Greenock merchant James Watson, the father of pursuer Agnes Watson, died leaving three minor children. The children chose several curators to manage their affairs, including two of James’s business partners, Robert Rae and Gabriel Mathie. Robert Rae took on primary responsibility for the curatorship. After the Watson children came of age, they sued the curators for mishandling the estate. The proceeding stretched over many years, and after the curators died, Agnes Watson continued the action against their representatives; one such representative was defender Agnes Mathie, daughter of Gabriel. Agnes Mathie initially failed to participate in the case, but after being held liable in a sheriff’s judgment, she raised several defenses. First, Mathie claimed that the pursuers had orally renounced any claims against her father. Second, Mathie argued that certain sums were received by Robert Rae without the authority of a quorum, and that the other curators should not be held responsible. Finally, Mathie argued that Rae had received certain payments in his private capacity as manager of a mercantile venture with James Watson. According to Mathie, Rae had good credit, so there was no reason to punish the other curators for failing to collect what he owed to Watson. In response, Agnes Watson argued that the curators were liable for failing to exercise diligence in collecting open debts.
William Morison, The Decisions of the Court of Session (1811), pg. 1