The defenders in this case, a group of soap and candle makers, purchased wicks from James Hutchison Jr. In turn, they sometimes sold their goods to Hutchison. Rather than paying separately for each transaction, the merchants periodically settled their accounts and paid the balance in cash or by bill. Unbeknownst to the defenders, Hutchison was selling the wicks on commission from pursuer William Baxter. When Hutchison died, Baxter sued the defenders for the price of certain wicks that they had received. However, the defenders argued that Hutchison owed them a larger sum, and that Baxter must bear the risk of misconduct by Hutchison, his consignee.