Page:Paine--Lost ships and lonely seas.djvu/247

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FRIGATES THAT VANISHED

men excepting in the legends of the wreck of the two great ships as they had listened to the tales and songs of visitors from Manicola. Captain Dillon returned to Calcutta, where his enterprise and success were highly approved by the British Government of India, which ordered him to proceed to France with the precious relics of the lost expedition of La Pérouse.

The Irish merchant skipper found that he had become a distinguished personage. His Most Christian Majesty, Charles X of France, was pleased to make him a chevalier of the Legion of Honor, with an annuity of four thousand francs. Chevalier Dillon relates:

 
I was now taken to the French court and presented to the king who received me very graciously and conversed with me upon the subject of my voyage. He was well acquainted with the history of La Pérouse's expedition and addressed several judicious questions to me respecting the loss of that celebrated navigator, and inquired what was my opinion as to the probability of any of the crew being yet alive on the Solomon Islands. While in Paris I met several times with the Viscount Sesseps who is the only person of La Pérouse's expedition now known to be alive. He was attached to it twenty-six months and was landed at Kamchatka to convey dispatches and the charts and journals to France. He is now sixty-five years of age and in good health. He accompanied me one day to the Ministry of Marine for the