Lesley, John

Lesley, John a very celebrated Scotch prelate, was born in 1527, and was educated in the University of Aberdeen. In 1547 he was made canon of the cathedral church of Aberdeen and Murray, and after this he traveled into France, and, pursuing his studies in the universities of Toulouse, Poitiers, and Paris, finally took the degree of doctor of laws. He continued abroad till 1554, when he was commanded home by the queen regent, and made official and vicar general of the diocese of Aberdeen; and, entering into the priesthood, he became parson of Une. About this time, the Reformed doctrine, beginning to spread in Scotland, was zealously opposed by Lesley; and at a solemn dispute between the Protestants and Papists, held in 1560 at Edinburgh, Lesley was a principal champion on the side of the latter. However, this was so far from putting an end to the divisions that they daily increased, and, occasioning many disturbances and commotions, both parties agreed to invite home the queen, who was then absent in France. On this errand Lesley was employed by the Roman Catholics, and made such dispatch that he came to Vitri, where queen Mary was then lamenting the death of her husband, the king of France, several days before lord James Stuart, sent by the Protestants. Having delivered to her his credentials, he told her majesty of lord James Stuart's mission, and actually succeeded in persuading her to embark with him for Scotland. Immediately upon his arrival home he was appointed senator to the College of Justice and a privy councilor, and a short time after was presented with the living of Lundores, and, upon the death of Sinclair, was made bishop of Koss. While in this position he took a prominent part in the civil as well as ecclesiastical affairs of his country, and secured to the Scots what are commonly called "the black acts of Parliament" (1566). During the flight of queen Mary to England he defended her cause against the Covenanters. In 1579 he was made suffragan bishop and vicar general of Rouen, in Normandy, and, after persecution and imprisonment, died in 1596. His writings are not of particular interest to theological students. See Allibone, Dict. of British and American Authors, vol. 2. s.v.; Collier, Eccl. Hist. of England (see Index, vol. 8).

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