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Arthur Dillon

DILLON, Arthur, Count, French soldier, born in France in 1750 ; died in Paris in 1794. He was colonel of the Dillon regiment of the Irish brigade. When the court of Versailles concluded a treaty of amity and commerce with the United States in 1778, his regiment was one of those demanding and obtaining the privilege of being the first to fight the English. Count Dillon embarked at Brest, in the squadron of M. de la Motte Picquet, with the first battalion of his regiment, for the West Indies, on 5 April 1779. The junction of Picquet and D'Estaing enabled the latter to carry out his design of conquering the Island of Grenada from the English. An attack was made on the British, after landing, in which Count Dillon distinguished himself at the head of his column, and was wounded, but did not withdraw until after the action. The French were successful. Count Dillon also took a prominent part in the capture of St. Eustache, Tobago, and St. Christopher, and was appointed governor of the latter in 1782.

He drew up a code of laws for the government of the Island so excellent that the English, on recovering possession, did not interfere with them. When he appeared at a levee of George III, the lord chancellor said to him: "Count Dillon, we knew you to be a brave and able soldier, but we were not aware that you were so good a lawyer. We have investigated and confirmed all your judgments and all your decrees delivered during your government." The count was elected deputy from Martinique to the states general in 1789. He defended the interests of the colonists, although he opposed the freedom of the slaves as inopportune, He was chosen commander of a division in 1792, and fought successfully on the plains of Champagne and in the forests of Argone, but was accused of wishing to march the army against Paris, and was suspended, He was, however, soon released and restored to his command, when he gained an important advantage over the Prussians. He was again arrested and condemned in 1794. At the foot of the scaffold he cried with a firm voice, "Vive le roi!" He wrote "Compte rendu au ministere de la guerre, suivi de pisces justificatives, et contenant des details militaires dont la connaissance est ndcessaire pour apprdcier la pattie la plus interessante de la memorable campagne de 1792."

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