Sidebilder
PDF

has been held,* that an infant could not be bound by his father or guardian, as a servant to another; while in Massachusetts, their statute law concerning apprentices, does not make void all contracts binding the minor to service, that are not made in conformity to the statute. It has been held,0 that the father may at common law, bind his infant son to service, and the contract will be good, independent of the statute. The doctrine is contrary to the English law, and to the construction of the statute of New-York, and to the rule in Pennsylvania; and it has been questioned in the case of the United States v. Bainbridge.c It was decided in that last case, that the father could not bind his infant son, without his consent, to military service, and that where his enlistment has been held valid, it was by force of the statute authority of the United States. In Louisiana, a minor may be bound to serve as an apprentice to learn some art or trade, with the consent of the parent, or tutor, or parish judge, and the time expires at the age of eighteen in males, and fifteen in females. The contract is made before a notary, and read to, and signed by the parties.d The master may correct his apprentice, with moderation, for negligence or misbehaviour.e Whether an indented apprentice can be assigned by one master to another, is a *question which does not seem to *265 have been definitely settled/ It was concluded,

v. Moore, 1 Ashmead's Rep. 123. Guthrie v. Murphy, 4 Watts , 80. Puv. don's Dig. 58. 60.

* Respublica v. Keppell, 2 Dall Rep. 197. But see Contra, I S . $ R. 252. 1 Browne, 275.

b Day v. Everett, 7 Mas: Rep. 145.

• 1 Maron's Rep. 71.

Cieil Code of Louisiana, art. 158—167.

Ibid. Commonwealth v. Baird, 1 A*hmead"s Penn. Rep. 267. S. F.

f The better doctrine ia, that an apprentice cannot, without his consent, be transferred or assigned by his master. Haley v. Taylor, 3 Dana's Ken. Rep. 223. Bat in Pennsylvania, by statute, executors and administrators, and even the master may, under certain circumstances, assign over the apin the case of Nicker son v. Howard,* that such an assignment might be good, by way of covenant between the masters, though not as an assignment to pass an interest in the apprentice. As was observed by Lord Mansfield,b though an apprentice be not strictly assignable, nor transmissible, yet if he continue with his new master, with the consent of all parties, and his own, it is a continuation of the apprenticeship. The master is entitled to the wages and fruit of the personal labour of the apprentice, while the relationship continues, and the apprentice is in his service; and there are cases which give the master a right to the wages or earnings of the apprentice, while in another's service, and with or without his master's license, and even though the trade or service be different from that to which the apprentice is

prentice. Purdon's Dig. 60. The New York statute allows the contract made by an infant coming from a foreign country, and binding himself to service, to be assigned by the master, under certain checks; and generally the contracts for service as clerk, apprentice, or otherwise, may be assigned upon the death of the master, by his executors or administrators, with the assent of the apprentice, and without it, under the orders of the general sessions of the peace. N. Y. Revised Statutes, vol. ii. p. 156, sec. 14; p. 160, sec. 41, 42. The Massachusetts Revised Statutes of 1835, (and which appear to me to be an excellent sample of clear, brief, temperate and judicious codification,) declare that minors may be bound as apprentices or servants, females until 18, or marriage, and males until 21, by the father; or if he be dead or incompetent, by the mother or lawful guardian, and if illegitimate, by the mother. If they have no competent parent or guardian, they may bind themselves, with the approbation of the select men of the town. Minors above 14 are to testify their assent by signing the indenture. The overseers of the poor may bind the children of paupers. The court may discharge the apprentice from his service, or the master from his contract, for good cause. The death of the master discharges the apprenticeship, and the right of the father to assign or contract for the services of his children during their minority, is saved.

« 19 Johns. Rep. 113. See, also, Caister v. Eccles, 1 Lord Raym. 683. In the case of the Commonwealth v. Van Lear, 1 Serg. $ Rawle, 248, the assent of both father and apprentice was held to be requisite under the statute law of Pennsylvania, to a valid assignment of the articles of apprenticeship.

• The King v. The Inhabitants of Stockland, Doug. Rep. 70.

bound.* But Lord Hardwicke declared, in the case before him, that if the master had not done his duty with the apprentice, and had been the unjustifiable cause of his pursuing a different course of life, he would grant relief in *equity against the master's legal *266 claim to his earnings. Upon the death of the master, the apprenticeship is essentially dissolved, for the end and design of it, as a personal trust, cease; but the assets in the hands of the representatives of the master, are chargeable with the necessary maintenance of the infant apprentice.b

• Hill T. Allen, 1 Vesey, 83. Barber v. Dennis, G Mod. Rep. 69. Lightly v. Clouson, 1 Taunt. Rep. 112. Harg. Co. Litt. 117, e, note. If an apprentice runs away, and enters into another's service, his gains belong to the master from whom he deserted, though prize money earned in a ship of war forms, in England, an exception. Carson v. Watts, 3 Doug. Rep. 350. The master of an apprentice is bound to pay for medical attendance on the apprentice, from the nature of the relation between them. It is not so in the case of hired servants, and even the father is only bound when the services have been rendered at his instance. Early v. Craddock, 4 Randolph's Rep. 423. By the English cases, the better opinion would veem to be, that the master is not liable for medical assistance to his hired servants. Newby v. Wiltshire, 4 Doug. Rep. 284. Wennall v. Adney, 3 Bos. <J. Pull 247. Contra, Lord Kenyon, in Scarman v. Castell, 1 Esp. N. P. Cas. 270.

b The King v. Peck, 1 Salk. Rep. 66. Baxter v. Burfield, Sir. Rep. 1266. It has been held, in Versailles v. Hall, S Miller's Louis. Rep. 266, that the contract of apprenticeship was personal, and not susceptible of alienation without the cousent of all parties concerned, and, consequently, that it ceased on the insolvency, as well as death of the master, inasmuch as his character and disposition entered into the consideration of the contract.

This relation of master and apprentice was, in its original spirit and policy, an intimate aud interesting connection, calculated to give the apprentice a thorough trade education, and to advance the mechanic arts in skill, neatness and fidelity of workmanship, as well as in the facility and utility of their application. The relationship, if duly cultivated under a just sense of the responsibility attached to it, and with the moral teachings which belong to it, will produce parental care, vigilance, and kindness on the part of the master, and a steady, diligent, faithful and reverential disposition and conduct, on the part of the apprentice.

In taking leave of the extensive subject of the domestic relations, I cannot refrain from acknowledging the assistance I have received from the work of the late Chief Justice Reeve on that title. That excellent lawyer and venerable man has discussed every branch of the subject in a copious manner; and though there is some want of precision and accuracy in his reference to authority, and sometimes in his deductions, yet he every where displays the vigor, freedom, and aenteness of a sound and liberal mind.

LECTURE XXXIII.

OF CORPORATIONS.

A Corporation is a franchise possessed by one or more individuals, who subsist as a body politic, under a special denomination, and are vested, by the policy of the law, with the capacity of perpetual succession, and of acting in several respects, however numerous the association may be, as a single individual.

The object of the institution is to enable the members to act by one united will, and to continue their joint powers and property in the same body, undisturbed by the change of members, and without the necessity of perpetual conveyances, as the rights of members pass from one individual to another. All the individuals composing a corporation, and their successors, are considered in law but as one person capable, under an artificial form, of taking and conveying property, contracting debts and duties, and of enjoying a variety of civil and political rights. One of the peculiar properties of a corporation, is the power of perpetual succession; for, in judgment of law, it is capable of indefinite duration. The rights and privileges of the corporation do not determine, or vary, upon the death or change of any of the individual members. They continue as long as the corporation endures.

It is sometimes said, that a corporation is an immortal, as well as an invisible and intangible being. But the immortality of a corporation means only its capacity to take in perpetual succession so long as the corporation exists. It is so far from being immortal, that it is well known, that most of the private corporations recently created by statute are limited in duration to a few years. There are many corporate bodies that are without limita

Vol. II. 25

« ForrigeFortsett »