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THE ACCOUNTING SYSTEM OF THE UNITED STATES
FROM 1789 TO 1910
UNDER THE DIRECTION OF THE
CHAIRMAN OF THE COMMITTEE ON AUDITING,
1. 5. - TREASURY DEPARTMENT
WASHINGTON GOVERNMENT PRINTING OFFICE
Harvard College Library
Document No. 2603.
ments until they finally crystalized in the act of 1862 as amended in 1867. Those examinations are now required by the act of 1894.
The duties of the Auditors and Comptrollers were added to by congressional authority and by the natural growth of the United States. It would be interesting to take up each additional duty, to analyze it and to place it in its particular niche, but in an endeavor to ascertain present conditions such historical researches must be left for a more convenient season. The Court of Claims, in 1877 (13 C. of Cl. Rep., 299); outlined the auditing system in the following manner:
The principal officers to whom this great responsibility is committed by law are called “accounting officers," consisting of six auditors * * * , each acting separately upon different classes of accounts, and the Commissioner of the General Land Office, who is also an auditor of all public accounts relative to the public lands * * *; two Comptrollers * * *, each also acting separately in like manner; and a Commissioner of Customs, whose duties were transferred from the First Comptroller, and who, under another name, is a comptroller in matter of accounts relating to customs * * *
There are also other officers through whom accounts must pass for different purposes, in the Treasury Department and elsewhere, before payment is made, whose duties in connection therewith we shall refer to as we note in detail the course of business in settling accounts from the time a demand is brought to the Treasury Department until final payment thereof.
Accounts accruing in the War Department, relating to the pay and clothing of the Army, the subsistence of the officers, bounties and premiums, military, and hospital stores, ordnance, recruiting, medical, Freedmen's Bureau, Soldiers' Home, and for contingent expenses, are received and examined by the Second Auditor. Those relating to the subsistence of the Army and the Quartermaster's Department, engineers, river and harbor surveys and improvements, compensation for losses of horses and equipments of officers and enlisted men in the military service, for the losses of horses and equipments or of steamboats and all other means of transportation, in the service of the United States by contract or impressment, and generally all accounts of the War Department other than those provided for, are received and examined by the Third Auditor * * * When examined, the Auditor certifies in each case the balance, and transmits the account, with the vouchers and certificate, to the Second Comptroller for his decision thereon * * *.
The Second Comptroller examines the same and certifies the balance arising thereon, and his certificate is returned, with the vouchers, to the Auditor, who transmits the certificate to the Secretary of War, in whose department the expenditures have been incurred, for a requisition thereon * * *.
The Secretary of War, upon this certificate, draws a requisition on the Secretary of the Treasury, requesting him to cause a warrant for the amount specified to issue in favor of the claimant, to be charged to the appropriation to which specific reference is made * * * .
The requisition, signed by the Secretary of War, is forwarded by him to the Second Comptroller, who countersigns the same * * *, and sends it to the Auditor by whom the account was first audited.
The certificate is returned to the Auditor, who files the same with the vouchers in his office, records the requisition, certifies to it, and sends it to the Secretary of the Treasury. * * *
A warrant is then drawn in the warrant division of the Secretary's office and charged to the proper appropriation. The warrant is addressed to the Treasurer of the United