I know the diction and syntax are outdated because I'm quoting from an English judge in 1885 namely Edgington v. Fitzmaurice (1885) 29 Ch D 459, Court of Appeal. But what exactly did Bowen LJ mean?
Was he writing that the state of digestion is a fact? Or that the state of digestion, like the state of a man’s mind, "is very difficult to prove [...], but if it can be ascertained it is as much a fact as anything else."
Any physicians here? Can a gastroenterologist pinpoint someone's state of digestion precisely?
This is an action for deceit, in which the Plaintiff complains that he was induced to take certain debentures by the misrepresentations of the Defendants, and that he sustained damage thereby . . .
The alleged misrepresentations were three [he considered the first two misrepresentations and concluded that there was insufficient proof that the misrepresentations had been made fraudulently and continued]
But when we come to the third alleged misstatement I feel that the Plaintiff’s case is made out. I mean the statement of the objects for which the money was to be raised. These were stated to be to complete the alterations and additions to the buildings, to purchase horses and vans, and to develop the supply of fish. A mere suggestion of possible purposes to which a portion of the money might be applied would not have formed a basis for an action of deceit. There must be a misstatement of an existing fact: but the state of a man’s mind is as much a fact as the state of his digestion. It is true that it is very difficult to prove what the state of a man’s mind at a particular time is, but if it can be ascertained it is as much a fact as anything else. A misrepresentation as to the state of a man’s mind is, therefore, a misstatement of fact. Having applied as careful consideration to the evidence as I could, I have reluctantly come to the conclusion that the true objects of the Defendants in raising the money were not those stated in the circular . . .
Ewan McKendrick. Contract Law: Text, Cases, and Materials (2020 9 ed). p 565.