Report to the Master of the Rolls On Documents in the Archives of Venice. Originally published by Longmans, Green, Reader and Dyer, London, 1866.
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I. Will of James Stuart
Jesus Maria. I, James Stuart, n'rall sonne to Charles the second Stuart of the most Potent and most Serene King of Great Britaine or England, King of Scotland and Ireland, borne of the Lady Mary Stuart, of the family of the Barons of St. Mars, being in this Citty of Naples sick in bed, but by the Grace of God sound in mind, and in perfect sense, considering the imminent danger of my death, and being willing to dispose of What I haue to the benefit of him to whom I am obliged both for my body and soule, wch is to be preferred before all other things, haue made this my present testament, comprised in writeing and sealed, wch is to passe by way of a solemne testamt in writeing, and if perhaps it may not passe upon the account, then to go as a Nuncupatiue Will in writeing by way of Codicill of Gift in case of Death, and in any other better way that may be according to what the Law will permitt, and with this I cancell, make voyd, and annull all other my testamts, Codicills, or last Will made by me till this day, wch upon all accounts are to remaine broaken and of no force, all though they may conteine pious Legacyes, and wth whatsoever Cautions they stand fortifyed and derogatory hereunto.
And first of all, I, the said James Stuart, Testator, as a faithfull Christian, redeemed with the most pretious blood of Jesus Christ my Ld and Sauior, and ascribed and gathered unto the bosome of our Holy Mother the Catholick Church, doe recomend my soule to the infinite goodness of the Eternall liuing God, my mercifull Criator, beseeching his diuine Maty to vouchsafe through his mercy and the meritts of the passion and death of his sayd Sonne Christ Jesus, the Redeemer of mankind, to pardon my sins that I have comitted, for this End inuoquing the assistance and Protection of the Most Glorious Euer Virgin Mary, the Advocatresse of Sinners, of my Gardian Angell, and of all the blessed Spiritts and of the Saints and Saintesses of Heauen, making my supplications as much as I am able with a contrite and humble heart, euen so long till it shall please the blessed God to call me, as I hope, to a better life. I will that my body be buried in the Church of the Venerable Monastery of St. Francisco di Paula without the Capuan Gate of this Citty of Naples, aboue the ground, as is meete, and particularly in the wall of the Venerable Chappelle of Mercy, where afterwards in time a Tombe may be raised of marble, with a necessary inscription, for the Expences of wch tombe I will that there be imployed 400 Crowns by the Reud Father the Corrector of the sayd Conuent, to whom the sayd 400 Crowns are to be payd, who is to take care for the raising of the said Tombe, besides I will that there be payd to the sayd Monastery of St. Francis di Paula and itts Reuerend Fathers other 600 ducats for one tyme onely, for the celebration of a masse weekely for euer for my soule, and my funerall shall be priuate, at the Expences of Signr Francesco, my Father in Law, as I have taken care with ye Reuerend Father Antonio di Gagliano, Corrector of the sd Conuent, ray Spirituall Father.
And since the appointement of an heire is the beginning of a Testament, without whch by the disposic'on of the Law it may be auoyded, for this cause, I, the sayd D. James Stuart, Testator, doe institute, name, and depute my heires g'rall and particular that posthumous birth, whither one or more, whither female or male, that shall be borne of Donna Teresæ, my most beloued Consort, at present great with child, with whom I contracted a solemne and Lawfull marriage the 19 feb. in the yeare 1669, in the Parish of Sta Zuzia, with the preceeding contract and other acts of [ ] in the Cathedrall Church of this Citty, so makeing the said Donna Teresa my most beloued wife in all that does or shall belong to me, or any account either in the part of his Matle of Great Brittaine, my naturall Father, or the sayd Lady Donna Maria Stuart, my mother.
And therefore I humbly entreate and represent to his Maty of Brittaine that he would remitt and assigne into the hands of my male or female Isue, one or more as before sayd, wch shall be borne of the sayd Lady D. Teresa Corona, my wife, the usuall principality either of Wales or Monmouth, or of such other prouinces wch are wont to be conferred on the naturall sonnes of the Crowne, to the value of 100m Crownes Reuenue or Rent, beseeching his Maty with all devotion to looke upon the will of the supreme Immortall Judge, who in his g'rall Justice will rigorously reward the iniustice wch is done to poore Innocents, againe beseeching him to haue soe much compassion as not to take any thing from them wch haue beene giuen or doe belong to them; and also I Pray his Maty of Brittain that besides this he would cause to be restored and assigned to my heires appointed as aboue sayd 80m Crownes Rent belonging to the sayd Lady D. Maria Stuart, my most beloved Mother, being her proper stock, and wholly belonging to my sonne, wch his Maty cannot upon any pretence take away or depriue him of, as being my mother's Estate, to wch I ought to succeed, I, the aforesayd Testator, as her sonne, she hauing noe other child in any degree of succession. But if it happen that it has upon any occasion any alienation has been made by his Maty of the summe of 80m Crowns Rent belonging to my sayd mother, wch yet I cannot belieue, I beseech him he would please to assigne and remit into the hands of my heires a like proportion of Rent with a Stock in some other place, and not suffer his blood to goe wandreng about the world without entertainement.
Also, I represent to his Maty of Gr' Brittain that I could not find any person equall in Birth to my sonne or daughter, wch by God's grace my sayd wife, the Lady Donna Teresa, may bring forth to be its God father but its one Parent, that is the magnanimous most Potent and most Serene Louis XIV. of Bourbon, King of France and Nauarre, of whom by this my testament I doe, wch I cannot entreate by worth of mouth recomend itt and remitt itt into his owne hands, that according to the generosity of his most X'tian Maty, wch is knowne ouer all the world, he would taken care of his owne forsaken blood, beseeching him and the name of the liuing God not to refuse me, but to fauor his poore Kinsman and in danger of death, who wishes him all happines and prosperity aswell in his greate designes as in the continuac'on of his admirable Gouuermnt wch he keepes in his kingdome to the wonder of all the world. I beseech him therefore to favor my sonne or daughter wch shall be borne, as also the sayd Lady, my beloued Consort, in whch I haue aboue desired.
I recomend also to his most Christian Maty Signr Franco Corona, a Gentleman of Sora, and the Lady Anuccia de Anicis, his wife, the father and mother of the sayd Lady D. Teresa, my wife, and also their sonne called Gaetano, and their daughter called Chiara, and their other sonne, Gio Battista Nicola, in all fiue persons, as also a Nepheu, a clerk, called D. Ciccia Arduino, beseeching him to be pleased to haue particular care of ther persons. To the sayd fiue first named, that is the father, mother, Brother, and Sister of my beloued wife, I assigne a stock of 50m Crowns for one tyme, beseeching his most X'ian Maty to cause his Maty of Gr. to pay it, besides the 180m Crownes of yearly Revenue wch I haue assigned to my heires.
To my little Page called Antonio Brenich I assigne 5m Crowns for one time, for his faithfull and Reall Seruice, with much diligence for a long time.
Besides I assigne to the abouesayd Reverend father I Antonio di Gagliano, at present Corrector of the sayd Monastery of S. Francesco di Paula, my Spirituall Father, ten thousand Crownes, and to the Reud Father Francesco Feliciano di Hinano of the same Religion other fiue thousand Crownes, and all this for one time onely, wch foresayd fifeteene thousand Crownes, according to the proportion aforesayd as above assigned, are to be payd to the sayd R. R. Fathers, for as much as I haue confided in both of them respectiuely and trusted, yt in Confession and vnder Seale of Secresy wch this my intention and confidence, wch I desire to have kept very Secret, so that neither of them can or ought to Reveale it to any person liuing, it being a thing entrusted to them upon Confession, and for other neither can nor ought to be revealed.
And therefore, with all humility, Reuerence, and submissn, I beseech his most X'ian Maty so to act with his Maty of Brittaine, that all Legacyes and disposalls made by me as aboue sayd, or shall be conteind afterwards in this my Testament, may be satisfyed and putt in Execution very punctually, besides the hundred and Eighty thousand Crowns of Rent disposed of to my sayd heires as it ought according to the will of me, the present Testator, who beggs it from his magnanimous blood, and for this cause, with all possible deuotion, I leave to their most Sacred X'ian and Brittaine Matys, beseeching them to grant it to me, and to execute all the sayd desires and disposalls wch I haue made, being all of them just and reasonable, haueing not demanded any thing but what is due to me, and so I end, repeating my prayers and Entreaties to theyr sayd most Serene Matys for the Loue of the liuing God, the supreme, omnipotent, just, and rigorous Judge, to doe me theyr just fauors wch I have desired, and to fauor theyr owne blood.
And for the abouesayd Legacyes made by me, wch alltogether amount to the summe of 291m ducats, I will and beseech from the bottom of my heart his Maty of Brittaine that he would giue some Regalo to my sayd Legataryes, that they may be disposed of to my wiue's kindred to whom I am oblidged, and on the other side to be expended for my soule and other things of that importance to me, that if I were liuing I ought to make them other demonstrac'ons of greater concernment, and all this over and aboue the sayd yearly Rent of 180m Crowns giuen to my heyrs, that is to say, my wife and the posthumous birth male or female, wch ought to come intire into their hands without any dimunic'on.
More over I desire his most X'ian Maty, with all humility and submission, to use all meanes for and to procure from his Britannick Maty satisfaction of the sayd Legacyes in the manner abouesayd according to his accustomed generosity; and in case it be otherwise, to the End the said 291m Crownes may be secured and satisfyed with that punctuality wch I desire, I assigne and giue up with full and ample power my land and Marquisate de Duuignis to the value of 300m Crownes, and the surpusage of the sayd 291m to goe to the benefit of my wiue's said Father and Mother and brothers already borne or hereafter to be borne.
Also I order and expressely com'and that the sayd Lady D. Teresa, my wife, shall for euer preserue her selfe a widdow, of wch I am well secured.
Also I desire withall Earnestnesse the sayd Sigr Franco Corona, in acknowledgmt of what I have disposed of to his benefit and to his house, that after any death he shall, assoone as he can after being confessed, haueing communicated, goe bare footed to the Archiepiscopall Church of Naples, where, being prostrate on his face to the Earth before the most holy Sacrament, he shall withall humility and deuotion pray the divine Maty to pardon me my sins, and afterwards to goe with the same mortification to the Chappell of St. Aspremo, where I espoused his daughter, and doe the same deuotions, and then in the same manner to goe [to] the monastery of St. Franco di Paula, into the Chappell where is to be erected my Tombe, in the same manner abouesd to make the same prayers, wch are to continue at the least a quarter of an hour in euery place, and to be done with feruent deuotions of all the heart.
I order that presently after the receipt of the said Legacyes my wiue's kindred shall place the sayd Chiara Corona, my wiue's sister, in a monastery qualifyed for noble Ladyes, and give the sayd monastery 5,000 Crowns as her portion, prouided that the monastery shall neuer pretend to any further legacy then the 50m Crownes given by me to the said Chiara; but of the rest the sayd Chiara shall haue the usu fruit during her life, to do wth it wt shee pleases, so that the monastery shall haue nothing to doe with it, and at her death the disposall of it shall be hirs, to giue to wch of her kindred she pleases, to renunciate at the Renunciation she shall make at her profession.
Also I order that if, perhaps, the posthumous issue wch shall be borne of my wife, now greate with child, shall not be borne aliue, wch God forbid, or dy assoone as borne or vnder age, the sd Lady D. Teresa, my most beloued wife, shall succeed to the yearly Rent of the 180m Crowns abouesayd, that is to the 180m Crownes of my mother aswell to the usufruit as to the propriety to dispose of according to her will or pleasure, hauing allwaies a particular regard to her house, and perticularly to such other children as her father shall haue; and if the sayd principality, as it cannot be dismembered by the blood Royall, shall upon the death [of] my said wife returne againe to his Britannick Maty, as the same is intended and ordred in case my sd wife dy first and afterwards her posthumous Issue vnder age, my sayd wife firste dying and afterwards her issue as is sayd, shee shall have power to dispose of 100m Crownes to whom shee pleases, on condic'on that the remayning stock be of any considerable value.
And since my intention hath beene and is that this my present disposall shall not be made knowne till after my death to any person liueing, for wch reason I haue caused this my testamt to be closed and sealed up, for this cause I order that if by any accident this my disposall shall come to be discouered to any person, and shall be publicq either in the whole or in any more substantiall part in the same manner and forme in wch I made it without any variation, since it may be that some person may imagine some what of my intention and guesse at some part of my disposall, in which case I intend not to breake or alter my present will, but if my present will be publisht ad vnguem according to the manner and forme as it is, in this case, if the Reud Father I Antonio de Gagliano, my Confessor, shall heare of such Publicac'on and be assured of the truth thereof, I shall though liuing referre it to the discretion of the sayd Reud Father to goe to the Notary who made my present Testamt, to cause him to restore it and to cancell it im'ediately; and because the said Notary shall not refuse to restore it, I make a writeing a part to the sayd Father, subscribed by my hand, declareing my will, and appointeing the sayd Revd father to deliuer the sayd writeing to the sayd Notary for the receiuing of my sayd Present Testamt or an obligac'on [for] the deliuery thereof, so that he presently may teare it in little pieces, according to my expresse and determinate will.
And lastly, I leaue to the Notary, for the paynes he has taken in this my will, what is usually giuen him att the time of opening it, and for the makeing the copy thereof, obleigeing the abouesayd Sigr Franco Corona, when he shall haue received all the moneys mentioned in my sayd testament, to giue him fifty ducats more for one tyme onely.
I, Sigr D. Giacomo Stuard, affirme all that is aboue written.
The present Copy is taken of the originall Will made in writeing the 24 Aug. 1669, opened upon the death of the said Testator, D. James Stuart, and publish'd the 27 of the same month, at the sealing and opening whereof I was present upon call, I, Antonio de Blasis, A Notary of Naples, and in testimony thereof haue written and signed this, haueing allway regard to the Letter compareing of them.
(Indorso.) The last will of the late Impostor at Naples, who at first pretended himselfe to be a naturall sonne of the King of England. 1669.