Constructing the American Past: 18th Century Voices

Topics: Benjamin Franklin, God, William Byrd II Pages: 3 (1218 words) Published: October 2, 2013

Response Paper- Gorn Ch.3
Constructing the American Past
Volume 1

Eighteenth-Century Voices

How would you characterize the relationship between William Byrd and Lucy Parke Byrd? If Lucy had diary, how do you think she might have characterized the same events? The relationship William Byrd and Lucy Parke Byrd was quite different than most marriages in the old Virginia days. Lucy Parke was rather knowledgeable than most women her age, while she grew up educated. Lucy Parke caught the attention of William Byrd, by the grants her family had inherited but also from her beauty. William Byrd consumed a weakness for feminine women. He often was unfaithful to Lucy Parke. In William Byrd diary he says,” I kissed Mrs. Chiswell and kissed her on the bed till she was angry and my wife also was uneasy about it, and cried as soon as the company was gone.” Another incident occurred, in which Lucy’s anger and jealousy may have gotten the best of her. For example, “In the evening my and little jenny had a great quarrel in which my wife got the worst but at last by the help of the family Jenny was overcome and soundly whipped. Jenny is also known as “a mistress.” William Byrd cared for Lucy Parke’s health and well-being. William often prayed for Lucy Parke during her very sick days while dealing with a miscarriage. William was saddened for the pain his wife was dealing with. In his diary he mentions, “Wife grew very ill which made me weep for her.” The characterization of this relationship was uneasy, wealthy and troubling at times. Through the marriage was primarily based on the wealth of William Byrd owning slaves and land. In my conclusion I sense that Byrd had slight compassion for Lucy and primarily saw her as an “object” to him. Lucy Parke in my opinion would have characterized it in a more perturbed way. She had a rough time dealing with her miscarriages. Lucy Parke would have expressed her personal life with more detail on how she felt about William,...
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