1911 Encyclopædia Britannica/Dillon, John

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DILLON, JOHN (1851-  ), Irish nationalist politician, was the son of John Blake Dillon (1816-1866), who sat in parliament for Tipperary, and was one of the leaders of “Young Ireland.” John Dillon was educated at the Roman Catholic university of Dublin, and afterwards studied medicine. He entered parliament in 1880 as member for Tipperary, and was at first an ardent supporter of C. S. Parnell. In August he delivered a speech on the Land League at Kildare which was characterized as “wicked and cowardly” by W. E. Forster; he advocated boycotting, and was arrested in May 1881 under the Coercion Act, and again after two months of freedom in October. In 1883 he resigned his seat for reasons of health, but was returned unopposed in 1885 for East Mayo, which he continued to represent. He was one of the prime movers in the famous “plan of campaign,” which provided that the tenant should pay his rent to the National League instead of the landlord, and in case of eviction be supported by the general fund. Mr Dillon was compelled by the court of queen’s bench on the 14th of December 1886 to find securities for good behaviour, but two days later he was arrested while receiving rents on Lord Clanricarde’s estates. In this instance the jury disagreed, but in June 1888 under the provisions of the new Criminal Law Procedure Bill he was condemned to six months’ imprisonment. He was, however, released in September, and in the spring of 1889 sailed for Australia and New Zealand, where he collected funds for the Nationalist party. On his return to Ireland he was again arrested, but, being allowed bail, sailed to America, and failed to appear at the trial. He returned to Ireland by way of Boulogne, where he and Mr W. O’Brien held long and indecisive conferences with Parnell. They surrendered to the police in February, and on their release from Galway gaol in July declared their opposition to Parnell. After the expulsion of Mr T. M. Healy and others from the Irish National Federation, Mr Dillon became the chairman (February 1896). His early friendship with Mr O’Brien gave place to considerable hostility, but the various sections of the party were ostensibly reconciled in 1900 under the leadership of Mr Redmond. In the autumn of 1896 he arranged a convention of the Irish race, which included 2000 delegates from various parts of the world. In 1897 Mr Dillon opposed in the House the Address to Queen Victoria on the occasion of the Diamond Jubilee, on the ground that her reign had not been a blessing to Ireland, and he showed the same uncompromising attitude in 1901 when a grant to Lord Roberts was under discussion, accusing him of “systematized inhumanity.” He was suspended on the 20th of March for violent language addressed to Mr Chamberlain. He married in 1895 Elizabeth (d. 1907), daughter of Lord justice J. C. Mathew.