Dictionary of National Biography, 1912 supplement/Guthrie, William

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GUTHRIE, WILLIAM (1835–1908), legal writer, born at Culhorn House, Stranraer, on 17 Aug. 1835, was son of George Guthrie of Appleby, chamberlain to the earl of Stair, by his wife Margaret, daughter of Robert McDonall. Educated at Stranraer Academy and at the Universities of Glasgow and Edinburgh, he passed to the Scottish bar in 1861, but never acquired much practice in the courts. Devoting himself to the study of law, he became editor of the 'Journal of Jurisprudence' (1867-74) and an official reporter of cases decided in the court of session (1871-4). In 1872 he was appointed registrar of friendly societies for Scotland, and in 1874 one of the sheriff-substitutes of Lanarkshire. In 1881 he received the honorary degree of LL.D. from Edinburgh University, and in 1891 represented the Faculty of Advocates at the International Law Association. In 1903 he was raised to the position of sheriff-principal at Glasgow, where he took a prominent and useful part in public affairs. He died in the house of his son, David Guthrie, C.A., Glasgow, on 31 Aug. 1908. He was buried in the Cathcart cemetery, Glasgow. He married Charlotte Carruthers, daughter of James Palmer of Edinburgh, by whom he had four sons and two daughters.

Guthrie was an industrious legal writer. His principal publications (all at Edinburgh) were:

  1. The fourth edition of Robert Hunter's 'Treatise on the Law of Landlord and Tenant,' 1876.
  2. 'Select Cases decided in the Sheriff Courts of Scotland,' 1878.
  3. Translations of Savigny's 'Private International Law' (copiously annotated), 1869, 1880.
  4. Editions of Erskine's 'Principles of the Law of Scotland,' 1870, 1874, and 1881.
  5. Editions of Bell's 'Principles of the Law of Scotland,' 1872, 1885, 1889, and 1899.

He also edited George Guthrie's 'Bank Monopoly the Cause of Commercial Crises' (1864 and 1866) and 'The Law of Trades Unions in England and Scotland under the Trade Union Act of 1871' (1873).

[The Times, Scotsman, and Glasgow Herald, 2 Sept. 1908.]

G. W. T. O.