Page:Dictionary of National Biography volume 15.djvu/92

From Wikisource
Jump to navigation Jump to search
This page has been proofread, but needs to be validated.


year, when he was condemned in costs. On this Dillon left the church of England, and, by the aid of his female followers, set up a ‘reformed English church’ in Friar Street, Blackfriars, in which, we are told, he introduced a new system of discipline and a reformed liturgy. His congregation increasing, Dillon removed to a large building in White's Row, Spitalfields, where he appointed himself ‘first presbyter’ or ‘bishop’ of his new church, and ordained ministers to serve branch-churches in various parts of London. During this period Dillon repeatedly came before the public in a very damaging way, as the defendant in suits for the restitution of conjugal rights brought against him by the woman whom he had been compelled to marry. In spite of all Dillon continued to enjoy great popularity as a preacher, and at the time of his sudden death, 8 Nov. 1847, in the vestry of his chapel in Spitalfields, he had received large promises of pecuniary support towards establishing branches of his church in some of our large manufacturing towns. Dillon was buried in the churchyard of his native parish, St. Margaret's, Lothbury, in which church a mural slab has been erected to his memory.

Dillon published several separate sermons—‘On the Evil of Fairs in general, and of Bartholomew Fair in particular,’ 1830; ‘On the Funeral of George IV,’ 1830; ‘On the Funeral of William IV,’ 1837; ‘Lectures on the Articles of Faith,’ 1835. His last written sermon, ‘intended to be delivered by him on the morning of his sudden demise,’ was issued in facsimile by his admirers in 1840. Dillon's fame, however, as an author, albeit a most unenviable one, is derived from his unfortunate narrative of ‘The Lord Mayor's Visit to Oxford’ (London, 1826, 8vo). The lord mayor requested Dillon, who accompanied him as chaplain, to keep a diary of the visit made in his official capacity as conservator of the Thames, intending to have it privately printed. Dillon's performance was written in so inflated and bombastic a style that the lord mayor requested its suppression. This Dillon refused, except on the condition of being reimbursed for the whole cost of the book, which, in disregard of the original stipulation for private printing, he had prepared for publication. These terms being rejected, the book came out, covering its author with well-deserved disgrace, and making the lord mayor and his companions ridiculous. The book was shown up in his most amusing style by Theodore Hook in ‘John Bull,’ the review being subsequently revived in the second part of ‘Gilbert Gurney,’ and for a time it enjoyed a most unhappy celebrity. Dillon too late sought to retrieve his credit by buying up the edition and destroying it. The narrative is so supremely ridiculous that it is difficult to believe it was written seriously. Such, however, was the fact. The book still finds a place on the shelves of book collectors, from whom, being rare, it commands a high price.

[Private information; newspapers of the day.]

E. V.

DILLON, THEOBALD (1745–1792), general in the French service, erroneously described by French writers as brother of General Arthur Richard Dillon [q. v.], whereas he was only a distant relation, was born at Dublin in 1745, being probably the son of Thomas Dillon, naturalised by the parliament of Paris in 1759. He entered Dillon's regiment as a cadet in 1761, gradually rose to be lieutenant-colonel (1780), took part in the attack on Grenada and the siege of Savannah in 1779, was appointed a knight of St. Louis 1781, was authorised to wear the order of Cincinnatus 1785, and was awarded a pension of 1500f., 1786. He became brigadier-general in 1791, and in the following year had a command under Dumouriez in Flanders. He was ordered to make a feigned attack on Tournay to prevent its assisting Mons, to be attacked the same day by Biron. On his ordering a retreat, according to instructions, a panic seized the cavalry, the whole force fled in confusion, cries of ‘treachery’ were raised, and Dillon was murdered by his troops under circumstances of great barbarity. The convention voted a pension to Josephine Viefville, with whom he had cohabited nine years, but, as he stated in his will made the previous day, had not had time to marry, as also to their three children, whose descendants took the name of Dillon, and are still living in France with the title of counts.

[Archives de la Guerre, Paris; Mercure Français, 1792; Memoires de Carnot; Annuaire de la Noblesse, 1870.]

J. G. A.

DILLON, THOMAS, fourth Viscount Dillon (1615?–1672?), was the second son of Sir Christopher Dillon, president of Connaught, and Lady Jane, eldest daughter of James, first earl of Roscommon. He was bred a Roman catholic, but when, at the age of fifteen years, he succeeded his nephew, Theobald, the third viscount, 13 May 1630, he declared himself a protestant. He was present in the parliament of Dublin 16 March 1639–40, and in 1640 was made a lord of the privy council. In November 1641 he was ap-