Correspondence and Papers: 1663-1795

Call Number: HIL-MICL FC LFR .S4W5C6
Category: Family
Creator: Shelburne, William Fitzmaurice Petty, 2nd Earl of, 1737-1805
Description: 5 microfilm reels textual records (34 volumes) ; 35 mm.

William Fitzmaurice Petty pursued a military career for several years before succeeding his father as Earl of Shelburne in 1761. He was active in Parliament for decades but held public offices only briefly, While president of the Board of Trade, April - September 1763; secretary of state for the Southern Department, July 1766-October 1768; and secretary of state for the Home Department, March 1782-February 1783, Lord Shelburne was responsible for colonial affairs.

            These selections, 1663-1795, transcribed from the private archives of Lord Shelburne reflect the range of his interests in general and of his responsibilities while in specific public offices. They relate to colonial affairs of British North America. They illustrate Shelburne's concerns while president of the Board of Trade and colonial secretary with the defence, trade, and civil administration of Britain's colonies in North America and the West Indies, and the management of relations with native/indigenous peoples by the superintendents of Indian affairs, as well as with the conduct of the war and the negotiations of peace in Europe and the Americas. The selections focus on the Seven Years' War and the American Revolutionary War, and the diplomatic negotiations following those hostilities. The emphasis is on Lord Shelburne's public responsibilities; details of his personal life and family are conspicuous by their absence. Foreign relations between 1760-1783 is a major subject matter in relation to both British North America and France.


The arrangement follows that of the originals - by topic and chronology. The arrangement of the original documents at Lansdowne House exhibited a complex structure based on geography (whether specific colonies or broad regions such as New England) and activity or office of origin (notably the volumes devoted to diplomatic negotiations, naval administration, and Treasury minutes). Reports, proposals, memoranda and commentaries appear to have been arranged not so much by their dates as by their relationship to a matter under study.

The pages of the transcripts have been numbered, generally in a separate sequence for each bound volume.

Lists are included in most volumes to indicate which items were copied and which were omitted as they were already published.

Reel 1, volumes 1-5
Reel 2, volumes 6-11
Reel 3, volumes 12-20
Reel 4, volumes 21-27
Reel 5, volumes 28-34

The originals are held by the W. L. Clements Library at Ann Arbor, Michigan.

Archival Ref. No.:

Transcript reference number from Library and Archives Canada: LAC MG 23, A 4.

Finding Aids:

Calendars (abstracted document listings) for the transcripts are found in Report of the Public Archives of Canada for 1912, in Appendix J; and in Report of the Public Archives of Canada for 1921 in Appendix C found on the Canadiana website.

Finding Aid 1482 is found on reel 1 and contains annotated copies of the calendars for the transcripts published in the Reports noted above. The introduction to this finding aid correlates the Lansdowne House volume numbers with the transcript volumes.
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