February 1874

1 February 1874 • Sunday

This day I observed as a fast day according to custom. [I prayed unto God in my temple clothing.]1 Read the Book of Mormon and a sermon in the News of Bro. Orson Pratt’s. Enjoyed the day in the solitude of my chamber. Gilbert Webb called upon me and got me to fill out a number of bids for him. Mr. Durell, a banker of Salt Lake City and Dr. Taggart called upon me in the evening.

2 February 1874 • Monday

Snow fell last night. Storming heavily this morning. To-day is what is called “Devil’s day” at the House. I was made angry by the introduction of a Bill, by Hazleton of New Jersey, providing for minority representation in Utah. I asked him afterwards how he introduced such a Bill as that. He said a man named Wilcox gave it to him. This Wilcox is an officious, intermeddling newspaper correspondent. I told him that this practice of introducing special legislation for Utah was wrong and I was opposed to it; the Legislative Assembly of Utah was in session and if this system were desirable, they would introduce it; in fact, already a Bill was introduced there which proposed to give the minority representation. His reply was apologetic and to the effect that this would do no harm – the Committee would not notice &c. Mr. Axtell of Cal. wants to be Governor of Utah, saw me on Saturday about it; saw me again to-day. Senator Wright of Senate Com. on Judiciary informs me I am to be heard on bills before that Com. hostile to Utah.

3 February 1874 • Tuesday

Rained in the night, which falling on the snow makes the streets like glass. At the House. Wrote letters to my son Abraham, to Miss Georgia Snow about Census Reports for Salt Lake Library, and to [my third wife.]2 Received letters from Presidents Brigham Young & Geo. A. Smith dated St. George, and from my son Franklin. Met Mr. Sayler of Ohio and Capt. Tom Sherlock as I was coming out from dinner. Sherlock proceeded to introduce me to Sayler. The latter replied that Mr. Cannon and he were quite intimate. He then proceeded to relate when it was that he had formed a liking for me, premising the narration by remarking that he had never told me anything about it. Said he: “it was the day we were all sworn in; Mr. Cannon walked up to be sworn with the rest of the Delegates, when a fool from the other side (Mr. Sayler is a Democrat) jumped up and objected and afterwards offered a resolution. Mr. Cannon walked out as coolly to one side and stood there, and I was struck with admiration at the manner in which he went through the scene; he showed such pluck and betrayed so little agitation. He looked as though he didn’t care a damn whether they swore him in or not. I told our fellows we must stand up to that man, and we did, not one of our side that did not give him his vote.”

4 February 1874 • Wednesday

Wednesday Called at Senator Conkling’s to see him about <my> meeting with the Senate Judiciary Com. and Axtell’s appointment as Governor of Utah. He was not up, being ill. Busy at the House.

6 February 1874 • Thursday

Called again upon Senator Conkling and failed to see him, not being up. Wrote to my wife Elizabeth and son John Q. Met with Committee of Delegates. Sloanaker told me to-day that Jenkins of Va. had been offered the office of Governor of Utah. Axtell wants me to see President Grant about his being Governor. Talked with Senator Sarjent and he thinks I had better not. Busy at the House.

6 February 1874 • Friday

Busy at rooms and then at House. Mr. Somes called and spent the evening conversing upon various topics, but mostly upon his inventions – ventilating, heating & cooling, ice-making &c.

7 February 1874 • Saturday

Wrote a number of letters. Ground covered with snow. Yesterday a very stormy day. I cannot account for my not receiving letters from home, especially in reply to mine to Prest’s Young & Wells. Have written Pres. Wells on the subject.

8 February 1874 • Sunday

[I fasted today]3 according to my custom. I enjoyed the day. It was a day of peace and rest. [I prayed unto God in my temple clothing.]4

9 February 1874 • Monday

Introduced bill for <Wasatch and> for Jordan Valley R. R. to-day. I met this morning with the Committee of <Delegates of> Territories. Maxwell led Mr. Fort out of the House to have an interview with Carey who gave him a Memorial to present from the non-Mormons of Utah. Fort came to me afterwards and told me about it. Said he did not want to commit himself to either side, wanted to keep unbiased so as to judge fairly. The Memorial was like all such documents, misrepresentation and lies, framed for the object of creating an impression on Congress to get that body to pass laws against the Saints.

This has been an exciting day in the House.

10 February 1874 • Tuesday

House was in Com. of the Whole after morning hour on Army Appropriation Bill. Dr. Taggart appealed to me to help get Overton, the Receiver, confirmed. Wrote to Pres. Young at St. George, also to Geo. C. Lambert, among other things requesting him to look after John Q. and not let him work too hard. In evening wrote editorial thoughts for Juvenile on Indians.

11 February 1874 • Wednesday

Received letter from <my son> John Q. which alarmed me. I have felt much impressed to write to him about taking care of himself. To my letter he replies that he is afflicted strangely in body and mind, cannot eat, is nervous and has bad dreams. Does not mention it to his Mother for fear of alarming her. I telegraphed immediately to Geo. Lambert to relieve John Q. from the Office and have him take horseback exercise. The difficulty with John Q. is he would work till he dropped and never tell anybody that he was ailing. I pray the Lord to bless and heal him[.] Wrote him a letter, in which I told him what course to take to regain his health. Wrote also to my wife Elizabeth. At the House all day, and again in the evening.

12 February 1874 • Thursday

Met with Delegates in Committee. At House during day, also in the evening.

13 February 1874 • Friday

At the House and talked to a number of members about our affairs.

14 February 1874 • Saturday

Called upon Senator Conkling about having a hearing before the Com. on Judiciary of the Senate when the Bills against Utah were to be discussed. He was in favor, he said, of my being heard. Saw Senator Frelinghuysen upon same subject. He at first said I could not be heard. “But,” said I, “Carey was before you.” “Not for more than four minutes,” he replied. “He saw how impatient the Com. were and withdrew.” “But Senator Edmonds, the Chairman, said I was to say to you that I was to be heard. As a Member of the other Branch of Congress, and representing Utah, is it not my right?” He finally acknowledged that, taking that view, I am entitled to a hearing, and am to be there at 11 a.m. on Monday.

Debating in the House. Wrote several letters – Capt. Hooper, Geo. C. Lambert, David Tyler, A. Christensen and [my second wife.]5

15 February 1874 • Sunday

Fasted and [prayed to God in my temple clothing].6 Read in Book of Mormon and had a very peaceful, happy day by myself.

16 February 1874 • Monday

Met with the Senate Com. on Judiciary. But it was an unsatisfactory meeting. Edmonds, the Chairman, was evidently impatient. He said the Com. had but little time and I must be brief. I proceeded with my reasons against the Bills before the Com. hostile to Utah. He kept looking at the clock as though he wished me to stop. Finally he asked me: “Then you think that the world’s people, or whatever you call them, in Utah have their rights as the Mormons do and are not interfered with improperly?” I promptly replied, “I do.” “That’ll do,” said he, as h jumping up at the same time and walking towards the fireplace, “the Com. have no more time to spare.” I kept my temper and made some few remarks to one and another who spoke to me and withdrew. Senator Thurman, while I was speaking, took interest in what I said and asked several questions which enabled <me> to speak with greater freedom. I wonder when Edmonds’ turn comes to be judged (as come it will) if he won’t think those who <have> his case in hand are not very hard if they manifest as little interest in him as he did this morning in listening to the defence and justification of 130,000 American citizens who are at least his equals.

17 February 1874 • Tuesday

I was saddened yesterday by getting the news from home about the division among the people at the election. The apostates and anti-Mormons had dropped their ticket and united with the disaffected Mormons on theirs. This latter was headed by Wm Jennings as Mayor. I do not care how much we have to fight outside. With the blessing of the Lord upon a united people we can fight a good and a winning fight; but with disunion at home there is no promise of success. I beat Merriam of New York again. I presented the Memorial of the Legislative Assembly of Utah to the House and the following extract from the Congressional Record will give the details. I do not know what ails Merriam unless it is “pure cussedness.” Busy at House all day. Saw <Senator> Sarjent about introducing Memorial to the Senate.

18 February 1874 • Wednesday

Busy at House through the day and in the evening. Mr. Potter of New York told me that the Judiciary Com. were going to have the Poland Bill up and wished me to get it and go over it with him. I did so. Referred to the Memorial for Investigation. That was the best course to be taken. If legislation by Congress must be had, let it be in the shape of an investigation. I saw Charles Eldredge of Wis. also Gen Butler of Mass, the Chairman. He said he would like me to appear before the Com.

19 February 1874 • Thursday

Bro. Chas Nibley, the Ticket & Freight Agent of the Utah Northern R. Road called upon me this <yesterday> morning. He is here to try and get the mails sent to Montana over the Road. Called upon Pres. Grant with the Memorial from the Legislative Assembly of Utah asking for an investigation. He had seen it in the papers and read it he said. In response to my inquiries he thought an investigation would be good; but it ought to have been made last December. However it did not take long to go out to Utah now, and it could be made quickly. By this remark I inferred he was anxious to have it made before Congress adjourned so as to get legislation. I told him that Gov. Woods had vetoed the Memorial but the Assembly had passed it nevertheless. They were not afraid of investigation; they more there was of it by impartial men the better they would like it. If one-twentieth that was said about the people of Utah were true, I remarked, they had everything to fear from an investigation. At the House during the day and in the evening.

20 February 1874 • Friday

Busy at House. Bro. Nibley spent most of day and evening with me.

21 February 1874 • Saturday

Same as yesterday. House adjourned till Tuesday to honor Washington’s birthday.

22 February 1874 • Sunday

I quit eating at the Hotel last Monday afternoon and settled up. I got Wm Johnson, our colored man who represents Utah as a laborer in the Treasury Dep’t. to bring me each day boiled cracked wheat. This I eat with sugar. I find the Hotel living makes me feel gross. I would rather live poorly here away from my family, and live better at home, than to live well here and have the best hotel fare, and then return to plain home diet. How it will agree with me I cannot yet say; but I mean to experiment with myself for awhile. I remember my fare on the Sandwich Islands, how sweet the Lord made the poi to me.

23 February 1874 • Monday

This was a holiday, but I kept busy at work.

24 February 1874 • Tuesday

Busy at House.

25 February 1874 • Wednesday

The Committee on Foreign Affairs was called to-day in the morning hour and exhausted the hour. The next Com. is that on Territories. They did not want to miss the call and they wanted to report some Bill and have the time occupied so that they could get time to decide on the McKee Bill against Utah. But they were relieved by not being called. They are bound to make some kind of a report on the McKee Bill. I was busy talking with Members of the Com. I find Crounse of Nebraska, Mills of Texas, Brown of Kentucky, Curtis of Penn. and probably Hines of Arkansas are not in favor of the McKee Bill, but want a substitute which Crounse has partly prepared. Crounse urged me to get all my friends to be sure to be at the meeting <of the Com.> in the morning. The above named members promised to be there at the time (10 o’clock). I saw Schumaker of New York also, thinking from what he said, at the only meeting of the Com. at which <he was present when> the Bill was discussed during the arguments for and against it, that he would oppose it. He promised to be at the meeting.

26 February 1874 • Thursday

I learned before the House got fairly at work that a majority of the Committee had agreed to the McKee Bill and would report it and the minority had been authorized to report the minority substitute. Schumaker had gone to the meeting, but had voted for McKee’s Bill. Curtis failed to be present. He is an old man and I suppose thought they would not vote for the McK. Bill – he seemed to be of that opinion yesterday. The Committee stood five for McKee’s Bill, four against it. He expected to get the morning hour to report it; but there was a special order that excluded him. I had seen the Speaker and told him I would like to have the time for consideration postponed as long as possible. He said he would remember it and he thought it would be put off for four weeks yet. McKee had amended the Bill somewhat I got made copies and sent them out to Bro’s. Calder and Caine of the Deseret News and Herald. I spoke to McK. about having the consideration postponed. He seemed willing for three weeks. It looks as though they might get a blow at us with this infamous, outrageous Bill; but the Lord can foil them. I have been busy among the leading men of the House appealing to them in various ways to aid me in having the consideration postponed. To the friends of Woman Suffrage I particularly appealed as the Bill <proposed to> abolishes that in Utah. I feel calm and free from fear. The Speaker told me the Committee would not be called now till Tuesday.

27 February 1874 • Friday

To-day was private Bill day

28 February 1874 • Saturday

The House met and discussed private bills and late in the afternoon went into the Committee of the Whole on the State of the Union. John Young Brown made from his standpoint a very fine speech[.] Mr. Milliken also of Kentucky spoke well.

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February 1874, The Journal of George Q. Cannon, accessed May 23, 2024 https://www.churchhistorianspress.org/george-q-cannon/1870s/1874/02-1874