A representation is fraudulent if it is made with knowledge of its falsity or without belief in its truth. The mere absence of belief is enough, and hence, if a man makes a misrepresentation in reckless disregard whether it is true or not, the representation is fraudulent, for he can have no belief in the truth of what he asserts.41 And if a man falsely asserts a fact as true of his own knowledge when he has no knowledge, it is none the less fraudulent because he believes it to be true. Probably it is the prevailing rule in this country that an unqualified statement of a material fact susceptible of actual knowledge is to be taken as a representation as of one's own knowledge, and that such a representation if false is fraudulent, notwithstanding belief in its truth.42 In England, on the other hand, and in some states it is held that a statement made in the honest belief that it is true is not fraudulent, notwithstanding absence of reasonable grounds for believing it to be true.43 The absence of such grounds can only go to show that the belief was not entertained.44

39 Alfred Shrimpton & Sons v. Philbrick, 53 Minn. 366, 55 N. W. 551; McGinn v. Tobey, 62 Mich. 252, 28 N. W. 818, 4 Am. St. Rep. 848; Burroughs v. Guano Co., 81 Ala. 255,1 South. 212; Smith v. Smith, 134 N. Y. 62, 31 N. E. 258, 30 Am. St. Rep. 617; Kingman v. Reinemer, 166 I11. 208, 46 N. E. 786; Alexander v. Brogley, 63 N. J. Law, 307, 43 Atl. 888; Woodbridge v. De Witt. 51 Neb. 98, 70 N. W. 506; McBride v. Publishing Co., 102 Ga. 422, 30 S. E 999; Shook v. Puritan Mfg. Co., 75 Kan. 301, 89 Pac. 653, 8 L. R. A. (N. S.) 1043; Birdsall v. Coon, 157 Mo. App. 439, 139 S. W. 243. See, also, Louisville & N. R. Co. v. Cooper (Ky.) 56 S. W. 144; Story v. Gammell, 68 Neb. 709, 94 N. W. 982. See "Contracts," Dec. Dig. (Key-No.) § 94; Cent. Dig. §§ 420-430.

40 Taylor v. Fleckenstein (C. C.) 30 Fed. 99; Keller v. Orr, 106 Ind. 406, 7 N. E. 195; Wallace v. Railway Co., 67 Iowa, 547, 25 N. W. 772; Dowagiac Mfg. Co. v. Schroeder, 108 Wis. 109, 84 N. W. 14; Kimmell v. Skelly, 130 Cal. 555, 62 Pac. 1067; Binford v. Bruso, 22 Ind. App. 512, 54 N. E. 146. See "Contracts," Dec. Dig. (Key-No.) § 94; Cent. Dig. §§ 420-430.

41 Per Lord Cairns, in Reese River Min. Co. v. Smith, L. R. 4 H. L. 79; STIMSON v. HELPS, 9 Colo. 33, 10 Pac. 290, Throckmorton Cas. Contracts, 193; Fisher v. Mellen, 103 Mass. 503; Cole v. Cassidy, 138 Mass. 437, 52 Am. Rep. 284; Stone v. Denny, 4 Metc. (Mass.) 151; Humphrey v. Merriam, 32 Minn. 197, 20 N. W. 138; Bennett v. Judson, 21 N. Y. 238; Marsh v. Falker, 40 N. Y. 562; Allen v. Hart, 72 I11. 104; Case v. Ayers, 65 I11. 142; Stone v. Covell, 29 Mich. 359; Bristol v. Braidwood, 28 Mich. 191; Walsh v. Morse, 80 Mo. 568; Cotzhausen v. Simon, 47 Wis. 103, 1 N. W. 473; Indianapolis, P. & C. R. Co. v. Tyng, 63 N. Y. 653; Cabot v. Christie, 42 Vt 121, 1 Am. Rep. 313; Ruff v. Jarrett, 94 I11. 475; Cooper v. Schlesinger, I11 U. S. 148, 4 Sup. Ct. 360, 28 L. Ed. 382; Bower v. Fenn, 90 Pa. 359, 35 Am. Rep. 662; Leavitt v. Sizer, 35 Neb. 80, 52 N. W. 832; Krause v. Busacker, 105 Wis. 350, 81 N. W. 406. See "Contracts," Dec. Dig. (Key-No.) § 94; Cent. Dig. §§ 420-430; "Fraud," Dec. Dig. (Key-No.) § 13; Cent. Dig. §§ 3-5.

42 Litchfield v. Hutchinson, 117 Mass. 197; Chatham Furnace Co. v. Mof-fatt, 147 Mass. 403, 18 N. E. 168, 9 Am. St Rep. 727 (Cf. Goodwin v. Trust Co., 152 Mass. 189, 25 N. E. 100); Kirkpatrick v. Reeves, 121 Ind. 280, 22 N. E. 139; Bullitt v. Farrar, 42 Minn. 8, 43 N. W. 566, 6LR.A. 149, 18 Am.

The fact that the party making the representation professed to rely on the representations of others, and gave the source of his information, is immaterial, if he knew, or had reason to believe, that they were untrue.45