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LEASK, WILLIAM (1812–1884), dissenting divine, born in England in 1812 of humble parents, was largely self-educated. Converted in his sixteenth year he subsequently obtained employment as a clerk in Edinburgh, and became a Sunday-school teacher, an agitator against the established kirk in the Scottish secession movement, and an occasional preacher. Having married he returned to England about 1839, and after serving his apprenticeship as a lay evangelist entered the congregationalist ministry. His first charge was at Dover, whence in 1846 he removed to Kennington (Esher Street). There he remained until 1857, when he removed to Ware, Hertfordshire, which he exchanged for Kingsland (Maberly Chapel) in 1865. He was for a time one of the editors of the 'Christian Examiner.' contributed to the short-lived 'Universe.' edited the 'Christian Weekly News ' until it gave place to the 'Christian World.' and was a frequent contributor to the last named journal. He also edited for about a year the 'Christian Times' (1864), and for two years (1864–5) the 'Rainbow.' a magazine specially devoted to propagating millenarianism and the Lockeian heresy of conditional immortality. He was an honorary D.D. of an American university. He died 6 Nov. 1884, and was buried in Abney Park cemetery.

Besides sermons, lectures, and other trifles, Leask published: 1. 'The Hall of Vision, a Poem in Three Books, to which is added a Letter to an Infidel.' Manchester, 1838, 12 mo. 2. 'Philosophical Lectures.' Dover, 1846, 12mo. 3. 'The Evidences of Grace, or the Christian Character delineated,' 1846, 12mo. 4. 'The Footsteps of Messiah: a Review of Passages in the History of Jesus Christ,' 1847, 8vo. 5. 'The Great Redemption: an Essay on the Mediatorial System.' 1849, 8vo. 6. 'Views from Calvary.' 1849, 16mo. 7. 'The Last Enemy and Sure Defence.' 1850, 16mo. 8. 'The Tried Christian, a Book of Consolation for the Afflicted.' 1851, 12mo. 9. 'The Beauties of the Bible; an Argument for Inspiration.' 1852, 8vo. 10. 'Moral Portraits, or Tests of Character.' 1852, 12mo. 11. 'Lays of the Future.' 1853, 8vo. 12. 'Struggles for Life; or, the Autobiography of a Dissenting Minister.' 1854, 8vo; 2nd edit. 1864, 8vo. 13. 'Character, and how to test it.' 1855, 8vo. 14. 'The Two Lights' (a didactic story), 1856, 8vo; 2nd edit. 1859, 12mo. 15. 'Happy Years at Hand; Outlines of the Coming Theocracy,' 1861, 8vo. 16. 'Willy Heath and the House Rent,' 1862, 8vo, 17. 'Earth's Curse and Restitution.' 1866, 8vo. 18. 'Carey Glynn, or the Child Teacher,' 1868, 8vo. 19. 'The Scripture Doctrine of a Future Life,' 1877, 8vo. A paper by Leask will be found in 'Report of a Conference on Conditional Immortality.' 1876, 8vo. He also contributed to 'Life and Advent Hymns by Cyrus E. Brooks,' 1880. With the exception of Nos. 1 and 2 all these were published in London.

[Struggles for Life (evidently a record of the author's personal experience, though the names both of persons and places are fictitious, and dates are not given); Pall Mall Gazette, 8 Nov. 1884; Christian World, 13 Nov. 1884; Congregational Year-Book.]

J. M. R.