Page:The Public Records and The Constitution.djvu/36

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32
THE PUBLIC RECORDS
Office of the Comptroller and Auditor General.Thus, the office of the Comptroller[1] and Auditor General, in which our public accounts are audited, Auditor owes its present constitution to statute, but it did not General. in consequence of any statute appear suddenly as a wholly new institution. It has a not uninteresting history, but one too long to trace in all its details on the present occasion. The principal features are shown upon the diagram. There was a creation, after various tentative stages, of Auditors of Exchequer Accounts, by Exchequer authority. Then came the division of these Auditors into three branches—the Auditor of the Receipt of the Exchequer, the Auditors of Imprests, and the Auditors of Land Revenues. Later on the Auditors of Imprests and the Auditors of Land Revenues became together the Commissioners for Auditing Public Accounts. Still later the Auditor of the Receipt of the Exchequer became the Comptroller-General of the Receipt and Issue of the Exchequer. He existed concurrently with the Commissioners for Auditing Public Accounts and with the Auditor of Excise, who had grown up in the meantime. Last of all the offices of the Comptroller-General of the Receipt and Issue of the Exchequer, of the Auditor of Excise, and of the Commissioners for Auditing Public Accounts were united by statute into the existing office of 'The Comptroller-General of the Receipt and Issue of the Exchequer and Auditor-General of Public Accounts', which is known as the 'Exchequer and Audit Department'. Statutes may expressly declare that an old office is abolished and a new office created, when changes
  1. 'Comptroller' is the statutory and official spelling. This is, perhaps, unfortunate, as it suggests that the word is in some way connected with the Latin compotus, the French compte (an account), which is not the fact. A controller is etymologically a contrarotulator, or controrotulator, a contre-rollour (Modern French contrôleur), one who makes or has a counterpart or duplicate roll or register to check that held by another person.