January 1881

Events in George Q. Cannon’s journal for 1881

1 January

“I am filled with amazement at the changes which have occurred [since being] born in a foreign land, left an orphan in early life, obscure and poor.”

10 January

Attached newspaper articles: “Governor [Eli H.] Murray and the Mormons,” “The Utah Case,” “A Mistake,” “The Utah Delegate,” and “Explanation”

29 January

Description of his weight-reducing diet

1 February

“I had a remarkable conversation to-day with Hon. J. Floyd King of Louisiana . . . respecting intermarriage with inferior races.”

5 February

Protest against Allen G. Campbell’s certificate to represent Utah

10 March

Congratulated by managing editor of the North American Review for his article, “the first that would appear upon <our side> of the subject in any magazine”

11 March

“Called upon Pres. [James A.] Garfield”

2 April

The First Presidency “met with the Presidents of Stakes and their counselors and the Bishops’ agents . . . respecting the manner in which the tithing funds were used.”

17 April

Conversed with William S. Godbe, who was on the train with him

18 April

Cannon’s answer “respecting the steps necessary for a man who had held the Priesthood and . . . had been cut off from the Church, to regain his former standing.”

25 April

Advantages to his children of living in the country rather than in in the city

7 May

Description of recent injuries suffered by his children

16 May

Met George Plumer Smith, who “knew Sidney Rigdon very well, also the Prophet Joseph.” Discussion regarding Martin Van Buren and “early times in the Church.”

20 May

Dictated a letter to Charles C. Rich regarding provisions in Rich’s will

6 June

“Had a very interesting conversation” with Emily Hoagland Little

14 June

Attached newspaper article about how to celebrate the Fourth of July

19 June

Lamented decline in industry and local employment

22 June

Account of old folks’ gathering in Ogden, Utah

2 July

Response to news about President Garfield being shot by an assassin

3 August

Saw a creature in Bear Lake, Utah

11 August

Recorded that “some remarks were made about the United Order and Bro. Lot Smith. . . . If I cannot say good about a man I would rather not say anything about him.”

16 September

“The method of keeping historical items I do not think is as good as might be.”

23 September

Conversation occurred “respecting the position that the counselors of Prest [John] Taylor would occupy in the event of his demise”

29 September

“I do not like to exercise faith to have men live, if it be the Lord’s will to have them go hence.”

13 October

Difficulties with his wife Martha regarding polygamy

17 October

Description of meeting with Shoshone Latter-day Saints

15 November

“My wife Martha is moving into her new house. . . . She has not had a place of her own scarcely since her marriage, upwards of thirteen years ago.”

16 November

Elder William Palmer’s wife “is evidently a very heroic, brave woman.”

17 November

“I desire my children to grow up and accustom themselves to plain living and inured to labor.”

3 December ff.

Efforts to support and win his case of obtaining his seat in Congress

5 December

“I should have declined ever coming to Congress had I not been convinced that it was the Lord’s will that I should come.”

9 December

Obtained five hundred copies of his certificate of naturalization

17 December

“Satan’s plan” has always been to “make us odious, deprive us of all sympathy, create a public opinion against us by their malignant falsehoods and misrepresentations, . . . but God has promised that we shall prevail.”

24 December

“These lobbyists remind me of a lot of sharks.”

1 January 1881 • Saturday

<I find I was mistaken about the cold last night. The Thermometer fell to 14 deg. below zero—said to be the lowest for 40 years.>

Last night, though cold, was not so severe <*see above> as the preceding one. I commence the New Year under what I consider very favorable circumstances. With the exception of my knee, which is weak and a little sore from the sprain, my health is perfectly good, and my situation is all that I could desire. The Lord has been very good and kind to me. He has given me his gospel, made me a Member of his Church, bestowed upon me the holy priesthood, raised me to a high and honorable station among his people, both in the Church and as a Delegate to Congress, has given me wives and children, houses and land, substance with which to help his Work and make my family and myself comfortable and gives me his Holy Spirit which fills me with peace and joy. How thankful I should be for all this! I think there is no man that lives who has more cause for thanksgiving than I. He has raised me from the mire and set me on high. When I think of the circumstances which surrounded me in childhood or boyhood when my parents joined this church, I am filled with amazement at the changes which have occurred. The Lord has led my be [me by] the hand all the way through. Born in a foreign land, left an orphan in early life, obscure and poor, circumstances seemed unfavorable to me; but the Lord has always been my friend. He has made my life since I first went into the ministry a continual pleasure to me. Nothing has been wanting on his part. Glory be to His name therefor. There is one thing I feel impressed about, namely, to be more careful about debt. I undertake to do too much for my means, and overreach myself. I did so at-home this last time. I had to borrow $3,500 at the Bank, on which I pay 10%.

Robson and Crane, actors of whom I have heard considerable, said to be two of the best in the profession, have been playing Flats & Sharps here for a week. I have been closely confined and New Year’s night I thought it would do me good to have a little recreation. I went to see them – the first time I ever went alone to a place of amusement in Washington. I enjoyed the play very much. It was very comical and amusing.

2 January 1881 • Sunday

Sunday I ate breakfast and dinner at the Restaurant. Recd a letter from my son Abraham, which I answered.

3 January 1881 • Monday

Monday Received a letter from John Q. and one from his Mother. Applied myself closely all day to the Life of Nephi. Did not go out of my rooms.

4 January 1881 • Tuesday

Snowing early in the morning and until about 11 o’clock. Went to the War Dep’t. and the Pension Office. Took a Turkish Bath and had electricity applied to my knee. Spent rest of time on Life of Nephi.

5 January 1881 • Wednesday

Attended the House to-day. Military Appropriation Bill passed. The Inter-State Commerce bill taken up. Wrote a number of letters, among others one to my wife Elizabeth and son John Q. From the latter I got the delightful news by telegraph that he had a son born to him yesterday morning. Both Annie and baby were doing well. Wrote at Life of Nephi. This labor is very delightful to me. Received an encouraging and interesting letter from President W. Woodruff.

6 January 1881 • Thursday

Wrote early in morning and in the evening upon Life of Nephi. At the House. Funding Bill was discussed. Wrote to Sarah Jane and Eliza. Received a long communication from President Taylor.

7 January 1881 • Friday

Wrote to President Taylor. At the Departments. At the House. Private Bill day. Adjourned about 4 o’clock. Went in evening to hear Prof. Rogers sing at Driver & Schofield’s, he having sent me an invitation. His singing was very superior. His voice is a fine baritone. He accompanied himself on the organ. A gentleman by the name of Macauley, a remarkably fine tenor, and Col. Boundinot, the half breed Cherokee, who sings bass, sung a number of songs with him with very fine effect. A comic singer by the name of Scott also sung. Col. Boudinot gave a number of recitations. A number of Members were present. Considerable drinking was done; this was my objection to the surroundings. When I got back to my rooms found Judge W. N. Dusenberry waiting for me. He and lawyer Brown and wife had come here, the two former as lawyers before the U. S. Supreme Court in the Miles case.

8 January 1881 • Saturday

Called at the Ebbitt House to see Judge Dusenberry and Mr. Brown. Wrote upon Life of Nephi yesterday. At the House. The Funding Bill was discussed. In the evening Judge Dusenberry and myself went <to Ford’s Opera House> to see “The Child of the State” in which Jas. M. Hardie of formerly of Salt Lake was the leading character. After our return a gentleman connected with the Post of this City called and informed me that a dispatch had been received giving the news that Gov. Murray had given A. G. Campbell the Certificate of Election. We had a conversation upon the subject and I gave him <a copy of> my Reply.

9 January 1881 • Sunday

One of the worst days I have seen in Washington—snowing and then raining and the streets were in a terrible condition. Mr. Brown called at my rooms in the morning. In the evening Judge Dusenberry and myself called upon Mr. B. & wife and spent upwards of an hour very agreeably.

I give herewith the dispatches respecting the giving of the Certificate to Campbell.

Bro. John T. Caine, Bro. Jas. Jack and Bro. L. John Nuttall telegraphed me respecting Campbell getting the Certificate.

I feel very light and cheerful over Murray’s action. The Lord will overrule it for good. They have laid a trap and a snare; but their own feet will be caught therein. This I feel so confident of that I can prophesy it will be the case.

10 January 1881 • Monday

The Post this morning had the following editorial article. Called upon Gen. Paine about my case. We talked over what would have to be done. At the House after the call of the States and Territories the Indian Appropriation Bill was taken up. A good deal of condemnation expressed by Members of both sides respecting Murray’s action. Went upon Judge Dusenberry’s invitation to see John McCullough in Richelieu. It was a very fine performance.

Received letters from John Q. about the birth of his son, from my daughter-in-law Mattie, Frank’s wife, dated San Francisco, and from Martha and my daughter Hester.

[Newspaper article] Governor Murray and the Mormons

If Governor Murray, of Utah, had been impressed with an ardent desire to strengthen and build up Mormonism, and if, in furtherance of that earnest wish, he had taken the course most likely to effect his object, he could have hit upon no device more happy than the one he has adopted.

The present Delegate of Utah in Congress, Mr. Cannon, was re-elected to the Forty-seventh Congress, last fall, by a vote of 18,568 to 1,357 cast for his opponent, Allen G. Campbell. Mr. Cannon has represented his people for many years, and aside from his peculiar views on religion, he has been and is universally respected. Mr. Campbell is a stranger to public life, but he possesses the usual Republican passport to high position—a plethoric purse.

The grounds on which Governor Murray has disfranchised the people of Utah, and given the credentials of Delegate to a man who received less than one-thirteenth of the votes cast, are that Mr. Cannon is not a citizen, and is a polygamist.

The first allegation is notoriously false, and was known to be so by Governor Murray when he made his decision. Mr. Cannon was naturalized in 1854, and is, therefore, as much a citizen of the United States as Mr. Schurz, of the Interior department, or any member of the Senate or House not born in this country. He is, therefore, eligible to any office except the Presidency or Vice-Presidency.

That Mr. Cannon is a Mormon, is not denied. Whether or not he is a polygamist, we do not know, and it is not material to this discussion. For Governor Murray had no more right to refuse him a certificate on that ground than he would have had to decide against him on the color of his eyes or the size of his boots. The only question before Governor Murray was: “Whom have the electors of Utah elected?” And there was no shadow of doubt that they had elected Cannon by more than thirteen to one. It would be entirely competent for the House to expel Mr. Cannon for polygamy. It would be competent to expel any other Delegate or Member for social vices that are worse than polygamy. The authority of the House is unlimited in this respect.

It can draw the line where a majority sees fit, and expel any Member for any practice that it deems disgraceful. But Governor Murray had no such power. His duty was simple and mandatory. He was bound by the law and his oath to give the certificate to Cannon. And he is liable to impeachment for declining to do so.

In the Forty-third Congress, the seat of Mr. Cannon was contested by his competitor, Mr. Campbell, and this matter of polygamy was relied on to secure his unseating. That Congress was strongly Republican, and such radical members of that party as George F. Hoar and Martin I. Townsend were on the Elections committee. But they rejected, without a division, the idea that they could report against Mr. Cannon on account of his Mormonism.

The opponents of Mormonism—and that expression includes about all the inhabitants of the United States, who are not members of the Church of Latter-Day Saints—can never make any headway by such means as this Governor is trying. Heresies as hateful as polygamy have been built up by persecution. There is such love of fair play in the American mind that it will not tolerate oppressive acts. In all Christian lands there is cordial detestation of polygamy, but the higher Christian civilization is carried the stronger becomes the popular feeling in favor of fair treatment for all men. And while the people of the United States detest the one odious practice of the “Saints,” they will not see the fundamental principle of the Republic trampled under foot by a petty despot in Utah. It would be a thousand times better to deny that Territory any representation at all, to declare its people outlaws and put the army over them, than to decide that one-thirteenth of them are the majority and entitled to rule.

But the “Saints” are not deserving of half the abuse that is heaped on them. Thousands of the men who proclaim loudly against the Mormons, are worse than the worst of the polygamists. There are social vices tolerated in all our towns and cities that are infinitely more reprehensible than the patriarchal custom that has been adopted by these fanatics in Utah. The Government ought to be able to find lawful means by which it can put a stop to polygamous marriages. But men whose illegitimate children, unacknowledged, disgraced, poor and wretched, hide with their ruined mothers in obscurity and neglect, are not the men to lead a crusade against the saints and sisters of Salt Lake.

There should be no law, no attempt to secure a law, that will be retroactive against polygamy. Honest women and innocent children should not be legislated out of their rights. These people believe they are carrying out the law of God. They think they are justified by the example of holy men of old. They are industrious, frugal, thrifty, honest. They have transformed a desert into a garden. Hundreds of our statesmen, our leading scholars and social scientists, who have visited Utah, have been profoundly impressed with the quiet energy, the indomitable will, the simplicity of life and the general good deportment of the Mormon people.

They ought to be compelled to obey the law which forbids polygamous marriages, but the attempt to punish them by denial of their Constitutional rights, is a great blunder.

If Mr. Hayes would perform one act that would shed a ray of luster on the closing days of his irregular term, he has an opportunity to do so by the immediate removal of Governor Murray.

[Newspaper article] The Utah Case.

In the election, last November, for a delegate in Congress from Utah Territory, Mr. Cannon, the present delegate, received 18,568 votes to 1,357 for Mr. Campbell, his opponent. The Mormon question was made an issue in the canvass and after the election it was stated that Mr. Campbell proposed carrying the contest for the seat into the House in order that that body might be compelled to take direct cognizance of the Mormon question and make some decision in regard to the rights of Mormons to the franchise and to representation. It now appears that the governor of the territory has decided that Mr. Cannon was not elected, notwithstanding his majority of about 17,000 votes, but that Mr. Campbell was, and the certificate of election has been issued to the latter. The ground taken by Governor Murray, of Utah, in his decision, as reported by the press dispatches, is that Mr. Cannon is not, or was not at the time of his election, a citizen of the United States. Mr. Cannon has represented Utah in Congress for some years past, and once before his right to the seat was contested on the same ground now taken by Gov. Murray—that he was not a citizen. The election committee of the House, in the 43d Congress, after investigation, decided and reported that Mr. Cannon was a citizen, and he was permitted to retain his seat. He subsequently sat in the 44th, 45th and 46th (the present) Congresses. Aside from the question of fact as to whether Mr. Cannon has been regularly naturalized or not, there is another point of interest which will be involved in the contest for this seat. This is a question of the right of the governor of a Territory to exercise judicial functions in the issuance of a certificate of election to the delegate. The law providing for territorial representation in Congress (Revised Statutes, sec. 1,862, page 329,) is as follows: “Every territory shall have the right to send a delegate to the House of Representatives of the United States, to serve during each Congress, who shall be elected by the voters in the territory qualified to elect members of the legislative assembly thereof. The person having the greatest number of votes shall be declared by the governor duly elected, and a certificate shall be given accordingly. Every such delegate shall have a seat in the House of Representatives with right of debating, but not of voting.” This statue appears to be explicit enough, and does not apparently convey any authority upon a governor to determine which of the candidates is entitled to a seat.

[Handwritten:] Wash. Eve. Star

[Newspaper article]

Ruling Out Delegate Cannon, of Utah.— A Salt Lake dispatch says: “When the returns of the late election for Delegate in Congress were canvassed in December the Gentile candidate, Allen G. Campbell, claimed to be elected, and filed a paper with Governor Murray, protesting against the issue of a certificate of election to Apostle Cannon, although he had a large majority of the votes cast, on the ground that he is not a citizen of the United States, and being a polygamist, is not capable of becoming a citizen in good faith. Cannon’s reply, in which he claims that he was naturalized in due and legal form twenty-six years ago, and that if he were a polygamist, as charged by Campbell, it would not disqualify him for the office, was filed Saturday, and the case was argued at length before the governor. It was shown that no record existed of Cannon’s alleged naturalization in the court where he claimed to have been made a citizen, and that the naturalization act in force at that time makes such record the only proof of the fact, without which, the statute says, the party shall not be deemed to be a citizen. The governor held that Cannon was ineligible. Under other circumstances, says the governor in his ruling.[,] Cannon might become naturalized before his term of office begins, but he does not deny that he is living in violation of the law making polygamy a felony, and is therefore incapable of taking the oath of naturalization in good faith. He then issued the certificate of election to Campbell. The friends of Mr. Cannon have applied to Secretary Thomas for a certified statement of the count, and Mr. Cannon will contest. The Mormons are very indignant.

[Handwritten:] Washington Eve. Star

[Newspaper article]

The Census Office has completed the count of population of the following states and territories—the figures subject to correction in view of the possible discovery of errors: Alabama, 1,261,241; Arkansas, 802,564; Connecticut, 622,683; Delaware, 146,654; Florida, 266,566; Georgia, 1,537,878; Iowa, 1,624,463; Kansas, 995,335; Kentucky, 1,648,599; Louisiana, 940,263; Maine, 648,915; Massachusetts, 1,783,086; Missouri, 2,169,091; Nebraska, 452,432; Nevada, 62,265; New Hampshire, 347,782; New Jersey, 1,130,892; New York, 5,082,844; North Carolina; 1,400,000; Oregon, 174,767; Rhode Island, 276,528; South Carolina, 995,706; Tennessee, 1,542,463; Vermont, 332,986; Virginia, 1,512,203; West Virginia, 618,193; Wisconsin, 1,315,386; District of Columbia, 177,638; Idaho, 32,611; Montana, 39,157; Utah, 143,907; Washington, 75,120; Wyoming, 30,788.

[Newspaper article in THE NATIONAL REPUBLICAN, WASHINGTON, D.C., JANUARY 11, 1881.]

A Mistake.

Governor Murray, of Utah, has strangely mistaken his powers in refusing a certificate of election to Delegate Cannon, who received nearly all the votes cast at the election in that Territory. He has made a still graver mistake in giving a certificate to the gentleman who received a small fraction of the votes cast at that election. He has not certified the result of the election. Mr. Campbell never was elected. The votes cast for Mr. Cannon were votes, whether he was eligible or not.

The qualification, election, and return of a member of either branch of Congress are to be judged of by the body to which the member presents himself for admission. The certificate of election is a declaration that the person therein named received the highest number of votes. The adventures of Mr. Cronin, of Oregon, who was declared elected by the Governor of that State because the man who defeated him was supposed by the Governor to be ineligible, are still fresh in the memory of all. The Governor’s action did not meet very general approval. The beaten was not elected because his antagonist, who received more votes, was ineligible. And Mr. Campbell could not have been elected by the few votes cast for him even if Mr. Cannon could be shown to be ineligible. But how came a Governor to decide as to the qualifications of Mr. Cannon? That is work for the House of Representatives. It is unfortunate that any Republican executive should have so mistaken his duty in a matter concerning which our party has often had reason to complain of its antagonist.

If Delegate Cannon is not a citizen of the United States he ought not to sit in Congress. But he was elected, and ought to have been so certified. The action of Governor Murray had nothing to do with the Mormon question. He withheld the certificate from Cannon solely because that individual was not, as he believed, properly naturalized.

[Newspaper article] THE UTAH DELEGATE.

The Government is somewhat late in discovering that Delegate Cannon, who for many years has represented Utah Territory in the House, is not a citizen, he never having been naturalized; but any government discovery in Utah is a wonderful step in advance.

[Newspaper article] EXPLANATION.

Salt Lake City, Jan. 9, 1881.

The friends of Mr. Cannon last evening applied to Secretary Thomas for a certified statement of the count, and Mr. Cannon will contest. The Mormons are very indignant. The Evening News says Governor Murray no longer commands the respect of honorable men,, and that his conduct is dastardly and contemptible and unworthy of any official with the least claim to the title of gentleman. The Gentiles feel as though they had at last got the Mormon bull by the horns instead of the tail, and they expect the administration, the new House and the country to help them keep their hold.

view of the gentile press.

The Tribune of to-day says:—

Governor Murray has refused his certificate of election to George Q. Cannon and given it to A. G. Campbell. He has not questioned the legality of the votes cast for Cannon or the fairness of the election. He has simply taken cognizance of two facts which the contest brought out, and which are, first, that George Q. Cannon, being foreign born, and never naturalized, is not a citizen; and second, that it is not possible for Cannon to cure his disabilities and become a citizen before the fourth day of March next. This being true the votes cast for him were thrown away; and A. G. Campbell being the citizen who received the highest number of votes, the Governor gives him the certificate. In a time of great peril it is said that General Washington issued this order:—“Put none but Americans on guard to-night.” The order came to Governor Murray from a higher power than ever Washington was:—“Issue certificates to none but Americans in Utah.” He could not disobey.

11 January 1881 • Tuesday

The following dispatch appeared this morning. An article (editorial) appeared in the National Republican this morning upon the giving of the Certificate to Campbell. To-day is my birth-day—I am 54 years of age. The accompanying dispatch appeared in the New York Herald of yesterday. I felt it due to Mr. Hayes and myself to bring it to his notice, as it left the inference to be drawn that either he or the Lord had instructed Murray to do as he did. I was satisfied that the Lord had nothing to do about telling him anything or that even he would pretend to act upon such authority, so it left Mr. Hayes as the person. He denied having said anything about it. What he had said had been said openly, and, said he, “I have done it conscientiously and as my opinion of the way that question should be treated, just as you are conscientious in your views respecting this question. But I have never said any thing of this kind.” He had been reading an article in the New York Tribune, he said, which disapproved of Murray’s course. Mr. Hayes expressed himself to the effect that Murray had done wrong in giving Campbell the Certificate. It was not his province to judge of my qualifications. The interview was quite pleasant. I showed him a certified copy of my Naturalization papers and gave him a copy of my Reply to Campbell’s Protest.

At the House Indian Appropriation Bill passed. Took a Turkish Bath in the evening and electricity.

12 January 1881 • Wednesday


The House was occupied with the Funding Bill. Mrs. Charlotte Cobb Godbe called upon me.

Wrote a letter to John Q.

13 January 1881 • Thursday

The Funding Bill occupied the attention of the House. Wrote to my wives Elizabeth, Sarah Jane and Martha and also in reply to Angus, Hugh and Hester, my children. In the evening called upon Mr. & Mrs. Brown and afterwards upon Mrs. C. J. Godbe, in company with Judge Dusenberry.

I had a dream the night after receiving the news of Murray’s action. I thought I was with some others, I did not remember whom; but I had to make a journey and they brought out for me a mule to ride. The bridle was a very sorry looking one, the reins patched up and unsafe looking and the saddle was just as bad. I thought well, this riding will make me very sore, for I am out of practice in horseback riding. But I got on and I remarked to some one after I got fairly seated, my stirrups being so short and my knees being up so high, that this is the style in which the Arabs ride. A more delightful, easy-going animal I never rode than this proved to be. It went over the ground with the greatest swiftness and ease, and to my surprise I was not made to feel the least inconvenience or soreness. We came to some water which stopped my progress; but it was clear and I was directed across that; it gave me no trouble at all. The feeling in the entire dream, especially after the ride commenced, was one of great pleasure. It left a pleasant impression when I awoke, and I was encouraged.

14 January 1881 • Friday


Private Bill day at the House[.] Received a letter from my son Franklin dated San Francisco. It was a humble, penitent letter and gave me more satisfaction than any thing I had heard from him for a long time. He was working in the Chronicle Office of that City. He had commenced as a Reporter; but he had been advanced to the editorial charge of the “Pacific Coast News” dep’t. <of the paper.> Mattie and the baby were with him. She wrote me a long letter two or three days ago. I wrote a long letter in reply to his. Worked on Life of Nephi.

I hear general expressions of condemnation of Murray’s action from all sides.

15 January 1881 • Saturday


Wrote to Bro. Wilford Woodruff. Saw Secretary Schurz and gave him a copy of my Reply to Campbell. Showed Gen. Pain a copy of the Certificate given by Murray to Campbell. I saw Mr. Adams Clerk of the House and requested him not to put Campbell’s name on the Roll till I could be heard. He promised to give me a hearing. Hon. J. C. S. Blackburn of Ky. said he would try, if Murray came here, and get him to sign a paper setting forth the vote and the reasons he had for not giving me the Certificate. I thought this would be of use. The House discussed the Funding Bill.

16 January 1881 • Sunday

<Sunday> The Tel. Line has been down for two or three days. I received the following dispatch last evening in cipher. It was dated the 13th, and was signed by Bro. L. John Nuttall. “Certificate yet in hands of Secretary who seems friendly. Also reported Hunter opposed to Murray’s course. Shall we enjoin Certificate in hands of acting-Governor?” To this I replied this evening. “Injunction deemed unadvisable. Examining authorities for Mandamus. Make formal demand to Thomas for Certificate for me; also delay delivery Campbell’s.” This I sent in cipher. Gen. Paine decided mandamus is best and not injunction. Mr. Brown and Judge Dusenberry also. I employed Mr. Brown to be my attorney at Salt Lake to attend to my Contest and to fight for Mandamus. We were examining authorities upon latter to-day.

17 January 1881 • Monday

Received a Certified copy of the Election Returns from Bro. John T. Caine, who also wrote me a letter in which he described the Governor’s action and what they <(he and Bro. Hooper)> had done. Upon consultation with Judge Dusenberry and Mr. Brown sent dispatch in cipher to Bro. Nuttall, “Abstract received. Certificate of Thomas imperfect. Have certificate prepared and ask him as Secretary and Acting Governor to certify number of votes returns show Cannon and Campbell each received for forty-seventh Congress.”

The House was occupied in passing some Bills reported by Committees under suspension of the Rules.

Wrote to my wife Elizabeth in response to hers just received, also to John Q. and Mary Alice who wrote me a note.

Called with Judge D upon Mrs. Charlotte I. Godbe.

18 January 1881 • Tuesday

Gov. Murray telegraphed Mr. Blackburn that he had received his letter and thanked him for it; but it was his plain and imperative duty to do as he had done. He said he was coming on here. The Com. on Ter. met this morning. I was instructed to report back favorably a bill introduced by Mr. Campbell of Arizona for the repeal of a law granting bonds for the building of a R.R. through Yavapai and Maricopa Counties. Writing the Report in the evening for the bill. House discussed the Funding Bill.

Had a call from Mr. E. H. Parsons of Salt Lake City.

Wrote fully to Pres. Taylor, also a letter to Bro’s. Hooper and Caine.

19 January 1881 • Wednesday

Answered letters from Brothers Brigham Young and C. W. Penrose.

House passed funding bill.

Took a Turkish Bath and had electricity applied to my knee.

20 January 1881 • Thursday

At Top. Engineer Dep’t. to get, if possible, Gunnison’s Report for Bro. John Sharp, who had written for that and offering me stock in a R.R. to be built to Castle valley. I sent him maps and will try and purchase Report for him, and answered yes respecting stock. At 2nd Auditor’s and 2nd Comptroller’s respecting Bro Abram Hatch’s claim for beef. At the House the Naval Appropriation Bill passed. Doing what I could for Mr. Parsons among Mass. members and Senator Dawes, respecting his being made Receiver at Salt Lake City. Senator D. spoke very condemnatory of Murray’s course. Mr. Rice of Mass. also said they (the Mass. delegation) saw no other way than to seat me. These expressions were spontaneous. I said nothing to call them out. Evening Session devoted to Dist. of Columbia business. A wretched eve. for weather.

21 January 1881 • Friday

Raining heavily all night. Last evening it froze a little as it fell making the walking very slippery. Aroused out of bed to receive a message in cipher from Bro. Nuttall: “We send by express best Certificate can get at present. Campbell’s delivered to McBride yesterday.”

At the House <yesterday> Dr. Loring delivered a panegyric on Mass. in his speech on his own case Boynton vs. Loring for a seat in this Congress. To-day Boynton by unanimous consent of the House spoke on the case. An effort was made to take up the Bisbee vs. Hull case.

Had an evening session and fillibus upon a vote the point being made of no quorum, a call of the House was demanded and the House remained in session till 6 o’clock in the morning— a most senseless and ridiculous proceeding. I stayed till midnight. Bro. Alma Eldredge arrived here to-day.

22 January 1881 • Saturday

Gov. S. B. Axtell, formerly Governor of Utah, called upon me yesterday and again this morning. He desires to be re-appointed and is doing what he can to create public opinion in our favor. Busy about my Notice of Contest to serve on Campbell. Telegraphed Mr. John N. Neels at New York to find him if he was there. He replied and wrote me that he (C.) was on point of leaving for Utah. Had thought of Judge Dusenberry going there to serve papers on him, but they were not ready. House adjourned early. Called upon Mrs. C. I. Godbe. Spent a very pleasant evening with Mr and Mrs. Brown at the Ebbitt House. Saw Mrs. Sidmore and Miss Jayne and had a very free conversation with each of them.

Mailed letters to-day which I wrote to Sarah Jane and Eliza. Wrote a full explanation to Mr. Neels of what I wanted.

23 January 1881 • Sunday

The day was passed quietly in my rooms, excepting while we went to dinner.

On Friday last Gen. Paine told me he could now tell me what he would charge for my contest case, it had taken such a shape that he could so. He said I was at liberty if I chose to change my attorney if I so wished. While he would like to conduct my case for me, still I was at liberty to do this; but if he conducted it he could see that it would be a full contest case, and in justice to himself and his other clients he would have to charge $1,000. But suppose, said I, that there should be no contest? Well, said he, in that event I will charge $50000/100 for what I have done and making the argument before the Clerk. He said he would like $500 now and the other $500 when the case was argued <and submitted>[.] Up to the present and bringing it before the Clerk he would charge $500. Carrying the contest through $1,000.

24 January 1881 • Monday

Had another call this morning from Gov. Axtell. At the House; after the call of the States and Ter., committees were called upon for reports. I reported a bill back from the Com. on Ter. with a recommendation that it should pass and with a written report I had drawn up in its favor. This was a bill asking for the repeal of an act of the Leg. Ass. of Arizona granting a subsidy to a R.R. and taxing two counties through which it passed to pay the subsidy. I have always opposed interference by Congress with legislation of the Territories; but if interference is ever justifiable it is in this case. As I have no vote and was requested to report this Bill back I felt that I was not stultifying myself in so doing.

25 January 1881 • Tuesday

The House had up P. O. Appropriation Bill. The Miles’ case was brought up before the U. S. Supreme Court to-day. Mr. Brown made the argument. He was interrogated more by the Court than I ever heard a lawyer before. He was cool and self-possessed and made the most of his points. I wrote a letter to Pres. Taylor this evening, sending notice of contest to be served on Campbell and giving an account of the Miles’ case, which see for particulars. Mr. Brown drew out petitions for me to sign for a writ of mandamus on the Acting Governor, or Governor, to be sued for at-home before the Court to compel the issuance of a Certificate to me; and also for an amendment of the Court Record nunc pro tunc concerning my naturalization.

I went to the Turkish Bath and had electricity applied to my knee.

26 January 1881 • Wednesday

Received letters from my wife Elizabeth and daughter Mary Alice, in which I am informed of my wife’s poor health. I am uneasy about her and I telegraphed to my son, who replied that her health had improved. The day was principally spent in the House in fillibustering upon the joint rule for counting the electoral vote. Wrote to my wife and daughter in reply to their letters, also to brother Angus and to his son, Geo. M., who is teaching my school. Mr. Arthur Brown informed me he would charge me for putting the Mandamus through the district and Supreme Courts, and trying to secure the correction of the Record of Naturalization and taking testimony, &c, in my contest $50000/100. If there was no necessity for doing all of this, a deduction to be made accordingly. I called at the Hotel on himself and Mrs. Brown.

27 January 1881 • Thursday

Sister Godbe saw an allusion in the Republican newspaper to <woman> suffrage in Utah and that it would be discussed before a sub-committee of the Judiciary Com. this morning. She thought she would go before them and defend the law if this were the case. I thought she had better do so, as well as myself. I saw Mr. Hurd, the Chairman of the sub-Com, who said they would confine themselves to the resolution, which only referred to the disqualification in some parts of New England of ignorant persons and <others> who had not a certain amount of property. The House was occupied, after the morning hour, in the discussion of the election case of Yeates vs. Martin. Had a call from E. H. Orth of Ogden. Wrote to Mr. Neels and John Q.

Had a visit from and interesting conversation with Gov. Axtell this morning. He has defended us in lectures and in all circles where he has been, and the name of Mormon Bishop, given him by our enemies in Utah, has stuck to him in consequence.

28 January 1881 • Friday

Bro. Dusenberry left here this morning to visit his relatives in Pennsylvania. Received a Certificate of the Election Returns certified to by Secretary Thomas from Pres. Taylor, accompanied by a letter this morning. Private Bill day at the House. An animated discussion took place over the claim of Capt. Page of the Navy who resigned his position at the outbreak of the civil war. Had a call in the evening from Miss Mann.

I wrote a letter to Pres. Taylor respecting a letter from the North American Review proffering the use of its columns to any leading Mormon who would write a brief article on the political attitude of the Mormons.

29 January 1881 • Saturday

At the Dep’ts. The House discussed the election case of Yeates vs. Martin and the former was sworn in. Wrote a number of letters. Sent $30 to John Q. with which to pay my gardiner’s wages. I weighed myself to-day; I weighed 172½ lbs, that is 14 lbs less than my weight when I was weighed the first time after coming down. I have steadily pursued my dieting: a small glass dish of cracked wheat morning and evening with a taste of sugar to the last mouthful and nothing else, and a light lunch such as a piece of pie or a small saucer of rice pudding in the middle of the day. This I have every day except Sunday. On that day I eat one good meal; but not too hearty. I feel excellently in health and I think the effect will be good.

30 January 1881 • Sunday

Finished a long letter to Gen. Kane upon subject of the enlistment of the Battalion (which see)[.] Wrote an editorial for the Juvenile Instructor upon education.

31 January 1881 • Monday

The House after the call of the States and Territories discussed the District of Columbia Deficiency Bill. A resolution was adopted changing the hour of meeting to 11 o’clock. The House is disgusted with evening sessions. But little business is done; they are nearly always unsatisfactory, and it is rarely there is a quorum present.

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January 1881, The Journal of George Q. Cannon, accessed May 24, 2024 https://www.churchhistorianspress.org/george-q-cannon/1880s/1881/01-1881