Pursuer David Jones, merchant in Glasgow, imported quantities of lint-seed from Philadelphia. The goods arrived in Greenock bound for Glasgow. Two dealers in Glasgow, whose business would be affected by the influx of lint-seed, lodged a complaint with the Trustees for the Improvement of Fisheries and Manufactures about the lint-seed's quality. The dealers maintained that the lint-seed was bad, and therefore should not be imported. Defender Hugh Smith was a surveyor for the Trustees. After receiving a report that some of the seed was bad, Smith ordered the condemnation of the seed. Jones challenged the grounds and process by which Smith sought to condemn his cargo.