1696] DIARY OF PATRICK GORDON. 185   for a just cause is rewarded

1696] DIARY OF PATRICK GORDON. 185 for a just cause is rewarded



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


for a just cause is rewarded, and will be rewarded either in this or the other
world. I wish that my bearing a share of your grieflfe might procure you
ease ; then should you, in a large measure, find allay.

I found myself very much concerned at the misfortunes of the loyall
party, and especially yours for many respects, which moved me, hearing of
your stay at Leyden, to desire these ffriends, who travelled from hence, to
present my due respects to you.

The gentleman, your goodfellow, whom you are pleased to recommend,
shall, upon your account, receive all the kindness and assistance I am capable
of, not doubting but he is a well qualifyed and deserving person.

I shall take it for a great kindnes now and then to have a Hue from you,
when occasion oflfers, which shall alwayes find a joyful! acceptance, and a
returne. I entreat you freely to command,

May it please your Grace,

Your Graces most humble servant,


[By March, Gordon was again advancing upon Azof at the head of about fifteen thousand March,
infantry. He was at Woronesh on the nineteenth of April, when he records his presence ' at a April H).
feast by Generall le Fort, where, with great solemnity, was drank the Usurpator of Great
Brittaine his health, which I refused, and, in place thereof, drank King James his good health.'

The second siege of Azof began in June. The share which Gordon had in it may be told in June,
the words of an eye-witness, his son-in-law, Alexander Gordon of Auchintoul. ' The Czar,'
says this writer, ' considering the great loss of time he had sustained the preceding year, called
a council of war to know the opinion of the generals about the safest and most expeditious
method of becoming masters of the place. Most of them delivered their sentiments in the
common way, by cariying on attacks, making of great breaches, with mines and batteries;
which (they said) would infallibly oblige the Governor to capitulate in the terms of war, or
expect the worst. Then General [Patrick] Gordon, as the oldest general, gave his opinion that
the safest and most expeditious way to become masters of the town, would be to carry on before
them a whole rampart of earth along the front of the town, which, as they advanced, would
hourly increase. By having ten or twelve thousand men night and day at work, said he, we
shall carry and roll as much earth before us, as will not only be sufficient to fill up the fosse,
but will have more over and above than will exceed the height of the town walls ; by which
means, in a few weeks, we shall oblige the enemy to surrender, or we shall bury them alive.
The Czar preferred this opinion, and told them to do as he proposed. So to work they went
with such cheerfulness, that, within the space of five weeks, the fosse was actually full, and the
earth above the height of the ramparts rolling in over them; which obliged the Governor to

2 B

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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