The New International Encyclopædia/Shirley, William

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The New International Encyclopædia
Shirley, William
Edition of 1905. See also William Shirley on Wikipedia, and the disclaimer.

SHIRLEY, William (1693-1771). An American colonial governor, born at Preston, in Sussex, England. After being called to the bar, he emigrated to Massachusetts, where he was appointed a commissioner in the boundary dispute between Massachusetts and Rhode Island, and while discharging his duties as such in 1741 was appointed Governor of the colony. He used his influence against the disastrous financial policy of the Legislature and tried to induce that body to grant him a regular salary, but was unsuccessful in both efforts. On the outbreak of King George's War, he organized the expedition which captured Louisburg in 1745. Soon afterwards he persuaded the colonists to apply the money they had received from the British treasury in reimbursement of their expenses on this occasion to the redemption of their paper currency. In 1749 he went to London to urge the settlement of the boundary disputes between the New England and the Canadian colonists, and in 1753 was appointed one of the British commissioners in the fruitless negotiations at Paris. In the latter year he was reinstalled as Governor of Massachusetts. On the death of Braddock, in 1755, he was appointed commander-in-chief of the British forces in North America, but was soon called to England. Shirley was promoted to the rank of lieutenant-general in 1759, and was for a time Governor of the Bahamas. In 1770 he returned to Massachusetts, where he died. He published a Journal of the Siege of Louisburg (1745); The Conduct of Gen. William Shirley Briefly Stated (1758); and two or three pieces of fiction.