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Public Record Office before that volume was published in the year 1883, but what has since become of it I have tried in vain to discover. I am informed by the Secretary that it remained in the Eecord Office until the 27th of September, 1887, when it was delivered to Sir Charles Isham's agent. It is, however, no longer in the library at Lamport, and Sir Vere Isham tells me that many of the most valuable documents were sold by Sir Charles. I have enquired in various directions but have been unable to trace the MS. further. ,
The transcript which I have mentioned could not have been made from the Lincoln's Inn MS., the Harleian, or the Cambridge MS. of the reports of the year 20 Edward III., as it differs from all of them. It must therefore have been made either from the Isham MS. or from some other MS. of which nothing is known. It has been of some service, though the original cannot have been quite the best of the MSS. I have referred to it as "I."
The reports of Hilary Term are in the same form in all the MSS. in which they occur. They are evidently all from a common source, and present only the usual variations of reading or clerical errors .and omissions. Prom Easter Term, however, to the end of the year there are two sets of reports, one of which is found in the Lincoln's Inn and Cambridge MSS., the other in the Harleian MS. and in that which I have called the Isham transcript. In many instances there are thus two independent reports of the same case; in some instances there are cases in one pair of manuscripts which are not found in the other pair. Theoor- The reports found in the manuscripts have, as reoordsing usual, been compared with the corresponding records, compared The system on which the comparison has been reports!6 made, the manner in which the records have been used when found, and the difficulties attending the search have been explained in the volume of Year Books (Eolls edition) containing the reports of Easter and Trinity Terms 18 Edward III.1
As in all previous volumes edited by me, every Beferencei case which occurs in Fitzherbert's Abridgment has Herbert's been traced and noted. The printed Liber Assisarum Abridghas also been carefully searched, but does not appear ment' to contain any of the cases which are in the present volume.
Eeports of cases m the Exchequer of Pleas are Reports of
1 , . „ T> T cases m
of somewhat rare occurrence m the xear .Books, the ExThere are, however, two in the present volume. In |^"f^' the first2 it appears that one Barton was a prisoner King's in the Fleet prison, as the King's debtor for the balance of his account touching wools bought of Queen's the King. The wools were part of a certain number attorneyof sacks granted to the King in the fifteenth year of his reign. In respect of a hundred and six sacks, three quarters, five stones, and ten pounds and a half of the wools with which he was charged he appeared in the Exchequer, in the custody of the Warden of the Fleet, and gave the Court to understand that one "Guillelmus Pouche" or "Ponche," who was a prisoner in the Tower of London, ow;ed him £241 18s. This "Guillelmus" is mentioned elsewhere in the records, and seems to have been an Italian merchant. "Guillelmus" is probably the form in which English scribes presented in Latin the Italian Guglielmo. An Englishman named William would have appeared as "Willelmus." "Pouche" or "Ponche" can hardly be the original Italian form. "Pucei" and "Ponci" are well-known Italian names, and one or other of them may have been written phonetically. Be that as it may, the name in the record looks more like Pouche than
1 Introd., pp. xviii-xxxiv.
| 2 Hilary Term, No. 4, pp. 16-21.
anything else, and, after the above words of caution, . he may, perhaps, for want of certainty, be called by it.
Barton prayed that Pouche might appear and answer to the King in respect of the £241 13.s., in part payment of his own' debt, juxta jmerofiativani Regis in hac parte. A precept thereupon issued to the Constable of the Tower to cause Pouche to come and answer to the King in respect of that amount.
Pouche accordingly appeared in custody of the
Lieutenant of the Constable of the Tower. Barton
then said that he had bought of the King the one
hundred and six sacks, &c, of wool for a'certain
sum of money, and the wools had been delivered to
him by virtue of the King's writ under the great
seal, in accordance with the form of the covenants
agreed between him and the King, and that he was
charged to the King for the same wools, as appeared
in the remembrances of the Exchequer, Afterwards,'
the same wools were assigned to Queen Philippa, 1
the King's Consort, in accordance with certain terms
agreed between Barton and Pouche, who was the
Queen's attorney for that purpose. The agreement
was that Barton should have the wools by grant
from the Queen, in virtue of the assignment made
to her, for £641 13s. Of this sum Pouche received
£241 13s. at certain stated times and places. Barton
therefore prayed that, as he was still charged to the
King with the entirety of the said wools, Pouche
might answer to the King for the £241 13s.
received by him, in part payment of Barton's debt.
That Pouche owed that amount, for the cause afore- *
.said, he. was ready to verify in any way the Court:
might direct. f
Wager of Pouche thereupon proffered the 'wager of law that i
fered as to he did not owe the £241 13s., or any part of
the facts, ]^ bv reason of the said contract relating to the but not i allowed, wools.
Barton, on behalf of the King and himself, counterpleaded the wager of law. He said that he had tendered an averment, on behalf of the King and of himself, to the effect that Pouche had received the money in the manner alleged, that the contract and receipt lay within the cognisance of the country, and could be verified by the country, that Pouche alleged nothing on his own behalf, but only proffered the wager of law that he did not owe the money, and that this issue of a plea affecting the King ought not in. this case to be admitted in this Court against the King. Barton therefore prayed judgment.
Pouche replied that Barton had not produced any specialty to show the contract and the payment of the money, that Pouche had himself proffered the wager of law that he did not owe the money by reason of the said contract, and that this issue was admissible according to the common law in such a case, because the King could not have an action independently of Barton. He therefore prayed judgment. Barton joined issue on the point of law; and the Court adjourned to consider its decision.
The wager of law was held to be inadmissible. q°g^ton On the re-appearance of the parties in Court, der of Pouche, according to the report, tendered an aver- jjjTMent ment to the country that he did not owe anything country as to the defendant. This, however, could not be *°the. ,
j •,, „ „ „ same facts
admitted after the proffer of the wager of not laWi allowed.
According to the record judgment was given that Judgment the King should recover against Pouche the of the°Ur £241 13s. in part payment of Barton's debt, and^» that Pouche, who had been removed from the Tower to the Fleet prison by the King's command, should remain there until he had made satisfaction.
The case illustrates both the Exchequer practice, and the doctrine which prevailed with regard to the wager of law. In an action of Debt brought in the Common Bench simply by one subject against another the wager of law would certainly have been allowed in the absence of any specialty, and where there was nothing in support of the claim but the plaintiff's word. This was, ho doubt, the reason for the hesitation of the Barons of the Exchequer, and
for their adjournment to consider the point. The dis- i
pute was, however, not merely one between party and j
party, but one in which the King might be a loser, |
if the wager of law should be successful, and the \
King's debtor failed to have allowance of that which >
he alleged to be owing to him. Therefore judgment s
was given in favour of the King's debtor with j
regard to the proffered wager of law, and this had i the effect of final judgment against the person who owed him money. It seems, however, that if the
latter had at once put himself upon the country .
instead of tendering the wager of law, the issue \
would have been tried by a jury. i
Privilege The second case in the Exchequer of Pleas1 is |
chequer.*"one relating to the privilege of the Exchequer. It |
was claimed by the Barons of the Exchequer that, i
according to the "leges speciales, consuetudines, et;
"statuta Scaccarii " beginning in the time of William [
the Conqueror, the officers of the Exchequer had |
been accustomed to plead and be impleaded therein, I
without question, in respect of all torts and tres- 1
passes with which they were concerned as plaintiffs I
or defendants.2 These stattita are not to be con- jj
founded with Les Estatuz del Eschekere assigned to j
the 51st year of the reign of Henry III. in Ruffhead's I
edition of the Statutes, and described as temporis f
incerti in the Statutes of the Realm, but were alleged!
1 Easter Term, No. 24, p. 202. corresponding entry on the KB. |
2 L.T.E. Eemembrance Roll, Remembrance Roll, and printed f Communia, Hil., 11 Edw. III., Y.B., Easter-Trin., 14 Edw. III., I Adhuc recorda, collated with the Introd., pp. xxiv-xxv. j