‘An Alarm to the Unprejudiced and Well-Minded Protestants of Ireland: or, Seasonable Queries Upon the Rise, Danger, and Tendency, of the White-Boys’ (Cork, 1762)

Waterford, July 7. The following is the last speech and declaration of Darby Brown, Patrick Brown, David Ahern, Richard Healy, and Patrick Power, who were hanged and quartered at the county gallows, this day, being all found guilty of treason, for burning the house of John Fowloe at Monebue, near Caperquin, in the county of Waterford.

The speech of Darby Brown and Co.

“Good People,

I was born at Ballyinn near Lismore, as was also my brother Patrick. My other fellow-sufferers (except David Ahearn, who was born near Clogheen in the county of Tipperary) were born in said parish. We have all led an honest and laborious life ’till January last, when finding the Levellers or White Boys in the county of Tipperary, had partly succeeded in redressing some of the grievances they complained of, by levelling ditches which they assured themselves were raised upon Commons; we unhappily had a meeting last Candlemass, to the number of eighteen where, without any authority over us, we swore:

  1. To be true and faithful to each other
  2. To pull down the ditches erected on commons, for trespassing on which our cattle had often been pounded.
  3. To do all in our power to hinder any one from taking the little concerns we held, when out of lease.
  4. Not to admit any tythe farmer to meddle with our tythes, but to pay them to the minister or his proctor.
  5. To be true to Sive and her children.

[By Sive we mean a distressed harmless old woman, blind of one eye, who still lives at the foot of a mountain in the neighbourhood. By her children, all those that would join us for the aforesaid purposes.]

More than this we swore not, nor did it enter our thoughts to do anything against the King or Government.

Having thus unfortunately sworn, we proceeded to level part of Mr. Grath’s ditch on a mountain. We were present two nights more at levelling some ditches, but gave no assistance but by our presence. The night that Mr. Musgrave’s ditch at Mullin-Lows, was levelled, not one of us was present: those who did it, came to a resolution to pull down the cottage of John Fowloe at Monebue, to drive him from the place, and force his landlord to set it to an honest man. But unluckily for Sive‘s children, we soon agreed to the resolution, and I (Darby Brown) had a further motive: I was resolved to do my endeavors to dissuade them from levelling any more of Mr. Mulgrave’s ditches, and as the number that night was near two hundred, I imagined my influence might prevail, as I acted one night among them as captain (such as the May-Boys have). I however protested against any cruelty being offered to Fowloe, wife, or children; nor did I hear a word of setting the cottage on fire, though my four fellow-sufferers acknowledge the proposal was to pull the house down first and then to make a bonfire of the materials. But John Corkeran, who that night was May-Boy captain, saved us any trouble by burning the house himself.

This is the true and genuine account of our unhappy case, and the unfortunate cause of our untimely end. We hope the rest of Sive‘s children will take warning by our dismal fate, and apply themselves to their labour and different occupations, as we did ’till January last. We all die unworthy members of the Church Rome, sincerely and from our hearts, forgiving all those who were instrumental to our prosecution, particularly John Corkeran and John Fowloe. May God bless them in this life, and grant them eternal glory in the next; the glory which we confidently hope for, through the merits of the death and passion of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ.

Into they hands, o Lord, we commend our spirits – compassionate lord Jesus receive our souls.


Darby Brown, aged 32 years.

Patrick Brown, 26

David Ahern, 25

Richard Healy, 30

Richard Power, 29″

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