Charles George Gordon (1833-1885) was born in Woolwich on 28 January 1833. He entered the Royal Engineers in 1852, and was promoted after serving in the Chinese War, 1860-1862. He commanded the Chinese forces against the Taipings, 1863-1864, and was Governor of the equatorial provinces of Africa, 1874-1876. Gordon was made Governor-General of the Soudan in 1877, and was the commanding Royal Engineer in Mauritius, 1881-1882. He was made a Major-General in 1882, and became Governor-General of the Soudan in 1884, with responsibility for the evacuation of the country. He was killed by the Mahdi at the siege of Khartoum.
Sir Samuel White Baker (1821-1893), traveller and sportsman, was born on 8 June 1921 in London. He was educated at a private school at Rottingdean, at the College School, Gloucester, and privately at Tottenham, before completing his studies at Frankfurt in 1841. Baker visited Ceylon in 1846 and 1848, and established an English colony at Newera Eliya. He superintended the building of a railway connecting the Danube with the Black Sea in 1859, and travelled in Asia Minor, 1860-1861. In December 1862 Baker embarked on a journey up the Nile. He reached Mbakovia in March 1864, and named the lake there Albert Nyanza. He was knighted in 1866, and that year published an account of his African expedition. He travelled with the Prince of Wales to Egypt and the Nile in 1869, and was appointed Governor-General of the Equatorial Nile basin for four years. He died on 30 December 1893 at Sandford Orleigh, near Newton Abbot.
A letter from King William's Town, South Africa, 21 July 1882 (4 pages), commenting on events in Egypt and on nationalism as a force there and elsewhere. There is an accompanying newscutting of circa 1969 concerning the letter. The folder also includes one of the notes issued by General Gordon during the siege of Khartoum, 1884-1885. The papers are accompanied by 'Royal Commonwealth Society library notes', no. 159 (March 1970), including the article 'General Gordon on nationalism' (pp. 1-3), which transcribes Gordon's letter in full and comments on its background. There is also a letter from R.E.H. Baily, 25 August 1970, presenting the Khartoum note to the R.C.S., and the Librarian's reply, 3 September 1970.
Presented by R.E.H. Baily, 1969.
The R.C.S. Manuscripts Collection includes other material relating to General Gordon, RCMS 16 and 188, and to Sir Samuel Baker, RCMS 113/6-8.
Donald H. Simpson, ed., 'The manuscript catalogue of the library of the Royal Commonwealth Society' (London, 1975), p. 82. Indexed