Skip to main content

Shirley, William

William Shirley, 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).

Cite this article
Pick a style below, and copy the text for your bibliography.

  • MLA
  • Chicago
  • APA

"Shirley, William." The Columbia Encyclopedia, 6th ed.. . 22 Jun. 2018 <>.

"Shirley, William." The Columbia Encyclopedia, 6th ed.. . (June 22, 2018).

"Shirley, William." The Columbia Encyclopedia, 6th ed.. . Retrieved June 22, 2018 from

Learn more about citation styles

Citation styles gives you the ability to cite reference entries and articles according to common styles from the Modern Language Association (MLA), The Chicago Manual of Style, and the American Psychological Association (APA).

Within the “Cite this article” tool, pick a style to see how all available information looks when formatted according to that style. Then, copy and paste the text into your bibliography or works cited list.

Because each style has its own formatting nuances that evolve over time and not all information is available for every reference entry or article, cannot guarantee each citation it generates. Therefore, it’s best to use citations as a starting point before checking the style against your school or publication’s requirements and the most-recent information available at these sites:

Modern Language Association

The Chicago Manual of Style

American Psychological Association

  • Most online reference entries and articles do not have page numbers. Therefore, that information is unavailable for most content. However, the date of retrieval is often important. Refer to each style’s convention regarding the best way to format page numbers and retrieval dates.
  • In addition to the MLA, Chicago, and APA styles, your school, university, publication, or institution may have its own requirements for citations. Therefore, be sure to refer to those guidelines when editing your bibliography or works cited list.