Date of Decision: 15 Jul 1774
Abstract: Robert Alexander and his brother, William, attempted to take over the burgh magistracy of Pittenweem in the mid-1760s, after the death of Sir Harry Erskine. They were successful and assumed power in 1765. Former magistrates of the burgh of Pittenweem filed suit against the Alexanders, alleging that the Alexanders and their agents engaged in undue influence and corruption during the election process. It is alleged that some of these corrupt transactions were between the Alexanders and bailie Thomas Martin, defender. During the lawsuit, the Alexanders apparently used burgh funds to cover the costs of the litigation. The magistracy of Pittenweem also took out a loan from Robert Alexander. The former magistrates won the lawsuit and returned to power. They now challenge the burgh debt to Robert Alexander, arguing that it was not validly procured.
Subjects: Community, Burgh, Corruption, Elections

Published Report

William Morison, The Decisions of the Court of Session (1811), 2527 Dalrymple, Decisions of the Lord of Council and Session, from 1766 to 1791, 586 Mungo Brown, Supplement to the Dictionary of the Decisions of the Court of Session (1826), 402


Robert Alexander, of Boghall and Blackhouse, Representative for Pittenween upon the death of Sir Harry Erskine
William Alexander, of Blackhouse, Brother of Robert Alexander and agent to his brother
Thomas Martin, Bailie for Burgh of Pittenweem
John Borthwick, Constituted by Robert and William Alexander as their political agent for the burgh of Pittenweem

People or Organizations Associated with Case

Advocate for Pursuer:
Sir Ilay Campbell, Lord Succoth, 1st Baronet of Succoth
Henry Dundas, 1st Viscount Melville
Advocate for Defender:
John MacLaurin, Lord Dreghorn
Named in case documents:
Sir Henry Erskine, of Alva and Clackmannan, Baronet, Representative in the parlament in 1765 for Fife