LES'LEY, or LESLIE, JOIIN (1527-96). A Scotch prelate, statesman, and historian, the natural son of the parish priest of Kingussie, lnverness-shire. He graduated M.A. at King's College, Aberdeen, and in 1547, in his twentieth year, became a canon of Aberdeen Cathedral. In 1549 he went to France, where he studied canon and civil law at the universities of Poitiers and Paris. Ile returned to Scotland in 1554 to take up an appointment as professor of canon law in his alma ntter, and in 1559 he was appointed Canon and Prebendary of Oyne. Ile was a strenuous opponent of Knox and of the introduc tion of Protestantism into Scotland, and was one of the commissioners sent to invite Queen Mary to Scotland; on her accession he became her chief ecclesiastical adviser, and in 1566 was made Abbot of Lindores and in the same year Bishop of Ross. His loyalty to his Queen subjected him to much dangerous intrigue, and after her im prisonment in Bolton Castle, in 1563. be went to plead her cause at the Court of Elizabeth. In 1571 he was imprisoned in the Tower of London for complicity in the projected marriage of Mary to the Duke of Norfolk, for hi.a .hare in the resulting uprisings in the north of England, and for his attempts to secure Spanish intervention.
The confession extorted from him led to Norfolk's execution. In 1573 lie was released by Elizabeth, but was banished from the Kingdom. He went to France, and continued to intercede. but cessfully, for his Queen at various Continental courts until her death. He visited Rome and received several traveling commissions from the Pope. In 1579 he was appointed Suffragan and Vicar-General of the Diocese of Rouen, where in 1591 his efforts in stimulating, the citizens to resist successfully the siege during the Civil War were rewarded by Clement V111., who appointed him Bishop of Contan•es. The disturbed state of the country, however, prevented him from pro ceeding to his see, and he retired to the Augus tinian Monastery of Guirtenburg. near Brus sels, where he died. Be was the author of several Latin and English publications. many of them written in defense of Queen Mary. His most important work is De Origine, Moribus et Rebus Gestis Scotorun; (Rome, 10 vols., 1578), a Latin abridgment in seven volumes of the work of Boethius, with three original volumes in the Scotch dialect, dealing with the period from the death of James I. in 1437 to the return of Queen:. Mary to Scotland in 1561.