Page:A biographical dictionary of eminent Scotsmen, vol 6.djvu/44

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414 JOHN LESLIE.


Romish faith, and appeared on lli.it side in the famous disputation at Edinburgh in 15GO. When it was resolved to bring over the young queen from France to assume the government of her native country, Leslie was the chief deputy sent to her by the catholics to gain her exclusive favour for that party ; but though he had the dexterity to arrive before the protestant deputation, he was not suc- cessful. Leslie, however, returned to Scotland in the queen's company, and was appointed by her a privy councillor and one of the senators of the college of justice. In 1564 the abbey of Lindores was conferred upon him, and he was soon after promoted to the bishopric of Ross ; offices catholic in form, but which now referred to little more than certain temporalities to which they con- ferred a title. Leslie was one of the sixteen commissioners appointed in this reign to revise the Scottish laws, and it was chiefly owing to his care that the volume of the acts of parliament, usually called the Black Acts, from its being printed in the old English character, was given to the world in the year 1566. The name of the bishop of Ross derives its chief lustre from the steadfastness and zeal with which he adhered to the fortunes of his royal mistress, after they had experienced the remarkable reverse which is well known to have befallen them. When Mary had become an almost' hopeless captive in England, this amiable prelate, at the hazard of all his temporal enjoyments, continued to ad- here to her, and to exert himself in her behalf, with a fidelity which would have adorned any cause. He was one of her commissioners at the conference of York in 1568 ; on which occasion he defended her with a strength of reason- ing, which is allowed to have produced a great impression, though it did not de- cide the argument in her favour. He afterwards appeared as her ambassador at the court of Elizabeth, to complain of the injustice done to her ; and if the English princess had not been a party interested in the detention of his mistress, his solicitations could have hardly failed of effect. When he found that entrea- ties and appeals to justice were of no avail, he contrived means for the escape of the queen, and planned the project for her marriage to the duke of Norfolk, which ended in the execution of that unfortunate nobleman. Leslie was ex- amined in reference to this plot, and notwithstanding his privileges as an am- bassador, which he vainly pleaded, was committed prisoner, first to the isle of Ely, and afterwards to the tower of London. It appears to have been during this confinement, that he wrote the historical work by which his name is now chiefly known. In 1573 he was liberated from prison, but only to be banished from England. He then employed himself for two years in soliciting the interfer- ence of the continental princes in behalf of his mistress, but without obtaining for her any active assistance. Even with the pope, whom he requested to use his influence with these princes, he met with no better success. While at Rome, he published his history in Latin, under the title of " De Origine, Moribus, et Rebus Gestis Scotorum." This appeared in 1 578: next year, having removed to France, he was made suffragan and vicar-general of the archbishopric of Rouen, in Normandy, and while visiting the diocese, was apprehended and thrown into prison, and obliged to pay three thousand pistoles, to prevent his being given up to Elizabeth. During the remainder of the reign of Henry III., he lived un- molested ; but on the accession of the protestant Henry IV., who was the strict ally of Elizabeth, he fell again into trouble. In the course of his visitation of the diocese in 1590, he was once more thrown into prison, and forced to purchase his freedom at the same expense as before. In 1593 he was made bishop of Constance, but being now apparently tired of life, which for many years had presented only disappointments and vexations, he soon after retired into a monastery at Gurtenburg, about two miles from Brussels, where he spent the re- mainder of his days in tranquillity. He died, May 31st, 1596, and lies buried