Arthur Dillon (1750–1794)

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Arthur Dillon
Général ARTHUR COMTE DE DILLON (1750-1794).jpg
Painting by Jean-Hilaire Belloc, 1834
Born3 September 1750
Bray Wick, England
Died13 April 1794(1794-04-13) (aged 43)
Paris, French First Republic
Allegiance Kingdom of France
RankGeneral
Battles/wars

Arthur Dillon (1750–1794) was an Irish Catholic aristocrat born in England who inherited the ownership of a regiment that served France under the Ancien Régime during the American Revolutionary War and then the French First Republic during the War of the First Coalition. After serving in political positions during the early years of the revolution, he was executed in Paris as a royalist during the Reign of Terror in 1794.

Birth and origins[edit]

Arthur was born on 3 September 1750 at Bray Wick in Berkshire, England.[1] He was the third child and second son of Henry Dillon and his wife Charlotte Lee. His father was the 11th Viscount Dillon. Arthur's mother was a daughter of George Lee, 2nd Earl of Lichfield.

Arthur appears below among his siblings as the third child:

  1. Charles (1745–1813), became the 12th Viscount Dillon;[2]
  2. Frances (1747–1825), married Sir William Jerningham, 6th Baronet Jerningham;[3][4]
  3. Arthur (1750–1794);
  4. Catherine (1752–1797);[5]
  5. Laura (born 1754);[6]
  6. Charlotte (1755–1782), married Valentine, 1st Earl of Kenmare (1754–1812);[7] and
  7. Henry (1759–1837), became the last colonel of Dillon's Regiment and married Frances Trant.[8]
Family tree
Arthur Dillon with his two wives, his parents, and other selected relatives.
Theobald
7th
Viscount

d. 1691
Jacobite
Mary
Talbot

d. 1691
Henry
8th
Viscount

d. 1714
Arthur
1670–1733
French
General
Christina
Sheldon

1684–1757
Richard
9th
Viscount

1688–1737
Charles
10th
Viscount

1701–1741
Henry
11th
Viscount

1705–1787
Charlotte
Lee

d. 1794
Charles
12th
Viscount

1745–1813
Therese
Lucy de
Rothe

1751–1782
Arthur
Dillon

1750–1794
Laure de
Girardin
de
Montgérald
Henry
Augustus
13th
Viscount

1777–1832
Henriette
-Lucy
de la
Tour du Pin

1770–1853
Legend
XXXArthur
Dillon
XXXViscounts
Dillon
This family tree is partly derived from the Dillon family tree pictured in La Tour du Pin.[9] Also see the lists of siblings and children in the text.

Colonel[edit]

On 25 August 1767, at the age of 16, he became colonel of Dillon's Regiment taking over from his father who had been absentee colonel for twenty years from 1747 to 1767 after the death of his uncle Edward at Lauffeld in 1747.

Marriage and children[edit]

At eighteen, Colonel Dillon married a second cousin, Therese-Lucy de Rothe (1751–1782).

The couple had two children:

  1. George (who died at the age o two) and
  2. Henriette-Lucy, or Lucie (by marriage, Henriette-Lucy, Marquise de La Tour du Pin Gouvernet), a memoiriste of the Revolutionary period and the Napoleonic era.

He was to become the grandfather of Arthur Dillon, also a military officer.

American Revolutionary War[edit]

In 1778 France entered the American Revolutionary War (1775–1783) on the American side. Colonel Dillon sailed with his regiment to the Caribbean to campaign against Britain under the command of D'Estaing. In 1779 he and his regiment fought at the Capture of Grenada against British forces under George Macartney. They landed on 2 July, and stormed the Hospital Hill which the British had chosen as the centre of their resistance. Arthur personally led one of the storm parties, his brother Henry led another. Macartney surrendered on 5 July. On 6 July 1779 a British fleet under appeared off the coast of the island and the naval engagement of the Battle of Grenada was fought. In September and October 1779 Dillon fought at the Siege of Savannah where he was promoted brigadier. After the Treaty of Paris, he became governor of Tobago.

Later life, death, and timeline[edit]

His first wife having died, he married a wealthy French Creole widow from Martinique, Laure de Girardin de Montgérald, the Comtesse de la Touche, by whom he had six children, including Élisabeth Françoise 'Fanny' Dillon, later wife of Henri Gatien Bertrand.

He returned to Paris to represent Martinique in the Estates General of 1789 as a democratic, reformist royalist.[citation needed]

Dillon assumed military duties at a very difficult time for noble officers of the old army. On 29 April 1792 his cousin Théobald Dillon was lynched by his own troops after a minor skirmish.[10] After the Battle of Valmy, when Charles Dumouriez returned to the Belgian frontier with the greater part of the army, he detached Dillon with 16,000 troops to form the rump of the Army of the Ardennes around 1 October 1792.[11] Two weeks later Dillon was called to Paris for questioning and was ultimately arrested on 1 July 1793 despite being stoutly defended by his aide-de-camp François Séverin Marceau-Desgraviers. He was condemned for alleged participation in a prison conspiracy and executed by guillotine on 13 April 1794. In his final moments he mounted the scaffold shouting, "Vive le roi!" (Long live the king).[12]

Works[edit]

  • Compte-rendu au ministre de la guerre (Paris, 1792) ;
  • Exposition des principaux événements qui ont eu le plus d'influence sur la révolution française (Paris, 1792).

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b O'Callaghan 1854, p. 50, footnote: "... the latter [Arthur] at Braywick in Berkshire, in September, 1750."
  2. ^ Debrett 1828b, p. 749: "CHARLES, 12th viscount, whose claim to the viscountcy was established by the house of lords in Ireland, after a solemn hearing, 18 March 1788; b. 6. Nov 1745 ..."
  3. ^ Debrett 1828a, p. 315: "Sir William [Jerningham], 6th bart., m. June 1767, Frances Dillon, eldest da. of Henry, 11th Viscount Dillon ..."
  4. ^ Betham 1801, p. 231: "VI. Sir WILLIAM JERNINGHAM, the present baronet, son and heir of Sir George, married in June 1767 Frances, eldest daughter of Henry, 11th Viscount Dillon ..."
  5. ^ Debrett 1828b, p. 748, line 51: "Catharine, b. 4 June 1752, d. 24 May 1797."
  6. ^ Debrett 1828b, p. 748, line 52: "Laura, b. 21 April 1754."
  7. ^ Debrett 1828b, p. 723, line 44: "VALENTINE (called) 5th viscount Kenmare ... m. 1st 7 July 1777, Charlotte Dillon, da. of Henry, 11th Viscount Dillon ... "
  8. ^ Burke 1949, p. 603, right column, line 28: "Henry, Major-Gen in the French and English services, Col. of the Dillon Regt. (in the English army 1794–8) when on the surrender of the 2nd Bn. at San Domingo it passed to the English Army, b. 28 June 1759; m. 1stly 29 Apr. 1790 Frances, dau. of Dominick Trant ..."
  9. ^ La Tour du Pin 1913, pp. 14–15: "Note généalogique sur la Maison des Lords Dillon"
  10. ^ Phipps 1926, p. 78, line 9: "... on the 29th April, his men broke and fled for Lille, which they re-entered in wild confusion, crying out 'Treason', wounding Dupont, and not only killing their general, Théobald Dillon, but venting their fury on his corpse ..."
  11. ^ Phipps 1926, p. 135: "This troop was now reinforced to 16000, a strength later increased from garrisons ..."
  12. ^ Phipps 1926, p. 137, line 27: "Arrested on the 1st July 1793, he was included amongst the victims of the alleged çonspiration des prisons' and was guillotined on the 13 April 1794, shouting vigorously 'vive le roi', as he mounted the scaffold."

External links[edit]

  • Betham, Rev. William (1801), The Baronetage of England: Or The History of the English Baronets, and Such Baronets of Scotland, as are of English Families; with Genealogical Tables, and Engravings of Their Coats of Arms, 1, London: William Miller (for Jerningham)