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PATRICK GORDON (1635–1699)

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Originally appearing in Volume V12, Page 254 of the 1911 Encyclopedia Britannica.
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PATRICK GORDON (1635–1699), Russian general, was descended from a Scottish family ' of Aberdeenshire, who possessed the small estate of Auchleuchries, and were connected with the house of Haddo. He was born in 1635, and after completing his education at the parish schools of Cruden and Ellon, entered, in his fifteenth year, the Jesuit college at Braunsberg, Prussia; but, as " his humour could not endure such a still and strict way of living," he soon resolved to return home. He changed his mind, however, before re-embarking, and after journeying on foot in several parts of Germany, ultimately, in 16J5, enlisted at Hamburg in the Swedish service. In the course of the next five years he served alternately with the Poles and Swedes as he was taken prisoner by either. In 1661, after further experience as a soldier of fortune, he took service in the Russian army under Alexis I., and in 1665 he 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, and in recognition of his services he in 1678 was made major-general, in 1679 was appointed to the chief command at Kiev, and in 1683 was made lieutenant-general. He visited England in 1686, and in 1687 and 1689 took part as quartermaster-general in expeditions against the Crim Tatars in the Crimea, being made full general for his services, in spite of the denunciations of the Greek Church to which, as a heretic, he was exposed. On the breaking out of the revolution in Moscow in 1689, Gordon with the troops he commanded virtually decided events in favour of the tsar Peter I., and against the tsaritsa Sophia. He was therefore during the remainder of his life in high favour with the tsar, who confided to him the command of his capital during his absence from Russia, employed him in organizing his army according to the European system; and latterly raised him to the rank of general-in-chief. He died on the 29th of November 1699. The tsar, who had visited him frequently during his illness, was with him when he died, and with his own hands closed his eyes. General Gordon left behind him a diary of his life, written in English. This is preserved in MS. in the archives of the Russian foreign office. A complete German translation, edited by Dr Maurice Possalt ( Tagebuch des Generals Patrick Gordon) was published, the first volume at Moscow in 1849, the second at St Petersburg in 1851, and the third at St Petersburg in 1853; and Passages from the Diary of General Patrick Gordon of Auchleuchries (1635-1699), was printed, under the editorship of Joseph Robertson, for the Spalding Club, Aberdeen, 1859. GORDON-CUMMING, ROUALEYN GEORGE (1820-1866), Scottish traveller and sportsman, known as the " lion hunter," was born on the 15th of March 182o. He was the second son of Sir William G. Gordon-Cumming, 2nd baronet of Altyre and Gordonstown, Elginshire. From his early years he was distinguished by his passion for sport. He was educated at Eton, and at eighteen joined the East India Co.'s service as a cornet in the Madras Light Cavalry. The climate of India not suiting him, after two years' experience he retired from. the service and returned to Scotland. During his stay in the East he had laid the foundation of his collection of hunting trophies and specimens of natural history. In 1843 he joined the Cape Mounted Rifles, but for the sake of absolute freedom sold out at the end of the year and with an ox wagon and a few native followers set out for the interior. He hunted chiefly in Bechuanaland and the • Limpopo valley, regions then swarming with big game. In 1848 he returned to England. The story of his remarkable exploits is vividly told in his book, Five Years of a Hunter's Life in the Far Interior of South Africa (London, 185o, 3rd ed. 1851). Of this volume, received at first with incredulity by stay-at-home critics, David Livingstone, who furnished Gordon-Cumming with most of his native guides, wrote: " I have no hesitation in saying that Mr Cumming's book conveys a truthful idea of South African hunting " (Missionary Travels, chap. vii.). His collection of hunting trophies was exhibited in London in 1851 at the Great Exhibition, and was illustrated by a lecture delivered by Gordon-Cumming. The collection, known as " The South Africa Museum," was afterwards exhibited in various parts of the country. In 1858 Gordon-Cumming went to live at Fort Augustus on the Caledonian Canal, where the exhibition of his trophies attracted many visitors. He died there on the 24th of March 1866. An abridgment of his book was published in 1856 under the title of The Lion Hunter of South Africa, and in this form was frequently reprinted, a new edition appearing in 1904.
End of Article: PATRICK GORDON (1635–1699)
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