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The Will of Governor William Burnet
Genealogical Gleanings in England [Jan, 1893]
New England History and Genealogical Register, vol. 47, p. 123, 124

William Burnet, Governor of New York and New Jersey, subscribed and sealed at New York '6 December 1727, proved 9 July 1730.

I, WILLIAM BURNET, Govenor of New York and New Jersey being in good health and of sound mind and judgment Do make the my last Will and Testament in manner following. First, I Willingly and cheerfully resign my soul to God who gave it whensoever he shall in his overruling providence think fit to put an end to my life in this World hoping to obtain forgiveness from him of all my Sins through the mediation of his son, Jesus.

Jesus Christ who has redeemed his true followers from death unto life into whose Kingdom I hope to be recieved (sic) as a true Penitent notwithstanding my unworthiness through God(')s infinite mercy at the resurrection of the small and great.

ITEM, As to my body I will that it be buried at the Chapel of the Fort at New York, near to my dearest wife Mary and one of my children, in a vault prepared for them, in case I die in the Province of New York, but if I dye elsewhere, in the nearest church or burying ground, or in the sea, if I should dye there, well knowing that all places are alike to God's all seeing eye; and I hereby direct that I be buried in the most private manner and with the least expense that may be, and after the manner of any Protestant Church that may happen to be nearest to the place of my decease.

ITEM, Whereas I have some estate in Holland and some Estate and Effects in England I require my executors hereafter mentioned, or one of them, to give full Powers to my brother in law David Mitchel and to my sister Mary his wife, or to the survivor of them, to sell and dispose, of all my Shars (sic) and interest in any Estate and Effects which I shall die possessed of in England and Holland and of my share in the produce of my father's History yet to come, and to apply the whole to the satisfying all that remains due to the Estate of my late brother Gilbert from me, and when that is done my Executors are likewise to send over all my Books and pamplets (sic) to my said Brother and Sister in England, to be Sold by them and the produce applied in the same manner till the said Debt and the Interest thereof be fully paid, and if that is not sufficient then to desire an account from my said brother and sister of what remains due thereon and to send that over as soon as may be to them out of the sale of my Effects or Estate, Real or personal, in America till the said Debt be fully discharged, my brother Gilbert having with the utmost affection and generosity (having - crossed out) supplied me with all that I wanted to discharge my other incumbrances when I left England, as my Brother Mitchel had in like manner done, with the same generous friendship; but I have had the satisfaction to pay him already.

ITEM, I order that my son Gilbert Burnet be taken care of by my Executors and sent over, provided with all conveniences within Six Months after my Decease, to the care and guardianship of my Said Brother and Sister Mitchell, or the Survivor of them, who are to take care of his Education out of the Estate in England which shall belong to him after my Decease; and they are likewise to take care that ll my Estate or Effects in England or Holland, after my said Debt to my Brother Gilbert is paid, be applied, if any remainder there be, to the use of my said Son Gilbert, to whom therefore, because already well provided in England, I leave no part of my Estate or Effects in America, except the Gold and Silver Medals bearing the images of King George the first, of the Princess Sophia and of King George the Second and the Gilt Teatable plate, both which were given to my ffather by the Said Princess Sophia, late Electoress Dowager of Brunswick, which Medals and Plate I leave to my Said Son, and after him to my Male Heirs forever, who are hereby charg'd to keep the same as a perpetual memorial that my ffather's faithful services to the Protestant Succession in that Illustrious House were well accepted before their accession to the Throne of Great Britain, as they have been since amply rewarded by King George the First to my father's children. As to mourning to my servants I leave that to the discretion of my Executors.

ITEM, My Debts and Legacies beforementioned being first paid I do hereby give full power and authority to my executors hereinafter mentioned and to the survivor of them, and to the Executors or Administrators of the Survivor of them, to Grant, Bargain, Sell, Convey and assure every or any part or parts of all my Estate, Real and personal either in fee or for life or for Years, as to them shall seem most expedient, and to make, execute and acknowledge all such Deeds, Writings and Acts as shall be necessary for that purpose, but, nevertheless, upon this Special Trust and confidence that the moneys or profits arising by sale or otherwise of the premises be applied and given to and for the use of my Children, William, Mary and Thomas, by my late dearest wife Mary Vanhorn, in the proportions following, to witt, in three equal Shares among them while they all three continue alive and under the age of twenty one years, but in the case of the Death of any of my Said Children then the Share of the Dead Child to be Shared equally by the surviving children aforesaid.

ITEM My will is that all such parts of my Estate, Real and personal that shall happen not to be sold by the persons afors'd appointed to Sell the Same as aforesaid shall, when my Oldest Son of my aforesaid three Children by my last Wife comes of age, be valued each part thereof particularly by the Persons or Person aforesaid Impowered (sic) to Sell them and if all my said Children be then alive, then my will is that my Said Executors (administrators - crossed out) or the Survivor of them or the Executors of Administrators of the Survivor of them do Give, Grant and Convey to the Said William such part and parts of my Real and personal Estate as will amount in value to a full third part of my Said Estate, And that the profits of the Shares of my other two Children be applied to their use till they respectively arrive at the age of twenty one Years, and then their Shares respectively to be given to them in the same manner as William(')s Share is hereby directed to be given to him &c. &c.

ITEM I do hereby appoint Abraham Vanhorn and Mary his Wife, and the Survivor of them, and the Executors or Administrators of them, Executors of this my last Will and Testament and Guardians of my Said three Youngest Children.

Signed Sealed published and Declared by the Said William Burnet to be his last Will and Testament in the presence of us, I Bobin, John Haskell, Stephen Deblois.

(signed) W. Burnett
Wit: I Bovin, John Haskott, Stephen Deblois, A Auber, 183

[Gov. William Burnet, the testator, was a son of Gilbert Burnet (the historian), bishop of Salisbury, and was born at the Hague, March, 1688, and died at Boston, Mass., September 7, 1729, being at that time governor of Massachusetts. He had previously been governor of New York and New Jersey. His daughter Mary married Hon. William Browne of Salem, Mass., where she died August 1, 1745. Her husband in his will (extracts from which have been furnished us by George R. Curwin, Esq.), directs that his body be buried in "the tomb of my ancestors in Salem," and that it "be laid nearest to the body of my dear, my beloved, my affectinate, and my constant wife, friend and companion, Mary the daughter of Governor Burnet, deceased." Notices of the Browne family of Salem, including the son-in-law of Gov. Burnet, are printed in the Register, Vol. 20, page 243.-- Editor.]

With thanks for editorial help
to cousin and Burnett expert, Jim Opfell

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