Dictionary of National Biography, 1885-1900/Leslie, Andrew
LESLIE, ANDREW properly fifth, but sometimes called fourth, Earl of Rothes (d. 1611), was the eldest son of George, fourth earl [q. v.], by his wife, Agnes Somerville, daughter of Sir John Somerville of Cambusnethan, Lanarkshire. His elder half-brothers, Norman Leslie [q. v.] and William, whose legitimacy was doubtful, were involved in the murder of Cardinal Beaton, and declared rebels. The father consequently redeemed the family estates, which had been settled on Norman, and settled them on Andrew. Andrew Leslie had married Grizel, daughter of Sir James Hamilton of Finnart [q. v.], and Buchanan states that the king of France, to secure the support of the Hamiltons for the scheme of marrying the young Princess Mary to his son Francis, secured Andrew's reinstatement in the succession in preference to his brother William. Andrew succeeded to the peerage on the death of his father in 1558, and was served heir on 10 Sept. 1560, apparently because he was really the eldest legitimate son (cf. Reg. Mag. Sig. 1546–80, entries 213 and 1545). The two brothers still claimed the estates, and the dispute was submitted to Queen Mary, who on 15 Jan. 1566 decided that Andrew should enjoy the whole earldom, and that all right and title to it should revert to him on his infefting his brother William in the lands of Cairnie in the Carse of Gowrie. On 3 June 1566 Andrew received a new infeft of the earldom. The earl's claim to succeed his father as sheriff of Fife was opposed by Patrick, lord Lindsay of the Byres, but the Lindsays finally resigned all their claims on 19 April 1575.
Rothes took a prominent part in the proceedings of the lords of the congregation against the queen-regent, Mary of Guise. He was one of those who assembled at Cuparmuir in June 1559 to bar her march to St. Andrews (Knox, i. 351), and he took part in the deliverance of Perth from the French garrison on the 25th of the same month (Cal. State Papers, For. Ser. 1558–9, entry 880). He signed the ratification of the treaty of Berwick (Knox, ii. 53), the contract to ‘defend the liberty of the Evangel’ (ib. p. 63), and the ‘Book of Discipline’ (ib. p. 129). After the return of Queen Mary to Scotland he was chosen a member of the privy council, and in September 1561 the queen stayed for a night at his house at Leslie. Having joined the Earl of Moray and other nobles in opposing the Darnley marriage, he was compelled to take refuge in England. In November 1565 he and others were summoned at the Market Cross of Edinburgh to appear at the parliament in the ensuing February to hear themselves ‘decerned of the crime of lese majestie’ (Reg. P. C. Scotl. i. 409). To defeat the purposes of the queen the murder of Rizzio was therefore resolved on, and Rothes was one of those who signed the band for the murder (Cal. State Papers, For. Ser. 1566–8, entry 162). He returned to Scotland with the Regent Moray at the time of the murder, and took part in the deliberations held immediately afterwards as to the best methods for restricting the power of the queen (Knox, ii. 523–4). After Mary's escape to Dunbar, he and others broke off from the other lords (Bedford and Randolph to the Council, 27 March 1566, in Cal. Hatfield MSS. pt. i. p. 355), and henceforth he was a steadfast supporter of the queen. There is no evidence that he had any connection with the murder of Darnley, but he was a member of the assize which acquitted Bothwell of the murder. He was one of the nobles who assembled at Hamilton in support of Mary after her escape from Lochleven, and fought for her at Langside. It would appear that when Kirkcaldy decided to hold the castle of Edinburgh for her, Rothes proceeded to France to represent her case there; for on 26 March 1570 Sussex informed Cecil that he had returned out of France with assurance of aid from that country (Cal. State Papers, For. Ser. 1569–71, entry 775). On 14 Jan. 1571 he was reported to be in the castle with the captain (ib. 1505), but in August he was won over to the party of Morton (Calderwood, iii. 135). In December 1572 he offered his services as intermediary with Kirkcaldy of Grange to arrange terms for the surrender of the castle (Cal. State Papers, For. Ser. 1572–4, entry 668). The negotiations proved abortive, and Drury believed that Rothes had rather given them encouragement to hold out than advised them to arrange terms (ib. 880); but the privy council on 9 April 1573 declared that in his dealing and treating with the defenders he had throughout acted truly and honourably (Reg. P. C. Scotl. ii. 213). Rothes was concerned in the fall of Morton in 1578, and was one of those who on 15 March 1577–8 waited on him to obtain the delivery of the castle of Edinburgh (Moysie, Memoirs, p. 5). After the agreement of Morton's opponents with Morton at Falkirk, Rothes was nominated with seven other noblemen for the final reconciliation of differences (Reg. P. C. Scotl. iii. 26; Moysie, p. 18). He was one of the assize for the trial of Morton in 1581, and thus incurred the stigma of finding Morton guilty of the murder of Darnley, of which he had formerly found Bothwell innocent. Rothes was one of the noblemen appointed by the king in 1583 to remain with him at St. Andrews after his escape from Falkland (Reg. P. C. Scotl. iii. 576; Moysie, p. 45). At a convention of estates on 7 Dec. he gave in a protest that, although he had with others signed a declaration justifying the raid of Rutliven, he had done so only by the king's command, and not in token of his approbation (Acta Parl. Scot. iii. 331; Reg. P. C. Scotl. iii. 614). He was one of the principal supporters of Arran, and was in the castle of Stirling with the king and Arran in October 1585 when it was seized by the banished nobles. On 27 July 1588 he was appointed a member of a commission for executing the laws against jesuits and papists (ib. iv. 300), and on 31 Oct. 1593 was appointed a member of the commission for the trial of the catholic lords for their connection with the ‘Spanish treason’ (ib. v. 103). He died in 1611.
By his first wife, Lady Grizel Hamilton, he had three sons (James, master of Rothes, who predeceased him; Patrick, commendator of Lindores; and Andrew) and two daughters (Euphemia, married to James, seventh lord Lindsay; and Elizabeth, married first to David, son and heir of Sir John Wemyss, and secondly to James, first earl of Findlater). By his second wife, Jean, daughter of Patrick, lord Rutliven, and relict of Henry, second lord Methuen, he had two daughters: Margaret, married to Sir William Cunningham of Caprington; and Mary, to the first Lord Melville of Raith. By his third wife, Janet, daughter of David Durie of Durie, Fifeshire, he had three sons (George of Newton, died without issue, Sir John of Newton, and Robert) and one daughter (Isabella, married to James, master of Sinclair).
[Histories of Knox, Buchanan, Leslie, and Calderwood; Hist. of James the Sext (Bannatyne Club); Sir James Melville's Memoirs (Bannatyne Club); Lord Herries's Memoirs (Abbotsford Club); Moysie's Memoirs (Bannatyne Club); Cal. State Papers, Scot. Ser. and For. Ser.; Reg. P. C. Scotl. vols. i.–v.; Cal. Hatfield MSS.; Hist. MSS. Comm. 4th Rep.; Colonel Leslie's Historical Records of the Leslie Family, ii. 74–88; Douglas's Scottish Peerage (Wood).]