Date of Decision: 1767
Abstract: This case involved the efforts of heritors in the parish of Port of Mentieth (Port) to deprive the parish schoolmaster, James Macfarlane, of his office with claims that he neglected his schoolmaster duties while operating a side business as a merchandiser and that he beat the school children under this tutelage, among other accusations. The Pursuers first complained of Macfarlane to the Sheriff of Perth in 1752, but Macfarlane was allowed to continue. Starting in 1763 and again in 1764, forty heritors and heads of families in Port exhibited a complaint against Macfarlane to the presbytery stating that Macfarlane was unfit to be a school teacher due to neglect of duty while he operated his merchandising business and abusive treatment of students. The Presbytery found Macfarlane unfit to serve as schoolmaster in Port. Macfarlane appealed to the synod of Perth and then to the Court of Session. Macfarlane argued that since the salaries of schoolmasters in parish schools were so low, it was common occurrence for schoolmasters to serve as merchandisers for the goods in demand in their parishes. He acknowledged that he had attended fairs in Stirling and Gartmore to sell lint-seed and trade other goods, but he argued that he was only gone for two days and that it was the custom of the parish to close school on these days because many children were absent to to assist with the bear seed. He outlined his measures of discipline as schoolmaster and claimed that they were not severe as the Pursuers had claimed. Case documents provide details of the day-to-day happenings in the Port school house and Macfarlane's interactions with students.
Subjects: Education, Presbytery

Published Report

Not Reported

People or Organizations Associated with Case

Named in case documents:
Walter Macfarlane, Witness
William Blair, Witness
John Blair, Witness
John Macvey, Witness
Henry Milne, Witness
Rev. John Ferguson, Minister
John Macfarlane, Witness
Margaret Ferguson, Witness
Alexander Lenie, Witness
Marion Mill, Witness
Duncan Ferguson, Witness
John Macarthur
David Haldane, Witness
James Blair, Parent
Robert Crawfurd, Witness
David Thomson, Subject of pamphlet
Janet Bateson, Witness
Robert Thomson, Subject of pamphlet
Christian Wright, Witness
Robert Macnab, Schoolmaster at Callander
Murdoch Wright, Father of student
Thomas Forrester, Witness
George Graham, Witness
John Fisher Sr., Parent
William Macfarlane, Witness
John Fisher, Student
Christian Wright, Student
James Sands, Witness
Alexander Harvey, Witness
Isabel Kier, Witness
Lord Ordinary:
James Erskine, Lord Barjarg and Alva
Advocate for Charger:
David Rae
Henry Dundas, 1st Viscount Melville
Advocate for Suspender:
Patrick Murray, of Cherrytrees
Andrew Crosbie, Esq.