GORDON, CHARLES GEORGE (1833-1885, soldier, explorer and colonial administrator)
AN EXTRAORDINARY LETTER FROM ONE OF THE GREATEST AFRICAN EXPLORERS TO ANOTHER OF THEM, mentioning, discussing or alluding to most of the other major figures and some significant events, including the discovery of Livingstone by Stanley and the discovery of the source of the Nile by Grant (who denied Burton his true part in this collaborative venture).
Gordon, having been appointed Governor-General of the Upper Sudan by the Kedive, with orders to pacify the tribes and annex the million square mile area stretching up to the Great Lakes, had written to Burton in June 1877 offering him the Governor-Generalship of Darfur at £1,600 a year ('...Now is the time for you to make your indelible mark in the world and in these countries...'). In a later letter Burton explained his reasons (aside from the smallness of the sum involved): 'You and I are too much alike. I could not serve under you nor you under me.' The post went to Rudolf Carl von Slatin and Gordon retired. The Mahdi took advantage of Slatin's weakness, captured him, forced him to convert to Islam and made him serve as his slave for fourteen years. Six years later the Mahdi took Khartoum and killed Gordon.