Beckford, William, born in Jamaica in 1709, was sent to England early and educated at Westminster. He was a prosperous West India merchant, and by his wealth and ability took a high place in the City, being elected alderman, and Lord Mayor (twice), and M.P. He was a Whig of rather advanced views, and ventured to enter into a personal argument with George III., when that king received with disfavour a petition from the Corporation. This achievement is commemorated by a statue in Guildhall. Beckford died in 1770, a few weeks after his audacious interview with his sovereign.