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thereof shall be liable, at the discretion of the Court, to be kept in penal servitude for the term of three years, or to be imprisoned for any term not exceeding two years, with or without hard labour” (h).

Section 6 of the Conspiracy and Protection of Property Act, 1875 (38 & 39 Vict. c. 86), makes it an offence punishable on summary conviction to wilfully and without lawful excuse refuse or neglect to provide, when one is legally liable to do so, a servant or apprentice with necessary food, clothing, &c. ().

(h) See also 31 & 32 Vict. c. 122, S. 37.

(i) Part II. Chap. XIII. As toduties of owner to provide food, medicine, &c., to seamen, see 17 & 18 Vict.c. 104,

ss. 221 to 231, and 30 & 31 Vict. c. 124, s. 4; and as to sailor suing owners for not supplying medicine, Couch v. Steel (1854, 3 E. & B. 402; 23 L. J. Q. B. 121.



It is the duty of a master to teach his apprentice the trade or profession to which he has been apprenticed.

This follows from the very nature of apprenticeship. It is in fact stipulated for in every indenture. Where two partners agreed to teach an apprentice his trade and one of them retired from the business, it was held that there was a breach of the agreement (a). It is a breach of a contract of apprenticeship for a master who has covenanted to teach three trades to cease to carry on one of them; and the apprentice may refuse to continue serving (6). In Scotland it has been held that if a master did not teach the apprentice his whole trade and mystery-for example, if a stonemason taught his apprentice only to hew stones-the contract might be annulled (c).

It is an answer to an action by the father on the covenants of an indenture for not teaching that the apprentice absented himself, and thereby became incapacitated from serving as an apprentice (d).

(a) Couchman v. Sillar (1870), 22 L. T. N. S. 480 ; 18 W. R. 757.

(6) Ellen v. Topp (1851), 6 Ex. 424; Batty v. Monks (1864), 12 L. T. N. S. 832.

(c) James v. Carswells, 7th July (1794); Campbell's edition of Fraser's Master and Servant, p. 360, where reference is made to a curious case, Gardner v. Smith, in which an apprentice pleaded that his master had given up, in a great measure, his business as a joiner, and become a

smuggler, and that he seldom attended the shop, and took no care to instruct the apprentice. The relevancy of this defence was not denied, but the Court thought it “not proved that the apprentice was deprived of daily instruction by reason of the casual absence of the master."

(d) Hughes v. Humphreys (1827), 6 B. & C. 680 ; 9 D. & R. 715 ; Raymond v. Minton (1866), L. R. I Ex. 244 ; Westwick v. Theodor (1875), L. R. 10 Q. B, 224.

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Where the teaching should be given, is either a question of construction or of what is reasonable in the circumstances. In Royce v. Charlton (e), the apprentice, son of Ann Charlton of Mansfield, in the county of Nottingham, put himself apprentice to defendant “of Mansfield in the said county of Nottingham," and the mother agreed to provide food, clothing, &c. The Court refused to imply an obligation to give instruction at Mansfield, the place where the master carried on business, and the parties to the indenture resided, at the time of its execution. This decision, however, was overruled, so far at least as out-door apprentices are concerned, by the Court of Appeal in Eaton v. Western (f), which was an action for refusing to continue the plaintiff as apprentice against the defendants, who had removed their business to Derby from Lambeth, where it was carried on when the indenture was entered into. The defendants had required all their apprentices to go to Derby, and had offered to pay their railway fares and increase their wages. Drawing a distinction between an indoor apprentice,

. whom a master is bound to provide with food and board, and an outdoor apprentice, maintained by his father, the Court of Appeal thought the defendants' command to remove to Derby unlawful and unreasonable.

If a master of an apprentice dies before the term for which he agreed to instruct him is ended the apprentice will not be able to recover the whole or any part of the premium on the ground of failure of consideration (9).

(C) (1881), L. R. 8 Q. B. D. 1.

($) W. N. July 15, p. 112; Solicitors' Journal, July 8, 1882, p. 562.

(9) Whincup v. Hughes (1871), L. R. 6 C. P. 78 ; 40 L. J. C. P. 104 ; 24 L. T. N. S. 76 ; 19 W. R. 439; Webb v. England (1860), 29 Beav. 44 ; 7

Jur. N. S. 153 ; 30 L. J. Ch. 222; 9 W. R. 183; 3 L. T. N. S. 574. See, however, Derby v. Humber (1867), L. R. 2 C. P. 247, and s. 6, sub-s. 2, of Employers and Workmen Act, 1875 (38 & 39 Vict. e. 90).



A MASTER is not obliged to give his servant a character. Should a master, in giving a servant a character, state that which would be primâ facie libellous or slanderous, no action, in the absence of malice, will lie.

It matters not how much the servant is entitled to a character in fairness, and how cruel the refusal may be; it has not been disputed since the ruling of Lord Kenyon in 1800 in Carrol v. Bird (a) that a servant cannot sue his master because the latter does not give him a character.

The above immunity does not arise out of any peculiarity in the relation of master and servant (6). It is one of a large class of exceptions instituted in the interests of society. It is a particular application of a general principle, viz., that a communication made bona fide upon any subject matter in which the party communicating has an interest, or in reference to which he has, or honestly believes that he has a duty, is privileged if made to a person having a corresponding


(a) 3 Esp., 201. See also Handley v. Moffatt (1872), 7 Ir. R. C. L. 104. (The 2 Geo. I. c. 17, s. 4, requires a master to give a certificate of discharge, and, in case of refusal, the servant may apply to a justice : held that the statutory remedy was exclusive, and that no action for refusing certificate lay against the


(6) Erle, J., in Coxhead v. Richards, (1846), 15 L. J. C. P. 278; 10 Jur. 984 ; 2 C. B. 569. The origin of the exemption may, however, have some. thing to do with the testimonials required by the 5 Eliz. C. 4, s. 10, to be given to servants.

interest or duty (e). The master's privilege is but an application of the general rule which shielded a person who wrote a letter to his mother-in-law containing defamatory statements respecting a person whom she was about to marry (d); a person who, bonâ fide believing that the plaintiff had stolen a box from the shop of the defendant's master, went to his master and said, “There was no one else in the room, and he must have taken it (e);" one who inserted a libel of the plaintiff in a correspondence with plaintiff's friend which was begun with the plaintiff's concurrence in order to investigate certain charges against him (g); directors who in a report to their shareholders stated with respect to their manager that there was a deficiency of stock for which he was responsible and that his accounts had been badly kept and had been rendered to them very irregularly (h). This privilege has been extended on the ground of public policy to communications as to servants by their former employers. The best justification which can be offered for it is the interest which employers,

responsible for the acts of their servants, have in obtaining information as to the antecedents and characters of those whom they take into their service (i). But for this protection no one who had much regard to his safety would think of giving an unfavourable character.

Communications with respect to a servant's character will be presumed to be bonâ fide, and a master will not be, in general, required to prove or substantiate the truth of such statements (k). In order to support an action against a master

who are

(c) See Parke, B., in Toogood v. Spyring (1834), 1 C. M. & R. at p. 193 ; 3 L. J. Ex. at p: 351, a dictum quočed with approval in many subsequent cases, including Whitely y. Adams (1863), 15 C. B. N. S. 392; Ilarrison v. Bush (1855), 5 E. & B. 344 ; Spill v. Maule (1869), L. R. 4 Ex. 232.

(d) Todd v. Hawkins (1837), 2 M. & Rob. 20 ; 8 C. & P. 88. (Letter from a person to his mother-in-law charging the person whom she was about to marry with grave miscon

duet : letter voluntary.)

(e) Amann V. Damm (1860), 8 C. B. N. S. 597 ; 7 Jur. N. S. 47; 29 L. J. C. P. 313 ; 8 W. R. 470.

(g) Hopwood_v. Thorn (1819), 8 C. B. 293 ; 19 L. J. C. P. 94.

(h) Lawlessv. Anglo-Egyptian Cotton Co. (1869), L. R. 4 Q. B. 262 ; 38 L. J. Q. B. 129 ; 17 W. R. 498 ; 10 B. & S. 226.

(i) See Wightman, J., in Gardner v. Slade (1849), 13 Q. B. 796 ; 18 L. J. Q. B. 334 ; 13 Jur. 826.

(k) Alvanley, C.J., in Rogers v.

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