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The general issue in trespass on the case, in the species of assumpsit. Its form is, "And the said C D, by E F, his attorney, comes and defends the wrong and injury, when, etc., and says, that he did not undertake or promise in manner and form as the said A B, hath above complained. And of this he puts himself upon the country."
Under this plea almost every matter may be given in evidence, on the ground that as the action is founded on the contract, and the injury is the nonperformance of it, evidence which disaffirms the obligation of the contract at the time when the action was commenced goes to the gist of the action.
The name of a plea by which the defendant avers that he did not assume to perform the assumption charged in the declaration within six years.
The act of limitation bars the recovery of a simple contract debt after six years; when a defendant is sued on such a contract and it is more than six years since he entered into the contract, he pleads this plea by the following formula: "and saith that the aforesaid plaintiff the action aforesaid hereof against him he ought not to have, because he saith that he did not undertake, etc., and this he is ready to verify."