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The general issue in an action of detinue. Its form is as follows:: And the said C D, by E F, his attorney, comes and defends the wrong and injury, when, etc., and says, that he does not detain the said goods and chattels (or, deeds and writings' according to the subject of the action,) in the said declaration specified, or any part thereof, in manner and form as the said A B hath above complained. And of this the said C D puts himself upon the country."
In debt on simple contract, in the case of executors and administrators, instead of pleading nil debet, the plea should be "doth, not detain." The plea of non detinet merely puts at issue the simple fact of detainer; when the defendant relies upon a justifiable detainer he must plead it specially.