Major-General George "Chinese" Gordon died on January 26, 1885 during the Mahdi revolt in Khartoum, Sudan. Although he was an evangelical Christian, and therefore presumably the "Romish" doctrine of Purgatory would be anathema to him, a copy of Blessed John Henry Newman's poem The Dream of Gerontius was found among his belongings, with pencilled annotations in the margins. Newman had written the poem in 1865 and when he heard of Gordon's death he had been following the campaigns in the Sudan and was stunned that his poem would have accompanied such a man in his last days. Gordon wrote: 'Pray for me, O my friends... Prepare to meet thy God... Use well the interval... Now that the hour is come, my fear is fled'.
News that the great hero Gordon had admired this poem made Newman's work very popular, like the ultimate recommendation.
William Gladstone, a staunch Anglican, also admired Newman's poem, comparing it even to Dante's Divine Comedy!