[139] After speaking so bluntly, Gordon was ordered out of the court and Beijing, but was allowed to stay at Tianjin. [116] Gordon also promised that those rebels who laid down their arms would not be punished and would all be given jobs in the administration. [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. Gordon started for Cairo in January 1884, accompanied by Lt. Col. J. D. H. Stewart. [175] Gordon immediately confirmed Baring's fears as he started to issue press statements attacking the rebels as "a feeble lot of stinking Dervishes" and demanded he be allowed to "smash up the Mahdi". [102] Gordon's attempts to establish an Egyptian garrison in the Buganda had been stymied by the cunning Mueteesa, who forced the Egyptians to build their fort at his capital of Lubaga, making the 140 or so Egyptian soldiers his virtual hostages. [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. "[189], At another point, a death-obsessed Gordon wrote in his diary: "Better a bullet to the brain than to flicker out unheeded". [12], To block the French, a British force under Herbert Kitchener was sent to destroy the Mahdiyah state and annihilated the Ansar at the Battle of Omdurman in 1898. [12][204] In the same month, Gordon received a letter from the Mahdi offering safe passage out of Khartoum: "We have written to you to go back to your country...I repeat to you the words of Allah, Do not destroy yourself. Around the base is an inscription referring to Gordon as a soldier, philanthropist and administrator and mentions those parts of the world in which he served, closing with a quotation from his last letter to his sisters: "I am quite happy, thank God! Located in the town centre of his birthplace of Woolwich is General Gordon Square, formerly known as General Gordon Place until a major urban landscaped area was developed and the road name changed. Nutting's book was noteworthy as the first book to argue that Gordon had a death wish. There was an imperialist "ultra" faction in the War Office led by Wolseley that felt that the Liberal government were too inclined to withdraw from various places all over the globe at the first sign of trouble, and who were determined to sabotage the withdrawal from the Sudan. [78], In October 1871, he was appointed British representative on the international commission to maintain the navigation of the mouth of the River Danube, with headquarters at Galatz. In early 1884 Gordon was sent to Khartoum with instructions to secure the evacuation of loyal soldiers and civilians and to depart with them. If there is anything that I admire nearly as much as the superb scholarship of Zeng Guofan, it is the military qualities of this fine officer. [90], Typical of the men that Khedive Isma'il Pasha hired was Valentine Baker, a British Army officer dishonorably discharged after being convicted of raping a young woman he been asked to chaperon. The Egyptian Prime Minister opened negotiations for Gordon to serve under the Ottoman Khedive, Isma'il Pasha, who was popularly called "Isma'il the Magnificent" on the account of his lavish spending. No; the conscience of the nation felt that a strain rested upon it". [192], Gladstone was opposed to hanging onto the Sudan, saying in a speech in the House of Commons that sending a relief force to Khartoum would be "a war of conquest against a people struggling to be free. Wolseley had earlier served in Canada where he had commanded the Red River expedition of 1870, during which time he gained considerable respect for the skills of French-Canadian voyageurs, and now insisted he could not travel up the Nile without the voyageurs to assist his men as river pilots and boatmen. The city was defended by an Egyptian garrison under British General Charles Gordon. [194] Gordon's armoured steamers continued to sail in and out of Khartoum with little difficulty for the first six months of the siege, and it was not until September 1884 that the armoured steamers first had trouble reaching the city. Gordon, who once said to a Roman Catholic priest that "the church is like the British Army, one army but many regiments", never aligned himself with or became a member of any church. [70] Gordon's parents expected him to marry and were disappointed in his lifelong bachelorhood. In October 1880 Gordon paid a two-week visit to Ireland, landing at Cork and travelling over much of the island. [39] Unlike Ward and Burgevine, Gordon realised that the network of canals and rivers that divided the Chinese countryside were not obstacles blocking an advance, but were rather "arteries" for allowing an advance as Gordon decided to move his men and supplies via the waterways. [104] Gordon wrote in a letter to his sister about the Africans living a "life of fear and misery", but in spite of the "utter misery" of Equatoria that "I like this work". An expedition was sent up the White Nile, under Sir Samuel Baker, which reached Khartoum in February 1870 and Gondokoro in June 1871. [172], Gladstone felt that this was a deft political move. [203] However, Faught wrote that there was a fundamental difference between Gordon and the Mahdi In that Gordon never tried to convert the Muslims of the Sudan to Christianity whereas the Mahdi was an "Islamic extremist" who believed he would establish a worldwide caliphate, looking forward to the day when he would "see the world bow before him". [174], After arriving in Khartoum, Gordon announced that on the grounds of honour, he would not evacuate Khartoum, but rather, would hold the city against the Mahdi. 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". [84] With over half of Egypt's income going to pay the 7% interest on the debt worth 81 million Egyptian pounds that Isma'il had run up, the khedive was supportive of Gordon's plans for reform, but unable to do very much as he lacked the money to pay his civil servants and soldiers in Egypt, much less in the Sudan. I am coming. [17] Gordon spent much time in "the Quarries", as the British called their section of the trenches facing Sevastopol. Critics said Gladstone had neglected military affairs and had not acted promptly enough to save the besieged Gordon. [195], To keep up morale, Gordon had a military band perform concerts in the central plaza every Friday and Sunday evenings for free, and cast his own decorations for his men. Gladstone, Britain's Prime Minister at the time feared it would bring down his government. [81], Gordon was promoted to colonel on 16 February 1872. Goodbye, C. G. [97], Gordon established a close rapport with the African peoples of Equatoria such as the Nuer and Dinka, who had long suffered from the activity of Arab slave traders, and who naturally supported Gordon's efforts to stamp out the slave trade. The insurgents were numerous, and he saw that diplomacy had a better chance of success. [183] At one point, Gordon suggested in a telegram to Gladstone that the notoriously corrupt Ottoman Sultan Abdul-Hamid II could be bribed into sending 3,000 Ottoman troops for the relief of Khartoum and if the British government was unwilling and/or unable to pay that amount, he was certain that either Pope Leo XIII or a group of American millionaires would be. The matter ended with Gordon's imprisonment and transfer to Massawa. Matters then remained quiet until March 1877, when Gordon proceeded to Massawa, hoping to make peace with the Abyssinians. [250] Like Strachey, Beatty found Gordon a ridiculous figure, but unlike Strachey who had nothing but contempt for Gordon, Beatty's approach was a compassionate one, arguing that Gordon's many acts of charity and self-sacrifice were attempts to love others since he was unable to love himself. [194], During this time, Gordon, when he was not organising the besieged garrison with incredible energy, spent his time writing a somewhat rambling diary containing his reflections on the siege, life, fate and his own intense, idiosyncratic version of Protestantism. [60], During his time at Gravesend, Gordon was much involved in charity work, trying to ensure that homeless boys he found begging on the street did not go hungry while attempting to find them homes and jobs. The Mahdi had given strict orders to his three Khalifas not to kill Gordon. [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. [187] The Cabinet itself was divided and confused about just what to do about the Sudan crisis, leading to a highly dysfunctional style of decision-making. [202] The defences Gordon had built with lines of earthwork, mines, and barbed wire presented the Ansar with much difficulty and their attempts to storm Khartoum failed, but the Ansar made good use of their Krupp artillery to gradually batter down the defences. During his time in London, he was approached by Sir William Mackinnon, an enterprising Scots ship owner who had gone into partnership with King Leopold II of the Belgians with the aim of creating a chartered company that would conquer central Africa, and wished to employ Gordon as their agent in Africa. At Tamai on 13 March 1884, Graham was attacked by the Haddendowa (whom the British disparagingly called "Fuzzy Wuzzies") whom he defeated, but in the course of the battle, the Haddendowa broke the Black Watch square, an action later celebrated in the Kipling poem "Fuzzy-Wuzzy". Bitterly Gordon wrote in his diary: "It is impossible to have any more words with Mohammed Achmed, only lead. I want no further satisfaction than this". [174] In his biography of Gordon, Anthony Nutting wrote Gordon was obsessed with "the ever-present, constantly repeated desire for martyrdom and for that glorious immortality in union with God and away from the wretchedness of life on this earth". [187] The British had decided to abandon the Sudan, but it was clear that Gordon had other plans, and the public increasingly called for a relief expedition. [121] As Zobeir had broken his oath to the khedive by rebelling, Gordon had given Gessi orders to execute Zobeir, and so later that day Gessi had Zobeir and his men publicly beheaded as an example of what happened to those who broke their oaths. In all the cities of Egypt it will be felt that what the Mahdi has done they may do; and, as he has driven out the intruder, they may do the same. Only when public pressure to act had become irresistible did the government, with reluctance, send a relief force. Thank you. [58], The traders of Shanghai offered Gordon huge sums of money to thank him for his work commanding the Ever Victorious Army. [227] On 16 October 1885, the structure was unveiled; it comprises a stone base on which there are four polished red Aberdeen granite columns, about twenty feet high. Jiading, northwest suburb of present Shanghai, Qingpu and other towns were occupied, and the area was fairly cleared of rebels by the end of 1862.[35]. Please share your thoughts about this post! I have little doubt of our having pre-existed; and that also in the time of our pre-existence we were actively employed. [85] The languages of Khedive's court were Turkish and French, not Arabic. [219], The failure to rescue General Gordon's force in Sudan was a major blow to Prime Minister Gladstone's popularity. After Gordon resigned, Muhammad Rauf Pasha succeeded him as governor general of Sudan. [218] The massacre was finally halted by orders of the Mahdi. [150] Before settling out on a trip to mediate the end of the civil war in Basutoland, Gordon met with Cecil Rhodes in Cape Town to seek his advice. [208], A particular aspect of Gordon's personality that stood out was his death wish as everyone who knew him was convinced that he wanted to die. [194] On 5 August 1884, the House of Commons voted to send the relief force with a budget of £300,000. [20], For his services in the Crimea, he received the Crimean war medal and clasp. [101], Besides acting as an administrator and explorer, Gordon had to act as a diplomat, dealing carefully with Muteesa I, the kabaka (king) of the Buganda who ruled most of what is today southern Uganda, a man who did not welcome the Egyptian expansion into the Great Lakes region. In 1904 it was moved to Khartoum, where it stood at the intersection of Gordon Avenue and Victoria Avenue, 200 metres south of the new palace that had been built in 1899. [211] The Ansar took no prisoners and all of the approximately 7,000 defenders were killed. [201] The Pall Mall Gazette in a front page leader wrote that Gordon stood "out in clear relief against the Eastern sky. [93] The other force for law and order were the much feared bashi-bazouks, irregulars who were not paid a salary, but were expected to support themselves by looting. [119], In March 1879, Gessi had inflicted a sharp defeat on Zobeir even before Gordon had joined him to pursue their old enemy. [221], Many biographies have been written of Gordon, most of them of a highly hagiographic nature. [99], Gordon, despite his position as an official in the Ottoman Empire, found the Ottoman-Egyptian system of rule inherently oppressive and cruel, coming into increasing conflict with the very system he was supposed to uphold, later stating about his time in the Sudan, "I taught the natives they had a right to exist". [251] Nutting noted that Gordon had often recklessly exposed himself to Russian fire while fighting in the Crimea and stated he hoped to die in battle against the Russians before leaving for the Crimea. I have a splendid camel-none like it; it flies along and quite astonishes the Arabs". [122], In March 1880, Gordon recovered for a couple of weeks in the Hotel du Faucon in Lausanne, 3 Rue St Pierre, famous for its views on Lake Geneva and because several celebrities had stayed there, such as Giuseppe Garibaldi, one of Gordon's heroes,[123] and possibly one of the reasons Gordon had chosen this hotel. What this almost certainly meant was that Gordon had unresolved homosexual inclinations which, like Kitchener, but unlike Rhodes, he kept savagely repressed. [51], A furious Gordon wrote that executing POWs was "stupid", writing "if faith had been kept, there would have been no more fighting as every town would have given in". [30] In 1860 Gordon volunteered to serve in China, in the Second Opium War. As a sapper, Gordon had to map out the Russian fortifications at the city-fortress of Sevastopol designed by the famous Russian military engineer Eduard Totleben, a highly dangerous job that frequently put him under enemy fire, and led him to being wounded for the first time when a Russian sniper put a bullet into him. [88] As part of his Westernisation programme, Isma'il often hired Westerners to work in his government both in Egypt and in the Sudan. Ever since the realisation of the sacrament, I have been turned upside down". [27] Gordon continued surveying, marking off the boundary into Asia Minor. Asher concludes: "He did not save the country from invasion or disaster, but among the British heroes of all ages, there is perhaps no other who stands out so prominently as an individualist, a man ready to die for his principles. [221] Wolseley, who had been led to believe that his expedition was the initial phase of the British conquest of the Sudan, was furious, and in a telegram to Queen Victoria contemptuously called Gladstone "...the tradesman who has become a politician". Orphali was knocked unconscious and did not see Gordon die. [17], On 18 June 1855, the besieging British and French armies began what was intended to be the final assault that would take Sevastopol, which began with a huge bombardment. [84] Gordon's reforming zeal made him popular with the ordinary people of the Sudan. 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". 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. [241], For the six months after the British public learned of Gordon's death, newspapers and journals published hundreds of articles celebrating Gordon as a "saint". His favourite books were The Imitation of Christ by Thomas à Kempis, Christ Mystical by Joseph Hall and the poem The Dream of Gerontius by John Henry Newman. [10] The sappers were an elite who performed the "reconnaissance work, led storming parties, demolished obstacles in assaults, carried out rear-guard actions in retreats and other hazardous tasks. "[242], Such was the popularity of Gordon that the first critical book by a British author was not published until 1908, when Baring – by this time raised to the peerage as Viscount Cromer – published his autobiography, which was notable as the first British book to portray Gordon in an unflattering manner, though Lord Cromer also tried to be fair and emphasised what he felt were Gordon's positive, as well as his negative, traits. Khartoum. It was removed in 1943. [157] He accepted and returned to London to make preparations, but soon after his arrival the British requested that he proceed immediately to the Sudan, where the situation had deteriorated badly after his departure—another revolt had arisen, led by the self-proclaimed Mahdi, Mohammed Ahmed. When Gordon first arrived at the city of Galatz (modern Galați, Romania) in the Ottoman protectorate of Moldavia, he called the city "very dusty and not desirable at all as a place of residence". [197] Some of the "voyageurs" who arrived in Egypt turned out to be lawyers led by an alderman from Toronto who wanted to see "the fun" of war and were useless as boatmen. [46] One British officer serving with the Ever Victorious Army described Gordon at this time as: "a light-built, wiry, middle-sized man, of about thirty two years of age, in the undress uniform of the Royal Engineers. [138] At one point during a meeting with the Council of Ministers, an enraged Gordon picked up a Chinese-English dictionary, looked up the word idiocy, and then pointed at the equivalent Chinese word 白痴 with one hand while pointing at the ministers with the other. As a sapper, Gordon was in a front line trench where he was under intense fire, men fell all around him and he was forced to take cover so often that he was covered literally from head to toe with mud and blood. [91] John Russell, the son of the famous war correspondent William Howard Russell, was another European recruited to serve on Gordon's staff. [171] Gladstone had gone to his estate at Hawarden to recover from an illness and thus was not present at the meeting on 18 January where Gordon was given the Sudan command, but he was under the impression that Gordon's mission was advisory whereas the four ministers present at the meeting had given Gordon the impression that his mission was executive in nature. The Khedive's great dream was to make Egypt culturally a part of Europe, and he spent huge sums of money attempting to modernise and Westernise Egypt, in the process going very deeply into debt.
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