1893 text

Colonel Cary Dillon, a friend of the Butlers, who courted the fair Frances; but the engagement was subsequently broken off, see December 31 st, 1661.

This text comes from a footnote on a diary entry in the 1893 edition edited by Henry B. Wheatley.

3 Annotations

First Reading

Paul Brewster  •  Link

Col. Cary Dillon succeeded as 5th Earl of Roscommon 1685 (died 1689). Soldier and Irish politician; M.P. for Banagher 1661-6, Privy Councillor (Ireland) from 1674 and Master of the Irish Mint from c. 1675. In 1689 he fought in the English army under James II and was attainted as a rebel. (from L&M Companion)

Third Reading

San Diego Sarah  •  Link

Carey or Cary Dillon, 5th Earl of Roscommon (1627–1689) was an Irish nobleman and professional soldier. He held Court offices under Charles II and James II, and fought for William III.

Pepys was a friend of Cary Dillon in the 1660s. Pepys evidently liked "Col. Dillon", whom he first seems to have met in 1660, when he called him "a very merry and witty companion".

At the start of the Diary, one of Pepys' closest friends was a young clergyman called Butler (nicknamed "Monsieur l'Impertinent", because he never stopped talking), who was probably also an Irishman.

Pepys admired both Butler sisters, especially Frances (nicknamed "la belle Boteler"), whom he thought one of the greatest beauties in London.

Cary Dillon courted Frances Butler, as far as an engagement, but this was broken off in 1662, apparently after a violent quarrel between Dillon and Frances' brother, Rev. Butler, "Monsiuer l'Impertinent", who complained of Dillon's "knavery" to him.

In the summer of 1668, Dillon apparently renewed his proposal of marriage -- Pepys saw him and Frances Butler riding in a carriage together -- but it seems Frances declined the offer.

It is not known whether Frances Butler ever married.

Cary Dillon was a younger son of Robert Dillon, 2nd Earl of Roscommon (died 1642), by his third wife Anne Strode, daughter of Sir William Strode of Somerset.

Anne Strode Folliott Dillon, who died about 1650, was the widow of Henry Folliott, 1st Baron Folliott, by whom she had several children.

As a younger son with his livelihood to earn in the war-torn Ireland of the 1640s and 1650s, a military career was an obvious choice for Cary Dillon: he was made a Captain by the age of 17.

Although Samuel Pepys always called him "Col. Dillon" he was apparently only a Lieutenant until 1684, when he became a Major, and subsequently a Colonel.

In the 1630s Robert Dillon, 2nd Earl of Roscommon was a supporter of Thomas Wentworth, 1st Earl of Strafford, the virtually all-powerful Lord Deputy of Ireland, as was his half-brother James Dillon, 3rd Earl of Roscommon, and a family tie between the Dillons and the Wentworths was created when James married Strafford's sister, Elizabeth Wentworth.

During the English Civil Wars, both brothers were staunch Royalists: James Dillon, 3rd Earl of Roscommon, who died in 1649, was posthumously listed in the Act for the Settlement of Ireland 1652 as one of the 10 leaders of the Royalist cause in Ireland who were excluded from pardon, and thus liable to forfeiture of their estates.

Following the Restoration, Lt. Dillon entered politics, sitting in the Irish House of Commons as MP for Banagher in the Parliament of 1661-1666.

San Diego Sarah  •  Link


Dillon’s career was almost ruined in 1662 when he acted as second to Col. Thomas Howard in his duel with Henry Jermyn, 1st Baron Dover (Howard and Dover being rivals for the affections of Anna Talbot, Countess of Shrewsbury). Howard left Dover for dead, and Dillon killed Dover's second, Giles Rawlings.

Lt. Cary Dillon MP and Col. Thomas Howard initially fled, but returned to stand trial. They were both acquitted, as killing a man in a duel was then generally regarded as an act of self-defense.

This was temporary, and after 1670 his rise in Irish public life was rapid.

Lt. Cary Dillon MP was sworn a member of the Privy Council of Ireland in 1673, and also became Master of the Irish Mint, Commissary-Gen. of the Horse of Ireland, Surveyor-Gen. forIrish Customs and Excise, and a Governor of the Royal Hospital Kilmainham.

In 1685, on the death of his nephew, the poet Wentworth Dillon, 4th Earl of Roscommon, Dillon succeeded to the Earldom.

In 1686, Col. Cary Dillon, 5th Earl of Roscommon clashed with the Duke of Tyrconnel, the rising R.C. Royal favorite.
Tyrconnel, as Lt-Gen. of the Irish Army, removed all the Protestant officers of the regiment stationed at Kilkenny.
Roscommon challenged his legal right to do so, and when the matter came before the Lord Lt. of Ireland, Henry Hyde, 2nd Earl of Clarendon, called Tyrconnel a liar: a shrewd blow, as Tyrconnel was nicknamed "Lying Dick Talbot".

Having served the Stuart dynasty loyaly during the Civil Wars and after the Restoration, Lord Roscommon and many of the Irish Protestant ruling class changed sides after James II fled to France in 1688.

In 1689, James II tried to reconquer England by occupying Ireland, Col. Cary Dillon, 5th Earl of Roscommon offered his services to William III.

Roscommon was commissioned to raise troops on William III's behalf, and was present at the crucial first step in William's campaign, the taking of Carrickfergus in August 1689.
Consequently Col. Cary Dillon, Lord Roscommon was attainted for treason by James II's Patriot Parliament held in Dublin.

Col. Cary Dillon, 5th Earl of Roscommon died in November 1689.

Col. Cary Dillon, 5th Earl of Roscommon married Katherine Werden (D 1683), daughter of John Werden of Chester, by whom he had a son and heir, Robert Dillon, 6th Earl of Roscommon (D 1715), who is said to have been a young child when his father died.
Roscommon also had 2 daughters: Anne, who married Sir Thomas Nugent in about 1675, and Catherine (D 1674), who married Hugh Montgomery, 2nd Earl of Mount Alexander.
The Dillon sisters were much older than Robert, so it's likely they were children of an earlier marriage: if so, their mother died before 1660, since it is clear from the Diary that Dillon was free to marry between 1660 and 1668.

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Chart showing the number of references in each month of the diary’s entries.