannot tell a lie, I did it with my little hatchet") is included in the fifth edition of ''The Life of Washington'' (1809 imprint, originally published 1800), a bestseller that depicted Washington's virtues and was intended to provide a morally instructive tale for the youth of the young nation.
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