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SIR ROBERT RUSSELL SIMPSON,
By the recent death of Sir R. R. Simpson, the legal profession in Edinburgh has lost a well-known figure, an admirable lawyer of the older school, and a most kindly and courteous gentleman. There appeared in these columns on 20th February 1915 a biography written by one of Sir Robert's oldest friends: to that notice little falls
to be added, save
that the passage of a further ten years saw his reputation ever increasing and a well-deserved knighthood bestowed on him. Last year there appeared a book
from his pen on "The Monkrigg Will Case," in which Sir Robert took a leading part, and which forms a most interesting story to be preserved on one's bookshelf.
MR R. FREER MYLES, of J. & A. W. Myles &
Co., W.S., National Bank Buildings, Forfar, intimates that he has assumed as partner, with effect from 1st January 1924, Mr George Alexander Roger, M.A., LL.B., W.S., and that' the name of the firm will remain unaltered.
MR R. SCOTT DEMPSTER, B.L., Writer to the Signet, son of Mr Thomas Dempster, solicitor, Perth, of the firm of Robertson, Dempster & Co., has been assumed a partner of that firm.
MESSRS SNODY & ASHER, S.S.C. and N.P., intimate that they have removed from 13 Bernard Street to more commodious premises at 45 Charlotte Street, Leith.
SOME UNCONSIDERED TRIFLES."
Many interesting pieces of parchment writings were sold by auction in Dowell's Rooms on the 20th November last.
Among the miscellaneous collection of Crown Charters, Instruments of Sasine, and Notarial Instruments, were some accounts and papers which have a claim on the attention of the legal profession.
The Lord President of the Court of Session in 1670 is referred to in one of these contemporary papers as debtor to Mr Andrew Bruce, merchant, Edinburgh, in a sum of £2530, 2s. 7d., less £962, 6s. 8d. which, one learns from an addendum to the bill, had been paid subsequent to the presentation of the account.
Much of this amount was for clothes supplied, but there are not sufficient data upon which to ascertain whether the Lord President was prodigal in the purchase of velvet and fine
linen, and negligent in paying for them, or whether he was handicapped by the tastes of a large and expensive family.
The President in question, Sir John Gilmour, was then in ill-health, and probably about seventy years old. His experience as an advocate dated from 1628 to 1663, when he was promoted Lord President, an office which he held till the close of 1670, when he resigned because of his illness; he died in 1671. the practice of writing reminiscences been prevalent in his day he might have recounted how he began his career as a pleader in the Old Tolbooth, and was there twelve years when the Courts were removed to the then new
Parliament House; and he certainly would have recorded how in 1641 he had been counsel for the Marquis of Montrose in the Great Hall of Parliament House in the process brought against him by Argyle and Johnston of Warriston; and how in 1663, as one of the Members for the city, he had strongly but vainly protested against the impeachment of Montrose's life-long enemy, Argyle.
Sir George Mackenzie contrasts Gilmour, as advocate, with Sir John Nisbet, to whom Gilmour was frequently opposed in debate: Penes Gilmorium gloria, penes Nisbetum palma fuit.' What Gilmour lacked in legal learning he made up by virile common sense. Sine litteris doctus, sine rhetorica eloquens." His collection of Decisions of the Court from 1661 to 1666 is a modest quarto volume of 136 pages. Like the reports of other early reporters, the decisions, but not the opinions of the judges, are given. The arguments of pursuers and defenders, however, are always clearly stated.
Whether the "trifling" balance due to Mr Bruce was ever paid there is, as one might anticipate, no proof from the odd documents exhibited for sale.
A much more serious misfortune to another Edinburgh merchant is disclosed by a brief document which was also sold at Dowell's on the same day. This was the "Order, signed by Lauderdale, to pay Alexander Johnston, Merchant Burgess of Edinburgh, the sum of £2359, 17s. for cloth furnished by him for the use of the Army in Ireland in March 1644."
This "Order " seems to have been ineffective, for, two years later, Johnston is found petitioning King and Parliament, along with many other unpaid merchants, for a settlement ["Acta Parl.," VI. (1) 602].
convicted traitor, whose father and grandfather were merchants in Edinburgh. A small charter by Warriston's maternal grandfather, Sir John Arnot of Birswick, as Lord Provost of the city, regarding a toft in Leith in favour of Patrick Yooll, was another of the deeds that found a purchaser at this sale.
Johnston appears to have been paid that debt; but he became involved later by the non-payment of his business account for further plenishing of the Royal Forces in 1650. He managed to subsist during the Commonwealth period, but his distress is marked soon after the Restoration. From his prison in the Tolbooth of Edinburgh he wrote to the King a pathetic appeal for payment of that longstanding account for the want of which he had been unable to pay his creditors, who had in consequence cast him into prison.
There was also a petition by two Edinburgh merchants in 1652 to Oliver Cromwell's Commissioners for Administering Justice in Scotland for leave to disregard a decree against them in favour of George Barbour of Doulphistoun for a sum of 2000 merks.
The King and his Parliament, whilst deeply sympathising, did not pay but gave orders for freeing Johnston from gaol and from further proceedings from his creditors-for the space of three years.
Let us hope the money was repaid.
The "Certificate, signed by Lord Cardross, of the death of the two brothers Sim, natives of Eaglesham, who had been banished to Carolina," is a relic of the." Killing Times."
In accordance with the wishes of the Scottish Privy Council the King-James VII. and II.— permitted the Scots authorities to transport all the less obnoxious "Covenanters—for whom the overcrowded prisons held no room-to the plantations. The slave ship " The Carolina Merchant," which was used for that purpose, took nineteen weeks to make the journey. was not equipped for accommodating decently so many passengers as were sent, it is hardly surprising to learn that many of the unfortunate exiles died from the effects of their confinement. The two brothers Sim died within four days of their landing. The Lord Cardross who signed the certificate of death was a notable figure in the history of the Covenanting period. Imprisoned for his Covenanting principles, deprived of his house and estates, Cardross gained the ear of Charles II., who was about to restore him to these. The Privy Council, however, frustrated the applicant's hopes by asserting that Cardross had misrepresented the facts. Emigrating to America, he took over a plantation at Carolina (Charlestown) but was driven forth by Spaniards. Proceeding thence to Holland, Cardross threw in his lot with Prince William of Orange, came over to England with William, raised a regiment of Dragoons, and fought against Viscount Dundee at Killiecrankie. With the establishment of William and Mary on the throne Cardross's fortune was assured; he was reinstated in all his former estates, received fresh honours, but unfortunately did not live long to enjoy them. Weakened by all the hardships of the Stewart period, he died in 1693 at he age of forty-three.
It would have been interesting had it been possible to identify Johnston as a relative of Warriston, Lord of Session, Covenanter, and
Lord Cardross had one son, who became Earl of Buchan, and two famous grandsonsHenry Erskine, Dean of the Faculty of Advocates, and Thomas Erskine, Lord Chancellor of England. C. A. M.
NOTES FROM PARLIAMENT HOUSE.
The sitting of the Valuation Appeal Court, coupled with the fact that two real proofs were actually heard before two Lords Ordinary in the same week, led to an unwonted appearance of animation in the Courts for a day or two. Optimists even talked of a revival in business; but the rolls are still jejune, and all is quiet, far too quiet, on the legal front. In fact, it could hardly be an exaggeration to say that the principal interest (so to speak) of Parliament Hall habitués this year has been the discussion of the legal personnel of the new Government. There has been much wild surmise on the subject, and it may be doubted if any senior of respectable eminence has been unmentioned in the course of speculation. It may, however, be authoritatively denied that a notice was exhibited in any part of the building requesting all applicants for the office of Lord Advocate to submit their names to the subscriber on or before a certain date. One of the most fancied candidates for the post was a Glasgow solicitor; indeed, by the time these lines appear in print he may be the King's Advocate; others pinned their faith to SheriffSubstitutes in various parts of the country, while Unionist or Liberal stalwarts embarrassed to find themselves hailed in press organs as horny-handed sons of the revolution. If a solicitor is appointed, can it be that "fusion" will be one of the new reforms which we are eagerly awaiting? Meanwhile members of the Scots Bar still hang back coyly from any official connection with Labour. When the new Scottish Secretary took his oaths on 26th January, not even the most brazen of juniors was heard so much as to hum "The Red Flag.'
The gentlemen recently appointed counsel and agents for the poor will read with interest the discussion which has been proceeding in the leading Labour daily about the legal profession. The suggestion has more than once been made that there should be state-paid remuneration for those who uphold the cause of the litigant in forma pauperis. The proposal may sound attractive to junior members of the profession, but is open to grave objections. In this connection it is interesting to note that the institution of poor's counsel is exactly five hundred years old—older in fact than the Court of Session or the office of Lord Advocate. In 1424, under James I., it was ordained that "leal and wise" counsel should be appointed to assist poor suitors.
unprofitable to practise at the bar" of any American ship just now. However that may be, we hope the Association will visit Scotland. American lawyers, when they travel, appear to do so in large numbers, with a retinue of "their sisters, their cousins, and their aunts" in attendance. Could we not take a leaf out of their book? When the Faculty is freed from the burden of its general library, could a fund not be raised for a combined visit to the kindred bodies of Brazil or Czecho-Slovakia? The project is worth considering.
At the anniversary meeting the Faculty appointed a committee on legal education. In doing so, it was moving with the times and falling into line with other bodies. The day has long gone past when any thinking man can suppose that all the requisite elements of legal education can be imparted by means of university lectures plus a certain amount of routine work in an office. It is still possible in this country for a man to take a good degree in law and to be as little fitted for the profession as on the day he entered a university. To make precept some assistance to practice, without sacrificing the more scholastic value of legal studies (if any), will be the task of this committee and others like it.
We are told that the following has appeared in an esteemed contemporary under the heading of "Recent Fiction":
Session Cases 1923.- -We do not remember ever having had to review a more curious work than this. It is a book of short stories, arranged under dates, but without regard to any logical sequence. The work has been edited by a number of gentlemen none of whose names we remember to have heard in the literary world. They appear to have done their work efficiently, but the book would have been greatly benefited by a drastic reduction both of the number of stories, and, in many cases, of their length. In its present size the volume is so unwieldy that no one could read it, with comfort, in bed; and that, we conceive, is the true criterion of such a work as this.
"The stories themselves are by a wide variety of authors. Detailed criticism of them is impossible here, but in general it may be said that the plots are too often spoiled by a complete remoteness from the realities of life. Many are wildly improbable; still more are, to a greater or lesser degree, unintelligible. There seems to be a craze among present-day writers for languages other than their own, and many of these stories are disfigured by inappropriate Latin quotations. The editors have had the interesting and novel idea of prefacing each story by a synopsis of its plot. This will enable the reader to select the class of tales he wishes; but these synopses should be used with
SUCCESSION WILL CONSTRUCTION QUEST- PATRIOTIC OR CHARITABLE "-AVOIDANCE.-Mr H. G. Tetley conveyed by will -fifth of the residue of his estate to trustees, with the direction to devote and apply the same for such patriotic purposes or objects and such charitable institution or institutions, or charitable object or objects in the British Empire as my trustees may in their absolute discretion select, in such shares and proportions as they shall think proper.' Russell J. held that the bequest was invalid (1922, S.L.T. 191). On appeal the Court of Appeal (Lord Sterndale M.R., Warrington and Younger L.JJ.) affirmed that decision. Held that the gift must be read disjunctively, and that the trust was void, as under the gift the trustees could apply the trust property for purposes some of which were charitable and some not. Decision of the Court of Appeal ( 1 Ch. 258; 1923, S.L.T. 51) affirmed.-House of Lords (Viscount Cave L.C., Viscount Haldane, Viscount Finlay, Lord Atkinson, and Lord Sumner).-17th
proprietary club. It had never been assessed to income tax and it had no receipts from anything in the nature of trade with persons other than members. The club had received an assessment to corporation profits tax of £284, 4s. for 1920. The Special Commissioners discharged that assessment, but Rowlatt J. reversed that decision, holding that the Eccentric Club carried on business similar to that of a proprietary club, although the profits went to the members of the club and not to shareholders. The Eccentric Club appealed against this decision. Held that the company did not carry on a trade or business within the meaning of the Finance Act, 1920, section 52, and was not therefore chargeable to corporation profits tax. Decision of Rowlatt J. ( 2 K.B. 514; 1923, S.L.T. 127) reversed.—Court of Appeal (Sir Ernest Pollock M.R., Warrington and Sargant L.JJ.).-17th December 1923.
Errata. In the article by Sheriff Haldane on The Wholesale Trafficker," which appeared in our issue of 19th January 1924, on page 23, the reference to the Finance Act col. 2, of page 23, "sale on the premises," should of "1920" should read "1910," and at line 18, read "sale for consumption on the premises and at line 19, col. 2, of page 23, "sale off the premises" should read "sale for consumption off the premises."
Edinburgh of Mr A. J. F. Wedderburn, S.S.C., THE death has taken place suddenly in senior partner of the firm of Messrs Alexander Morison & Co., W.S. Mr Wedderburn, who was a native of Longside, Aberdeenshire, came to Edinburgh about thirty-eight years ago, and entered the office of the late Mr Alexander Morison,
S.S.C. In 1899 Mr Wedderburn was assumed a partner. The firm had always a good Parliament House and general business, which was greatly extended and developed by Mr Wedderburn. He was a well-known figure in Parliament House, and will be greatly missed by a CARRYING ON ANY TRADE OR BUSINESS OR large circle of clients and by his professional
Inland Revenue Commissioners v. Eccentric
CORPORATION PROFITS TAX
ANY UNDERTAKING OF A SIMILAR CHARACTER
INTERCOURSE-FINANCE ACT, 1920 (10 & 11
THE death has occurred on Saturday last, at a nursing home in Edinburgh, of Mr Alexander Claude Montgomerie Bell, W.S., the eldest son of the late Mr J. M. Bell, W.S., of East Morningside House, Edinburgh, and grandson of the late Professor Montgomerie Bell, whose writings on conveyancing are regarded as standard works. Mr Bell studied at Edinburgh University, where he graduated M.A. in 1892. Later he joined his father's firm of Messrs Bell, Bannerman, & Finlay, W.S., and in 1901 he was admitted to the W.S. Society.
THE LATE MR IRVINE REID STIRLING, the direction of mining affairs, and indeed he
stood to be of
the nature of an apoplectic shock. He expired in his chair.
Mr Stirling's death marks the passing of another of the older school of Edinburgh lawyers, the
gaps in whose ranks have been all too frequent within the past few years.
Mr Stirling was admitted an S.S.C. in 1889, and had a long association with the firm of Drummond & Reid, in whose office Viscount Haldane, at the beginning of his career, served as Mr Stirling's junior for several years.
Though up till the end Mr Stirling attended business as usual, he assumed two younger partners lately and was able to enjoy occasionally more relaxation. His favourite enjoyment lay on the golf links, generally at Glencorse, and no later than the Saturday previous to his death he was enjoying a game.
was acting as solicitor for the colliery owners. in connection with the Redding Pit enquiry at present going on.
By his friends Irvine Stirling will especially be long remembered for his genial and courteous kindliness.
Mr Stirling leaves a widow and married daughter, to whom the sincere sympathy of the profession will be extended in their sudden bereavement.
A WELL-KNOWN Gourock citizen,
Mr James Mar
quis, solicitor, died suddenly at his residence, Alexandria, Barrhill Road, on Saturday afternoon last. Mr Marquis had beeno intrather indifferent health
for some time, but was at business as usual on Saturday forenoon. A partner of the firm of Messrs Marquis & Millar, solicitors, Greenock and Gourock, Mr Marquis had been Assessor at Gourock Police Court since its inception.
THE death occurred on Saturday last, at his residence in Tayport, of Mr John Simpson, of the firm of Johnstone, Simpson & Thomson, solicitors, Commercial Street, Dundee. Mr Simpson, who was in his seventy-third year, was for many years Town-Clerk of Tayport, a position in which he was succeeded by his son, Mr J. Gordon Simpson, the well-known amateur golfer.
MR J. KERR WYLIE, D.Litt., advocate, has been appointed Professor of Roman Law in the University at Capetown. Professor Wylie, who was a Vans Dunlop scholar at Edinburgh University, recently published an erudite Mr Stirling's specialty in law possibly lay in treatise on "Solidarity and Correality.