Realization of Auditors:
it is a mere truism to say that the value of loans and securities depends on their realization. We were told that a statement to that effect, is so unusual in an auditor's certificate that the mere presence of those words was enough to excite suspicion. But, as already stated, the duty of an auditor might infer from an unusual statement that something was seriously wrong, it with no means follows that ordinary people would have their suspicion aroused by a similar statement, whether as in this case, there its language expresses no more than any ordinary person would infer without.....the balance sheet and profit and loss account being true and correct in the sense that they were in accordance with the books. But they were, nevertheless, entirely misleading, and misrepresented the real position of the company. Under these circumstances I am compelled to hold that Mr. Theobald failed to discharge his duty to the shareholders... Possibly he did not realize the extent of his duty to the shareholders as distinguished from the directors, and he unfortunately consented to leave the Chairman to explain the true state of the company to the shareholders instead of doing so himself.
The fact, however, remains, and cannot be got over, that the balance sheet and certificate of February 1892 did not show the true position of the company at the end of 1891, and that this was owing to the omission by the auditor to lay before the shareholders the material information which he had obtained in the course of his employment as auditor of the company, and to which he called the attention of the directors.... Where did the money come from with which the dividends were paid? The money came from cash at the bankers or in hand; but this cash could not be properly treated as profit, and the directors and auditors knew this perfectly well...."