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before the said end, as is above remembered, that then every such master, mistress, or dame so offending,” &c., shall forfeit the sum of 40s. A servant who departed from his master before the end of his term might be committed to prison (section 9). No servant within the statute might go from one city, town, or parish to another, unless he first got a testimonial or licence to depart (section 10). The hours of work were fixed (section 12); and the justices were empowered to assess at the Easter Sessions the rates of wages (section 15). To give or to take wages in excess of those proclaimed was an offence punishable by imprisonment. Even more important was the section which declared that "it shall not be lawful to any person or persons, other than such as now do lawfully use or exercise any art, mystery, or manual occupation, to set up, occupy, use or exercise any craft, mystery or occupation now used or occupied within the realm of England or Wales, except he shall have been brought up therein seven years at the least as an apprentice, in manner and form abovesaid.” To refuse to be an apprentice and to serve in husbandry was an offence for which the offender might be committed to prison (section 35). To the justices of the peace and

. mayors was assigned the duty of hearing and determining offences against the statute.

One indirect effect of this legislation was to prevent labourers moving freely to and fro in search of employment. This had also been the purpose of previous laws as far back as the 23rd of Edward III. The 12 Richard II. c. 7 (1388), laid the foundation of a settlement law (m), for it ordained that beggars should abide in the cities and towns where they were dwelling at the time of the proclamation of the statute ; if the people could not maintain them, they were to go to the towns where they were born, within forty days after the proclamation, and there abide during their lives. Other statutes with a similar object, but of still greater severity, were

(1) The law of domicile before this, as is shown by Mr. Coode in his Report on Law of Settlement and

Removal (Parliamentary Papers, 1851), p. 7, restricted locomotion.

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enacted during the reigns of Henry VII. and Henry VIII. (12). The most remarkable of these was a statute passed in 1547. It empowered the justices to cause a runaway servant to be branded with a hot iron, and to be adjudged a "slave.” This extraordinary statute—apparently a deliberate attempt to reintroduce slavery-was repealed in 1549. The 39 Elizabeth, c. 17, and 43 Elizabeth, c. 2, made provision for the removal of vagrants to the place of their birth or last legal settlement. Then came various acts of the time of Charles II., William and Mary, and Anne (o). Thus was created a settlement system which lasted with few modifications from 1601 to 1834, and which helped to tie the labouring poor to their birth-places, no matter how little their services might be there in demand. To clench this policy, laws were passed to prevent English workmen going abroad; and as late as 1766 they were put in force (see State Papers, Domestic Series, 1766—1769, xxxvi.).

The Statute of Labourers of Elizabeth gave justices power to “limit, rate, and appoint” the wages of artificers. The justices claimed jurisdiction to order payment of wages (P); and the provisions of the statute were extended by the Legislature (q). By the beginning of last century justices had ceased to assess wages regularly. About this time they received a new kind of power from Parliament. From the reign of George II. to that of George IV. a series of statutes was passed with the object of giving the justices authority to settle disputes and difficulties between masters and workmen.

The first of these was the 20 Geo. II. c. 19. It gave summary jurisdiction to the justices in disputes between masters and servants. "All complaints, differences,

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and disputes," says section 1, “which shall happen or arise between masters or mistresses, and servants in husbandry, who shall be hired for one year or longer, or which shall happen or arise between masters or mistresses, and artificers, handi. craftsmen, miners, colliers, keelmen, pitmen, glassmen, potters and other labourers employed for any certain time, or in any other manner, shall be heard and determined by one or more justice or justices of the peace of the county, riding, city, liberty, town corporate or place, where such master or mistress shall inbabit.” The justices might make such order for payment of so much wages as seemed just and reasonable, provided that the sum did not exceed ten pounds in the case of any servant, and five pounds in case of an artificer or labourer. Section 2 states “that it shall and may be lawful for such justice or justices upon application or complaint made upon oath, by any master, mistress, or employer,"

touching or concerning any misdemeanour, miscarriage, or ill behaviour in such his or her service or employment, to hear, examine and determine the same ; and to punish the offender by commitment to the House of Correction, there to remain and be corrected, and held to hard labour for a reasonable time, not exceeding one calendar month, or otherwise by abating some part of his or her wages, or by discharging such servant, &c.” Provision was also made for hearing the servant's application or complaint against his master, “touching or concerning any misusage, refusal of necessary provision, cruelty, or other ill treatment," and the justices were empowered to discharge the servant if matter of complaint were proved. The Court held that “there to be corrected” meant corrected by whipping (9-). This statute was extended by 31 Geo. II. c. 11, to servants in husbandry hired for less than a year, and by the 4 Geo. IV. c. 34 and 10 Geo. IV. c. 52, to persons engaged in manufactures. Section 3 of the former enacted that if any servant in husbandry, &c., “shall contract with any person to serve

(r) Rex v. Hoscason (1811), 14 East, 605.



him, &c., and shall not enter into or commence his service according to his or her contract (such contract being in writing, and signed by the contracting parties), or having entered into such service shall absent himself from his or her service before the term of his or her contract shall be completed, or neglect to fulfil the same, or be guilty of any other misconduct or misdemeanour in the execution thereof,” any iustice might issue his warrant for the apprehension of the servant. Such a servant might be sent to the House of Correction for three months; his wages might be abated; or he might be discharged. In Turner's Case (s), the Court of Queen's Bench decided that though the words “ lawful excuse" were not in the statute, it was to be read as if they were, and that the offence contemplated by it was absenting from service“ without lawful excuse.” A servant might be punished under this statute more than once if he persisted in absenting himself. In Ex parte Baker (t), and Unwin v. Clarke (u) the Court of Queen's Bench held that, as the contract was still in force, he might be punished for a fresh breach of it, and in the latter case it was also decided that bona fide belief by the servant that he could not be compelled to return was not “a lawful excuse."

A new departure in legislation with respect to differences between workmen and employers took place in 1867. A Select Committee of the House of Commons having reported the year before that the law relating to masters and servants was objectionable in several respects, the 30 & 31 Vict., c. 141, was passed. The magistrate by whom disputes between employers and employed were heard might order an abatement of the whole or part of the wages, direct that the contract be fulfilled, annul the contract, assess the amount of compensation, or impose a fine in case of simple breaches of contract. Imprisonment might be inflicted as a consequence of disobedience to the orders of

(8) (1846), 9 Q. B. 80.

(t) (1857), 7 E. & B. 697 ; 26 L. J. M. C., 193.

(u) (1866), L. R., 1 Q. B 417 ; see, however, Ex parte Baker (1857), 26 L. J. M. C. 153, 2 H, & N. 219 ;

the Court. , ,

In cases, however, of breaches of “an aggravated character,” the offender might at once be committed to prison with or without hard labour. This statute has been repealed by the Employers' and Workmen Act of 1875 (38 & 39 Vict., c. 90), the text of which will be found in the second part of this volume. For the first time the Legislature in this Act ceased to regard a breach of contract of hiring and service as an offence punishable by imprisonment.

This sketch ought not to close without further reference to the 5 Eliz., c. 4, the corner stone of the labour laws of England. In last century that Act ceased to be

. rigorously applied. It was, however, still unrepealed. Any single man between twelve and sixty, any married man under thirty, any woman between twelve and forty, not having any visible livelihood, might be compelled to go out to service " for the promotion of honest industry.” The regulations of the 5 Elizabeth with respect to service in husbandry, the necessity of a labourer procuring a testimonial before quitting his parish, the hours of work, and the powers of justices to settle the rates of wages were still part of the law of the land. But the justices ceased to settle wages; and they were not compelled to do so. Both masters and servants disregarded the law as to testimonials (see complaints as to this in “Laws Concerning Masters and Servants,” published in 1767, p. 233). The Courts, too, had shown no favour towards the Act. They had early confined its application, so far as regards apprenticeship to trades, which had existed at the passing of the Act, and which required skill for their exercise (a). Economists condemned its operation; judges from the bench questioned its policy (y); and the Legislature

and R. v. Youle (1861), 30 L. J. M. C. 234 ; 6 H. & N. 753.

(T) (1613) 2 Bul. 186. The distinctions were curious. Thus barbers were within the statute, Chitty on Apprentices, 117; Viner's Abridg., Trade A. Coachmakers, on the other hand, were not, because coaches were not introduced until about 1580, 2

Camp. 397 : sce also 1 Bur. 2, and 4 Bur. 2450 ; and Adam Smith's Wealth of Nations, Book i. C. X.

(y) Lord Mansfield, in Raynard v. Chase (1756), 1 Bur. 6; Lord Kenyon in ith v. Company of Armourers, (1792), 1 Peake, 199; Dolben, J., in Hobbs v. Young (1690), 3 Mod. 317.

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