Will and Protest of the Cardinal called Duke of York, July 15, 1802
A printed version of the text can be found on pages 73 - 75 of The Legitimist Kalendar for the Year of Our Lord 1895, edited by the Marquid de Ruvigny and Raineval (London: Henry & Co., 1895).
We, Henry Benedict Mary, son of James III, King of England, Scotland, France, and Ireland, Cardinal of the Holy Roman Church, Bishop of Frascati, considering that we are mortal, and not knowing the time and the hour when Almighty God will be pleased to call us to Him, have resolved, now that we are in good health, and in the full enjoyment of all our faculties, to make our last disposition, and to provide, as well as to that which relates to our funeral, as for the salvation of our soul and our temporal affairs. In consequence we dispose, by our last will, in the manner following:-
We repose such full confidence in our dearly beloved friend Monsignor Angelo Cesarini, Bishop of Milesi, and Rector of our Seminary; he has ever given us such great proofs of his integrity, fidelity, discretion, high respect and love for ourselves, that we are satisfied it is our duty to confide to no one but him the important deed with which we are now occupied.
Of all our real estate, household goods, money, diamonds, rings, jewels, credits, and rights of our royal house, which belong to us, of whatsoever kind and nature they may be, and wherever placed, situated, or established, of every right of our house and family, belonging to and devolved upon us, accepted or acknowledged, transmitted or transmissible, we appoint, declare, and institute for our universal fiduciary heir the above-named Monsignor Cesarini, Bishop of Milesi, and Rector of our Seminary, with whom we have daily passed the greatest part of our life, and to whom we have especially confided our precise will and dispositions: consequently we will and ordain that what shall be declared, commanded, desired, and explained by him, shall be considered as if we had really declared, commanded and willed it ourselves, such being our will, communicated and entrusted to him concerning whomsoever shall succeed to our inheritance and to all our rights, credits, and possessions, as well as our legacies of whatever kind, quality, and quantity they may be, bequests, the execution of which we have equally confided to him; and also concerning the disposal of our chapel and sacred ornaments, jewels, or plate belonging to the same chapel.
For the disposal of these objects, we declare that we have in our possession a special apostolic indult from the Sovereign Pontiff Benedict XIV. We likewise recognise in the above-named prelate the right of disposing of anything belonging to us, for which purpose we have already declared to the said fiduciary heir our sentiment and will.
We also expressly declare that all the objects which shall be found in our inheritance, real estate, household goods, plate, trinkets, diamonds, jewels, and orders, as well as the insignia of our crown, decorations, valuable effects, credits of our royal house, our proper actions, rights, and claims, of what kind soever they are, belong specially and fully to us, are of our free property and possession, inasmuch as they are derived partly from the inheritance of the ancestors of our royal house and family devolved upon us, and partly as bought and accumulated by us.
We further declare and direct that our above-named fiduciary heir shall not be compelled by anyone to manifest, declare, and explain the trusts we have committed to him, so long as he shall not think it proper and convenient to do so; it being our pleasure that he may have all the convenience necessary to make any such communication or declaration, either entirely or partially, according to the circumstances and seasons which he shall judge most proper, such being our determination, and our precise or very will. And should it ever happen that any person, even of SOVEREIGN RANK, and under any pretext, pretension, and title whatever, attempt in any manner to compel him, before he shall himself desire to make such a manifestation, declaration, and explanation, wholly or in part; in that case we appoint, declare and institute himself our universal proprietary heir, with full liberty to enjoy and to dispose of our inheritance, moveable and real goods, rights as above-named, and without any condition or restitution whatever. We will, moreover, and ordain, that if there shall be found annexed to the present disposition, or on or near our person, or in our palaces of Rome and Frascati, or with our above-named fiduciary or trustee, other papers signed by us, they are to be considered as forming a substantive part of the present disposition, and our said fiduciary heir shall give full execution to their contents with the greatest punctuality and exactitude, and we doubt not, but, on the contrary, we feel assured, that he will conform to them, and execute them.
We moreover declare that, in consideration of the great losses we have suffered at the period of the revolution in Rome, not only in our funded property, and the furniture of our palaces, plate, and other valuable things, and on account of other applications we were previously bound to make of our jewels and other effects in order to assist the government, at the request of the Sovereign Pontiff, it has not been in our power to follow in this fiduciary disposition, as it was our desire, the impulses of our heart in those things concerning ourselves and our inheritance, and the persons in our service, and those likewise who might deserve our regard.
Finally, it is our intention to renew here, and to consider as expressly inserted in it, our protest, deposited in the acts of the notary Cataldi on the 27th January, 1784, and published on the 30th January, 1788, at the death of our most serene brother, relative to the transmission of our rights of succession to the throne and crown of England, Scotland, France, and Ireland, in behalf of the Prince on whom they devolve by right, by proximity of blood, and by rights of succession; we declare to transmit these rights to him in the most explicit and solemn form. Such is our last will and testamentary disposition, dictated word by word. It is our will that it have perpetual validity, and the best and most valid title competent to us to give it.
Given at our residence in Frascati, on the 15th day of July, 1802.
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