The rule of no recovery for the willful contract breaker was challenged in the now famous New Hampshire case of Britton v. Turner,1 in which it was held that one who voluntarily abandons a con-tract of service may recover to the extent of the benefit derived by his employer from his part performance, after deducting the damages resulting from the plaintiff's breach. The decision has been followed in other States (post, Sec. 174 et seq.). Professor Scott, while conceding that the weight of authority is against it, declares that "the reason of the thing and the trend of legal development are clearly in favor of it";2 and Judge Dillon, in McClay v. Hedge,3 says: "That celebrated case has been criticized, doubted, and denied to be sound. It is frequently said to be good equity, but bad law. Yet its principles have been gradually winning their way into professional and judicial favor. It is bottomed on justice, and is right upon principle, however it may be upon the technical and more illiberal rules of the common law, as found in the older cases." The case has provoked so much discussion and has such a considerable following that it cannot be passed without careful examination.
1 1834, 6 N. H. 481; 26 Am. Dec. 713.
2 "Cases on Quasi-Contracts," p. 761, n. 3 1864, 18 la. 66, 68.
The chief grounds of the decision, gathered from the somewhat lengthy opinion of the court, will be separately stated and discussed.