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Charles G. "Chinese" Gordon
March 21, 1878. Autograph Letter Signed “C.G. Gordon,” one pages, 8.25” x 13”. Cairo, March 21, 1878. To E.M. Wood Esqre CE. Soiled, some words faded, worn at mid-horizontal fold. Good condition.

In full, “In consequence of financial embarrassment of Soudan Government and of the impossibility of being able to carry on the work of the Soudan Railway, with the means, at my disposal, I find myself obliged to discontinue that work and in consequence to dispense with your services. I thank you very much for the manner in which you have performed your duties, and regret much our disposition.”

In October 1873, Gordon was offered the appointment as Governor of Equatoria province in southern Sudan by the Khedive of Egypt, Ismail Pasha. Sudan was an Egyptian colony. With the approval of the British government, he accepted and arrived in Egypt in January 1874. He served as Governor of Equatoria from 1874-1876 and Governor General of the Sudan from 1874-1880. Gordon moved to establish absolute military and civil jurisdiction over the entire country. Returning to Khartoum in January 1878, the Khedive summoned him to Cairo to assist in settling the financial affairs of Egypt. He reached Cairo in March, and was at once appointed by Ismail as President of the Commission of Inquiry into Egyptian finances.

Egypt was in debt to several European nations. Ismail Pasha blamed his country’s problems on lower than expected revenues from the Sudan colony and ordered all non-essential programs in Sudan ended, including the Sudan Railway; Gordon had planned a Cairo-to-Khartoum railway. As he tells Mr. Wood in this letter, Gordon felt “obliged to discontinue that work.” If it had been completed, the Siege of Khartoum might never have occurred; reinforcements would have arrived from Cairo much sooner.

The Khedive did not want the European Commissioners of the Debt, the representatives of the bondholders, as members of the Commission. Gordon accepted the post on these terms, but the consuls-general of the different powers refused to agree to the constitution of the Commission, opposing the wishes of Ismail Pasha. Gordon chaired his first meeting on March 8, 1878. A debt agreement not favorable to Pasha was signed on March 22nd, the day after this letter was written. The Khedive fell into the hands of his creditors, and was deposed the following year in favor of his son, Tewfik.

      [Bookseller: University Archives]
Last Found On: 2017-12-07           Check availability:      Biblio    

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