1911 Encyclopædia Britannica/Shirley, William

SHIRLEY, WILLIAM (1694-1771), colonial governor of Massachusetts, was born at Preston in Sussex, England, on the 2nd of December 1694. He studied law, entered the Middle Temple, emigrated to Massachusetts in 1731, was appointed “the King's only advocate-general in America” (i.e. of all New England except Connecticut) in 1734, and in 1741, while representing Massachusetts in a boundary dispute with Rhode Island, was appointed governor. His efforts to secure a permanent fixed salary for himself (of £1000) were unsuccessful; and his attempt to prevent the further issue of paper money also involved him in a controversy with the General Court; but their relations were not unfriendly after 1743. The most important event of his administration was the conquest of Louisburg in 1745. The expedition was undertaken on his suggestion and its success was largely due to his energy and enthusiasm; in September 1749 £183,650 (English) in coin was brought to Boston to cover the outlay of Massachusetts, and largely through Shirley's influence this was used for the redemption of outstanding paper money, thus re-establishing the finances of the province, a subject to which Shirley had given much attention. Both in the colonies and in England, whither he returned in 1749 on leave of absence, Shirley kept up an active agitation for the expulsion of the French from the whole of Canada. He went back to Massachusetts as governor in 1753; led an unsuccessful expedition against Fort Niagara in 1755, and after the death of General Edward Braddock (1755) until June 1756 was commander-in-chief of all the British forces in America. In September 1756 he was recalled to England and was succeeded as governor by Spencer Phips. He was governor of the Bahamas until 1770, then again returned to Massachusetts and died at Roxbury on the 24th of March 1771. He published a Journal of the Siege of Louisbourg (1745), and The Conduct of General William Shirley Briefly Stated (1758).