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THE HISTORY OF ASSUMPSIT. 69

for a long time the use of this count in the case of quasi-contracts. Towards the end of the last century, however, the difficulty was overcome by the convenient fiction that the law would imply a request whenever the plaintiff paid, under legal compulsion, what the defendant was legally compellable to pay.^

The main outlines of the history of Assumpsit have now been indicated. In its origin an action of tort, it was soon transformed into an action of contract, becoming afterwards a remedy where there was neither tort nor contract. Based at first only upon an express promise, it was afterwards supported upon an implied promise, and even upon a fictitious promise. Introduced as a special manifestation of the action on ^he case, it soon acquired the dignity of a distinct form of action, which superseded Debt, became concurrent with Account, with Case upon a bailment, a warranty, and bills of exchange, and competed with Equity in the case of the essentially equitable quasi-contracts growing out of the principle of unjust enrichment. Surely it would be hard to find a better illustration of the flexibility and power of self-development of the Common Law.

y. B. Ames.

Cambridge.

1 Turner v, Davies (1796), 2 Esp. 476; Cowell v, Edwards (1800), 2 B. & P. 268; Craytborne v, Swinburne (1807), 14 Yes. 160, 164; £xall v. Partridge (1799), 8 T. R. 308.