Alfred Egmont Hake

Alfred Egmont Hake (1849–1916) was an English author and social thinker. He became associated with the narrative of Charles George Gordon as a figure of the British Empire, in a fortuitous way.

Early life

Hake was born in Bury St Edmunds, the fourth son of Lucy Bush and Thomas Gordon Hake, a physician. An early friend was William Michael Rossetti, his father being involved professionally with the Rossetti family. He joined the Savile Club in 1878.[1][2]

The General Gordon story

Charles George Gordon was a first cousin of Hake's father, his paternal grandmother Augusta Maria Hake (née Gordon) being Gordon's aunt.[3] In 1884 Hake published The Story of Chinese Gordon.[4] It concentrated on Gordon's role opposing the Taiping Rebellion. It became topical with the Siege of Khartoum launched that year by Mahdist forces. A companion volume Gordon in China and Soudan was published in 1885, and sold well.[5]

While Gordon remained in the besieged city of Khartoum, journals were taken out through the lines; J. Donald Hamill-Stewart, who left in September 1884, had been keeping a journal, a task taken over by Gordon himself from 10 September. What he wrote to 14 December was brought out, and sent to London.[6] Sir Henry William Gordon, Gordon's brother, was entitled to the papers, after Gordon's death on 26 January 1885; and decided that Hake should edit them. On the other hand, the War Office wanted them suppressed. Gordon himself had thought some very personal comments should not be published; while the content included extended attacks on the current Liberal administration of W. E. Gladstone. Sir Henry was apparently unaware of Hake's political sympathies (he was a strong Conservative supporter).[7]

In the end a popular, two-volume edition of Gordon's journal appeared, with Hake as editor, on 25 June 1885. He added an introduction strongly critical of the government's inactivity in supporting Gordon.[8] Sir Henry Gordon required, contractually, that substantial redaction of the text removed a large number of personal references. Heavy criticism of Evelyn Baring remained.[9] Hake took advice from Wilfrid Meynell, and consulted Wilfred Scawen Blunt the Arabist on background.[10]

Hake then lectured on Gordon and the failure of the Liberal government to rescue him in Khartoum, before the 1885 United Kingdom general election.[11] He undertook a tour in England and Scotland, from the late summer to November: the election campaign started on 24 November.[12] The Conservatives supported the tour covertly through Richard Middleton; and finance was provided by Lord Cranborne and his sister, with whom Hake was in contact in October and December.[13]

Later life

Hake edited in 1866 The State, a Conservative weekly; it had a short lifespan.[2][14] He became interested in the economics of free trade, was a critic of the Bank Charter Act 1844, and invented a system of banking; which Oscar Wilde found amusing. He wrote works for the Free Trade in Capital League.[2][15]

Hake died on 8 December 1916 of peripheral neuritis, in the City of London Lunatic Asylum, Stone, Kent.[2]


Hake wrote:

Hake also collaborated with David Christie Murray on novels.[29] He contributed to the Open Review of Arthur Kitson.[30]


In 1879 Hake married Philippa Mary Handley, daughter of Alexander Charles Handley[2]


  • Fergus Nicoll, "Truest History, Struck Off at White Heat": The Politics of Editing Gordon's Khartoum Journals, Journal of Imperial and Commonwealth History, Volume 38, Number 1, March 2010, pp. 21–46(26)


  1. Lee, Sidney, ed. (1901). "Hake, Thomas Gordon" . Dictionary of National Biography (1st supplement). 2. London: Smith, Elder & Co.
  2. Camporesi, Cristiano. "Hake, Alfred Egmont". Oxford Dictionary of National Biography (online ed.). Oxford University Press. doi:10.1093/ref:odnb/75599.(Subscription or UK public library membership required.)
  3. "Bibliography of the Gordons'". National Library of Scotland. p. 130. Retrieved 14 July 2016.
  4. Alfred Egmont Hake; Hugh Craig (1884). The Story of Chinese Gordon. R. Worthington.
  5. Kenneth E. Hendrickson (January 1998). Making Saints: Religion and the Public Image of the British Army, 1809-1885. Fairleigh Dickinson Univ Press. p. 176 note 34. ISBN 978-0-8386-3729-6.
  6. Nicoll, pp. 25–6
  7. Nicoll, p. 26 and pp. 32–3
  8. Nicoll, pp. 32–3
  9. Nicoll, pp. 32–4
  10. Nicoll, p. 36 and p. 41
  11. Berny Sèbe (1 November 2015). Heroic imperialists in Africa: The promotion of British and French colonial heroes, 1870-1939. Manchester University Press. p. 160. ISBN 978-1-5261-0350-5.
  12. Nicoll, p. 42
  13. Nicoll, p. 36 and p. 44 note 94
  14. Nicoll, p. 43 note 77
  15. Oscar Wilde (1962). The letters of Oscar Wilde. R. Hart-Davis. p. 520.
  16. Alfred Egmont Hake (1878). Paris Originals: With Twenty Etchings. C. Kegan Paul & Company.
  17. A. E. Hake; J. G. Lefebre (1884). The New Dance of Death.
  18. Biographical Books. Bowker. 1983. p. 563. ISBN 978-0-8352-1603-6.
  19. "(none)". Whitstable Times and Herne Bay Herald. 12 October 1889. p. 3. Retrieved 14 July 2016 via British Newspaper Archive.
  20. Alfred Egmont Hake; O. E. Wesslau (1890). Free Trade in Capital: Or, Free Competition in the Supply of Capital to Labour, and Its Bearings on the Political and Social Questions of the Day. Remington & Company.
  21. Anthony Howe (1997). Free Trade and Liberal England, 1846-1946. Clarendon Press. p. 192 note 9. ISBN 978-0-19-820146-5.
  22. Charles George Gordon; Forbes Lugard Story (1891). Events in the Taeping Rebellion. W. H. Allen and Company, Limited.
  23. Hake, Alfred Egmont (1892). Suffering London; or, The hygiene, moral, social, and political relations of our voluntary hospitals to society. Internet Archive. London: The Scientific Press, Ltd. Retrieved 14 July 2016 via Internet Archive.
  24. Alfred Egmont Hake (1896). Regeneration: A Reply to Max Nordau. G. P. Putnam's sons.
  25. Andrew Smith (4 September 2004). Victorian Demons: Medicine, Masculinity, and the Gothic at the Fin-de-siècle. Manchester University Press. p. 16. ISBN 978-0-7190-6357-2.
  26. Christian Weikop (1 January 2011). New Perspectives on Brücke Expressionism: Bridging History. Ashgate Publishing, Ltd. p. 208 note 28. ISBN 978-1-4094-1203-8.
  27. S. Karschay (6 January 2015). Degeneration, Normativity and the Gothic at the Fin de Siècle. Palgrave Macmillan UK. p. 169 note 196. ISBN 978-1-137-45033-3.
  28. Alfred Egmont Hake; O. E. Wesslau (1895). The Coming Individualism. A. Constable.
  29. Lee, Sidney, ed. (1912). "Murray, David Christie" . Dictionary of National Biography (2nd supplement). 2. London: Smith, Elder & Co.
  30. Tyler Cowen and Randall Kroszner, The Development of the New Monetary Economics, Journal of Political Economy Vol. 95, No. 3 (Jun., 1987), pp. 567–590, at p. 581 note 35. Published by: The University of Chicago Press. Stable URL:
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