For most of the eighteenth century, British Virginians took remarkable pride in the colony's well-earned reputation as Britain's moderate, temperate, and "most loyal dominion," as well as in its status as the oldest, largest, most populous, most wealthy, and most prosperous province in North America. Horace Walpole observed in 1768 that Virginia "contains the best heads" in British America. It is not surprising, therefore, that during the American Revolution, the War for Independence, and the making of the new nation, that contemporaries from Massachusetts to Georgia would look to Virginia—and to Williamsburg, its capital city—for leadership. A French visitor in the 1790s repeated a widely shared view that Virginia "was one of the first to take part in the revolution: and no one of the states made more vigorous efforts, expended greater sums, or displayed more signal energy, to accomplish that happy object": independence. On the national level, no state, not even Massachusetts, contributed so heavily and so conspicuously to the leadership of the Revolution and to the organization of the new nation.