Shirley, William, 1694-1771. Latin oration delivered by Governor William Shirley at Harvard College on September 11, 1741 (manuscript copies), 1741-1752. UAI 20.741, Harvard University Archives.


Two handwritten copies of the Latin oration delivered by Governor William Shirley on September 11, 1741 during Harvard's celebration of his installation as Massachusetts Governor. The copyists are unidentified. The first copy, titled "Governor Shirley oration at College," is written on one folio-sized leaf. The second document, written on a folded leaf of four pages, contains a copy of the speech, titled "Oratio excellentissimî D.D. Guilielmi Sherlei, Massachutensis Provinciae gubernatoris, ad Harvardinos habita," and also includes two handwritten texts in Latin dated November 1742 and January 25, 1752. The 1742 half-page text is titled "P.M. ad Exc'm D.D. Sherleum" and includes the subscription, "Annapolis Regalis Novae Scotiae Novembris 1742." It appears to be a ceremonial letter from Paul Mascarene, the Lieutenant-Governor of Nova Scotia, to Governor Shirley. The 1752 text is a congratulatory message apparently between Shirley and Harvard Tutor Henry Flynt, with the salutation "Reverende & Venerande Domine" and the subscription, "Bostonii Nov-Anglorum 25 Januarii 1752 Revendo Flint Harvardini Collegii locio."

Biographical Notes

William Shirley (1694-1771), a Massachusetts governor, was born in England on December 2, 1694. He studied law in London and moved to Boston in 1731 to act as the King's Advocate for New England. In 1741, Shirley was appointed Governor of Massachusetts and served until 1749, and again from 1753 to 1756. As governor, Shirley was a commander in the Siege of Louisbourg in 1745 and the Seven Year's War (that began in 1756). In the 1760s, Shirley served as Governor of the Bahamas. Shirley died on March 24, 1771 in Massachusetts.

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