Date of Decision: 16 Jan 1800
Abstract: Samuel Birnie and Co. sold “British potashes” for use as a bleaching agent. In certain printed materials, the company claimed that these British potashes had been “found to answer every purpose in bleaching, &c. equal to the best American pot.” Helen Weir of Longloch, the Defender, ordered several casks of the potashes for her bleaching business; however, she was dissatisfied with the product and refused to pay her bill. Samuel Birnie and Co. brought suit to collect on the account. In response, Mrs. Weir argued that the British potashes were inferior to American potashes and contained a “radical” latent defect: Although materials bleached with the British potashes initially appeared white, they turned a reddish or bluish color after being exposed to the air. Based on the resulting harms to her business, Mrs. Weir raised a claim for damages. Samuel Birnie and Co. maintained that British potashes were suitable for use in certain stages of the bleaching process, that the company’s representations had been made in good faith, and that Mrs. Weir had used the British potashes unskillfully. The court found that Mrs. Weir was not liable for the price of the potashes and awarded her damages.
Subjects: Reparation, Sale, Warranty

Published Report

"Shaw's Digest." Bell and Lamond, Digests of Cases Decided in the Supreme Courts of Scotland, 3:1600, 3:1732


Samuel Birnie
Mrs. Helen Weir

People or Organizations Associated with Case

William Boyd, W.S.
Named in case documents:
Daniel Davidson, Deponent
William French, Deponent
Samuel Paterson, Deponent
Ro. Gairdner, Solicitor
John Mackinlay, Deponent
William Steven, Deponent
Robert Lang, Deponent
George Weir, Son of Defender
Dr. Joseph Black
John Stenhouse, Deponent
George Colvin, Deponent
Robert Miller, Deponent
Walter Biggar, Deponent
David Mackie, Deponent
George Fraser, Deponent
John Hamilton, Deponent
P. Clerk
Mr. Pringle
Advocate for Pursuer:
Adam Gillies, of Kintrochat, Lord Gillies
Advocate for Defender:
J. Wolfe Murray
Lord Ordinary:
Allan Maconochie, Lord Meadowbank