Sir David Kirke, an English colonial adventurer, born in Dieppe, France, in 1596, died at Ferryland, Newfoundland, in the winter of 1655-'6. He was the oldest son of Gervase Kirke, an English merchant who carried on business for many years at Dieppe, and married there. David went into business as a wine merchant at Bordeaux and Cognac, but during the Huguenot troubles retired to England. His father became interested in Sir William Alexander's American projects, and sent out three vessels under royal letters of marque in 1G27 to break up the French settlements in Canada and Nova Scotia. David Kirke, accompanied by his two brothers, commanded the expedition; he ran up to Tadous-sac, and sent parties to burn the houses and kill the cattle at Cape Tourmente, and also summoned Champlain to surrender Quebec. Hearing of the approach of a French squadron under De Roquemont, he prepared to meet it. De Roquemont engaged him near Gaspe, July18, 1628, but was soon compelled to strike. Kirke thus captured all the stores, ammunition, and arms intended for Quebec. He sailed again with his brothers from England in March, 1629, and in July Champlain was compelled to surrender. Nova Scotia, too, was reduced.

These conquests were given up by England in 1632; but Kirke was knighted by Charles I. in 1633, and with others obtained a grant of Newfoundland. He devoted himself to its colonization, and held it till dispossessed by Cromwell, having been governor for nearly 20 years. He recovered part of his property by bribing Cromwell's son-in-law Claypole, and returned to Ferryland in 1653.