Owing to the extreme severity of punish-ment for crimes in the days of old, the narrowest interpretations were given to penal statutes as to offences under the common law. Thus, larceny at common law was confined to the wrongful taking and carrying away of the personal goods of another. So that a person could not be convicted of stealing title-deeds because they were regarded as real estate.

As well be hung for a sheep as for a lamb. A man might be convicted for stealing cither because they were domestic animals, but not for stealing a valuable dog, which is equally a domestic animal, on account, forsooth, of its " base " nature.

What is not larceny at common law has been made larceny by statute, and a servant may be found guilty of robbing his master of property which is in his master's possession, or of goods which are in the custody or under the care of the servant. And a servant or a clerk may be found guilty of embezzlement of money or other valuable security received by him for or on account of his master. It is an offence to incite a servant to rob his master although the servant does not steal anything.


If a mistress supplies her maids with caps and aprons to wear in her service, or a master supplies his servant with livery, the servants are not entitled to take away the clothes with them when leaving their situations, for the clothes so supplied remain the property of the master or the mistress as the case may be.

If in the agreement for hire a proviso is made for so many suits a year besides wages, these may become the property of the servant.

Warranty Of Servant

The warranty of an ordinary servant selling something for his master will not bind the latter, but where the servant is in the position of a general agent it is assumed that he has authority to do all acts usually done by a person in his position.

Thus, if a person leaves instructions with his servant to sell a horse but not to give a warranty with it, and the servant, contrary to orders, does give a warranty, the master will not be bound by it; but if the servant were in the employment of a horse-dealer his authority would be implied.