Charles G. Gordon

Gordon, Charles G.

known as "Chinese Gordon", "Gordon Pasha", and "Gordon of Khartoum", British Army officer and administrator (1833-1885). Autograph letter signed. Khartoum, Sudan. Folio. 4 pp. on 4 ff.
$ 10,832 / 9.500 € (76249/BN48911)

An important letter on the construction of an overland telegraph line through Africa, to the telegraphic engineer Samuel Canning (1823-1908), a pioneer in submarine telegraphy. Writing while serving as governor-general of the Sudan and engaged in the suppressing of the slave trade and the improvement of communications in the region, Gordon acknowledges the receipt of a letter from Canning on the construction of an overland telegraph line through Africa, and a Royal Geographical Society pamphlet on the same subject: "You ask me if I would recommend to the Egyptian Government, a convention, with a Company, on the basis of the terms alluded to by Mr.

Geigler (and Geigler Pasha). I presume you want my outspoken opinion [...] A Company for any such work requires some certain advantages. They do not enter into a scheme like this for love of the Negro or for exploration purposes. Therefore, let me ask you, do you think, even if Egypt made the line up to Uganda, from the north, could the Company make the line up to Uganda, from the south. Even if you did make the line, are you sure of keeping it safe, except with an armed force [...] I doubt entirely, in spite of all the explorers have written, that you could do either one or the other without an armed force. The explorers say this king will do this or that, but they have only the words to go on [...] I am to recommend to the Egyptian Govt. with respect to the extension of the Egyptian line, to Uganda. I would support this extension on the terms which Geigler Pasha has mentioned [...] I should wish to see a lot of penal clauses put in which might bring in the Egyptian Govt. the reproaches of the Counsel General [...] I would prefer the following scheme, which would not compromise Egypt: 1. that the Company should take all receipts for a term of - years, from Khartoum southward, and vice-versa, allowing the Egyptian officials [...] to telegraph free, from stations in Egyptian territory. 2. that the Egyptian Govt. should supply half the cost of labour [...] By this means, Egypt would avoid any chance of interference, by the Company, of by the Counsel General [...] There is no doubt that if the line from the South up to Uganda is not made, then the line from Khartoum to Uganda could be of no use [...]". - Some spotting..

buy now

Gordon, Charles G.

known as "Chinese Gordon", "Gordon Pasha", and "Gordon of Khartoum", British Army officer and administrator (1833-1885). 11 autograph letters signed. Khartoum, Korosko, Cairo and Shaka. Mostly 8vo. Altogether 24½ pp. on 20 ff.
$ 20,524 / 18.000 € (76518/BN49388)

Eleven letters to J. H. Gooding in Wadi Halfa, who was employed on the construction of the railway. The letters show with great clarity the problems of building the railway. The first letter, dated 1 February, informs the recipient that his position was, reluctantly, going to become redundant due to lack of funds and large budget deficit: "We have no money to carry on the Railway to which the Sudan has contributed 75000£ this year, and for which we require still 18000£ to pay outstanding debts.

Under these circumstances I would be glad to dispense with your services paying up all arrears and whatever may be due to you in your contract for your return passage, but I do not like to do so unless Mr Jansen consents […]". - The third letter dated 23 March begins, "The works on the Sudan Railway must come to a close" and goes on to detail the reduction of staff and all other matters of saving costs. The fifth letter, dated 18 September, concludes, "The slave trade is giving me a lot of trouble". The sixth letter, dated 15th October, he is seeking to have the river mapped for a possible steamer service (being much cheaper than the railway). The postscript reads: "Directly I have money, I will see to your pay". The seventh letter, dated 15th November is very long, with a plan map of the river, he is seeking the possibility of passing some of the rapids and more questions with regard to the state of the railway. The other letter, dated 16 November concerns developing the project to run steamers along the stretch of river between Khartoum and Amara. The tenth letter concludes defeat of the railway project which was to be replaced by Haddens railway from Wadi Halfa to Amara and then use steamers on to Khartoum. The final letter includes the comment: "We are now dealing the death blow to the slave trade [...]". - Most letters were sent from Khartoum and there are three envelopes (2 stampless and one with stamp removed). A fascinating insight into this ill fated project due to lack of financial support from both Sudan and Egypt..

buy now