John Heron Lepper

Life
1878-?; b. Belfast; grand-nephew of the United Irishman Samuel Neilson; became a barrister on North-East circuit; wrote historical novels of 1641, 1715, and the 19th century incl. A Tory in Arms (1916), in which ‘chivalry’ prevails over sectarian differences and loyalty to the Crown is vindicated without insult to the native Irish, while all kinds of Irishmen display indifference to law in a corruptly governed country; also The North East Corner (1917), a novel, and a collection of short stories (Those Who Went West, 1919); moved to London, 1914 and latterly worked on French and German translations with Cassell; issued Famous Secret Societies [1932], dealing with 37 societies of which 7 are Irish, and a short work connected with the Rosicrucians (Problems of the Fama, 1928). IF DIW DUB

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Works
Fiction , Frank Maxwell (Dublin: Sealy Bryers [1907]) [infra]; Captain Harry: A Tale of the Parliamentary Wars (Dublin: Sealy, Bryers 1908); A Tory in Arms (London: Grant Richards 1916), 296pp.; The North East Corner: A Novel (London: Grant Richard 1917), 496pp.; Those Who Went West and Other Stories (Dublin: Sealy Bryers; Grant Richard 1919).

Miscellaneous, [as Bro. J. Heron Lepper,] Suggestion for the collection of masonic data (Dublin: G. F. Healy & Co. 1920), 6pp.; History of the Grand Lodge of Free and Accepted Masons of Ireland, vol. I (Dublin 1925); trans., Édouard Herriot, Amid the Forests of Normandy [Dans la Forêt Normande] (London: Cassell & Co. 1926), 274pp.; [as V. W. Frater J. Heron Lepper,] Problems of the Fama [viz., Rosicrucia Fama] (Fraternitatis/Roscicrucian Soc. of English 1928), 31pp.; Famous Secret Societies (London: Sampson & Low [1932]), xii, 344pp.; German Conversation for English Travellers [by F. F. Bovet], revised by J. H. Lepper [Cassells German-English Dictionary] (London Cassell 1936), viii. 261pp.; trans. Koenig, Passion in Algiers; and The Testament of François Villon, with texts of John Payne (London & NY: Casanova Soc. 1924), 144pp., and Do. [new edn.] (London: Pushkin Press 1947), 154pp.

The Narrative of Frank Maxwell Concerning the strange events that happened to him in the summer of the year of Our Lord 1641, and the Important Persons with whom he had dealings (Dublin: Sealy, Bryers [1907]), 138pp.

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Quotations
A Tory in Arms (London: Grant Richards 1916) [printed in Edinburgh], dedicated ‘To the / Chivalry of Ulster / Now in Arms’ [i.e., Ulster Volunteers]. Set in Co. Antrim (Carnmorney) at the time of the Stuart Pretender’s rising [1745]. The narrator is Robert Brown, tearaway son of a man who was rewarded by King William for his courage at the Battle of Boyne, and - because he disapproves of the breaking of the Limerick Treaty terms - holds land besides his own for a branch of the O’Neill’s. Robert is engaged in smuggling, more or less with the approval of the whole community. He is in love with the beautiful Rose Mary O’Neill, but has a playful friendship with Rebecca, the daughter of the Quaker from whom he borrows the boat in which he sails out to the French ship, on board which Col. Patrick O’Neill, in the service of the Emperor of Germany, on his way to the O’Neill’s on the Pretender’s business. / Delivering Col. O’Neill to the ONeillsland, he discovers that his father has fended off an attack from Neeshy Hockon, the tory [highwayman] of the title. Robert rescues the Catholic fortune-teller (spae-wife) from the loyalist mob at Carrickfergus, and later meets her son Neesy Hockon. Col. O’Neill sets out to gather support for the Pretender, and is unhorsed and robbed by the tory of his money and his papers. He is found by Robert and brought to his father’s house. Robert is arrested for neglecting his duties as a militia man by the Colonel in Carrickfergus, and later acquitted at courtmartial. / Charles O’Neill, who has gone to the bad, engages with Neeshy to have the stolen papers returned, and also to have Rebecca, whome he fancies, kidnapped. Meanwhile, Patrick O’Neill mets with the Protestant gentlement of Ulster seeking to enlist them for the King James; a messenger arrives from Dublin with news that the Scottish rebellion is over, and support crumbles. O’Neill retires to Brown’s house again. The Browns’ convinced that he is no danger to King George, agree to help him quit the country. Rebecca visits, and rebukes O’Neill for risking the Browns’ lives. Suddenly, the house is surrounded by the militia, searching. O’Neill prepares to fight, but Rebecca makes him take Robin’s soldier’s greatcoat to escape without detection. / Charles rides to Carrickfergus and informs on Col. Patrick. John O’Neill and all the great Catholics are arrested, and Rose Mary goes to stay with the Quaker family. O’Neill hides in a quarry, where Rose Mary plans to meet her cousin for a last time. Rebecca and Rose Mary are both taken by Neeshy Hockon before they can reached him. Neeshy ties the girls up at his mother - the spaewife’s place, and explains his plan is to force Charles to marry Rebecca while he marries Rose Mary himself. He goes off for a bent priest. Brown and Col O’Neill have discovered their whereabouts by guesswork when Tam Lynn tell them that he’s seen Lesshy with two captive girls. They release them. Rose Mary plights her troth to Col. Patrick, and Brown inadvertantly spurns Rebecca. / A sea-chase ensues, in which Brown eludes the English brig. On boad the Frenchman, Col. Patrick and Rose Mary are married. Rebecca goes abroad with them, spurned again by Robert who takes the view that she is safer in Germany than in Ireland, at the mercy of brigands like Neeshy Hockon. He now pledges himself to capture Neeshy. In the five-year epilogue of these events, the pursuit of Neeshy and his associates is told. / Brown and the tory, now disguised as a redcoat, finally meet up in a Dundalk rally of the militia, where Brown is to leap horses in a contest with him. Hockon is recognised and captured after his victory in the contest, but not before Brown has cross swords with him. When Neeshy is hanged, he tells Brown where to find Col. O’Neill’s papers, in which the name of an important man is signed below an undertaking to support James III. Brown agrees with his father to go abroad to see Col. O’Neill on John O’Neill’s estate business. / In London, he meets Rose Mary and Rebecca again; the Col. has now become Count Lichentstein. He is spotted by Charles O’Neill, and shortly after arrested for High Treason; Brown goes to the Lord whose signature is on the letter, and forces him to get an interview with Walpole for Brown. / Sir Robert Walpole understands the case, and arranges Col Patrick’s release to the German ambassador. He offers Brown the commission of coast-officer after a grilling that confirms his secret information on his place in East Antrim society as leader of the smugglers. Brown appears not to understand the nature of the appointment in relating the events to Rebecca - whom he begs (‘my dear little comrade’) to return to Ireland for his sake. Not pleased with his appointment as a ‘preventive man,’ Brown begins to find in Rebecca’s response that ‘even a custom house officer may have his consolations.’

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References
Stephen Brown, Ireland in Fiction [Pt. I] (Dublin: Maunsel 1919) lists Captain Harry (Dublin: Sealy, Bryers 1908) [tales of Parliamentary Wars and principal characters on both sides]; Frank Maxwell (Dublin: Sealy Bryers [n.d.]) [Irish Puritan’s son unluckily on Royalist side just before 1641; Irish rather bloodthirsty and barbaric]; A Tory in Arms (London: Grant Richards 1916), 296pp. [Aeneas O’Haughan is the Tory; Robert Brown and Col. O’Neill the Irish gentlemen on oppposite sides in 1715]; The North-East Corner (London: Grant Richards 1917), 496pp.; Those Who Went West and Other Stories (Dublin: Kiersey [1919]) [from St. Patrick to present day]. Also historical novels of 1641, 1715, and 19th century.

British Library holds Captain Harry, A Tale of the Parliamentary Wars (Dublin: Sealy, Bryers 1908); A Tory in Arms (London: Grant Richards 1916); The North East Corner, a novel (London: Grant Richard 1917); Those Who Went West (London: Grant Richard 1919); Frank Maxwell (Dublin: Sealy Bryers [1907]) [full title, The Narrative of Frank Maxwell Concerning the strange events that happened to him in the summer of the year of Our Lord 1641, and the Important Persons with whom he had dealings]; Those Who Went West and Other Stories ([1919]); Problems of the Fama [viz., Rosicrucia Fama] (Fraternitatis/Roscicrucian Soc. of English 1928), 31pp.; German Conversation for English Travellers; Cassells German-English Dictionary, rev. 1936; tans. of Koenig, Passion in Algiers; and The Testament of François Villon.

Belfast Central Public Library holds Frank Maxwell; The North East Corner; A Tory in Arms.

University of Ulster (Morris Collection) holds J. H. Lepper, History of the Grand Lodge of Free and Accepted Masons of Ireland, vol. I (Dublin 1925).

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