February 1873

1 February 1873 • Saturday

Saturday, 1, Writing journal &c this morning. Business at the Capitol not of an important character.

2 February 1873 • Sunday

Sunday, Feb. 2nd, 1873 Bro. Bull arrived from New York via Philadelphia this morning. Capt. Hooper and myself called upon Mr. Fitch. Talked over subject matter of speech in reply to Claggett.

3 February 1873 • Monday

Monday, Feb. 3rd, 1873 Busy with Brother Bull in going over his accounts; also in preparing Capt. Hooper’s speech in reply to Clagett. Pres. Grant was waited on by Clagett and Merrill of Idaho and Negley of Penn. on last Saturday to represent the terrible condition of affairs in Utah and ask for action. Grant is reported to have said the “the final issue with Utah cannot be avoided.” Merritt and Negley are enemies of Utah. The former has moved his law office there and expects to practice there; the latter has been the advocate of Bills giving enormous powers to R. Road companies in the Territory. They are both in their way as bad as Clagett.

4 February 1873 • Tuesday

Yesterday Grant went to the Capitol. His unusual presence there excited surprise and comment. It was soon noised about that Utah affairs had called him there. He had interviews with the Judiciary Committees of the Senate and House and told them that there must be legislative action on Utah. He appeared to be resolved to get some Bill passed that would enable his myrmidons to carry out the course of tyranny and oppression alt entered upon by McKean, and in pursuance of which, as he said by the expressed wish and approbation of President Grant, he had been checked by the decision of the Supreme Court. He is reported to have said that if the 4th of March came without legislation he would put his troops and the nail the thing by that means. What he would do with his troops of course his hearers were left to imagine.

Still busy preparing Capt. Hooper’s speech. It kept me in the house all day. In the evening went out for a walk on the Avenue (Penn.) There had been heavy rain but it had passed off, and it was pleasant. We have had very cold weather here of late.

5 February 1873 • Wednesday

Capt. Hooper could not get the old statutes of Utah Territory from which we wanted to get data, and therefore his speech, though finished with that exception yesterday, was not handed to the Globe till to-day. It will appear to-morrow. Merritt of Idaho presented Memorial to the House yesterday from <a number> of Lawyers of Salt Lake City bar, setting forth the inadequacy of the laws of Utah, their hurtful tendency, their opposition to the genius of the government and the disloyal sentiments and actions of the Legislative Assembly of Utah, asking for Congressional action. He also introduced a Bill to promote Justice in the Territories, &c, which had all the hateful features of the Voorhees Bill of last session and every other Bill framed and introduced against us. The passage of such a Bill would put the lives, the liberties <and property> of the Latter-day Saints at the mercy of the ring of U. S. officials and their satellites, and open wide the doors for every species of corruption to flow in unchecked. Our enemies hate us. They covet our property, they envy our prosperity. They also want to get power over the priesthood. They thirst for the blood of President Young, and if they could get him out of the way, they would then seek the destruction of others. Bro. Hooper and myself talked the situation over, and concluded that as the Memorial just presented was an appeal to lawyers we ought to employ legal talent to present an argument in reply to it. We decided that Mr. Fitch and Mr. Hillyer would be as good as any we could employ for this business, as they were both familiar with Territorial laws and also with ours. I saw Mr. Fitch and told him our conclusion. He said that he was at our service and he would see Mr. Hillyer. He could not find the latter, however, so he told me when I saw him in the evening. He had concluded to commence with the argument, write it up, get Hillyer’s counsel and criticism, and make frame it as a speech or argument delivered by him. He thought without egotism that when printed his name attached to [it] would cause it to be read. He said he would do all that would be required, go before the Committees and make the argument if they would permit, &c, for [Five hundred dollars]1 I consented to give it.

6 February 1873 • Thursday

Thursday, 6th. I wrote yesterday a long letter to President Young. Mr. Fitch is getting up a very good argument. He finds upon comparing the references made in the Memorial to the laws with the laws themselves, that they have quoted laws which have been repealed, they have quoted as laws of Utah <extracts> which have no existence, they have garbled laws, and <they have> left out the context of laws. The whole is a tissue of misrepresentation and falsehood. This is the constant practice of our enemies – to lie and misrepresent. But will Congress be enlightened? The President of the United States wants us sacrificed. There are those who would have no sentiment of pity for us, if they knew we were innocent of the charges <made against us.> There are those who if the truth were laid before them, would not take the trouble to examine it and satisfy themselves about the matter in a proper manner. We must, however, do the best we can and leave the event with the Lord. He is a friend who never has nor never will forsake His people. I have felt tranquil and joyous this week. I have no fears or apprehensions, though humanly speaking the prospects are threatening. This is a time concerning which the prophets Joseph and Brigham and others have spoken – the time when we would have <the government> arrayed against us in a national capacity as towns, counties and States had done in their spheres. If this the Bills framed against us should any of them pass, it would be as gross a violation of the Constitution and the spirit of the government, as the acts of the mobs of <Missouri and> Illinois. It would be nothing more than the law of might. I feel that the Lord will provide a sacrifice in our stead, as he did the ram in the thicket when Isaac was bound and laid upon the altar.

7 February 1873 • Friday

Friday, 7 We got a printed Bill introduced by Mr. Frelinghuysen, of New Jersey, into the Senate. It is similar to the Merritt Bill. They will have them grinding at both ends, so that there may be no delay about the passage. Our enemies are sure of catching us this time. Sam. Merritt said to-day, so I was told, that on Monday next the Judiciary Committee would meet to take his Bill into consideration; they would report it to the House, as they have the right to do at any time under the vote of the House last Monday, and the House would pass it. Mr. Sam. Merritt does not take the Almighty into account at all. These are transactions with which, in his opinion, he has nothing to do. But we shall see. Oh, Lord defeat these men in their wicked and blood-thirsty schemes, and save those who put their trust in thee, for thou alone can save, thou alone has pity for us! I ask this in the name of Jesus. Amen. Wrote a long letter to President Young also to Pres. D. H. Wells.

8 February 1873 • Saturday

Saturday, 8. Busy to-day getting out proof slips of Mr. Fitch’s argument against the Memorial of the lawyers of Utah and the Bill introduced, by Mr. Merritt, for the Members of <the> Senate Judiciary Committee who meet to-day to consider the Frelinghuysen Bill. Merritt told Mr. Fitch that the intention was to “go for” me first thing under this Bill when it passed. I have been aware of this and told Bro. Hooper so sometime ago. Whenever we take a step in advance, the devil seeks to beat us back. There is a principle involved in my nomination and election, and I feel that it should be maintained. In building up the Work of God and striving to bring to pass the redemption of Zion, there is no spot where we can standstill, certainly we can not go backward.

9 February 1873 • Sunday

Sunday, 9th. Very cold wind. Went around with Bro. Hooper and delivered a copy of Mr. Fitch’s argument to each member of the House Judiciary Committee. They are to meet on Tuesday. Reading French Book of Mormon.

10 February 1873 • Monday

Monday, 10th. Was at the House to-day, wrote a number of letters. I forgot to mention on Saturday that I wrote a letter to Pres. B. Young.

11 February 1873 • Tuesday

The Agent of the Associated Press at Salt Lake city is the champion liar in his class. Every day we have a batch of inflammatory and lying dispatches from there, sent with a view to influence the action of Congress in our case. The House Judiciary Committee met to-day to discuss the Merritt Bill. Efforts have been made to get an opportunity to make an oral argument before them; but the chairman, Judge Bingham, would not consent. He was, however, induced to say that if Mr. Fitch would attend the meeting this morning, he might have time accorded him. Mr. F. was there and had about ten minutes given him. The other members would have liked to have heard Mr. F. longer; but Bingham was evidently anxious to have him stop, though he complimented him on his written argument which he said he had read. Butler, of Mass., in speaking of the plan proposed in the Bill for the summoning of juries, said that when he was in the army they got up a case against him at Baltimore, and the U.S. marshal summoned the jury. He found among the jurors three men whom he had had in irons.

12 February 1873 • Wednesday

Yesterday afternoon Bro. Hooper got a scare. He heard from two sources that the Judiciary Com. had agreed to report the Frelinghuysen Bill. He did not believe the first report, but when he heard the second, he thought it was so. It was traced to the clerk of the Committee, a man named Johns, not of good repute, who had started the report for some purpose.

The votes of the several States were counted to-day in the presence of the Senate and House of Representatives, in the hall of the latter body. Colfax, as President of the Senate, presided with Speaker Blaine on his left. The Senate were seated on the right of the chair. Senator John Sherman of Ohio and Representatives Dawes and Beck of Mass and Ky. were the tellers. They sat in the clerk’s desk with Mr. Gorham, Sec. of the Senate on their right and Mr. Macpherson, Clerk of the House, on their left. The Senate walked over from their chamber, the Serjeant-at-arms and Doorkeeper, locked arms leading, the Secretary and President next and then the Senators two and two. holding When they came into the House the Members arose to receive them, and the Doorkeeper of the House announced them to the Speaker and he repeated the announcement to the House.

13 February 1873 • Thursday

Yesterday when a question arose, it had to be submitted in writing. To discuss it the Houses separated. They must concur in their action, if not, the vote of the State concerning which the question arose would be lost. There was non-concurrence respecting the votes for Horace Greely – a dead man at the time the electoral vote was cast – the Senate had voted to receive or count them and the House to not count them; also the vote of Arkansas, the Senate voting to reject and the House to receive. Louisiana’s vote was rejected by concurrent vote. I was not impressed <favorably> with this system. It was farcical to me. The constitution should be altered in my opinion so as to permit the people to vote direct for the President and Vice-President.

At the House to-day I was told in confidence that President Grant had a message in course of preparation on Utah which would probably be sent in to-morrow. It would ask for legislative action so that Utah might be put under the control of the civil power (Grant assuming I suppose that it is not at present) or he would be under the necessity of putting it under the military

14 February 1873 • Friday

Before going to bed last night I asked the Lord to give me a dream, my mind being occupied with the what I had been told concerning Grant’s message. He heard my prayer. I dreamed that a company of brethren were assembled, who were dressed in uniform. I was among them, and was one of the officers. We were expecting an attack from an enemy, who was formidable in numbers and equipments, and whom we were looking for every minute. They were moving upon us I thought with rifled cannon, improved fire-arms and ammunition and in great force. I thought we were drawn up in line to receive them. In falling into line with the other officers I thought I got into the most exposed position. I was aware of it, and saw that from the direction of the enemy I should be hit before they <those who were near me> could be reached, as my body covered, in military parlance, theirs. We were all nerved up expecting each moment the shock of battle. There was no flinching. I thought my position a very exposed one, and I seemed to take in all the <its> danger and to feel that a volley of grape and canister would be likely to hit me; and I was nerved up and had a feeling of suspense that was intense, such as a man might have who expected the next second the attack of a desperate foe. While in this frame <of mind> all at once we found the enemy had disappeared. How they had gone or where they had gone I do not now remember; but the reaction when I knew they were gone, was as great and real as it seems to me it could possibly be, if it were a scene in real life. We felt that we had been brought face to face with death and had escaped, and praise and thanksgiving filled our hearts. I then awoke and thanked the Lord for the comfort conveyed to me in the dream. The message was brought in, as my informant Mr. Wight, told me it would be; but was not read. The N. Y. Herald of this morning gives an account of a conversation that Clagett & Merritt had with Grant; they urged him to send a Message. The prospect looks threatening. But God reigns, and as Gen. Grant seems disposed to emulate the example of Pharaoh of old, we shall see whether he will be any more successful than Pharaoh was. I have no doubt but that the Lord will make Grant’s wrath a cause of praise to Him. Wrote to Pres. Young, as I did yesterday, Wednesday & Tuesday, but directed them to Pres. Wells also that he might read them.

15 February 1873 • Saturday

The Message appeared in the morning appe papers, and whether it was on this account, or some other, when read in the House to-day it fell like a wet blanket upon the Members. I never saw a document read which appeared to attract less attention than did this. I was around all day conversing on the floor with Members. A better feeling prevails than I could expect under the circumstances. Senator Pool of North Carolina, member of the Judiciary Com. of the Senate, told me some of the features of the amended Frelinghuysen Bill which they had agreed to report. He is very friendly and feels kindly towards Utah and her people; but he could not get the Bill modified as he would like it to be. It will be reported to the Senate on Monday. Had a conversation with Merritt of Idaho in the presence of McCormick of Arizona, Herford of West Va. and Garfield of Washington Ter. on affairs of Utah. We had considerable discussion.

16 February 1873 • Sunday

Sunday, 16. Stormy day. Remained in house reading and wrote correspondence to the News.

17 February 1873 • Monday

The House met this morning at 11 o’clock. The Memorial from the Attorneys at law, Bankers, Merchants, Miners and Business men of Salt Lake City, protesting against any legislative action by Congress as requested by the Memorial of the Members of the Bar, and showing up the fallacies of that instrument, &c &c was received by Bro. Hooper by telegraph. Copies were sent to Pres. Grant, the President of the Senate and the Speaker of the House. It was a lengthy document and very well written. Bro. Hooper presented it to the House and had it ordered printed and published in the Globe. Senator Thurman in the Senate moved that it be printed for the use of members. Stenhouse and his wife were round the Capitol to-day. She has come to lecture on Thursday evening on “Polygamy and Mormonism”. Mr. Ramsdell, of the N.Y. Tribune and Cincinnati Commercial invited me to dine with himself and family. Judge Miller of the Supreme Court was there also. Stenhouse visited Capt. Hooper and family

18 February 1873 • Tuesday

Met at Mr. Ramsdell’s yesterday a Mrs. Murphy wife of the Reporter of the Senate, who said she knew me having seen me at Salt Lake when on a visit there with the Senatorial party. She saw me here last Session and this. To-day was the most solemn time I ever saw in the House of Representatives. Judge Poland chairman of the Committee to investigate the Credit Mobilier, made his report. The galleries of the House and the floor were crowded and a deathlike stillness prevailed while it was being read. It was a lengthy and ably-written document. The men whose names and conduct were reviewed were closely observed. The report recommended the expulsion of Oakes Ames and Jas. Brooks. The former bore it very stoically; the latter was suffering from illness and looked like death. He made some remarks, quoting from two documents to show that the Committee’s report was partial, unjust and persecuting. The further discussion of the question was postponed until Tuesday. There is a good deal of feeling about the report. The Some of the Democrats denounce it strongly, and say the Republicans ought also to be expelled.

19 February 1873 • Wednesday

We called yesterday at the Chronicle office and conversed with Teasdell a Methodist preacher who edits that paper. It has been filled with <false> statements and misrepresentations against and concerning us. He is one of a party to whom my brother Angus and myself showed many attentions at Salt Lake and which cost us time and considerable money last Summer. He was with a party of Iowa editors. He has no more gratitude in him than the most degraded creature that crawls would have. I called on Mr. Noyes of the Eve. Star who wrote a denial of the report that we were authorized by telegraph from home to employ counsel and to spend $100,000 in defeating legislation. Had an interview with Senator Pool of North Carolina in the evening on the Frelinghuysen Bill, Bro. Hooper and myself having addressed notes to him and Senators Carpenter and Thurman asking for the same. He was very friendly to us; but from his conversation we saw how hopeless it was to expect any modification of the Bill. I became much aroused in my feelings and talked very plainly, but succeeded in checking myself before saying anything very bad unwise.

20 February 1873 • Thursday

Had a conversation with Bro. Hooper this morning about our case. He feels satisfied that Congress will pass some Bill against us. I doubt them their doing so; but if they do, am certain it will be so overruled in the providence of the Almighty so that it will be no injury to us. He does not believe in special providences, and on this <and kindred> points our conversation dwelt. He seems to think that God does not give himself any concern about us. He governs by great natural laws. Bro. Hooper seems to run in streaks. At one time he appears to have faith; at another as if he had none and was full of skepticism. He thinks the Latter-day Saints the best people in the world; but he don’t know, he says, about angels visiting Joseph. He doubts very much about that, and so also with regard to the resurrection of the body, he can’t understand it, and has very little faith in it. Our conversation was kind and friendly; but we did not come any nearer to an agreement by it. I cannot see how a man can be a Latter-day Saint and have doubts about these cardinal points. I feel exceedingly thankful for the testimonies and knowledge which God has given me concerning himself and I pray to be <ever> delivered from unbelief

21 February 1873 • Friday

T. B. H. Stenhouse and wife have been in the city some days. She is advertised to lecture on Polygamy in Utah. The town has been placarded with flaming bills announcing the lecture. It was delivered last evening. I am told there were about 200 there. She was heavy on President Young and Orson Pratt; but praised the women. I do not suppose this lecture paid expenses. They stopped at a first-class hotel, they advertised largely and printed costly placards, and altogether, unless helped by some means more than derived from the proceeds of the lecture, they must have lost money. “Rev. Dr.” Newman introduced her to the audience. [I prayed unto God to change the nature of this woman’s speech for the building up of his kingdom.]2 And in conversing with those who were present I think it did the Saints more good than harm.

Yesterday the prospects for the passage of the Bill through the Senate looked brighter than they do to-day. There seems to be a prevalent idea that the Bill should contain a provision to put past plural marriages out of the reach of prosecution and to legitimatize the children.

22 February 1873 • Saturday

Did not go to the House to-day. Had writing to do and stopped at the hotel to do it. Bro. Hooper came home feeling very cheerful and hopeful. Merritt of Idaho had seen Gen. Grant last night, so he confidentially told one of the Members, and Grant had told him that it was too late now to do anything about the Utah Bill, it would have to go over this Session. The Member took Bro. Hooper aside and, in strict confidence, told him what Merritt had said. Merritt shortly afterwards told Bro. Hooper the same news. Gen. Sherman, also, whom he met in the Senate chamber, told him that he had said to Grant, with whom he had attended a dinner party, that his action in relation to Utah was all wrong. For his advocacy of our cause they had laughingly called him a Mormon. This news was pleasant; but I felt that we ought not to relax in the least our vigilance.

23 February 1873 • Sunday

Sunday, Feb. 23. A cold stormy day; did not go out.

24 February 1873 • Monday

The story of Merritt respecting the Bill against Utah is unfounded. He is an unreliable man and tells such things as he thinks will throw us off our guard. They intend to do what they can to pass the Bill. We have a persevering and unscrupulous enemy in John P. Newman, Senate Chaplain. This is a day that Bro. Hooper dreads; but nothing special occurred. Mrs. Stenhouse gave a lecture <this afternoon> to the ladies at which they had the privilege of asking questions. We hear nothing about it. They cannot have made their expenses here.

25 February 1873 • Tuesday

Tuesday, Feb. 25/73. To-day was an exciting day. The Credit Mobilier came up for discussion. The galleries were very crowded. By vote ladies were admitted to the floor and they came in like a stream. Poland of Vt. chairman of the com. of investigation opened in a two hours speech. He was followed by other members, the most telling speech being made by Judge Merrick of Maryland. The discussion was kept up after recess until near midnight.

26 February 1873 • Wednesday

Wednesday, 26. I have been writing an interview for the World of New York, Bro. Hooper being the person interrogated. Mr. Adams of the World desired me to write it. The Credit Mobilier discussion occupied the day and was continued until late in the evening in the House. The great speech of the whole was by Gen. B. F. Butler of Mass. and was a masterly effort. He spoke in the evening and had a magnificent audience. He was listened to with rapt attention for one hour and forty minutes. I heard it and then went to the Senate where Capt. Hooper had spent the entire day. The subject of discussion there was the Frelinghuysen Bill. It passed at a little after midnight on a vote of 29 for and 10 against. The Democrats and <Carpenter,> Trumbull and Schurz voted against it. It was fought inch by inch by Thurman, Bayard, Carpenter[,] Trumbull, Casserly, Stewart, Nye; the bitter speeches by made by Logan of Ill. and Windom of Minnesota had a telling effect though composed of illogical and tyrannous and untrue statements. I saw the effect of the cry of being tainted with Mormonism on some of <the> Senators such as I have previously described. Nye especially was very desirous to let them know, in reply to Windom’s insinuations, that he had no sympathy with the system. The clause giving the deputies deputy marshals the authority to call on the military when he they were threatened with resistance was discussed with ability by Bayard and Trumbull. They denounced this ready appeal to the bayonet to enforce civil process. I felt that the day would come when those who were determined to have this feature in the Bill would yet be made to groan under the tyranny of soldiers and be humbled in the dust. The constitution has fallen into <disrepute> and the will of the majority has taken its place. There was an amendment made in relation to the selection of jurors at the suggestion of Bro. Hooper that was a great improvement to the Bill. Mr. Thurman made moved it. Three jury commissioners to be elected by the Legislative Assembly to act with the U.S. Judge, Clerk and Marshal in selecting juries. They altered it to two. He and others tried to get appeals to in criminal cases to the U. S. Supreme Court; but they voted down everything but appeals in criminal cases where capital punishment was <should be> the penalty. Maxwell is here bobbing around, as ugly as ever. Merritt professes to be very friendly; but he is as full of hatred to the Saints and everything not Gentile in Utah as a man can be. New Members of Congress elect are crowding in. I wrote a letter to President Young

27 February 1873 • Thursday

Sent a telegraphic dispatch to President D. H. Wells describing the amendments in the Frelinghuysen Bill. Mr. Fitch was at the House to-day having just returned from Florida whither he had been with his wife for her health. She had not improved, though he thought her heart disease was better. The Credit Mobilier discussion continued to-day and Oakes Ames and James Brooks were absolutely condemned, and an attempt was made to censure all the others – Bingham, Dawes, Garfield, Kelly, Saml Hooper and Schofield – the name of Kelly being first introduced in a resolution to censure. It seemed for awhile that they would not escape; but it was finally voted down, and I guess every one felt relieved to have the business ended. Their There was a visible improvement in the appearance of the men threatened.

28 February 1873 • Friday

Received letters from John Q. lately in which he speaks of his progress in acquiring the printing business and how much he likes it. I had promised that when he could get set three thousand ems in one day and distribute as much that I would give him $25. He claimed the amount. If he commenced at 8 o’clock and worked all day, he thought he could set and distribute 5,000 The usual business was attended to and bills were crowded through. In the discussion of the appropriation bill the question of salary came up. It was discussed freely in the afternoon and again in the evening. I was much amused at the members who wanted this increase in salary; but did not want to vote for it. Each one was exceedingly anxious that his neighbor should vote for it while he himself should not be put on the record as being in favor of it. Several members of the Kentucky delegation reserved their votes until they saw it would not carry. then they voted against it. Others changed their votes[.] Ben Butler had taken an active part in urging the increase of salary, and when a number had changed their votes he arose and changed his. This created remark and some said he was going back on his own measure; but he soon showed his motive, by making a motion to reconsider his the vote and to adjourn. He could not have made a motion to reconsider under the rules if his vote had stood in favor of the measure.

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February 1873, The Journal of George Q. Cannon, accessed May 19, 2024 https://www.churchhistorianspress.org/george-q-cannon/1870s/1873/02-1873