ABDUA 30204 Thomas Gordon of CairnessThe philhellene, Major-General Thomas Gordon of Cairness and Buthlaw, (1788–1841), had a colourful career as a continental soldier and, subsequently, as a historian of great repute.

Following schooling at Eton and Oxford, Gordon embarked on a military career and served in British, Russian and Hanoverian armies. He also travelled extensively in Eastern Europe and visited Athens, Constantinople, Salonika, Asian Turkey, Persia, and Barbary.

Throughout the Greek War of Independence (1821-28) he offered his unwavering support to the Greeks, both from his estate in Aberdeenshire and through active participation on two separate occasions (1821 and 1826-27). After the war, he divided his time between Greece, where he served in the army and reached the rank of major-general, and Scotland, where he wrote his History of the Greek Revolution, 2 vols. (London, and Edinburgh: Blackwood, 1832). He died at his ‘magnificent seat’ of Cairness in 1841.

Gordon’s papers and correspondence form part of the extensive archive of the Gordon Family of Cairness and Buthlaw (MS 1160, MS 2757, and MS 3193). They consist principally of private correspondence relating to the Greek cause, and of material he collected in researching and writing his History.