January 1874

Events in George Q. Cannon’s journal for 1874

23 January

Spoke to the Committee on Territories against the Poland Bill

25 January

A former slave now in Congress is equal “to the old slave owners of the South.”

3 February

Cannon sworn in to Congress

9 February ff.

Cannon’s dealings in the U.S. government in Washington

16 February

Cannon spurned by Vermont senator George F. Edmunds, chairman of the Senate Committee on Judiciary

2 March

“I presented to-day, under the call of the States and Territories, a Bill for the admission of Utah as a State.”

30 March ff.

“The contest case of ‘Maxwell against Cannon’”

2 April ff.

Bitter attacks upon Cannon; lobbying against him; “spirit of prejudice”

28 April ff.

The Poland Bill “aimed at the destruction of all local government”

5 May ff.

Poland Bill

14 May

Heard lecture on “heart diseases arising from strain and overwork”

19 May

Extensive visit with Thomas L. Kane

28 May

Utah Bill postponed; thus “another day of peace and deliverance is granted”

2 June

Vicious things said by members of Congress against Mormons

26 August ff.

Travel south from Salt Lake City to hold various meetings

28 November ff.

Travel to Washington DC

23 January 1874 • Friday

Met with Com. on Ter. According to previous arrangement I spoke 45 min. against the Poland Bill which resembles McKee Bill as far as it goes, but is not near so sweeping in extent. Was listened to closely and had freedom. I said not a single instance of improper verdicts rendered by Mormon juries had been adduced by those who advocated legislation, while I had proved that when they <(McKean & Co.)> had the selection of juries they had carefully excluded Mormons and had packed juries. I quoted from our jury law & from decision of U. S. Supreme Court Clinton vs Englebrecht to show that we had a law similar to those which prevailed elsewhere and that we had a right to enact such a law, &c. I clearly proved that the lock up of the Courts was not the fault of the laws but of the Court. Maxwell was afraid I would have too good an effect and interrupted me when my time was nearly up. He followed and was very bitter, trembled considerably, quoted from McGrorty in his contest for W. H. Hooper’s seat, also from Cradlebaugh, from Deseret News to fasten certain utterances upon me as the editor, quoted from his evidence in his contest case against me to show that Now I would not render verdict against polygamy as adultery, also that I denied being a polygamist, &c. His talk was so intemperate it had but little effect. Carey followed, accusing us of all kinds of crimes, rehearsed Mountain Meadows, Parrish and Robinson murders. I followed in a five minutes talk, quoted from Haliburton’s English in America to show that just such charges were made against early Colonists, yet who justified the Mother country for her treatment of the colonies. I cannot give an epitome of what was said by Maxwell & Carey or by myself. I think my arguments had the most effect because it was plain to be seen that they were <are> to be benefitted by the proposed legislation. The Com. have been patient and courteous and disposed to give the subject due consideration. Wrote a number of letters – one home to my wife Elizabeth.

24 January 1874 • Saturday

Saturday Called upon <at> Senator Thurman’s to see him about an amendment in a Bill which gives the Territorial Legislatures the authority to assign the U. S. Judges their districts and when not done by them to give Judges authority to assign themselves. Utah is made an exception, because a previous law of Congress gives this power to the Governor of the Territory. He was not at home. Saw him afterwards at the Capitol, and explained to him what I wanted. The exception was an invidious one, there was no just cause for such a discrimination; but it forms a precedent to be acted upon in other matters until the idea becomes a fixed one that Utah can be and ought to be treated differently to the other Territories. He promised to see if it could be amended as I wished. Left A. Hatch’s papers against Indian Agent Dodge at Commissioner of Indian Affairs office.

25 January 1874 • Sunday

After attending to Department business yesterday I went to the House. Mr. Robbins of North Carolina was speaking against Civil Rights Bill. His speech was able in many respects, but indiscreet and impolitic. The Democrats are not wise in their movements. They lack a great and respected leader in the House to whom they would look up and be guided by. There are several who would probably like to be leaders, but no one acknowledged as such. A full-blooded negro – Cain, of South Carolina – followed Robbins to the delight of the Republicans. He is a glib talker and made several sallies in reply to Robbins, which created great laughter and applause. Such a scene must be very bitter to the old slave owners of the South. Their former slaves recognized as their equals on the floor of the House and applauded to the echo in their retorts upon Southern men and in holding up to shame Southern policy. In looking back to my first visit to Washington in <1858->1859-1860 in ante-bellum days and contrasting the situation then with affairs now I can scarcely repress my astonishment at the wonderful change which has been accomplished. [I received a letter today from my youngest wife. I was filled with joy while reading that she was pregnant. It is God who has blessed her. A windy, cold day. I prayed to God in my temple clothing just like I normally do every Sabbath day.]1 In evening preparing copy for the Juvenile

26 January 1874 • Monday

I have much satisfaction in my privileges. I have rooms which are well suited for me; clean, well kept, cheerful and quiet. After washing and shaving in the morning I lock the doors, pull down the blinds and dress in [my temple clothing and pray to God.]2 This is a sweet and precious privilege to me, and not a day has passed in which I have not availed myself of it. I know the Lord hears and answers my prayers. Wrote letters yesterday to John Q., Franklin and [to my last wife,]3 also to-day to Pres. D. H. Wells and others. Had a call in the evening from Maxwell’s striker, Harford. He tells me M. is going to Utah on Wednesday, his object, as he states it, being to get affidavits against me and Memorials to Congress. Sloanaker called and told me that Jenkins of Va. had been offered the place of Gov. of Utah, but his wife objected to going there. He confirmed what Whitney told me on Sunday that McKean’s friends want the place for him.

27 January 1874 • Tuesday

Bought a patent ballot box of Col. Donn Piatt this morning to send as a sample to Bro. Wells, as I wrote to him yesterday. Paid $20 for it. Met in Committee with Delegates of Ter. Discussed various projects. I told them my feelings kindly but plainly about allowing Utah to be excepted in bills for general good of Territories and to be made the subject of special legislation. There should be a feeling of brotherhood. Utah cannot be struck without injuring the rest and freedom everywhere. They should not feel indifferent. And much more I said, to which they responded kindly. Chaffee says he likes Utah, but dislikes polygamy, wants to see it put down. Those who spoke did not agree with him.

Busy as usual at the House. Wrote to Bro’s. John T. Caine and Jos. A. Young. Went to hear John B. Gough lecture in “Night Scenes in London”. Was disappointed. He is a good actor and on some subjects may be a good orator; but this lecture in many of its parts was humbug. His stories, many of them, smacked of sectarian missionary meetings and Sunday Schools, such as form the staple of religious tracts. I was glad that I invested no more than 50 cents, the $1 seats were all taken.

28 January 1874 • Wednesday

Received letters from John Q., Geo. <C.> Lambert and Geo. Reynolds. Evening Session at the House. This morning called at Post Office Department on business for Mr. Greathouse, who brought me a letter of introduction from Heber P. Kimball. He has failed in a contract which he had, or rather the party to whom he sub-contracted has failed and this makes him ineligible as a bidder

29 January 1874 • Thursday

Had a conversation with Mr. Curtis, acting Chairman of Com. on Ter. He is ardently opposed to special legislation. Evening Session at the House. Called again at Post Office Department about Mr. Greathouse’s case. Met him and Mr. Hailey, Delegate from Idaho there.

30 January 1874 • Friday

Wrote a letter to President Young. Busy all day. Met Gilbert Webb at dinner at the Hotel – Willard’s. He had arrived from Salt Lake to put in bids for Mail Contracts. He left there on Sunday. Maxwell’s striker called on me. M. has a Serjeant from Salt Lake City who has brought down two soldiers for the Insane Asylum – insanity M. is telling around produced by brass knuckles of Mormon police – he wants him as a witness. Bro. Webb very desirous I should go to Theatre with him. Went to Ford’s Opera House saw Sothern as Lord Dundreary in our American Cousin. A capital performance. This is the first time we went to theatre at Washington since winter of 1859, except with Mr. Kaufman in 1827 to Opera to hear Nillson.

31 January 1874 • Saturday

Called upon Senator Stevenson of Ky. this morning. He is a member of the Senate Com. on Judiciary, who have four bills hostile to Utah before them – Frelinghuysen’s, Logan’s and Sarjent’s two. The latter were introduced by Sarjent to save the clause woman’s suffrage law of Utah. After he introduced them I saw him upon the subject. He had always been opposed to such legislation as proposed in these Bills, and I could not understand how he could consistently introduce them. He informed me that should the Bills come up he would oppose them. He had not changed in his views respecting letting Utah alone; but in case there was danger of any passing, he wanted woman suffrage saved. I had heard that Carey had been before the Judiciary Com. and I wanted to know how that was, as I had been promised by the Chairman and several members that I should be notified. He said Carey had only made a brief statement & no argument. Wrote to Pres. Wells and to [my second wife.]4 Showed Gilbert Webb around the Capitol and took him into the Bath Room where he had a bath. Speech day in the House. Went to Theatre in the evening with Bro. Webb and seen “Saratoga,” a rather trifling play.

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January 1874, The Journal of George Q. Cannon, accessed May 24, 2024 https://www.churchhistorianspress.org/george-q-cannon/1870s/1874/01-1874