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Dillon, Arthur Richard

DILLON, ARTHUR RICHARD (1721-1807), French archbishop, was the son of Arthur Dillon (1670-1733), an Irish gentleman who became general in the French service. He was born at St Germain, entered the priesthood and was successively curé of Elan near Mezières, vicar-general of Pontoise (1747), bishop of Evreux (1753) and archbishop of Toulouse (1758), archbishop of Narbonne in 1763, and in that capacity, president of the estates of Languedoc. He devoted himself much less to the spiritual direction of his diocese than to its temporal welfare, carrying out many works of public utility, bridges, canals, roads, harbours, etc.; had chairs of chemistry and of physics created at Montpellier and at Toulouse, and tried to reduce the poverty, especially in Narbonne. In 1787 and in 1788 he was a member of the Assembly of Notables called together by Louis XVI., and in 1788 presided over the assembly of the clergy. Having refused to accept the civil constitution of the clergy, Dillon had to leave Narbonne in 1790, then to emigrate to Coblenz in 1791. Soon afterwards he went to London, where he lived until his death in 1807, never accepting the Concordat, which had suppressed his archiepiscopal see.

See L. Audibret, Le Dernier Président des Etats du Languedoc, Mgr. Arthur Richard Dillon, archevêque de Narbonne (Bordeaux, 1868); L. de Lavergne, Les Assemblées provinciales sous Louis XVI (Paris, 1864).

Note - this article incorporates content from Encyclopaedia Britannica, Eleventh Edition, (1910-1911)

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