In the remarks which I am about to make I wish it clearly to be understood that, as I personally am not an accounting officer under the Act, I have no personal grievance to ventilate. In this asylum, not only I, but the other officials whose duty it is to make returns of an official nature, have always done so honestly, readily, and fully; and speaking not only for myself, but for others, we have formerly made, and hope in the future to make, all such returns in such a way as to comply with legal requirements, not only in the letter but the spirit of the law. And in such remarks as I make on our audit here, I wish to express myself plainly, but, at the same time, without the slightest suspicion of personal feeling to the auditor, who, I believe, acted conscientiously, and according to what he considered was the meaning of the law on the subject. At the same time, I doubt whether an auditor (in whom no legal or other qualifications are a necessity) is the fittest person to have the decision as to what is legal, expedient, and proper in the expenditure of a large county asylum. At present auditors certainly seem to think that their reading of the Lunacy Act should be accepted, no matter what the opinion of the committee and their legal advisers may be; and by surcharging items, they have it in their power to put committees and officials to such trouble that even if expenditure were proper, right, and in the interests both of the sane and insane inhabitants of asylums, yet one would hesitate about it with the knowledge of the correspondence, trouble, and annoyance which it might entail.
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