Many other illustrations of similar reasons for seeking the aid of equity might be given. In 1388, John S. Kernyng and Adam, who describe themselves as constables of the Hundred of Clavering, say that they dare not perform their office unless the defendants find sureties for their place. Near the beginning of the fifteenth century, it is charged in a bill against one Thomas Archer, "that he is so great a maintainer, extortioner and conducer of inquests in his country that no one dare contradict" him. In 1397, one Sibil, described as the "widow of Robert Darcy, knight," gives as the reason for her inability to sue at common law, the fact that no attorney dared to take her case on account of fear of the malice of the defendant.

In many early cases the plaintiff simply says that he dares not sue at common law, while in a number of other cases the poverty of the plaintiff is the sole reason urged why the Chancellor should interfere.

Another case, involving violence, which might also come under the head of unfair competition, is the following bill dated in 1397:

"To his most honored and most gracious Lord, the Chancellor of England, showeth your poor servant, William Lonesdale,

"Of Scarborough, merchant, that whereas the said William hath divers times by sea and by land, brought divers merchandise, to-wit, herring, kippered and salted, and other fish and victuals from the port of Scarborough in the County of York to the town of Yaxley in the County of Huntington, to sell them there as well he might, to the great relief of all the country round the said town of Yaxley; and because he sold his merchandise at a less price than other merchants of the said town of Yaxley did there, Richard Suffyn, Thomas Clement and William Childe of Yarwell, and many other evil-doers, of their covin, lay in wait with force and arms to kill the said William Lonesdale, and they assaulted him, beat him and ill-treated him, and left him there for dead, so that he despaired of his life; May it please your most gracious Lordship to send for the said parties by writs of our Lord the King, to answer in his Chancery, as well for the said misdeeds as for other thing which then shall be alleged against them: For God and in way of charity."

Mingled with cases of the character already referred to were others bearing a resemblance to the cases which now furnish the work for the courts of equity. As we trace down the various ancient bills, from the reign of Edeard III. to the time of the Stuart dynasty, we find each familiar class of jurisdiction, one after the other, beginning to come before the court, until by the reign of James I. the scope of equity jurisprudence is practically co-extensive with it, as it exists to-day.

Bills for the cancellation and delivery of instruments existed as early as the reign of Edward III., as is seen by the following bill, which furnishes an interesting commentary upon the scientific ideas of the period.

"To the Chancellor of our Lord the King:

"Prayeth Thomas de York, that whereas he know-eth how to work by science of alchemy and to make silver implate, and hath done so in the presence of worthy folk of London, and the silver hath been assayed by the goldsmiths of the same city, and found good, there came one Thomas Crop of London, grocer, and made himself known to the said Thomas de York, so much so that he got him to carry his instruments and his elixir to his (Crop's) house, and got him to work in his house before him; and when the said Thomas Crop perceived the science thereof, wishing to have the said Thomas de York in danger, he, by cullusion between himself and other of the city, imprisoned the said Thomas de York in the house of the said Thomas Crop in London, and there made him sign a bond in 100 marks to the said Thomas Crop, as on an account rendered, and afterwards another bond for the like sum and in the same form; and thus, by virtue of these bonds, the said Thomas Crop hath caused the said Thomas de York to be arrested and imprisoned in Newgate, and detaineth his elixir and his other instruments and other goods and chattels, to the value of 40; whereof the said Thomas de York prayeth for God's sake that he (the Chancellor) will be pleased to order his deliverance and to make the said Thomas Crop come with the elixir and the instruments aforesaid, so that he (the plaintiff) may work and prove his science before them (your Council) or any others whom it may please the King to assign, and that the false bonds may be cancelled."

Bills of this character became quite common during the reign of Richard II.

Fraud early appears as a ground for equitable relief. It might be added, in a defense of a too readily slandered profession, that in but one of the early equitable bills alleging fraud, which have come down to us, is the alleged wrongdoer, a lawyer, while in at least half of the cases the deceit is attributed to some member of the clerical body. A specimen of bills of this character is here given:

"To my most honored Lord, the Chancellor of England: "Showeth your clerk, John de Brampton, rector of the church of S. Dunstan in the west in London, that whereas he delivered to John Seymour, attorney, on the first day of June last, a release, on condition that he should have delivered to the said John de Brampton, that same day, 20 marks sterling or two bonds, the one being a bond for 40 made to Gunnora Horn of London, and the other for 12 made to the said John Seymour in the name of the said John Horn, together with a letter of attorney sealed with the seal of the said John Seymour, and the will of the said Gunnora Horn, which (documents) the said John Saymour had in his keeping on that same day, as it was agreed that same day between the said John, son of Nichols Horn of London, to whom the duty of the said bonds ought to and does belong, and the said John Seymour, then his attorney, the which agreement was made between them in the great Hall at Westminster; and John Seymour, maliciously and falsely scheming to deceive the said John de Brampton, showed him 20 marks in gold in his hand, and demanded from him the said release, which John de Brampton gave him, hoping to have received the 20 marks, as was agreed, and not suspecting any fraud or ill device. But John Seymour, after he had received the release from John de Brampton, would not deliver to him the 20 marks nor the bond for 40, nor the letter of attorney, nor the will aforesaid, but doth retain them to the destruction of the estate of the said John de Brampton and contrary to the said agreement, and notwithstanding that he hath been required by the said John de Brampton to make restitution of the release, or of the bond, the letter of attorney and the will above said. May it please your noble Lordship to cause the said John Seymour to come before you in the Chancery on a certain day to be fixed by you to say why he should not deliver the said release, or the bond, letter of attorney and will abovesaid to the said John de Brampton, or to say why he should not be condemned by you to the said John de Brampton in the said 52 contained in the said two bonds, together with the costs incurred and to be incurred by the said John de Brampton in the matter, since the agreement was made within the jurisdiction of the Chancery."