THE COURT DIRECTED THE PLEADINGS SO AS TO ARRIVE AT AN ISSUE OF FACT OR LAW AFFIRMIED ON THE ONE SIDE AND DENIED ON THE OTHER. The court's duty- in this connection was to direct the plead ings in such a manner that the parties might as speedily as possible arrive at a proposition, either of fact or law, material to the cause, which was specifical ly affirmed on one side and denied on the other. When this stage was reached the parties were said to be at issue (ad exitum, that is, at the end of their plead ing), and the proposition evolved was called "the is sue." It was according to the nature of the proposi tion, either an issue of fact, or an issue of law. If the latter, the judges themselves decided the matter ; if the former, it was referred to which ever one of the various methods of trial then practiced, as the court thought applicable, or it was, when proper, by mutual agreement of the parties, referred to a trial by jury.
An adjournment of the proceedings from day to day by, an order of the court, or from tenn to term, was called a "continuance," and was minuted on the record. If any interval took place without such an adjournment, duly obtained and entered of record, the break thus occasioned was called a "discontinuance," and the cause was considered as out of court by the interruption, and was not allowed to be proceeded with afterwards.