In January 1770, John Finlay granted a bill to James Beveridge. Shortly afterward he made a partial payment to Thomas Beveridge, who had possession of the bill. A note of this partial payment was marked on the bill, but five years later David Keltie, the bill's endorsee, sued Finlay for its full amount. By this point the bill had been torn and the receipt of partial payment was disfigured. Finlay thus accused Keltie of bad faith ("pessima fide") and fraud, and petitioned the Court to exempt him from paying any additional part of the bill. After Keltie produced the torn-off section of the bill, Lord Barskimming decreed that Finlay would only have to pay the remaining balance, but that he was responsible for expenses. Finlay petitioned the court to overturn this ruling, arguing that Keltie was responsible for the court fees, having unjustly pressed him for more money than was due. Keltie in turn argued that Finlay's inconsistent testimony was to blame for the unnecessary expenses. He claimed that much of the confusion arose from whether the receipt was denominated in pounds Scots or sterling. Keltie argued that he was right to have insisted in favor of pounds Scots: likening the suspender to "the lower sort of people in this country," he claimed that "people of inferior rank in Scotland, to this day, generally count in Scots, and not in Sterling money."

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