Weems' Life of General Francis Marion
[Note on text: Italicized words or phrases capitalized.
Some obvious errors have been corrected.]
IMPORTANT NOTE ON THIS TEXT:
This biography, though historically based, should not be considered factual.
It is not that there was no such man -- indeed there was, and other accounts
indicate that Francis Marion is as deserving of praise as this account
would indicate -- or moreso. It is not that the events described
did not take place -- most of them, at least, did.
It is simply that Parson Weems (Mason Locke Weems, 1759-1825),
in an honest effort to teach a high patriotism, nobility, and morality,
sometimes embellished or exaggerated his stories to the point of falsehood,
as with his invention of the cherry tree anecdote in his Life of Washington.
It seems strange that such a devotion to moral teaching should use falsehoods
to reach its audience, but he apparently felt the means justified by the end.
Not everyone agreed with his methods, and Gen. Peter Horry wrote to him:
"I requested you would (if necessary) so far alter the work
as to make it read grammatically, and I gave you leave to embellish the work,
but entertained not the least idea of what has happened . . .
You have carved and mutilated it with so many erroneous statements