44 DIARY OF PATRICK GORDON. [1661 show, being environed with a stone wall, with many towers.
Passages from the diary of General Patrick Gordon of Auchleuchries : A.D. 1635-A.D. 1699"
44 DIARY OF PATRICK GORDON. [1661
show, being environed with a stone wall, with many towers. Here are
many churches and • monasteries, some whereof have three, some fyve
steeples or towers, whereon are round globes of six, eight, or ten fathomes
circumference, which being covered with white iron or plate, and thereon
great crosses covered with the same, make a great and pleasant show. One
of these globes, being the biggest, is overgilt.
This citty was a free principality in former tymes, and had suffered
many changes, untill subdued by Tzaar Ivan Vasiliovits, anno Domini
1509 who sent most of the principall inhabitans to Mosko, and returned
colonies of Moskovites in their places. It hath since rebelled diverse tymes,
and as often reduced. It hath held out diverse sieges of the 8weds and
Polls. It had freedome of coyning of money. The Bweds and Lubeckers
have their houses of traffick without the towne, on the other side of the
river Vellka Reka, or the great river, which some versts below the towne
falleth into the lake Peipus, and so to Narva, below which it emptyeth itself
into the sea. This citty is distant from Riga and Velikij Lukij sixty
Polonian miles ; and from Novogrod thirty six.
Here I perceived the low rate of the copper money ; and finding every-
thing so deare, and the extraordinary morosnes of the people, I was almost
at my wits end with vexation. Here one William Hay, who was lately
come fi-om Scotland, came to us and made one of our company to Mosco.
Haveiug lodged in the towne, which stunk with nastines, and was no
wise answerable to the glorious show it hath afarr of, and our expectation,
wee breakfasted with Madam Hayes, who furnished us also with plenty of
provisions upon the way. Wee tooke jorney through a pleasant wooddy
countrey, the particular description whereof I thought not worthy of my
paines, nor had the patience, being out of conceit with the people, to take
notices of the places of their habitations. Being come to a large village
called Solnitsa, sending our horses by land, wee went in boats down the
river Solona into the lake Ilmen, and so to Novogrod.
The lake Ilmen is twelve miles or sixty verst broad, and eighteen
Polonian miles or nynety verst long, receiveth about seventy small rivers,
and letteth out one called Volcha, which, running by Novogrod, falleth in
the lake Ladoga, a himdred and eighty verst, or thirty-six Polonian miles
below the citty. The principall rivers which fall into this lake are Solona,
Lowat, Mpsiaga, etc. The towne of Novogrod, called the Great, haveing
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.