William Simpson, mariner in London, died in 1771 shortly after receiving a legacy of £140 sterling from his mother, Marion Prentice. The money had been held in trust, payable upon the death of Simpson's father, Glasgow merchant Matthew Simpson. Shortly before his death, William Simpson executed a will and testament bequeathing his wife, Margaret, his entire estate. Soon afterward, William MacCormick and Company, Glasgow merchants, raised a process in the Glasgow Commissary Court against James Baird, William Simpson's power of attorney. The Company sought the sum of two bills that Simpson had drawn upon his father, Matthew, payable to the pursuers. Baird brought the cause by suspension to Lord Covington, who called a multiple-poinding. Margaret Simpson then took up the cause, arguing, as had Baird, that the bills in question had not been negotiated. Lord Covington repelled her objection and found MacCormick and Company preferable, after which Margaret Simpson petitioned the Court. She argued that it had not been established that Matthew Simpson had no articles belonging to William Simpson in his possession, and that MacCormick had conveniently waited for the two men in question to die before making diligence upon their bills. The respondents argued that there was no proof that Matthew Simpson had anything belonging to his son. They claimed that the bills had only been drawn upon the father as security because he was a clerk for MacCormick and Company. Furthermore, the respondents raised doubts over whether Margaret Simpson was indeed her late husband's rightful heir; they claimed that William Simpson had another wife, named Jean Park, who lived in Glasgow.

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