John Heron Lepper
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 , 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
Fiction , Frank Maxwell (Dublin: Sealy Bryers ) [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 ), 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 ),
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 Pretenders
rising . 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 ONeills.
Robert is engaged in smuggling, more or less with the approval of the
whole community. He is in love with the beautiful Rose Mary ONeill,
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 ONeill, in the service of the Emperor
of Germany, on his way to the ONeills on the Pretenders
business. / Delivering Col. ONeill 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. ONeill 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 fathers house.
Robert is arrested for neglecting his duties as a militia man by the Colonel
in Carrickfergus, and later acquitted at courtmartial. / Charles ONeill,
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 ONeill 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. ONeill
retires to Browns house again. The Browns convinced that he
is no danger to King George, agree to help him quit the country. Rebecca
visits, and rebukes ONeill for risking the Browns lives. Suddenly,
the house is surrounded by the militia, searching. ONeill prepares
to fight, but Rebecca makes him take Robins soldiers greatcoat
to escape without detection. / Charles rides to Carrickfergus and informs
on Col. Patrick. John ONeill and all the great Catholics are arrested,
and Rose Mary goes to stay with the Quaker family. ONeill 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 spaewifes
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 ONeill have discovered their whereabouts by guesswork when Tam
Lynn tell them that hes 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. ONeills 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.
ONeill on John ONeills estate business. / In London,
he meets Rose Mary and Rebecca again; the Col. has now become Count Lichentstein.
He is spotted by Charles ONeill, 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 Patricks 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 Rebeccas response that even a custom
house officer may have his consolations.
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 Puritans son unluckily on Royalist side
just before 1641; Irish rather bloodthirsty and barbaric]; A Tory in
Arms (London: Grant Richards 1916), 296pp. [Aeneas OHaughan
is the Tory; Robert Brown and Col. ONeill 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 ) [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 ) [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 ();
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).