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The Great Historic Families of Scotland
The Leslies of Newark


DAVID LESLIE, Lord Newark, another scion of the house of Leslie, was a more skilful general even than Alexander, Lord Leven, in whom the Covenanters put such unbounded trust. He was the fifth son of Sir Patrick Leslie of Pitcairly, Commendator of Lindores by his wife, Jean, daughter of Robert Stewart, Earl of Orkney. At an early age he entered the service of Gustavus Adolphus, and fought the battle of Protestantism in Germany under that famous warrior. Like Alexander Leslie and others of his countrymen who were engaged in military services on the Continent, he returned home when hostilities were impending between the English Court and his countrymen, and was appointed Major-General of the forces which the Committee of Estates sent to the assistance of the English Parliament in January, 1644. He commanded the Scottish cavalry in the left wing, under Cromwell, at the battle of Marston Moor on the 22nd of July following, and contributed not a little to the decisive victory gained by the Parliamentary army. Meanwhile Montrose had, in six successive victories, completely overthrown and scattered the Covenanting forces in Scotland, and had the whole kingdom entirely at his disposal. In this emergency, David Leslie was recalled with the Scottish cavalry from the siege of Hereford to the assistance of the Estates, and, by a rapid and skilful movement, he surprised and defeated Montrose at Philiphaugh, near Selkirk, 12th September, 1645.

After securing the internal peace of Scotland by the complete suppression of the Royalist party, Leslie rejoined the army in England under Lord Leven, and assisted in the siege of Newcastle. On the surrender of Charles to the Parliament, the Scottish forces returned home, and General Leslie was employed in the reduction of the strongholds held by the Gordons in the north, and by the Macdonalds, Alaster M’Coll and his father Colkitto, in Kintyre and Isla, a service which he discharged with great severity and, indeed, cruelty. He put to the sword the garrison of Dunaverty, consisting of three hundred Highlanders and Irishmen; and Colkitto, who was taken prisoner in the castle of Dunavey, was given up to the Campbells, by whom he was hanged. General Leslie was offered, but declined, the command of the army which the Scottish Estates sent in 1648 into England to rescue the King from the Republican party. On the resignation of the Earl of Leven, in 1650, he accepted the command of the forces raised in support of the claims of Charles II., and by his masterly tactics completely foiled Cromwell, whom he, at last, shut up in Dunbar. He was, unfortunately, induced by the rash and ignorant importunity of the Committee of Estates to quit his commanding position on Doonhill, and to risk a battle, in which he was signally defeated, 3rd September, 1650. With the remains of his army he retired to Stirling, where he took up a strong position, which enabled him to keep the victorious enemy at bay. When the resolution was taken to march into England, in the hope of being joined by the Royalists in the south, Charles himself assumed the command of the army, with Leslie as his Lieutenant-General. He was present at the battle of Worcester, 3rd September, 1651, and was taken prisoner in his retreat through Yorkshire, and committed to the Tower, where he was confined for nine years. At the Restoration he regained his liberty and, as a reward for his signal services and sufferings in the royal cause, he was raised to the peerage by the title of Lord Newark, 31st August, 1661, and also obtained a pension of 500 a year. His death occurred in the year 1682.

On the death of his son DAVID, second Lord Newark, in 1694, without heirs male, the title was assumed by his eldest daughter, and was borne by her descendants till 1793, under a mistaken notion as to the destination settled by the patent. But it was then disallowed by the House of Lords, and is now believed to be extinct.


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