In 1739 James Findlay entered into a partnership with John Graham, James Stirling, Alexander Wotherspoon, and John Buchanan for slaughtering and selling cattle. Wotherspoon was appointed clerk, bookkeeper, and cashier of the partnership. Findlay was responsible for purchasing cattle and selling live cattle that were not fit for slaughter. Findlay was illiterate so he relied on Wotherspoon to keep proper accounts of the business. In February 1740, the partnership dissolved. The partners sought to settle all the accounts of the business. Findlay alleged that Wotherspoon was negligent in maintaining the company's accounts and argued that the partnership owed him money for the fifty cows he purchased in 1739 on partnership's behalf. The defenders claimed that Findlay was actually in debt to the company. They argued that Findlay was reimbursed for the fifty cows, or that he made this payment using company funds rather than his own funds.

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