"On the review of the authorities it would seem that the dictum of Dallas, J., above cited, is not sustained, either upon principle or authority, and that some act is necessary, on any infant's part, tending to show an intention to ratify, or he will not be bound." See Irvine v. Irvine, 9 Wall. 617.
1 Gibbs v. Merrill, 3 Taunt. 307; Hunt v. Massey, 5 B. & Ad. 902; Hartley v. Wharton, 11 Ad. & El. 934; Cohen v. Armstrong, 1 M. & S. 724.
2 Thing v. Libbey, 16 Me. 55; Goodridge v. Ross, 6 Met. 487.
3 U. S. v. Bainbridge, 1 Mason, 71; Commonwealth v. Harrison, 11
§ 121. Second. All acts which he is under a legal obligation to do are binding upon him;1 as giving a bond for the support of his illegitimate child, where the statute obliges him to support his illegitimate child, and makes it necessary for him to give such bond.2 So, also, as he is bound, by law, to provide for the support of his wife and children, he is answerable for necessaries furnished to them.3 He is of course liable for necessaries furnished himself; and a written acknowledgment by an infant of a debt incurred for necessaries is an answer to a plea of the statute of limitations.4
§ 122. Third. An infant may bind himself as an apprentice to a trade,5 and if he be made a party to the indenture, or if his consent be expressed in it, it is said in England, he cannot dissolve the relation.6 But he may set up his infancy as a defence for violation of his covenants, by the common law,7 although he cannot abandon his master's service, and avoid his indenture,8 unless his master desert him.9 In this country articles of apprenticeship, except by force of some statute, are not absolutely binding, but voidable at the election of the minor.1
Mass. 65; U. S. v. Anderson, Cooke, 143; Commonwealth v. Murray, 4 Binn. 487. A minor between the ages of eighteen and twenty-one may lawfully enlist as a member of a regiment of volunteers in the service of the United States. Lanahan v. Birge, 30 Conn. 438 (1862).
1 The People v. Moores, 4 Denio, 519; Baker v. Lovett, 6 Mass. 80. See also U. S. v. Bainbridge, 1 Mason, 83; The People v. Mullin, 25 Wend. 698; Winslow v. Anderson, 4 Mass. 376; Elliott v. Horn, 10 Ala. 348.
2 The People v. Moores, 4 Denio, 519; McCall v. Parker, 13 Met. 372.
3 Turner v. Trisby, 1 Str. 168; Bull. N. P. 155.
4 Willins v. Smith, 4 El. & B. 180 (1854).
5 The King v. Arundel, 5 M. & S. 257; Woodruff v. Logan, 1 Eng. 276.
6 2 Kent, Comm. pt. iv. lect. 31, p. 242; Wood v. Fenwick, 10 M. & W. 195; The King v. Great Wigston, 3 B. & C. 484.
7 Whittingham v. Hill, Cro. Jac. 494; Gylbert v. Fletcher, Cro. Car. 179; Jennings v. Pitman, Hutton, 63; Lylly's Case, 7 Mod. 15; Whitley v. Loftus, 8 Mod. 190; Blunt v. Melcher, 2 Mass. 228; In the matter of McDowles, 8 Johns. 331; Harper v. Gilbert, 5 Cush. 417; Balch v. Smith, 12 N. H. 437; Harney v. Owen, 4 Blackf. 338. See also Mr. Bennett's note to Bing. on Infancy, 90. By the custom of London, infancy is no defence.
8 The King v. Great Wigston, 5 Dowl. & Ryl. 339; 3 B. & C. 484.
9 The King v. Mountsorrel, 3 M. & S. 497.
§ 123. A contract for labor and service is, however, voidable by an infant;2 and even although it be an entire contract, he may recover a quantum meruit for the labor actually performed, deducting, as some authorities hold, any damage which may have accrued to his employer in consequence of the imperfect performance.3 But on this last point many cases hold that if an infant has legally avoided his contract for labor, the rights of the parties are as if no such contract had ever been made; and if he has agreed to give notice before leaving, but does not, he may recover all his wages, without any deduction for damages in not complying with his contract.4 His action should, however, be brought in the name of his parent or guardian. Payment of wages to the son is ordinarily no defence to an action by the father, because to the father alone are his wages due.5 Yet if the son be emancipated, and allowed to work on his own account, he alone is entitled to his earnings, and they cannot be attached by his father's creditors.6 The father's consent that the child shall have his own earnings will be implied from a knowledge that he is working for himself, if no objection be made by his father.1 And if the son's wages are paid to the father, under an agreement that they belong to the son, the latter may sue the father for them.2 So, also, when a father leaves a son in charge of a mother, whom he has deserted, he cannot claim the child's earnings.3 Nor can he claim his earnings where the father is a pauper and insane, since he is under no obligation to support his child in such case.4 Emancipation by the father must be proved, and will not be presumed.5 Desertion by the child with vagrancy and crime does not of itself constitute emancipation.6
1 See Harney v. Owen, 4 Blackf. 338; Vent v. Osgood, 19 Pick. 572; Peters v. Lord, 18 Conn. 337; Nickerson v. Easton, 12 Pick. 112.
2 Nickerson v. Easton, 12 Pick. 112; Vent v. Osgood, 19 Pick. 572; Francis v. Felmit, 4 Dev. & Bat. 498; Medbury v. Watrous, 7 Hill, 110. See also Bing. on Infancy, and Mr. Bennett's note, p. 89, 90; Peters v. Lord, 18 Conn. 337.
3 Moses v. Stevens, 2 Pick. 332; Thomas v. Dike, 11 Vt. 273; Vent v. Osgood, 19 Pick. 572; Hoxie v. Lincoln, 25 Vt. 206; Judkins v. Walker, 17 Me. 38; Medbury v. Watrous, 7 Hill, 110; Moulton v. Trask, 9 Met. 577; Corpe v. Overton, 10 Bing. 252; Ray v. Haines, 52 111. 485 (1869); Dallas v. Hollingsworth, 3 Ind. 537. But see Whitmarsh v. Hall, 3 Denio, 375, contra, as to any deductions.
4 Derocher v. Continental Mills, 58 Me. 217 (1870), reviewing the cases; Robinson v. Weeks, 56 Me. 102.
5 Shute v. Dorr, 5 Wend. 204; Clapp v. Green, 10 Met. 439; Gal-braith v. Black, 4 S. & R. 207; White v. Henry, 24 Me. 531; Keen v. Sprague, 3 Greenl. 77. See Mclntyre v. Fuller, 2 Allen, 345 (1861).