Page:A biographical dictionary of eminent Scotsmen, vol 6.djvu/39

From Wikisource
Jump to navigation Jump to search
This page needs to be proofread.


GEORGE LESLEY. 4.09


discover that certain bulls prohibited the reception of newly converted heretics. The ingenuity of his friend, Ange, attempted to relieve him from this dilemma. It was represented that there was a rational distinction betwixt heretics in a catholic country, and the children of Huguenots, who had no means of knowing the true faith. The distinction, however, was not satisfactory to the general of the order, and Lesley formed the bold design of bursting into the papal pre- sence, and enforcing his request When the youth lifted up his adoring eyes, to look at the countenance of the vicegerent of God, the whole chamber beamed with a dazzling light, more luminous than the sun, the brighter rays of light be- ing there accumulated to form a tiara for the majesty of the sacred head. A phenomenon which we are confidentially assured by the biographer, always at- tends the pontifical presence, although it is not often visible to the naked eye. By the intervention of the pope, he was received into the order, and became a capuchin, and assuming the ecclesiastical name of Archangel, he preached with edification. Twenty years had elapsed since his departure from Scotland, when his mother, hearing that he had disgraced his family by joining a fraternity of beggars, at first (according to the charitable presumption of the archbishop), wished to assassinate him, but preferred the more humane alternative of sending her second son, the baron of Torry, to convert him. It would be tedious to tell how the brothers met, and how the reverse of what was expected took place, by the baron joining the true faith, and both forming a project for the conversion of their mother, and the other inhabitants of Scotland. The baron was the first to return to Scotland, and accident soon revealed the change in his faith ; in the mean time Lesley was chosen capuchin preacher at the court of Mary of Medicis, queen regent of France, and on the institution of the college de propa- ganda fide, by Gregory XV., he was appointed papal emissary to Scotland, to procure the restoration of that lost land to the true faith, at the same time ac- cepting the additional situation of interpreter to the Spanish ambassador in Eng- land. Lesley, or as his biographer at this period commonly terms him, Arch- angel, wrote a letter to his mother, which with much discretion he delivered himself. He was received with considerable cold politeness, and entertained in the castle ; where, however, he could not eat his dinner in peace from being compelled to sit beside a heretic clergyman, who pocketed 300 crowns annually for teaching the doctrines of damnation, to whom, says his author, whenever he turned his eyes, he thought the banquet assumed the aspect of a funeral meal. Archangel kept his secret about six days, when a remark which he made con- nected with a change in the establishment, proved him not to be a stranger, and he was compelled to make himself known. The rejoicings at this event can scarcely be described in words. The old lady received thousands of visits of congratulation, the fame of the event reached even to Aberdeen (about twenty- five miles), fires of rejoicing were lighted up on the castle of Monymusk, 4 and the inhabitants of the town 5 discharged- culverins and let off* sky-rockets. He com- menced a vigorous discharge of the duties of his mission ; he led the people to an adjoining mountain, where he had not been preaching half a quarter of an hour, when the people shuddered, changed colour, and knelt at his feet, he converted 4000 to the true faith in eight months. He now naturally turned his eyes towards the salvation of his mother, to which he was resolved to make his way through the heretical priest. The reverend gentleman at first declined any discussion, but he was at length compelled to come to issue. He was asked what was the denomination of his peculiar faith, and with much simplicity an-

4 The castle of Monymusk is a neat old Flemish building, which would make a rather dimi- native modern mansion.

The hamlet of Monymusk contains about 50 inhabitants.

III. 3F