Shelburne, William Petty Fitzmaurice, 2nd Earl, 1737-1805

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British politician. Born William Fitzmaurice, assumed surname Petty in 1751, succeeded his father as Earl of Shelburne 1761, created Marquis of Lansdowne 1784. Worked in the House of Lords to repeal the Stamp Act and continued to pursue a conciliatory policy toward the American colonies, though opposed to their independence. He became prime minister in 1782, directed peace negotiations with the United States, France, and Spain, and resigned from office shortly thereafter.

From the description of LS : London, to William Franklin, 1766 Sept. 13. (Rosenbach Museum & Library). WorldCat record id: 122475400

William Petty, 1st Marquis of Lansdowne, 2nd Earl of Shelburne (1737--1805), hereafter referred to as Shelburne, was born in Dublin, Ireland, to John Fitzmaurice Petty (1706-1761) and Mary Fitzmaurice (d 1780). He served with distinction in Germany during the Seven Years War, achieving the rank of colonel and in 1760, he became King George's aide-de-camp. Later that year he took over his family's seat in Parliament representing Chipping Wycombe. After his father's death in May 1761, he entered the House of Lords as Baron Wycombe, second earl of Shelburne. During his tenure in the House of Lords, Shelburne served as first lord of the Board of Trade (1763), as secretary of state for the Southern Department, as home secretary under Rockingham (March-July 1782), and as prime minister (1782-1783). As an official dealing with American affairs, a stockholder in the East India Company, and a landowner in Ireland, Shelburne was involved in many of the major issues affecting the British Empire in the mid-eighteenth century.

Though shrewd and ambitious, Shelburne frequently allied himself with unpopular politicians, such as John Stuart, 3rd Earl of Bute, and William Pitt, 1st Earl of Chatham, and often found himself in the opposition party. Shelburne also advocated for controversial policies such as free trade, religious tolerance, and parliamentary and fiscal reforms, which contributed to his unpopularity. In 1763, Shelburne became first lord of the Board of Trade and played an important role in drafting the regulations for England's newly acquired empire in North America. He opposed the Stamp Act and supported its repeal. As secretary of state for the Southern Department during the Chatham administration (1766-1768), he oversaw America, India, and Ireland, and had diplomatic responsibilities to France, Spain, and other southern European countries. He was at odds with many of his colleagues, particularly for wanting to avoid tax increases for America. After resigning from the office, he spent the next 14 years as a leader of the opposition party and as an outspoken opponent of the war with America. In March 1782, Shelburne accepted the appointment of Home Secretary under Rockingham. Upon Rockingham's death in July 1782, Shelburne became prime minister, and directed the peace negotiations with the American commissioners that resulted in the controversial 1783 Treaty of Paris. Parliament disapproved of the treaty's terms and, in March 1783, Shelburne resigned, making way for the North-Fox coalition.

After the end of his political career, Shelburne remained well informed on international affairs, commissioning reports on Europe and other foreign powers' finances and military forces. He amassed a sizable collection of books, pamphlets, and manuscripts, maps, prints, statues, and other material related to art, science, and politics. He associated with, and was a patron of, many of the most learned men of his time, including Benjamin Franklin, André Morellet, Joseph Priestley, Adam Smith, and Jeremy Bentham.

Shelburne married twice, first in 1765 to Lady Sophia Carteret (1745-1771) and then to Lady Louisa Fitzpatrick (1755-1789) in 1779. He was created marquis in 1784, assuming the title of 1st Marquis of Lansdowne. He died in 1805 and was succeeded by his son John, 2nd Marquis of Lansdowne (1765-1809).

From the guide to the William Petty, 1st Marquis of Lansdowne, 2nd Earl of Shelburne papers, Shelburne, William Petty, 1st Marquis of Lansdowne, 2nd Earl of, papers, 1665-1885, (William L. Clements Library, University of Michigan)

Archival Resources
Role Title Holding Repository
creatorOf Lansdowne, William Petty, Marquis of, 1737-1805. LS : London, to William Franklin, 1766 Sept. 13. Rosenbach Museum & Library
referencedIn Benjamin Franklin Papers Part 8 -- Letters to Franklin, 1783 December-1786 American Philosophical Society
referencedIn Thomas Addis Emmet collection, 1483-1876 (bulk:1700-1800) New York Public Library. Manuscripts and Archives Division
creatorOf Lansdowne, William Petty, Marquis of, 1737-1805. Autograph letter in third person : Berkeley Square, to Dr. Lettsom, [1778] Dec. 9. Pierpont Morgan Library.
referencedIn Franklin, Benjamin, 1706-1790. Benjamin Franklin papers, 1726-1907 (bulk 1770-1789). Library of Congress
creatorOf Lansdowne, William Petty, Marquis of, 1737-1805. Autograph letter signed : Shelburne House, to the Marquis of Carmarthen, [1782] July 27. Pierpont Morgan Library.
referencedIn Benjamin Franklin Papers, 1726-1907, (bulk 1770-1789) Library of Congress. Manuscript Division
creatorOf Wolfe, James, 1727-1759. Collection of letters, autographs, and drawings related to James Wolfe, 1740-1859. , (bulk ) Huntington Library, Art Collections & Botanical Gardens
referencedIn John Calef memorials and petitions, Calef, John, memorials and petitions, 1766-1782 William L. Clements Library
referencedIn Memoirs of the life of the Right Honourable Richard Brinsley Sheridan, extra-illustrated. Houghton Library
creatorOf Sackville, George Germain, Viscount, 1716-1785. George Sackville Germain papers, 1683-1785. William L. Clements Library
referencedIn Papers relating to the British conquest of Canada, 1759-1773 Houghton Library
creatorOf Lansdowne, William Petty, Marquis of, 1737-1805. Letter, 1791 July 6, Bowood Park. Boston Athenaeum
creatorOf Arnold, Benedict, 1741-1801. Autograph letter signed : London, to the earl of Shelburne, 1782 July 5. Pierpont Morgan Library.
referencedIn Houghton Library printed book provenance file, R-Z and unidentified Houghton Library
referencedIn Houghton Library. Houghton Library printed book provenance file, L-Q. 1942. Houghton Library
referencedIn Benjamin Franklin Papers Part 13 -- Miscellaneous Franklin Materials, 1640-1791 American Philosophical Society
creatorOf Bingham, William, 1752-1804. Papers, 1752-1891. Indiana University
creatorOf William L. Clements Library. William Petty, 1st Marquis of Lansdowne, 2nd Earl of Shelburne papers, 1665-1885. William L. Clements Library
creatorOf William L. Clements Library. Viscounts Melville papers, 1600-1851, bulk 1780-1830. William L. Clements Library
creatorOf William Petty, 1st Marquis of Lansdowne, 2nd Earl of Shelburne papers, Shelburne, William Petty, 1st Marquis of Lansdowne, 2nd Earl of, papers, 1665-1885 William L. Clements Library
creatorOf Lansdowne, William Petty, Marquis of, 1737-1805. Autograph letter signed : Bearne, to Sir Philip Francis, 1760 Jan. 31. Pierpont Morgan Library.
creatorOf Price, Richard, 1723-1791. Papers, 1753-1791. Duke University Libraries, Duke University Library; Perkins Library
creatorOf William L. Clements Library. Thomas Townshend, 1st Viscount Sydney papers, 1665-1828. William L. Clements Library
creatorOf Lansdowne, William Petty, Marquis of, 1737-1805. Autograph letter signed : High Wycombe, to Mr. Smith, [no year, 1761-1784]. Pierpont Morgan Library.
referencedIn Thomas Townshend, 1st Viscount Sydney papers, Sydney, Thomas Townshend, 1st Viscount papers, 1665-1828, 1780-1788 William L. Clements Library
referencedIn British Army in America collection, 1759-1782. Library of Congress
referencedIn George Sackville Germain papers, Germain, George Sackville papers, 1683-1785 William L. Clements Library
referencedIn Letters of Samuel Johnson, LL.D., collected and edited by George Birkbeck Hill, extra-illustrated, 1413-1900 (inclusive), 1775-1839 (bulk). Houghton Library
referencedIn Portrait file: Guide. Houghton Library
referencedIn Richard Price Papers, 1767-1790 American Philosophical Society
creatorOf Gage, Thomas, 1721-1787. Thomas Gage papers, 1754-1807, bulk 1759-1775. William L. Clements Library
creatorOf Lansdowne, William Petty, Marquis of, 1737-1805. Autograph letter signed : Shelburne House, to an unidentified correspondent, [no year] "Fryday night." Pierpont Morgan Library.
referencedIn William Petty, 1st Marquis of Lansdowne, 2nd Earl of Shelburne papers, Shelburne, William Petty, 1st Marquis of Lansdowne, 2nd Earl of, papers, 1665-1885 William L. Clements Library
referencedIn Grantham, Thomas Robinson, Baron, 1695-1770. Collection of letters and documents relating to the colonial Pennsylvania, 1696-1773. Huntington Library, Art Collections & Botanical Gardens
referencedIn Sparks, Jared, 1789-1866. Personal papers, 1808-1866 Houghton Library
referencedIn Almon, John, 1737-1805. Papers, 1769-1772; (bulk 1771-1772). Duke University Libraries, Duke University Library; Perkins Library
creatorOf Manchester, George Montagu, Duke of, 1737-1788. George Montagu, 4th Duke of Manchester papers, 1779-1788. William L. Clements Library
creatorOf Strachey, Henry, Sir, 1736-1810. Papers, 1776-1783 : [various locations, primarily United States. Copley Press, J S Copley Library
referencedIn Thomas Gage papers, Gage, Thomas, papers, 1754-1807, 1759-1775 William L. Clements Library
creatorOf Lansdowne, William Petty, Marquis of, 1737-1805. Autograph letter signed : London, to the Marquis of Buckingham, 1788 Mar. 28. Pierpont Morgan Library.
referencedIn Autograph File, L, 1641-1976. Houghton Library
creatorOf Lansdowne, William Petty, Marquis of, 1737-1805. Autograph letter signed : [n.p.], to Sir Philip Francis, [n.d.]. Pierpont Morgan Library.
creatorOf Vaughan, Benjamin, 1751-1835. Letters to the Earl of Shelburne, 1782-1783. Massachusetts Historical Society
referencedIn Bingham, W. mss., 1752-1891 Lilly Library (Indiana University, Bloomington)
creatorOf Oswald, Richard, 1705-1784. Note on the appointment of peace commissioners : AMs, 1782 Apr. 27. Rosenbach Museum & Library
creatorOf Cramond, Robert. Letter to Lord Shelbourne : Paris, 28 August 1766. University of Minnesota, Minneapolis
creatorOf Lansdowne, William Petty, Marquis of, 1737-1805. William Petty Lansdowne collection, 1568-1776. Library of Congress
creatorOf Lansdowne, William Petty, Marquis of, 1737-1805. Autograph letter signed : London, to Colonel Ross, 1786 Apr. 22. Pierpont Morgan Library.
creatorOf Allen, Ethan, 1738-1789. Canadiana manuscripts, 1749-1811. Rosenbach Museum & Library
referencedIn Sparks, Jared, 1789-1866. Jared Sparks collection of American manuscripts, 1582-1843 Houghton Library
referencedIn Autograph note from Lord Shelburne to Andrew Millar, June 21 and clipping, June 21
creatorOf Lansdowne, William Petty, Marquis of, 1737-1805. Papers, 1779-1798. Duke University Libraries, Duke University Library; Perkins Library
referencedIn Viscounts Melville papers, Melville, Viscounts papers, 1600-1851, 1780-1830 William L. Clements Library
creatorOf Lansdowne, William Petty, Marquis of, 1737-1805. Autograph letter signed : Bowood Park, to William Vaughan, 1797 Dec. 8. Pierpont Morgan Library.
creatorOf Lansdowne, William Petty, Marquis of, 1737-1805. Autograph letter signed : Lansdowne House, to an unidentified banker, [1784-1805], "Thursday." Pierpont Morgan Library.
referencedIn Charles Townshend papers, Townshend, Charles papers, 1660-1804, 1748-1767 William L. Clements Library
creatorOf Lansdowne, William Petty, Marquis of, 1737-1805. Autograph letter signed : Hill St., to an unidentified correspondent, 1763 June 29. Pierpont Morgan Library.
creatorOf Adams, John, 1735-1826. Massachusetts papers, 1749-1777 Massachusetts Historical Society
referencedIn Jackson, William, 1759-1828. William Jackson papers, 1782-1828 (inclusive). Yale University Library
referencedIn Papers relating to the British conquest of Canada, 1759-1773 Houghton Library
referencedIn Houghton Library. Houghton Library printed book provenance file, L-Q. 1942. Houghton Library
referencedIn Jackson, William, 1759-1828. William Jackson papers, 1782-1828 (inclusive). Yale University Library
creatorOf Lansdowne, William Petty, Marquis of, 1737-1805. Autograph letter signed : Lansdowne House, to an unidentified correspondent, [no year, after 1784] "Thursday." Pierpont Morgan Library.
referencedIn Vaughan, Benjamin, 1751-1835. Papers, 1746-1900 American Philosophical Society
referencedIn George Montagu, 4th Duke of Manchester papers, Manchester, George Montagu 4th Duke of, papers, 1779-1788 William L. Clements Library
referencedIn Benjamin Franklin collection, Franklin, Benjamin collection, 1766-1788 William L. Clements Library
referencedIn William Jackson papers, 1782-1828 Yale University. Department of Manuscripts and Archives
creatorOf Williamson, Joseph, 1828-1902,. Lansdowne and Dartmouth papers, 1772-1779, undated. Maine Historical Society Library
referencedIn Fauquier, Francis, 1704?-1768. Correspondence, 1758-1768. Colonial Williamsburg Foundation, John D. Rockefeller, Jr. Library
creatorOf Lansdowne, William Petty, Marquis of, 1737-1805. Autograph note from Lord Shelburne to Andrew Millar, June 21, and clipping. Florida State University
creatorOf Cramond, Robert. Letter to Lord Shelbourne : Paris, 28 August 1766. University of Minnesota, Minneapolis
Role Title Holding Repository
Relation Name
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associatedWith Kountze, De Lancey, d. 1946, person
parentOf Lansdowne, Henry Petty Fitzmaurice, 3rd Marquess of Lansdowne, 1780-1863 person
associatedWith Lansdowne, Louisa Emma Petty-Fitzmaurice, Marchioness of, 1785-1851 person
associatedWith Leeds, Francis Godolphin Osborne, Duke of, 1751-1799, person
associatedWith Legge, Francis, 1719-1783 person
associatedWith Leslie, Alexander, ca. 1740-1794 person
associatedWith Lettsom, John Coakley, 1744-1815, person
associatedWith Manchester, George Montagu, Duke of, 1737-1788. person
associatedWith Melville, Henry Dundas, Viscount, 1742-1811 person
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associatedWith Ohio Company, 1747-1779 corporateBody
associatedWith Oswald, Richard, 1705-1784. person
associatedWith Patterson, Gov. Walter, d. 1798 person
associatedWith Penn, John, 1729-1795 person
associatedWith Petrovna, Yelizaveta, 1709-1761 person
associatedWith Pigot, Sir Robert, 2nd bart., 1720-1796 person
associatedWith Price, Richard, 1723-1791. person
associatedWith Prussia (Kingdom) Armee. corporateBody
associatedWith Rockingham, Charles Watson-Wentworth, Marquis of, 1730-1782 person
associatedWith Ross, Patrick, 1740?-1804, person
associatedWith Sackville, George Germain, Viscount, 1716-1785 person
associatedWith Sackville, George Germain, Viscount, 1716-1785. person
associatedWith Shelburne, Louisa Fitzpatrick, Countess Shelburne. person
associatedWith Shelburne, William Petty, 2nd Earl of Shelburne, 1737-1805 person
associatedWith Six Nations. corporateBody
associatedWith South Sea Company. corporateBody
associatedWith Strachey, Henry, Sir, 1736-1810 person
associatedWith Swallow (Ship) corporateBody
associatedWith Sydney, Thomas Townshend, Viscount, 1733-1800 person
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associatedWith Townshend, George Townshend, 4th viscount and 1st marquis, 1724-1807 person
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associatedWith Wooldridge, Susanna. person
associatedWith Wright, Sir James, 1st bart., 1716-1785 person
Place Name Admin Code Country
Rhode Island
Hamburg (Germany)
Montréal (Québec)
Connecticut
East Florida.
Ohio
Illinois
United States
Great Britain
Cape Breton Island (N.S.)
Puerto Rico.
Great Britain
Albany (N.Y.)
Mexico
Corsica (France)
Ireland
Pensacola (Fla.)
Peru
Genoa (Italy)
Spain
Virginia
Bombay (India)
Detroit (Mich.)
Denmark
Canada
Newfoundland
West Florida.
Georgia
New Jersey
Mississippi River
Falkland Islands
Cherbourg (France)
Nagapattinam (India)
Bengal (India)
Bahamas
Panama
Cartagena (Colombia)
Ireland
Guatemala
Barbados
Tunisia
Great Britain
New York (State)
Jamaica
Boulogne (France)
Mysore (India)
South Carolina
Cuba
Dominica
France
Boston (Mass.)
Pennsylvania
Fort de Chartres Site (Ill.)
Portugal
New Hampshire
Friesland (Netherlands)
Bermuda
Mobile (Ala.)
New Orleans (La.)
Big Bone (Ky.)
Florida
Great Britain
Philadelphia (Pa.)
Brazil
Louisiana.
Africa
New Jersey
Poland
Algeria
Bordeaux (Aquitaine, France)
Nova Scotia
Netherlands
Massachusetts
West Indies
Russia
Subject
Anglo--French War, 1755-1763
Admiralty--Great Britain
Slave trade
Choctaw Indians
Tariff Great Britain
Indians of North America--New York (State)
Indians of North America--South Carolina
Cotton
Iroquois Indians
Treaty of Utrecht (1713)
Cherokee Indians
Creek Indians
Fisheries--France
Sugar trade--West Indies, British
Currency question--United States
Indians of North America--Florida
Requisitions, Military
Indians of North America--Virginia
Taxation--Great Britain
Privateering
Diplomatic and consular service, British
Mastodon
Mohegan Indians
American loyalists
Treaty of Paris (1763)
Indians of North America
Indigenous peoples--Great Britain--Colonies
Smuggling--United States
Indians of North America--Georgia
Seven Years' War, 1756-1763
Indians of North America--Michigan
Occupation
Statesmen--Great Britain
Function

Person

Birth 1737-05-02

Death 1805-05-07

Male

Britons

English

Information

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