T h e Government were in such a precipitate hurry to get Gordon off to the Sudan that his official instructions do not appear to have been read by him until his ship was ploughing through the Mediterranean. He had them in his pocket when he left London. They are dated 18 th January. It appears, nevertheless, that they had reached him as he was leaving for the railway station. They read :—
“ Her Majesty’s Government are desirous that you should proceed at once to Suakin to report to them on the military situation in the Sudan, and on the measures which it may be advisable to take for the security of the Egyptian garrisons still holding positions in that country, and for the safety of the European population in Khartoum.