13 July 2016
GORDON, Charles George, General (1833-1885). Autograph manuscript signed (‘C.G. Gordon’), ‘Eden, and its two sacramental trees’, proposing a site for the Garden of Eden on the island of Praslin, Seychelles, 26 February 1882.
With two watercolour sketch maps. 10 pages in total, folio (323 x 200mm) (losses to the paper, most notably the maps, generally at folds). Laid down. Provenance: Ray Rawlins (1917-1979) collection.
Having identified to the west of the Seychelles a deep basin, into which flow the four rivers specified in Genesis as marking the Garden of Eden - the Euphrates, Hiddekel, Pison and Gihon - Gordon moves on to the two ‘sacramental trees’ that identify the Seychelles as the site of the Garden: the Coco de Mer, which he posits as the Tree of Knowledge - a ‘curious tree in every way, unique among its kind & among trees’, with a nut ‘like a belly with thighs’ - and the ‘life supporting tree’, the Bread Fruit Tree or Tree of Life. That the Coco de Mer is indigenous to the island leads him to conclude ‘I believe Praslin is the site of Garden of Eden’, before he continuing on the subject of the Fall. An ardent Christian, Gordon's position in command of the Royal Engineers in Mauritius from 1881-2 allowed him to pursue his investigation of the lost site of the Garden; just two years after this posting, Gordon would return to the Sudan, meeting his death in 1885.
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