20 HARVARD LAW REVIEW,
been so much admired, says : " In order to maintain this action one of two propositions must be maintained ; either that an action will lie against one by whose persuasions one party to a contract is induced to break it to the damage of the other party, or that the action for seducing a servant from the master, or persuading one who has contracted for service from entering into the employ, is of so wide application as to embrace the case of one in the position and profession of Johanna Wagner." The opinion of the majority of the court, sustaining the action, was based principally, it seems, upon the second proposition above stated, viz., that the action on the case for enticing a servant applied to any case of a contract for personal service, regardless of the nature of the ser- vices. The principle stated in the first proposition was also affirmed and sanctioned, with the qualification, not stated by Coleridge, J., that the persuasion used by the defendant, to cause the breach of contract, must be malicious.
In Bowen v. Hall, 6 Q. B. D. 333, which was an action for per- suading a skilled workman, who, with a few others, possessed a secret process for manufacturing glazed bricks, to break his con- tract with the plaintiff for exclusive service for five years, the ques- tion was presented, for the first time, in a court of error, whether the decision in Lumley v, Gye should be affirmed or reversed ; and the Court of Appeal — one judge dissenting — affirmed the deci- sion, but distinctly rejected the proposition that the action could be maintained as an action for enticing a servant. Upon that point the court declared that the reasoning of Coleridge, J., to the effect that the action for enticing servants from their employment was given by the Statute of Labourers, and applied only in case of menial servants, was as nearly as possible, if not quite, conclusive. The Court of Appeal rested its decision upon a broad principle, deduced from the historical case of Ashby v, White,^ which was asserted to have been the foundation of the decision of the ma- jority of the judges in Lumley v, Gye, in one branch of their arguments, and which is stated by Lord Justice Brett in' these words : "That whenever a man does an act which, in law and in fact, is a wrongful act, and such an act as may, as a natural and probable consequence of it, produce injury to another, and which, in the particular case, does produce such an injury, an action on the case will lie." In other words, the case of Lumley v. Gye, as
1 Ld. Raym. 938; s. c. i Sm. L. C. (8th ed.) 472.