Under the old theory of an infant's contracts, a reasonable contract for teaching him a trade was for his benefit;1 under the modern theory it is held to be a necessary.2 For one or the other of these reasons, many authorities have held that a contract of apprenticeship executed by an infant is binding upon him at Common Law.3 In these cases, however, there were either statutes making such a contract valid, or the infant had not taken proper steps to avoid the contract.

Other authorities have held that at Common Law in the absence of statute or local custom an infant's contract of apprenticeship is voidable and not valid.4 Under some statutes an infant is empowered to bind himself by a contract of apprenticeship.5 In England an apprenticeship deed executed by an infant apprentice is not enforceable against him if the covenants are detrimental to him ;6 but otherwise it is enforceable.7 Under some of these statutes, a master may recover from an infant apprentice for damages for breach of bis covenants,8 or for deferred premiums.9 Under other statutes no such action can be maintained against an infant who pleads infancy.10 If the infant does not sign the articles of apprenticeship it is void as to him.11

8 In re Norton, 98 Fed. 606; In re Doyle, 18 Fed. 369; United States v. Bainbridge, 1 Mason (U. S.) 71; Commonwealth v. Downes, 24 Pick. (Mass.) 227. {Contra, In re Mc-Nulty, 2 Low. (U. S.) 270; In re McLave, 8 Blatch. (U. S.) 67, disapproved in In re Norton, 98 Fed. 606.)

1 Rex v. Wigston, 3 B. & C. 484.

2 Walter v. Everard (1891), 2 Q. B. 369; Pardey v. American Ship Windlass Co., 20 R. I. 147; 78 Am. St. Rep. 844; 37 Atl. 706.

3 Rex v. Arundel, 5 M. & S. 257; Rex v. Wigston, 3 B. & C. 484; 5 Dowl. & R. 339; Cooper v. Simmons, 7 Ex. 707; 7 H. & N. 707; Bratzman v. Bunnell, 5 Whart. (Pa.) 128; 34 Am. Dec. 537; Pardey v. Ship Windlass Co., 20 R. I. 147; 78 Am. St. Rep. 844; 37 Atl. 706; Frazier v. Rowan, 2 Brev. (S. C.) 47. So by local custom, Horn v. Chandler, 1 Mod. 271.

4 Clark v. Goddard, 39 Ala. 164; 84 Am. Dec. 777; Harney v. Owen, 4 Blackf. (Ind.) 337; 30 Am. Dec. 662.

5 Whitmore v. Whitcomb, 43 Me. 458; Harper v. Gilbert, 5 Cush. (Mass.) 417; Fisher v. Lunger, 33 N. J. L. 100; State v. Reuff, 29 W. Va. 751; 6 Am. St. Rep. 676; 2 S. E. 801.

6 Corn v. Matthews (1893), 1 Q. B. 310.

7 Green v. Thompson (1899), 2 Q. B. 1.