1686] DIARY OF PATRICK GORDON. 155   Crossing the Black River

1686] DIARY OF PATRICK GORDON. 155 Crossing the Black River



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


Crossing the Black River on a float, wee came tln-ough a litle more August i
pleasant countrey Ibure and a half miles, and dined in Roughs krue, where a
litle church. Then a countrey fall of little pleasant hills, about foure miles.
Wee lodged in a inne, a mile and a halfe short of Niewhausen.

Wee passed by Niewhausen unquestioned, and diued in the towne August i
Petshure, being foure miles, and lodged in Peshky, foure miles.

We came to Plesko, foure miles, about eight a clock, and gave the August i
Governour immediately notice of my comeiug, Avho excused himself from
seeing me this day ; the Govemours name, Kniaz Michael Gregoriovits
Romodauofsky, my old acquaintance.

I dined by the Woywod, and, haveing gott posthorscs and provisions August i
from my old fFriend, the Chancellour, about fyve a clock wee tooke jorney ;
and about fyfteen verst wee supped in a small village, and, travelling all
night, wee came in the morning early to Zagoria.

Getting fresh horses, wee marched and dined, twenty fyve verst fm-ther, August 2
in a village called PutiloAva, and, travelling twelve verst further, wee supped
in the fields ; and then, travelling the whole night about fyfteen verst, wee
crossed the river Shibna.

Wee came fyfteen verst further, and dined in Soltsee ; and, in the even- August 2
ing, comeing to Mpsiaga, fyfteen verst, wee went by boat downe the river
Mpsiaga, and, in the night tyme, had an extraordinary great storme, so
that with much ado wee could gett into a creek, where wee stayed about
fyve houres, untill, being calmer, wee lanched out againe ; and so, with a August 2:
pretty gale, sailed in the lake, and, in the evening, came to the monastery
of St. Georg, where wee lodged. Tliis monastery hath ane abbot, and
seven hundred pawres* to maintaine him and his monkes. Here, hard by,
is the bottomless pitt called Pierun, which was in the heathenish tyme the
tutelar God of this place, and was, by the Christians conjured into this pitt ;
wherein they now cast malefactors, who are lost in it without any notice
what becomes of them ; yet when great raines are, there is water to be seen
in it. By Novogrodt is a monastery, called Pierunsky IMonastery, where
the chiefFe temple of this tutelar god did stand. This lake is called Ilmien,
into which seventy rivers fall, being in breadth in some })laces twenty to
thirty verst, and in length forty, and at last maketh the river Volcha, which
runneth by Novogrod.

* [Boors.]

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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