Petty, William Fitzmaurice, 1st Marquess of Lansdowne (1737 -1805)
William Fitzmaurice Petty, better known as Lord Shelburne, was the elder son of the Honourable John Fitzmaurice, who assumed the name of Petty in 1751, and was subsequently created Earl of Shelburne, and Mary, daughter of Colonel William Fitzmaurice of Gallane in County Kerry. He was educated privately and at Christ Church, Oxford, where he matriculated 11 March 1755, but left university in 1757 without a degree to take up a commission in the 20th Regiment of Foot. He saw service at the Siege of Rochfort, transferred to the 3rd Foot Guards, and distinguished himself at the battle of Minden, and at Kloster Kampen. Meanwhile he was returned to the House of Commons for the family borough of High Wycombe, in place of his father who was created a peer of Great Britain on 17 May 1760. On 4 December he was made a colonel and aide de camp to the King. He succeeded his father in May 1761, and took his seat in the House of Lords 3 November 1761 as Baron Wycombe. He entered the government as President of the Board of Trade in 1763, but resigned the same year and joined the opposition under William Pitt. He married, firstly, 3 February 1765, Sophia Carteret, only daughter of John, Earl Granville. She died 5 January 1771, and he married secondly, 9 July 1779, Louisa Fitzpatrick, second daughter of John, 1st Earl of Upper Ossory. With the return of Pitt to power in 1766, he was appointed Secretary of State for the Southern Department. At odds with all his colleagues, except Chatham, on the mode of treating the American colonists, and hated by the King and the King's men, he resigned in 1770. In Lord Rockingham's ministry he accepted the post of Secretary of State for the Home Department 27 March 1782. At the beginning of July, Rockingham died, and Shelburne was called upon to form a government, but was defeated on a motion of confidence in February 1783 and resigned. On 19 April 1782 he was made a Knight of the Garter, and on 6 December 1784 was created Viscount Calne and Calstone, Earl of Wycombe and Marquess of Lansdowne. After his death his manuscripts were purchased by the British Museum. His printed books were sold at auction by Leigh and S..Sotheby 14 April 1806.