An Act respecting apprentices and servants

revision approved April 10, 1846, §5, Revision of 1846, Title XI, ch.1, p.370, 371-372

5. And be it enacted, That if any master or mistress shall be guilty of any misusage, refusal of necessary provision or clothing, unreasonable correction, cruelty or other ill treatment, so that his or her said clerk, apprentice or servant shall have any just cause to complain, or if the said clerk, apprentice or servant shall absent himself or herself from the service of his or her master or mistress, or be guilty of any misdemeanor, miscarriage or ill behaviour, or do not his or her duty to his or her master or mistress, then the said master or mistress, or the said clerk, apprentice or servant, being aggrieved, and having just cause of complaint, shall repair to one justice of the peace, within the county where the said master or mistress dwells, who shall, in his wisdom and discretion, take such order and direction between such master or mistress, and his or clerk, apprentice or servant, as the equity of the case shall require ; and if the said justice of the peace cannot compound or agree the matter between such master or mistress, and his or her clerk, apprentice or servant, then the said justice shall call to his assistance two other justices of the peace of the said county, unconnected with either of the said parties ; which three justices, when met, shall constitute a court for the hearing of the said matters in difference, and having heard the same, shall have authority to discharge, if they think proper, by writing, under their hands and seals, or the hands and seals of any two of them, the said clerk, apprentice or servant, of and from his or her clerkship, apprenticeship, or service, and to order such part or proportion of the money as shall have been given, paid, contracted, or agreed for, with or in relation to such clerk, apprentice, or servant, as they shall think just and reasonable, to be refunded or paid back to the person who paid the same, his or executors or administrators, or to be deducted, as the case may require ; and such writing as aforesaid, shall be a sufficient discharge for the said clerk, apprentice or servant, against his or her master or mistress and his or her executors and administrators, the said indenture or any law to the contrary notwithstanding ; and if the default shall be found to be in the clerk, apprentice or servant, then the said court shall cause such due correction or punishment to be administered unto him or her as they shall deem to be just and reasonable ; and if any person shall think himself or herself aggrieved by such adjudication of the said justices, he or she may appeal to the next court of general quarter sessions of the peace, in and for the county where such adjudication shall have been made, such person giving six days notice of his or her intention of bringing such appeal, and of the cause and matter thereo to the adverse party, and entering into a recognizance within three days after such notice, before some justice of the peace of the said county with sufficient surety, conditioned to try such appeal at, and abide the order or judgment of, and pay such costs as shall be awarded by the said court ; which said court, at their said sessions, upon due proof, upon oath or affirmation of such notice being given, and of entering into such recognizance as aforesaid, shall be and hereby are empowered and directed to proceed in and hear and determine the cause and matter of such appeal, and give and award such judgment therein with costs, to either party, appellant or respondent, as they in their discretion shall judge proper and reasonable.