Barff, Samuel (DNB00)

BARFF, SAMUEL (1793?–1880), promoter of Greek independence, was born about 1793, presumably in England (Trikoupes' Ἱστορία, iii. 131). In 1816 he established himself at Zante, became an eminent merchant and banker, and terminated a long career in that island, 1 Sept. 1880, ‘at the advanced age of eighty-seven’ (Times, 23 Sept. 1880).

Barff took an active part in the struggle for independence carried on by the Greek nation at the time of Lord Byron's mission, and he was one of the last survivors of the Englishmen connected with that movement. His reputation for honour, kindliness, and disinterestedness, is brought prominently forward in a series of letters addressed to him from Missolonghi by Lord Byron early in 1824, which are preserved in Moore's ‘Life of Lord Byron.’ It there appears that the negotiation of loans and the distribution of funds were confidently committed to Barff; whilst with patriotic benevolence he protected the persons and interests of stray Englishmen who had mistaken their way into Greece at that disturbed time. In these letters Barff is also recognised as the mediator through whom Georgio Sisseni, the Capitano of the rich district about Gastruni, made overtures of adhesion after having for a considerable period held out against the general government. Barff offered his country house to Lord Byron in the event of the health of the latter requiring his removal from Missolonghi.

[Annual Register, 1824; Moore's Life of Lord Byron with his Letters and Journals, 8vo, London, 1847; Trikoupes' Ἱστορία τῆς Ἑλληνικῆς Ἐπαναστάσεως, 4 vols. 8vo, London, 1853–7; Times, 23 Sept. 1880.]

A. H. G.