Quebec merchant and postal official.
Traded in partnership with Stephen Moore and invested in Canadian lands. Postmaster at Quebec (1763); established weekly service to Montreal and monthly service to Albany, New York, and Falmouth, England. Justice of the peace (1764). Served on Quebec Council (1765-1801). Surveyor of the postal roads of North America (1773). Scouted postal route from Quebec to Falmouth, Maine, and toured postal roads as far south as Savannah, Georgia (1773-74); his Journal is a valuable account of the colonial postal service. Succeeded Franklin as joint deputy postmaster general of North America (1774). Deputy postmaster general of Quebec (1784) and later of British North America (1788); extended service to Detroit and negotiated a postal convention that established year-round postal service between the U.S. and Canada (1792).
Son of Robert and Susanna (Parkins) Finlay of Scotland. Immigrated from Glasgow to Quebec (1763). Married Mary Phillips (c. 1769); ten children.