Finley, Robert (fĭnˈlē) [key], 1772–1817, American clergyman, a founder of the American Colonization Society, b. Princeton, N.J. In 1787 he graduated from the College of New Jersey (now Princeton), where he later studied theology. Ordained in 1795, he served for over 20 years at Basking Ridge, N.J., both as pastor and as headmaster of a school for boys. His interest in the condition of American blacks led him to lobby for the establishment of an organization that would help freed slaves return to Africa. His goal was realized (1816) with the establishment of the American Colonization Society. At his death he was president of the Univ. of Georgia. Finley wrote Thoughts on the Colonization of Free Blacks (1816).
See biography by I. V. Brown (1857, repr. 1969).
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