George Mathews letters and instructions
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George Mathews letters and instructions

Descriptive Summary

Repository: Georgia Historical Society
Creator: Mathews, George, 1739-1812.
Title: George Mathews letters and instructions
Dates: 1794-1795
Extent: 0.05 cubic feet (1 folder)
Identification: MS 0549

Biographical/Historical Note

George Mathews (1739-1812) was born to Ann Archer and John Mathews of Augusta County, Virginia. As an adult, he joined his brother, Sampson, in a business partnership that included land speculation as well as agricultural and mercantile components. Mathews became an Augusta Parish magistrate and high sheriff. During the Revolutionary War, he served first as captain of Virginia militia during the Battle of Point Pleasant, 1774, and then as a colonel of the 9th Virginia Regiment in 1777. His regiment was captured at the Battle of Germantown, Pennsylvania, including Matthews. He was a prisoner of war until 1781. After his release, he served in the Georgia and South Carolina Continental army.

Mathews moved to Georgia with his wife, Anne Polly Paul, and their eight children after the war, purchasing property in Wilkes County. He became a Wilkes County justice and a commissioner of the town of Washington. He was elected as governor for 1787-1788. In 1787 he also served as a member of the constitutional convention created with the purpose of ratifying the federal constitution. In 1788 Mathews was elected a member of the House of Representatives. After a few failed political campaigns, he was re-elected as governor in 1793.

During Mathew's second term as president, he practiced the policy of granting extensive tracts of land in Glynn, McIntosh, Montgomery, Washington, Effingham, Franklin, and Liberty counties; this was known as the Pine Barren Speculation. In 1795, he signed the Yazoo land act. This questionable act deeply affected his political life. He spent his remaining years trying to regain the political stature and respect he had previously enjoyed. Mathew's died in Augusta, Georgia.

Scope and Content Note

This collection consists of a set of instructions by George Mathews and correspondence to Mathews relating to the fortification of the harbors of Charleston and Georgetown in South Carolina, Savannah, Georgia, and St. Marys, Georgia, as well as the activities of Elijah Clarke (1742-1799) in South Georgia and Florida, and the legal and military measures taken to stop Clarke.

Index Terms

Clarke, Elijah, 1733-1799.
Fortification--South Carolina.
Instructions (document genre)
Letters (correspondence)
Mathews, George, 1739-1812.

Administrative Information

Custodial History


Preferred Citation

[item identification], George Mathews letters and instructions, MS 549, Georgia Historical Society, Savannah, Georgia.

Acquisition Information





Access Restrictions

Collection is open for research.

Publication Rights

Copyright has not been assigned to the Georgia Historical Society. All requests for permission to publish or quote from manuscripts must be submitted in writing to the Division of Library and Archives. Permission for publication is given on behalf of the Georgia Historical Society as the owner of the physical items and is not intended to include or imply permission of the copyright holder, which must also be obtained by the researcher.


Encoding funded by a 2012 Documenting Democracy grant from the National Historical Publications and Records Commission.

Container List

Item 1: Instructions to Paul Hyacinte Perrault, acting as temporary Engineer in the service of the United States. War Office of the United States, 1794 April 11 and 14 ( 4.0 p. )
Signed Henry Knox, Secy of War. Instructions for fortification of Charleston, South Carolina, dated April 11, 1794. Added note that instructions were originally for Mr. Martinson but circumstances occasioned his being sent to North Carolina; also, Mr. Stouf is placed under Perrault's orders and Perrault's commission extended to the fortification of the harbors of Charleston and Georgetown in South Carolina and Savannah and St. Marys in Georgia, dated April 14, 1794.
Item 2: Paul Hyacinte Perrault letter to George Mathews, 1794 April 30
Sent from Charleston, South Carolina. Sends Mathews a copy of his instructions (Item 1) by Stouff. Says Stouff will make the plan and soundings and take measures necessary for fortifications of harbors of Savannah and St. Marys. Also, Perrault tells of his plans to go to Savannah to work on the placing of the batteries.
Item 3: Henry Knox, Secretary of War, letter to George Mathews. War Department, 1794 May 14 ( 2.0 p. )
Marked Extract of a letter from the Secy of War. Requests that the governor take necessary measures to stop Elijah Clarke and others from making expeditions into Spanish Florida. Knox says the President has authorized him to pay the expenses if it is necessary to employ the militia and has also authorized him to furnish U.S. troops if necessary. Lt. Col. Henry Gaither is mentioned.
Item 4: John Y. Noel, Solicitor General, letter to George Mathews, 1794 August 27 ( 2.0 p. )
Sent from Augusta, Georgia. Marked a True Copy from the Original. Signed Edward Watts, Secy Executive Department. Gives the governor his opinions on Elijah Clarke's case and under what laws Clarke can be prosecuted.
Item 5: Jonas Fauche, Captain Militia Dragoons, letter to Governor Matthews, 1794 August 27 ( 2.0 p. )
Sent from Newtown, Camden County, Georgia. Related his activities on an expedition sent against Elijah Clarke. Fauche talks about the French government's position on Clark as related by citizen Swares?, the French consul, who feels Clarke is being deceived by the Sans-Coulottes. Also, he mentions being received by the Camden County magistrates and includes the returns of his detachment of dragoons from September 11 to October 1, 1795.
Item 6: Jonas Fauche, Captain Militia Dragoon, letter to Governor Mathews, 1795 October 17 ( 2.0 p. )
Sent from Fort Gunn, St. Marys, Georgia. Related activities of Elijah Clarke and his activities against Clarke and his forces.
Item 7: James Seagrove, Agent Indian Affairs, letter to Governor Mathews, 1795 December 20 ( 2.0 p. )
Sent from Savannah, Georgia. Gives account of Elijah Clark arriving at St. Marys accompanied by the insurgent Capt. Lang and that notorious villain Jacob Townshend; talks about Townshend's escape and fear that Townshend will engage the state in a war with the Native Americans. He believes Townshend has been in the pay of William Panton and the Spaniards for some time. Seagrove also mentions others in Clark's party and talks about the completion of the fort at point Peter.