January 24, 2002 - The Will of Robert Burns

Know all men by these presents, that I, Robert Burns of Mossgiel; whereas I intend to leave Scotland and go abroad, and having acknowledged myself the father of a child named Elizabeth, begot upon Elizabeth Paton in Largieside; and whereas Gilbert Burns in Mossgiel, my brother, has become bound, and hereby binds and obliges himself to aliment, clothe, and educate my said natural child in a suitable manner, as if she were his own, in case her mother choose to part with her, and that until she arrive at the age of fifteen years.

Therefore, and to enable the said Gilbert Burns to make good his said engagemnet, wit ye me to have assigned, disponed, conveyed and made over to, and in favour of, the said Gilbert Burns, his heirs, executors, and assignees who are always to be bound in like manner with himself, all and sundry good, gear, corn, cattle, horses, nolt, sheep, household furniture, and all other movable effects of whatever kind that I shall leave behind me on my departure from this Kingdom, after allowing for my part of the conjunct debts due by the said Gilbert Burns and me as joint tacksmen of the farm of Mossgiel. And particularly, without prejudice of the forsaid geneality, the profits that may arise from the publication of my poems presently in the press.

And also, I hereby dispone and convey to him in trust for behoof of my said natural daughter, the copyright of said poems in so far as I can dispose of the same by law, after she arrives at the above age of fifteen years complete. Surrogating and substituting the said Gilbert Burns, my brother and his foresaids in my full right, title, room, and place of the whole premises, with power to him to intromit with, and dispose upon the same at pleasure, and in general, to do every other thing in the premises that I could have done myself before granting hereof, but always with, and under the conditions before expressed.

And I oblige myself to warrand this disposition and assignation from my own proper fact and deed allenarly. Consenting to the registration hereof in the books of Council and Session, or any other Judge's books competent, therein to remain for preservation, and constitute.Proculars, &c. In witness whereof I have written and sigued these presents, consisting of this and the preceding page, on stamped paper, with my own hand, at the Mossgiel, the twenty-second day of July, one thousand seven hundred and eight-six years.

(Signed) ROBERT BURNS

Upon the twenty-fourth day of July, one thousand seven hundred and eighty-six years, I, William Chalmer, Notary Publick, past to the Mercat Cross of Ayr, head Burgh of the Sheriffdome thereof, and thereat I made due and lawful intimation of the foregoing dispotion and assignation to his Majesties lieges, that they might not pretend ignorance thereof, by reading the same over in presence of a number of people assembled.

Whereupon William Crooks, Writer in Ayr, as attorney for the before-designed Gilbert Burns, protested that the same was lawfully intimated, and asked and took instruments in my hands. These things were done betwixt the hours of ten and elefen forenoon, before and in presence of William McCubbins, and William Eaton, apprentices to the Sheriff Clerk of Ayr, witnesses to the premises.(Signed) WILLIAM CHALMER, N.P.WILLIAM McCUBBIN, WitnessWILLIAM EATON, WitnessSource: William Wallace, MA., The National Edition of The Works of Robert Burns, Published circa 1880 by Cassell, Petter, Calpin and Co., London, Paris & New York, Printed by Dunn and Wright, Glasgow