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Last Updated: Thursday, 8 June 2006, 13:59 GMT 14:59 UK
Scott's will sold off for 6,600
Walter Scott's will
The draft copy of Sir Walter Scott's will sold for 6,600
A draft of Sir Walter Scott's last will and testament has been sold at auction in London for 6,600.

The document - drawn up in Edinburgh a year before his death - includes some 84 words of alteration and amendment written by the author himself.

Drafted in 1831, the will outlines the difficult financial situation the writer found himself in with regard to his home at Abbotsford near Melrose.

Auctioneers Christie's confirmed the will had sold to an unnamed bidder.

The majority of the 20-page document was written by JG Wood with a few notes by Scott, including a signature and statement by the author to approve the will.

My bequests must many of them seem hypothetical
Sir Walter Scott

"Upon serious consideration this draft seems to reach the several purposes which I entertain and I will be glad Mr Wood has it ingrossed," it reads.

Scott's decision to draw up his will was prompted by a meeting of his creditors on 17 November 1830.

It gave a favourable report on his paying the substantial debts he had incurred in 1826 on the collapse of the publishers James Ballantyne & Co.

In his own diary Scott admitted that due to his financial situation: "my bequests must many of them seem hypothetical".

In the will Scott leaves his estate to his sons, Walter and Charles, and son-in-law, John Gibson Lockhart.

Abbotsford House
Scott made provision for paying off the mortgage at Abbotsford

It also specifies that the library, museum and household goods at Abbotsford were to be assigned to his eldest son in exchange for 5,000 to be divided between his other children.

The will mentions copyrights of his late works and foresees paying off his debts within "four or six years".

After that the copyrights were to be used to pay off the 10,000 mortgage on Abbotsford and any excess divided between his children.

Scott advises his heirs "not to part with any part of this property rashly".

He also asks them to continue the "mutual affection ... which has gone so far as to make me a happy father".

His son-in-law is named as literary executor with tasks of drawing up a number of works for publication "which may be done with a prospect of considerable advantage".

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