The Greenock Ropework Company was a partnership formed to manufacture rope and sail-duck. Two partners, William Donald and Henry White (alternatively spelled Whyte), served as managers of the partnership. The partnership decided that only one manager was necessary, so it appointed Henry White as the sole manager of the partnership. This action offended William Donald as well as William's brother, James Donald, another partner of Greenock Ropework Company. With a strained relationship with two of its partners, William and James Donald proposed that the Company should be dissolved, which it did. The parties disputed the proper method of dissolution. To balance the books prior to dissolution, the partnership sought to collect a debt owed by James and Robert Donalds and Company (named as suspenders), the same James Donald who was a partner of the Greenock Rope partnership. Because the rope-work company furnished some goods to that company. James and Robert Donalds and Company sought to suspend the debt on the grounds that James Donald, as partner of the Greenock Ropework Company, was actually owed money in excess of the debt claimed by the partnership.

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