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sales of lots, wherein they were charged with secret participation to their own advantage. The tirade begun against them by Prefect Hawes was cut short by the election on May 1st of new city officials, under the charter framed in February. By this the Spanish form of government was replaced by the American one of a common council with two boards of aldermen, each of eight members, under a mayor.75 The county was also organized by an election on

"After a sale of water lots in Jan. 1850 yielding $635,000, another sale was announced for March. Prefect Hawes, who had been putting some very nettling questions to the ayuntamiento concerning disbursements and men voting for them, sounded the alarm and induced the governor to issue a prohibit. This the councilmen resolved to disregard, whereupon Hawes charged them with intended spoliation, and pointed out that some were suspiciously preparing to leave the country. The prohibit was affirmed with the threat to file a bill in chancery against the ayuntamiento, which now yielded in so far as to postpone the sale until April. The enemy have fled,' cries Attorney-general Kewen; they have exposed the character of the beast that paraded so ostentatiously in the lion's skin.' Correspondence in S. F. Minutes, 1850, 230-7. But they were merely gaining time to persuade the governor to repeal the prohibit by exhibiting their accounts and estimates, and showing the need of money for city improvements. This achieved, they retaliated upon the obnoxious prefect, by charging him with appropriation of funds, notably $2,500 for alleged services rendered against the Hounds, and with permitting Justice Colton to sell district and city lands chiefly for Hawes' own advantage. The result was a boomerang in the shape of an order suspending the prefect. Emphatic denials being of no avail, his wrath now concentrated against the governor in a series of charges before the legislature, for violating the laws and suspiciously conniving with the corrupt council. In this he was supported by the subprefect, Brinsmade, appointed to replace him. Pac. News, Jan. 1, 1850, et seq.

75 As passed by the legislature on Apr. 15, 1850, the charter in 4 arts. and 45 T, assigns as boundaries to the city of San Francisco, on the south, a line parallel to Clay st two miles from Portsmouth square; on the west, a line parallel to Kearny st one and a half miles from the square; on the north and east, the county limits. The government is vested in a mayor, recorder, and a common council of a board composed of aldermen and a board of assistant aldermen, each board to consist of one member from each of the eight wards, to be designated by the council. There shall also be elected a treasurer, comptroller, street commissioner, collector of taxes, marshal, city attorney, and by each ward two assessors. Voters and candidates must show a residence in the city and wards concerned of 30 days preceding the general city election, which is to be held on the fourth Monday of April in each year. For duties, bonds, etc., see Cal. Statutes, 1850, 223-9; and compare with the briefer draft by the framers, in S. F. Minutes, 1850, 144-9. In Oct. 1848 the city council had assigned for city limits a line along Guadalupe creek to the ocean. Californian, Oct. 14, 1848; and see my Hist. Cal., v., this series. Regulations for the council in S. F. Manual, p. ix.-xvi. This charter did not last long. The boundary of the county, as defined in Cal. Laws, 1850, 829, ran along San Francisquito creek westward into the ocean, three miles out, and in the bay to within three miles of high-water mark in Contra Costa county, including the entire peninsula, and Alcatraz and Yerba Buena or Goat islands, as well as the Farallones. See also Cal. Jour. Sen., 1850, 1307; Id., House, 1344.



April 1st of sheriff, county clerk, and nine other officials, at San Francisco, so that the city became the seat of two governments. The contest for the shrievalty was one of the most exciting on record, with lavish generosity on one side, and enthusiastic display of bands and banners on the other; but the fame of John C. Hays as a Texan ranger, and his opportune exhibitions of dash and horsemanship, captured the populace." 77

The new city government headed once more by Geary as mayor,78 with almost entirely new associates, met on May 9th, inaugurating at the same time the new city hall, lately the Graham house, a four-story wooden edifice lined on two sides by continuous balconies. The leading trait of these men was quickly

76 The chosen ones were John C. Hays, sheriff, R. N. Morrison, county judge, J. A. McGlynn, recorder, W. M. Eddy, surveyor, J. W. Endicott, treas., D. M. Chauncey, assessor, E. Gallagher, coroner, T. J. Smith, co. att'y, C. Benham, dist att'y, J. E. Addison, co. clerk, E. H. Tharp, clerk of the sup. ct.

"He was selected by the people as an independent candidate. His career is given in Hist. North Mex. Statesand Texas, ii., this series. His opponents were J. Townes, a whig who was appointed to the post in 1849, and J. J. Bryant, democratic nominee, and a man of wealth, owner of Bryant's hotel. The latter was the only real rival. Pioneer Arch., 29-31.


18 His associates were F. Tilford, recorder, T. H. Holt, att'y, C. G. Scott, treas., B. L. Berry, comptroller, W. M. Irwin, collector, D. McCarthy, street M. Fallon, marshal. The aldermen were Wm Green, president, C. Minturn, F. W. Macondray, D. Gillespie, A. A. Selover, W. M. Burgoyne, C. W. Stuart, M. L. Mott; assistant aldermen, A. Bartol, president, C. T. Botts, W. Sharron, J. Maynard, J. P. Van Ness, L. T. Wilson, A. Morris, W. Corbett. Aldermen Burgoyne and Macondray not taking their seat were replaced by M. G. Leonard and J. Middleton, and assistant aldermen Botts and Maynard, by G. W. Green and J. Grant. For assessors, clerks, court officials, police, pilots, men under J. Hagen, harbor-master, etc., see S. F. Directory, 1850, 122-9; S. F. Annals, 272-3; Alta Cal. and Pac. News, Apr. 26-May 21, 1850, with comments. On ward division, Id., Dec. 14, 1850; S. F. Herall, June 6, 1850, etc.; S. F. Municipal Repts, 1859, 177–9; S. F. Picayune, Oct. 5, 8, Nov. 2, 1850; Cal. Courier, Aug. 12, 1850. T. Green claims to have abstained from contesting the mayoralty out of sympathy for Geary.

79 It stood on the north-west corner of Kearny and Pacific sts, fronting 100 feet on Kearny st, with a depth of 64 feet. The commodious yard contained two wells and several outhouses. The roof was metallic. This was offered by Graham, member of the council in April 1850, to his associates and bought by them on Apr. 1st, for $150,000, less $50,000 in exchange for the lately purchased town hall on Stockton st. Tired of drifting between the narrow confines of the public institute and the old adobe custom-house on the west side of the plaza, the preceding council had bought the American hotel on Stockton st, near Broadway, evidently to promote the lot speculations of certain members. Thither the council removed on the 18th of March, but the order for other officials to follow the example was vigorously objected to, on the ground that

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manifested in their greed for spoils, to which end a heavier schedule of taxes was projected, with a correspondingly increased number of drainage holes, more or less cunningly concealed. Not content with the reward that must imperceptibly flow into their pockets from this effort, they hastened to anticipate a portion by voting a salary of $6,000 to each alderman of the two boards, after assigning a propitiatory $10,000 to the mayor and some of his chief aids. Geary refused to participate in the scheme; and encouraged by his attitude, the public loudly protested against such brazen spoliation of an already burdened city. The council thereupon dropped its demands So to $4,000 which would have given them, had not the measure been vetoed, about a hundred dollars for each of the evenings devoted by the average member to the common weal. They sought solace, however, for their lacerated feelings, by voting themselves gold medals of sufficient size to impress an ungrateful public with the arduous services thereby commemorated.1


With such and other glaring diversions of public funds it can readily be conceived what the secret pil

the hall was too remote from business centres. Nor did the offer to rent offices therein find favor. And so the present purchase was made; a bargain it was loudly claimed, for the two upper stories, with 36 rooms, besides others on the second floor, could be rented for perhaps $62,400, while the saving in rents by the scattered public offices, stations, and courts would amount to $70,000. To build a hall according to the adopted plan would cost $300,000, and require perhaps a year's delay, neither of which the city could afford. Report in S. F. Minutes, 1850, 191-4. Descriptions in S. F. Herald, Feb. 19, 1851; Pac. News, May 17, 1850, etc. The report may be taken with due allowance, however, for changes and repairs increased the cost of the building. Unbound Doc., 58. On July 4, 1850, the plaza was adorned with a faultless new liberty pole, 120 feet long, presented by Portland city. S. F. Herald, July 4, 1850. The old pole was burned with the custom-house, corner of Montgomery and California sts, in May 1851. S. F. Annals, 282.

80 Several public meetings were held, and a first committee of 25 being ignored, another of 500 was chosen to impress the aldermen. S. F. Herald, June 12, 1856, etc.; Pac. News, May 3, 1850, etc. Just then came a large fire to divert attention, and subsequent demonstrations proved less imposing. The mayor vetoed the $4,000, on the ground that it would also injure the credit of the city. Alta Cal., May 27, 1850, etc. The charter of 1851 allowed no pay.

Even here a prying curiosity, coupled with impertinent sarcasm, so far disturbed the composure of the aldermen that they cast the medals into the melting-pot, as the nearest pit of oblivion, although too late. The S. F. Annals, 306, understands that the scheme was mainly due to a sub-committee. Cal. Courier, Dec. 14, 21, 1850.



fering and rifling must have been, when it is shown that the expenditure for the nineteen months following August 1, 1849, amounted to more than two million dollars, of which more than one fourth was during the · last three months.82 This absorbed not only a liberal tax levy, and the larger and choicer proportion of public lands, but compelled the issue of scrip at an interest of thirty-six per cent. Issued one after the other, without prospect of speedy payment, this paper depreciated sixty per cent and more, till contractors and purveyors were obliged in self-protection to charge twice and thrice the amounts due them. Unscrupulous officials and speculators, moreover, seized the opportunity to make fortunes by purchasing the scrip at low rates, and paying it into the treasury at par in lieu of the coin obtained for taxes. Thus a debt of more than a million rolled up within the year ending February 1851, and grew so rapidly, while city property and credit so declined, that the legislature had to come to the rescue with restrictive enactments. 85

82 Among the items figured $41,905 for printing; surveying absorbed another big sum; the city hall purchase, with repairs, etc., absorbed about $200,000.

83 The sale of Jan. 3, 1850, of water lots yielded $635,130, and in April followed another big sale.

84 Three per cent monthly, which was by no means exorbitant at the time.

85 As will be seen later. The first deficit of $24,000 appeared in the Jan.Feb. 1850 account. On Aug. 31st the debt was $282,306. S. F. Picayune, Sept. 5, 1850; S. F. Directory, 1852, 14. On March 1, 1851, it had risen to $1,099,557.56. S. F. Alta Cal., Apr. 27, 1851. Soon after the debt was funded for $1,300,000. The expenditures from Aug. 1, 1849, to Jan. 28, 1851, amounted to $2,012,740.10; on the streets, wharves, and landings, there were expended $826,395.56; on hospitals, cemeteries, and board of health, $231,358.86; on police and prisons, $208,956.87; on fire dept, $108,337.85; on courts, $236,892.12; and the balance of over $400,000 on salaries, rents, printing, etc. During the quarter ending Feb. 28, 1851, the receipts and expenditures were: Received from licenses, $25,744.55; from hospital fund, $301; from courts, $2,734.50; wharf dues, 333.95; sale of beach and water lots, $5,230.65; and from street assessments, $103,355.40. On the other hand, the fire and water department caused an expenditure of $7,945.10; the streets, including surveys, $223,482.28; the prison, courts, and police, $20,464.19; hospital, including cholera expenses, $41,036.11; wharves, $39,350.59; and the salaries, legal expenses, printing, and other contingent items, nearly $80,000. S. F. Alta, Apr. 27, 1851. The grand jury of Sept. 1851 commented in scathing terms upon the 'shameful squandering' by parties whom they were unable to designate. By that time nearly all the city property had been disposed of, valued at three or four million, yet this, added to revenue and loans, had failed to leave the city any commensurate benefit. Sacra

mento, without landed resources, had received proportionately larger benefits, by incurring a debt of less than half a million. Benicia's scrip was nearly at par. The main exhibit by S. F. was in grading and planking, two thirds of which cost had been contributed by the property owners. Similar was the showing for the county, which had expended $455,807 for the year ending June 1851, while the receipts were only $69,305. Most of the sums allowed were pointed out as suspicious. See report in S. F. Herald, Sept. 30, 1851; Aug. 5, 22, 30, 1850; Aug. 29, 1851; Cal. Courier, Id., and Oct. 26, Dec. 6, 1850; Cal. Polit. Scraps, 123; Richardson's Mining Exp., MS., 30; Alta Cal., Apr. 27, 1851, etc.; S. F. Picayune, Aug. 3-5, Sept. 5, 1850. The assessed value of property for 1851 was $17,000,000, and the estimated revenue $550,000, $400,000 being from licenses. This was declared amply sufficient for expenses, now reduced by $410,000, of which $290,000 was for salaries of municipal officers and police. Reprehensible as the mismanagement was, these aldermen were not worse than many of their accusers, nor half so bad as some later councilmen, who ranked us permanent citizens and esteemed members of the community; for the former were comparative strangers, afflicted by the prevailing mania for speedy enrichment, and with no intention of remaining in California. Geary's demeanor is not wholly spotless. His unassuming manners and ability, and his veto on many obnoxious measures, gave an éclat to his official career, which served greatly to gloss over several questionable features, such as amassing some $200,000 in less than three years, not derived from trade; illegally buying city lots; countenancing the purchase of the useless city hall on Stockton st; and other doubtful transactions connected with the disposal of city property and money. He returned to Pa in Feb. 1852, served with distinction in the civil war, and became gov. of his native state. His portrait is given in Ann. S. F., 725.

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