Finlay, Kirkman (d.1828) (DNB00)

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Dictionary of National Biography, 1885-1900, Volume 19
Finlay, Kirkman (d.1828)

by Gordon Goodwin
The ODNB casts doubt on the existence of this person.

FINLAY, KIRKMAN (d. 1828), philhellene, was son of Captain-lieutenant John Finlay, R.E., F.R.S., who died at Glasgow in 1802 (Scots Mag. lxiv. 616), and brother of George Finlay [q. v.] His education was cared for by his uncle, Kirkman Finlay [q. v.], lord provost of Glasgow. When about twenty years of age, being in possession of a handsome fortune, he proceeded to Greece for the purpose of engaging in the war of independence. In February 1824 he became acquainted with Lord Byron and Prince Mavrocordatos, both then at Missolonghi, who entrusted him with conciliatory messages for Odysseus and other refractory chiefs. At Byron's request, Finlay with two comrades set out in March in charge of powder and other military stores, forwarded from Missolonghi to Odysseus for his war in Negropont. On crossing the stream of the Phidari, which had been much swollen by the rains, he missed the ford, lost the most valuable part of his baggage and papers, and very nearly his life. Finlay continued one of the few philhellenes, undaunted by disappointment and disgust, constant and persistent to the cause he had adopted. On that cause he spent his fortune, energies, and life. During a sortie of the Turks from the fortress of Scio on 29 Jan. 1828 he was shot through the head at the first attack, as he was attempting to rally a body of men under his command. He fell dead on the spot.

[Moore's Life of Lord Byron; Count Gamba's Narrative of Lord Byron's Last Journey to Greece, pp. 223-4; Gent. Mag. vol, xcviii. pt. i. p. 372.]

G. G.