From Reverend Mason Locke Weems
( March 8, 1800)
The honor of Mrs Washingtons Acceptance of this little book is
By her Sincere Wellwisher Mason L. Weems2
March 8. 1800
Mrs Martha Washington
(Docket by Tobias Lear)
From The Revd Mr. Weems 8 March 1800
Mason Locke Weems ( 1759- 1825), Episcopal clergyman, bookseller, and author, was a
native of Maryland. He was ordained in England in 1784 and then returned to America
where he served several churches in Maryland. He began writing and publishing books
about 1791. Thereafter bookselling interests dominated his life. In 1794 he became an agent
for Mathew Cary, the young Philadelphia publisher. He traveled tirelessly up and down the
country, peddling books. In the meantime he found time to write biographies of Frankllin, Francis Marion, and William Penn, as well as other moralizing religious publications. He
would probably be unremembered today except for his Life and Memorable Actions of George
Washington, c. 1800. From 1800 until 1927 it passed through some seventy editions. Additional
ones have found their way into print since then. Most of his life, when not traveling, was
spent at Dumfries, King William County, Virginia. See, Cunliffe (ed), The Life of Washington
By Mason L. Weems, Cambridge, 1962, pp. ix-xiii. As early as June 1799 Weems had begun
preparing a small pamphlet entitled The Beauties of Washington. On June 24,1799, six months
before the death of Washington, he wrote Mathew Cary, the Philadelphia publisher, offering
it to him for publication. GW's death, notwithstanding, Cary did not respond. On January
12, 1800 Weems again wrote to Cary, revealing his plan for a Washington biography, and
again Cary waas unresponsive. Weems then wrote to Cary for the third time, on February
2, stating he had sent him an excerpt from "The History of Washington." Not obtaining a
response, had a small number printed at his own expense. This was the first edition, a
pamphlet consisting of eighty pages, and published anonymously by George Keating, a Baltimore printer. This was probably the edition sent to MW. The seond edition followed
shortly after and was published by Breen & English, of Georgetown. It was dedicated to MW
and bore the authorship of Weems. The third edition was published by John Bioren of Philadelphia, in the spring of 1800. It was also dedicated to MW. See E. E. F. Skeel, (ed) Mason
Locke Weems His Works and Ways, N.Y. 1929, 1:1-13.
From Janet Livingston Montgomery
Will you accept (for it is all I have to offer) the tears of a fellow suffer;
and a fellow Mourner; I will make no attempts to comfort you? I well know
how vain the project: twenty four years are gon away since I lost my
husband - And still my tears flow and my heart sighs. - and my tongue
repeats his name, in anguish -
Questia, a part of Gale, Cengage Learning. www.questia.com
Book title: Worthy Partner:The Papers of Martha Washington.
Contributors: Joseph E. Fields - Compiler, Martha Washington - Author.
Publisher: Greenwood Press.
Place of publication: Westport, CT.
Publication year: 1994.
Page number: 360.
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