16 DIARY OF PATRICK GORDON. [1654   Posna or Posen, of all the cittles in Polland, is the most pleasan

16 DIARY OF PATRICK GORDON. [1654 Posna or Posen, of all the cittles in Polland, is the most pleasan



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


Posna or Posen, of all the cittles in Polland, is the most pleasant, being
very well situated, haveing a wholesome aire, and a moste fertile countrey
round about it. The buildings are all brick, most after the ancient forme, yet
very convenient, especially these lately builded. The market place is spa-
cious, haveing a pleasant fountaine in each corner, the shopps all in rowes, eacli
trade apart, and a stately radthouse. The streets arc large and kept cleaner
as any where else in Polland. It hath on the west side, within the towne, on a
hill, a castle built after the ancient manner, and somequhat decayed. The
river Warta watereth the east side thereof, makeing an iland, which is in-
habited by Germans, most whereof being tawners, giveth the name of the
tawners suburb to it. There is a fair street which leadeth to the thume
eastward, being lialfe a mile in length. The thume is a stately structure.
There are diverse monasteries of both sexes, and several orders, and a vast
cathedrall, which make a stately schow. The suburbs are large and decored
with churches and monasteries. The citty is fortified with a brick wall, yet
very tenable by reason of its v> astiies. But that which surpasseth all, is the
civility of the inhabitants, which is occasioned by its vicinity to Germany,
and the frequent resorting of strangers to the two annuail faires, and every
day allmost: the Polls also, in emulation of the strangers dwelling amongst
them, strive to transcend one another in civility.

The gentleman who brought me along, had his house or lodging in the
Jewes street, where I dined with him ; and after dinner he took me along
to a Skotsnian, called James Lindesay, to whom I had a recommendatory
letter. At first, he was imperiousely inquisitive of my parents, education,
travells, and intentions. I answered to all his demands, with an observant
ingenuity. One passage I cannot forgett, which was this. When, upon
his enquiry, I had told him what my parents names were, he said in a dis-
dainfuU manner : Gordon and Ogilvie ! these are two great claunes, sure you
must be a gentleman ! To which, albeit I knew it to be spoken in derision,
1 answered nothing, but that I hoped I was not the worse for that. How-
ever, afterwards, he was kind enough to me. There I was persuaded by
my countrcymen to stay and wait some good occasion or other of prose-
cuting my jorney.

Dureing my abode in this place, I was kindly entertained by my coun-
trcymen, to witt, Robert Ferquhar, James Ferguson, James Lindesay,
James White, James Watson, and others. I was afterwards, by their re-
commendation, entertained in the suit of a yong nobleman, called Oppalinsky,

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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