In the Lands of the Romanovs: An Annotated Bibliography of First-hand English-language Accounts of the Russian Empire (1613-1917)/Reigns of the First Romanovs (1613-1682)

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1. REIGNS OF THE FIRST ROMANOVS: MIKHAIL FEDOROVICH (1613-1645), ALEKSEI MIKHAILOVICH (1645-1676), and FEDOR ALEKSEEVICH (1676-1682)[edit | edit source]

Fig. 29 Mikhail Fedorovich, first tsar of the house of Romanov (n.d.), artist unknown.
Fig. 30 Aleksei Mikhailovich (n.d.), artist unknown. Hermitage Museum, St Petersburg.
Fig. 31 Fedor Alekseevich (1685), by Ivan Saltanov, Erofei Elin and Luka Smolianov. The Moscow Kremlin.
A1[edit | edit source]

Gourdon, William, ‘Later observations of William Gourdon, in his wintering at Pustozera, in the yeares 1614, and 1615, with a description of the Samoyeds life’. In Samuel Purchas, Hakluytus posthumus or Purchas his pilgrimes, contayning a history of the world, in sea voyages & lande trauells, by Englishmen & others. London: for Henry Fetherston, 1625. 4 vols.

The notes by a Hull pilot in the service of the Muscovy Company on a journey to the Pechora and Ob rivers in 1611 (also published in Purchas) pre-date the accession of the first Romanov, but between 20 November 1614 and 21 August 1615, when he set sail for Holland, Gourdon was again in the area (vol. III, pp. 255-65).

A2[edit | edit source]

Tradescant, John, ‘A viage of ambassod, undertaken by the right honorable Dudlie Diggs in the year 1618’. In Joseph Hamel, England and Russia comprising the voyages of John Tradescant the elder, Sir Hugh Willoughby, Richard Chancellor, Nelson, and others to the White Sea. Translated by John Studdy Leigh. London: Richard Bentley, 1854. xii+422pp.

Extracts, with interpolated commentary by Hamel, from the manuscript diary of the gardener and botanist Tradescant the elder (d. 1638), who joined Sir Dudley Digges’s embassy which reached the Dvina and Archangel in July 1618. Tradescant stayed in the area, collecting and describing wildlife and botanical specimens, until setting out again for England on 5 August (pp. 258-81).

A3[edit | edit source]

Beauplan, Guillaume Le Vasseur, de, ‘A description of Ukraine, containing several provinces of the kingdom of Poland, lying between the confines of Muscovy, and the borders of Transylvania. Together with their customs, manner of life, and how they manage their wars’. Written in French by the sieur de Beauplan. In A collection of voyages and travels, some now first printed from original manuscripts. Others translated out of foreign languages, and now first publish’d in English. London: for Awnsham and John Churchill, 1704. 4 vols. [See also Guillaume Le Vasseur, sieur de Beauplan, A description of Ukraine. Introduction, translation, and notes by Andrew B. Pernal and Dennis F. Essar. Cambridge, Mass.: Harvard University Press, 1993. cxiv+242pp.]

The fruit of a seventeen-year residence in the Polish-Lithuanian commonwealth from 1630 by the French engineer and cartographer Beauplan (1600?-75) and the first comprehensive account of Ukraine, first published in Rouen in 1651 but translated from the 1660 edition (vol. I, pp. 571-610).

A4[edit | edit source]

Olearius, Adam, The voyages & travels of the ambassadors sent by Frederick Duke of Holstein, to the Great Duke of Muscovy, and the King of Persia, begun in the year M.DC.XXXIII and finish’d in M.DC.XXXIX; containing a compleat history of Muscovy, Tartary, Persia, and other adjacent countries, with several publick transactions reaching neer the present times. Faithfully rendered into English [from the German] by John Davies. London: Thomas Dring and John Starkey, 1662. xxii+424pp. [See also The travels of Olearius in seventeenth-century Russia. Translated and edited by Samuel H. Baron. Stanford: Stanford University Press, 1967. xviii+349pp.]

Highly influential account by Olearius (or Oelschlager) (1603-71), the scholarly German secretary to successive embassies sent by Duke of Holstein to the tsar of Russia and the shah of Persia to negotiate trade agreements. The first embassy travelled from Lübeck via Riga to Moscow in 1633 and returned in April 1635 (pp. 1-32). The second in 1636 went via Moscow to Astrakhan and on to Persia from where it returned in 1639 (Muscovy, pp. 3-170). First published in Schleswig in 1647, the work went into numerous editions. Most translations including the English were from the second expanded edition of 1656.

A5[edit | edit source]

Paul of Aleppo, The travels of Macarius, patriarch of Antioch. Written by his attendant archdeacon, Paul of Aleppo, in Arabic. Translated by F.C. Belfour. London: printed for the Oriental Translation Committee and sold by John Murray, 1829-36. 2 vols.

Paul (ff.1654-66) accompanied his father on extensive travels that began in Aleppo in July 1652 and took them through Ukraine before arriving in Moscow in January 1655. They then journeyed to Novgorod in August 1655 before returning to Moscow in September. They finally left the Russian capital in May 1656, making their way via Kiev to Moldavia (vol. I, pp. 163-421; II, pp. 1-316).

A6[edit | edit source]

[Collins, Samuel], The present state of Russia, in a letter to a friend at London; written by an eminent person residing at the great Tzars court at Mosco for the space of nine years. London: Dorman Newman, 1671. xxii+144pp.

Dr Collins (1619-70), Essex-born and educated in Cambridge and Padua, served in 1660-69 as physician to Tsar Aleksei Mikhailovich. His posthumously published book was seemingly composed of letters (rather than a single letter) he sent from Moscow to the eminent scientist Robert Boyle.

A7[edit | edit source]

Gordon, Patrick, Passages from the diary of General Patrick Gordon of Auchleuchries, A.D 1635-A.D. 1699. Edited by Joseph Robertson. Aberdeen: the Spalding Club, 1859. xxxvi+244pp.

The Scottish mercenary Gordon (1635-99) served in the Swedish and Polish armies before entering Russian service in 1661 and, despite periodic attempts to resign, remained until his death, rising to the rank of general. Introduced to Peter I in 1686, he became a close friend and confidant of the tsar and was responsible for suppressing the Streltsy revolt during Peter’s absence in Europe (pp. 40-193).

A8[edit | edit source]

Gordon, Patrick, Diary of General Patrick Gordon of Auchleuchries, 1635-1699. Edited by Dmitry Fedosov. Aberdeen: AHRC Centre for Irish and Scottish Studies, 2009-. Vol. II: 1659-1667 (2010).

The second volume of this on-going transcription of Gordon’s extensive diaries that are preserved in the State Archive of Military History in Moscow covers the period 1659-67 that includes the first seven years of his Russian service (pp. 134-281).

A9[edit | edit source]

Miège, Guy, A relation of three embassies from his Sacred Majestie Charles II, to the Great Duke of Muscovie, the King of Sweden, and the King of Denmark. Performed by the right hoble Earl of Carlisle, in the years 1663 & 1664. Written by an attendant on the embassies and published with his Lps approbation. London: John Starkey, 1669. 461pp.

Introduction signed “G.M.” Miège (1644-1718), Swiss-born attendant to Charles Howard, Earl of Carlisle, on his embassy to Russia, Sweden and Denmark to negotiate trade agreements. The embassy (including as the earl’s private secretary the poet Andrew Marvell) left England on 22 July 1663 and arrived in Archangel on 19 August, then proceeded via Vologda to Moscow. They departed the following year, travelling via Novgorod to Riga, where they arrived on 3 August 1664 (pp. 23-330).

A10[edit | edit source]

Struys, Jan Janszoon, The voiages and travels of John Struys through Italy, Greece, Muscovy, Tartary, Media, Persia, East. India, Japan and other countries in Europe, Africa, and Asia. London: Abel Swalle, 1684. xix+387pp.

The last of the three voyages of the Dutch adventurer (d. 1694), described in the preface as “this accurate and painfull traveller”, took him in September 1668 as a sailmaker on an expedition from Holland to Riga and then to Moscow via Novgorod, before departing down the Volga to Astrakhan and a meeting with Stenka Razin in September 1669 (pp. 113-206). The book ends with the narrative of the expedition’s leader, Captain David Butler, from Ispahan, 6 March 1671 (pp. 364-78).

A11[edit | edit source]

‘English Factor’, A narrative of the greatest victory known in memory of man: being the total overthrow of the great rebel Stepan Radzin, with his army of one hundred thousand men, by the grand gzar [sic] of Russia, and his renowned general Dolerucko. Written by an English factor, from the port of Moskow. London: printed by J.C. for Nath. Crouch, 1671. 5pp.

Dated Moscow 15 February 1670/71 and allegedly written by a factor or merchant’s agent, it is a largely make-believe account of the defeat of Razin by the voevoda Iurii Dolgorukii on 13 February, but the first to be published in England.

A12[edit | edit source]

[Anon.], A relation concerning the particulars of the rebellion lately raised in Muscovy by Stenko Razin; its rise, progress, and stop; together with the manner of taking that rebel, the sentence of death passed upon him, and the execution of the same. London: printed by Tho. Newcomb, 1672. 30pp.

Dated Archangel 13/23 September 1671 on board Queen Esther, this document, “published by authority”, is considered to be have been composed by an eye witness of at least some of the events, including Razin’s execution on 6 June 1671. There were German and Dutch versions published in 1671.

A13[edit | edit source]

La Martinière, Pierre Martin de, A new voyage into the northern countries being a discription of the manners, customs, superstition, buildings, and habits of the Norwegians, Laponians, Kilops, Borandians, Siberians, Samojedes, Zemblans and Islanders. London: John Starkey, 1674. viii+153pp.

La Martinière (1634-90), a French employee of a Danish trading company, sailed c.1670 to Norway, before reaching the sea of Murmansk and travelling through the northern regions of Muscovy into Siberia (pp. 42-128).
A14[edit | edit source]

[La Martinière, Pierre Martin de], A new voyage to the north: containing a full account of Norway; the Laplands, both Danish, Swedish and Muscovite; of Borandia, Siberia, Samojedia, Zembla and Iseland: with the description of the religion and customs of these several nations. To which is added, a particular relation of the court of the czar, of the religion and customs of the Muscovites; and a short history of Muscovy, as it was taken by a French gentleman who resided there many years. Written by Monsieur ***, employ’d by the company of merchants, trading to the North from Copenhagen. Now done into English. London: Thomas Hodgson and Anthony Barker, 1706. xiv+258pp.

A new translation of La Martinière’s superficial observations, greatly enlarged by much better written but extraneous material (pp. 97-201), allegedly supplied by one of the foreign exiles he had met in Siberia (pp. 22-258).

A15[edit | edit source]

Chardin, John, The travels of Sir John Chardin into Persia and the East Indies. The first volume, containing the author’s voyage from Paris to Ispahan. To which is added, the coronation of this present king of Persia, Solyman the Third. London: Moses Pitt, 1686. xiv+417+ix+154pp.

The Huguenot jeweller Sir John (Jean) Chardin (1643-1713), born in France but dying in London, left Paris on 17 August 1671 on a journey to Persia that ended in June 1673 and took him across the Caucasus to Tiflis in Georgia and thence to Erevan in Armenia (Georgia, pp. 165-245). The translation from his French original (also published in 1686) was done under his close scrutiny.

A16[edit | edit source]

Spathary, Nikolai Gavrilovich, ‘Mission to China’. In John F. Baddeley, Russia, Mongolia, China, being some record of the relations between them from the beginning of the XVth century to the death of Tsar Alexei Mikhailovich A.D. 1602-1676, rendered mainly in the form of narratives dictated or written by the envoys sent by the Russian tsars, or their voevodas in Siberia to the Kalmuck and Mongol khans & princes; and to the emperors of China; with introductions, historical and geographical, also a series of maps, showing the progress of geographical knowledge in regard to northern Asia during the XVIth, XVIIth, & early XVIIIth centuries, the texts taken more especially from manuscripts in the Moscow Foreign Office archives. London: Macmillan and Co., 1919. 2 vols.

Spathary (Nicolae Milescu, 1638-1708), a Moldavian scholar, arrived at the court of Aleksei in 1671 and worked as an interpreter in the Posolskii prikaz (Foreign Office). He was appointed chief of a mission to China that left Moscow on 3 March 1675 and travelled through Siberia. They reached the Chinese border in January 1676 and were to remain in Pekin until September. They arrived back in Moscow in the summer of 1677 after a long stay in Selenginsk. There are considerable gaps in Spathary’s account, which begins in Tobolsk and ends in Selenginsk (vol. II, pp. 237-84, 420-22).

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