Skip to main content

Letter from General Gordon to Sir Samuel Baker, 1882 - 1969

Reference Code: GBR/0115/RCS/RCMS 113/11

Scope and Contents

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.


  • Creation: 1882 - 1969


Conditions Governing Access

From the Fonds:

Unless restrictions apply, the collection is open for consultation by researchers using the Manuscripts Reading Room at Cambridge University Library. For further details on conditions governing access please contact Information about opening hours and obtaining a Cambridge University Library reader's ticket is available from the Library's website (

Biographical / Historical

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.


1 folder(s) (1 folder) : paper

Language of Materials


Former / Other Reference

MSS 42

Other Finding Aids

Donald H. Simpson, ed., 'The manuscript catalogue of the library of the Royal Commonwealth Society' (London, 1975), p. 82.

Immediate Source of Acquisition

Presented by R.E.H. Baily, 1969.

Related Materials

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.


This collection level description was created by RAS using information from Donald Simpson's R.C.S. catalogue. The biographical history was compiled with reference to the entry on Sir Samuel Baker in Sidney Lee, ed., 'Dictionary of national biography', vol. XXII (London, 1909), pp. 101-105.


Gordon, Charles George, 1833-1885, Major General

Finding aid date

2004-01-16 15:01:39+00:00

Includes index.

Repository Details

Part of the Cambridge University Library Repository

Cambridge University Library
West Road
Cambridge CB3 9DR United Kingdom