Note:  Do not rely on this information. It is very old.


Shelburne, WILLIAM PETTY, EARL OF (1737-1805), was descended on his father's side from the ancient Irish family of Fitzmaurice, and through his mother from the celebrated Sir William Petty (q.v.). After serving in the army he entered Parliament (1761), and in 1762 succeeded his father the first Earl. He at first supported Bute, but subsequently joined the Opposition under Pitt, and, after the fall or the Rockingham Ministry, was made Secretary or State. This office he retained till 1768. He vigorously opposed Lord North's policy in regard both to Wilkes and the American colonies and on his retirement (1782) accepted the office of Home Secretary in the second Rockingham Administration. Shelburne succeeded the Marquis as Prime Minister, but he was deserted by Fox, who united with North to form the Coalition, and, after seven months' tenure of power, he was forced to resign. In 1784 he was made Marquis of Lansdowne. During the remainder of his life he took little part in politics. He is said to have been the first British statesman who advocated Free Trade.