Although the acceptor of a draft obviously cannot be expected to know the signature of the carrier's agent on a bill of lading accompanying the draft, it is held that money paid by the acceptor in reliance upon the genuineness of a forged bill of lading may not be recovered.3 In the English case of Leather v. Simpson,4 the decision appears to have rested mainly upon the doctrine that where equities are equal the legal title should prevail;5 but in some of the American cases the point is made that the acceptor's mistake is not a mistake between him and the holder, but a mistake which affects his relation to the drawer alone.6 Probably the policy of conserving the security of negotiable paper has also contributed to the result.1
1 Welch v. Goodwin, 1877, 123 Mass. 71; 25 Am. Rep. 24.
2 In Wilson, Admr. v. Alexander, 1842, 4 111. (3 Seam.) 392, the court said (p. 395): "We are of the opinion it would be carrying the rule to an unreasonable extent, to charge the administrator with knowledge of the genuineness of an instrument, to which the name of his intestate purports to be affixed, as maker."
3 Robinson v. Reynolds, 1841, 2 Q. B. 196; Leather v. Simpson, 1871, L. R. 11 Eq. 398; Hoffman v. Bank of Milwaukee, 1870, 12 Wall. (U. S.) 181; Goetz v. Bank of Kansas City, 1886, 119 U. S. 551; 7 S. Ct. 318; Young v. Lehman, 1879, 63 Ala. 519; Varney v. Monroe Nat. Bank, 1907, 119 La. 943; 44 So. 753; 13 L. R. A. (N. S.) 337; First Nat. Bank v. Burkham, 1875, 32 Mich. 328; Craig v. Sibbett, 1850, 15 Pa. St. 238; Randolph v. Merchants' Bank, 1874, 7 Baxt. (66 Tenn.) 458.
4 1871, L. R. 11 Eq. 398.
5 Malins, V. C, said (p. 407): "The equities between these parties are equal; the parties are equally innocent in the transaction; they have all been imposed upon; but there is this difference, that one of them, by the course of the transaction, has been in possession of the money, and I am at a loss to see any ground upon which I can be justified in making a decree that that money should be restored."
6 See Hoffman v. Bank of Milwaukee, 1870, 12 Wall. (U. S.) 181, 190, 191; Goetz v. Bank of Kansas City, 1886, 119 U. S. 551, 556, 557; 7 S. Ct. 318; First Nat. Bank v. Burkham, 1875, 32 Mich. 328.