William Byrd was born on his father's plantation in Virginia but brought up in Essex and remained in England for most of his early life. Aged thirty when his father died in 1704, William returned to Virginia to manage the family's 26,000 acre estate and later built a fine house there which stands today. William was hardy and energetic and, like most Virginians of his time, often in the saddle. A great traveler, he was no ordinary pioneer: this was a man of culture, wide accomplishments and considerable charm, a genial host who had powerful friends on both sides of the Atlantic. William attended Felsted Grammar School near Braintree for nine years when Christopher Glasscock was its headmaster and then studied law at the Middle Temple. He was called to the Bar in 1695, served a short apprenticeship in Holland and visited the Court of Louis XIV. In London William was becoming known as a satirical writer and wit, and in 1696, through the good offices of his mentor Sir Robert Southwell, he was elected a Fellow of the Royal Society. His influence grew and he was appointed Virginia's colonial agent in London and was thus at the heart of the conflict between Crown and Colony that was eventually to spark into Revolution. No man had a better preparation for representing the old world in the new and vice versa. William Byrd II was an aspiring English cavalier; at the end, a protean Enlightenment figure.
Jonathan Edwards was a very admirable and enthusiastic