Shelburne, William Petty, Earl of (17371805)

Shelburne, William Petty, Earl of, statesman, born in Dublin; succeeded to his father's title in 1761, a few weeks after his election to the House of Commons; held office in the ministries of Grenville (1763), of Chatham (1766), and of Rockingham (1782); his acceptance of the Premiership in 1782, after Rockingham's death, led to the resignation of Fox and the entry of William Pitt, at the age of 23, into the Cabinet; his short ministry (July 1782 to Feb. 1783) saw the close of the Continental and American wars, and the concession of independence to the colonies, collapsing shortly afterwards before the powerful coalition of Fox and North; in 1784, on his retirement from politics, was created Marquis of Lansdowne; was a Free-Trader, supporter of Catholic emancipation, and otherwise liberal in his views, but rather tactless in steering his way amid the troublous politics of his time (17371805).

Definition taken from The Nuttall Encyclopædia, edited by the Reverend James Wood (1907)

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