12 DIARY OF PATRICK GORDON. [1653   to tell me, that it would be nyne or ten monetlis ere I should fynd

12 DIARY OF PATRICK GORDON. [1653 to tell me, that it would be nyne or ten monetlis ere I should fynd



Passages from the diary of General Patrick Gordon of Auchleuchries : A.D. 1635-A.D. 1699"


to tell me, that it would be nyne or ten monetlis ere I should fynd an occa-
sion by sea to Scotland ; to travell by land would be very expensive, and
to stay there no lesse. But findeing me averse to engage my self, and reso-
lute to returne home, they left off, and told me I had best travell up to
Polland, where I might, one way or another, passe the ensuing winter, and
then take what course I thouglit fittest in the spring ; and that there was a
countreyman and namesake of mine liveing in a towne called Culm, about
twenty miles off, who was a very civill man, and would be very glad of my
company ; which counsell I embraced, and desired their assistance in findeing
an occasion thither.

The next day, I was informed of a flatt-botomed vcssell, ordinarily called
skute, which was to returne to Swets, a mile from Culm ; which way of travel-
ling, albeit longsome and irkesome, yet because cheape, I willingly choosed.
So upon a Tuesday, . . - . August, haveiug contented my landlady for
my dyet and lodging, being very favourably used, I walked to tlie vessell,
wherein I was to travell ; and about two houres befor sunsett, haveing all
ready, wee sett forward. This, as I said before, was a flatt-bottomed
vessell, which is so made because of the many shallow places in tlie river
Vistula. It was <xbout fyfty or sixty ordinary paces in length, and breadth
conforme. There were fifteen or twenty Polles, or rather Rnsses, in the
boat, who could not speak a word Dutch ; only he who had the command of
them could speak a litle. I took up my lodgeing in the most convenient
place I could find, being in the open part of the boat, being guarded from
the raine by the long hanging cover of the cabiue. Here was no hopes of
any exercise but lying and sitting, there being no convenience for walking,
only where the steerman's place was, which was very cumbersome. My
best pastime was my booke ; only sometimes I went on land and walked a
good pace befor, going in now and then to some boures house or another,
wher I bought milk. I had very litle pleasure, for, the most part of the
way ; the Vistula being hemmed and kept in with great dammes on either
side, which hinder the prospect of the countrey, only the toppes of the houses
and trees were to be seen.

About foure miles, being so much by water, and three by land, wee
passed by a towne, on our right hand, called Dirshaw, lying on a high
ground, and fortified with walles. A mile and a halfe below this towne the
Vistula divideth, one arme going for Dantzick, another falleth into the Frish
Haffe. The point at the division, called Dantziker Ilooft, hath been diverse

Gordon was brought up and remained a lifelong Roman Catholic, at a time when the Church was being persecuted in Scotland. At age of fifteen, he entered the Jesuit college at Braunsberg, East Prussia, then part of Poland. In 1661, after many years experiences as a soldier of fortune, he joined the Russian army under Tsar Aleksei I, and in 1665 was sent on a special mission to England. After his return, he distinguished himself in several wars against the Turks and Tatars in southern Russia. In recognition of his service he was promoted to major-general in 1678, was appointed to the high command at Kiev in 1679, and in 1683 was made lieutenant-general. In 1687 and 1689 he took part in expeditions against the Tatars in the Crimea, being made a full general. Later in 1689, a revolution broke out in Moscow, and with the troops under his command, Gordon virtually decided events in favor of Peter the Great against the Regent, Tsarevna Sophia Alekseyevna. Consequently, he was for the remainder of his life in high favor with the Tsar, who confided to him the command of his capital during his absence from Russia. In 1696, Gordon's design of a "moveable rampart" played a key role in helping the Russians take Azov. One of Gordon's convinced the Tsars to establish the first Roman Catholic church and school in Muscovy, of which he remained the main benefactor and headed the Catholic community in Russia until his death. For his services his second son James, brigadier of the Russian army, was created Count of the Holy Roman Empire in 1701. At the end of his life the Tsar, who had visited Gordon frequently during his illness, was with him when he died, and with his own hands closed his eyes. General Gordon left behind him a uniquely detailed diary of his life and times, written in English. This is preserved in manuscript in the Russian State Military Archive in Moscow. Passages from the Diary of General Patrick Gordon of Auchleuchries (1635–1699) was printed, under the editorship of Joseph Robertson, for the Spalding Club, at Aberdeen, Scotland, 1859.



1635 - 1699


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