SHIRLEY, Sir William (1694-1771) as Governor of Massachusetts and British general, autograph letter signed to Godfrey Malbone, dated Boston, 22 March 1755. 2 pp., folio.
Governor Shirley writes that "Being under strong Injunction from Sir Thomas Robinson one of his Maj[est]y's principal Secretaries of State, to have an Interview with Major General Braddock as soon as possible, I shall set out from hence on Thursday next for Annapolis in Maryland in order to meet him there, and he is to come from Virginia to that place to meet me." He informs Malbone that he will travel by land until reaching Newport, as it is "better furnished with proper Sloops and Masters, who are good pilots thro the Sound" and ask Malbone "hire one for me to carry my Company and retinue", noting that it consists of "three Gentlemen & four Servants; and we shall have nine Horses & perhaps more..." Malbone was one of the wealthiest men in Rhode Island, having enriched himself through the triangle trade and in privateering. The Annapolis conference between Braddock and Shirley resulted in the British, three-pronged campaign strategy, which ultimately failed.
William Shirley was a British colonial administrator who was the longest-serving Governor of the Province of Massachusetts Bay (1741–1749 and 1753–1756) and later Governor of the Bahamas in the 1760s. He is best known for his role in organizing the 1745 Siege of Louisbourg during King George's War, and for his role in military affairs during the French & Indian War. Shirley led a military expedition to reinforce Oswego in 1755, and became Commander-In-Chief in North America upon the death of General Edward Braddock. His difficulties in organizing expeditions in 1755 and 1756 were compounded by political disputes with New York politicians, and over military matters with Indian agent Sir William Johnson. These disagreements led to his recall in 1757 as both Commander-In-Chief and as Governor.