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In 1794 he was appointed reader and travelling companion to the princess Louisa of Anhalt-Dessau. In 1812 he entered the service of the king of Württemberg, was ennobled, created counsellor of legation, appointed intendant of the court theatre and chief librarian of the royal library at Stuttgart. In 1828 he retired and settled at Wörlitz near Dessau, where he died on the 12th of March 1831. Matthisson enjoyed for a time a great popularity on account of his poems, Gedichte (1787; 15th ed., 1851; new ed., 1876), which Schiller extravagantly praised for their melancholy sweetness and their fine descriptions of scenery. The verse is melodious and the language musical, but the thought and sentiments they express are too often artificial and insincere. His Adelaide has been rendered famous owing to Beethoven’s setting of the song. Of his elegies, Die Elegie in den Ruinen eines alten Bergschlosses is still a favourite. His reminiscences, Erinnerungen (5 vols., 1810–1816), contain interesting accounts of his travels.

Matthisson’s Schriften appeared in eight volumes (1825–1829), of which the first contains his poems, the remainder his Erinnerungen; a ninth volume was added in 1833 containing his biography by H. Döring. His Literarischer Nachlass, with a selection from his correspondence, was published in four volumes by F. R. Schoch in 1832.

MATTING, a general term embracing many coarse woven or plaited fibrous materials used for covering floors or furniture, for hanging as screens, for wrapping up heavy merchandise and for other miscellaneous purposes. In the United Kingdom, under the name of “coir” matting, a large amount of a coarse kind of carpet is made from coco-nut fibre; and the same material, as well as strips of cane, Manila hemp, various grasses and rushes, is largely employed in various forms for making door mats. Large quantities of the coco-nut fibre are woven in heavy looms, then cut up into various sizes, and finally bound round the edges by a kind of rope made from the same material. The mats may be of one colour only, or they may be made of different colours and in different designs. Sometimes the names of institutions are introduced into the mats. Another type of mat is made exclusively from the above-mentioned rope by arranging alternate layers in sinuous and straight paths, and then stitching the parts together. It is also largely used for the outer covering of ships’ fenders. Perforated and otherwise prepared rubber, as well as wire-woven material, are also largely utilized for door and floor mats. Matting of various kinds is very extensively employed throughout India for floor coverings, the bottoms of bedsteads, fans and fly-flaps, &c.; and a considerable export trade in such manufactures is carried on. The materials used are numerous; but the principal substances are straw, the bulrushes Typha elephantina and T. angustifolia, leaves of the date palm (Phoenix sylvestris), of the dwarf palm (Chamaerops Ritchiana), of the Palmyra palm (Borassus flabelliformis), of the coco-nut palm (Cocos nucifera) and of the screw pine (Pandanus odoratissimus), the munja or munj grass (Saccharum Munja) and allied grasses, and the mat grasses Cyperus textilis and C. Pangorei, from the last of which the well-known Palghat mats of the Madras Presidency are made. Many of these Indian grass-mats are admirable examples of elegant design, and the colours in which they are woven are rich, harmonious and effective in the highest degree. Several useful household articles are made from the different kinds of grasses. The grasses are dyed in all shades and plaited to form attractive designs suitable for the purposes to which they are to be applied. This class of work obtains in India, Japan and other Eastern countries. Vast quantities of coarse matting used for packing furniture, heavy and coarse goods, flax and other plants, &c., are made in Russia from the bast or inner bark of the lime tree. This industry centres in the great forest governments of Viatka, Nizhniy-Novgorod, Kostroma, Kazan, Perm and Simbirsk.

MATTOCK (O.E. mattuc, of uncertain origin), a tool having a double iron head, of which one end is shaped like an adze, and the other like a pickaxe. The head has a socket in the centre in which the handle is inserted transversely to the blades. It is used chiefly for grubbing and rooting among tree stumps in plantations and copses, where the roots are too close for the use of a spade, or for loosening hard soil.

MATTO GROSSO, an inland state of Brazil, bounded N. by Amazonas and Pará, E. by Goyaz, Minas Geraes, São Paulo and Paraná, S. by Paraguay and S.W. and W. by Bolivia. It ranks next to Amazonas in size, its area, which is largely unsettled and unexplored, being 532,370 sq. m., and its population only 92,827 in 1890 and 118,025 in 1900. No satisfactory estimate of its Indian population can be made. The greater part of the state belongs to the western extension of the Brazilian plateau, across which, between the 14th and 16th parallels, runs the watershed which separates the drainage basins of the Amazon and La Plata. This elevated region is known as the plateau of Matto Grosso, and its elevations so far as known rarely exceed 3000 ft. The northern slope of this great plateau is drained by the Araguaya-Tocantins, Xingú, Tapajos and Guaporé-Mamoré-Madeira, which flow northward, and, except the first, empty into the Amazon; the southern slope drains southward through a multitude of streams flowing into the Paraná and Paraguay. The general elevation in the south part of the state is much lower, and large areas bordering the Paraguay are swampy, partially submerged plains which the sluggish rivers are unable to drain. The lowland elevations in this part of the state range from 300 to 400 ft. above sea-level, the climate is hot, humid and unhealthy, and the conditions for permanent settlement are apparently unfavourable. On the highlands, however, which contain extensive open campos, the climate, though dry and hot, is considered healthy. The basins of the Paraná and Paraguay are separated by low mountain ranges extending north from the sierras of Paraguay. In the north, however, the ranges which separate the river valleys are apparently the remains of the table-land through which deep valleys have been eroded. The resources of Matto Grosso are practically undeveloped, owing to the isolated situation of the state, the costs of transportation and the small population.

The first industry was that of mining, gold having been discovered in the river valleys on the southern slopes of the plateau, and diamonds on the head-waters of the Paraguay, about Diamantino and in two or three other districts. Gold is found chiefly in placers, and in colonial times the output was large, but the deposits were long ago exhausted and the industry is now comparatively unimportant. As to other minerals little is definitely known. Agriculture exists only for the supply of local needs, though tobacco of a superior quality is grown. Cattle-raising, however, has received some attention and is the principal industry of the landowners. The forest products of the state include fine woods, rubber, ipecacuanha, sarsaparilla, jaborandi, vanilla and copaiba. There is little export, however, the only means of communication being down the Paraguay and Paraná rivers by means of subsidized steamers. The capital of the state is Cuyabá, and the chief commercial town is Corumbá at the head of navigation for the larger river boats, and 1986 m. from the mouth of the La Plata. Communication between these two towns is maintained by a line of smaller boats, the distance being 517 m.

The first permanent settlements in Matto Grosso seem to have been made in 1718 and 1719, in the first year at Forquilha and in the second at or near the site of Cuyabá, where rich placer mines had been found. At this time all this inland region was considered a part of São Paulo, but in 1748 it was made a separate capitania and was named Matto Grosso (“great woods”). In 1752 its capital was situated on the right bank of the Guaporé river and was named Villa Bella da Santissima Trindade de Matto Grosso, but in 1820 the seat of government was removed to Cuyabá and Villa Bella has fallen into decay. In 1822 Matto Grosso became a province of the empire and in 1889 a republican state. It was invaded by the Paraguayans in the war of 1860–65.

MATTOON, a city of Coles county, Illinois, U.S.A., in the east central part of the state, about 12 m. south-east of Peoria. Pop. (1890), 6833; (1900), 9622, of whom 430 were foreign-born; (1910 census) 11,456. It is served by the Illinois Central and Cleveland, Cincinnati, Chicago & St Louis railways, which have repair shops here, and by inter-urban electric lines. The