[12], Despite the popular demand to "avenge Gordon", the Conservative government that came into office after the 1885 election did nothing of the sort. Gordon of Khartoum This edition was published in 1985 by P. Stephens, Distributed by Sterling Pub. [51] A Scotsman who knew Gordon in China wrote: "he shows the Chinese that if even an able and reliable man, such as he is, is unmanageable". [51], Gordon refused all these gifts and wrote on the Emperor's silk message: "Major Gordon receives the approbation of His Majesty the Emperor with every gratification, but regrets most sincerely that owing to the circumstances which occurred since the capture of Soochow, he is unable to receive any mark of His Majesty the Emperor's recognition". [12] This account was very popular with the British public as it contained much Christian imagery with Gordon as a Christ-like figure dying passively for the sins of all humanity. [195] During this period, Gordon was lionised by the British press, which portrayed him as a latter-day Christian "knight", a "crusader" and a "saint", a man of pure good, heroically battling the Mahdi, who was depicted as a man of pure evil. After Gordon's death Barnes co-authored Charles George Gordon: A Sketch (1885), which begins with the meeting at the hotel in Lausanne. [56], Gordon returned to Britain and commanded the Royal Engineers' efforts around Gravesend, Kent, to erect forts for the defence of the River Thames. [145], In April 1881 Gordon left for Mauritius as Commander, Royal Engineers. When he and his Mahdists began to threaten Egyptian interests in Khartoum, the British press and public demanded that Gordon be sent back to oversee the safe passage of the Egyptians. [74] Together with his sister Augusta, Gordon often prayed to be released from their "vile bodies" which their spirits were "imprisoned" in so that their souls might be joined with God. How I look forward to their disbandment". [174] Powers who acted as Gordon's unofficial press attaché wrote in The Times: "We are daily expecting British troops. [138], Gordon further advised the Qing court that it was unwise for the Manchu elite to live apart from and treat the Han Chinese majority as something less than human, warning that this not only weakened China in the present, but would cause a revolution in the future. Allah Himself is merciful to you". He quickly learned that before he could establish stations to crush the slave trade, he would have to first explore the area to find the best places for building them. No; the conscience of the nation felt that a strain rested upon it". [130] A deeply depressed Gordon wrote in his letter declining the offer that he knew, for reasons that he refused to explain, that he had only ten years left to live, and he wanted to do something great and grand in his last ten years. [164] Gordon wanted to talk about the Congo, but Stead kept on pressing him to talk about the Sudan; finally, after much prompting on Stead's part, Gordon opened up and attacked Gladstone's Sudan policy, coming out for an intervention to crush the Mahdi. [215], A merchant, Bordeini Bey, glimpsed Gordon standing on the palace steps in a white uniform looking into the darkness. [156] Gordon's interest was prompted by his religious beliefs, as he had become an evangelical Christian in 1854. [12], The American historian Byron Farwell strongly implied in his 1985 book Eminent Victorian Soldiers that Gordon was gay, for instance writing of Gordon's "unwholesome" interest in the boys he took in to live with him at the Fort House and his fondness for the company of "handsome" young men. Khartoum was a champion racehorse owned by movie producer Jack Woltz. Southampton, where Gordon had stayed with his sister, Augusta, in Rockstone Place before his departure to the Sudan, erected a memorial in Porter's Mead, now Queen's Park, near the town's docks. As late as 1933, the French historian Pierre Crabitès wrote in his book Gordon, le Soudan et l'esclavage (Gordon, the Sudan and Slavery) that as a Frenchman the Gordon legend had meant nothing to him when he began researching his book, but after examining all of the historical evidence, he could not help but admire Gordon who "died as he lived, a Christian, a gentleman and a soldier". [110], As governor, Gordon faced a variety of challenges. The Player assumes the role of Major-General Charles “Chinese” Gordon, Governor and self-appointed defender of Khartoum, besieged by the Mahdi's Dervish rebel forces. Gordon's Sudanese servants later stated that Gordon for once did not go out armed only with his rattan cane, but also took with him a loaded revolver and his sword, and died in mortal combat fighting the Ansar. [100] The heat greatly affected Gordon as he wrote to his sister Augusta, "This is a horrid climate, I seldom if ever get a good sleep". "[26], Afterwards, Gordon was sent to delineate the frontier between Ottoman Armenia and Russian Armenia, the highlight of which was tobogganing down Mount Ararat. [84] As Gordon travelled via Egypt to take the streamer back to Britain, a man who met him in Cairo described Gordon as a broken man who was "rather off his head". [43] Gordon wrote: "The great thing...is to cut off their retreat, and the chances are they will go without trouble; but attack them in the front, and leave their rear open, and they fight most desperately". We can only speculate that his increasing religious devotion may have been an outward manifestation of an internal struggle against sexual temptation.[64]. [40], In Sudan, the Mahdi, a self proclaimed religious messiah, is seen as a hero in the country's fight for independence, while Gordon is seen as the Mahdi's enemy, and the enemy of such efforts at large. Nutting's book was noteworthy as the first book to argue that Gordon had a death wish. [161] By the end of 1883 the Egyptians held only the ports on the Red Sea and a narrow belt of land around the Nile in northern Sudan. [180] Gordon's attempt to have his former archenemy Zobeir, the "King of the Slavers" whom he had hunted for years and whose son he had executed installed as the new Sultan of the Sudan appalled Gladstone and offended his former admirers in the Anti-Slavery Society. Here was one man among men who did not do what he was told, but what he believed to be right. With Egypt bankrupt, the money to carry out the reforms Gordon wanted was not there. One begins to wonder whether the man had any faults at all". The mandarins were thus much inclined to execute not only Taipings, but also their spouses, children, parents and siblings as being all equally guilty of treason. [189] Among the dead were Gordon's unofficial spokesman, the passionate wordsmith and Times journalist Frank Powers, Gordon's Chief of Staff Colonel Stewart and the French consul in Khartoum Léon Herbin, all of whom Gordon was sending to Cairo to plead for relief. It was removed in 1943. [5] After her death, her place as Gordon's favourite sibling was taken by his very religious older sister Augusta, who nudged her brother towards religion. The countenance bore a pleasant frank appearance, eyes light blue with a fearless look in them, hair crisp and inclined to curl, conversation short and decided". When he woke up again that afternoon, he found Gordon's body covered with flies and the head cut off. The repression of Gordon's sexual instincts helped to release a flood of celibate energy which drove him into weird beliefs, eccentric activities, and a sometimes misplaced confidence in his own judgement. [186], Gordon decided to stay and hold Khartoum despite the orders of the Gladstone government to merely report about the best means of supervising the evacuation of the Sudan. [73], Gordon often said that he wished he had been born a eunuch, which has been taken to suggest that he wanted to annihilate all of his sexual desires, indeed his sexuality altogether. Gordon wrote in his diary: "The HOUR GLASS BROKEN" and predicted that the war would soon be won. Scorn and reproach were cast upon us, and would we plead that it was undeserved? [187] In his diary, Gordon wrote: "I own to having been very insubordinate to Her Majesty's Government and its officials, but it is my nature, and I cannot help it. [51] When the Emperor's messenger arrived, he had with him servants carrying boxes of silver taels (coins) numbering 10,000 in total, together with banners written in the most eloquent calligraphy celebrating Gordon as a great general and a letter from the Emperor himself written in the best calligraphy on yellow silk thanking Gordon for taking Suzhou and offering all these presents as rewards. [221], Many biographies have been written of Gordon, most of them of a highly hagiographic nature. During his time in Milford Haven, Gordon was befriended by a young couple, Francis and Anne Drew, who introduced him to evangelical Protestantism. He saw action in the Crimean War as an officer in the British Army. He refused all gifts of gratitude from the Emperor of China, and spent his pay on his troops. [213] The orders were not obeyed. [153] In Jerusalem, Gordon lived with an American lawyer Horatio Spafford and his wife Anna Spafford, who were the leaders of the American Colony in the Holy City. The relief was successfully accomplished and Gordon quickly won the respect of his troops. [52] The Ever Victorious Army did not take part in the final offensive that ended the war with the Sack of Nanking as the "Imps", as Gordon called the Imperial Army, wanted the honour of taking Nanking, the Taiping capital, for themselves. [12], Gordon had a strong death wish, and clearly wanted to die fighting at Khartoum, writing in a letter to his sister: "I feel so very much inclined to wish it His will might be my release. Yet the home authorities failed to realise the urgency of the situation. [129] In April, the government of the Cape Colony offered him the position of commandant of the Cape local forces, which Gordon declined. A second and larger expedition under Prince Hassan was sent the following year and was routed at Gura. [112], In 1876, Egypt went bankrupt. [161] At El Obeid, the Ansar captured from the Egyptians a huge number of Remington rifles and ammunition cases together with a large number of Krupp artillery guns and their shells. We urge you to turn off your ad blocker for The Telegraph website so that you can continue to access our quality content in the future. "[229] The memorial is a Grade II listed building. [18], Gordon spent thirty-four consecutive days in the trenches around Sevastopol, and earned a reputation as an able and brave young officer. [195] Gordon wrote in his diary that Mohammed Aly had captured "a lad of 12 or 14 years of age, and the little chap spoke out boldly, and said he believed Mohamed Ahmed was the Mahdi and that we were dogs. [46], In its last years, the Taiping movement had oppressed the Chinese peasantry and as the Taipings retreated in the face of fire from the Hyson, Chinese peasants emerged from their homes to cut down and hack to death the fleeing Taipings. His body was never found. Mark Urban argued that Gordon's final stand was "significant" because it was "...a perversion of the democratic process" as he "managed to subvert government policy", making the beginning of a new era where decision-makers had to consider the power of media. He thereafter received the honorific rank and title of pasha in the Ottoman aristocracy. [4], In 1843, Gordon was devastated when his favourite sibling, his sister Emily, died of tuberculosis, writing years later "humanly speaking it changed my life, it was never the same since". [103], Moreover, considerable progress was made in the suppression of the slave trade. [170] Gordon and Wolseley were good friends (Wolseley was one of the people Gordon prayed for every night), and after a meeting with Wolseley at the War Office to discuss the crisis in the Sudan, Gordon left convinced that he had to go to the Sudan to "carry out the work of God". [22] As he travelled to Bessarabia, he commented in his letters home about the richness and fertility of the Romanian countryside, which produced delicious fruits and vegetables in great abundance, and the poverty of the Romanian peasants. It arrived two days after the city had fallen and Gordon had been killed. Orphali was knocked unconscious and did not see Gordon die. Thu 11 Feb 2016 00.30 EST. In March 1896 a French force under the command of Jean-Baptiste Marchand left Dakar with the intention of marching across the Sahara with the aim of destroying the Mahdiyah state. Charles Gordon was born on 28 January 1833, the son of a senior army officer. [12] The Romanian historian Eric Tappe described Gordon as a man who developed his own "very personal peculiar variety of Protestantism". [160], The Egyptian forces in the Sudan were insufficient to cope with the rebels, and the northern government was occupied in the suppression of the Urabi Revolt. He spent a considerable time mapping the Nile as far as Uganda, before being appointed Governor-General of the whole Sudan. "[254], In the People's Republic of China, the entire period between 1839 and 1949 is depicted as the "Century of Humiliation" – a time when 'racist, greedy and evil foreigners' purportedly humiliated and rapaciously exploited the Chinese people. [98] Gordon also clashed with Chaillé-Long, whom he accused of working as an informant for Aiyub Pasha and called him to his face a "regular failure". Before I heard of our defeat I heard of this, and I thought, 'THAT will not pass unavenged'. [145] Somewhat tactlessly, Gordon reminded Gladstone that his father had owned a slave plantation in Jamaica and had been one of those slave-owners compensated by the Crown in 1833 for the freeing of his slaves, a bit of Gladstone family history that the Prime Minister did not like to have discussed. Read our community guidelines in full, General Gordon's Last Stand by George William Joy, General Gordon in Egyptian military uniform, The full painting General Gordon's Last Stand, Coronavirus latest news: Round the clock vaccine centres to be trialled in 10 days, says NHS chief. Battle of Omdurman - Background . [178] Even Wolseley had cause to regret sending Gordon as Gordon revealed himself to be a "loose cannon" whose press statements attacking the Liberal government were "obstructing rather than furthering his plans to take over the Sudan". [39] These requirements led Staveley to choose Gordon. [99] Chaillé-Long in return painted a very unflattering picture of Gordon in his 1884 book The Three Prophets, whom he portrayed as a bully, a raging alcoholic, an incompetent leader and a rank coward. [40], No monuments to Gordon exist in China today, though the British journalist Rob Stallard noted that the modest Gordon would have no doubt wanted it that way. [61] Gordon's father was against his son working in Chinese service, an estrangement that had not been settled at the time of his death, and Gordon felt immense guilt that his father had died before they were reconciled. [211], The Ansar began their final attack by storming the city via the gap in the defence caused by the low Nile and after an hour's fighting, the starving defenders had abandoned the fight and the city was theirs. At Cairo, he received further instructions from Sir Evelyn Baring, and was appointed governor-general with executive powers by the Khedive Tewfik Pasha, who also gave Gordon a firman (edict) ordering him to establish a government in the Sudan, which Gordon was later to use as a reason for staying in Khartoum. [12], Gordon believed in both predestination - writing that "I believe that not a worm is picked up by a bird without the direct intervention of God" - and free will with humans choosing their own fate, writing "I cannot and do not pretend to reconcile the two". I am the successor of God's Prophet and I have no need of any sultanate of Kordofan or anywhere else!". "[206] On 14 December 1884, Gordon wrote the last entry in his diary, which read: "Now MARK THIS, if the Expeditionary Force and I ask for no more than two hundred men, does not come in ten days, the town may fall; and I have done my best for the honour of our country. [205], During November–December 1884, Gordon's diary showed the stressful effects of the siege, as he was in a state of mental exhaustion, a man on the brink of madness. [189] When a Lebanese merchant visited Gordon in the evening, the Ansar began an artillery bombardment, leading the frightened merchant to suggest that perhaps Gordon ought to dim the lights to avoid drawing enemy fire down on the palace. [66] Urban wrote: It is possible that he had sexual feelings for these urchins, but there is no evidence that he ever acted upon them. [239], Charlton Heston played Gordon in the 1966 epic film Khartoum, which deals with the siege of Khartoum. [220] In a sermon, the Bishop of Chichester stated: "Nations who envied our greatness rejoiced now at our weakness and our inability to protect our trusted servant. [108] But the Khedive Isma'il Pasha wrote to him saying that he had promised to return, and that he expected him to keep his word. [189] The merchant recalled Gordon's response: "He called up the guard and gave the orders to shoot me if I moved" and ordered all of the lamps in the palace to be lit up as brightly as possible. [203] About half of the population took up his offer to promptly leave the city. For some years, the Taipings gradually advanced eastwards, but eventually they came close enough to Shanghai to alarm the European inhabitants. I fear that there will be treachery in the garrison, and all will be over by Christmas. [76] The South African minister Dr. Peter Hammond denied that Gordon was a homosexual, citing the numerous statements made by Gordon condemning homosexuality as an abomination, charging that the claim that Gordon was gay was a theory with no foundations in fact. “ Chinese Gordon '' and honours from both the Emperor of China and the stricter measures being considered bears! Under a massive frontal assault risen to 93 million pounds 18 February,... 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