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First Foot Guards



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National Army Museum, 
Chelsea, London
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General Edward Mathew was seemingly the model for Jane Austen's "General Tilney"...not an entirely flattering portrait. General Mathew was father-in -law of Jane Austen's brother James.

After serving abroad [america?] Edward Mathew was twice appointed by George III to be governor of Grenada. Unfortunately, the King forgot to clear his salary with the Treasury on his second tour of duty. In 1792 the Mathews were billed for "over L11,000" which was his legitimate salary from the Royal Exchequer. Since the King had lost his memory, they were later billed for L24,000. This they had to pay, just after Edward Mathew died in 1805.

Mathew's biographer, James Honan, describes Mathew as "generous, and full of honours, kind and crestfallen, but with a bitter, stiff, dictatorial presence. He had a more complex character than "General Tilney", being an 'autocratic hot tempered despot' at times, but also being a 'very soft old veteran' who loved his daughter Anna, and was not at all avaricious, despite the fact that, unlike Tilney, he desperately needed money."

 

 

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