Shelburne, William Petty, Second Earl of (1737–1805), a British statesman. As prime minister, 1782–83, Shelburne favored a policy of conciliation toward the United States. In 1783 he negotiated the Treaty of Paris, which recognized the independence of the former British colonies. Shelburne's political rivals used the unpopularity of the treaty in Parliament to build opposition to him, and he resigned his office.
Shelburne was born in Dublin. He attended Oxford and took his seat in the House of Lords in 1761. He was made Marquis of Lansdowne in 1784.