Appleton's Cyclopedia of American Biography, edited by James
Grant Wilson, John Fiske and Stanley L. Klos. Six volumes, New York: D. Appleton
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KIRKE, Sir David, adventurer, born in Dieppe, France, in 1596; died in Ferryland, Newfoundland, about 1655. He was the eldest son of Gervase Kirke, a Scottish merchant, and entered business as a wine-merchant in Bordeaux and Cognac. During the Huguenot troubles he retired to England, and, accompanied by his two brothers, commanded an expedition of three vessels under royal letters of marque in 1627 to break up the French settle-meat in Canada and Nova Scotia. The expedition was sent by his father, who had become interested in Sir William Alexander's American projects. After reaching Tadousac, Kirke sent parties to burn the houses and kill the cattle at Cape Tourmente, seized the French forts, and ordered Champlain to surrender Quebec. The latter concealed his weakness by a defiant answer, and the assailants withdrew. Kirke engaged the French squadron under De Roquemont, near Gaspe, 18 July, 1628, and defeated him, capturing all the arms, ammunition, and stores that were intended for Quebec. The garrison of that place was now reduced to extreme suffering, and when Kirke reappeared before the town with his squadron in July, 1629, it capitulated.--Kirke's brother, Louis, was appointed governor, and was the first military commandant of Quebec in the employ of the English government. He displayed much courtesy and humanity to the suffering people during the short time he held command. England relinquished these conquests in 1632" but Kirke was knighted by Charles I. in 1633, and with others obtained a grant of Newfoundland. He was its governor for nearly twenty years until dispossessed by Cromwell. In 1653 he returned, having recovered part of his property by bribing Claypole.
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