l8 HARVARD LAW REVIEW.
assumpsits as made in consideratione of the det|iment or debt.^ And these words became the peculiar mark of the technical action of assumpsit^ as distinguished from other actions on the case against surgeons or carpenters, bailees and warranting vendors, in which, as we have seen, it was still customary to allege an undertaking by the defendant.
It follows, from what has been written, that the theory that con- sideration is a *' modification of quid pro quo^' is not tenable. On the one hand, the consideration of indebitatus assumpsit was iden- tical with quid pro quo^ and not a modification of it. On the other hand, the consideration of detriment was developed in a field of the law remote from debt ; and, in view of the sharp contrast that has always been drawn between special assumpsit and debt, it is im- possible to believe that the basb of the one action was evolved from that of the other.^
Nor can that other theory be admitted by which consideration was borrowed from equity, as a modification of the Roman " causal The word " consideration " was doubtless first used in equity ; but without any technical significance before the sixteenth century. ^ Consideration in its essence, however, whether in the form of det- riment or debt, is a common-law growth. Uses arising upon a bargain or covenant were of too late introduction to have any in- fluence upon the law of assumpsit. Two out of three judges ques- tioned their validity in 1505, a year after assumpsit was definitively established.* But we may go further. Not only was the consid- eration of the common-law action of assumpsit not borrowed from equity, but, on the contrary, the consideration, which gave validity to parol uses by bargain and agreement, was borrowed from the common law. The bargain and sale of a use, as well as the agree- ment to stand seised, were not executory contracts, but convey- ances. No action at law could ever be brought against a bargainor
1 In Joscelin v. Sheldon (1557), 3 Leon. 4, Moore, 13, Ben. & DaL 57, pi. 53, s. c, a promise is described as made ** in consideration of/* etc. An examination of the original records might disclose an earlier use of these technical words in connection with an as- sumpsit But it is a noteworthy fact, that in the reports of the half-dozen cases of the reign of Henry VIII. and Edward VI. the word " consideration ** does not appear.
s See also Mr. Salmond's criticism of this theory, in 3 L. Q. Rev. 178.
« 31 H. VI. Fitz. Ab. Subp. pL 23 ; Fowler v. Iwardby. i Cal. Ch. LXVIII. ; Pole v. Richard, i Cal. Ch. LXXXVIII. ; V. B. 20 H. VII. 10, pi. 20; Br. Fe£f. al use, pL 40 ; Benl. & Dal. 16, pi. 20.
- Y. B. 21 VIII. 18, pi. 30. The consideration of blood was not sufficient to create
a use, until the decision, in 1565, of Sharrington v, Strotton, Plow. 295.