20 DIARY OF PATRICK GORDON. [1655   men with a gallant traine of artillery. It was a most delighttull

20 DIARY OF PATRICK GORDON. [1655 men with a gallant traine of artillery. It was a most delighttull



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


men with a gallant traine of artillery. It was a most delighttull and
brave show, the ruiters being very well momited, and the foot well cloathed
and armed, and above all, the officers in extraordinary good equippage.

[Here the Diary digresses ' from the method of a journal], which,' says the writer, ' I only at
first intended,' into a formal recapituation of 'the reasons whieh the King of Sweden alleadged
for his invadeing of Polland.' It is needless to print this diy catalogue of hollow excuses.
Gordon clearly enough discerns the true motives of the war, in the hold, restless, and ambitious
spirit of Charles Gustavus.]

These were the pretences of the King of Sweden for his invadeing of
Polland. It would be too tedious to mention the Polnish objections and
reasons, and the Swedish replications. But, to tell you briefly, the maine
reason was this. The Swedish King, haveing been bred a souldier, and
haveiug now obtained the crowne, by the resignation of his cousin Queen
Christina, would needs begin his reigne with some notable action. He
knew that the remembrance of the honour and riches obtained by many
cavaliers in the German warrs, under the Swedish conduct, would bring
great confluence of souldiers to him, when it should be knowne that he was
to arme, which, by reason of the late universell peace in Germany, and the
many forces lately disbanded, would be mor easily effectuated. Haveing in
his conceit already formed an army, there was no prince or people, except
Polland, to which he could have the least pretence, (albeit princes, indeed,
never want pretensions to satisfy their ambition, and will have their pre-
tences lookt upon as solid and just reason). Besides, he could never gett
such an occasion, perhaps, as now ; Polland haveing been for some years
tossed by their prevaiUug rebelHous Cosakes, who had not only gott the
Tartars to joyne with them, but had the last year procured the Mosco-
vite to espouse their interest, who, with very great armyes, had made a great
impression in Littau, and, at this time, had brought most of it under his
subjection. He wanted not, also, good intelligence and encouragement from
some of the discontented Polnish nobility ; and [Hieronymus] Radzievsky,
the banished under-chancellour of Polland, added fuell to his ambition ; so
that such a tyrae, accompanyed with such advantages, was not to be omitted.

The Swedish ricksradcs were very forward, and Icvycd three regiments
on their owne expenses. Cromvell also (who was never backward to make
work abroad, that strangers should not have leisure to pry into his designes

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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