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September 10, 1861: San Francisco, Hayward

September 10, 2011

Port of San Francisco

Port of San Francisco; by Tom Hilton, on Flickr

Camp 51

I spent [today in San Francisco] with Professor Whitney trying to devise “ways and means” of continuing the work, and then returned to camp. I will give the main features of our trouble.

There was an appropriation of $20,000 before we came. We expected to use but $10,000 or $15,000 this year, so got an additional appropriation of $15,000 to carry on our work this and the first part of next year. We drew immediately in advance $10,000, and afterwards got $5,000. There was, on our arrival, over half a million of specie in the state treasury. We apprehended no difficulty in getting the money as we needed it after the opening of the new year’s accounts. But at last session a transfer of over a quarter of a million was made from one fund to another, which has thrown trouble into all the machinery of state finances, depleted the treasury, and crippled us. We went without our salaries, but were promised $5,000 certainly the first of this month. The time has arrived but the money can’t be got. We have seen the Governor, the Treasurer, and others, but our only answer and consolation is: that there is no money in the treasury; that they can’t pay us until the first of December, and then but $5,000; that we are no worse off than the rest of the state officers; that the Governor and all the officers have received no salaries for months; that we get none of our last $15,000 appropriation until next March; and that we must retrench and cut down our party and wait.

I have held long consultations with Professor Whitney and the present plan is to curtail expenses, dismiss one or two assistants, do without our salaries until next March, except what is absolutely necessary for the direst necessities, keep in the field say six weeks yet, then withdraw from the field and dismiss all but the three assistants in the first departments, and run on borrowed money, if we can borrow. We borrowed $2,500 for present use.

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