A representation is an affirmation by words or conduct of a matter of fact by way of inducement to the making of a contract. In speaking of representations in entering into contracts of insurance, Mr. Justice Story said: "To constitute a representation, there should be an explicit affirmation or denial of a fact - of such an allegation as would irresistibly lead the mind to the same conclusion. If the expressions are ambiguous, or such as the parties might fairly use without intending to authorize a particular conclusion, the assured ought not to be bound by the conjectures, or calculations of probability, of the underwriter." 58

A mere statement or expression of opinion or statement of intention will not amount to a representation, the falsity of which will avoid a contract.6* Thus, in a contract of marine insurance, the assured communicated to the insurer a letter from the master of his vessel, stating that, in his opinion, the anchorage of the place to which the vessel was bound was safe. The vessel was lost there, but the court held that the assured, in reading the master's letter to the insurers, communicated to them all that he himself knew of the voyage, and that the expressions contained in the letter were not a representation of fact, but an opinion which the insurers could act upon or not, as they pleased.55 Nor are commendatory expressions, such as men habitually use in order to induce others to enter into a bargain, regarded as representations of fact.66 The misrepresentation, to be effective at all in avoidance of the contract, must have been relied upon by the other party, and have induced him to enter into the contract, or, rather, it must have been one of the inducements.57 This will be more fully considered in treating of fraud.68