Dillon, Arthur 1670-1733, a general in the French service, younger son of Theobald, seventh viscount Dillon, outlawed as a Jacobite in 1690, was born in Roscommon in 1670, and apparently accompanied to Brest in May 1690 a Jacobite regiment raised by his father, which, with two others, Louis XIV had asked for in exchange for the French troops sent to Ireland. He was appointed colonel of the regiment on 1 June 1690, served in Spain 1693-7, in Germany under Villeroy, 1701; and in Italy, 1702. He was promoted brigadier in 1702, and maréchal de camp (brigadier-general) in 1704. In 1705 he distinguished himself at the siege of Mirandola and the battle of Cassano, and in the following year at Castiglione. In 1707, as lieutenant-general, he commanded the left wing under Tessé in Provence, and forced the enemy to raise the siege of Toulon. In 1709 he was under Berwick in Dauphiné, and gallantly repelled an attack by the Piedmontese general, Rhebinder, near Briançon. Rhebinder had expected to surprise him in his camp, but was repulsed with great loss, and Louis XIV, in a letter to Berwick, complimented Dillon on his prowess. In 1713 he had the command-in-chief at the siege of Kaiserslautern, which soon capitulated. He wrote thence to Madame de Maintenon that peace was impending, and bespoke her interest for obtaining some appointment. Peace, however, was not quite so near as he anticipated, and in the following year, as lieutenant-general under Berwick, he superintended the entrenchments at the siege of Barcelona. This was his last campaign. He then became the Pretender's agent at Paris, and on Saint-Simon writing a letter of sympathy to the prince at Albano, Dillon was deputed to convey his thanks and acknowledgment. In 1723 the Duc de Lauzun on his deathbed sent for Dillon to hand over to him the collar of the Garter, to be returned to the Pretender. In 1728 Dillon resigned the command of his regiment in favour of his eldest son Charles (afterwards tenth viscount), and he died at St. Germain, leaving the reputation of a brave soldier, good officer, and most estimable man. The Pretender on learning his death directed that such papers as related to himself should be deposited at the Scotch College, Paris, and he wrote to the widow to thank her for her prompt compliance. Mrs. Dillon was Christina, daughter of Ralph Sheldon, and had been lady in waiting to Mary of Modena. On becoming a widow she took lodgings at the English Austin nunnery, Paris, where she expired in 1757 at the age of seventy-seven, and was buried in the cloisters. Dillon had five sons, Charles (1701-1741), who, on his uncle's death in 1733, inherited the title and estates, and died in London; Henry, who succeeded his brother in the colonelcy in 1733, and in the title in 1741, but resigned the former in 1744 on the passing of an act confiscating the possessions of British subjects in foreign service; James, a knight of Malta, colonel of Dillon's regiment in 1744 and killed at Fontenoy in 1745 (his banner is still preserved at Ditchley); Edward (1720-1747), who succeeded to the colonelcy, and was killed at Laufeld; and Arthur Richard [qv.], archbishop of Narbonne.

     Ditchley MSS.
     Chronologie Militaire, iv. 622
     Mémoires de Saint-Simon
     Observations sur les Officiers irlandais, par M. A. D. (Arthur Dillon), Député à l'Assemblée Nationale, a pamphlet published at Paris, c. 1790.

Contributor: J. G. A. [John Goldworth Alger]

Published: 1888