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December 20, 1862: San Francisco

December 20, 2012

I have told you of our troubles in money matters. Well, $5,000 had been promised surely in December, then the twentieth fixed. All looked forward to this day—all were in debt, all had much salary due. My salary at the end of this month if not paid, would be about $1,760 behind—a snug little sum. In the meantime, as I had got no money for a long time, I had run about $500 in debt, on part of which I had to pay 2 1/2 per cent per month interest. The twentieth came—but instead of the money, a letter came from the scoundrel who is comptroller, telling us that we would not be paid until May! To say that we were indignant would be expressing it mildly. Indignation is not a strong enough word, but the matter can’t be helped.

This so deranges our affairs that I have changed my plans, and may be home in March or April, if I can raise the money. I set out immediately to see about a professorship in a college here. I find that I can, in all probability, get it, so will probably go home in the spring, work up my report, and return here in June or July—this is my present plan—and then keep in the service of the state if the Survey is continued and the state pursues a different policy. Otherwise, I shall accept a professorship. The latter will not pay so well, nor be so conformable to my tastes, but it is well to be on the lookout for emergencies.

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