William Alexander and Sons agreed to enter a co-partnership with George and Cuthbert Gordon for the production of cudbear (dye). The Alexanders made advances to the Gordons over a number of years. Due to mismanagement and disagreement among the partners, the cudbear company was unsuccessful, leading William Alexander and Sons to dissolve the company and seek payment on its advances. Cuthbert Gordon, defender, retained ownership of the cudbear company. Imprisoned for a debt owed to a third party, Gordon sought to sequester his assets. At issue in this case was who should have served as trustee for the creditors. Pursuer John Walker, as trustee for William Alexander and Sons, argued that Ellies Martin, a merchant in Leith, was the proper trustee. At a meeting of the creditors, Ellies Martin was elected trustee by the majority in value of the creditors present at the meeting. Walker also found it improper for Gordon to supervise his own affairs, since Gordon's mismanagement led to the company's demise. Cuthbert Gordon, however, maintained that he was the proper trustee, because certain creditors at the creditors' meeting selected him as trustee.

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