The Church Historian's Press

May 1862

1 May 1862 • Thursday

Thursday, May 1st, 1862. Wrote an article for the “Star” entitled “Changes and Appointments.” Bro. Robert Anderson, a youth from Leith, Scotland, whom I had selected to come to the Office to fill the position of junior clerk arrived this morning from Scotland in company with Bro. David M. Stuart. He appears to be a very promising boy and I trust will be useful. Ticketing passengers for the “Manchester.” Went to Bro. Ajax’s and administered to him, he being very ill.

2 May 1862 • Friday

Friday, 2nd May, 1862. Ticketing passengers. Bro’s. Amasa M. Lyman, Wm. C. Staines and Wm G. Mills all arrived to-day in good health. Balancing my Cash a/c

3 May 1862 • Saturday

Saturday, 3rd May, 1862. Bro’s. McAllister, S. L. Adams and F. M. Lyman arrived to-day. Went down to the “Manchester” in company with Bro. Rich in the afternoon. The vessel changed her berth from one dock to another for fear that there would not be water enough for her to get out if she remained until tomorrow; this kept <many of> the people from getting aboard until after sundown. One of the brethren fell off the staging into the Dock and had a narrow escape from drowning.

4 May 1862 • Sunday

Sunday, 4th. Went to meeting in company with Bro’s. Rich, Stuart & Marion Lyman. The two last-named spoke followed by Bro. Rich. Bro. MacAllister spoke in the evening and I followed in some remarks.

5 May 1862 • Monday

Monday, 5th. Busy about Office the fore part of the day. About 1/2 past 4 in the afternoon I received a letter — a printed envelope — containing a telegram dated Great Salt Lake City, April 15th, received at New York at noon of the 19th, worded as follows:- <Geo. Q. Cannon> “Join Senator Hooper Washington May Twenty-fifth Retain charge office” “Brigham Young.” The perusal of this unexpected news literally took my breath away and caused such a tremor to come over me that I could scarcely stand without clinging to the desk for support. There have been but few times in my life that I have been as much affected as I was upon reading this message. I had no idea given me by the telegram respecting the duties that were expected of me at Washington; but I knew that the <my> position would be one that would require faith and perseverance and the blessing of the Lord.

I felt somewhat like sailing on the 10th (Saturday); but the Bro’s. Lyman and Rich expressed a preference for the 14th, on which day another steamer would sail, as the Saints would be all ready for sea by that day, the 13th being the day the last vessels would sail. These being their feelings, and learning from Bro. Van Cott, to whom I telegraphed, that he could not reach here in time to go with us, and having also a great deal of business to transact connected with the emigration of the Saints I concluded to set aside my desire to sail on Saturday and to conclude on Wednesday as the day when we would sail. My telegram to Bro. Van Cott was sent after 7 p.m.; his reply reached here at 10.20 p.m. As the brethren’s return home and my visit to Washington would leave the Mission without a President, we selected Bro. Jacob G. Bigler to act as President in my absence.

6 May 1862 • Tuesday

Tuesday, May 6th, 1862. Wrote to Bro’s. Bigler and Van Cott and Jesse N. Smith. Went on board the “Manchester” at noon to have her cleared by the Emigration officers for sea. Afterwards the passengers were examined <and> the ship <was> inspected and cleared we held meeting, and all spoke, and appointed Elders J. D. T. McAllister as President and S. L. Adams and M. Barnes as Counsellors. The Saints felt exceedingly well. They appear to be a very fine company. In evening had a party of the Elders. Among other topics of conversation was that of our being admitted into the Union as a State. Each was asked for his opinion. There were five <four> of us who expressed the opinion that she would be admitted: Bro’s. W. G. Mills, Eugene Henriod, F. M. Lyman and myself. Bro’s. C. C. Rich, J. M. Kay, W. C. Staines, D. M. Stuart, J. Bull, <G. J. Taylor> W. Bramall, W. S. Snow and E. L. Sloan expressed themselves as of the opinion that she would not be admitted though the last-named three did <were> not positive in their opinions on the subject, not having anything decided in their minds respecting it. Bro. Amasa, though refusing to express an opinion one way or the other, leaned I thought to the opinion that we would be admitted in his conversation. I told the brethren that I was thankful that I had the feeling so strongly fixed in my mind that we would be admitted, as I could labor with greater hope and with better heart at Washington than if I felt otherwise. I reasoned (as did the other brethren) on the subject and explained why I felt as I did.

7 May 1862 • Wednesday

Wednesday, May 7th, 1862. Wrote to <Bro> John L. Smith, from whom I received a letter yesterday informing me that there were 108 Souls of the Saints emigrating from his field and that it would be necessary for himself or Bro. Ballif to accompany them to Florence to manage and interpret for them, and asking which of them should go. We replied by telegram yesterday that Bro. Ballif should accompany the people. Bro. Lyman went to Birmingham and Bro. Rich to London. A terrible rainy day. Bro. DeLaMare arrived.

8 May 1862 • Thursday

Thursday, 8th. Wrote an editorial entitled “The best policy for the Saints to pursue. Visited the “Wm Tapscott” in company with Mr. Smith and Mr. Wm Tapscott, Jun. She is a fine ship and will be in excellent condition to receive the people, having been newly painted. In the evening Bro. Lyman returned from Birmingham. My father’s cousins, Mrs. Kidd and Mrs. Christian, the latter from Ramsey, and Leonora Kidd, called and stopped a short time.

9 May 1862 • Friday

Friday, 9th. Wrote an article for the Star “Short Absence — New Appointment.” And then a short one to which all our names (A. M. L., C. C. R. and G. Q. C.) were attached, appointing Bro. Bigler to the Presidency during my absence. Brother Bigler arrived from Ireland. Busy ticketing the people, &c. Received a letter from Bro. Van Cott; he said he would be here, the Lord willing by the 14th.

10 May 1862 • Saturday

Saturday, 10th. Very busy from early morning until late at night writing, &c. Wrote to President Young, to my wife, Sarah Jane, and Grandma, to Hon. Wm H. Hooper, to Bro. H. S. Eldredge, Bro. F. D. Richards, Joseph W. Young. Engaged our passages (Bro’s. Lyman, Rich, Dame, Cousin George J. Taylor and myself) on the Kangaroo which sails on Wednesday next, paid £76.15; £2 being allowed me for commission.

11 May 1862 • Sunday

Sunday, May 11th 1862. Attended meetings, (it being a Conference of the Liverpool Conference) morning, afternoon and evening. Bro’s. Gibson, Chase, Kay and myself spoke. Bro’s. Bigler, Rich and myself spoke in the afternoon and Bro. Lyman in the evening. Bro. Rich was not at the forenoon meeting but attended the other two; Bro. Lyman was at the evening meeting only; yet there was a striking similarity in what was said in all three meetings, though we had not conversed upon the subject, and they both were ignorant of what had been said at the meetings at which they were not present. Bro. Rich’s remarks in the afternoon were in the same strain as those made in the morning and Bro. Lyman’s in the evening were in the same strain as those made in the afternoon, in some instances almost word for word. A number of the brethren took supper with us.

12 May 1862 • Monday

Monday, May 12th 1862. Cousins Ann Kidd, Leonora Christian, James Crawford and Geo. Christian called. Went to the Royal Bank and introduced Bro. Wm H. Perkes as my Agent to transact business in my name with them. Visited Messrs. Brown, Shipley & Co. about obtaining a Letter of Credit. Visited the Ship. Held meeting last in evening at Office and instructed the Elders and set apart Bro. Bigler as President of the Mission, Bro’s. Sloan & Henriod to the editorial department of the Star and Bro’s. Perkes & Graham <to the Office.> Cousin Leonora Vale took tea here.

13 May 1862 • Tuesday

Tuesday, May 13th, 1862. Busy at Office early in the morning. Went to Brown, Shipley & Co’s and after some conversation, in which they demurred to my requirements, they acceded to my terms and gave me a Letter of Credit for eight hundred pounds in favor of Bro. Horace S. Eldredge. Cleared the Ship “Antarctic,” which would carry thirty-five souls of our people. Then went to the “Wm Tapscott” and cleared her. She had on board 812 souls. We organized them and placed Elder Wm Gibson in as President and Elders John Clark and F. M. Lyman as Counsellors. Bro. Stayner and wife were furnished Cabin passage on this ship by the Church. After my return in the evening commenced with Bro’s. Wm H. Perkes and John C. Graham balancing the accounts. This kept us busy all night and morning dawned upon us and still found us at work. We got every thing squared very satisfactorily excepting a deficiency of about £26 in the cash A/c which a further examination of the transfers will doubtless bring to light. About six o’clock commenced to pack my trunk for the journey. Brother Van Cott arrived, while we were on the “Tapscott” clearing her, from Copenhagen. He was in moderately good health. He brought me a new <leather> trunk which articles they make very cheap in Denmark. Mine cost me $21.50. Went down to secure Bro. Van Cott’s passage and buy a few articles for the voyage. Cousin Ann Kidd and Fanny, Alice and Willie called to see <Cousin George and> me before starting. She was much affected. Lenora Vale called yesterday afternoon and Aunt Mary (Mother’s sister) early this morning. In company with Bro’s. Lyman and Van Cott I blessed Elizabeth and Georgiana; Elizabeth was much affected. I have felt to sympathize very greatly with her under her present circumstances, though I have avoided expressing it. She has left her children in the Valley to come to this country with me in obedience to counsel. Now I was called away for a short period, and she was to left far from all her relatives and acquaintances, excepting those which she had made here, in a strange land and among strangers, with only her little daughter to be with her of her children. She bore it bravely and heroically and never indulged in murmuring or dissatisfaction and regrets. This has been much more pleasing to me than if she had repined and indulged in vain regrets. May the Lord bless and preserve her and Georgey and may their health be good. There were a good many of the Elders down at the Landing Stage to see us off. Mrs. Smith came down also to see me. Several of the brethren came off in the tender and saw us off on board. We left the landing stage at 11 a.m. In sailing out of the river we passed the “Wm Tapscott” which was being towed out by a steam-tug. The people were all on deck and we passed close enough for them to recognize us and they cheered us heartily and waved their hats and handkerchiefs. We had a very smooth sea, and the vessel had scarcely any perceptible motion. I enjoyed all my meals excellently and retired early, as I felt very tired. My labors of late have been arduous, and since the word reached me respecting my going to Washington I have had but little sleep.

15 May 1862 • Thursday

Thursday, May 15th, 1862. I slept very soundly all night and felt much refreshed this morning. There was more motion than there had been and it affected me to unpleasantly to a slight extent. I was able to eat a light breakfast. We came in sight of Queenstown a few minutes after 11 a.m. and dropped anchor about 1/2 past 11. This harbor is most beautiful and the surrounding country presents a very fine appearance. The surface of the bay is as smooth as glass and everything is pleasing to look upon. There are a number of vessels lying at anchor in the harbor. This place, until the Queen’s visit to Ireland, was called the Cove of Cork. She landed here, and it changed its name and since then it has grown into an importance which it previously did not possess. Cork is 10 miles up the river. We expect to remain here until nearly 4 p.m. I wrote a long letter to Elizabeth. Loaded all the steerage passengers we could carry and some more Cabin do.

I have been very sea-sick since we left Queenstown and was unable to eat on Friday and Saturday, the 16th and 17th. By lying down, when I wished to keep still, I was able to avoid vomiting; but if I attempted to sit or stand for during several days I was sure to be sick. As it was very stifling and oppressive in the State Room, I kept on deck as much as possible, and by walking constantly I was able to keep up. Bro. Rich was almost all the time well; he only missed one meal; but Bro’s Lyman, Dame and Cousin George were very sick; Bro. Van Cott did not escape, though not as sick as the others named. Next to Bro. Rich, very much to my surprise and agreeable disappointment, I was the least sick. I missed but few meals and when able to sit down to the table my appetite was very hearty. From the time we left <the> Channel we had a constant head wind, blowing right in our teeth. Some of the time it was squally and very rough. The vessel behaved handsomely and evinced splendid staunch, sea-going qualities.

23-28 May 1862 • Friday to Wednesday

On Friday, May 23rd, 1862, we encountered considerable ice. There were many large icebergs and a large extent that seemed to have been a field of considerable size which had broken up. We sailed through it for several hours before nightfall and it continued through the night and next day (Saturday) and even on Sunday we saw several very large bergs. The fog closed around us on Friday soon after we met with the ice which rendered our situation much more critical. The Captain and officers were up all the night. The icebergs were beautiful to look upon and were in every conceivable shape. Some looked like old <ruined> castles or forts, with here and there a tower standing in ruins covered with fine carvings and mouldings, the effect of the action of the waves. Others looked like mountains covered with snow and the strata would appear as clearly defined in them, some dipping in one direction and some in another, as in rocks on the land. I took more exercise this voyage than usual and enjoyed myself much better. A game called shuffleboard was started on deck at which all the cabin passengers played and which afforded considerable amusement and became very interesting. The following squares were chalked out on the deck and four persons played two each being partners. [a numbered shuffleboard diagram here] They stand off as far as convenient and push with a flat, shovel-nosed cue small four-sided pieces of blocks at these squares, if they lodge inside, they count; but the opponent tries to knock them out. We reached Cape Race on Saturday the 24th at 11 p.m. after signalling the boat came off and received our despatches. On Wednesday, the 28th it was very foggy and we narrowly escaped running into a brigantine “Onward” of Halifax; she crossed our bows.

29 May 1862 • Thursday

Thursday, May 29th /62. The Pilot came on board early this morning. A lovely morning, the water as smooth as a mirror and as the sun rose the weather became very warm. We sighted Sandy Hook about ten A.M. and was soon running past into the harbor. Staten Island covered with residences, many of them partly hidden by the foliage of the trees which grew in profusion on the hill sides, was a beautiful picture to look upon. My feelings were very peculiar in beholding once more the land I loved so well. When I bade adieu to its shores, in the winter of ‘60, but few imagined that the little cloud which then just appeared above the horizon would increase in size and blackness until it covered the whole heavens. And now, in gazing upon this beautiful scenery it was hard to believe that war with all its dreadful accompaniments was raging in the land and producing misery and desolation in many a household. We landed about 3 p.m. and were met by Bro’s. Eldredge, Blackburn and Horspool. We put up at the Stevens’ House, because of it being convenient to Bro. Eldredge’s place. Nothing had been heard of Bro. Hooper, the Overland Mail was interrupted by Indians. Two vessels of the four that had been chartered at Hamburg by Bro. Van Cott to carry the Scandinavian Saints had arrived. On the last, of which Bro. Madsden <was President,> there had been about forty deaths, nearly all children, from measles. None of the vessels which had sailed from Liverpool had arrived.

30 May 1862 • Friday

Friday, 30th. Visited Mr. Darius Clark, the Railroad Agent with whom I formerly did business and with whom Bro. Eldredge was doing the Emigration business this year. He was very glad to see me. Accompanied Bro. Eldredge up town, hoping to see Bro. Hooper’s arrival on the Hotel Register, but was disappointed. Bro’s. Lyman and Dame started this afternoon for Boston to visit their friends in New England.

31 May 1862 • Saturday

Saturday, May 31st, 1862. Finished my letter which I commenced to write on the sea to Elizabeth and also one to Sarah Jane and Grandma Goodfellow. While putting them in the Post Office I met with Mr. Wm Martin, Agent of the Chicago & Quincy R. Road, who told me that he had noticed that morning a notice <paragraph> in a Chicago paper relative to the arrival of Hon. Wm H. Hooper, <U.S.> Senator elect from Utah, C. W. West, Esq. and Brigham Young, jun. I found the paper at Mr. Clark’s and then went to communicate the intelligence to the brethren; but they informed me that during my absence Bro. Hooper had called and was then in search of me. He soon came in and we were glad to meet each other. He informed me that I had been elected at the same time with himself U. S. Senator for the State of Deseret, and that it was expected we would labor together in Washington until Congress adjourned to get Deseret admitted as a State. By letter, which he brought me from President Young, I was advised of this, and also that the business of the Church in Liverpool should still be continued in my name if we were admitted to our seats in the Senate then such a change as would be suitable could be made. In the meantime he wished Bro. West to take charge, subject to counsel from me, of the office business, editorial department and Presidency, without any public mention of the fact of my absence. This latter, however, had been done before I left, in as brief a manner as possible in having been thought necessary in order that the appointment of Bro. Bigler might be explained. Bro’s. West and Brigham had stopped in Western New York to visit the friends of the former. The news of this appointment created some surprise in my mind, though I had some premonitions of such being the case but could scarcely give them room to grow for fear that I might be disappointed. It is a mission and appointment which I feel ought to be appreciated as a very strong indication under the circumstances of the confidence of my brethren (the vote of the Legislature in Joint Session was unanimously cast for us on April the 16th) yet it is an appointment which I never should have sought myself. Indeed, a mission to preach the gospel to the people of any land would have been in many respects as acceptable as <or more so than> this. My prayer is that I may discharge my duties in a manner that shall be acceptable to my God, satisfactory to my brethren and a blessing to myself. I have always had a taste for business of this kind, and, when a boy, blessings have been pronounced upon my head that have led me to look forward to a time when, if faithful to the Truth, I should occupy responsible positions in connection with government and have wisdom in that direction. As Bro. Hooper was stopping at the St. Nicholas, and he wished us to be together I moved up there this afternoon.

Cite this page

May 1862, The Journal of George Q. Cannon, accessed June 15, 2024