Friday, November 26, 2010

Accepting a Curatorship

'November 26.—The court met late, and sat till one; detained from that hour till four o'clock, being engaged in the perplexed affairs of Mr. James Stewart of Brugh. This young gentleman is heir to a property of better than £1000 a year in Orkney. His mother married very young, and was wife, mother, and widow in the course of the first year. Being unfortunately under the direction of a careless agent, she was unlucky enough to embarrass her own affairs by many transactions with this person. I was asked to accept the situation of one of the son's curators; and trust to clear out his affairs and hers—at least I will not fail for want of application. I have lent her £300 on a second (and therefore doubtful) security over her house in Newington, bought for £1000, and on which £600 is already secured. I have no connection with the family except that of compassion, and may not be rewarded even by thanks when the young man comes of age. I have known my father often so treated by those whom he had laboured to serve. But if we do not run some hazard in our attempts to do good, where is the merit of them? So I will bring through my Orkney laird if I can.'

On November 26, 1825, Sir Walter Scott records taking on legal work related to James Stewart of Brugh, Orkney. This entry provides an insight into his dealings with people, including a reminiscense to his father's situation.  There is a fairly lengthy discussion of this case in an 1832 entry in "Cases decided in the Court of Session" (per Scotland's Court of Session), which begins: 'Feb. 29 1832. James Stewart of Brugh died intestate in March 1811, leaving the pursuer, an only child, in infancy, and without tutors or curators. On the 2d of June 1814, a gift of tutory was obtained from Exchequer, in favour of Mrs Stewart, the pursuer's mother, Thomas Strong, merchant in Leith, and Alexander Stevenson, writer in Edinburgh...'

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