1667] DIARY OF PATRICK GORDON. 97   storme, wee could not gett over to Embden

1667] DIARY OF PATRICK GORDON. 97 storme, wee could not gett over to Embden



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


storme, wee could not gett over to Embden as I intended, so stayed all

night here. I againe let my self be perswaded to go to sea againc, the

people there assuring me that, in three or four dayes, I would gett to Ham-

borg, which I could not do by land, and that, whither there be wind or no,

the vessels could go over the Watten, as they call them, which is a passage

betwixt small islands and the firnic land. Wee went aboard of a small February 26.

vessel, and passed by a small island called Bandt, haveing Borkum and

Juist, two bigger islands, further off. So, haveing the countrey ' of East February 27.

Frieslands on our right, we passed by the island Northerny on the left,

and, in the night, by the illand Baltring, then by the illands Langeroeg, February 28.

Spikeroog, to Wangeroog, whither wee came the first of March, haveing, March i.

with great impatience, endured a slow and tedious voyage, for want of good " *^

wind, so that I often perswaded the master of the ship to take out to sea,

which he excused for want of ballast.

The wind blowing exceeding cross, wee were forced to stay here at
anchor till the fifth, when, about midday, wee set saile, bidding adicw to the
wast, sandy, barren illand, where nothing but some poor fisher cottages, and
ane alehouse.

Wee sailed in company of sixty or seventy small wessels, with a pretty
gale, by the gulfe or bay, and the river lada. A litlc further, the seamen
told us of a drowned illand and castle called Mellum, hy the mouth of the
liver Weser. Then, casting about, wee came, with a pretty favourable gale,
to the mouth of the river Elbe, and up the river some miles. Towards
evening, wee perceived a huge tempest comeing downe the river, encreasing
so darke and black as at midnight, which put us in no small feare, and the
rather seeing some vessells, which kept us company hither, putting out to
sea againe, which our master seeing, would needs follow, but I would not per-
mitt him, telling him that when I desired him in fair weather to put out to
sea, he would not for want of ballast, and now how thought he to be able to
keep sea in a storme without ballast ? He proveing obstinate, I told him he
must choyce either to run a shore or ride it out at anchor, which last, with
great reluctancy, he choiced. So haveing notice of new cables and anchors in
the hold, with the help of my servants and passengers, wee haled them out,
much against the skippers will, who told me he would complaine upon me
in Hamborg, and fastened all so well as wee could. And, seeing raontaines
of ice comeing downe the river upon us, wee provided our selves of long

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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