Shirley, William, 1694–1771, colonial governor in British North America, b. England. He became a lawyer and in 1731 emigrated to Massachusetts. In 1741 he became governor of Massachusetts. He opposed the issuance of more paper money, and in the war with France he promoted the successful expedition (1745) against Louisburg. British specie payments for the expenses of that expedition helped redeem the paper money and stabilize the colony's currency. Shirley led (1755) an unsuccessful expedition against Canada in the French and Indian War and was briefly commander of British forces in America after the death (1755) of Gen. Edward Braddock. He was removed as governor in 1756 but cleared of charges of treason concerning the Canadian expedition. He served (1761–70) as governor of the Bahamas and retired to Roxbury, Mass. His correspondence was edited by C. H. Lincoln (1912).
See biographies by G. A. Wood (1920) and J. A. Schutz (1961).
The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright © 2012, Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.
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