The Church Historian's Press

January 1877

Events in George Q. Cannon’s journal for 1877

2 January

Visited with Governor Samuel J. Tilden and hoped “to see him inaugurated”

9 January ff.

Argued against the Wigginton Bill to regulate elections in Utah

1 February ff.

Witnessed the conflict regarding the election of Rutherford B. Hayes or Samuel J. Tilden

15 February

Witnessed the operation of a newly invented electrotype process

5 March

Watched Rutherford B. Hayes sworn in as president

11 April

“This morning went to the Temple and received an endowment for my Grandfather, George Cannon”

12 April

“Went through the Temple to-day and was washed and anointed and endowed for my Grandfather John Quayle”

1 August

“On the first of this month Brother Brigham [Young], Jr., and myself, at the request of Pres. B. Young took charge of the Deseret News.”

23 August ff.

Last visits with Brigham Young and a witness of his death

29 August

Cannon’s reflections on Brigham Young who “was in my eyes as perfect a man as I ever knew”

1 January 1877 • Monday

I called upon Mr Neels this morning. His wife had gone to Brooklyn to her brother’s house, to assist her sister-in-law in receiving New Year’s calls. He expressed a wish that I should call upon her, and seemed so desirous that I promised him I would. I did so, and spent half an hour very pleasantly at the house of her brother, Mr. Colton. As I was over in Brooklyn I then went to Sister Blackburn’s and found Brothers Druce and Midgley there. I did not intend to stay, but they insisted so upon my stopping, and it was so pleasant to be with Latter-day Saints, that I did so. Rudger Clawson came over in the evening and we remained there until 11 o’clock. It was a terrible night. A violent snow storm came on during the evening, but we were very fortunate in getting cars and I reached the hotel at 12 o’clock.

2 January 1877 • Tuesday

I called at Gov. Tilden’s residence and found him at home. Col. Pelton took me to the breakfast room and introduced me to his mother and the Governor. Mrs. Pelton, his wife, seemed very glad to see me, having had quite a conversation with her when I was there before[.] The Governor expressed great pleasure at seeing me, and we had a very free talk about Utah Territory. I told him that my constituents felt that he was the legally elected President of the United States and that at their request and that of Prest Young I had sought his acquaintance; that we had been suffering now from tyranny for nearly eight years, that we had been treated with the greatest insolence, and our wishes respecting those who were sent into our midst as officials had been utterly disregarded as much so as if we were a conquered people instead of citizens of the United States; we hope to see him inaugurated for we felt that a better day would then dawn upon us, and the rights of the people and home rule would be respected; and I hoped that those who had tales to tell about Utah to her injury and to the discredit of her people would not have his ear, and that he would not listen to them without giving us an opportunity to be heard. I talked much more in the same strain, told him of our improvements, what we had done, our manufactures, the condition of the Territory, etc. My overcoat, which was made of homemade cloth, I showed to him as being made out of Utah wool, dyed and spun in Utah and made into a coat there. I also had with me a handkerchief made out of Utah silk which I showed to him. I told him that we were lightly taxed, well-governed and were out of debt — did not owe a dollar of public debt. We had upwards of 300 miles of local telegraph <railroad> not mentioning the Union and Central Pacific lines which ran through our Territory; upwards of 1200 miles of telegraph line that was owned in the Territory, and we had all the elements necessary for a State. He seemed pleased to know that our people were Democrats, made inquiries about Prest. Young and affairs in the Territory, seemed to comprehend that we had been treated a good deal as the South had been, that advantage had been taken of our unpopularity to abuse us, and promised that when inaugurated he would pay respect to our petitions and wishes and claims. He hoped to be able to visit our country as soon as matters could be arranged that he could be spared from the seat of government. I said to him that I was not sorry in some respects that this conflict had arisen, for this reason: that we in Utah had been groaning under the insolence and arrogance of men in power in this administration, but that being in a Territory and unpopular our complaints had passed unnoticed; but now the whole country could see the spirit of the administration and the determination to carry out its own wishes regardless of the will of the people; that what was now being witnessed on a large scale by the nation we had felt, painfully felt, for nearly 8 years, and that the nation could understand by what they now saw, better than in any other way, what we had suffered from maladministration and the disposition to trample on the will of the people.

He seems confident that he will be inaugurated, talks very hopefully about affairs. He is an old-looking man and the first impression that he would make on a visitor would be that he was feeble. He is a small spare man; the lid of his left eye droops. But it is only when you hear him converse that you get an idea of his power. He has undoubtedly great grasp of mind and is a man of very strong will. Col. Pelton’s wife when I left said that she was going out to Utah to visit it us, and said she would certainly inquire for me. She seemed pleased to have made my acquaintance, and she, as well as the others requested me when in New York to be sure and call upon them. I felt much gratified with the interview and feel assured that it will do good.

I returned to the hotel, paid my bill, Rudger Clawson accompanied me to the depôt and I got off at one o’clock. The snow was so deep on the track that we did not make good time and instead of reaching at 8.50 o’clock we did not get to Washington till nearly 12. I had for companions on the train, Mr. Abram S. Hewitt, of New York, Chairman of the national Democratic Committee, and Mr Hardenberg of New Jersey, both members of the House of Representatives. We had considerable conversation on the way. Mr. Hewitt remarked that Tilden and the party were willing to make every concession except to concede the inauguration of Hayes by fraud. They did not want war and would do everything in their power to avert it. He is the son in-law of Peter Cooper, the New York philanthropist, who was the candidate of the Greenback party for the Presidency. His (Hewitt’s) wife and Mr. Edward Cooper are the only children that Mr. Cooper has, and they are opposed to their father in politics, though it had no effect on their family relations. Mr. Hewitt said that he had been connected with the family nearly 40 years. Mrs. Cooper died 7 years ago, and he had never known the father, the mother or the children ever to say an unpleasant, harsh word to one another or to anybody else during that period. He said they had all things common as the Apostles had in the days of the Savior. He drew, and each of them drew what he or she wanted for use without being questioned by the others. Mr Cooper lived with himself and wife and Mr. Edward Cooper had a separate house, but in everything else they were as one family. He had six children, Mr. Edward Cooper had one; yet this made no difference. The children were growing up with the same feeling, and there was not the least jealousy on the part of the one against the six. They were as brothers and sisters. He spoke of them as an unselfish family, and when the old gentleman was building Cooper’s Institute they urged him to do everything possible, and aided him in doing it, to make it thoroughly complete. When he spoke about hesitating, and not being able to spare the means at times, they invariably encouraged him to carry out and make the project a complete one.

3 January 1877 • Wednesday

I called at the Dep’t of Justice this morning and had an interview with Judge Taft. I called his attention to the papers in the Ann Eliza case, which I had left with him, and asked him if he had been able to read the resume of the proceedings in the case. He had not, he said, having been so crowded that he had not found time. He had been absent also to Ohio at the marriage of his son, and I expect that this presidential complication has required considerable of his time, as being the law adviser of the president there are many points that arise upon which his opinion is required. He commenced to read the paper but had only begun to get interested in it when he was interrupted and compelled to lay it aside again. He promised me, however, that he would examine it.

Mr. Barnes, Western Union telegraph agent, was brought to the bar of the House to-day by the Sergeant-at-Arms, in contempt for refusing to produce telegraphic dispatches that had been demanded by the House committee investigating in Louisiana. At the request of counsel he was excused from answering until 2 o’clock on Friday next. There was but little business done and upon the point being raised that there was not a quorum, the House adjourned. The weather is severely cold. The thermometer at 7.30 a.m. indicated -1°. They have had the heaviest fall of snow that has been known for many years.

4 January 1877 • Thursday

Dictated a long letter to the President as well as some other letters. Called at the Post Office Dep’t on some business and was at the House.

5 January 1877 • Friday

Called at the Dep’t of Justice to see Attorney-General Taft; but found him engaged with Senator Sherman and others and had to leave without getting a conversation with him. Called at the Indian Dept, and left with the Commissioner a voucher which I had received from the Deseret National Bank. Called at the Post Office Dept to see about having service put on some new routes, and was at the House.

6 January 1877 • Saturday

I received a letter from my wife Elizabeth this morning in which she writes some very delightful things about the children Mary Alice, David and Emily. The letter was a sweet one though I am saddened at hearing of the death of my niece, Anne Lambert Waddell, and the sickness of her two children her husband and her father. Elizabeth says that Uncle Charles Lambert is improving a little. The death of Anne will be a very severe blow to her parents, husband and all the family. She was a promising young lady and had she lived, would have made a superior woman. Uncle Angus had been very kind to the folks at Christmas: had been down to the farm and taken presents to the children. I am also informed of the death of old Stripper the oldest cow I had, a very excellent animal which I obtained from Bro. Rydalch. She died of old age. The house will soon be finished. I wrote a letter to Elizabeth. Called at the Post Office department in relation to the 20% reduction made by the Dept from the pay of the U.C.R.R for carrying mails on the ground that it was a land grant railroad. The same question arose some two years ago in the Treasury Dept when the question of paying for the transportation of troops and supplies was up. A refusal to pay on this same ground led me to make an argument before the 2nd Comptroller, showing that it was not in the eye of the law a land grant railroad. All the U.C.R.R had obtained from the government was the right of way through the public domain; and I showed that a good deal of the distance the company had to pay private individuals for the land. The assistant attorney general at the Post Office was absent.

The time at the House was spent in discussing the diplomatic and consular appropriation bill, and passing measures for the District of Columbia. Dictated a number of letters. Rain commenced to fall in the afternoon freezing as it fell, making the streets in the worst condition I ever saw them. People on foot preferred walking in the middle of the street — the sidewalks were so very slippery.

7 January 1877 • Sunday

Dictated an article for the Juvenile, some letters, etc. In the evening had a visit from the District Attorney of Utah, Sumner Howard, Esq, who called, accompanied by Mr. Durand, member from Michigan

8 January 1877 • Monday

Called at the Land Dept. Busy at the House. In the evening had a another call from Howard and Mr. Kaighn, who has been out to Utah investigating the Land office officers. Mr. Howard took me one side and requested as a great favor that I would use my influence with the Dept to have him appointed judge. He made a number of promises as to what he would do if he got the office, that he would administer the law fairly, that he felt friendly to our people, had been friendly and meant to be friendly and treat us as citizens of the United States. The plan he suggested was for me to see Vice president Ferry and get him to go with me to the Dept of Justice. I promised him that I would do so. I have been using him to get the Ann Eliza case before the Attorney General in the proper light. He has made representations there concerning that case which I think will enable the Attorney General to see it as he has not seen it before. He has also been to the Land Dep’t giving them information respecting the operation of the stumpage law.

9 January 1877 • Tuesday

Dictated letters. Called upon Senator Ferry. The only objection he had to recommending Mr Howard for the judgeship was that the Dep’t might think Michigan was asking too much, and I found that he had another man in his mind whom he wanted to obtain a judgeship for in some other Territory and he feared that recommending Mr. Howard might prevent him getting the other appointment. But he promised to go with me to-morrow and see the Attorney General. I introduced to-day a bill which had been sent me by Gen. Barnum to provide for burial spots for masons & odd-fellows out of 20 acres that had been set apart for cemetery purposes on the military reservation at Camp Douglas. I received a letter from Prest Young in which he informed me that the lower part of the Temple had been dedicated and they had commenced work. He was feeling remarkably well though his feet were tender from the effects of rheumatism. Mr. Ford came to me to-day and told me that the Com. on Territories had had a meeting and Wigginton had brought up the bill that had been introduced last session to regulate elections in Utah Territory. It is a bill that Baskin brought down from Utah and Luttrell, of Cal., introduced. It was referred to the Com. on Territories and I had made two arguments against it and Baskin had spoke in its favor. Mr. Ford had made the amendment to have it made general to all the States <Territories>. Wigginton from the Com. reported it back to the House and ordered printed. The consideration of it was put off until this session. For some reason Wigginton is exceedingly anxious to have the bill pass. Bagley, from Waterton, New York, a Democr <Republican> also favors it, as do Caulfield <Caldwell> of Tennessee and Stevenson of Illinois. Southard, the chairman of the Com. is rather desirous that it should pass.

10 January 1877 • Wednesday

I procured a carriage and called at the National Hotel for the Vice-President, and went with him to the Dept of Justice. After waiting some time we found that the Att’y General had gone to the White House to consult with Pres’t Grant upon Louisiana affairs, the news having reached here that Nichols and his party had taken possession of everything, had complete control of New Orleans excepting the State House, which Packard, the man claiming to be elected governor by the Republicans, occupied with his party. I spent the day in the House talking to members respecting the bill before the Com. on Territories. The com. meet again to-morrow morning to resume the consideration of it. To me it seems idiotic for men professing to be Democrats to take a course which these men are taking. The Republican party by its platform drives every Mormon from its ranks. We cannot consistently sustain a party which avows its intention to war upon us, as the Republican party has in its platform. Our people are Democrats as a rule. The principles of Democracy are the principles we believe in and which if carried out would gives us the liberty we desire and to which we are entitled. The vote of the Mormons in Wyoming, Idaho and Arizona helps elect Democratic delegates from those Territories, and we nearly hold the balance of power in them. We also have a vote in Nevada, and the probabilities are that we shall go on increasing strength every year. If Utah were were a State it would be a strong Democratic one, and how inconsistent it is for members of the Democratic party, which needs all the strength it can collect, to join with the Republicans in making war upon a people who would stand firmly up to its principles? I made representations of this kind to various members, and they all said it was a most unwise proceeding. and all with whom I conversed promised, to talk with members of that committee upon the subject. I think if it should be reported we can make a point of order upon it, and have it referred to the committee of the whole, as it contemplates the creation of a new officer, and I hunted up cases to-day where rulings had been made of a similar character. Major Maginnis of Montana intend to keep this point to ourselves till the bill is introduced if it should be, and he is to see the Speaker and explain the point of order that we wish to make, so that he will be posted and know how to rule.

11 January 1877 • Thursday

Met Mr. Jas. Richardson at Willard’s. He has come down here to consult with Major Maginnis respecting the extension of the Utah Northern into Montana. I called at the Land & Post Office Departments; and went to the House. Dictated a number of letters. The com. on Territories met, but I was prevented from being present by business. I was not very anxious to go as I preferred some of the other Delegates going before I put in an appearance. Mr. Fenn was on hand and the Com. agreed to hear the Delegates on Saturday at 11 o’clock. I had conversation with several members upon the subject, among others with Mr. Geo. A. Bagley, of Watertown, N. Y. We had a very free talk. He conceded that we had the best governed Territory of any, that it was in a good condition, but he did not like our election law, thought we were too much like the South, that a few men held control of affairs, we had an autocrat, etc. I told him there was not as much of that in Utah as there was right here in this congress. As an illustration of it — I told him that my son, who had never been out of Utah before, was struck with surprise at the ease with which Gen. Garfield could get the Republican members to jump to their feet, frequently when they did not know what they were voting about at the wave of his hand or at his request that they should stand up; and the same on the Democratic side. I said that though brought up in Utah he had never seen any such exhibition of autocracy as that. He made the remark that if he were to practice polygamy or to favor its practice he would not be tolerated two days in his community, public opinion was so strong upon that subject. He would have to leave and would lose cast. The remark made me burn all over. I replied that I would not be tolerated in the community whence I came for two days nor for two hours if I were to be guilty of such things as some members of Congress were. My people believed in marriage but they did not believe in whoredoms nor adulteries, and no man would be tolerated among them who did such things; “but,” said I, “it is the marriage of women that your people object to.” I said that we did not ask any sympathy with our institution, we asked no favor, but what we did ask and thought we were entitled to were the rights that belonged to American citizens; and it was not a question of prejudice nor of favor, and he, nor any other member, was not asked to put himself on the record as favoring our doctrines or our views. But we hoped that they would have manhood enough to grant us the rights common to all citizens. He acknowledged to me that public sentiment was not averse to men having mistresses so long as it did not become public. The conversation was a very long one and he became very mellow before we got through and said he hoped I would come and talk to the Committee. I received a dispatch from Gen. Thos. L. Kane, informing me that he would arrive at Washington on the Limited express at 4.17. I met him at the depot and our meeting was a joyful one. He expressed the greatest pleasure at seeing me and I felt greatly pleased to meet him . for I had been exceedingly anxious about him[.] When we parted last Summer it was with the understanding that a company of our people would be sent into Texas somewhere near the end of the railroad to meet him and accompany him into Mexico. I supposed at the time that he and the Prest had an understanding upon this subject. When I returned home I related to the Prest what the general wished and what we had talked over; but he could not see the way clear to send any body. Some delay occurred before the decision was sen reached that no one could be sent. In the meantime Gen Kane had made his preparations. He sent me dispatches in cipher and I replied. But not deterred by the news that no one could be sent from Utah to join him he went on with his two sons. The revolutions in Mexico had created an anxiety in my mind respecting his fate so I had heard nothing from him for some time. I felt this more particularly because in conversation with Mrs. Kane upon one occasion last summer she expressed her fears about the General going into that country. Thinking of course that he would have a strong guard of our people I assured her that he would be perfectly safe, that he would have a body of men upon whom the most perfect reliance could be placed; and since reading about the fighting in Mexico I had thought repeatedly of my remark to her and feared that if anything had happened to him or to their sons she might think I had given him encouragement without proper foundation. This reason conspired to give me delight in meeting him and to learn that he had made the journey in perfect safety. He has had an eventful trip, been absent 3 months has examined the country as far as he could pretty thoroughly. He sees a fine opening for us to make settlements there in fact this was the whole object of his trip. He acknowledges that God’s providences have been over him and that he was preserved by His power. He is looking well and is a little thinner that [than] usual. We dined together and spent most of the evening together.

12 January 1877 • Friday

Was at the Treasury Dep’t making inquiries respecting inquiries <deficiencies> for the Indian Dept in which some of our people are interested. Was busy at the House. Gen. Kane was anxious I should learn something about the condition of the Texas Pacific Railway, also, in the event of their being two Presidents where Cala. would stand. Our position in Utah is such that we must hold aloof from all entangling alliances. Received letters from home regarding the near completion of the house on the river. There was some excitement in the House over the committal of Barnes, the Western Union Telegraph manager for contempt in refusing to deliver up dispatches to the House Committee in New Orleans. At 10 p.m. I went to Willard’s to meet Gen Kane. He had been out to a dinner party and wished to converse with me after his return. We were together until 12 o’clock. He suggested to me a course which I fully agree with and which I have intended to act upon, that is, to keep clear from all entanglements with either party and not to commit myself or our people to either. We talked this matter up very freely. I have seen that our position is a peculiar one; we are sandwiched on the east and west by Republican states. On the East by Kansas, Nebraska and Colorado and on the West by Nevada and so far as I can learn California. For notwithstanding the Democrats claim that California is aroused at the attempt to count Tilden out, still her 3000 majority for Hayes would still probably make her a Republican State. The Democrats I learn have an organization, but they are not united — they lack a head; and whether they are in a position to prevent the inauguration of Hayes or to inaugurate Tilden also. is a very grave question.

13 January 1877 • Saturday

I had an engagement with Senator Ferry, the acting vice-prest. to take him to the Department of Justice to see the Attorney General on the subject of appointing Mr. Sumner Howard Judge to fill the vacancy which will occur in a few weeks by the expiration of the term of Boreman. I furnished a carriage and we proceeded <succeeded> in getting an interview with the Atty General, and he booked Mr. Howard for the place. Mr. Ferry recommended a Mr. Watts, whom he said was a very good man for the position of District Attorney. I then repaired to keep an appointment which had been made for the Delegates to meet with the Com. on Territories to give their views respecting the bill to regulate elections in the Territories, the bill which had been originally drafted for Utah alone. There were present Delegates Maginnis, Steele, Jacobs, Kidder, Fenn and myself. They all spoke and protested against such legislation, pointing out many things in the bill that would be disadvantages to their people. But their broad ground of protest was that they did not consider that Congress had any right to interfere for the people of the Territories. They were capable of managing their own affairs and knew their own wants better than Congress possibly could. They occupied the whole of the time allotted for the hearing, but the members were anxious that I should speak and all the time that I desired was granted to me[.] I told them that with all due respect to them it struck me as a piece of presumption on their the part of the framers of this bill to think that they were capable of devising a law that could apply to the people of 8 territories, covering an area of several hundred thousand square miles, surrounded by divers circumstances and with a variety of feelings which people scattered over such an extent of country naturally would have. I said that it required little less than the gift of omniscience to enable them to legislate in such a way. Every one who had lived in the Territories would see, after reading the bill that it was framed without regard to the wishes, the wants or the circumstances of the people for whom it was designed. In making these remarks I did so with no feeling of disrespect, but “you are human, and are not above the weaknesses and faults of humanity.” I said the bill was intended for Utah, to cripple us and I said I thought it a great outrage that a Territory so prosperous as ours, in so good condition, should be threatened with such legislation. Said I, “It is due to the people of Utah that before any such legislation be enacted, a committee of members of the Senate and House should go out there and con examine into the condition of affairs and come back, then prepared to enact suitable legislation. What you do now you propose to do in the dark. I told them that our people conscientiously believed plural marriage to be right. It was part of their religion, and there had no steps taken until quite recently to convince them that Congress itself or the Administration thought the law of 1862 against plural marriage a constitutional one. I submitted that until that was tested by the courts those who practiced plural marriage should not be disfranchised. I made a great many remarks which were listened to with strict attention by the committee and which I have reason to believe impressed them. But Wigginton, of Cala., who is evidently the prime mover of the bill and who displays great interest in it, inquired of me how many members of the legislature assembly there were. I told him. He wanted to know how many of them practised polygamy. I asked him what he meant by polygamy. He said men who had many wives. I told him that was not polygamy. “Well” he said, “how many have more wives than one. I told him that I did not meddle with my neighbors’ concerns and could not tell him. I said I had served in Congress with him and with some of the members of the committee for several years, and I could not tell whether they were married or not or how many wives they had. Members of Congress were credited with having concubines and mistresses and I could not tell whether any of them came in that category or not. This raised a laugh, and several members spoke up and said that we were getting on dangerous ground. I made several replies to him which turned the laugh upon him. He wanted to know if I had any objection to the bill if the part relating to polygamy were stricken out. I told him I would, that I was opposed to any kind of legislation for the Territories. I thought the best thing the Committee could do would be to report a bill admitting us into the Union and to give us our rights. I said I represented a constituency as large as any of theirs and I thought my people were just as capable of enacting laws to govern themselves as their people were. Altogether the meeting was very pleasant and to me satisfactory. I afterwards heard that they had agreed to table the bill, and Mr. Fort told me that they would probably get up some other one. I dined with Gen Kane and accompanied him to the depot. He left at 5.30 p.m.

14 January 1877 • Sunday

Dictated two articles for the Juvenile and prepared and corrected several which had been sent me by Geo. C. Lambert.

15 January 1877 • Monday

Busy procuring a suitable form of certificate of election to send home to Captain Hooper, he having telegraphed me for one to use in my own case. The House adjourned early. Mr. Luckey, the newly appointed Secretary of Utah, called upon me in relation to the appropriations for the Territory, I having sent him word that through somebody’s neglect, Mr. Black’s, I suppose, no estimates for legislative expenses had been sent to the Dept, and no appropriations was likely to be made unless he should adopt my suggestion. Upon inquiry I found that they had incorporated my amendments in the bill, reducing the amounts, however. The Democrats have been very hopeful for a few days concerning Louisiana. Nichols, the Democratic governor, was rapidly gaining possession of the State. I have been surprised at the apathy of Grant upon this subject, feeling satisfied that he had no intention of allowing Louisiana to get into the hands of the Democrats. To-day he has issued an order to Gen. Augur, in command of the Federal troops, which virtually recognizes the Packard government. It will be a heavy blow for Nichols. I suppose that this delay in sending this order has been due to the fact the Congress had committees of investigation down there and it would not have looked very well while they were there for the president to interfere. They have nearly all left now and the rapid disintegration of the Republican party there, a number having gone over to the Democrats, admonished him to do something quickly, or the Republican government would tumble to pieces. I have not the least faith in Grant or those around him, doing anything, or allowing anything to be done favorable to the Democrats. Dictated an article for the Juvenile and a number of letters.

15 January 1877 • Tuesday

Dictated some letters. Called at the Land and Post Office Dept’s on business. Had an exciting debate in the House over the report of the Judiciary Committee in regard to the contempt of the Louisiana returning board in not furnishing the original papers to the committee of Congress of which Morrison is Chairman when requested to do so. The galleries frequently gave vent to applause. I think the Democrats had the best of the argument and I think that in all these discussions if they manage aright they will have the best of the argument. I introduced a bill to allow the owners of the powder magazines in the vicinity of the Hot Springs the right to purchase the land on which the magazines stand and that which is adjacent thereto. The day has been quite mild and the streets are in very bad condition in consequence of the melting snow.

17 January 1877 • Wednesday

Dictated letters and went to the Quarter Masters Dept to see about the Dabrowski claim. Had more discussion in the House upon the report of the Judiciary Committee, and some exciting speeches. Captain Nelson, U. S. marshall for Utah, was brought around to my desk by Gen Rusk

18 January 1877 • Thursday

I met Marshal Nelson at the Treasury Dept; he and Senator Cameron and Gen. Rusk of Wisconsin were there looking after his accounts. We then went to the Dep’t of Justice but did not see the Att’y General. I afterwards repaired to the Capitol and had an interview with the Committee on Appropriations in relation to the estimates for the deficiency sent in last session in which there was an amount due Bro A. Hatch and Mr. Parsons. Mr. J. Proctor Knott of Kentucky, chairman of the Judiciary Committee made a very able argument upon the counting of the votes, and expounded the Democratic view of the method. He was listened to with close attention by the House. Afterwards Mr. Payne of Ohio, chairman of the House Committee which had been selected to act with a like committee of the Senate to agree upon some plan for counting the electoral votes made the report of the committee. the Senate & House committees having agreed, with the exception of Senator Morton to the plan. The report was an able one, and the bill was framed in agreement with the report. He pressed its attention upon the House as the time set by the bill for the counting of the votes was two weeks from to-day. He asked that it might be printed and the bill and the report be referred back to the Committee, which was done. The plan proposed is for the House to vote viva voce for five members, the Senate to vote in the same way for five of its members, and four of the Supreme Court associate justice be selected, who are to select a fifth. These fifteen are to constitute a board unto whom all cases will be referred arising out of the counting of the votes. The Democrats held a caucus immediately after the session this afternoon and it was agreed to meet again on Monday Evening. The time in the caucus was occupied principally by Gen. Hunton and other members of the Committee explaining the nature of the compromise. He earnestly besought them not to decide against the plan until they had maturely considered it. There is however a great deal of feeling I find against the plan. Some of the Democrats think it is a surrender of principle and that if this method is adopted it is equivalent to giving up Tilden’s election. I can not get rid of the feeling of suspicion which I have in relation to the designs of the men who have brought about this present condition of affairs. It is very clear that had there been no interference by Z Chandler and others with the counting of the votes that Samuel J. Tilden and Thomas A. Hendricks would have received the necessary number of electoral votes. I suppose there can be no doubt about this. Now, having gone this far I am greatly mistaken if these men are going to agree to any plan that will deprive them of the fruits of their conspiracy, yet to-night in looking at this compromise it would seem as though they had yielded and were willing to accept an equitable basis of settlement. If I were one of the parties I would distrust them and think there must be a rat in the meal tub somewhere and that this is merely a trick. They may, however, be more patriotic and honest than I feel inclined to give them credit for being. I am influenced in my views also by listening to their conversation. Vice president Ferry spoke to me as though he looked upon the election of Tilden as preparatory to another division of the Union and that their designs were of the most traitorous character. Now, if he really entertains this idea, of course he would consider it an act of perfidy on his part to contribute anything towards turning the government over into the possession of such men; and he is not alone in this feeling. It is general among the leading Republicans.

19 January 1877 • Friday

Went to the Dep’t of Justice and obtained a letter from that Dept recommending the appropriations for marshal’s expenses, care of the penitentiary, etc. it being the estimate furnished me by Ma[r]shal Nelson for the year’s expenses. His estimate was for a little over $28,000. They proposed to send a letter to Mr. Holman, chairman of the committee on appropriations, asking for $26,000 as they thought that would be sufficient. I saw the Attorney General also respecting the Ann Eliza case. He had read part of the papers in the case and felt that the proceedings were wrong, but did not like to write any letter upon the subject until he had examined further into the matter. This he promised to do and to write a letter upon the subject to Mr. Howard, the District Attorney. At the House the business was consideration of reports on private bills and private bills on the calendar. In the evening I called upon Mr. Landers and we paid a visit to Mr. Warner of Conn. the successor of Senator Barnum. We spent a very pleasant evening with him, his wife and little boy.

20 January 1877 • Saturday

It rained heavily during the night. Dictated a number of letters. Was at the House all day. Yesterday morning I went to see Judge Spence, the Asst Attorney General at the Post Office Dept, respecting the claim of the U.C.R.R. for mail carrying. The Dept had ruled that the U.C. was a land grant railroad and had made a reduction of 20% in consequence of this

21 January 1877 • Sunday

Wrote several letters home. Spent the day at my rooms, with the exception of a walk through the grounds of the Agricultural Dept and Smithsonian Institute.

22 January 1877 • Monday

Was at the Land and Post Office Dept’s attending to business. Was at the House and at the close of the session at the Democratic caucus, at which nothing of any importance was done except a resolution to instruct the advisory committee to employ the necessary counsel to prepare the case of Mr. Tilden fore this commission, if the bill appointing it should become law. Dictated two articles.

23 January 1877 • Tuesday

Dictated some letters. Was busy at the House. In the evening received a dispatch from Mr Howard requesting me to Senator Ferry and to urge his appointment as judge. I had a call from Mr. Wm Martin of Brooklyn, the cousin of my cousin Wm Quayle. I had succeeded in getting him employed last year in the Brooklyn Navy Yard, from which he had been discharged last week, and his visit here is to see me about getting restored. He spent the evening with me talking over family matters

24 January 1877 • Wednesday

Wrote several letters. Had an interview with Senator Ferry during the session of the House concerning the appointment of Mr. Howard. He desired me to draw up, for us to sign, a letter recommending him as Judge and Mr. R. A. Watts of Michigan, of whom he spoke highly as District Attorney. Our letter was addressed to Hon. Alphonso Taft, Attorney General. There was a strong discussion in the Senate to-day over this compromise measure. Roscoe Conkling of New York is said to have made the greatest speech of his life. He spoke at very great length. I listened to him for about an hour. The galleries and floor were crowded. He speaks very deliberately, with some apparent affection and is very studied and dramatic in his style. His style is too deliberative and has the appearance of too much art to suit me. It does not seem natural but is what I would call stilted. He is, however, a very able man and his speech probably is as strong as one could be from his standpoint. He was followed for a short time by O. P. Morton of Indiana and it was a relief to me to hear Morton’s voice. He spoke so natural that it struck me as being in pleasing contrast with Conkling’s manner.

25 January 1877 • Thursday

The Senate was in session until 7 o’clock this morning. The compromise bill passed by a vote of 43 to 17. This is a larger majority than I thought the Senate would give it. In the House the day was spent in discussing it. All of those who spoke were in its favor. We had a night session and Gen. Garfield spoke against it and made according to my view the best speech against it that had been made. It was the best speech I ever heard him deliver. Probably this was because I was in sympathy with his views respecting this bill. The House at 11 o’clock pm. took a recess until 10 to-morrow morning.

26 January 1877 • Friday

House met at 10 o’clock: the day was occupied till four in speeches and a great many members spoke upon the question. The galleries were crowded to-day as yesterday to overflowing and the floor was very much crowded. The interest has increased very much to-day. Some of the speeches were very excellent ones. At 4 o clock Mr. Payne called the previous question which was sustained, and at 5 amid great excitement and profound stillness the bill was put upon its passage. I never heard roll call in the House in such silence. Every word was heard as distinctly as if the room were filled with statues instead of human beings. Every member present answered to his name but one — Judge Douglas, of Virginia, and he arose afterwards and recorded his vote. The Speaker also recorded his vote in its favor. It was the largest vote in the aggregate ever polled in the House. There were altogether 277 votes, lacking only 15 of the full House. 191 were for the bill and 86 against it.

In the evening attended a party at Mr. Fernando Wood’s, of New York, and had a very pleasant time. The weather to-day has been very fine.

27 January 1877 • Saturday

The House kept in session until quite late. I felt somewhat unwell.

28 January 1877 • Sunday

Remained in the house all day except when out at meals

29 January 1877 • Monday

Accompanied Mr. Landers to the Agricultural Bureau to see about seeds. Called also at the Botanical Garden upon the Superintendent Mr. Smith. Attended a caucus of the Democratic members at the hall at which 3 Democrats were selected as commissioners to decide questions arising under the electoral vote.

30 January 1877 • Tuesday

At the P. O. Dept and at the House. Five members were elected viva voce by the House as commissioners — Payne of Ohio, Hunton of Virginia, Abbott of Mass. Garfield of Ohio and Hoar of Mass. The weather has been very fine to-day and for two or three days past.

31 January 1877 • Wednesday

Called at Prof. Hayden’s Geological Bureau for the Territories and spent some time in a very interesting manner examining various objects of interest, connected with our mountains and valleys. The afternoon was spent in the discussion of the case of Colorado. Judge Belford was finally sworn in. There was an evening session which proved very exciting, and there were some laughable scenes, though the matter looked serious enough. I have seen a good many scenes in the House, but this in some respects was unique. There was no apparent cause for it, except that the Republicans were afraid the Democrats were going to get some advantage of them. They were dissatisfied with Speaker Randall’s rulings.

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January 1877, The Journal of George Q. Cannon, accessed July 24, 2024