Born in 1789, Henry Matthews was educated at Eton and then became a fellow of Kings College Cambridge, from which he received a B.A. in 1812 and, in 1815, an M.A. He was forced to leave England in 1817 for the continent as a result of bad health and on his return published Diary of an Invalid. This book was so popular on its publication in 1820 that it was already into its third edition by 1822. Having previously been called to the bar, Matthews was appointed advocate-fiscal of Ceylon in 1821 and continued in this position until he was promoted to the position of judge in 1827. However, he was not to hold this position for long, dying in Ceylon on 20 May 1828.