Samuel Williams (1743-1817) was a minister, astronomer, newspaper editor, surveyor, social historian, and philosopher. While a student at Harvard, he assisted John Winthrop on an expedition to Newfoundland to observe the 1761 transit of Venus. Following Winthrop as Hollis Professor of Natural Philosophy, Williams modernized the teaching of science at Harvard, taught such illustrious students as John Quincy Adams, and led a Harvard expedition to observe the solar eclipse of 1780. He was a major force in the founding of American Academy of Arts and Sciences, contributing many of its first scientific papers. To escape a charge of forgery Williams fled to Vermont by night on horseback. There he preached the Enlightenment view that mankind could achieve the greatest happiness in a life based on the God-given power of reason. Williams founded and edited the Rutland Herald, wrote one of the first histories of the American Revolution, and one of the first state histories, The Natural and Civil History of Vermont. He was co-founder of the University of Vermont and taught astronomy there. Superior surveying skills enabled him in 1806 to add 600 square miles of Canadian-claimed territory to the state of Vermont. In 1970, the American Philosophical Society published Williams’s Philosophic Lectures, yet Williams has remained little known. The author hopes this book will correct this.