Henry Cooke

He was the youngest son of John Cooke, a tenant farmer of Grillagh, by his second wife, Jane Howie or Howe, of Scottish descent, and was born on 11 May 1788. The 1798 Rebellion was said to have a powerful influence on his religious and political views. Cooke adopted the Non-Arian Old Light position in the Presbyterian tradition. Non-Arians tended to take a dogmatic, prescriptive and conservative view of Presbyterianism, rejecting the liberal views of the Arians based on following conscience and reason in matters of faith. He had a strong believe in religious observance, Sabbatarianism and Protestant religion in education. On political matters, Cooke was a fervent supporter of the 1800 Act of Union. He was a fine preacher and was instrumental opposing Daniel O’Connell’s’ nationalism and Catholic theology. While O’Connell and Cooke were mortal enemies on religious and constitutional matters, they were both strong abolitionists. Cooke held meetings of the Belfast Anti-Slavery Society were held at his church. Cooke died at his residence in Ormeau Road, on 13 December 1868.

Belfast played a role in the international slave trade and its abolition, to learn more, book the ANTI SLAVERY BELFAST TOUR!

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