SHEL'BURNE, WILLIAM PETTY FITZ-MAB RICE, Earl of (1737-1805). An English states man. He was horn in Dublin; received his early education at Christ Church, Oxford (1753), but left without a degree, intending to follow a mili tary life. He returned from the Continent, a colonel, to enter the Commons, in 1761, but his father's death in the same year transferred him to the house of Lords. He entered George G1'011 vine's Administration in 1763, at the head of the Board of Trade. Before the close of the year he became a member of the opposition and a de voted follower of the elder Pitt. In Chatham's second Ministry (1766) Shelburne became Secre tary of State for the Southern Department, but, opposed to the measures of the Cabinet in re gard to the American colonies—in 1765 the Stamp Act, the Regulating Act of the following year, and the coercive measures of 1768—hated by the King, denounced by his colleagues, lie resigned in the latter year, and became a bitter opponent of the King's and Lord North's policy. He favored conciliation, was for withdrawing the troops from America, and, as late as 1781, said he preferred that the colonies should become free if the only way to restore them to English rule was by force of arms. Upon the fall of Lord
North's Ministry in 1782, George III. sent for Shelburne, and proposed that he should form a Government. He declined, not being the head of a party, and was sent by the King to the Marquis of Rockingham with an offer of the Treasury, him self to be one of the Secretaries of State. Upon the death of Rockingham in the same year the King sent at once for Shelburne, and offered him the Treasury, which lie accepted without consulting his colleagues. Fox thereupon resigned, and Shel burne introduced William Pitt. then only twenty three, into office as his Chancellor of the Ex chequer. Shelburne's Ministry, on the occasion of the King's announcement of his determination to concede the independence of the American col onies, found itself outvoted by the coalition be tween Fox and Lord North. Shelburne resigned, and never held office afterwards. After retiring from public life he indulged his tastes in the adornment of Lansdowne House. Here he collect ed a splendid gallery of ancient and modern pic tures, together with a valuable library. Consult Fitzmaurice. Life of William, Earl of Shelburne ( London, 1875-76).