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Sex and displeasure

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Sex and displeasure William Byrd II of Westover
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Garner, Mary Terese
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1600 - 1799 ( fast )
American diaries -- History and criticism ( lcsh )
Sex -- History -- Sources -- United States -- 18th century ( lcsh )
American diaries ( fast )
Sex ( fast )
History -- Sources -- Virginia -- Colonial period, ca. 1600-1775 ( lcsh )
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Virginia ( fast )
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Criticism, interpretation, etc. ( fast )
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bibliography ( marcgt )
theses ( marcgt )
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Includes bibliographical references (leaves 58-62).
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Department of History
Statement of Responsibility:
Mary Terese Garner.

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University of Colorado Denver
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Full Text
SEX AND DISPLEASURE:
WILLIAM BYRD II OF WESTOYER
by
Mary Terese Gamer
B.A., Chatham College, 1976
A thesis submitted to the
University of Colorado at Denver
in partial fulfillment
of the requirements for the degree of
Master of Arts
History
2004


This thesis for the Master of Arts
degree by
Mary Terese Gamer
has been approved
by
Date


Gamer, Mary Terese (M.A., History)
Sex and Displeasure: William Byrd II of Westover
Thesis directed by Associate Professor, Myra Rich
ABSTRACT
The diary of William Byrd of Westover, Virginia, transcribed from shorthand,
belongs in the category of secret journals. Such diaries written only for the eyes
of the authors, are, of all types of writing the least self-conscious, the least
embellished to make an impression on the reader. So rare are intimate diaries
kept by personages of historical importance that the discovery of Byrds journal
was an event of considerable consequence to scholars of American history.
This daily journal, kept by one of the greatest gentlemen of Virginia in his time,
is considered more valuable because of the intimate nature of many of his
entries. Byrd fully documented his sexual behavior throughout his adult life.
Many previously believed assumptions about the sexual thoughts and behaviors
of eighteenth-century gentlemen can be questioned after reading Byrds diaries.
The purpose of this study is to capture the many points Byrd made in journals
that contradict the previously believed accepted behaviors of gentlemen of this
time period. Byrd, who took equal delight in a well-turned sentence and well-
turned ankle, wrote neither outstanding literature nor purely historical
documents. But he was the first Southern writer of real value, and he opened
the door for future historians to utilize his work for the study of sexual desire
and power in the eighteenth century. Before the Revolutionary Period, he
stands out from the rest of the colonial writers of the South, a symbol of the
best that they could contribute to the cultural history of the country, a mixture
of the gentleman-planter and the gentleman-writer, no longer quite English, not
yet really American.
This abstract accurately represents the content of the candidates thesis. I recommend
its publication.
Signed
in


DEDICATION
I dedicate this thesis to my sister, Dr. Pauline A. Gamer for her unfaltering
understanding, support, and patience while I was preparing this thesis.


ACKNOWLEDGEMENT
My thanks to my advisor, Dr. Myra Rich for her support and patience with me during
these past two years. My thanks also to Dr. Pam Laird for her extensive assistance in
finding the title of this work. My thanks also to Dr. Mark Foster for his constant
vigilance and continued support.


CONTENTS
CHAPTER
1. INTRODUCTION..............................1
2. WILLIAM BYRD II OF WESTOVER..............13
3. CONCLUSION...............................56
BIBLIOGRAPHY...................................... 58
vi


CHAPTER 1
INTRODUCTION
William Byrd II, a prominent eighteenth-century Virginia planter and politician,
was the most noteworthy writer in Southern Colonial America. His letters, diaries,
and publications are witty, skillfully written, and have proved to be valuable
historical sources. Historians have traditionally believed him to be an anomaly
among his peers because he seems to have entered into his diaries all his thoughts,
fears, beliefs and even his sexual activities, dreams, and desires. The extent of his
writing may be unusual, but I question whether his activities, which he so
copiously recorded, were so unusual. I believe that simply because the other
Virginia planters of the time did not keep diaries of their deepest, private thoughts
does not mean they were better behaved than Byrd. It simply means they did not
write them down or their diaries have been lost. In Byrds life and in the lives of
an unknown number of planters, power and sex were mutually reinforcing and
when power was fleeting in other aspects of their lives, they utilized sex over their
wives, their servants and their slaves to satisfy their lust for power.1 Thus, in this
1 This is an opinion shared by a number of historians. See John D.Emilio and Estelle B. Freedman. Intimate
Matters: A History of Sexuality in America. (Chicago: The University of Chicago Press, 1988), 42,44-46, 52, 70;
Kathleen M. Brown. Good Wives, Nasty Wenches Anxious Patriarchs: Gender, Pace, and Power in Colonial Virginia.
(Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, 1996), 328-334, 330-334,365-366; Mary Beth Norton.
Founding Mothers & Fathers: Gendered Power and the Forming of'American Society. (New York: Alfred A Knopf,
1996), 38,63-65,67-69; David Hackett Fischer. Albions Seed: Four British Folkways in America. (New York:
Oxford University Press, 1989), 298,405, 813,815.
1


sense Byrd may be a representative expression of eighteenth-century male ideas of
power, at the very least, a representative of the eighteenth-century Virginia planter
class.
Byrd had his roots in the men who crossed the ocean sixty-seven years
before he was bom, so let his story begin with them. The London Council for
Virginia told the brave English explorers in 1606 to heed the following advice,
Lastly and Chiefly, The way to prosper and achieve success is to make yourselves
all of one mind for the good of your country and your own and to serve and fear
God____2 With these words, three vessels loaded with 144 men left England,
headed south and west to the West Indies, and then veered north to the
Chesapeake Bay, entering it on April 26,1607.3 There can be no doubt that those
144 men never imagined that their four month voyage and their settlement would
be the subject of historical debate and discussion for almost four hundred years.
Unfortunately, little survives from these early years. Personal correspondence is
largely missing. We have no heartfelt letters home or to a spouse. There are only
portions of three diaries; the rest are official reports to Lord Salisbury and other
councilors and high officials narratives, descriptions, natural resources
2 Inscription found on an obelisk at Jamestown National Park.
3 Carville V. Earle. Environment, Disease, and Mortality in Early Virginia in Thad W. Tate and David L.
Ammerman eds., The Chesapeake in the Seventeenth Century: Essays on Anglo-American Society (New York: W.W.
Norton 1979), 96. No complete list of die first Virginia colonists of 1607 is known to exist, and the earliest
estimates of their numbers do not agcee. The Proceedings of the English Colonie in Virginia (1612), complied from the
notes of men who were members of that first group, states that 100 colonists were left in Virginia in June 1607
and then lists the names of 67 men and boys. However, John Smiths Generali Historic of Virginia (1624) lists 82
names and estimates that there were divers others to the number of 100. George Percys most detailed report
notes one hundred and foure persons were left there when Captain Christopher Newport sailed away in June
1607. Many modem textbooks use the figure 144 as the number of passengers.
2


inventories all of it an earnest attempt to make those in the Old World
understand the daily situation and the bright promise of the New.4
The sources that remain remind us that these 100 or so men were a very
interesting crew. But questions remain. What sort of people were coming over as
colonists? Why were there no women included on the original voyage? The
colonists were employees in various capacities of the Virginia Company. Those in
leadership roles either owned stock or had connections, or both. The majority
were second or third sons of wealthy Englishmen looking for adventure and the
making of a quick fortune. Others were hired hands. Many probably assumed
they would return to England with their new-found fortune and live out their
remaining days as wealthy Englishmen in England. Jamestown and the Virginia
colony as a whole were founded according to the first priority of colony-making
which was to establish an economic base for England before the Spanish could
move further north.5 One of the great claims regarding the Jamestown settlement,
according to Edward Wright Haile, is the fact that Jamestown, always threatened,
survived and never came under foreign attack. The English realm opened a
great colonial territory in lands claimed by Spain without firing a shot.6
But where were the women? We can never know for sure, but most
historians believe that in the initial stages of colonization women were not
4 Edward Wright Haile., ed. Jamestown Narratives: Eyewitness Accounts of the Virginia Colony The First Decade: 1607-
1617. (Champlain: Roundhouse 1998), ix-xxvi.
5 Hade, Jamestown Narratives, xxiiL
6 Ibid., xxiv
3


required for Virginia Companys priority of creating an economic base. The
Jamestown colony was an entrepreneurial effort; a start-up venture chartered eight
months earlier; its business model was to extract profits from the gold, silver, and
other riches supposedly to be found in that region of North America. Also,
because no one yet knew the extent of the North American continent; the Virginia
Company expected to find a trade route by river through Virginia to the Pacific.7
In addition, the Virginia colony was not a very healthy environment. Two
works established the fragile character of the Virginia society. Anita and Darrett
Rutmans 1976 article, Of Angues and Fevers, restored the significance of
malaria, not so much as a primary killer but as a disease that weakened colonists
and left them susceptible to other, and more fatal illnesses.8 Carville Earles essay,
Environment, Disease, and Mortality in Early Virginia, employed scientific
studies of estuaries such as the James River to demonstrate how bad water
infected the first Jamestown settlers with still other illnesses. In asserting the
primacy of disease over starvation in accounting for high mortality in the first
years of the Virginia colony, he provided a dramatic example of another problem:
how little the first colonists seemed to understand the environment into which
they had come.9 Even though women in the colony were first believed to be
7 See, Haile, Jamestown Narratives, xxv: also David A. Price. Love and Hate in Jamestown: John Smith, Pocahontas, and
the Heart of a New Nation. (New York; Alfred A Knopf, 2003), 3-14.
8 Butman and Butman Of Angues and Fevers, WMQ, 3rd Ser., XXXHI (1976), 31-60.
9 Carville V. Eade, Environment, Disease, and Mortality in Early Virginia, in Thad W. Tate and David L.
Ammerman, eds., The Chesapeake in the Seventeenth Century: Essays on Anglo-American Society, (New York, W.W.
Norton 1979), pp. 96-125.
4


unnecessary and the environment meant life for both sexes was precarious, the
need and desire for women slowly changed.
From the beginning, the colonists of Virginia recognized the potential
problems associated with female scarcity. Captain John Smith in letters to the
Virginia Council in England relayed die mens misfortune of wanting wives.10
The first women to arrive in the colony were Mistress Forest and her maidservant
Anne Burroughs in September 1608. Smith describes the arrival in a letter to the
Virginal council, the ship having disburdened herself of 70 persons, with the first
gendewoman and woman servant that arrived in our colony.11 The list of
passengers includes two Captains, a brother of Lord LaWarre, twenty-five
Gentiemen, fourteen Tradesmen, twelve Laborers, two boys and Misstress
Forrest and Anne Burrasher maid, eight Dutchmen and Poles, with some others to
the number of seventy persons, etc.12 Thus the first two English women setders
were lumped together with foreigners and some others: an inauspicious
beginning, but a vital indication of status and rank. These two women were just
the beginning. According to Smith in 1624 11 ships and 1216 persons arrived
10 Captain John Smith. vl True Relation, 1608. Republished in Narratives of Early Virginia 1606-1625. (New
York: Charles Scribners Sons, 2003), 33. First published in London by I.D.. and LH. for Michael Sparkes,
1624.
11 Smith, Generali Histories, Bk. 3, Ch., 7. Republished in Jamestown Narratives. Lyon Gardiner Tyler, editor.
(Champlain; Charles Scribners Sons, 1998), 283.
12 Smith, Narratives, 293.
5


including for the Companies land a hundred and thirty, for the College a
hundred, for the Glebe land fifty, young women to make wives ninety.13
Eventually women came to Virginia, but in fewer numbers than the men. It
is possible less women came as word of disease and the unfriendly environmental
conditions in Virginia reached England. Therefore with less immigration and
death rates high, the male/female proportions fluctuated throughout the first half
of the seventeenth century. In 1625, three-quarters of the white people of Virginia
were men, and by 1650 there were still six men to every woman. By the 1650s,
constant immigration had reduced this ratio to three to one. Nonetheless,
throughout the seventeenth century there were far more European men than
European women in Virginia. Sexual disparity was the greatest in the Chesapeake
region of all the English colonies.14 The skewed gender ratio in Virginia made it
difficult for men to find wives and establish conventional family households. It
also meant that most colonists did not have access to sexual relations with English
women during the initial period of settlement.15 Therefore, from the start of the
English colonization of Virginia the history of the sexual relations between the
13 Smith, Generali Histone, Book IV, 1624, 339. Ninety wives does not represent the total of women in
Jamestown but identifies the number of women that landed on that particular day. These ninety young maidens
were sold with their consent to the settlers as wives, at the cost of their transportation: one hundred and twenty
pounds of tobacco.
Nancy Woloch. Women and the American Experience: A Concise History. (New York: McGraw-Hill, 2002), 3.
See also Frank Wesley Craven. White, Bed, and Black: The Seventeenth-Century Virgjnian. (New York: W.W.
Norton, 1977), 26-27; Paul Finkelman. Crimes of Love, Misdemeanors of Passion: The Regulation of Pace
and Sex in the Colonial South, in The Devils Lane: Sex and Race in the Early South. Catherine Clinton and
Michele Gillespie, eds. (New York: Oxford University Press, 1997), 124; Richard Godbeer. Sexual Revolution
in Early America. (Baltimore: The John Hopkins University Press, 2002), 122; Jane Kamensky. The Colonial
Mosaic : 1600-1760 in No Small Courage: A. History of Women in the United States. Nancy F. Cott, ed. (New York:
Oxford University Press, 2000), 53.
15 Godbeer, Sexual Relations, 122-123.
6


men and the women have proven to be like no other English settlement and the
differences, as we shall see, held true into the eighteenth century.
Sex has been associated with a range of human behaviors and values,
including the procreation of children, the attainment of physical pleasure, personal
intimacy, and power over others have coexisted throughout the centuries but
certain functions prevail at different times, depending on the larger social forces
that shape an era.16
In the Colonial era, the dominant function of sex was reproduction within
the family unit. Protestants in the colonies believed that marriage was not only a
means to channel lust, but also a road to marital love and the proper avenue to
meet the need to produce children. Authorities, religious and governmental, did
not want to prohibit sexual expression, but rather to channel it into what they
considered the proper setting and purpose: as a duty and a joy within marriage,
and for the purpose of procreation. Both religious beliefs and economic interests
supported this family-centered sexual system.17 These men and women believed
that both parties should experience pleasure during sexual intercourse. A common
belief in the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries was that in order to conceive a
woman needed to achieve orgasm.18 As English men and women migrated to
16 John D-F.milio and Estelle B. Freedman. Intimate Matters: A History of Sexuality in America. (Chicago: The
University of Chicago Press, 1988), xv.
17 OEmilio and Freedman, Intimate Matters, 16.
Ibid., 5.
7


Virginia in the early seventeenth century, they brought with them these sexual
beliefs and practices.
Of the 75,000 white people who immigrated to Virginia and Maryland
between 1630 and 1680, up to three-quarters were indentured servants who
arrived as single individuals, not families as in the New England colony. Women
were in such a minority that few male servants found wives, and those who did
married relatively late, after their terms of indenture had expired. These marriages
were brief: a harsh climate and rampant disease shortened life expectancy.
Chesapeake men typically lived to 48 and women to 44, about a decade less than in
New England.19 Under such circumstances, family life took on a tentative quality.
Thus in Virginia, the large number of single immigrants and the high
mortality rates made it more difficult to control sexual activity.20 Single women in
Virginia were in such high demand as wives that they were less concerned about
guarding their virginity than women in England or the New England settlements.
Even women who bore illegitimate children could marry respectably in the South.
Adultery was more common in Virginia. There were more single men such as
laborers, neighbors, or business men in abundance to tempt unhappily married
women. As in New England, adultery was punished by church and court but not
as extensively and systematically. Regional differences notwithstanding, by the
19 Woloch, American Experience, 3-9. See also Tate and Ammerman, eds., Chesapeake Seventeenth Century, 157-
159,170-172,208-209,224,247; Godbeer, Sexual Revolution, 121,122,124.
20 OEmilio and Freedman, Intimate Matters, 10-11.
8


early eighteenth century, sexual practice and sexual meaning were clearly situated
within marriage, and the goal of sexuality was procreation.21
Unlike Puritan New England, the Chesapeake colonies did not strictly
control premarital and extramarital sexual activity. For white men, especially the
rich and powerful, there were frequent opportunities for sexual encounters,
especially with servants and slaves. This activity, if not condoned, was accepted by
most of the white population.22 Richard Godbeers essay, William Byrds
Flourish: The Sexual Cosmos of a Southern Planter, examines Byrds diaries
and correspondence, one of the only first-person accounts we have of sexual
behavior in the southern colonies.23 Godbeer paints a portrait of a man whose
active sex life embodied his view of himself as both a confident, cosmopolitan
planter and an insecure failure. Godbeer claims that the impression held by most
historians of Byrds frantic sexual activity is misguided. According to Godbeer,
what made him unusual was the extent to which he wrote about sex and revealed
the place that it occupied in his mental world.24
In addition to Godbeers point, I am suggesting that Byrds sexual behavior
was not unusual simply because he wrote about it but because his behavior was
much more prevalent then historians have always believed. Byrd may have just
been a much more normal eighteenth century Virginian gentleman in terms of
21 ryHinilio and Freedman, Intimate Matters, 10-14. See also Godbeer, Sexual 'Revolution, 121,122-125,128-30,
133,148.
22 Meml D. Smith. Sex and Sexuality in Early America. (New York: New Yoik University Press, 1998), 4, 5-6.
23 Richard Godbeer, William Byrds Flourish: The Sexual Cosmos of a Southern Planter, in Merril D. Smith,
ed., Sex and Sexuatity in Early America, (New York New Yodc University Press, 1998), 134.
24 Godbeer, William Byrds Flourish, 136.
9


his sexual practices, than any of us have considered. According to Godbeer, The
meanings attributed to sex vary from one culture to another, from one time and
place to another, and from one individual to another.25 Sex to eighteenth-century
people was one part of their cultural identity and their social status, not a separate,
expression of personal identity. Godbeer believes that Byrd incorporated sexual
acts into his sense of himself as a gentleman and as a Christian: he understood sex
in terms of categories that were not themselves intrinsically sexual.26 This has
dramatic implications for how we reconstruct attitudes toward sex in the past.
A multiple standard of sexual behavior (not merely a double standard)
appeared not only in the laws of Virginia but also in its customs. Women,
especially gentlewomen, were held to the strictest standards of sexual virtue.
According to David Hackett Fischer, the difference was not the result of
mindless or instinctive sexism.27 The bloodline of aristocratic Virginia could not
be threatened by any sexual misconduct by the societys gentlewomen. Men, on
the other hand, were encouraged by the customs of the country to maintain a
predatory attitude toward women.28 A famous example was the secret diary of
William Byrd II, an exceptionally full and graphic record of one planters sex life.
His diaries have provided historians an interesting window into the private lives of
these men and the woman in their lives. In his youth and until middle age, Byrd
25 Richard Godbeer. Sexual Revolution in Early Jbneriea. ( Baltimore: The John Hopkins University Press, 2002,
11.
26 Godbeer, Sexual Revolution, 11.
27 Fischer, Albions Seed, 300.
28 Ibid., 301.
10


looked over his shoulder at England for his definition of the perfect gentleman
and he strove every day of his life for control over his environment and all the
people in his life. In its attitude toward sex, this work was very different from any
diary that was kept in Puritan New England or Colonial Virginia. Promiscuous
activity was a continuing part of his mature life, and in some periods, an obsession.
With very mixed success, he attempted to seduce relatives, neighbors, casual
acquaintances, strangers, prostitutes, the wives of his best friends, and servants,
both black and white, on which he forced himself, much against their wishes.
Even during periods of his life when Byrd was more or less happily married,
he frequently engaged in sexual adventures with the wives of strangers and friends.
As we shall see, the remorse he felt, if he felt any at all, after these occasions had
to do with his sense of violating another gentlemans property, not the property
itself. After his first wife died, he generally engaged in some form of sexual
behavior on a daily basis. As he aged, his behavior did not change. The only
change appears in the frequency of his sexual activity, not the behavior itself.
Historian David Hackett Fischer identifies Byrd as the perfect example of
male predator when discussing Virginias sexual culture.29 Sexual predators have
existed in every society. But some cultures more than others have tended to
encourage their activities, and even to condone them. Virginia would produce
others. William Byrds behavior differed only in degree from Thomas Jeffersons
29 Fischer, Albions Seed, 298-303.
11


relentless pursuit of Mrs. Walker, or George Washingtons flirtation with Mrs.
Fairfax.30 These men represented the best of their culture; the sexual activities of
William Byrd may have been conventional. An old tidewater folk saying in Prince
Georges County, Maryland, defined a virgin as a girl who could run faster than
her uncle.31 Nonetheless, Byrds diaries offer an interesting study for historians.
The reading of the diaries raises more questions than it answers. Did Byrds
behavior represent the behaviors of many other Virginia gentlemen? Did many of
them fight the demons and the insecurities that evidently fought the majority of
his life? Only continued research can possibly answer these and many other
questions that William Byrd II presents to us in his diaries.
The following is a work in progress. Much more research needs to be done
in order to validate my thesis. Simply because Byrd and other eighteenth-century
gentlemen like John Richards left us hints that more of their peers felt exactly as
they did about their sex lives, does not necessarily prove the theory. Without
question, much more work needs to be completed to validate the
representativeness of Byrd. So many unanswered questions remain. Answers are
discovered by asking questions, so in that scholarly spirit let me begin to answer
the question of the possibility of William Byrd II being just another, normal
eighteenth-century gentleman with an analysis of his secret diaries.
30 Fischer, Albions Seed, 303.
31 Ibid., 303; Personal communication by a lady of an old Prince County family; for an actual case see Virginia
Magazine ojHistory and Biography 14 (1896-97), 185-97.
12


CHAPTER 2
WILLIAM BYRD II OF WESTOVER
As Kenneth Lockridge noted, William Byrd has been something of an
enigma to American historians.32 The basic facts of his life are clear enough.
Byrd was bom in Virginia in 1674, and educated in England; he returned to
Virginia in 1705 and with other planters in the colony seized control of colonial
affairs from their royal governor, Sir Alexander Spotswood. Byrd was a very
ambitious man, who spent years in London pursuing positions and power for
himself. His dream was to be named royal governor of Virginia. However, his
highest political achievement was obtained close to the end of his life. In 1743,
James Blair had died at the age of eighty-seven, leaving vacant the presidency of
the Council of Virginia. Byrd, next in seniority on the Council, became Blairs
successor.33 For the rest of 1743 and for as long as he lived in 1744, Byrd
occupied, this, the second highest office in Virginia. So at the age of sixty-nine
William Byrd had finally reached the highest position ever occupied by his father,
another of his life-long dreams.
The story of Byrds life is in many ways a tale of his struggle to achieve his
life-long goals, but it also is a telling review of the sexuality norms and gender
32 Kenneth A. Lockridge. The Diary and Life of William Byrd II of Vimnia, 1674-1744. (NewYoric W.W. Norton
& Company, 1967), vii
33 Lockridge, Life, 149.
13


definitions of his time. For most of his life Byrd was a diarist and man of letters
and many historians believe he probably wrote more than any colonial American
save Cotton Mather.34 His writings give us a unique opportunity to study the day-
to-day activities of an eighteenth-century Virginia planter. The diary opens the
door of the early Virginia culture that shaped Byrds personality as well as the
personalities of the next generation, the generation of the Founding Fathers. His
diary entries may at first glance appear rather boring and mundane. The entries
certainly do not impart the sense of delight and happiness in life that we read in
Samuel Pepyss diary.35 However, if one can overlook the banalities of the entries,
one can find a rich description of Byrds life and how he viewed the world around
him. He was a vain, lustful, passionate, and loving man, but there is evidence in
almost every entry of his religious fervor as well. His Anglican religion is ever
present. His desire to achieve status is continuously evident. The early portion of
his life seems to be devoted to achieving the highest status possible as an
Englishman. As he ages and matures, he seems to settle for the highest status
possible as a Virginian. Toward the end of his life, he appears to not just settle for
status as a Virginian, but to crave it as the only true achievement of his life. Byrd
exemplified the aristocracy that had developed in Virginia since the early days of
the settlement. He died as one of the most cultivated members of his class: he
34 Lockridge, Life, Preface.
35 Samuel Pepys. The Diary ojSamuel'Pepys, 1660-1669. Robert Latham and William Matthews, eds. William A.
Armstrong, MacDonald Emslie, Oliver Millar and T.F. Reddaway, contributiong editors. Volumes 1-9.
(London: Bell & Hyman, 1970).
14


was one of the wealthiest; best educated men in Virginia.36 Toward the end of his
life he devoted much of his energy in service to Virginia from which he could
expect no material reward and lithe public acclaim. He represents a society that
produced Washington, Jefferson, Madison, Marshall, and a great galaxy of leaders
who a little later helped to shape Virginia and a new nation. That aging process
and the journal entries and letters that walk us through the process are a valuable
source of evidence of how early settlers and later colonists lived and perceived
themselves and the world around them.37
Almost every day from 1709 on, with appalling regularity, Byrd recorded
mainly that he rose at five (as he grew older or was in London it was six), read in
Hebrew and Greek, said his prayers, ate breakfast; danced,38 did some accounts
or letters, read Latin, ate dinner shortly after midday, did business and visited or
was visited, possibly read still more Latin and Greek, looked after his plantation
and slaves, walked around his plantation (occasionally with his first wife), said his
prayers, and Had good health, good thoughts, and good humor, thanks be to
God Almighty.39 Some, days are different. Byrd occasionally went to
Williamsburg after first committing my wife and family to the protection of the
36 Byrd read Greek and Hebrew in the morning and at other times of the day Latin and French. He entertained
clergy at Westover and enjoyed their conversations on religion and literary topics. In Williamsburg, he often
visited with one of the most educated clergymen of the time, Commissary Blair. He was a frequent visitor to the
home of Lady Susannah Randolph whose interests were more literary then economic. He was elated that his
second wife, Maria Taylor understood Greek and his diary when referencing her captures their lively discussions
in Greek.
37 Lockridge, Life, 46,50, 52,121-124.
38 Ibid., 2. Lockridge identified dancing as a description of the exercise routine that Byrd practiced.
39 William Byrd IL The Secret Diary of William Byrd of Westover, 1709-1712. eds., Louis B. Wright and Marion
Tinling. (Richmond. Ihe Dietz Press, 1941).
15


Almighty. He might comment on extreme weather, relate his dreams and any
sexual experiences he may have had.40 He does not always read in the same
pattern and he does not dance everyday. The sequence can be seen in its
earliest, fullest form in the following three entries for July 7, 8, and 9,1709.
July 7,1709 -1 rose at 5 oclock and read a chapter in Hebrew
and some Greek in Josephus. I said my prayers and ate milk
for breakfast. I danced my dance, and settled my accounts. I
read some Latin. It was extremely hot. I ate stewed mutton
for dinner. In the afternoon it began to rain and blow very
violently so that it blew down my fence. It likewise thundered.
In all the time I have been in Virginia I never heard it blow
harder. I read Latin again and Greek in Homer. In the
evening we took a walk in the garden. I said my prayers and
had good health, good humor and good thoughts, thanks be
to God Almighty.
July 8,1709 I rose at 5 oclock and read a chapter in Hebrew
and some Greek in Josephus. I said my prayers and ate milk
for breakfast. I danced my dance. I read some Latin. Tom
returned from Williamsburg and brought me a letter from Mr.
Bland which told me the wine came out very well. I ate
nothing but pudding for dinner. In the afternoon I read some
more Latin and Greek in Homer. Then I took a walk about
the plantation. I said my prayers and had good health, good
thoughts, and good humor, thanks be to God Almighty.
July 9, 1709 I rose at 5 oclock and read two chapters in
Hebrew and some Greek in Josephus. I said my prayers and
ate milk and apples for breakfast with Captain Wilcox who
called here this morning. I danced my dance. I wrote a letter
to England and read some Latin. I ate roast chicken for
dinner. In the afternoon I saluted my wife and took a nap. I
read more Latin and Greek in Homer. Then I took a walk
about the plantation. I neglected to say my prayers. I had
good health, good thoughts, and good humor, thanks be to
God Almighty.41
40 Byrd, Secret Diary, 167.
41 Byrd, Secret Diary, 57. One of the aphorisms for sexual intercourse for Byrd was saluting.
16


As Byrd aged, his entries and his daily routine grew shorter, but his style
remained the same. Byrds behavior was fairly rigid and obsessively repetitive, but
what the diary describes are the expected behaviors of an eighteenth-century
gentleman. In the spirit of the proper behavior for an eighteenth-century
gentleman, these behaviors had to be repeated and obsessively reviewed.42 Also
evident in Byrds diary, is the emotional code of the eighteenth-century gentleman,
emphasizing moderation, balance, and acceptance in all things. When troubles
arose, when his tobacco was lost at sea, when he quarreled with his wife, Byrds
classic reply was Gods will be done. Even faced with his infant sons death,
God gives and God takes away; blessed be the name of God was Byrds
reaction.43 Such Christian submission was one of the ways Byrd could prove to
himself that he was a civilized gentleman who lived a life of moderation, balance,
and acceptance. We can not know if God cared whether Byrd had good
thoughts, good humor, and good health every day of his life, but William Byrd
cared and firmly believed it mattered. It was proof of his image of himself as a
social being and a man that he regarded his state of being as profoundly
important.44
42 Lockridge, Life, 6; See additional discussion on eighteenth-century gentlemens behavior in Fischer, Albions
Seed, 300-303,373,416.
43 Byrd, Secret Diary. The loss of tobacco at sea was on May 6,1709; his quarrels with his wife see April 8,1709;
the death of his son was on June 3,1710.
44 Lockridge, Life, 6-10.
17


Byrd was apologetic when he failed to maintain his composure: had good
thoughts, good humor, but indifferent health or good health, good thoughts,
but indifferent humor, thanks be to God Almighty.45 Usually within a day or two
his health improved or his humor improved. He even bragged about his ability to
accept what was given to him. When Byrd heard that a ship had gone down that
carried a load of his tobacco crop he ended his diary entry for the day with, I had
good health, good thoughts, and good humor, notwithstanding my misfortune,
thanks be to God Almighty.46
The object of the majority of his lack of good humor and or good
thoughts was his first wife, Lucy. In this relationship, which lasted ten years,
Byrd acted the role of the domestic patriarch. He disposed of his wifes estate
without consulting her and kept control of all her property. He interfered in her
domestic management, and infuriated her by dictating the smallest details of her
appearance even to the shape of her eyebrows, which she was compelled to pluck
according to his pleasure.47
Lucy Byrd was the daughter of Colonel Daniel Parke, a high-bom Virginia
gentleman who later became governor of the Leeward Islands. By all accounts she
was exceptionally beautiful, proud and a bit headstrong. She had strong passions,
a stubborn will, and most offensive to Byrd, a mind of her own. She did not
Byrd, Secret Diary, see May 12,13,20, 21,28,29,1710.
44 Ibid.., see May 6,1709.
47 Fischer, Albions Seed, 287. See Byrd, Secret Diary, February 5,1711 for eyebrow phiddrig reference.
18


submit quietly to her husbands demands.48 Almost daily he and his wife quarreled
over household activities that Byrd believed Lucy mishandled. My wife and I
disagreed about employing a gardener and I reproached my wife with ordering
the old beef to be kept and the fresh beef used first, contrary to good
management49 Through his diary he shows much disdain for many of Lucys
decisions and not once does he offer any praise for her abilities until after she died.
Not only was Byrd vain, he was also insecure. He was constantly striving
for mastery over all those who, he believed, were hindering his ability to be the
perfect Virginia gentleman. Nowhere is this more evident than in his dealings with
Lucy. Historian Lockridge believed Lucy Parke Byrd was as headstrong as Byrd
and, therefore, a continuous trouble to him. Controlling her involved more than
controlling his emotions; it appears to have been a daily struggle between them
with Byrd constantly attempting to maintain the upper hand.50 On April 9, 1709,
he clearly acknowledges this strife. My wife and I had another scold about
mending my shoes but it was soon over by her submission.51 But not only
household management caused this strife; other more personal situations arose
regularly.
She objected to his flirtation with married women. Men of this age were
theoretically bound to fidelity by their marriage vows, but unwritten customs of
48 Lockridge, Life, 39. See also Pierre Marambaud. William Byrd of Westoven 1674-1744. (Chadottesvflle:
University Press of Virginia, 1971), 26-28. Also, Fischer, JUbions Seed, 290-292.
49 Byrd, Secret Diary, see April 6 and 7,1709.
50 Lockridge, Life, 68-73.
51 Byrd, Secret Diary, 19.
19


the culture created a different standard of behavior.52 When Byrd played with
Mrs. Chiswell and kissed her on the bed, Lucy became rather uneasy. Byrd did
not need Lucys forgiveness or even understanding; instead he believed it was an
issue between himself and his God. I neglected to say my prayers, which I
should not have done, because I ought to beg pardon for the lust I had for
another mans wife.53 She particularly did not like it when she felt left out of
conversations and was quick to share her feelings. Once when Byrd and a Mr.
Dunn were speaking Latin in front of Lucy, Byrd and his wife quarreled and she
called it bad manners.54 Lucy reprimanded not only her husband, but anyone
who she believed did not meet her standards. She reproached a Frank W-l-s for
swearing and she seemed content, according to her husband that he was out of
humor for it.55
In this time as in all others, a major source of marital strife was sex. Like
Byrd, John Richards, an English gentleman, documented his domestic troubles.
Richards, for example, had a liaison with a lady called M. in his diary he wrote:
This evening A (his wife Alice) was angry as usual about M telling me that I loved
her more than her, and that because of ill-treatment in this house she had often
52 Fischer, Albions Seed, 293.
53 Byrd, SecretDiaiy, see November 2,1709. During this period of Byrds life the majority of his dalliances were
with slaves and servants, only occasionally did he approach other gendemens wives. However, when begging
pardon for his behavior he solicited pardon from the gentleman not the gentlemans property.
54 Ibid., see November 11,1709.
55 Ibid., see December 5,1709.
20


thought of killing herself.56 Richards diary became a running record of domestic
strife between husband and wife. His wife Alice, like Lucy, did not accept her lot
quietly. Richards documents that she raged and roared and occasionally forced her
husband to sleep in the dining room and some nights even in the cellar.57
Other members of Byrds family did not escape, either. Lucy and her
sister had a fierce dispute about the infallibility of the Bible on May 1, 1709.58
Byrd also believed that Lucy had a tendency to be a bit extravagant. Occasionally
he addressed the problem in a rather mean-spirited way. On June 14,1709, Byrd
received an invoice of things sent by my wife which are enough to make a man
mad. It put him out of humor very much. The extravagant goods arrived at
Westover the next day, but by June 27, 1709, Byrd made an invoice of the things
that my wife could spare to be sold. He notes in his diary that, my wife was in
tears about her cargo but I gave her some comfort after dinner.59 Apparently
Lucy chose to ignore her husband and continued to order goods from London,
whether Byrd thought they were extravagant or not. Only one other time did he
note that they had a terrible quarrel over her shopping, when Byrd noted in the
afternoon my wife and I had a terrible quarrel about the things that had come in
but at length she submitted because she was in the wrong. Byrd congratulates
M John Richards of WarmweD, Diary H, 16 September 1699, Dorsetshire Record Office, Dorchester reprinted in
Fischer, Albions Seed, 293.
57 Fischer, Albions Seed, 293-294.
58 Byrd, Secret Diary, 29.
57 Ibid., 48, 53
21


himself for keeping his temper very well.60 One must remember that in this
time a wife was bound by her marriage vows to obey her husband. In the Virginia
Gazette an article appeared in 1737 that discussed rules of matrimonial felicity.
Wives were told to never dispute with him.. .if any altercation or jars happen,
dont separate the bed, whereby the animosity will increase.. .read often the
matrimonial service, and overlook not the important word OBEY.61
How Lucy appeared to the public was important to Byrd and it appears
that they did not always agree on her personal style. He shows no disdain for the
time Lucy spent preparing herself, in fact he seems to consider it a normal
condition. He and a Mr. Dunn played at billiards and they read some news
while the ladies spent three hours in dressing according to custom.62 Nowhere
in his diaries or letters does he compliment the outcome of such a time consuming
ordeal, but he makes it evident that whenever Lucy left the house, she was
representing him and she would keep to the fashion that he thought was
appropriate. Once when they were preparing for a trip to Williamsburg, Byrd
notes an example in his diary. My wife and I quarreled about her pulling her
brows. She threatened she would not go to Williamsburg if she might not pull
them; I refused, however, and gpt the better of her, and maintained my
authority.63
60 Byrd, Stmt Diary, See July 9,1710.
61 Williamsburg Virginia Gazette. 20 May 1737. Quoted in Fischers Albion's Seed. 293.
42 Byrd, Secret Diary, See April 3,1711.
63 Ibid., see February 5,1711.
22


Many times Byrd needed to maintain his authority for other than
frivolous reasons, because sometimes Lucy was plainly willful and violent. She did
not always display the deference expected of her. Country gentlemen in Virginia
expected a display of social deference from their inferiors, which included wives.
In turn, the wives expected deference from servants, slaves, and children.
Deference carried the responsibility of condescension. To condescend in this time
period meant the ruling planter must treat an inferior with kindness, decency, and
respect if deference was shown by the inferior.64 Lucy occasionally had trouble
with this system. On July 15, 1710, My wife against my will caused litde Jenny [a
maid] to be burned with a hot iron, for which I quarreled with her.65 On another
occasion, Byrd appears disappointed that his wife caused several of the people to
be whipped.66 However, Lucy was not only violent with the servants and slaves;
she appears to have threatened suicide on more than one occasion. My wife
quarreled with me about not sending for Mrs. Dunn when it rained to lend her
John. Byrd quickly noted, She threatened to kill herself but had more
discretion.67 Mrs. Dunn eventually came to live in the Byrd home after her
husband abandoned her. Her coming to live with them did not help the situation;
in fact tensions seemed to escalate. The most outrageous quarrel from Byrds
perspective occurred on March 2,1712. He writes:
Fischer, Albums Seed, 286-306, 385-387.
65 Byrd, Secret Diary, 205.
66 Ibid., see February 5,1712.
67 Ibid., see January 31,1711.
23


I had a terrible quarrel with my wife concerning Jenny that
I took away from her when she was beating her with the
tongs. She lifted up her hands to strike me but forbore to
do it. She gave abundance of bad words and endeavored
to strangle herself, but I believe in jest only. However after
acting a mad woman a long time she was passive again.68
Byrd spent the rest of the morning and afternoon eating roast beef for
dinner and walking the plantation with Mr. G-r-1. By the evening, Lucy must have
calmed down enough that Byrd closed his diary entry for the day with, we drank
cider by way of reconciliation and he read nothing.69 Not leaving Lucy alone so
that he might read was apparently an action he viewed as a concession. Even this
rather eventful day did not stop this eighteenth-century gentleman from saying his
prayers and noting, had good health, good thoughts, and good humor, thank
God Almighty.70
In the spirit of what Byrd apparently believed was civility toward women,
he actually showed a rather tolerant view of Lucys behavior. It appears that Byrd
believed through all the quarrels, the tense environment and Lucys violence that
he was simply expected to uphold his authority. He accomplishes this through
reconciliation.71 Once when he was reading a sermon he quarreled with his wife
and that quarrel hindered my taking much notice of it. However, we were
reconciled before we went to bed. Byrd is quick to note, but I made the first
68 Byrd, Secret Diary, 494.
69 Not reading in the evening was apparently considered a concession by Byrd.
70 Byrd, Secret Diary, See March 2,1712.
71 Lockridge, Life, 70-73.
24


advance.72 On another occasion he noted, My wife was out of humor this
evening for nothing, which I bore very well and was willing to be reconciled.73
The next day he took a walk around the plantation with his wife and recalled that
they were good friends. Only two other times does he refer to their relationship
in terms of such endearment. On another evening they walked and were yery
kind to one another.74 On another they strolled arm in arm in the garden, and
talked so merrily together that Lucy burst herself laughing splitting open the
seams of her dress in high hilarity.75
The majority of the times these moments of reconciliation were followed
by some manner of sexual activity. Sex and reconciliation were partners in the
Byrds marriage. One example occurred on July 30,1710. On July 28, Byrd and
his wife had a little quarrel because she moved my letters and then on July 29,
Byrd returned home from an outing and found, my wife was pleased to be out of
humor. By July 30th, he notes in his diary, In the afternoon my wife and I had a
little quarrel which I reconciled with a flourish.76 Then she read a sermon in Dr.
Tillotson to me. It is to be observed that the flourish was performed on the
billiard table.77 After another little quarrel Byrd gave my wife a flourish on the
72 Byrd, Secret Diary, See December 25,1710.
73 Ibid., see July 25,1710.
74 Ibid., see July 25,1710 and September 11,1711.
75 Ibid., see February 10,1712.
16 A term Byrd used to describe sexual intercourse. Also the word flourish is defined in Colonial American English
by Richard M. Lederer, Jr. as: An act of hasty sexual intercourse. Possibly from the flourishing of a weapon.
77 Byrd, Secret Diary, 210-211.
25


couch in the library.78 So along with the more gentle forms of reconciliation, and,
therefore of mastery, we can see something a bit more sinister. In Byrds eyes
rogering79 his wife or giving her a flourish was a form of reconciliation,
however, it was also an example of self-satisfying mastery over a woman achieved
through sexual aggression.80
It is very possible that Lucy was so difficult to deal with because in many
ways because Byrds continuous search for mastery and authority made her life
hard to bear. In British America women could not vote. They could not, without
special arrangements, own property. They could not stand for office, or serve in
the militia, or become ministers. They were not even encouraged to speak in
public. They were, in every sense, subordinate to men both within and beyond
their families. We should not imagine, however, that this enforced inferiority in
law and customs meant these women were chaste, silent, and obedient. 81 Lucy
Byrds behavior gives us a perfect example of that suppressed anger. Like other
women of her time, Lucy spent the majority of her married life pregnant. She
miscarried often and it is difficult to count the real pregnancies and the real
miscarriages. Passages in Byrds diary are not always clear. My wife told me that
she conceived this morning by the token that she voided some blood.82 In
addition, Byrd was obviously the inceptor in their sexual life. In one case he ends
78 Byrd, Secret Diary, See August 6,1710.
79 Byrd used the term roger to describe his penis, therefore, rogering was a term used for describing sexual
intercourse.
so Locfcridge, Life, 67.
61 Cott, No Small Courage, 73.
82 Byrd, Secret Diary, See October 4,1710.
26


his daily entry not with his normal had good health, good thoughts and good
humor, but rather with an uncomfortable passage of I rogered my wife, in which
she took little pleasure in her condition.83 We know her condition is pregnancy
because the day before he notes, My wife was much indisposed in her
breeding.84 Byrd himself notes on June 25,1712, My wife was often indisposed
with breeding and very cross.85 However, that did not seem to be a deciding
factor in the controlling of Byrds lust. With every indisposition, pregnancy, or
quarrel, within days or even hours a flourish or a rogering occurs.86 The
majority of these descriptions are arrogantly followed with in which she had a
great deal of pleasure, or with vigor, or vigorously, or lustily, or gave her
great ecstasy and refreshment.87 To the modem reader, a more concerning fact
is that, twenty-four days after his son Parke was bom on September 6, 1709 Byrd
notes, I gave my wife a flourish this morning.88
Of course we have no record of the thoughts Lucy Byrd had on that
September morning or on any of the many flourishing and rogerings she received.
We have no way of validating whether or not she enjoyed them even when Byrd
tells us she did. One gets the feeling that with Byrd, it was his sexual desire, not
his wifes that was the most important. Byrds behavior seems to shed doubt on
83 Byrd, Secret Diary, see May 16,1711. In his diaries, Byrd referred to his penis as my roger, therefore
rogering is a term he used for sexual intercourse.
84 Ibid., see May 15,1711.
85 Ibid., see 548.
86 Ibid., see May 1,1710, July 30,1710, December 16,1710, January 1,1712, May 22,1712 to name a few.
87 Ibid., see November 4,1710, March 29,1711, November 30,1711, December 26 and 27,1711, April 30,
1711.
88 Ibid., see September 30,1709.
27


the seventeenth century belief that in order to conceive a woman needed to
achieve orgasm. Very seldom does he seem to be concerned about the thoughts
or feelings of Lucy. Many historians agree that women of that period were taught
to marry, and couples expected to engage in mutually pleasurable marital sex that
would lead to procreation.89 What we do not know is how she felt. Lucy and her
counterparts had to realize that their role as mistress of a colonial household
occupied a rather precarious position in the power structure. The hierarchy of the
time was unquestionable, however, Lucy, depending on the position she was in
could be both master and subordinate. As mother and mistress, she would be a
ruler of sorts. As wife, she was the subordinate. Her marriage vows would have
included, obey and serve her husband, promises that he would not have made
in return. This female vow of submission expressed the view that men were
superior to women and women were inferior in almost every respect. This was the
age of women portrayed as the weaker vessel, a phrase that clearly meant
women had less intellectual ability, less physical strength, and most importantly for
the time, less moral fortitude than a man.90 These sexual differences were simply
believed to be part of the divine plan for God. Even though we do not know how
Lucy felt, we can surely assume that this divine plan was questioned by women
and disagreement and outrage had to be expressed. The bottom line is Byrd, by
his own admissions in his diary, confesses to a total of ninety sexual encounters
89 DF.milin and Freedman, Intimate Matters, 27.
90 Cott, No Small Courage, 70.
28


with his wife in three and a half years. Twenty-five to thirty sexual encounters
with his wife is hardly excessive for an eighteenth-century married gentleman.
By his own admittance, we may have to begin to realize that Byrd was not
the sexual predator that historians have always believed him to be. He may not be
the anomaly that he has always been portrayed. We do not know whether there
were more than he recorded, but these encounters may take on a deeper meaning
when one realizes that in that time period Lucy Byrd also experienced the death of
her father, two children, multiple pregnancies and miscarriages, long periods of
illness and indispositions. These people mourned their losses as deeply as people
in other times and places. The death of infants caused parents to suffer as
grievously as in our own time, however, infant deaths in this period happened very
frequently. When Lucys infant son Parke Byrd died in 1710, Byrd notes in his
diary that Lucy was disconsolate, melancholy, and suffered from several fits
of tears, for eighteen straight days.91 This all would have been difficult for even
the most even-tempered person, which Lucy was clearly not. In addition, Byrds
diary does not include the failed attempts at love making that had to have
occurred. Byrd was lustful, there is no doubt. When he was in Williamsburg or
away from Westover he regularly relates to his diary; However we were merry till
about 9 oclock and then I went to bed and committed uncleanness. But the
Byrd, Secret Diary, June 3,1710 -June 21,1710,188-192.
29


constant eighteenth-century gentleman, I neglected to say my prayers but had
good health, good humor, but foul thoughts, for which God forgive me.92
But the truly dark side of Byrd was yet to be exposed. His first diary came
to a close in 1712. We, of course, do not know if he continued to write, but it
seems likely that he did. The craving for power and authority in this vain man
certainly did not wane; it actually appears to grow stronger. It is more likely that
he continued to write but those journals or diaries have yet to be discovered or
were destroyed for some reason and are now lost forever. His next diary known
as The London Diary begins on December 13,1717 and ends May 19,1721. It is a
tragedy that Byrds thoughts in those interim five years are lost, because during
that period he seems to have moved his major struggle for authority from the
home front to politics. Like Thomas Jefferson, he would move his focus from the
home when the home front got difficult to control, to the world of politics. Both
men seemed to feel a political world could be controlled more easily than their
private lives. Of course, the need to please their fathers was ever present in both
men, and the pattern of their lives seemed to follow the same path. When the
troubles at home become too difficult to bear, turn the major thrust of personal
efforts into the public world of politics and gain the much needed personal control
and authority from the political realm.
92 Byrd, Secret Diary, see April 1,1712. Byrds term for masturbation was committed undeannessFor other
references on the same subject see, October 23,1709, October 23 and 29,1710, April 27,1711, October 29,
1711, November 23,1711, January 29,1712, and August 18,1712.
30


Byrd badly wanted to be governor of Virginia. He also, like Jefferson a
generation later, inherited large debts from his father-in-law. Byrd believed that
certain men in London might be helpful in resolving the payment of these debts.
Therefore, the combination of his desire for political power, the administration of
his father-in-laws debts and Lucys roller coaster emotional life gave him all the
reason one man needed to justify an extended trip to London.
Byrd would have remembered with great joy the years he spent in London
as a young man. His father William Byrd I, was the son of John Byrd, a goldsmith
of London. John Byrd had married Grace Stegge, daughter of Thomas Stregge, a
sea captain and Virginia trader who already had lands in the colony.93
The industry and shrewdness of William Byrd I made him a rich man by
Virginia standards. Most of the wealth that Byrd I accumulated came from hard
work as a planter and a trader. He succeeded in establishing his name and family
as one of the most prosperous and aristocratic in Virginia. As a child of seven,
young William Byrd II was sent to England to be educated. His grandfather,
Warham Horsmanden, a country gentleman of Purleigh in Essex, saw to it that the
boy was enrolled in Felsted Grammar School in Essex, which had for a
headmaster a famous teacher, Christopher Glasscock. Felsted Grammar School
had a reputation for empathizing both piety and learning with a thorough
grounding in the classics, Latin and Greek, and perhaps Hebrew. Here is where
93 Byrd, Secret Diary, Louis B. Wright, ed., See Introduction v-xxv.
31


Byrd received a background in the three languages which he maintained
throughout his life.94
William Byrd I did not intend his son to grow up into a mere scholar.
When young Byrd was sixteen his father instructed him to go to Holland to serve
as an apprentice so that he might learn Dutch business methods. Young Byrd did
not like Holland, and, after much begging and pleading, his father allowed him to
return to London and report to the firm Perry & Lane to continue his business
training. Young Byrd returned to school as well for in April 1692 he entered the
Middle Temple and in 1695 was duly admitted to the bar.95
Byrds education in London was not merely formal schooling and business
preparation, it was social as well. He was a wealthy Englishman who happened to
have been bom in Virginia. At this point in his life there is no doubt that Byrd
considered himself English and he made many influential high ranking friends.
Some, like Sir Robert Southwell, he would correspond with until the end of his
life. No ambitious English colonial could have had a better mentor than
Southwell, and Byrd made the most of his opportunities. He would turn to
Southwell for assistance his entire political life.96
Byrds period of education extended from the last years of Charles IPs
reign until the middle of the reign of William III. He was in London for the
94 William Byrd. The London Diary (1717-1721) and Other Writings. Louis B. Wright and Marion 'Iinling, eds.,
(New York: Oxford University Press, 1958), 3-16. See also, Marambaud, Byrd of Westover, 16-17.
95 Byrd, London Diary, 9. See also, Marambaud, Byrd of Wes toner, 17. See also Lockridge, Life, 16-22.
Ibid., 11.
32


Revolution of 1688 and the accession of William and Mary. During such an
exciting time he attended the plays of the theaters, the masquerades and balls, he
heard and passed gossip in coffeehouses and he had clandestine meetings with
women of the town.97 He wrote Benjamin Lynde, of Salem, Massachusetts, one of
his fellow students, who later became Chief Justice in that colony.
I want to see what alteration forty years have wrought in you
since we used to intrigue together in the Temple. But
matrimony has atoned sufficiently for such backslides, and now
I suppose you have so little fellow feeling left for the naughty
jades that you can order them a good whipping without
relenting. But though I should be mistaken, I hope your
conscience, with the aid of three score and ten, has gained a
complete victory over your constitution, which is almost the
case of, Sir, your, etc.98
In short, he enjoyed that care-free life tremendously, and when his troubles began
to feel insurmountable in the late winter of 1714 or early spring of 1715, he sailed
for England.99
Byrd left behind in Virginia his wife and eight-year old daughter, Evelyn.
In the autumn after his departure, another daughter, Wilhelminia, was bom. Two
sons bom earlier had died in infancy. When his stay in England appeared to be of
a lengthy nature, Byrd sent for Lucy, who arrived in the late summer of 1716,
leaving Wilhelmia in Virginia. At this point in his trip he also must have realized
what real trouble he was in. The magnitude of Parkes debts would have become
clear by mid-1716 as did the realization of the strength of Governor Spotswoods
97 Marambaud, Byrd of Westover, 18,22. See also Lockridge, Life, 22-25.
98 Byrd, Letter to Benjamin Lynde dated February 20, 1735/36. Correspondence Vol. II. 473-474.
99 Byrd, London Diary, 3-16.
33


political power.100 Like Jefferson, Byrds father-in-laws debt could not be
redeemed easily or quickly. Both would make payments for the remainder of their
lives. Spotswood and his power would haunt Byrd until the Governors death.
From the moment when Spotswood won the appointment as Royal Governor in
1710 over Byrd, the competition between the two men became almost an
obsession for Byrd. The two men verbally baited one another continuously. Late
in 1711, when Spotswood requested a discretionary fund to be placed at the
governors disposal, Byrd wisecracked that no Governor ought to be trusted with
20,000 pounds. The statement became quickly known and the Governor was
extremely angry with Byrd.101 Spotswood made it a point to insult Byrd whenever
possible and to block any requests of Byrd to London. At one of their scheduled
meetings, the governor made us wait half an hour before he was pleased to come
out to us and when he came he looked, very stiff and cold on me but did not
explain himself.102 The verbal assaults were traded back and for throughout the
entire relationship. Spotswood would continue to humiliate Byrd whenever
possible until his death. Byrd would never beat him in life. So a man so in need of
power and control needed Lucy to control. His ambitions had to be sated in some
fashion.
100 Marambaud, Byrd of Westover, yiAA.
101 Byrd, Secret Diary, December 1711-1712, particularly January 15,1712; that Byrds statement quickly became
known, see January 21,1712.
102 Ibid., January 24,1712.
34


In London, as in Virginia, Lucy was just what Byrd needed. They toured
the countryside and he introduced her to London society. In a letter to John
Curtis he wrote,
The kind visit which my wife has made me will be the occasion
on my staying here another winter, that so she may see this
town in all its glory; and I am the more content to tarry, because
the lieutenant-governor has sent over a spiteful complaint
against me and Colonel Ludwell, which it concerns me to
answer.103
But his joy was short-lived. On November 21, 1716, Lucy died of smallpox, the
dread malady that carried off so many colonials who made the journey to
England.104 In a letter dated December 13,1716, Byrd described Lucys sudden
death:
She was taken with an insupportable pain in her head. The
doctor soon discovered her ailment to be the small-pox, and we
thought it best to tell her the danger. She received the news
without the least fright, and was persuaded she would live until
the day she died, which happened in 12 hours from the time she
was taken. Gracious God what pains did she take to make a
voyage hither to seek a grave.105
Byrds agonized letter on her death hides further agony that he did not
share in his letters. Byrds own foolish ambitions had indirectly caused Lucys
death. Byrd lamented and in her death firmly believed that, no stranger ever met
103 The Correspondence of the Three William Byrds of Westerner Virginia, 1684-1776. Marian Tinting, ei, 2 vols.
(Charlotdesville: The University Press of Virginia, 1977), 293.
104 Byrd, London Diary, 16-26 and Lockridge, Life, 77-82.
105 Byrd, Correspondence, 296.
35


with more respect in a strange country than she had done here, from many
persons of distinction, who all pronounced her an honor to Virginia.106
Unlike Jefferson, Byrd did not mourn long. Within a few months time, he
had found another reason to stay even longer in London. He was out to find a
rich wife. This pursuit would prove to be equally as humiliating for Byrd as the
first two reasons for being in London. He would eventually return to Virginia
without a rich wife, increasingly in debt, and still not governor of Virginia. But
before he returned, he kept a second diary known as the London Diary which he
began on December 13,1717 and ended on May 19,1721 after he had returned to
Westover.
In many ways this diary is hard to read. The daily reports from a vigilant,
intelligent Virginia planter are replaced with reports that chronicle a desperate man
who can not seem to find pleasure in any activity. His entries give the reader the
feeling that he is constantly in motion, searching for an activity, any activity that
could possibly satisfy him. In twenty-first century terms, Byrd is a man in a
serious middle-age crisis. A multiple standard of sexual behavior appeared not
only in the laws but in the customs as well. Women, especially gentlewomen, were
held to a higher standard of sexual virtue. Men, especially gentlemen, were
encouraged by the customs to maintain a predatory attitude toward women. Byrd
is an excellent example. In twenty-first century terms, Byrd may be described as a
106 Byrd, Correspondence, 2%.
36


sexual predator. In London, his worst side appeared. He was promiscuous and
occasionally obsessive. This diary shows with very mixed success, he attempted to
seduce relatives, neighbors, casual acquaintances, strangers, prostitutes, the wives
of his friends, and servants, both black and white, upon whom he often forced
himself, much against their wishes. For its first years, 1717-1719, this diary is a
product of growing debt; of deepening political frustration, and of Byrds failure to
find a rich heiress to take the place of his dead wife. By 1718, it is more and more
clear from his correspondence that Spotwoods friends in England had the power
to remove Byrd from the Council and so to deny him the last of his fathers major
offices.107 Byrds desperation increased and failures abound in this second diary.
It is a record of a failing personality as well. The jubilant life of the young
Byrd has been replaced with a life of misplaced ambitions and escalating,
disturbing sexual encounters. London society and all of his highly placed friends
have not given him the office he wants or the rich wife he firmly believed he
deserved. It was not getting any easier for him. He was now an aging forty-three
year old man, still believing things that were above his station were his due.108 This
belief in what he thought he deserved made his daily activities seem desperate.
The compulsive pattern of the first diary is present in the second, but it now
includes restless visits to the theater, to whores, and to important gentlemen that
are seldom home (at least to him) when he calls.
107 Marambaud, Byrd ofWestover, 39-41.
106 Lockridge, Life, 101-106.
37


October 4, 1718 I rose about 7 oclock and read a chapter in
Hebrew and some Greek. I said my prayers and had boiled
milk for breakfast. The weather was cold and clear, the wind
west. About 11 oclock came Mrs. Wilkinson and bought me
some linen. Then I went into the City and dined with old Mr.
Perry who gave me several letters from Virginia. I ate some
cold roast beef. After dinner I received a hundred pounds and
then went to visit Dick Perry who was exceedingly bad with the
gout. Here I drank tea and about 4 oclock went to Molly
Coles and sat with her half an hour. Then I went home and
wrote a letter into the country and then looked in at the play.
Then I went to visit Mrs. A-l-n and committed uncleanness
with the maid because the mistress was not at home. However,
when the mistress came I rogered her and about 12 oclock
went home and ate a plum cake for supper. I neglected my
prayers, for which God forgive me.
October 5, 1718 I rose about 7 oclock and read a chapter in
Hebrew and some Greek in Lucian. I said my prayers and had
boiled milk for breakfast. The weather was cold and clear, the
wind northwest I wrote three letters to Virginia till 2 oclock,
and then went to dine with Mr. Southwell and ate some boiled
beef. Mrs. FitzHerbert dined there likewise. After dinner we
drank tea till 5 oclock and then I went to Wills Coffeehouse.
From thence to the play, and from thence to visit my daughter,
and sat with her till 8 oclock, and then walked about till ten but
could pick no woman that I liked. About ten I went home and
wrote some English but found myself dull and therefore went
to bed. I neglected to say my prayers.
October 6, 1718 I rose about 7 oclock and read a chapter in
Hebrew and some Greek in Lucian. I said my prayers and had
boiled milk for breakfast. The weather was warm and very
windy and it rained sometimes. I wrote an epitaph upon
Colonel Nott at the request of Colonel Blakiston. I expected
Molly Cole but the wet weather prevented her. I ate some
battered eggs for dinner. After dinner I put several things in
order and then wrote a letter till 5 oclock, and then I went to
visit Mrs. B-r-n and drank some coffee with her. Then I went
to Mrs. A-l-n but her lord was with her. Then I walked the
street and picked up a woman and carried her to the tavern and
gave her boiled chicken for supper but she could provoke me to
38


do nothing because my roger would not stand with all she could
do. About ten I went home and said my prayers.109
He no longer writes of good health, good thoughts, and good humor thanks be
to God Almighty. The majority of the time he could barely pray, and when he
did pray, he more often than not, was begging for forgiveness.
He seemed to take obsessively to the streets, late at night, to pick up
whores after his failure with potential wife and heiress, Mary Smith. Early in 1717
Byrd began to notice outside the window of his rooms in the Strand a pretty
young lady leaving and entering the Beaufort Buildings across the way. His
inquires revealed that she was Mary Smith, younger daughter of John Smith, the
wealthy commissioner of the excise. Someday, Byrd realized, she would be very
rich. He began to pursue her in secrecy. He was too vain to pursue her publicly
until he was sure that he could have her hand and he would not be required to
count this endeavor as a failure. In addition, he would be considered rather old at
this time, he was forty-three and she appears to have been somewhere in her early
twenties. He arranged a meeting with her at a masquerade ball where his face
could not be seen.110 Soon he was writing to her with the use of a cipher of
invisible ink. He illustrated the nature of courtship in the mid eighteenth-century
109 i
Byrd, London Diary, 180-182. The year after Lucys death, Byrd sent for his ten year old daughter, Evelyn.
She arrived in London on October 19,1717. In April 1719 WUhelmina, then not yet four years old, came over
in the care of Byrds friend, Captain Isham Randolph. At this time Byrd had his own quarters on a street just off
the Strand, but they were probably unsuitable for children. At any rate, he placed his two daughters with friends
or relatives and contented himself with frequent visits, as his diary indicates. Therefore his reference to visiting
his daughter on October 5,1718 meant he visited Evelyn,
no Lockridge, Life, 87-95.
39


by employing the language of romantic love, expressing passion in his
correspondence. Quickly, he was pouring out his love for her in letters from
Veramour to Sabina in this cipher. She was obviously never really interested
in him but somehow Byrd did not see it. He was being led on in a horrible way.
To Veramour
July 1,1717
I receivd the letter you sent under the Name of Madam
Turnover, and had reason to believe there was more in that
Paper, than was expresst in Black and White. Before that, I had
two Billets from you under the like discreet Disguize, and did
not doubt but this brought a third of the same tender kind. I
therefore went to work in all hast with my Decyphering Elixir,
in order to extract your meaning, and bring all that Tenderness
to light which I imagind you had wrapt in darkness: but to my
great Surprize and disappointment, I coud not make out one
syllable of it appear. How much this baulkt my Curiosity, I
ought not to tell you; all my Comfort is, that you kindly
intended to write me something about your Passion: but made
use of so feeble a sort of Liquid, that it coud by no means
express it I give you this friendly notice, that you may take
more care another time, and not give me the pain of expecting
to have a great many fine things said to me, to no manner of
Purpose. The Defect was surely in your Tools, for Im
confident of the goodness of mine, which woud infallibly have
explaind your Inclinations, had you taken care to signify them
properly. And I must reproach you thus far, that had you
thought what you wrote to me material for me to know, you
had not been so unseasonably negligent on this occasion.
Adieu.111
She was playing him for the fool he was, but he persisted with the cipher. The
wily Sabina made no firm response to his gushing pleadings. I woud give half an
111 William Byrd. Another Secret Diary (Richmond: The Dietz Press, 1942), 301-302.
40


Age of useless life, for the pleasure of conversing half an hour with my Dear
Sabina.112 Sabina was playing hard to get or she never had any intention of
marrying Byrd and was just being mean-spirited. She had to know how valuable a
catch she was for a gentleman and she may have been just keeping a number of
gentlemen wooing her until she could pick the best of the lot.113
To Veramour
July 10,1717
I am surprizd to find you so wretchedly mistaken in the
construction which you put upon my innocent letters. I swear
by the constancy of my sex, that I meant not to indulge your
odious complements to me. Tis strange a woman cant write a
civil Epistle to a man, but instantly tis understood by his vanity
to be a licence to say soft things to her. Had you taken due
heed to the good wishes which I sent you in my last; you woud
have understood it to be a farewell, and consequently a
Prohibition for you to write any more. But since you were so
stupid as not to apprehend my Plain meaning in that matter, I
am forct to take this harsher Remedy of returning your last
letter unopend. Tis true I thought you a man of honour, or I
shoud not have taken upon me the part that so ill becomes a
Woman: but instead of answering you my self, I had beseechd
the old Gentleman to do it for me. Sure you think me a very
odd Nymph, when you imagine I woud carry on a secret
correspondence with any Gentleman. That woud look as if I
intended to dispose of my own person, whereas Pm determind
to be carryd to market by my Father. However that you may
not hang your self quite, I assure your Billet but send it back
with the seal unbroken. I am obligd to you for your care about
the Post, but I was just as cautious as you; in that we jumpt, tho
we disagree so widely in other matters. Adieu. And be wise if
you can.114
112 Byrd, ybiother Secret Diary, 306.
ns Lockridge, Ufe, 87-95.
ii-t Byrd, AnotherSecretDimy, 306-307.
41


In the meaning of the eighteenth century, she was being a flirt. Sabina was
playing the hard game of courtship. Unless she became a widow, she would never
again know this amount of power with a man or the independence of spirit she
was exhibiting. She apparently was holding Byrd in reserve in case a younger or
more suitable suitor did not appear. This was an accepted practice in this
courtship game, but her cruelty was another matter. Sabina persistently led on a
middle-aged man and then eventually just ignored him.115
In early January 1718, her letters showed that she was may have been
momentarily interested, because she begged him to stop the coded letters and
pursue her by making a proposal in English to her father, but she did so cruelly.
To Veramour
January 23,1718
Supposeing this Billet to be as Romantick as all the rest, I did
not think it worth a sincere womans while to decipher it. I
desire you if I have any Interest in your heart, not to pursue
your address in this distant manner: but if you must attaque
me, let it be in the forms. A woman is no more to be taken
than a Town by randome shot a t a distance, but the Trenches
must be opend, and all the approaches must be regular, and
rather than abide the last Extremity, tis possible the Garrison
may capitulate, especially if terms be offerd that are
honourable. Tis a sad case when a swain is so intolerably dull,
that his mistress must prescribe her own method of being taken;
however supposing this blindness to proceed from pure
Passion, I will befriend it so far as to tell you, that my Brother is
intirely in my Interest: and if you can get into his good graces,
he may negociate this important affair betwixt us to both our
satisfactions. I expect youll make the most of this hint, for
ns Lockridge, Life, 87-95.
42


when a mistress gives her Lover advice, she never forgives him
if he dont follow it.
Adieu116
Byrd followed her advice. His diary reveals he immediately contacted Lord
Dunkellin and with his help drew up a list of his assets for presentation to Sabinas
father. The list that Byrd presented said that he would settle his whole estate on
Sabina at his marriage with the exception of monies for two dowries for his
daughters. He listed all his Acreage in Virginia, his two hundred slaves and his
yearly income of 1,800 pounds. He does not mention his Parke debts or any
liabilities.117 He reminded Sabinas father that he was descended from the Family
of my name at Broxon in Cheshire where they have been seated for more than 20
Generations.118 He also offered to stay in England if Sabina would prefer and
then he simply asks for her hand in marriage, and then he waited.119
Commissioner Smith did not even bother to reply to Byrd, but he did so,
direcdy, to his daughter. Apparently Sabina learned her cruelty from her father
because his reply was nothing less than nasty. An Estate out of this Island
appears to him little better than an Estate in the moon, and for his part he woud
116 Bryd, Another Secret Diary, 315-316. Sabinas only sister, Anne, married Hugh Parker and was left a widow
with seven children. In 1714 she was married to Michael, Lord Dunkellen, the eldest son of the Earl of
Qanricarde. On that occasion a bit of gossip about the sisters was written to Mrs. Shirley by the Countess
Ferrers: I forgot to write to you a piece of news I heard about a fortnight ago. Lord Dunkellen is going to be
married to one Mrs. Parker a widow. She has been so but a year and a half. She has seven children and used to
be a coquette with great spirit, but now I will tell you the good part She has 800 a year and a house and 25,000
in money. Her father is very rich and very fond of her. He has only one more daughter he does not care for.
He is called Portland Smith. (Hist MSS Comm., 'Eleventh 'Report, App. IV, pp.227-9)
117 Bryd, Another Secret Dray, 321-325.
118 Ibid., 323-324.
119 Ibid., 324.
43


not give a Bermigham groat for it.120 In March, Sabina decided to share her
fathers response and sought to end the matter with Byrd. Although Sabina
expected to play an active role in the selection of her future husband, she was a
daughter of the eighteenth century; she would never defy a father who expressed
such strong opposition to a suitor.
You perceive that your fortune cant be made agreeable to my
Father, without which there can be no hopes of his consent,
which I give you my word will intirely govern mine. I must
desire you if you have the least value in the world for me never
to write at all, and by complying with my desire in this particular
you will certainly oblige etc.121
Byrd did not listen. He continued his pursuit. In his diary he confessed
that he hung around places that he thought she may be, he wrote humiliating,
pleading letters for another chance. Dont forbid me to write nor dont send
back my letters for I am too near distraction to obey either.122 According to
Lockridge, distraction in the language of the eighteenth century implied mental
illness.123 Byrds writings leave little doubt that he was close to some type of
mental breakdown. In an unwanted letter to Sabina he continued to beg and to
display signs of mental illness, This Instability in your mind, if I may presume to
call it so, racks me to death, and woud make any body believe but me, that either
your former Conduct was only a Joke, or else what you have acted lately must
190
Bryd, Another Secret Diary, 318.
121 Ibid, 329-330.
122 Ibid, 336.
123 Lockridge, Life, 92.
44


needs be so. I am ready to offer violence to my self.124 In another letter, My
Passion is grown to that high pitch, that twill be impossible for me to live much
longer under your Displeasure, However let me be never so wretched or never so
short-liVd.125
In addition, Byrd was stalking her. On March 30,1718, Mary Smith had to
call her lawyer and request that he talk with Byrd and convince him that he must
stop pestering her. In his diary he wrote, Then came Mr. Orlebar with a message
from Miss Smith that I should not trouble her any more with my letters or
addresses, and returned my letter that I wrote last to her. I was very much
concerned but said little to him, but when he was gone I cried exceedingly.126
Byrds diary reflected his state of mind. His entries for the next two weeks
are almost exactly the same. He prayed, read in Hebrew and Greek, danced,
reported on the weather, read some more, reviewed his accounts, napped, visited,
went to Wills Coffeehouse, prayed and slept On April 9,1718 he reports that
after a nap, he had the pleasure to see my mistress at the window for half an
hour, where I made distant love. And on April 10,1718, he woke in the night
and could scarcely fetch my breath, which lasted about an hour.127 By April 17,
1718 he seems to be on the road to recovery because he went to the Haymarket
where was abundance of company and I was exceedingly well entertained and
124 Bryd, Another Secret Diary, 341-342.
12s Ibid, 346.
124 Byrd, London Diary, March 31,1718.
127 Ibid-, 104-105.
45


particularly I put one womans hand upon my business and spent.128 The
remainder of the month was spent reading, writing, visiting and praying, but at the
end of the Mary Smith affair, Byrd turned bitter and he even threatened to expose
her as a cheat who had encouraged his proposals and so, in honor, could not
marry anyone else.129 He claimed that her own father, on hearing of her behavior,
had called her both a bitch and, finally, a jilt.130 On May 8,1718, Sir Edward
DesBouverie visited Byrd and ordered him to stop even talking about Mary Smith.
In addition, he gossiped around town that he would have no problem challenging
Byrd to a duel if he did not stop.131 He finally stopped. He never admitted defeat,
he just stopped writing about or to her and we never read her name again. As
difficult as this experience had to be for this gentleman, he took no responsibility
for anything that happened. He made no changes in his life; in fact, his frenzied
behavior seemed to intensify.
Any sexual activity in the month of May was shared with women he picked
up while walking in the park in the evenings. Prostitutes were more plentiful in
London than in Virginia at this time because London had more urban poor than
colonial Virginia. Among the poor, cities may have created opportunities to sell
sexual favors. Virginia was still too economically rural to have yet created the
128 Byrd, London Diary, 108.
129 Lockridge, Life, 92-94.
Byrd, Another Secret Diary, for Honor, see 349,351-354 and |ilt, 357.
ui Byrd, London Diary, May 8 and May 16,1718.
46


opportunity for prostitution to grow in their small urban areas.132 Byrd himself
sought a prostitute in Williamsburg on December 3,1720. He writes in his diary
I took a walk of about two hours and then walked after two women but in vain
so I went home.133 The rise of prostitution symbolized the changing meaning of
sexuality at this time. Slowly sex was moving outside of the private sphere of the
family and away from procreation as its primary driver. For Byrd these London
prostitutes appear to be different women with the exception of May 29,1718
when he went to Wills, where I read the news and then walked to the woman I
picked up the other night and there committed uncleanness.134 The other five
sexual encounters were shared with nameless women, not until June 1718 did he
return to one of his regular women, Mrs. A-l-c.135 But this return would lead to
further humiliation and rejection for this already hurting middle-aged gentleman.
On June 14, 1718 he writes in his diary, After dinner I took a nap till five and
then went to Chelsea and at the College a gentlewoman came and told me she
desired to speak with me, so I got out and walked with her in the college walk and
she told me Mrs. A-l-c had commerce with another man and showed me several
letters.136 He reflects nothing more about the incident that day but he does
132 D Emilio and Freedman, Intimate Matters, 49-52.
133 Byrd, London Diary, 482.
134 Ibid., 127.
135 Ibid., June 16,1718.
Ibid., 134-135
47


proceed to find alternative comfort when he, took a walk and picked up a woman
and carried her to the tavern and committed uncleanness.137
His next interaction with Mrs. A-l-c is disturbing, but certainly relays that
the existence of a double standard for men and women with regards to sexual
behavior is not a modem invention. On June 16,1718 he went to Chelsea and
saw Mrs. A-l-c for die last time because she played the whore. However, he then
proceeded to Union Tavern and meet a young woman, went to the bagnio in
Silver Street, where he lay all night with her and rogered her three times.138 On
June 18,1718, he wrote a letter to Mrs. A-l-c to take my leave of her forever.139
He soon relented and returned to Mrs. A-l-c on August 16,1718 where he refers
to Mrs. A-l-c as a mistress of mine and he rogered her well and gave her a
guinea.140 All was forgiven apparendy, because Mrs. A-l-c made regular
appearances in his diary right up until he sailed for Virginia.
Byrd did not sail for Virginia until December 13,1719, but before that
would take place his public humiliation would continue. He did not find a rich
bride before he returned and he was not named Governor of Virginia. By the
summer of 1719, Spotswood would at last break him. Spotswood was given the
power to appoint councilors to the court. This was the worst possible outcome
for Byrd. He came to London to impress the powers that be that he would be a
137 Byrd, London Diary, 135.
138 Ibid., 136.
139 Ibid.. 137.
n Ibid., 162.
48


better Governor than Spotswood, instead his constant self-serving behavior
caused the decision makers to assume he was the problem as Spotswood had
managed to portray to the Council. They were tired of dealing with these colonial
problems. Their solution was to give the power to Spotswood and hope Byrd
would agree and go back to Virginia. Never again would the Council turn to him
for further positions of trust. Nor would he seriously seek such positions for the
rest of his life.141
He faced going home in shame and with fear. It was clear that Spotswood
was capable of retaliation. He wrote to the Commissioners.
That your Lordships will please to write in pressing terms to the
lieutenant governor, to allow the Council to give their opinions
frankly, in the Council, General Court, and Assembly, without
reproaching or ridiculing any member thereof, for having the
misfortune to differ from his opinion. I the more earnestly beg
this may be done, because I know, so disobliging a method of
proceeding has made the lieutenant governor more enemies,
than every other part of his administration.142
So within a year, this staunch English colonist was suddenly in a political
place that could render him a man without a home. His future political career was
over, and what position he did have now carried the potential to be taken away
from him. Spotswood could very easily remove him from the Council once he
returned to Virginia and the Commissioners behavior made him realize that they
would do nothing to stop it. The confident Englishman who came to London was
141 Lockridge, Life, 94-96.
142 Byrd, Other Correspondence, 320-322.
49


returning to Virginia knowing that he had pursued his ambitions very nearly to
personal and political oblivion.143
The remainder of his time in London was spent running from his disasters
in a manner as he always had done in the past. He reads, he writes, he dances, he
attends the theater, he drinks and reads the news at Wills Coffeehouse, but
something new was happening to him. He may have been getting bored with his
daily activities, he may have felt a lack of intellectual stimulation, he may have felt
so out of control and powerless, or as Lockridge believed, he may have simply
finally matured,144although subsequent behavior does not seem to support this.
However, on November 11,1719, Byrd adds a new close to his daily entry.
Here I stayed till 5 oclock and then went to the park and
walked and then to Wills where I stayed half an hour and then
went with Lord Orrery to Mrs. B-r-t-n where we found two
chambermaids that my Lord had ordered to be got for us and I
rogered one of them and about 9 oclock returned again to
Wills where Betty S-t-r-d called on me in a coach and I went
with her to the bagnio and rogered her twice, for which God
forgive me.145
From then until his departure to Virginia in December, there was no more
rogering only some kissing and touching. The majority of this activity occurred
with the maid he had hired to return with him to Virginia, Annie Wilkinson. She
had been his laundress and seamstress since June 1718 and she had agreed to
143 Lockridge, Life, 98.
144 Ibid., 98-100.
145 Byrd, London Diary, 339.
50


return with him in that capacity.144 146 He did not commit uncleanness or roger
again until February 24,1720. He had returned to Westover on February 14, 1720
and then quickly began his relationship with Wilkinson. No where in his diary
does Byrd seem to realize that he was actually forcing himself upon her. But the
majority of all these encounters closed with for which God forgive me. He was
finally a different man; London had worn the edge from him. He would never
again record such disturbing behavior that was the norm in his London Diary and
even in his first Secret Diary. Throughout the rest of his London Diary, he
committed uncleanness and played the fool with maids of Westover or
chambermaids in Williamsburg. He begged Gods forgiveness over and over. He
occasionally seemed surprised by his newly controlled behavior; I was so hot that
I walked naked in the chamber till ten. Felt no inclination for a woman.147 His
religious fervor continued. Once when he was tempting Annie to let me feel
her, she would not let him and he closed his diary with for which she is to be
commended and for which God be praised.148
By December 1720, he was resolved to avoid playing the fool with
Annie and the next evening he resolved to forbear Annie by Gods good
grace.149 Some of the diary is missing, from January 7, 1721 through February 12,
1721, so we will never know how long his resolve lasted, but he committed
144 Byrd, London Diary, 137.
Ibid., 442.
Ibid., 447.
no Ibid., 491.
51


uncleanness with Annie on February 19, 1721.150 It is not clear from the diary
whether Annie was sexually attracted to Byrd, whether she was continuously
testing him or fighting off unwanted advances, or whether she worked to ensure
that these encounters occurred on her terms. She did get to the New World
without being indentured unlike the thousands of women who preceded her, so it
is possible that these advances from Byrd were the price to pay for her move to a
new and hopefully better place.151
By the spring of 1721, the escape he had sought from tension through
sexual activity became supplemented with pills. Some nights, Byrd could not sleep
without Andersons pills.152 Political tension, as much as the renewed desire to
find a wife, sent him back to London the following summer. Once there, he
discovered that not even the majority of the Council trusted him, because they did
not select him to carry any messages or represent them in London.153 He appears
to no longer be concerned about becoming governor, but simply keeping the
status he had as a member of Council. There was some political intrigue while he
was in London, but Byrd was a changed man. He stayed on the sidelines of the
intrigue and after this time, save for one wistful inquiry in 1726 and another,
motivated by debt, in 1736, Byrd appears to have abandoned his long quest for
150 Byrd, London Diary, 497.
151 Godbeer, Sexual Revolution, 199-200.
152 Byrd, London Diary, see March 26,1721 and April 14,1721.
153 Lockridge, Life, 105.
52


governorship.154 Just as it took him a very long time to accept that Mary Smith
would never be his, the unfulfilled road to the governorship was equally long and
tedious, but it finally ended. Byrd had finally transformed himself into a Virginia
politician not an English one. He spent his time in London working for Virginia
and the colonists, rather than for himself.155 His personal life was another matter,
he still needed a wife.
In February of 1723, in the last of his unsuccessful English courtships,
Byrds behavior was improved. He began a friendly correspondence with
Minionet. Her identity is unknown, but Byrd showed restraint in his efforts and
no arrogance. When asking Minionet to review a drawing he has done, his
gentleness is almost surprising. Pray be so good as to finish mine and kindly
point out all the faults of it.156 There is no trace of the agony or bitterness he
expressed with Mary Smith when Minionet ordered Byrd to write no more in
August. But by November 1722, a more serious romance with Charmante, also
unidentified, had collapsed when the lady married another man because he had
more wit Byrd could not bear this rejection and responded with an angry tirade
rejecting wit.157 He made a brief attempt to win Minionet again, but she did not
154 Byrd, Correspondence, 320-322, 324-326. See Lockridge, Life, 103-106.
155 Marambaud, Byrd of Westover, 221, 222, 243. Also see, Lockridge, Life, 128,152.
Byrd, sBiother Secret Diary, 372.
157 Byrd, Correspondence. 332-341. The letter states, But if after all she did not many him for his virtue neither,
then it must certainly have been for the worst quality any husband can have, for his wit That I own he has his
share of, yet so overcharge & encumberd with words, that he dos more violence to the ear than a ring of bells,
for hes altogether as noisy, without having so many changes. But if he had never so much wit, a wife may be
sure the edge of it will be turned mosdy against her self. Wit is a dangerous quality both for the owner, and
every one that has the misfortune to belong to him He that is curst with wit, has a commonly too much fire to
think, too much quickness to have any discretion.
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respond to him. By this time, Byrds primary companion was Wilkinson the maid,
but he did not completely give up.
Byrd finally achieved a sensible marriage in May, 1724. Maria Taylor of
Kensington was the daughter of Thomas Taylor, who, historians believe, was a
merchant. He was delighted that she spoke Greek.158 Byrd was fifty, she was
twenty-five and there is little evidence that this was a passionate marriage. In his
final diary, Maria is seldom mentioned even in his evening walks. There is no
mention of any sexual activity with her; however, Maria bore him three daughters
and a son between 1725 and 1729.159
The pattern of Byrds sexual life during the 1730s and 1740s is that of an
aging man seeking confirmation of his sexual prowess in relationships with women
over which he had complete control. During the final years of his life he buoyed
his sense of his own virility with enslaved and servant women at Westover. Byrd
sought women who found it hard to reject him. Between 1739 and 1741, for
instance, he recorded that he played the fool with Sally four times, committed
folly with F-r-b-y twice and Marjorie once, and he also continued to commit
uncleanness.160
Even as he approached the age of seventy, Byrd appears to have never
been rejected by these women. These affairs were rooted in the sexual culture of
158 Marambaud, Byrd tj Westover, 45-47. See also, Lockridge, Life, 121.
159 Lockridege, Life, 121.
160 Byid, Another Diary, see August 10,1739; January 18,1740; May 26,1740; August 11,1740; February 25,
1741; May 1,1741; May 9,1741; June 15,1741, June 24,1741; July 13,1741.
54


the time. With his marital duties to his second wife fulfilled through the
procreation of four children, he appears to find sexual fulfillment exclusively with
women who were not his social equal and therefore apparently did not or could
not say no. He had finally found the end of his humiliation by women through
the continued humiliation of women.
55


CHAPTER 3
CONCLUSION
When those 100 or so men landed in Jamestown, Virginia and built the
first English settlement in North America, they could not possible image that their
settlement would be the subject of such discussion for almost four hundred years.
They came to conquer, get rich and return home to England and to the lives of
country gentlemen. They could not have known that from their loins and their
colonization Virginia gentleman planters like William Byrd II would be bom.
They came from a country still reeling from the Protestant Reformation and they
brought with them their very strict interpretation of the meaning of sex. They
passed on to the next generations their strict interpretation of sex as a good,
natural activity that needed to be controlled within the framework of marriage and
for the procreation of children. Their eighteenth century children listened closely
and followed the guidelines as best as they could. But time would eventually alter
the interpretation and men like Byrd applied their own personal needs, wants and
insecurities to their sexuality.
Most historians have believed that Byrd was an anomaly among the men
of his time. Marambaud felt Byrd was unusually and notoriously
56


promiscuous.161 Kathleen M. Brown suggests we should read Byrds diaries and
commonplace book because Byrds sexual behavior and attitudes were by no
'means typical of Virginia gentlemen.162 Lockridge and Fischer went so far as to
call Byrd a sexual predator.163 I do not agree. I believe that the sexual behavior
of a majority of eighteenth-century Virginia planters was very much like Byrds. I
believe they assumed it was their right and all part of Gods divine plan for them
to control their environment and everything in it with as much authority as was
necessary. Sex was their due from their wives, their servants, and their slaves. As
religious as Byrd was, seldom did he question his sexual behavior toward the
women in his life. His peers probably interpreted the word of God in the same
fashion.164 Deference and condescension were the cultural behavior of the day.
Certain things were Byrds due as long as he played the correct role of Virginia
planter. As Byrd aged and the pressures of his life increased, he reached out to
women sexually, as a release and cure for his troubled life. He could not have
been one of the few who reacted in such a way. Continued research needs to be
done, to help historians prove what we really may not want to know, that William
Byrd of Westover was really an average eighteenth-century gentleman.
141 Marambaud, Byrd of Westover, 67.
142 Brown, Good Wives, 333.
w3 Lockridge, Life, 101. Fischer, silbions Seed, 300.
-> Brown, Good Wives, 15-16,171,174,289-290.
57


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Berkin, Carol and Mary Beth Norton. Women of America: A History. Boston:
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-------------------. A Response: The Forest and the Trees: Thomas Canfield
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1994): 663-670.
Beverley, Robert. The History and Present State of Virginia. Edited with an
Introduction by Louis B. Wright Charlottesville: The University of Virginia
Press, 1947.
Brodie, Fawn M. Thomas Jefferson: An Intimate Histoty. New York: W.W. Norton
& Co., 1974.
Brown, Kathleen M. Good Wives, Nasty Wenches, els1 Anxious Patriarchs. Chapel Hill:
University of North Carolina Press, 1996.
Byrd, Wiliam. Another Secret Diary of William Byrd ofWestoverForthe Years 1739-
1741. Edited by Maude H. Woodfin and decoded by Marion Tinling. Richmond:
The Dietz Press, 1942.
58


-------------. The Correspondence of the Three William Byrds ofWestover, Virginia 1684-
1776 in 2 Volumes. Edited by Marion Tinling with Foreword by Louis B. Wright.
Charlottesville: The University Press of Virginia, 1977.
-------------.. The London Diary (1717-1721) and Other Writings. Edited by Louis B.
Wright and Marion Tinling. New York: Oxford University Press, 1958
-------------. The Secret Diary of William Byrd cfWestover. 1709-1712. Edited by
Louis B. Wright and Marion Tinling. Richmond: The Dietz Press, 1941.
-------------- WiUiam Byrds Histories of the Dividing Line betwixt Virginia and North
Carolina. Introduction and Notes by William K. Boyd and new Introduction by
Percy G. Adams. New York: Dover Publications, Inc., 1967.
Camfield, Thomas M. A Can or Two of Worms: Virginia Bernhard and the
Historiography of Early Virginia, 1607-1610. The Journal of Southern History 60,
No. 4 (Nov., 1994), 649-662.
Carr, Lois Green and David William Jordan. Marylands Revolution of Government
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Carr, Lois Green, Philip D. Morgan, and Jean B. Russo, eds. Colonial Chesapeake
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Carr, Lois Green and Lorena S. Walsh. The Planters Wife: The Experience of
White Women in Seventeenth-Century Maryland. William and Mary Quarterly,
Third Series, XXXIV (1977):666-693.
Clinton, Catherine and Michele Gillespie, eds. The Demis Lane: Sex and Race in the
Early South. New York: Oxford University Press, 1997.
Cott, Nancy F., ed. No Small Courage: A History of Women in the United States. New
York: Oxford University Press, 2000.
Craven, Wesley Frank. White, Red, and Black: The Seventeenth-Century Virginian.
Charlottesville: The University Press of Virginia, 1971.
Cressy, David. Birth, Marriage & Death: Ritual, Religion, and the Life-Cycle in Tudor
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DEmilio, John and Estelle B. Freedman. Intimate Matters: A History of Sexuality in
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59


Ellis, Joseph T. American Sphinx: The Character of Thomas Jefferson. New York:
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Fischer, David Hackett. Albions Seed: Four British Folkways in America. New York:
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Fox-Genovese, Elizabeth. Within the Plantation Household: Black and White Women of
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Godbeer, Richard. Sexual Revolution in Early America. Baltimore: The John
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Gundersen, Joan Rezner. The Double Bonds of Race and Sex: Black and White
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Haile, Edward Wright, ed. Jamestown Narratives: Eyewitness Accounts of the Virgina
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Hoffer, Peter Charles and William B. Scott, eds. Criminal Proceedings in Colonial
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Horn, James. Adapting to a New World. Chapel Hill: The University of North
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Lederer, Richard M., Jr. Colonial American English: A Ghssary. Essex, Connecticut:
A Verbatim Book, 1985.
Lockridge, Kenneth A. The Diary, and Life, of William Byrd II of Virginia, 1674-1744.
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------------------------ On the Sources ofPatriarchal Rage: The Commonplace Books of
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Marambaud, Pierre. William Byrd ofWestover, 1674-1744. Charlottesville: The
University Press of Virginia, 1971.
McCartney, Martha W. Jamestown: An American Legacy. Hong Kong: Eastern
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McLaughlin, Jack. Jefferson andMonticello: The Biography of a Builder. New York:
Henry Holt & Co., 1988.
Morg3n, Edmund S. American Slavery, American Freedom: The Ordeal of Colonial
Virginia. New York: Knopf, 1975.
Norton, Mary Beth. FomdingMothers andFathers: Gendered Power and the Forming of
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------------------. Gender and Defamation in Seventeenth-Century Maryland.
The William and Maty Quarterly, Third Series, Volume 44, Issue 1 (Jan., 1987), 3-39.
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Pepys, Samuel. The Diaiy of Samuel Pepys in Volumes I-IX. Edited by Robert
Latham and William Matthews, Contributing Editors, William A. Armstrong,
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1970.
Peterson, Merrill D. Thomas Jefferson & the New Nation. London: Oxford
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Price, David A.. Love and Hate in Jamestown: John Smith, Pocahontas, and the Heart of a
New Nation. New York: Alfred A. Knopf, 2003.
Randall, Willard Sterne. Thomas Jefferson: A Life. New York: HarperPerennial,
1993.
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Smith, Daniel Blake. Inside the Great House: Planter Family Life in Eighteenth-Centuty
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Sturtz, Linda L. Within Her Power. Propertied Women in Colonial Virginia. New York:
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Tate, Thad W., and David L. Ammerman, eds. The Chesapeake in the Seventeenth
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Full Text

PAGE 1

SEX AND DISPLEASURE: Wll..LIAM BYRD II OF WESTOVER by Mary Terese Garner B.A., Chatham College, 1976 A thesis submitted to the University of Colorado at Denver in partial fulfillment of the requirements for the degree of Master of Arts History 2004

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This thesis for the Master of Arts degree by Mary Terese Gamer has been approved by Mark S. Foster Date

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Gamer, Mary Terese (M.A., History) Sex and Displeasure: William Byrd II of Westover Thesis directed by Associate Professor, Myra Rich ABSTRACT The diary of William Byrd of Westover, Virginia, transcribed from shorthand, belongs in the category of secret journals. Such diaries written only for the eyes of the authors, are, of all types of writing the least self-conscious, the least embellished to make an impression on the reader. So rare are intimate diaries kept by personages of historical importance that the discovery of Byrd's journal was an event of considerable consequence to scholars of American history. This daily journal, kept by one of the greatest gentlemen of Virginia in his time, is considered more valuable because of the intimate nature of many of his entries. Byrd fully documented his sexual behavior throughout his adult life. Many previously believed assumptions about the sexual thoughts and behaviors of eighteenth-century gentlemen can be questioned after reading Byrd's diaries. The purpose of this study is to capture the many points Byrd made in journals that contradict the previously believed accepted behaviors of gentlemen of this time period. Byrd, who took equal delight in a well-turned sentence and well turned ankle, wrote neither outstanding literature nor purely historical documents. But he was the ftrst Southern writer of real value, and he opened the door for future historians to utilize his work for the study of sexual desire and power in the eighteenth century. Before the Revolutionary Period, he stands out from the rest of the colonial writers of the South, a symbol of the best that they could contribute to the cultural history of the country, a mixture of the gentleman-planter and the gentleman-writer, no longer quite English, not yet really American. This abstract accurately represents the content of the candidate's thesis. I recommend its publication. U1

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DEDICATION I dedicate this thesis to my sister, Dr. Pauline A. Garner for her unfaltering understanding, support, and patience while I was preparing this thesis.

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ACKNOWLEDGEMENT My thanks to my advisor, Dr. Myra Rich for her support and patience with me during these past two years. My thanks also to Dr. Pam Laird for her extensive assistance in finding the title of this work. My thanks also to Dr. Mark Foster for his constant vigilance and continued support.

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CONTENTS CHAP1ER 1. IN1'R.ODUCTION ............................................................. 1 2. WILLIAM BYRD II OF WESTOVER ....................................... 13 3. CONCLUSION ................................................................ 56 BIBLIOGRAPHY ............................................................................. 58 V1

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CHAP'IER 1 IN1RODUCTION William Byrd II, a prominent eighteenth-century Virginia planter and politician, was the most noteworthy writer in Southern Colonial America. His letters, diaries, and publications are witty, skillfully written, and have proved to be valuable historical sources. Historians have traditionally believed him to be an anomaly among his peers because he seems to have entered into his diaries all his thoughts, fears, beliefs and even his sexual activities, dreams, and desires. The extent of his writing may be unusual, but I question whether his activities, which he so copiously recorded, were so unusual. I believe that simply because the other Virginia planters of the time did not keep diaries of their deepest, private thoughts does not mean they were better behaved than Byrd. It simply means they did not write them down or their diaries have been lost. In Byrd's life and in the lives of an unknown number of planters, power and sex were mutually reinforcing and when power was fleeting in other aspects of their lives, they utilized sex over their wives, their servants and their slaves to satisfy their lust for power.1 Thus, in this 1 This is m opinion shared by a number of historians. See John D.'Emilio md Estelle B. Freedman. Intimate Motters: A History of SCX71ali!J in America. (Chicago: The University of Chicago Press, 1988), 42, 44-46, 52, 70; Kathleen M. Brown. Good Wives, Nasty W mches & Anximls Patriarrhs: Gender, Race, and Power i11 Colo1zial Vip. (Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, 1996), 328-334, 330-334, 365-366; Maty Beth Norton. Fo11nding Mother:r & Fathers: Gmdered Power and the FoTTIIing of American Sotie!J. (New Y ooc Alfred A Knopf, 1996), 38, 63-65, 67-69; David Hackett Fischer. AlbUm's Seed: F011r British Folkwt!Js inAmeriea. (New York: Oxford University Press, 1989), 298,405, 813,815. I

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sense Byrd may be a representative expression of eighteenth-century male ideas of power, at the very least, a representative of the eighteenth-century Virginia planter class. Byrd had his roots in the men who crossed the ocean sixty-seven years before he was hom, so let his story begin with them. The London Council for Virginia told the brave English explorers in 1606 to heed the following advice, "Lastly and Chiefly, The way to prosper and achieve success is to make yourselves all of one mind for the good of your country and your own and to serve and fear God .... "2 With these words, three vessels loaded with 144 men left England, headed south and west to the West Indies, and then veered north to the Chesapeake Bay, entering it on April26, 1607.3 There can be no doubt that those 144 men never imagined that their four month voyage and their settlement would be the subject of historical debate and discussion for almost four hundred years. Unfortunately, little survives from these early years. Personal correspondence is largely missing. We have no heartfelt letters home or to a spouse. There are only portions of three diaries; the rest are official reports to Lord Salisbury and other councilors and high officials narratives, descriptions, natural resources 2 Inscription found on an obelisk at Jamestown National Parlt. 3 Carville V. Earle. "Environment, Disease, and Mortality in Early V uginia'' in 1bad W. Tate and David L. Ammennan, eds., The Chesapeake in the Seventeenth Cenlllry: Essf!JS fJ11 Aglo-Amernan (New York: W.W. Norton 1979), 96. No complete list of the first Vttginia colonists of 1607 is known to exist, and the earliest estimares of their numbers do not agree. The Proceedings of the English Colonie in Vi'!inia (1612), complied from the notes of men who were members of that first group, states that 100 colonists were left in Virginia in June 1607 and then lists the names of 67 men and boys. However, John Smith's GeneraU Hi.rtotie of Virginia (1624) lists 82 names and estimates that there were "divec; others to the number of 100." George Percy's most detailed report notes "one hundred and foure persons" were left there when Captain Christopher Newport sailed away in June 1607. Many modem textbooks use the figure 144 as the number of passengers. 2

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inventories-all of it an earnest attempt to make those in the Old World understand the daily situation and the bright promise of the New.4 The sources that remain remind us that these 100 or so men were a very interesting crew. But questions remain. What sort of people were coming over as colonists? Why were there no women included on the original voyage? The colonists were employees in various capacities of the Virginia Company. Those in leadership roles either owned stock or had connections, or both. The majority were second or third sons of wealthy Englishmen looking for adventure and the making of a quick fortune. Others were hired hands. Many probably assumed they would return to England with their new-found fortune and live out their remaining days as wealthy Englishmen in England. Jamestown and the Virginia colony as a whole were founded according to the first priority of colony-making which was to establish an economic base for England before the Spanish could move further north.5 One of the great claims regarding the Jamestown settlement, according to Edward Wright Haile, is the fact that "Jamestown, always threatened, survived and never came under foreign attack." The English realm "opened a great colonial territory in lands claimed by Spain without firing a shot."6 But where were the women? We can never know for sure, but most historians believe that in the initial stages of colonization women were not 4 Edward Wright Haile., ed. Jamesfolllll NamztitJeS: Eyewih1ess Ammntr of the Vi'linia CofiJI!Y The First DeMde: 1601-1617. (Champlain: Roundhouse 1998), ix-xxvi. s Hane, Jameslolllll NarratitJeS, xxiii. 6 Ibid., xxi.v 3

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required for Virginia Company's priority of creating an economic base. The Jamestown colony was an entrepreneurial effort, a start-up venture chartered eight months earlier; its business model was to extract profits from the gold, silver, and other riches supposedly to be found in that region of North America. Also, because no one yet knew the extent of the North American continent, the Virginia Company expected to fmd a trade route by river through Virginia to the Pacific. 7 In addition, the Virginia colony was not a very healthy environment. Two works established the fragile character of the Virginia society. Anita and Darrett Rutman's 1976 article, "Of Angues and Fevers", restored the significance of malaria, not so much as a primary killer but as a disease that weakened colonists and left them susceptible to other, and more fatal illnesses. 8 Carville Earle's essay, "Environment, Disease, and Mortality in Early Virginia," employed scientific studies of estuaries such as the James River to demonstrate how bad water infected the first Jamestown settlers with still other illnesses. In asserting the primacy of disease over starvation in accounting for high mortality in the first years of the Virginia colony, he provided a dramatic example of another problem: how little the first colonists seemed to understand the environment into which they had come.9 Even though women in the colony were first believed to be 7 See, Haile, Jamestown Narratives, xxv: also David A Price. Live and Bote in Jamestown: John Smith, Pocahontas, and theHeartofaNewNatirm. (NewYorlt: AlfredA. Knopf, 2003), 3-14. B Rutman and Rutman, "Of Angues and FeveiS", WMQ, 3'd Ser., XXXIII (1976), 31-60. 9 Carville V. Earle, ''Environment, Disease, and Mortality in Early Vuginia," in Thad W. Tate and David L Ammerman, eds., The Chesapeake in the Seventeenth Century: Essf!Ys on Anglo-American Sode!Y, (New York, W.W. Norton 1979), pp. 96-125. 4

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unnecessary and the environment meant life for both sexes was precarious, the need and desire for women slowly changed. From the beginning, the colonists of Virginia recognized the potential problems associated with female scarcity. Captain John Smith in letters to the Virginia Council in England relayed the men's "misfortune ofwantingwives."10 The first women to arrive in the colony were Mistress Forest and her maidservant Anne Burroughs in September 1608. Smith describes the arrival in a letter to the Virginal council, "the ship having disburdened herself of 70 persons, with the first gentlewoman and woman servant that arrived in our colony."11 The list of passengers includes two Captains, a brother of Lord LaWarre, twenty-five Gentlemen, fourteen Tradesmen, twelve Laborers, two boys and "Misstress Forrest and Anne Burrasher maid, eight Dutchmen and Poles, with some others to the number of seventy persons, etc."12 Thus the first two English women settlers were lumped together with foreigners and "some others": an inauspicious beginning, but a vital indication of status and rank. These two women were just the beginning. According to Smith in 1624 "11 ships and 1216 persons" arrived to Captain john Smith. A TmeRda/Um, 1608. RepublishedinNam11ivesi!(Eary Virginia 1606-1625. (New Yotk: Charles Scribner's Sons, 2003), 33. Fmt published in London by I.D .. and lH. for Michael Spadtes, 1624. 11 Smith, Genera/J Hi.rknies, Bk. 3, Ch., 7. Republished in ]amesto1111J Nam1tives. Lyon Gardiner Tyler, editor. (Champlain: Charles Scribner's Sons, 1998), 283. tz Smith, Nam1Jives, 293. 5

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including "for the Companies land a hundred and thirty, for the College a hundred, for the Glebe land fifty, young women to make wives ninety."13 Eventually women came to Virginia, but in fewer numbers than the men. It is possible less women came as word of disease and the unfriendly environmental conditions in Virginia reached England. Therefore with less immigration and death rates high, the male/female proportions fluctuated throughout the first half of the seventeenth century. In 1625, three-quarters of the white people of Virginia were men, and by 1650 there were still six men to every woman. By the 1650s, constant immigration had reduced this ratio to three to one. Nonetheless, throughout the seventeenth century there were far more European men than European women in Virginia. Sexual disparity was the greatest in the Chesapeake region of all the English colonies.14 The skewed gender ratio in Virginia made it difficult for men to find wives and establish conventional family households. It also meant that most colonists did not have access to sexual relations with English women during the initial period of settlement.15 Therefore, from the start of the English colonization of Virginia the history of the sexual relations between the 13 Smith, GenemU Historie, Book W, 1624, 339. Ninety wives does not represent the total of women in James town but identifies the number of women that landed on that particular day. These ninety young maidens were sold with their consent to the sett:leJs as wives, at the cost of their transportation: one hundred and twenty f.ounds of tobacco. 4 Nancy Woloch. Women and lhe.Ameri&on Experience: A Concise History. (New York: McGraw-Hill, 2002), 3. See also Frank Wesley Craven. White, and Blatk: The S eventeenth-Cenl111y Virginian. (New York: W.W. Norton, 1977), 26-27; Paul Finkelman. "Crimes of Love, Misdemeanors ofPassion: The Regulation of Pace and Sex in the Colonial South," in The DeviJ's LJne: Sl!)( and Rme in the Ear[y SOIIIh. Catherine Clinton and Michele Gillespie, eds. (New Y 01k: Oxford University Press, 1997), 124; Richard Godbeer. Sexual Revolmion in Emty.Ammm. (Baltimore: The John Hopkins University Press, 2002), 122; Jane Kamensky. "The Colonial Mosaic: 1600-1760'' in No Small Courage: A History of Women in the United States. Nancy F. Cott, ed. (New York: Oxford University Press, 2000), 53. ts Godbeer, S Rela/Ums, 122-123. 6

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men and the women have proven to be like no other English settlement and the differences, as we shall see, held true into the eighteenth century. Sex has been associated with a range of hwnan behaviors and values, including the procreation of children, the attainment of physical pleasure, personal intimacy, and power over others have coexisted throughout the centuries but certain functions prevail at different times, depending on the larger social forces that shape an era.16 In the Colonial era, the dominant function of sex was reproduction within the family unit. Protestants in the colonies believed that marriage was not only a means to channel lust, but also a road to marital love and the proper avenue to meet the need to produce children. Authorities, religious and governmental, did not want to prohibit sexual expression, but rather to channel it into what they considered the proper setting and purpose: as a duty and a joy within marriage, and for the purpose of procreation. Both religious beliefs and economic interests supported this family-centered sexual system.17 These men and women believed that both parties should experience pleasure during sexual intercourse. A common belief in the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries was that in order to conceive a woman needed to achieve orgasm.18 As English men and women migrated to 16 John D.'Emilio and Estelle B. Freedman. Intimate MI3tters: A History of Sexuali!J in AmeTi&a. (Chicago: The University of Chicago Press, 1988), xv. 17 D'Emilio and Freedman, Intimate Matters, 16. 181bid., 5. 7

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Virginia in the early seventeenth century, they brought with them these sexual beliefs and practices. Of the 75,000 white people who immigrated to Virginia and Maryland between 1630 and 1680, up to three-quarters were indentured servants who arrived as single individuals, not families as in the New England colony. Women were in such a minority that few male servants found wives, and those who did married relatively late, after their terms of indenture had expired. These marriages were brief: a harsh climate and rampant disease shortened life expectancy. Chesapeake men typically lived to 48 and women to 44, about a decade less than in New England.19 Under such circumstances, family life took on a tentative quality. Thus in Virginia, the large nwnber of single immigrnnts and the high mortality rates made it more difficult to control sexual activity. 20 Single women in Virginia were in such high demand as wives that they were less concerned about guarding their virginity than women in England or the New England settlements. Even women who bore illegitimate children could marry respectably in the South. Adultery was more common in Virginia. There were more single men such as laborers, neighbors, or business men in abundance to tempt unhappily married women. As in New England, adultery was punished by church and court but not as extensively and systematically. Regional differences notwithstanding, by the 19 Woloch, American Experience, 3-9. See also Tate andAmmeawm, eds., OlesapeakeSeventeenth Cenhtty, 157159, 170-172,208-209,224, 247; Godbeer, Sexual Revolution, 121, 122, 124. 20 D'Emilio and Freedman, Intimate Matters, 10-11. 8

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early eighteenth century, sexual practice and sexual meaning were clearly situated within marriage, and the goal of sexuality was procreation.21 Unlike Puritan New England, the Chesapeake colonies did not strictly control premarital and extramarital sexual activity. For white men, especially the rich and powerful, there were frequent opportunities for sexual encounters, especially with servants and slaves. This activity, if not condoned, was accepted by most of the white population.22 Richard Godbeer's essay, ''William Byrd's 'Flourish': The Sexual Cosmos of a Southern Planter," examines Byrd's diaries and correspondence, one of the only frrst-person accounts we have of sexual behavior in the southern colonies.23 Godbeer paints a portrait of a man whose active sex life embodied his view of himself as both a confident, cosmopolitan planter and an insecure failure. Godbeer claims that the impression held by most historians of Byrd's frantic sexual activity is misguided. According to Godbeer, "what made him unusual was the extent to which he wrote about sex and revealed the place that it occupied in his mental world."24 In addition to Godbeer's point, I am suggesting that Byrd's sexual behavior was not unusual simply because he wrote about it but because his behavior was much more prevalent then historians have always believed. Byrd may have just been a much more normal eighteenth century Virginian gentleman in terms of 21 D'Emilio and Freedman, Intimate Mutters, 10-14. See also Godbeer, 121,122-125, 128-30, 133,148. 22 Mem1 D. Smith. Sex and in Ear!J.Amerita. (New Yolk: New Ymk UniveiSity Press, 1998), 4, 5-6. 23 Richard Godbeer, "William Byrd's 'Flourish': The Sexual Cosmos of a Sou them Plantet'', in Mem1 D. Smith, ed, Sex and Sexuality in Ear!J.Amerita, (New Yolk: New Yolk University Press, 1998), 134. 24 Godbeer, ''William Byrd's 'Flourish,"' 136. 9

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his sexual practices, than any of us have considered. According to Godbeer, "The meanings attributed to sex vary from one culture to another, from one time and place to another, and from one individual to another."25 Sex to eighteenth-century people was one part of their cultural identity and their social status, not a separate, expression of personal identity. Godbeer believes that Byrd "incorporated sexual acts into his sense of himself as a gentleman and as a Christian: he understood sex in terms of categories that were not themselves intrinsically sexual."26 This has dramatic implications for how we reconstruct attitudes toward sex in the past. A multiple standard of sexual behavior (not merely a double standard) appeared not only in the laws of Virginia but also in its customs. Women, especially gentlewomen, were held to the strictest standards of sexual virtue . According to David Hackett Fischer, the difference was "not the result of mindless or instinctive sexism."27 The bloodline of aristocratic Virginia could not be threatened by any sexual misconduct by the society's gentlewomen. Men, on the other hand, were "encouraged by the customs of the country to maintain a predatory attitude toward women."28 A famous example was the secret diary of William Byrd II, an exceptionally full and graphic record of one planter's sex life. His diaries have provided historians an interesting window into the private lives of these men and the woman in their lives. In his youth and until middle age, Byrd 25 Richard Godbeer. S11X11al Revolution in Ear!JAmema (Baltimore: The John Hopkins University Press, 2002, 11. Godbeer, RevolutWn, 11. 27 Fischer, Albion's Seed, 300. 28 Ibid., 301. 10

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looked over his shoulder at England for his definition of the perfect gentleman and he strove every day of his life for control over his envirorunent and all the people in his life. In its attitude sex, this work was very different from any diary that was kept in Puritan New England or Colonial Virginia. Promiscuous activity was a continuing part of his mature life, and in some periods, an obsession. With very mixed success, he attempted to seduce relatives, neighbors, casual acquaintances, strangers, prostitutes, the wives of his best friends, and servants, both black and white, on which he forced himself, much against their wishes. Even during periods of his life when Byrd was more or less happily married, he frequently engaged in sexual adventures with the wives of strangers and friends. As we shall see, the remorse he felt, if he felt any at all, after these occasions had to do with his sense of violating another gentleman's property, not the property itself. After his first wife died, he generally engaged in some form of sexual behavior on a daily basis. As he aged, his behavior did not change. The only change appears in the frequency of his sexual activity, not the behavior itself. Historian David Hackett Fischer identifies Byrd as the perfect example of "male predator" when discussing Virginia's sexual culture.29 Sexual predators have existed in every society. But some cultures more than others have tended to encourage their activities, and even to condone them. Virginia would produce others. William Byrd's behavior differed only in degree from Thomas Jefferson's 29 Fischer, Albion's Seed, 298-303. 11

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relentless pursuit of Mrs. Walker, or George Washington's flirtation with Mrs. Fairfax.30 These men represented the best of their culture; the sexual activities of William Byrd may have been conventional. An old tidewater folk saying in Prince George's County, Maryland, defined a virgin "as a girl who could run faster than her uncle."31 Nonetheless, Byrd's diaries offer an interesting study for historians. The reading of the diaries raises more questions than it answers. Did Byrd's behavior represent the behaviors of many other Virginia gentlemen? Did many of them fight the demons and the insecurities that evidently fought the majority of his life? Only continued research can possibly answer these and many other questions that William Byrd II presents to us in his diaries. The following is a work in progress. Much more research needs to be done in order to validate my thesis. Simply because Byrd and other eighteenth-century gentlemen like John Richards left us hints that more of their peers felt exactly as they did about their sex lives, does not necessarily prove the theory. Without question, much more work needs to be completed to validate the representativeness of Byrd. So many unanswered questions remain. Answers are discovered by asking questions, so in that scholarly spirit let me begin to answer the question of the possibility of William Byrd II being just another, normal eighteenth-century gentleman with an analysis of his secret diaries. 30 Fischer, Albion's Seed, 303. 31 Ibid., 303; Personal communication by a lady of an old Prince County family; for an actual case see Virlfnia Moga:(jne ojHirklty and Biograpi!J 14 (1896-97), 185-97. 12

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CHAPTER2 As Kenneth Lockridge noted, "William Byrd has been something of an enigma to American historians."32 The basic facts ofhis life are clear enough. Byrd was born in Virginia in 1674, and educated in England; he returned to Virginia in 1705 and with other planters in the colony seized control of colonial affairs from their royal governor, Sir Alexander Spotswood. Byrd was a very ambitious man, who spent years in London pursuing positions and power for himself. His dream was to be named royal governor of Virginia. However, his highest political achievement was obtained close to the end of his life. In 17 43, James Blair had died at the age of eighty-seven, leaving vacant the presidency of the Council of Virginia. Byrd, next in seniority on the Council, became Blair's successor.33 For the rest of 1743 and for as long as he lived in 1744, Byrd occupied, this, the second highest office in Virginia. So at the age of sixty-nine William Byrd had finally reached the highest position ever occupied by his father, another of his life-long dreams. The story of Byrd's life is in many ways a tale of his struggle to achieve his life-long goals, but it also is a telling review of the sexuality norms and gender 32 Kenneth A. Lockridge. The Diary and Life ojWilliam II ofVi'!inia, 1674-1744. (New Yorlr: W.W. Norton & Company, 1987), vii 33 Lockridge, Life, 149. 13

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definitions of his time. For most of his life Byrd was a diarist and man ofletters and many historians believe he probably wrote more than any colonial American save Cotton Mather.34 His writings give us a unique opportunity to study the dayto-day activities of an eighteenth-century Virginia planter. The diary opens the door of the early Virginia culture that shaped Byrd's personality as well as the personalities of the next generation, the generation of the Founding Fathers. His diary entries may at first glance appear rather boring and mundane. The entries certainly do not impart the sense of delight and happiness in life that we read in Samuel Pepys's diary.35 However, if one can overlook the banalities of the entries, one can find a rich description of Byrd's life and how he viewed the world around him. He was a vain, lustful, passionate, and loving man, but there is evidence in almost every entry of his religious fervor as well. His Anglican religion is ever present. His desire to achieve status is continuously evident. The early portion of his life seems to be devoted to achieving the highest status possible as an Englishman. As he ages and matures, he seems to settle for the highest status possible as a Virginian. Toward the end of his life, he appears to not just settle for status as a Virginian, but to crave it as the only true achievement of his life. Byrd exemplified the aristocracy that had developed in Virginia since the early days of the settlement. He died as one of the most cultivated members of his class: he 34 Lockridge, life, Preface. 35 Samuel Pepys. The Diary of San111el Pepys, 1660-1669. Robert Latham and Wiii.i.am Matthews, eds. William A Amlst:Iong, MacDonald Emslie, Olivo: Mi1Lu: and T.F. Reddaway, contributiong editors. Volumes 1-9. (London: Ben & Hyman, 1970). 14

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was one of the wealthiest, best educated men in Virginia.36 Toward the end of his life he devoted much of his energy in service to Virginia from which he could expect no material reward and little public acclaim. He represents a society that produced Washington, Jefferson, Madison, Marshall, and a great galaxy of leaders who a little later helped to shape Virginia and a new nation. That aging process and the journal entries and letters that walk us through the process are a valuable source of evidence of how early settlers and later colonists lived and perceived themselves and the world around them.37 Almost every day from 1709 on, with appalling regularity, Byrd recorded mainly that he rose at five (as he grew older or was in London it was six), read in Hebrew and Greek, said his prayers, ate breakfast, "danced,''38 did some accounts or letters, read Latin, ate dinner shortly after midday, did business and visited or was visited, possibly read still more Latin and Greek, looked after his plantation and slaves, walked around his plantation (occasionally with his first wife), said his prayers, and "Had good health, good thoughts, and good humor, thanks be to God Almighty."39 Some, days are different. Byrd occasionally went to Wt.lliamsburg after first "committing my wife and family to the protection of the 36 Byrd read Greek and Hebrew in the moming and at other times of the day Latin and French. He entertained clergy at Westover and enjoyed their conversations on religion and literary topics. In Williamsburg, he often visited with one of the most educated cletgymen of the time, Commissary Blair. He was a frequent visitor to the home of Lady Susannah Randolph whose interests were more literary then economic. He was elated that his second wife, Maria Taylor understood Greek and his diary when referencing her captures their lively discussions in Greek. 37 Lockridge, Life, 46, 50, 52, 121-124. 38 Ibid., 2. Lockridge identified "dancing" as a description of the exercise routine that Byrd practiced. 39 William Byrd IT. The Semi Diary of William Byrd ojWestover, 1709-1712. eds., Louis B. Wright and Marion Tinling. (Richmond. The Dietz Press, 1941). 15

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Ahnighty." He might comment on extreme weather, relate his dreams and any sexual experiences he may have had.40 He does not always read in the same pattern and he does not "dance" everyday. The sequence can be seen in its earliest, fullest form in the following three entries for July 7, 8, and 9, 1709. July 7, 1709I rose at 5 o'clock and read a chapter in Hebrew and some Greek in Josephus. I said my prayers and ate milk for breakfast. I danced my dance, and settled my accounts. I read some Latin. It was extremely hot. I ate stewed mutton for dinner. In the afternoon it began to rain and blow very violently so that it blew down my fence. It likewise thundered. In all the time I have been in Virginia I never heard it blow harder. I read Latin again and Greek in Homer. In the evening we took a walk in the garden. I said my prayers and had good health, good hwnor and good thoughts, thanks be to God Ahnighty. July 8, 1709I rose at 5 o'clock and read a chapter in Hebrew and some Greek in Josephus. I said my prayers and ate milk for breakfast. I danced my dance. I read some Latin. Tom returned from Williamsburg and brought me a letter from Mr. Bland which told me the wine came out very well. I ate nothing but pudding for dinner. In the afternoon I read some more Latin and Greek in Homer. Then I took a walk about the plantation. I said my prayers and had good health, good thoughts, and good hwnor, thanks be to God Ahnighty. July 9, 1709 I rose at 5 o'clock and read two chapters in Hebrew and some Greek in Josephus. I said my prayers and ate milk and apples for breakfast with Captain Wilcox who called here this morning. I danced my dance. I wrote a letter to England and read some Latin. I ate roast chicken for dinner. In the afternoon I saluted my wife and took a nap. I read more Latin and Greek in Homer. Then I took a walk about the plantation. I neglected to say my prayers. I had good health, good thoughts, and good hwnor, thanks be to God Ahnighty.41 40 Byrd, Secret Diary, 167. 41 Byrd, Sem:t Diary, 51. One of the aphorisms for sexual intercourse for Byrd was "saluting." 16

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As Byrd aged, his entries and his daily routine grew shorter, but his style remained the same. Byrd's behavior was fairly rigid and obsessively repetitive, but what the diary describes are the expected behaviors of an eighteenth-century gentleman. In the spirit of the proper behavior for an eighteenth-century gentleman, these behaviors had to be repeated and obsessively reviewed. 42 Also evident in Byrd's diary, is the emotional code of the eighteenth-century gentleman, emphasizing moderation, balance, and acceptance in all things. When troubles arose, when his tobacco was lost at when he quarreled with his wife, Byrd's classic reply was "God's will be done." Even faced with his infant son's death, "God gives and God takes away; blessed be the name of God" was Byrd's reaction.43 Such Christian submission was one of the ways Byrd could prove to himself that he was a civilized gentleman who lived a life of moderation, balance, and acceptance. We can not know if God cared whether Byrd had "good thoughts, good humor, and good health" every day of his life, but William Byrd cared and ftrmly believed it mattered. It was proof of his image of himself as a social being and a man that he regarded his state of being as profoundly important.44 4 2 Lockridge, Life, 6; See additional discussion on eighteenth-centw:y gentlemen's behavior in Fischer, Albion's Seed, 300-303,373,416. 4 3 Byrd, Secret Diary. The loss of tobacco at sea was on May 6, 1709; his quaa:els with his wife see AprilS, 1709; the death of his son was on June 3, 1710. 44 Lockridge, Life, 6-10. 17

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Byrd was apologetic when he failed to maintain his composure: "had good thoughts, good humor, but indifferent health" or "good health, good thoughts, but indifferent humor, thanks be to God Almighty."45 Usually within a day or two his health improved or his humor improved. He even bragged about his ability to accept what was given to him. When Byrd heard that a ship had gone down that carried a load of his tobacco crop he ended his diary entry for the day with, "I had good health, good thoughts, and good humor, notwithstanding my misfortune, thanks be to God Almighty."46 The object of the majority of his lack of "good humor" and or "good thoughts" was his first wife, Lucy. In this relationship, which lasted ten years, Byrd acted the role of the domestic patriarch. He disposed of his wife's estate without consulting her and kept control of all her property. He interfered in her domestic management, and infuriated her by dictating the smallest details of her appearance even to the shape of her eyebrows, which she was compelled to pluck din h 1 47 accor g to 1s p easure. Lucy Byrd was the daughter of Colonel Daniel Parke, a high-born Virginia gentleman who later became governor of the Leeward Islands. By all accounts she was exceptionally beautiful, proud and a bit headstrong. She had strong passions, a stubborn will, and most offensive to Byrd, a mind of her own. She did not 45 Byrd, Semi Diary, see May 12, 13, 20, 21, 28, 29, 1710. 46 Ibid., see May 6, 1709. 47 Fischer,AibUJn's Seed, 287. See Byrd, Secret Diary, February 5, 1711 for eyebrow plucking reference. 18

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submit quietly to her husbands demands.48 Almost daily he and his wife quarreled over household activities that Byrd believed Lucy mishandled. "My wife and I disagreed about employing a gardener'' and "I reproached my wife with ordering the old beef to be kept and the fresh beef used first, contrary to good management."49 Through his diary he shows much disdain for many of Lucy's decisions and not once does he offer any praise for her abilities until after she died. Not only was Byrd vain, he was also insecure. He was constantly striving for mastery over all those who, he believed, were hindering his ability to be the perfect Virginia gentleman. Nowhere is this more evident than in his dealings with Lucy. Historian Lockridge believed Lucy Parke Byrd was as headstrong as Byrd and, therefore, a continuous trouble to him. Controlling her involved more than controlling his emotions; it appears to have been a daily struggle between them with Byrd constantly attempting to maintain the upper hand.50 On April 9, 1709, he clearly acknowledges this strife. "My wife and I had another scold about mending my shoes but it was soon over by her submission."51 But not only household management caused this strife; other more personal situations arose regularly. She objected to his flirtation with married women. Men of this age were theoretically bound to fidelity by their marriage vows, but unwritten customs of 48 Lockridge, life, 39. See also Pierre Marambaud William Byrd oJW eslouer. 1674-1744. (Chadottesville: Univetsity Press ofVirginia, 1971), 26-28. Also, FJScher, Albion's Seed, 290-292. 49 Byrd, S erret Diary, see April6 and 7, 1709. so Lockridge, life, 68-73. s1 Byrd, Serret Diary, 19. 19

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the culture created a different standard ofbehavior.52 When Byrd "played with Mrs. Chiswell and kissed her on the bed," Lucy became rather "uneasy." Byrd did not need Lucy's forgiveness or even understanding; instead he believed it was an issue between himself and his God. "I neglected to say my prayers, which I should not have done, because I ought to beg pardon for the lust I had for another man's wife."53 She particularly did not like it when she felt left out of conversations and was quick to share her feelings. Once when Byrd and a Mr. Dunn were speaking Latin in front of Lucy, Byrd and his wife "quarreled" and she called it "bad manners."54 Lucy reprimanded not only her husband, but anyone who she believed did not meet her standards. She reproached a "Frank W -1-s for swearing'' and she seemed content, according to her husband that ''he was out of humor for it."55 In this time as in all others, a major source of marital strife was sex. Like Byrd, John Richards, an English gentleman, documented his domestic troubles. Richards, for example, had a liaison with a lady called M. in his diary he wrote: "This evening A (his wife Alice) was angry as usual about M telling me that I loved her more than her, and that because of ill-treatment in this house she had often 52 Fischer, Albion's Seed, 293. 53 Byrd, Secret Diary, see November 2, 1709. During this period of Byrd's life the majority of his dalliances were with slaves and servants, only occasionally did he approach other gendemen's wives. However, when "begging pardon'' for his behavior he solicited pardon from the gentleman not the gendeman's property. 54 Ibid, see November 11, 1709. 55 Ibid, see December 5, 1709. 20

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thought of killing herself."56 Richards' diary became a running record of domestic strife between husband and wife. His wife Alice, like Lucy, did not accept her lot quietly. Richards documents that she raged and roared and occasionally forced her husband to sleep in the dining room and some nights even in the cellar. 5 7 Other members of Byrd's family did not escape, either. Lucy and her sister had a "fierce dispute about the infallibility of the Bible" on May 1, 1709.58 Byrd also believed that Lucy had a tendency to be a bit extravagant. Occasionally he addressed the problem in a rather mean-spirited way. On June 14, 1709, Byrd received "an invoice of things sent by my wife which ace enough to make a man mad." It put him "out of humor very much." The "extravagant goods" arrived at Westover the next day, but by June 27, 1709, Byrd "made an invoice of the things that my wife could space to be sold." He notes in his diary that, "my wife was in tears about her cargo but I gave her some comfort after dinner."59 Apparently Lucy chose to ignore her husband and continued to order goods from London, whether Byrd thought they were extravagant or not. Only one other time did he note that they had a "terrible quarrel" over her shopping, when Byrd noted "in the afternoon my wife and I had a terrible quarrel about the things that had come in but at length she submitted because she was in the wrong." Byrd congratulates 56 John Richards ofWaanweD, Diary II, 16 September 1699, Dotsetshire Record Office, Don:hester reprinted in Fischer, Albion's Seed, 293. 57 Fischer, Albion's Seed, 293-294. ss Byrd, Semt Diary, 29. 59 Ibid, 48, 53 21

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himself for keeping his "temper very well."60 One must remember that in this time a wife was bound by her marriage vows to obey her husband. In the Virginia Gazette an article appeared in 1737 that discussed rules of "matrimonial felicity." Wives were told to "never dispute with him .. .if any altercation or jars happen, don't separate the bed, whereby the animosity will increase ... read often the matrimonial service, and overlook not the important word OBEY."61 How Lucy appeared to the public was important to Byrd and it appears that they did not always agree on her personal style. He shows no disdain for the time Lucy spent preparing herself, in fact he seems to consider it a normal condition. He and a Mr. Dunn "played at billiards" and they "read some news" while the "ladies spent three hours in dressing according to custom."62 Nowhere in his diaries or letters does he compliment the outcome of such a time consuming ordeal, but he makes it evident that whenever Lucy left the house, she was representing him and she would keep to the fashion that he thought was appropriate. Once when they were preparing for a trip to Williamsburg, Byrd notes an example in his diary. "My wife and I quarreled about her pulling her brows. She threatened she would not go to Williamsburg if she might not pull them; I refused, however, and got the better of her, and maintained my authority."63 60 Byrd, Seem Diary, See July 9, 1710. 61 Williamsburg Vitginia 20 May 1737. Quoted in Fischer's Albion's Seed 293. 62 Byrd, Semi Diary, See April3, 1711. 63 Ibid, see Februu:y 5, 1711. 22

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Many times Byrd needed to "maintain his authority" for other than frivolous reasons, because sometimes Lucy was plainly willful and violent. She did not always display the deference expected of her. Country gentlemen in Virginia expected a display of social deference from their inferiors, which included wives. In tum, the wives expected deference from servants, slaves, and children. Deference carried the responsibility of condescension. To condescend in this time period meant the ruling planter must treat an inferior with kindness, decency, and respect if deference was shown by the inferior.64 Lucy occasionally had trouble with this system. On July 15, 1710, "My wife against my will caused little Jenny [a maid] to be burned with a hot iron, for which I quarreled with her."65 On another occasion, Byrd appears disappointed that his ''wife caused several of the people to be whipped."66 However, Lucy was not only violent with the servants and slaves; she appears to have threatened suicide on more than one occasion. "My wife quarreled with me about not sending for Mrs. Dunn when it rained to lend her John." Byrd quickly noted, "She threatened to kill herself but had more discretion."67 Mrs. Dunn eventually came to live in the Byrd home after her husband abandoned her. Her coming to live with them did not help the situation; in fact tensions seemed to escalate. The most outrageous quarrel from Byrd's perspective occurred on March 2, 1712. He writes: 64 Fischer, Albion's Seed, 286-306, 38S-387. 65 Byrd, Diary, 205. 66 Ibid., see February 5, 1712. 67 Ibid., see January 31, 1711. 23

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I had a terrible quarrel with my wife concerning Jenny that I took away from her when she was beating her with the tongs. She lifted up her hands to strike me but forbore to do it. She gave abundance of bad words and endeavored to strangle herself, but I believe in jest only. However after acting a mad woman a long time she was passive again.68 Byrd spent the rest of the morning and afternoon eating roast beef for dinner and walking the plantation with Mr. G-r-1. By the evening, Lucy must have calmed down enough that Byrd closed his diary entry for the day with, "we drank cider by way of reconciliation and he read nothing."69 Not leaving Lucy alone so that he might read was apparently an action he viewed as a concession. Even this rather eventful day did not stop this eighteenth-century gentleman from saying his prayers and noting, "had good health, good thoughts, and good humor, thank God Alrnighty."70 In the spirit of what Byrd apparently believed was civility toward women, he actually showed a rather tolerant view of Lucy's behavior. It appears that Byrd believed through all the quarrels, the tense environment and Lucy's violence that he was simply expected to uphold his "authority." He accomplishes this through reconciliation.71 Once when he was reading a sermon he quarreled with his wife and that quarrel "hindered my taking much notice of it. However, we were reconciled before we went to bed." Byrd is quick to note, ''but I made the first 6s Byrd, Semt Diary, 494. 69 Not reading in the evening was apparendy considered a concession by Byrd 1o Byrd, Semt Diary, See March 2, 1712. 71 Lockridge, Life, 70-73. 24

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advance.'m On another occasion he noted, "My wife was out of humor this evening for nothing, which I bore very well and was willing to be reconciled."73 The next day he took a walk around the plantation with his wife and recalled that they "were good friends.'' Only two other times does he refer to their relationship in terms of such endearment. On another evening they walked and "were yery kind to one another."74 On another they "strolled ann in ann in the garden/' and talked so merrily together that Lucy "burst herself laughing" splitting open the seams of her dress in high hilarity."75 The majority of the times these moments of reconciliation were followed by some manner of sexual activity. Sex and reconciliation were partners in the Byrd's marriage. One example occurred on July 30, 1710. On July 28, Byrd and his wife "had a little quarrel because she moved my letters" and then on July 29, Byrd returned home from an outing and found, "my wife was pleased to be out of humor.'' By July 30th, he notes in his diary, "In the afternoon my wife and I had a little quarrel which I reconciled with a "flourish."76 Then she read a sermon in Dr. Tillotson to me. It is to be observed that the flourish was performed on the billiard table."77 After another little quarrel Byrd "gave my wife a flourish on the 72 Byrd, Secret Diary, See December 25, 1710. 73 Ibid., see July 25, 1710. 74 Ibid., see July 25, 1710 and September 11, 1711. 75 Ibid., see February 10, 1712. 76 A teiiD Byrd used to describe sexual inten:ourse. Also the word flourish is defined in Colonia/American English by Richard M. Lederer, Jr. as: "An act of hasty sexual inten:ourse. Possibly from the flourishing of a weapon." 77 Byrd, Semi Diary, 210-211. 25

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couch in the library."78 So along with the more gentle forms of reconciliation, and, therefore of mastery, we can see something a bit more sinister. In Byrd's eyes "rogering"79 his wife or giving her a "flourish" was a form of reconciliation, however, it was also an example of self-satisfying mastery over a woman achieved through sexual aggression. 80 It is very possible that Lucy was so difficult to deal with because in many ways because Byrd's continuous search for mastery and authority made her life hard to bear. In British America women could not vote. They could not, without special arrangements, own property. They could not stand for office, or serve in the militia, or become ministers. They were not even encouraged to speak in public. They were, in every sense, subordinate to men both within and beyond their families. We should not imagine, however, that this enforced inferiority in law and customs meant these women were "chaste, silent, and obedient." 81 Lucy Byrd's behavior gives us a perfect example of that suppressed anger. Like other women of her time, Lucy spent the majority of her married life pregnant. She miscarried often and it is difficult to count the real pregnancies and the real miscarriages. Passages in Byrd's diary are not always clear. "My wife told me that she conceived this morning by the token that she voided some blood."82 In addition, Byrd was obviously the inceptor in their sexual life. In one case he ends 78 Byrd, Semt Diary, See August 6, 1710. 79 Byrd used the teon "roger' to describe his penis, therefore, rogering was a term used for describing sexual intexcourse. 80 Loc:kridge, Life, 67. 81 Cott, No Small Courage, 73. 82 Byrd, Semi Diary, See October 4, 1710. 26

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his daily entry not with his normal "had good health, good thoughts and good humor," but rather with an uncomfortable passage of "I rogered my wife, in which she took little pleasure in her condition."83 We know her condition is pregnancy because the day before he notes, "My wife was much indisposed in her breeding."84 Byrd himself notes on June 25, 1712, "My wife was often indisposed with breeding and very cross."85 However, that did not seem to be a deciding factor in the controlling of Byrd's lust. With every indisposition, pregnancy, or quarrel, within days or even hours a "flourish" or a "rogering" occurs. 86 The majority of these descriptions are arrogantly followed with "in which she had a great deal of pleasure", or "with vigor", or "vigorously", or "lustily", or "gave her great ecstasy and refreshment."87 To the modem reader, a more concerning fact is that, twenty-four days after his son Parke was born on September 6, 1709 Byrd notes, "I gave my wife a flourish this moming."88 Of course we have no record of the thoughts Lucy Byrd had on that September morning or on any of the many flourishing and rogerings she received. We have no way of validating whether or not she enjoyed them even when Byrd tells us she did. One gets the feeling that with Byrd, it was his sexual desire, not his wife's that was the most important. Byrd's behavior seems to shed doubt on 83 Byrd, Se&ret Diary, see May 16, 1711. In his diaries, Byrd referred to his penis as my "roger," therefore rogering is a term he used for sexual inten:ourse. 84 Ibid., see May 15, 1711. 85 Ibid., see 548. 86 Ibid., see May 1, 1710,July 30,1710, December 16,1710,January 1, 1712,May 22,1712 to name a few. 87 Ibid., see November4, 1710, March29, 1711, November 30, 1711,December 26 and27, 1711, April30, 1711. 88 Ibid., see September 30, 1709. 27

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the seventeenth century belief that in order to conceive a woman needed to achieve orgasm. Very seldom does he seem to be concerned about the thoughts or feelings of Lucy. Many historians agree that women of that period were taught to marry, and couples expected to engage in mutually pleasurable marital sex that would lead to procreation.89 What we do not know is how she felt. Lucy and her counterparts had to realize that their role as mistress of a colonial household occupied a rather precarious position in the power structure. The hierarchy of the time was unquestionable, however, Lucy, depending on the position she was in could be both master and subordinate. As mother and mistress, she would be a ruler of sorts. As wife, she was the subordinate. Her marriage vows would have included, "obey" and "serve" her husband, promises that he would not have made in return. This female vow of submission expressed the view that men were superior to women and women were inferior in almost every respect. This was the age of women portrayed as "the weaker a phrase that clearly meant women had less intellectual ability, less physical strength, and most importantly for the time, less moral fortitude than a man. 90 These sexual differences were simply believed to be part of the divine plan for God. Even though we do not know how Lucy felt, we can surely assume that this divine plan was questioned by women and disagreement and outrage had to be expressed. The bottom line is Byrd, by his own admissions in his diary, confesses to a total of ninety sexual encounters 89 D'Emflio and Freedman, Intimate Matterr, 27. 90 Cott, No SmaU Coumge, 70. 28

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with his wife in three and a half years. Twenty-five to thirty sexual encounters with his wife is hardly excessive for an eighteenth-century married gentleman. By his own admittance, we may have to begin to realize that Byrd was not the sexual predator that historians have always believed him to be. He may not be the anomaly that he has always been portrayed. We do not know whether there were more than he recorded, but these encounters may take on a deeper meaning when one realizes that in that time period Lucy Byrd also experienced the death of her father, two children, multiple pregnancies and miscarriages, long periods of illness and indispositions. These people mourned their losses as deeply as people in other times and places. The death of infants caused parents to suffer as grievously as in our own time, however, infant deaths in this period happened very frequently. When Lucy's infant son Parke Byrd died in 1710, Byrd notes in his diary that Lucy was "disconsolate," "melancholy," and suffered from "several fits of tears," for eighteen straight days.91 This all would have been difficult for even the most even-tempered person, which Lucy was clearly not. In addition, Byrd's diary does not include the failed attempts at love making that had to have occurred. Byrd was lustful, there is no doubt. When he was in Williamsburg or away from Westover he regularly relates to his diary; ''However we were merry till about 9 o'clock and then I went to bed and committed uncleanness." But the 91 Byrd, Secret Diary, June 3, 1710-June 21, 1710,188-192. 29

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constant eighteenth-century gentleman, "I neglected to say my prayers but had good health, good humor, but foul thoughts, for which God forgive me.'.n But the truly dark side of Byrd was yet to be exposed. His first diary came to a close in 1712. We, of course, do not know ifhe continued to write, but it seems likely that he did. The craving for power and authority in this vain man certainly did not wane; it actually appears to grow stronger. It is more likely that he continued to write but those journals or diaries have yet to be discovered or were destroyed for some reason and are now lost forever. His next diary known as The London Diary begins on December 13, 1717 and ends May 19, 1721. It is a tragedy that Byrd's thoughts in those interim five years are lost, because during that period he seems to have moved his major struggle for authority from the home front to politics. Like Thomas Jefferson, he would move his focus from the home when the home front got difficult to control, to the world of politics. Both men to feel a political world could be controlled more easily than their private lives. Of course, the need to please their fathers was ever present in both men, and the pattern of their lives seemed to follow the same path. When the troubles at home become too difficult to bear, tum the major thrust of personal efforts into the public world of politics and gain the much needed personal control and authority from the political realm. 92 Byrd, Seem Diary, see April1, 1712. Byrd's term for masturbation was "committed uncleanness." For other references on the same subject see, October 23, 1709, October 23 and 29, 1710, April27, 1711, October 29, 1711, November 23, 1711,January 29, 1712, and August 18, 1712. 30

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Byrd badly wanted to be governor of Virginia. He also, like Jefferson a generation later, inherited large debts from his father-in-law. Byrd believed that certain men in London might be helpful in resolving the payment of these debts. Therefore, the combination of his desire for political power, the administration of his father-in-law's debts and Lucy's roller coaster emotional life gave him all the reason one man needed to justify an extended trip to London. Byrd would have remembered with great joy the years he spent in London as a young man. His father William Byrd I, was the son of John Byrd, a goldsmith of London. John Byrd had married Grace Stegge, daughter ofThomas Stregge, a sea captain and Virginia trader who already had lands in the colony.93 The industry and shrewdness of William Byrd I made him a rich man by Virginia standards. Most of the wealth that Byrd I accumulated came from hard work as a planter and a trader. He succeeded in establishing his name and family as one of the most prosperous and aristocratic in Virginia. As a child of seven, young William Byrd II was sent to England to be educated. His grandfather, Warham Horsmanden, a country gentleman ofPurleigh in Essex, saw to it that the boy was enrolled in Felsted Granunar School in Essex, which had for a headmaster a famous teacher, Christopher Glasscock. Felsted Grammar School had a reputation for empathizing both piety and learning with a thorough grounding in the classics, Latin and Greek, and perhaps Hebrew. Here is where 93 Byrd, Secret Diary, Louis B. Wright, ed, See Introduction v-xxv. 31

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Byrd received a background in the three languages which he maintained throughout his life.94 Wtlliam Byrd I did not intend his son to grow up into a mere scholar. When young Byrd was sixteen his father instructed him to go to Holland to serve as an apprentice so that he might learn Dutch business methods. Young Byrd did not like Holland, and, after much begging and pleading, his father allowed him to return to London and report to the finn Perry & Lane to continue his business training. Young Byrd returned to school as well for in April 1692 he entered the Middle Temple and in 1695 was duly admitted to the bar.95 Byrd's education in London was not merely formal schooling and business preparation, it was social as well. He was a wealthy Englishman who happened to have been born in Virginia. At this point in his life there is no doubt that Byrd considered himself English and he made many influential high ranking friends. Some, like Sir Robert Southwell, he would correspond with until the end of his life. No ambitious English colonial could have had a better mentor than Southwell, and Byrd made the most of his opportunities. He would tum to Southwell for assistance his entire politicallife.96 Byrd's period of education extended from the last years of Charles II's reign until the middle of the reign of William III. He was in London for the 94 William Byrd The London Diary (1717-1721) and Other W titings. Louis B. Wright and Marion Tuiling, eds., (New Y o:rk: Oxford University Press, 1958), 3-16. See a1so, Marambaud, l!Jrd ofW utover, 16-17. 95 Byrd, Lmdon Diaty, 9. See also, Marambaud, Byrd ojWestover, 17. See also Lockridge, Life, 16-22. 96Jbid, 11. 32

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Revolution of 1688 and the accession of William and Mary. During such an exciting time he attended the plays of the theaters, the masquerades and balls, he heard and passed gossip in coffeehouses and he had clandestine meetings with women of the town.97 He wrote Benjamin Lynde, of Salem, Massachusetts, one of his fellow students, who later became Chief Justice in that colony. I want to see what alteration forty years have wrought in you since we used to intrigue together in the Temple. But matrimony has atoned sufficiently for such backslides, and now I suppose you have so little fellow feeling left for the naughty jades that you can order them a good whipping without relenting. But though I should be mistaken, I hope your conscience, with the aid of three score and ten, has gained a complete victory over your constitution, which is almost the f S 98 case o tr, your, etc. In short, he enjoyed that care-free life tremendously, and when his troubles began to feel insurmountable in the late winter of 1714 or early spring of 1715, he sailed for England.99 Byrd left behind in Virginia his wife and eight-year old daughter, Evelyn. In the autumn after his departure, another daughter, Wilhelminia, was born. Two sons born earlier had died in infancy. When his stay in England appeared to be of a lengthy nature, Byrd sent for Lucy, who arrived in the late summer of 1716, leaving Wilhelmia in Virginia. At this point in his trip he also must have realized what real trouble he was in. The magnitude of Parke's debts would have become clear by mid-1716 as did the realization of the strength of Governor Spotswood's 91 Marambaud, Byrd ojW estover, 18, 22. See also Lockridge, life, 22-25. 98 Byrd, Letter to Benjamin Lynde dated February 20, 1735/36. Correspondence Vol II. 473-474. 99 Byrd, London Diary, 3-16. 33

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political power.100 Like Jefferson, Byrd's father-in-law's debt could not be redeemed easily or quickly. Both would make payments for the remainder of their lives. Spotswood and his power would hannt Byrd nntil the Governor's death. From the moment when Spotswood won the appointment as Royal Governor in 1710 over Byrd, the competition between the two men became almost an obsession for Byrd. The two men verbally baited one another continuously. Late in 1711, when Spotswood requested a discretionary fund to be placed at the governor's disposal, Byrd wisecracked that "no Governor ought to be trusted with 20,000 pounds." The statement became quickly known and the Governor was extremely angry with Byrd.101 Spotswood made it a point to insult Byrd whenever possible and to block any requests of Byrd to London. At one of their scheduled meetings, the governor "made us wait half an hour before he was pleased to come out to us and when he came he looked. very stiff and cold on me but did not explain himself."102 The verbal assaults were traded back and for throughout the entire relationship. Spotswood would continue to humiliate Byrd whenever possible until his death. Byrd would never beat him in life. So a man so in need of power and control needed Lucy to control. His ambitions had to be sated in some fashion. 100 Marambaud, Byrd ofW estover, 37-44. 101 Byxd, Secret Diary, December 1711-1712, particularly Januaxy 15, 1712; that Byrd's statement quickly became known, see Januaxy 21, 1712. 102 Ibid.,Januaxy 24, 1712. 34

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In London, as in Virginia, Lucy was just what Byrd needed. They toured the countryside and he introduced her to London society. In a letter to John Curtis he wrote, The kind visit which my wife has made me will be the occasion on my staying here another winter, that so she may see this town in all its glory; and I am the more content to tarry, because the lieutenant-governor has sent over a spiteful complaint against me and Colonel Ludwell, which it concerns me to answer.103 But his joy was short-lived. On November 21, 1716, Lucy died of smallpox, the dread malady that carried off so many colonials who made the journey to England.104 In a letter dated December 13, 1716, Byrd described Lucy's sudden death: She was taken with an insupportable pain in her head. The doctor soon discovered her ailment to be the small-pox, and we thought it best to tell her the danger. She received the news without the least fright, and was persuaded she would live until the day she died, which happened in 12 hours from the time she was taken. Gracious God what pains did she take to make a voyage hither to seek a grave.105 Byrd's agonized letter on her death hides further agony that he did not share in his letters. Byrd's own foolish ambitions had indirectly caused Lucy's death. Byrd lamented and in her death finnly believed that, "no stranger ever met 103 The Curre.rprmdence of the Three ojW estover Virginia, 1684-1776. Marion Tuiling, ed., 2 vols. (Charlotdesville: The University Press ofVirginia, 1977), 293. 104 Byrd, London Diary, 16-26 aD.d Lockridge, Life, 77-82. 10s Byrd, Correspondence, 296. 35

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with more respect in a strange conntry than she had done here, from many persons of distinction, who all prononnced her an honor to Virginia."106 Unlike Jefferson, Byrd did not mourn long. Within a few months time, he had found another reason to stay even longer in London. He was out to find a rich wife. This pursuit would prove to be equally as humiliating for Byrd as the first two reasons for being in London. He would eventually return to Virginia without a rich wife, increasingly in debt, and still not governor of Virginia. But before he returned, he kept a second diary known as the LiJndon Diary which he began on December 13, 1717 and ended on May 19, 1721 after he had returned to Westover. In many ways this diary is hard to read. The daily reports from a vigilant, intelligent Virginia planter are replaced with reports that chronicle a desperate man who can not seem to find pleasure in any activity. His entries give the reader the feeling that he is constantly in motion, searching for an activity, any activity that could possibly satisfy him. In twenty-first century terms, Byrd is a man in a serious middle-age crisis. A multiple standard of sexual behavior appeared not only in the laws but in the customs as well. Women, especially gentlewomen, were held to a higher standard of sexual virtue. Men, especially gentlemen, were encouraged by the customs to maintain a predatory attitude toward women. Byrd is an excellent example. In twenty-first century terms, Byrd may be described as a 106 Byrd, Comspondence, 296. 36

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sexual predator. In London, his worst side appeared. He was promiscuous and occasionally obsessive. This diary shows with very mixed success, he attempted to seduce relatives, neighbors, casual acquaintances, strangers, prostitutes, the wives of his friends, and servants, both black and white, upon whom he often forced himself, much against their wishes. For its frrst years, 1717-1719, this diary is a product of growing debt, of deepening political frustration, and of Byrd's failure to find a rich heiress to take the place ofhis dead wife. By 1718, it is more and more clear from his correspondence that Spotwood's friends in England had the power to remove Byrd from the Council and so to deny him the last of his father's major offices.107 Byrd's desperation increased and failures abound in this second diary. It is a record of a failing personality as well. The jubilant life of the young Byrd has been replaced with a life of misplaced ambitions and escalating, disturbing sexual encounters. London society and all of his highly placed friends have not given him the office he wants or the rich wife he firmly believed he deserved. It was not getting any easier for him. He was now an aging forty-three year old man, still believing things that were above his station were his due.108 This belief in what he thought he deserved made his daily activities seem desperate. The compulsive pattern of the first diary is present in the second, but it now includes restless visits to the theater, to whores, and to important gentlemen that are seldom home (at least to him) when he calls. 107 Marambaud, Byrd ojWe.rtowr, 39-41. 108 Lockridge, Life, 101-106. 37

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October 4, 1718-I rose about 7 o'clock and read a chapter in Hebrew and some Greek. I said my prayers and had boiled milk for breakfast. The weather was cold and clear, the wind west. About 11 o'clock came Mrs. Wilkinson and bought me some linen. Then I went into the City and dined with old Mr. Perry who gave me several letters from Virginia. I ate some cold roast beef. After dinner I received a hundred pounds and then went to visit Dick Perry who was exceedingly bad with the gout. Here I drank tea and about 4 o'clock went to Molly Cole's and sat with her half an hour. Then I went home and wrote a letter into the country and then looked in at the play. Then I went to visit Mrs. A-1-n and committed uncleanness with the maid because the mistress was not at home. However, when the mistress came I rogered her and about 12 o'clock went home and ate a plum cake for supper. I neglected my prayers, for which God forgive me. October 5, 1718-I rose about 7 o'clock and read a chapter in Hebrew and some Greek in Lucian. I said my prayers and had boiled milk for breakfast. The weather was cold and clear, the wind northwest. I wrote three letters to Virginia till 2 o'clock, and then went to dine with Mr. Southwell and ate some boiled beef. Mrs. FitzHerbert dined there likewise. After dinner we drank tea till 5 o'clock and then I went to Will's Coffeehouse. From thence to the play, and from thence to visit my daughter, and sat with her tillS o'clock, and then walked about till ten but could pick no woman that I liked. About ten I went home and wrote some English but found myself dull and therefore went to bed. I neglected to say my prayers. October 6, 1718-I rose about 7 o'clock and read a chapter in Hebrew and some Greek in Lucian. I said my prayers and had boiled milk for breakfast. The weather was warm and very windy and it rained sometimes. I wrote an epitaph upon Colonel Nott at the request of Colonel Blakiston. I expected Molly Cole but the wet weather prevented her. I ate some battered eggs for dinner. After dinner I put several things in order and then wrote a letter till 5 o'clock, and then I went to visit Mrs. B-r-n and drank some coffee with her. Then I went to Mrs. A-1-n but her lord was with her. Then I walked the street and picked up a woman and carried her to the tavern and gave her boiled chicken for supper but she could provoke me to 38

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do nothing because my roger would not stand with all she could do. About ten I went home and said my prayers.109 He no longer writes of "good health, good thoughts, and good humor thanks be to God Almighty." The majority of the time he could barely pray, and when he did pray, he more often than not, was begging for forgiveness. He seemed to take obsessively to the streets, late at night, to pick up whores after his failure with potential wife and heiress, Mary Smith. Early in 1717 Byrd began to notice outside the window of his rooms in the Strand a pretty young lady leaving and entering the Beaufort Buildings across the way. His inquires revealed that she was Mary Smith, younger daughter of John Smith, the wealthy commissioner of the excise. Someday, Byrd realized, she would be very rich. He began to pursue her in secrecy. He was too vain to pursue her publicly until he was sure that he could have her hand and he would not be required to count this endeavor as a failure. In addition, he would be considered rather old at this time, he was forty-three and she appears to have been somewhere in her early twenties. He arranged a meeting with her at a masquerade ball where his face could not be seen.110 Soon he was writing to her with the use of a "cipher'' of invisible ink. He illustrated the nature of courtship in the mid eighteenth-century 109 Byrd, London Diary, 180-182. The year after Lucy's death, Byrd sent for his ten year old daughter, Evelyn. She an:ived in London on October 19, 1717. In April1719 Wllhelmina, then not yet four ye:ns old, came over in the care of Byrd's friend, Captain Isham Randolph. At this time Byrd had his own quarters on a street just off the Strand, but they were probably unsuitable for children. At any rate, he placed his two daughters with friends or relatives and contented himself with frequent visilli, as his diary indicates. Therefore his reference to visiting his daughter on October 5, 1718 meant he visited Evelyn. 110 Lockridge, Life, 87-95. 39

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by employing the language of romantic love, expressing passion in his correspondence. Quickly, he was pouring out his love for her in letters from ''V eramour" to "Sabina" in this cipher. She was obviously never really interested in him but somehow Byrd did not see it. He was being led on in a horrible way. To Veramour July 1, 1717 I receiv' d the letter you sent under the Name of Madam Turnover, and had reason to believe there was more in that Paper, than was expresst in Black and White. Before that, I had two Billets from you under the like discreet Disguize, and did not doubt but this brought a third of the same tender kind. I therefore went to work in all hast with my Decyphering Elixir, in order to extract your meaning, and bring all that Tenderness to light which I imagin' d you had wrap't in darkness: but to my great Surprize and disappointment, I cou'd not make out one syllable of it appear. How much this baulkt my Curiosity, I ought not to tell you; all my Comfort is, that you kindly intended to write me something about your Passion: but made use of so feeble a sort of Liquid, that it cou' d by no means express it. I give you this friendly notice, that you may take more care another time, and not give me the pain of expecting to have a great many fine things said to me, to no manner of Purpose. The Defect was surely in your Tools, for I'm confident of the goodness of mine, which wou'd infallibly have explain'd your Inclinations, had you taken care to signify them properly. And I must reproach you thus far, that had you thought what you wrote to me material for me to know, you had not been so unseasonably negligent on this occasion. Adieu.111 She was playing him for the fool he was, but he persisted with the cipher. The wily Sabina made no finn response to his gushing pleadings. "I wou' d give half an 111 WiJliam Byrd Another Semi Diary ofWilliam Byrd ofWestover For the Yrars 1739-1741. Maude H. Woodfin, ed (Richmond: The Dietz Press, 1942), 301-302 40

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Age of useless life, for the pleasure of conversing half an hour With my Dear Sabina."112 Sabina was playing hard to get or she never had any intention of marrying Byrd and was just being mean-spirited. She had to know how valuable a catch she was for a gentleman and she may have been just keeping a number of gentlemen wooing her until she could pick the best of the lot.113 To Veramour July 10, 1717 I am surpriz' d to find you so wretchedly mistaken in the construction which you put upon my innocent letters. I swear by the constancy of my sex, that I meant not to indulge your odious complements to me. T'is strange a woman cant write a civil Epistle to a man, but instantly tis understood by his vanity to be a licence to say soft things to her. Had you taken due heed to the good wishes which I sent you in my last, you wou'd have understood it to be a farewell, and consequently a Prohibition for you to write any more. But since you were so stupid as not to apprehend my Plain meaning in that matter, I am forc't to take this harsher Remedy of returning your last letter unopen'd. Tis true I thought you a man of honour, or I shou'd not have taken upon me the part that so ill becomes a Woman: but instead of answering you my self, I had beseech'd the old Gentleman to do it for me. Sure you think me a very odd Nymph, when you imagine I wou'd carry on a secret correspondence with any Gentleman. That wou' d look as if I intended to dispose of my own person, whereas rm determin'd to be carry'd to market by my Father. However that you may not hang your self quite, I assure your Billet but send it back with the seal unbroken. I am oblig' d to you for your care about the Post, but I was just as cautious as you; in that we jumpt, tho we disagree so widely in other matters. Adieu. And be wise if you can.114 112 Byrd, Another Secret Diary, 306. 113 Lockridge, life, 87-95. 114 Byrd, .Another Secret Diary, 306-307. 41

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In the meaning of the eighteenth century, she was being a flirt. Sabina was playing the hard game of courtship. Unless she became a widow, she would never again know this amount of power with a man or the independence of spirit she was exhibiting. She apparently was holding Byrd in reserve in case a younger or more suitable suitor did not appear. This was an accepted practice in this courtship game, but her cruelty was another matter. Sabina persistently led on a middle-aged man and then eventually just ignored him. 115 In early January 1718, her letters showed that she was may have been momentarily interested, because she begged him to stop the coded letters and pursue her by making a proposal in English to her father, but she did so cruelly. To Veramour January 23, 1718 Supposeing this Billet to be as Romantick as all the rest, I did not think it worth a sincere womans while to decipher it. I desire you if I have any Interest in your heart, not to pursue your address in this distant manner: but if you must attaque me, let it be in the forms. A woman is no more to be taken than a Town by randome shot a t a distance, but the Trenches must be open'd, and all the approaches must be regular, and rather than abide the last Extremity, tis possible the Garrison may capitulate, especially if terms be offer'd that are honourable. Tis a sad case when a swain is so intolerably dull, that his mistress must prescribe her own method of being taken; however supposing this blindness to proceed from pure Passion, I will befriend it so far as to tell you, that my Brother is intirely in my Interest: and if you can get into his good graces, he may negociate this important affair betwixt us to both our satisfactions. I expect you'll make the most of this hint, for 115 Lockridge, life, 87-95. 42

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when a mistress gives her Lover advice, she never forgives him if he don't follow it. Byrd followed her advice. His diary reveals he immediately contacted Lord Dunkellin and with his help drew up a list of his assets for presentation to Sabina's father. The list that Byrd presented said that he would settle his whole estate on Sabina at his marriage with the exception of monies for two dowries for his daughters. He listed all his Acreage in Virginia, his two hundred slaves and his yearly income of 1,800 pounds. He does not mention his Parke debts or any liabilities.117 He reminded Sabina's father that he was "descended from the Family of my name at Broxon in Cheshire where they have been seated for more than 20 Generations."118 He also offered to stay in England if Sabina would prefer and then he simply asks for her hand in marriage, and then he waited.119 Commissioner Smith did not even bother to reply to Byrd, but he did so, directly, to his daughter. Apparently Sabina learned her cruelty from her father because his reply was nothing less than nasty. "An Estate out of this Island appears to him little better than an Estate in the moon, and for his part he wou' d 116 Btyd, Another Semi Diary, 315-316. Sabina's only sister, Anne, mac:ied Hugh Parker and was left a widow with seven children. In 1714 she was mamed to Michael, Lord Dunkellen, the eldest son of the Earl of Oanricarde. On that occasion a bit of gossip about the sisters was written to Mrs. Shirley by the Countess Feaers: ''I foigot to write to you a piece of news I heard about a fortnight ago. Lord Dunkellen is going to be mamed to one Mrs. Parker a widow. She has been so but a year and a half. She has seven children and used to be a coquette with great spirit, but now I will tell you the good part. She has 800 a year and a house and 25,000 in money. Her father is very rich and vety fond of her. He has only one more daughter he does not care for. He is called Portland Smith''. (Hist. MSS Comm., Eleventh Report, App. IV, pp.227-9) 117 Btyd, Another Semi Diary, 321-325. 118 Ibid, 323-324. 119 Ibid, 324. 43

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not give a Bennigham groat for it."120 In March, Sabina decided to share her father's response and sought to end the matter with Byrd. Although Sabina expected to play an active role in the selection of her future husband, she was a daughter of the eighteenth century; she would never defy a father who expressed such strong opposition to a suitor. You perceive that your fortune cant be made agreeable to my Father, without which there can be no hopes of his consent, which I give you my word will intirely govern mine. I must desire you if you have the least value in the world for me never to write at all, and by complying with my desire in this particular you will certainly oblige etc.121 Byrd did not listen. He continued his pursuit. In his diary he confessed that he hung around places that he thought she may be, he wrote humiliating, pleading letters for another chance. ''Don't forbid me to write nor don't send back my letters for I am too near distraction to obey either."122 According to Lockridge, distraction in the language of the eighteenth century implied mental illness.123 Byrd's writings leave little doubt that he was close to some type of mental breakdown. In an unwanted letter to Sabina he continued to beg and to display signs of mental illness, "This Instability in your mind, if I may presume to call it so, racks me to death, and wou'd make any body believe but me, that either your former Conduct was only a Joke, or else what you have acted lately must 120 Btyd, AnotherSetretDiary, 318. 121 Ibid, 329-330. 122 Ibid, 336. 123 Lockridge, Life, 92. 44

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needs be so. I am ready to offer violence to my self."124 In another letter, "My Passion is grown to that high pitch, that twill be impossible for me to live much longer under your Displeasure, However let me be never so wretched or never so short-liv' d." 125 In addition, Byrd was stalking her. On March 30, 1718, Mary Smith had to call her lawyer and request that he talk with Byrd and convince him that he must stop pestering her. In his diary he wrote, "Then came Mr. Orlebar with a message from Miss Smith that I should not trouble her any more with my letters or addresses, and returned my letter that I wrote last to her. I was very much concerned but said little to him, but when he was gone I cried exceedingly."126 Byrd's diary reflected his state of mind. His entries for the next two weeks are almost exactly the same. He prayed, read in Hebrew and Greek, "danced", reported on the weather, read some more, reviewed his accounts, napped, visited, went to Will's Coffeehouse, prayed and slept. On April9, 1718 he reports that after a nap, he had "the pleasure to see my mistress at the window for half an hour, where I made distant love." And on April10, 1718, he "woke in the night and could scarcely fetch my breath, which lasted about an hour."127 By April 17, 1718 he seems to be on the road to recovery because he went to the Haymarket "where was abundance of company and I was exceedingly well entertained and 124 Bryd,AnotherSecretDiary, 341-342. 125 Ibid.' 346. 126 Byrd, Lmdon Diary, March 31, 1718. 127 Ibid., 104-105. 45

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particularly I put one woman's hand upon my business and spent."128 The remainder of the month was spent reading, writing, visiting and praying, but at the end of the Mary Smith affair, Byrd turned bitter and he even threatened to expose her as a cheat who had encouraged his proposals and so, in honor, could not marry anyone else.129 He claimed that her own father, on hearing of her behavior, had called her both a ''bitch" and, finally, a "jilt."130 On May 8, 1718, Sir Edward DesBouverie visited Byrd and ordered him to stop even talking about Mary Smith. In addition, he gossiped around town that he would have no problem challenging Byrd to a duel if he did not stop.131 He fmally stopped. He never admitted defeat, he just stopped writing about or to her and we never read her name again. As difficult as this experience had to be for this gentleman, he took no responsibility for anything that happened. He made no changes in his life; in fact, his frenzied behavior seemed to intensify. Any sexual activity in the month of May was shared with women he picked up while walking in the park in the evenings. Prostitutes were more plentiful in London than in Virginia at this time because London had more urban poor than colonial Virginia. Among the poor, cities may have created opportunities to sell sexual favors. Virginia was still too economically rural to have yet created the 12s Byrd, LAndJm Diary, 108. 129 Lockridge, Life, 92-94. 130 Byrd, Another Secmt Diary, for ''Honor; see 349, 351-354 and "Jilt," 357. 131 Byrd, LJndJm Diary, May 8 and May 16, 1718. 46

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opportunity for prostitution to grow in their small urban areas.m Byrd himself sought a prostitute in Williamsburg on December 3, 1720. He writes in his diary "I took a walk of about two hours and then walked after two women but in vain so I went home".133 The rise of prostitution symbolized the changing meaning of sexuality at this time. Slowly sex was moving outside of the private sphere of the family and away from procreation as its primary driver. For Byrd these London prostitutes appear to be different women with the exception of May 29, 1718 when he "went to Will's, where I read the news and then walked to the woman I picked up the other night and there committed uncleanness."134 The other five sexual encounters were shared with nameless women, not until June 1718 did he return to one of his regular women, Mrs. A-l-c.135 But this return would lead to further humiliation and rejection for this already hurting middle-aged gentleman. On June 14, 1718 he writes in his diary, "After dinner I took a nap till five and then went to Chelsea and at the College a gentlewoman came and told me she desired to speak with me, so I got out and walked with her in the college walk and she told me Mrs. A-1-c had commerce with another man and showed me several letters."136 He reflects nothing more about the incident that day but he does 132 D'Emilio and Freedman, Intimate Matters, 49-52 m Byrd, Lmdon Diary, 482. 134 Ibid, 127. 135 Ibid,June 16, 1718. 136 Ibid, 134-135 47

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proceed to find alternative comfort when he, "took a walk and picked up a woman and carried her to the tavern and committed uncleanness."137 His next interaction with Mrs. A-1-c is disturbing, but certainly relays that the existence of a double standard for men and women with regards to sexual behavior is not a modem invention. On June 16, 1718 he ''went to Chelsea and saw Mrs. A-1-c for the last time because she played the whore." However, he then proceeded to Union Tavern and "meet a young woman", went to "the bagnio in Silver Street", where he ''lay all night with her and rogered her three times."138 On June 18, 1718, he a letter to Mrs. A-1-c to take my leave of her forever."139 He soon relented and returned to Mrs. A-1-c on August 16, 1718 where he refers to Mrs. A-1-c as "a mistress of mine" and he "rogered her well and gave her a guinea."140 All was forgiven apparently, because Mrs. A-1-c made regular appearances in his diary right up until he sailed for Virginia. Byrd did not sail for Virginia until December 13, 1719, but before that would take place his public humiliation would continue. He did not find a rich bride before he returned and he was not named Governor of Virginia. By the swnmer of 1719, Spotswood would at last break him. Spotswood was given the power to appoint councilors to the court. This was the worst possible outcome for Byrd. He came to London to impress the powers that be that he would be a 137 Byrd, Lindon Diary, 135. 138 Ibid, 136. 139 Ibid. 137. 140 Ibid, 162. 48

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better Governor than Spotswood, instead his constant self-serving behavior caused the decision makers to assume he was the problem as Spotswood had managed to portray to the Council. They were tired of dealing with these colonial problems. Their solution was to give the power to Spotswood and hope Byrd would agree and go back to Virginia. Never again would the Council tum to him for further positions of trust. Nor would he seriously seek such positions for the rest of his life.141 He faced going home in shame and with fear. It was clear that Spotswood was capable of retaliation. He wrote to the Commissioners. That your Lordships will please to write in pressing terms to the lieutenant governor, to allow the Council to give their opinions frankly, in the Council, General Court, and Assembly, without reproaching or ridiculing any member thereof, for having the misfortune to differ from his opinion. I the more earnestly beg this may be done, because I know, so disobliging a method of proceeding has made the lieutenant governor more enerrues, than every other part of his administration.142 So within a year, this staunch English colonist was suddenly in a political place that could render him a man without a home. His future political career was over, and what position he did have now carried the potential to be taken away from him. Spotswood could very easily remove him from the Council once he returned to Virginia and the Commissioners' behavior made him realize that they would do nothing to stop it. The confident Englishman who came to London was 141 Lockridge, life, 94-96. 142 Byrd, Other Correspondence, 320-322. 49

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returning to Virginia knowing that he had pursued his ambitions very nearly to personal and political oblivion.143 The remainder of his time in London was spent running from his disasters in a. manner as he always had done in the past. He reads, he writes, he dances, he attends the theater, he drinks and reads the news at Will's Coffeehouse, but something new was happening to him. He may have been getting bored with his daily activities, he may have felt a lack of intellectual stimulation, he may have felt so out of control and powerless, or as Lockridge believed, he may have simply fmally matured/44although subsequent behavior does not seem to support this. However, on November 11, 1719, Byrd adds a new close to his daily entry. Here I stayed till 5 o'clock and then went to the park and walked and then to Will's where I stayed half an hour and then went with Lord Orrery to Mrs. B-r-t-n where we found two chambermaids that my Lord had ordered to be got for us and I rogered one of them and about 9 o'clock returned again to Wtll's where Betty S-t-r-d called on me in a coach and I went with her to the bagnio and rogered her twice, for which God forgive me.145 From then until his departure to Virginia in December, there was no more rogering only some kissing and touching. The majority of this activity occurred with the maid he had hired to return with him to Virginia, Annie Wilkinson. She had been his laundress and seamstress since June 1718 and she had agreed to 143 Lockridge, Life, 98. 14<1 Ibid., 98-100. 145 Byrd, Lmdon Diary, 339. 50

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return with him in that capacity.146 He did not "commit uncleanness" or "roger" again until February 24, 1720. He had returned to Westover on February 14, 1720 and then quickly began his relationship with Wtlkinson. No where in his diary does Byrd seem to realize that he was actually forcing himself upon her. But the majority of all these encounters closed with "for which God forgive me." He was fmally a different man; London had worn the edge from him. He would never again record such disturbing behavior that was the norm in his London Diary and even in his first Secret Diary. 'Throughout the rest of his London Diary, he committed uncleanness and "played the fool" with maids of Westover or chambermaids in Williamsburg. He begged God's forgiveness over and over. He occasionally seemed surprised by his newly controlled behavior; "I was so hot that I walked naked in the chamber till ten. Felt no inclination for a woman."147 His religious fervor continued. Once when he was tempting Annie "to let me feel her", she would not let him and he closed his diary with "for which she is to be commended and for which God be praised."148 By December 1720, he "was resolved to avoid playing the fool with Annie" and the next evening "he resolved to forbear Annie by God's good grace."149 Some of the diary is missing, from January 7, 1721 through February 12, 1721, so we will never know how long his resolve lasted, but he "committed 146 Byrd, l.Jmdon Diary, 137. 147 Ibid., 442. 148 Ibid., 447. 149 Ibid., 491. 51

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uncleanness" with Annie on February 19, 172t_l50 It is not clear from the diary whether Annie was sexually attracted to Byrd, whether she was continuously testing him or fighting off unwanted advances, or whether she worked to ensure that these encounters occurred on her terms. She did get to the "New World" without being indentured unlike the thousands of women who preceded her, so it is possible that these advances from Byrd were the price to pay for her move to a new and hopefully better place.151 By the spring of 1721, the escape he had sought from tension through sexual activity became supplemented with pills. Some nights, Byrd could not sleep without "Anderson's pills."152 Political tension, as much as the renewed desire to find a wife, sent him back to London the following summer. Once there, he discovered that not even the majority of the Council trusted him, because they did not select him to carry any messages or represent them in London.153 He appears to no longer be concerned about becoming governor, but simply keeping the status he had as a member of Council. There was some political intrigue while he was in London, but Byrd was a changed man. He stayed on the sidelines of the intrigue and after this time, save for one wistful inquiry in 1726 and another, motivated by debt, in 1736, Byrd appears to have abandoned his long quest for 150 Byrd, Lmdon Diary, 497. 151 Godbeer, Sexxai fuvobdi.on, 199-200. 152 Byrd, Lndon Diary, see Maxch 26, 1721 and April14, 1721. 153 Lockridge, Life, 105. 52

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governorship.154 Just as it took him a very long time to accept that Mary Smith would never be his, the unfulfilled road to the governorship was equally long and tedious, but it finally ended. Byrd had finally transformed himself into a Virginia politician not an English one. He spent his time in London working for Virginia and the colonists, rather than for himself.155 His personal life was another matter, he still needed a wife. In February of 1723, in the last of his unsuccessful English courtships, Byrd's behavior was improved. He began a friendly correspondence with "Minionet." Her identity is unknown, but Byrd showed restraint in his efforts and no arrogance. When asking Minionet to review a drawing he has done, his gentleness is almost surprising. "Pray be so good as to fmish mine and kindly point out all the faults of it."156 There is no trace of the agony or bitterness he expressed with Mary Smith when Minionet ordered Byrd to write no more in August. But by November 1722, a more serious romance with "Charmante", also unidentified, had collapsed when the lady married another man because he had more "wit." Byrd could not bear this rejection and responded with an angry tirade rejecting "wit."157 He made a brief attempt to win Minionet again, but she did not 154 Byrd, Crmupondence, 320-322, 324-326. See Lockridge, life, 103-106. 155 Maramba:ud, J.!yrd ojWe.rtover, 221,222, 243. Also see, Lockridge, I.ife, 128, 152. 156 Byrd, Another Seeret Diary, 372. 157 Byrd, Crmupondence. 332-341. The letter states, But if after all she did not mao:y him for his virtue neither, then it must certainly have been for the worst quality any husband can have, for his wit. That I own he has his share of, yet so overcharg's & encumberd with words, that he dos more violence to the ear than a ring of bells, for he's altogether as noisy, without having so many changes. But if he had never so much wit, a wife may be sure the edge of it will be tumed mosdy against her self Wit is a dangerous quality both for the owner, and every one that has the misfortune to belong to him. He that is curs't with wit, has a commonly too much fire to think, too much quickness to have any discretion. 53

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respond to him. By this time, Byrd's primary companion was Wilkinson the maid, but he did not completely give up. Byrd finally achieved a sensible marriage in May, 1724. Maria Taylor of Kensington was the daughter of Thomas Taylor, who, historians believe, was a merchant. He was delighted that she spoke Greek.158 Byrd was fifty, she was twenty-five and there is little evidence that this was a passionate marriage. In his final diary, Maria is seldom mentioned even in his evening walks. There is no mention of any sexual activity with her; however, Maria bore him three daughters and a son between 1725 and 1729.159 The pattern of Byrd's sexual life during the 1730s and 1740s is that of an aging man seeking confirmation of his sexual prowess in relationships with women over which he had complete control. During the fmal years of his life he buoyed his sense of his own virility with enslaved and servant women at Westover. Byrd sought women who found it hard to reject him. Between 1739 and 1741, for instance, he recorded that he "played the fool" with Sally four times, "committed folly" with F-r-b-y twice and Marjorie once, and he also continued to commit "uncleanness."160 Even as he approached the age of seventy, Byrd appears to have never been rejected by these women. These affairs were rooted in the sexual culture of !58 Maram.baud, l!Jrd oJWestowr, 45-47. See also, Lockridge, Life, 121. !59 Lockridege, I.Jje, 121. !60 Byrd, .Another Diary, see August 10, 1739;January 18, 1740;May 26, 1740; August 11, 1740; February 25, 1741;May 1, 1741;May 9, 1741;June 15, 1741,June 24, 1741;July 13, 1741. 54

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the time. With his marital duties to his second wife fulfilled through the procreation of four children, he appears to flnd sexual fulftllment exclusively with women who were not his social equal and therefore apparently did not or could not say no. He had fmally found the end of his hwniliation by women through the continued humiliation of women. 55

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CHAPTER3 CONCLUSION When those 100 or so men landed in Jamestown, Virginia and built the ftrst English settlement in North America, they could not possible image that their settlement would be the subject of such discussion for almost four hundred years. They came to conquer, get rich and return home to England and to the lives of country gentlemen. They could not have known that from their loins and their colonization Virginia gentleman planters like William Byrd II would be hom. They came from a country still reeling from the Protestant Reformation and they brought with them their very strict interpretation of the meaning of sex. They passed on to the next generations their strict interpretation of sex as a good, natural activity that needed to be controlled within the framework of marriage and for the procreation of children. Their eighteenth century children listened closely and followed the guidelines as best as they could. But time would eventually alter the interpretation and men like Byrd applied their own personal needs, wants and insecurities to their sexuality. Most historians have believed that Byrd was an anomaly among the men of his time. Marambaud felt Byrd was "unusually and notoriously 56

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promiscuous."161 Kathleen M. Brown suggests we should read Byrd's diaries and commonplace book because ''Byrd's sexual behavior and attitudes were by no 'means typical of Virginia gentlemen."162 Lockridge and Fischer went so far as to call Byrd a "sexual predator."163 I do not agree. I believe that the sexual behavior of a majority of eighteenth-century Virginia planters was very much like Byrd's. I believe they asswned it was their right and all part of God's divine plan for them to control their environment and everything in it with as much authority as was necessary. Sex was their due from their wives, their servants, and their slaves. As religious as Byrd was, seldom did he question his sexual behavior toward the women in his life. His peers probably interpreted the word of God in the same fashion.164 Deference and condescension were the cultural behavior of the day. Certain things were Byrd's due as long as he played the correct role of Virginia planter. As Byrd aged and the pressures of his life increased, he reached out to women sexually, as a release and cure for his troubled life. He could not have been one of the few who reacted in such a way. Continued research needs to be done, to help historians prove what we really may not want to know, that William Byrd ofWestoverwas really an average eighteenth-century gentleman. Marambaud, ofW estover, 67. 152 Brown, Good Wives, 333. 163 Lockridge, Life, 101. Fischer, Albion's Seed, 300. 164 Brown, GoodWives, 15-16, 171, 174,289-290. 57

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BIBLIOGRAPHY Bailyn, Bernard. The Peopling ofBritish North America. New York: Vintage Books, 1986. BarkerBenfield, G .J. The Culture of Sensibility: Sex and Society in Eighteenth-Century Britain. Chicago: The University of Chicago Press, 1992. Berkin, Carol. First Generations: Women in Colonial America. New York: Hill and Wang, 1996. Berkin, Carol and Mary Beth Norton. Women of America: A History. Boston: Houghton Mifflin Company, 1979. Bernhard, Virginia. "'Men, Women and Children': at Jamestown: Population and Gender in Early Virginia, 1607-1610." The Journal of Southern History 58, Issue 4 (Nov., 1992): 599-618. --------------------. "A Response: The Forest and the Trees: Thomas Canfield and the History of Early Virginia." The Journal of Southern History 60, Issue 4 (Nov., 1994): 663-670. Bevedey, Robert. The History and Present State of Virginia. Edited with an Introduction by Louis B. Wright. Charlottesville: The University of Virginia Press, 1947. Brodie, Fawn M. Thomas Jefferson: An Intimate History. New York: W.W. Norton & Co., 1974. Brown, Kathleen M. Good Wives, Nasty Wenches, & Anxious Patriarchs. Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, 1996. Byrd, William. Another Secret Diary of William Byrd of Westover For the Years 17 39-1741. Edited by Maude H. Woodfm and decoded by Marion Tinling. Richmond: The Dietz Press, 1942. 58

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Marambaud, Pierre. William Byrd ofWestover, 1674-1744. Charlottesville: The University Press ofVirginia, 1971. McCartney, Martha W. Jamestown: An American Legary. Hong Kong: Eastern National, 2003. McLaughlin, Jack. Jifferson and Monticello: The Biography of a Builder. New York: Henry Holt & Co., 1988. Morgan, EdmundS. American Slavery, American Freedom: The Ordeal of Colonial Virginia. New York: Knopf, 1975. Norton, Mary Beth. Founding Mothers and Fathers: Gendered Power and the Forming of American Society. New York: Alfred A. Knopf, 1996. -------------------. "Gender and Defamation in Seventeenth-Century Maryland." The William and Mary Quarterfy, Third Series, Volume 44, Issue 1 Q"an., 1987), 3-39. Peiss, Kathy, ed. Mcyor Problems in the History of American Sexuality. Boston: Houghton Mifflin Company, 2002. Pepys, Samuel. The Diary of Samuel Pepys in Volumes I-IX. Edited by Robert Latham and William Matthews, Contributing Editors, William A. Armstrong, MacDonald Emslie, Oliver Millar and T.F. Reddaway. London: Bell & Hyman, 1970. Peterson, Merrill D. Thomas Jifferson & the New Nation. London: Oxford University Press, 1970. Price, David A.. Love and Hate in Jamestown: John Smith, Pocahontas, and the Heart of a New Nation. New York: Alfred A. Knopf, 2003. Randall, Willard Sterne. Thomas Jefferron: A Iifi. New York: Harper Perennial, 1993. Rutman, Darrett B. and Anita H. A Place in Time: Middlesex County, Virginia 1650-1750. NewYork: W. W.Norton, 1984. Smith, Daniel Blake. Inside the Great House: Planter Famify Iifi in Eighteenth-Century Chesapeake Society. Ithaca: Cornell University Press, 1980. 61

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Sturtz, Linda L. Within Her Power: Propertied Women in Colonial Virginia. New York: Routledge, 2002. Tate, Thad W., and David L. Ammerman, eds. The Chesapeake in the Seventeenth Century: Essqys on Anglo-American Society. New York: W.W. Norton, 1979. Tyler, Lyon Gardiner, ed. Narratives ofEarfy Virginia: 1606-1625. New York: Charles Scribner's Sons, 1907. Walsh, Lorena S. From Calabar to Carter's Grove: The History of Virginia Slave Community. Charlottesville: University ofVirginia Press, 1997. Woloch, Nancy. Women and the American Experience: A Concise History. New York: McGraw-Hill, 2002. 62