Appletons' Cyclopædia of American Biography/Shirley, William

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SHIRLEY, William, colonial governor of Massachusetts, b. in Preston, Sussex, England, in 1694; d. in Roxbury, Mass., 24 March, 1771. He studied law and came to Boston in 1731, where he practised his profession. He was a commissioner for the settlement of the boundary between Massachusetts and Rhode Island, and acted as such when he was appointed governor of Massachusetts in 1741. He administered the government of the colony until 1745, and in this year planned the successful expedition against Cape Breton. He was in England from 1749 till 1753, and was one of the commissioners at Paris for settling the limits of Nova Scotia and other controverted rights in 1750. In 1753 he returned as governor of Massachusetts, treated with the eastern Indians in 1754, explored Kennebec river, and erected several forts. He was Commander-in-chief of the forces in British North America at the opening of the French war in 1755, planned the expedition of Gen. John Prideaux against Niagara, and went with it as far as Oswego. In 1759 he was made lieutenant-general, and he afterward became governor of one of the Bahama islands, but returned in Massachusetts in 1770 and built the mansion in Roxbury that was afterward the residence of Gov. Eustis. He published “Electra,” a tragedy; “Birth of Hercules,” a mask; a “Letter to the Duke of Newcastle,” with a journal of the “Siege of Louisburg” (1745); and the “Conduct of Gen. William Shirley brifly stated” (London, 1758). — His son, William, was killed with Gen. Braddock in 1755. — Another son, Sir Thomas, b. in Boston; d. in March, 1800, was a major-general in the British army, created a baronet in 1786, and was governor of the Leeward islands.