Open main menu

Page:Harvard Law Review Volume 2.djvu/396

This page needs to be proofread.


rent wager of law was not permitted.* Again, although Assumpsit was the only remedy against the executor of a buyer or borrower, the executor of a lessee was chargeable in debt. These two facts seem amply to explain the refusal of the courts to allow an Indebi- tatus Assumpsit for rent.

But although the landlord was not permitted to proceed upon an Indebitatus Assumpsit^ he acquired, after a time, the right to sue in certain cases, in special assumpsit, as well as in debt. This in- novation originated in the King's Bench, which, having no juris- diction by original writ in cases of debt, was naturally inclined to extend the scope of trespass on the case, of which Assumpsit was a branch. At first this court attempted to justify itself by constru- ing certain agreements as not creating a rent. For example, in Symcock v, Pa)m,^ the plaintiff declared that '• in consideration that the plaintiff had let to the defendant certain land, the defendant promised to f2Ly pro firma pradicta terra at the year's end, ^20."

    • All the court {absente Popham) held that the action was maintain-

able ; for it is not a rent, but a sum in gross ; for which he making a promise to pay it in consideration of the lease the action lies."' This judgment was reversed in the Exchequer Chamber in accord^ ance with earlier and later cases in the Common Bench.^

In the reign of Charles I. the rule was established in the King's Bench that Assumpsit would lie concurrently with Debt, if, at the time of the lease, the lessee expressly promised to pay the rent. Acton V. Symonds* (1634) was the decisive case. The count was upon the defendant's promise to pay the rent in consideration that the plaintiff would demise a house to him for three years at a rent of £2$ per annum. The court (except Croke, J.) agreed that if a lease for years be made rendering rent, an action on the case lies not upon the contract, as it would upon a personal contract for sale of a horse or other goods, but where there is an assumpsit in fact, besides the contract on the lease, an action on this assumpsit is maintainable. In the report in Rolle's Abridgment it is said : The action lay, because it appeared that it was intended by the parties that a lease should be made and a rent reserved, and for

^ Reade v. Johnson, I Leon. 155; London v. Wood, 12 Mod. 669, 681. « Cro. El. 756, Winch. 15, s. c. cited (1621).

  • See also Neck v, Gabb (161 7), i Vin. Ab. 271, pi- 3 ; Dmrtnal v. Morgan (1620),

Cro. Jac. 598.

« Qerk v. Palady (il^), Cro. EL 859 ; White v. Shorte (1614^, i Roll Ab. 7, pL 4 ; Ablain'tCase (1621), Winch, 15.

  • W. Jon€% 364, Cro. Car. 414, i RoU. Ab. 8, pi. 10, s. c.