O'Quinn, Jeremiah (DNB00)
O'QUINN, JEREMIAH (d. 1657), Irish presbyterian minister, was born at Templepatrick, co. Antrim. His parents were Roman catholics, and his mother-tongue was Gaelic. On his becoming a protestant, he was patronised by Arthur Upton of Castle Upton, the proprietor of Templepatrick, who, with a view to his becoming a preacher to the Gaelic-speaking population, sent him to Glasgow University, where ‘Jeremias Oquinus’ graduated M.A. in 1644. On 4 Oct. 1646 he was present as an ‘expectant’ (licensed preacher) at the admission of Anthony Kennedy (d. 11 Dec. 1697, aged 83) to the charge of Templepatrick parish. Shortly afterwards he was called by a majority to the charge of Billy parish, co. Antrim. His settlement was opposed by a party headed by Donald McNeill, who appealed from the army presbytery (constituted 10 June 1642) to the English parliamentary commissioners sent to Ulster in October 1645. The presbytery successfully resisted this appeal from a spiritual court to the civil authority, and O'Quinn was admitted to Billy. Patrick Adair [q. v.] describes him as ‘of great reputation for honesty and zeal, though of little learning and no great judgment.’
On 15 Feb. 1649 the presbytery issued at Belfast the famous ‘representation’ (answered by Milton), which denounces the execution of Charles as ‘an act so horrible as no history, divine or human, ever had a precedent for the like.’ O'Quinn, who had not been present at the meeting, disobeyed the presbytery's order for reading this document in the churches. Joined by James Ker, minister of Ballymoney, he submitted (3 May) ten objections to the ‘representation.’ The presbytery argued the matter for several meetings; at length they suspended Ker and O'Quinn, and reported the matter to the standing commission of the church of Scotland, who approved their action. Ker and O'Quinn ‘despised the sentence’ and held their places, but continued to make fruitless applications to the presbytery for the removal of the suspension. They took the ‘engagement’ and got salaries from the civil list. With Thomas Vesey, minister of Coleraine, whose principles were episcopalian, they left the presbytery to join a clerical coalition, of which Timothy Taylor [q. v.], an independent, was the leader. By November 1651 they were weary of exclusion; an order in council (13 Nov.), addressed to Colonel Robert Venables, referred to O'Quinn as ‘somewhat embittered against the interest of England,’ and suggested his transfer to ‘parts where there are Irish that cannot speak English.’ O'Quinn advised Taylor to seek a conference with ‘the brethren of the presbytery,’ in order to adjust matters of difference, and was sent with this proposal to Kennedy. The presbytery appointed a conference with Taylor and Andrew Wyke of Lisburn at Antrim in March 1652. It turned to a discussion with Adair, who was thought to have gained the advantage. Ker made his submission in October, and O'Quinn soon followed his example. Henceforth he helped to keep the peace between the government and the presbyterians. The privy council paid him 40l. on 20 April 1654 for a visit to Dublin. His name is on Henry Cromwell's civil list of 1655 for a salary of 100l. at Billy. He died at Billy on 31 Jan. 1657 (the date is not to be corrected to 1658, as the Scottish reckoning prevailed in the north of Ireland). His executor, Teague O'Moony, a presbyterian landholder in co. Antrim, applied to the government for help towards payment of his small debts and funeral expenses, and received a grant of 25l. He was buried in Billy churchyard, where is a tombstone bearing his epitaph (name, ‘O'Quinius’) with Latin elegiacs. The inscription (most correctly given in Benn, where ‘exeunte’ should be ‘ex unda’) was renewed by Thomas Babington (1755–1823), vicar of Billy, who is buried in the same tomb. Adair spells his name O'Queen.
[News from Ireland concerning the Proceedings of the Presbytery in the County of Antrim, 1650; Adair's True Narrative (Killen), 1866, pp. 124, 135, 165 sq., 183 sq., 194; Reid's Hist. Presb. Church in Ireland (Killen), 1867, ii. 41, 43, 113 sq., 164 sq., 179, 234, 551, 559; Benn's Hist. of Belfast, 1877, pp. 137, 711 sq.; Disciple (Belfast), 1881 p. 237, 1882 pp. 9 sq.; Killen's Hist. Congr. Presb. Church in Ireland, 1886, p. 68.]