xviii PREFACE. wlien the news of the battle of the Boyne reached him at Moscow
Passages from the diary of General Patrick Gordon of Auchleuchries : A.D. 1635-A.D. 1699"
wlien the news of the battle of the Boyne reached him at Moscow,
' I am sorry from my heart that his Majesty did not, when I was
in Scotland, lay his commands upon me to stay there. Then might
I at this time have given proofs of my loyalty and what I can do.'^°
We may well believe that the hand which crushed the Strelitzes
would have been heavy upon the Cameronians ; it may be that the
walls of Derry would have fallen before the conqueror of Asof ; and
the ready counsel and daring acts which twice saved the throne
of Peter the Great might have upheld the rule even of King James
The editor has not had the advantage of access to General
Gordon's family papers, if indeed there now be any in Scotland.
But he has printed in an Appendix such notices of the ' goodmen'^'
of Auchleuchries, and their bleak homestead, as he was able to
collect from the public records, and from private charter chests.
Although no ' laird,' and but what would have been called a
' yeoman' in England, Gordon was well descended on both sides.
Through his mother (from whom, it would seem, he had his nurture
=»P. 170. p. 583.) Mr. Riddell has shown that
^' ' And this remembers me,' says the ' goodman' was used in England, after the
Lord Advocate of King Charles II., 'of a middle of the seventeenth century, as
custom in Scotland, which is but gone lately synonymous with ' yeoman.' — (Peerage and
in desuetude, and that is, that such as did Consistorial Law of Scotland, vol. ii. pp.
hold their lands of the Prince were called 980, 981.)
Lairds, but such as held their lands of a Auchleuchries, of old a part of the barony
subject, though they were large, and their of Belhelvie, and, in the seventeenth century,
superior very noble, were only called Good- adependency of the barony of Ardendraught,
men, from the old French word bonne "was held by the Gordons of the Earls of
homme. which was the title of master of the Erroll, for a yearly rent or feu-duty of eleven
family.' — (Science of Heraldry, book i. chap. pounds Scots. — (Appendix, no. 57, p. 213.)
ii. ; Sir George Mackenzie's Works, vol. ii.
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.