Dictionary of National Biography, 1885-1900/Leslie, William (1657-1727)

LESLIE, WILLIAM (1657–1727), bishop of Laybach in Styria, born in 1657, was the second son of William Leslie, fifth laird of Warthill, Aberdeenshire, by his wife Anne, daughter of James Elphinstone of Glack, and grand-niece of William Elphinstone [q. v.], bishop of Aberdeen. He went at the age of eleven with his elder brother to King's College, Aberdeen, and on leaving the university he was for a time parish schoolmaster of Chapel of Garioch, near his father's property. In 1684 he removed to Padua for purposes of study. There he became a Roman catholic and took holy orders. Cardinal Barbarigo appointed him professor of theology at Padua. He had relatives in Austria, the Counts Leslie, and he went to help them in the management of their affairs. Through their influence he became in 1716 bishop of Waitzen in Hungary. He soon won high favour with the emperor, who in 1718 procured his translation to the more important see of Laybach, an appointment which carried with it the dignities of metropolitan of Carniola and prince of the Holy Roman Empire. He was also a privy councillor to the emperor. In 1725 he sent home to Scotland, to his brother, his portrait and his diploma from the university of Padua, relics still preserved at Warthill, along with some interesting letters describing his prosperity. In one of these (July 1725) he speaks of Scotland as ‘the Land of Cakes.’ He died in 1727.

[Leslie's Hist. Records of the Family of Leslie (1869); Fasti Aberdonenses.]

J. C.