1661] DIARY OF PATRICK GORDON. 47   good earnest to consider how I might ridd myself of this countrey

1661] DIARY OF PATRICK GORDON. 47 good earnest to consider how I might ridd myself of this countrey



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


good earnest to consider how I might ridd myself of this countrey, so farr
short of my exspectation, and disagreeing witli my humour. For, liaveing
served in such a countrey, and amongst such peopk% where strangers had
great respect and were in a great reputation, and even more trust as the
natives themselves ; and where a free passage, for all deserving persons, lav
open to all honour, military and eivill ; and where, in short tyme, by good
husbandry and industry, an estate might he gained ; and, in marrying, no
scruple or difference was made betwixt the natives and strangers whei'cbv
many have attained to great fortunes, governemcuts, and other honourable
and profitable connnands; as indigenation, also, being usually conferred on
wellqualifycd and deserving persons ; where a dejected conntenance or sub-
missive behaviour is noted for cowardice and faintheartedncs, and a con-
fident, majestick, yet unaffected, comportment for virtuons geuerositv • the
peoples hio;h mindednes being accompanied and qualifycd with courteousnes
and affability, wherein, meeting with the lyke humours, they contend for
transandeney. Whereas, on the contrary, I perceived strangers to be
looked upon as a company of hirelings, and, at the best (as they say of
women) but necessaria mala ; no honours or dei;rees of preferment to be
exspected here but military, and that with a limited connuand, in the attain-
ing whereof a good mediator or mediatrix, and a piece of money or other
bribe, is more availeable as the merit or sufficiency of the person ; a fjiint
heart under faire plumes, and a cuckoe in gay cloths, being as ordinary
here as a counterfeited or painted visage ; no marrying with natives,
strangers being looked upon by the best sort as scarcely Christians, and by
the plebeyans as meer pagans ; no indigenation without ejeration of the
former religion and embvaceing theirs ; the people beinnj morose and niggard,
and yet overweening and valuing themselves above all other nations ; and
the worst of all, the pay snuill, and in a base copper coyne, which passed at
foure to one of silver, so that I foresaw an impossibility of subsistance, let
be of em-iching my self, as I was made belecve I should, befor I came from
Polland. These, and many other reasons were but too sufficient to setle
my self for disengagcing my self of this place. The only difficulty was, how
to attainc to it, which troubled me very nuich ; every one, of whom I asked
advice, alleadging it impossible. However I resolved to try and not to take
any of their money, albeit I had irottcn at Plesko and Novoi^rod some for
expenses on the way.

Hearing that the Boyar was to stay a weeke out of the citty. T resolved

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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