Reflections in Palestine, 1883.
London, Macmillan, 1884. Duodecimo. Pp. x, (2), 124. Plus 3 lithograph maps on 2 plates, printed in black with additional colour by hand. Sketch illustrations to text. Hardcover, original grey cloth, bit discoloured and marked, printed and decorated in red and black. Chalked forest-green endpapers (bookplate removed from front paste-down), first inner hinge mended. In a very good condition, fine interior, crisp maps.
¶ ~ First edition. British army General Charles George Gordon (1833-85), popularly known as 'Chinese Gordon', served in the Crimean War and in the 1860 expedition to China, where he took part in the capture of Beijing and later commanded the Chinese force against the Taiping Rebellion. Appointed governour of Sudan in 1877, he waged a vigorous campaign against slave traders. He resigned in 1879, and in 1883 travelled to the Holy Land where he remained for a year, devoting his time to the study of Biblical history and of the antiquities of Jerusalem. In 1884 he was called back to service and was sent to the Sudan to defeat the Mahdi. During the campaign he was cut-off and besieged at Khartoum for 10 months. A relief expedition, belatedly dispatched from England, reached the garrison two days after it had been stormed by the Mahdists, who killed Gordon. Gordon's death stirred public indignation and contributed to the collapse of the Gladstone government in 1885. 'Reflections in Palestine' is based on Gordon's observations during his year-long visit to the Holy Land. It was published by his friends while he was posted in Khartoum, shortly before his death. The book is divided into Topographical and Religious sections. In the first, Gordon describes in detail the topography and architecture of some of the major holy places he had visited, while the second part is dedicated to the religious contemplations these places has aroused in him. Lytton Strachey, in 'Eminent Victorians' (1918), writes this wonderful memoir of Gordon: 'During the year 1883, a solitary English gentleman was to be seen, wandering, with a thick book under his arm, in the neighbourhood of Jerusalem. To the friendly inquirer, he would explain that he was engaged in elucidating four questions: the site of the crucifixion; the line of division between the tribes of Benjamin and Judah; the identification of Gibeon; and the position of the Garden of Eden. He was also, he would add, most anxious to discover the spot where the Ark first touched ground, after the subsidence of the Flood: he believed, indeed, that he had solved that problem, as a reference to some passages in the book which he was carrying would show.' OCLC 857424.
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Keywords: Palestine travel travels travellers travelers pilgrims pilgrimages explorers exploration Palästina Palestina Holy Land Jewish Christianity Christendom Christians Israel ancient early Middle East Levant Heiligen Lande Bible Biblical Testament