George Maxwell Gordon M.A., F.R.G.S.
The Pilgrim Missionary of the Punjab. A history of his life and work
1839 — 1880 by the Rev. Arthur Lewis, M.A. (1888) (pdf)
I FEEL that some apology
is due from me to the Public for venturing to put before them the
following Memoir. A few words of explanation may not perhaps be out of
When I was in England in 1885-86, the question was put to me more than
once, "Is there any biography of Mr. Gordon published?" On my answering
in the negative, surprise was expressed that this was the case, as well
as the opinion that the facts of such a life as his was, ought not to be
lost to the Christian Church. These sentiments were so entirely at one
with my own, that I represented the matter to some of the leaders of the
Church Missionary Society in Salisbury Square. There I only met with the
suggestion, "Why do not you write it? There is no one else who is likely
to undertake it."
Under these circumstances, although keenly alive to my own
insufficiency, I resolved to make the attempt, rather than that no one
should do so. Accordingly. I made application to Mr. Gordon's brother,
Colonel E. S. Gordon, R.A., who was then at Woolwich, to ascertain
whether he or any members of his family would object to my compiling a
Memoir; and in the event of their approval, whether any material, such
as journals, letters, etc., could be placed at my disposal.
I desire here to express my warm thanks to Colonel Gordon for seconding
my efforts, and giving me all papers that were in his possession, and
supplying information as far as he was able. I learned from him that,
soon after Mr. Gordon's death, one of his cousins had formed the design
of publishing a Memoir; but after a short time he abandoned it, in the
belief that there was not enough written material to form a foundation.
This was discouraging, but, nevertheless, I resolved to see what could
be done. Letters of request to the various Church Papers brought in a
certain amount of information, and I take this opportunity of thanking
all those who sent me answers to them. But my thanks are especially due
to Mrs. Corsble, and to Mr. James C. Parker, of the London City Mission,
without whose aid anything like a consecutive account of Mr. Gordon's
life would have been an impossibility.
After all documents had been collected, however, there was not
one-fourth of what I had expected. This, added to my own incompetency as
a compiler, must be the only apology that I can offer for the omissions
of the following pages. Thankful should I have been if a more skilled
pen than mine, in the hands of a pioneer of the Gospel, who could boast
an earlier and longer connection with the subject of this volume, had
sketched with realism the scenes in a life worthy to be an example to
Missionaries and Soldiers of the Cross for all ages to come.
Arthur Lewis, M.A., C.M.S.
Derá Gházi Khán,
March 21, 1888.