Fraud (p. 316)
An echo of an early New York real estate boom is found in an old case, wherein it was said: "It will seem marvellous, if not wholly incredible, to those who did not live in the years 1835 and 6, that men should purchase lands lying within ten hours' ride of their residence, and agree to pay $32,000 without ever having taken the trouble to look at the property either in person or by an agent. Bui farms lying in the vicinity of cities and villages were then so much in demand for the building of new towns, that many persons thought it best not to hazard the loss of a bargain by stopping to look or inquire, when they could purchase at a thousand dollars per acre. They might better lose the little sum of $32,000 than be absent one whole day from Wall street, and thus miss the possible chance of purchasing the site of some other prospective city of much greater magnitude. Wonderful as it may seem to the next generation, such things did happen."1
In that case2 the defendant, claiming to have been the victim of misrepresentations, offered to prove that he knew nothing about the land, except it lay on the opposite side of the river from the city of Albany. Says the court, "He trusted to the representations of the plaintiff (who sued on a bond given for the purchase money) in relation to the condition of the property, and the only question is, whether the defendant must charge the loss upon his own folly, and the madness of the timet, or whether the plaintiff has done such a wrong as may be redressed by action. The credulity of the defendant furnishes but a poor excuse for the falsehood and fraud of the plaintiff, and the latter will have no just ground for complaint if he is held responsible for his misconduct."
1Van Epps v. Harrison, 5 Hill (N. Y.) 63 (1843).