September 20 1813: Dillon described as officer on the Calcutta ship Hunter when it called at the Fiji Islands to trade for sandalwood

The interest in Peter Dillon’s scattered voyages lies in the fact that he solved the mystery of the death of the French navigator, La Perouse. Dillon was an officer on the Calcutta ship Hunter in 1813, when it called at the Fiji Islands to trade for sandalwood and found itself involved in a punitive expedition against the Fijians. As a result of the strained situation, a man named Martin Bushart and his Fijian wife asked to be taken elsewhere.
The Hunter on her way to Canton dropped Bushart, his wife, and a lascar off at Tikopia Island on September 20, 1813.
Title: Explorers of the Pacific: European and American Discoveries in Polynesia Author: Te Rangi Hiroa (Sir Peter Henry Buck) Publication details: Bernice P. Bishop Museum, James Burne

1813: Fiji conflict over sandalwood; all the beachcomber Europeans were murdered, except Dillon, a Prussian named Martin Bushart, and a seaman, William Wilson

In 1813 the East India Company’s ship Hunter, voyaging from Calcutta to Sydney, called at the Fiji Islands.
Beach combers in paradise: They discovered that several Europeans were living on one of the group. Some had been shipwrecked; some had deserted from vessels; but they had become accustomed to the life and preferred it.
Paid to collect sandal wood and beche-de-mer: The Hunter employed a party of them to collect sandal wood and beche-de-mer, one of her junior officers, Peter Dillon, being in charge. A quarrel with natives occurred, and all the Europeans were murdered, except Dillon, a Prussian named Martin Bushart, and a seaman, William Wilson.
Bushart and “Lascar Joe” land at Santa Cruz Islands with Bushart’s wife: After the affray Bushart would certainly have been slain had he remained, so he induced the captain of the  Hunter to give him a passage to the first land reached. Accordingly Bushart, a Fiji woman who was his wife, and a Lascar companion, were landed on Barwell Island, or Tucopia ( Santa Cruz Islands)
Larperouse SCOTT, Ernest, 1868-1939 Publisher Sydney : Angus & Robertson, 1912 ; Printer W.C. Penfold
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1826: Peter Dillon was sailing in command of his own ship, the St Patrick, from Valparaiso to Pondicherry, when he sighted Tucopia.

‘Thirteen years later ( after 1813) Peter Dillon was sailing in command of his own ship, the St Patrick, from Valparaiso to Pondicherry, when he sighted Tucopia.( Tikopia in the Santa Cruz group) Curiosity prompted him to stop to enquire whether his old friend Martin Bushart was still alive.
Greetings-canoes contain old mates: ‘He hove to, and shortly after two canoes put off from the land, bringing Bushart and the Lascar, both in excellent health. Now, Dillon observed that the Lascar sold an old silver sword guard to one of the ST. PATRICK’S crew in return for a few fish hooks. This made him inquisitive. He asked the Prussian where it came from’.
La Perouse wreck revealed on Vanikoro: ‘Bushart informed him that when he first arrived at the island he saw in possession of the natives, not only this sword guard, but also several chain plates, iron bolts, axes, the handle of a silver fork, some knives, tea cups, beads, bottles, a silver spoon bearing a crest and monogram, and a sword. He asked where these articles were obtained, and the natives told him that they got them from the Mannicolo (or Vanikoro) cluster of islands, two days’ canoe voyage from Tucopia, in the Santa Cruz group’.
‘initials of Perouse': “Upon examining the sword minutely” wrote Dillon, “I discovered, or thought I discovered, the initials of Perouse stamped on it, which excited my suspicion and made me more exact in my inquiries. I then, by means of Bushart and the Lascar, questioned some of the islanders respecting the way in which their neighbours procured the silver and iron articles’.
Locals report two large ships: ‘They told me that the natives of Mannicolo stated that many years ago two large ships arrived at their islands; one anchored at the island of Whanoo, and the other at the island of Paiou, a little distance from each other. Some time after they anchored, and before they had any communication with the natives, a heavy gale arose and both vessels were driven ashore. The ship that was anchored off Whanoo grounded upon the rocks’.
First ship La Perouse landing crew killed : “The natives came in crowds to the seaside, armed with clubs, spears, and bows and arrows, and shot some arrows into the ship, and the crew in return fired the guns and some musketry on them and killed several. The vessel, continuing to beat violently against the rocks, shortly afterwards went to pieces. Some of the crew took to their boats, and were driven on shore, where they were to a man murdered on landing by the infuriated natives. Others threw themselves into the sea; but if they reached the shore it was only to share the fate of their wretched comrades, so that not a single soul escaped out of this vessel.’
Second ship crew held up beads, axes, and toys: ‘The ship wrecked on Paiou, according to the natives’ story, was driven on a sandy beach. Some arrows were fired into her, but the crew did not fire. They were restrained, and held up beads, axes, and toys, making a demonstration of friendliness.
Chief visits second ship: As soon as the wind abated, an old chief came aboard the wrecked ship, where he was received in friendly fashion, and, going ashore, pacified his people’.
Crew carry stores aboard: ‘The crew of the vessel, compelled to abandon her, carried the greater part of their stores ashore, where they built a small boat from the remains of the wreck. As soon as this craft was ready to sail, as many as could conveniently be taken embarked and sailed away. They were never heard of again. The remainder of the crew remained on the island until they died’.
Laperous Scott, Ernest, 1868-1939 Publisher Sydney : Angus & Robertson, 1912 ; Printer W.C. Penfold. http://www.fullbooks.com/Laperouse.html

1826: Peter Dillon was captain and owner of a ship named the St. Patrick; he did not find La Perouse ships; Martin Bushart, Tikopians and Lascar Joe the finders

In ‘1826 Peter Dillon was captain and owner of a ship named the St. Patrick. On a voyage from New Zealand to Bengal, he anchored off the island of Tikopia ( Santa Cruz Islands) on May 13, 1826. ( Dillion had dropped Bushart, his wife, and a lascar off at Tikopia Island on September 20, 1813).
Dillon did not discover La Perouse wreck: (Prussian, Buchart) Martin Bushart and the lascar came on board, the lascar with a silver guard from a sword. This guard, together with several iron bolts and chain plates from a ship, axes, knives, china, and glass beads, all of French manufacture, were in the possession of the Tikopians who stated that they came from Malicolo (Mannicolo, or Vanikoro), where two large ships had been wrecked. Dillon took Bushart and a Tikopian on board to visit Vanikoro, which was ordinarily two days sail, but Dillon abandoned the search after being becalmed for seven days. He reached Bengal on August 30. Captain Dillon entered into correspondence with the Bengal Government, urging that a search expedition be placed under his command, and he also brought the matter up before a meeting of the Asiatic Society’.
Llanta, Jacques Francois Gauderique, 1807-1864 http://nla.gov.au/nla.pic-an839155 lithograph, hand col. ; 33 x 27 cm Rex Nan Kivell Collection ; NK3340 Pl. no. 177 of: Voyage de la corvette l’Astrolabe. Atlas historique. Australian Nation Library

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