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Chevalier Peter Dillon

Arrived: 1834
Country of origin: Martinique
Area in New Zealand: Tauranga
Source: Paperspast, Australian Dictionary of Biography

Details: Elms Mission Station Historic Places Trust. Chevalier Dillon, (1788-1847) a trader, was living at Maungatapu (Tauranga), across the estuary 14 August 1835 when Alfred Nisbett Brown, Williams Williams, William Wade and Phillip King from the C.M.S arrived.

Sydney Herald 27th July 1837
The native Chief "Titore," the celebrated traveller and friend of Chevalier Dillon died in May last, regretted by all the European residents.

New Zealand Gazette and Wellington Spectator, Volume 19, Issue 62, 19 June 1841, Page 3

From Sydney. We received through the Post Office some days ago, a small pamplet entitled Extract of three letters to the High Hon. Lord John Russell, Secretary of State for the Colonies, by the Chevalier Dillon, on the subject of Colonising New Zealand, 1841. After a hasty (we admit) perusal of the Chevalier's letters, which purport to be a kind of running historical notice of New Zealand, from 1814 to I841, we were at a loss to divine what his drift was, until we rechead the close of his remarks, where he winds up by stating " I hope your Lordship will be so good as to excuse the liberty I have taken in trespassing on your time with this long letter, and that you will be pleased to consider my claim for employment for one of the many situations that must be filled in the Colony of New Zealand." We have not heard whether the Chevalier's modest request has been complied with or not — we suspect not however Dillon is particularly severe on the Missionaries, who, he states, are grasping and avaricious, and more bent on secular than religious pursuits. E. G. Wakefield also comes in for a share of the Chevalier's good wishes.

Otago Witness , Issue 610, 7 August 1863, Page 6
Prior to the introduction of Christianity, a number of escaped convicts from the colonies of Australia found their way to Fiji and settled on some of the Islands, particularly at Bau and Rawa. They excited the astonishment and dread of the natives by the destructive power of their firearms. They, however, soon began to quarrel both among themselves and with the natives, and their number soon grew less. At first there were twenty-seven men, some of them most desperate characters. Some were killed in wars with the natives, and others by their own party. Charles Savage was the most remarkable of these men, of whose exploits a future historian might record much. He met his death in an affray with the natives at the time when Dillon, afterwards Chevalier Dillon, fought for his life and escaped. Several white men were killed and Savage was eaten.

A refutation of Chevalier Dillon's slanderous attacks on the Wesleyan missionaries in the Friendly Islands, in a letter to the general secretaries of the Wesleyan Missionary Society / by David Cargill is available at the National Library of Australia.

He is described as a gentleman (along with whaling captains) by Benjamin Turner.

Auckland Star 16th April 1888. There was no Government in New Zealand at that time, and for self-protection a meeting was held in 1836, when certain regulations were drawn up for the mutual protection of those who were settled in the place. Previous to that lynch law prevailed, and there was no other way to punish an offender than by "tarring and feathering him with three coats, and then taking the culprit to the beach and hunting him out of the civilised boundary line." Not more than five persons committed themselves so as to render this punishment necessary. The association was formed in consequence of the absence of any magisterial authority although at that time there was a British Resident receiving £800 a year. The names of those who attended this meeting, called to frame these laws were,
Chevalier Dillon, signed, one of twenty respectable persons resident at the Bay of Islands.

The laws framed were to have effect from Matawai, Blind Bay, in a straight line across the Onewoa on the long sandy beach, and all the land bounded by the coast from the beach to the bay.