The Church Historian's Press The Church Historian's Press

January 1883


Events in George Q. Cannon’s journal for 1883

12 January

Called the Edmunds Bill an unconstitutional law

14 January

Pasted in letters to Senators Brown and Call “asking them to aid us in getting the Edmunds Bill postponed till we had time to prepare a printed argument against it”

17 January

John T. Caine sworn in as Utah’s delegate in Congress

25 January

Reflections on Elizabeth’s death the year before

2 February ff.

Visit to William H. Hurlbert, editor of the New York World, at his request

23 February

Governor Eli H. Murray’s methods to retain his office

4 March

Visit with Thomas L. Kane

7 March

Visit to Wilford Woodruff’s birthplace in Farmington, Connecticut, and the mill that his father owned

8 March ff.

Visit to Hartford, Connecticut

11 March

“Mr [William H.] Hurlbert told me some queer things about [James A.] Garfield.”

23 April

Plans to purchase lot near the temple to protect the area

30 April

“President [John] Taylor read a revelation to me which he had received respecting the iron mines of Bro. Thomas Taylor.”

9 May

“I am trying to build a Silo in which to preserve my feed for cattle.”

26 May

Details regarding the silo

2 June

“A painful scene occurred . . . in consequence of my nominating Horace S. Eldredge as Superintendent of the Institution [Z.C.M.I.].”

10 June

Details regarding the revelation on plural marriage

12 June

Discussion with the directors of Z.C.M.I. regarding S. W. Sears gambling

21 June

“Destruction of the Council House [a building in Salt Lake City] and the adjacent buildings; . . . doubtless the work of an incendiary”

30 June

Thoughts on difficulty an apostate (in this case, William H. Sherman) has after leaving the church

5 July

Conflict regarding “the subject of the erection of a building in City Creek Canyõn and the creation of a water power there”

6 July

“A meeting . . . of leading men to take into consideration the best persons to be nominated for the various offices in this County and legislative district”

12 July

Chastised one of his children for “vulgar language”

13 July

Spoke to a caucus of People’s Party delegates to the county convention

20 July ff.

Discussions about “the best methods of bringing relief to the Southern part of the Territory”

17 August

Witnessed decline of Charles C. Rich

25 August

Shocked by the murder of Captain Andrew Burt and by “an infuriated mob” that hanged the “negro desperado” that did it. “I have a deep-rooted and invincible hatred of mobocracy in every form.”

5 September

Discussion regarding when to put the roof on the Salt Lake temple

13 October

Actions Cannon took to reduce his expenses

12 November

Former senator Allen G. Thurman’s views on the Territory of Utah case

14 November ff.

Seeking a lawyer to “undertake our case”

21 November

“I had taken wives because I believed it to be a command of the Lord and that my salvation depended upon it.”

3 December

“I have no inclination whatever to have anything to do with mining property. I naturally recoil from it, in this respect differing from Prest. [John] Taylor.”

4 December ff.

Discussion regarding the Iron Company

26 December

Informed of the death of Thomas L Kane. “My love for him has been very deep.”

1 January 1883 • Monday

Monday January 1st 1883. Early this morning took train to Baltimore. Put up at Guys [Gile’s?] European Hotel.

2 January 1883 • Tuesday

Tuesday Jan 2. 1883. Went to Washington on the early morning train. Took breakfast at the Capitol. Called at the room of the Committee on Elections, where a meeting had been appointed. I did not find Bro. Caine here as I expected. Remained sometime in the Committee room. We afterwards met, also Bros Peery, Richards & Nephi Johnson. Bro. Nephi said he would show my wife around Washington. Returned to Baltimore and went to the [blank] Street Theatre where we saw Kiralfy’s “80 days around the world”. Enjoyed it very much.

3 January 1883 • Wednesday

Wednesday Jan 3, 1883. We left for Washington on the early morning train. Bro. Nephi Johnson met us at the Station, and after breakfast he took my wife to show her the sights of Washington. I went to the Capitol, where I met Bro. Caine. I wrote a number of letters home. I had a very long and satisfactory talk this morning with Mr Reed of Maine, Chairman of the Committee on Judiciary. I think I have removed considerable prejudice and made him look at our affairs in a different light than that which he had been viewing them. I returned with my wife to Baltimore in the Afternoon.

4 January 1883 • Thursday

Thursday Jan 4th 1883. We started on the early morning train for Washington, taking breakfast before we left. Bro. Johnson took my wife to Mount Vernon. At the House. On my wife’s return in the evening, we took train to Baltimore

5 January 1883 • Friday

Friday Jan 5th 1883. My wife left on the limited express this morning at 10.45 for Chicago. I regretted very much the necessity of her having to return, but deemed it imprudent for her to remain longer. I sympathized much with her because of her lonely journey. I then started for Washington. Went to the House, and found everything looking very favorable for Bro. Caine getting his seat. I had considerable conversation with the members of the committee on Elections. Pettibone is very anxious to have a unanimous report in the case. I wrote to my family.

6 January 1883 • Saturday

Saturday, Jan 6th 1883. I was busy writing today and did not go to the House. Weather very rainy. Took a Turkish bath.

7 January 1883 • Sunday

Sunday Jan. 7th 1883. The weather is very disagreeable. I spent the day reading and writing.

8 January 1883 • Monday

Monday, Jan 8, 1883. Bros John W. Young and Le Grand Young are here. We dinned with them at the Ebbitt House, and afterwards spent the evening with them and Bro. F. S. Richards at our rooms.

9 January 1883 • Tuesday

Tuesday Jan. 9, 1883. At the House. The brethren are still here. Bros W. D. and Nephi Johnson called upon us. It is snowing heavily today. Bro. Caine and myself attended a lecture on Pompeii at Lincoln Hall by the Rev. Dr Spaulding. He illustrated it very beautifully by stereoscopical views. I ascertained today that the Committee on Elections are unanimous in favor of admitting Bro. Caine. They meet again in the morning.

10 January 1883 • Wednesday

Wednesday Jan 10 1883. The Committee met but did not reach the Utah case. I spent considerable time at the House today. Bro. Caine and myself called upon and lunched with Frank D. Kimball and wife nee Keetie Heywood, daughter Joseph L. Heywood. They were at the Ebbitt House. I sent dispatch to my son Abraham and wrote to him; also to Geo. Reynolds, John Q.[,] Geo. C. Lambert, W. C. Spence. Snowing heavily today.

11 January 1883 • Thursday

Thursday, Jan 11, 1883. I am 56 years old today. At the House of Representatives and found the Committee on Elections had agreed to report Bro. Caine’s case favorably to the House on Monday. I called on Brother and sister Richards.

Attended a lecture on the [blank] by Dr Spaulding.

The weather is very unpleasant.

Received a dispatch from Abraham that my wife had arrived, and that Sylvester had the measles, but was not in danger, and Louis was improving. I wrote a letter to President Taylor

12 January 1883 • Friday

Friday, Jan 12 1883. I obtained a printed copy of the new Edmunds bill, which is a most infamous and outrageous attack upon our liberties. He evidently means to destroy us politically and religiously. In speaking about it in the presence of Bros Caine, Peery, F. S. Richards, and W. D. Johnson I called it an unconstitutional law. This led to a discussion with Bro. Richards who challenged me to show wherein it was <un>constitutional, saying that if I was a lawyer I would not say so, that I would find lawyers would not fight this bill as they had the former because it did not conflict with the constitution &c. It made me angry to hear such talk, and I said I was thankful I was not a lawyer if by being one I would take such a view of this bill. It would just be as proper to cut a man’s toe off and let him bleed to death and not call it murder, when the design was to kill him. We both grew warm.

I received a letter from my wife Sarah Jane, which I answered

In the evening went with Bro. Caine to Fords Opera House to see “Adrienne La Couvreur” with Rhea in the principal part – a beautiful woman, and a fine actress, but her English very imperfect.

13 January 1883 • Saturday

Saturday Jan 13, 1883. Called in company with Bro. Caine on Senator Brown of Georgia and Senator Call of Florida. Talked with them about the iniquities of the Edmunds bill. Our interviews were very satisfactory.

In the Law Library with Bro. Caine hunting up matter with which to meet the Edmunds bill.

In the evening had a call from Brother and Sister W. D. Johnson, Junr. We afterwards attended Dr Spaulding’s lecture on the Catetombs of Rome and the early Christians. The weather still very disagreeable.

14 January 1883 • Sunday

Sunday, Jan 14, 1883. Met with the brethren – D. H. Peery, F. S. Richards, W. D. Johnson, Nephi Johnson and John T. Caine – and talked over whether it was better to proceed at once and see Judge Black to get him to write an opinion or to do the best we could ourselves in anticipation of his arrival, so that he might have the benefit of our labors when he did come. The latter course was decided upon, and I suggested that Bro. Richards look up authorities upon the two first sections of the bill, and that the brothers Johnson should examine references which we would give them respecting search warrants, and they and Bro. Peery could help Bro. Richards in the Law Library in reading up cases he might give them to see whether they were applicable or not. Bro. Caine and myself had to be at the House to look after his case, but we would do what we could in the Library also.

I wrote to Prest. Taylor and Bro. J. M. Waddell, also to Senators Brown, of Georgia, & Call, of Florida, asking them to aid us in getting the Edmunds Bill postponed till we had time to prepare a printed argument against it. These letters to the Senators Bro. Caine and I signed. The following are the letters:— (Here insert letters.)**

[Various letters pasted to pages of journal]

House of Representatives U. S.,

Washington, D. C., Jan 15th, 1883.

Hon Wilkinson Call,

U. S. Senate,

Dear Sir: -

We see that Senator Edmunds tried to get the Utah Bill up on Saturday with the view to pass it. Will it be possible to have action upon this by the Senate postponed until we can prepare an argument against it? The people of an important Territory, who are to be most injuriously affected by this legislation, should have an opportunity to be heard upon the subject. Owing to there being no recognized Delegate – though two have been elected – the people were not heard before the Committee on Judiciary; we would like to have time to prepare a printed argument that Senators may have an opportunity of knowing more than they can at present respecting the true character of this proposed legislation.

If you can aid us, Senator, in obtaining a reasonable postponement for the consideration of this Bill, you will confer a favor upon us and the people who voted for us to represent them.

Very Respectfully

Geo. Q. Cannon

John T. Caine

[New letter]

House of Representatives U. S.,

Washington, D. C., Jan 15th, 1883.

Hon J. E. Brown,

U. S. Senate,

Dear Sir;

The attempt of Senator Edmunds on Saturday to bring up his bill concerning Utah Territory and to put it on its passage, prompts us to write this letter to you. Utah is without a Delegate provided for by law, to watch her interests and to claim the right to be heard in her behalf before Committees of the Senate and House and upon the floor of the House, though two Delegates have been elected by the legal voters of the Territory to this Congress. This Bill of Senator Edmunds has been passed upon by the Committee on Judiciary without any one having the opportunity to be heard in behalf of the majority of the citizens of Utah, to make any explanation or to utter any remonstrance or protest against this proposed legislation. Whatever the Committee may have heard respecting the condition of affairs in that Territory, or the necessity of such measures as are proposed, has been entirely exparte. The people of a flourishing Territory, however obnoxious and heretical their religious opinion may be, should not, in this manner, be condemned as deprived of some of the dearest rights of freemen unheard.

Our object in writing to you, Senator, is to ask if you can have action upon this Bill postponed for a reasonable time. It was reported on Thursday the 11th [,] we succeeded in getting a copy late on Friday; and Saturday he tried to get it up before the Senate for action, a rather summary method of enacting a law as far-reaching as this. We wish time to prepare an Argument against this Bill. If it is to become law we desire the Senate and the country to understand its iniquitous character.

Pardon us, Senator, for troubling you in this manner, but we are emboldened to ask of you this favor, in behalf of an unpopular and almost friendless people, by your past kindness and courage in contending for their constitutional rights. Trusting you will find it in your power to grant it. We remain, very Respectfully,

Geo. Q. Cannon Elected Delegate 47th Congress

John T. Caine, Elected Delegate for unexpired term

47th Congress, and Delegate Elect for 48th Congress

[New letter]

United States Senate,

Washington, D. C., Jany 15, 1883 MESS. GEO. Q. CANNON & JNO. T. HAINES,

WASHINGTON, D.C.

GENTLEMEN:—I HAVE YOURS OF THIS MORNING & NOTE ITS CONTENTS. SENATOR EDMONDS’ MOTION TO TAKE UP THE BILL IN HOT HASTE THE OTHER MORNING WAS VOTED DOWN. I DESIRED FURTHER TIME TO CONSIDER IT BEFORE IT IS TAKEN UP FOR ACTION & I THINK THE OTHERS DO. I SHOULD BE VERY GLAD TO DO ANY THING I CAN TO KEEP IT OFF TILL THERE IS SUCH AN INVESTIGATION AS WILL ENABLE US TO COME GIVE IT A CALM & DISPASSIONATE CONSIDERATION. I THINK THERE IS SOME MISCHIEVOUS FEATURES IN IT. WHILE I DO NOT APPROVE OF POLYGAMY, I CANNOT AFFORD TO STRIKE DOWN OUR PERSONAL RIGHTS & LIBERTIES WITH A VIEW TO PUNISH YOUR PEOPLE. THERE ARE CERTAIN GREAT PRINCIPLES OF GOVERNMENT THAT WE CANNOT AFFORD TO SACRIFICE FOR ANY CONSIDERATION. I TRUST YOU WILL ALL FIND IT IS YOUR COMPATIBLE WITH YOUR SENSE OF DUTY TO GET RID OF THE PLURALITY OF WIVES WITHIN A REASONABLE TIME, & LAWS NOT VIOLATING FUNDAMENTAL PRINCIPLES, THAT LOOK TO THAT END WOULD MEET MY APPROVAL. BUT I CANNOT TEAR DOWN THE PILLARS OF STATE OF THE TEMPLE OF LIBERTY TO REACH YOUR PEOPLE, WHEN THERE IS DANGER THAT IT WILL CAUSE THE WHOLE STRUCTURE TO FALL UPON THE HEADS OF THE ENTIRE AMERICAN PEOPLE. HOWEVER THE OBJECT OF THIS IS SIMPLY TO SAY THAT I WANT JUSTICE DONE IN THE PREMISES & RIGHT TO PREVAIL; BUT I DO NOT WISH TO ACT IN UNREASONABLE HASTE. I AM

VERY RESPECTFULLY YOUR OBT. SVT.,

[Signed] Joseph E. Brown

[New letter]

[Sideways on back page of letter] For use of Private Journal

United States Senate,

Washington, D. C. Jany 16 1883

Hon

Geo Q Cannon

John T Caine

Dear Sirs

I think your request a reasonable one – and will do all in my power to accomplish your wishes. I think it is not probable that the Edmunds Bill will be immediately brought before the Senate – and the probability is that if you go about it immediately you will be able to get your argument ready

Yours

Wilkinson Call

[End of inserted letters]

I afterwards called on Brother & Sister Johnson, and Brother & Sister Peery.

15 January 1883 • Monday

Monday Jan. 15, 1883. I called at the house of Senators Hoar & Beck, but failed to see them. I afterwards, however, saw Mr Hoar in the Senate. He told me he was not in favor of Senator Edmunds’ bill. He did not like the feature which repealed woman suffrage; and he thought that in common fairness we should have time to prepare an argument against it. I was at the House till the adjournment. Pettibone of Tennes[s]ee did not report Bro. Caine’s case as he had promised.

In the evening attended lecture of Spaulding on “Pagan Rome.”

Received a letter from my wife Martha, in which she described the condition of Lewis’ knee – deformed and stiff. I felt very much grieved and sympathized with her. I wrote her a reply.

16 January 1883 • Tuesday

Tuesday, Jan 16 1883. Had interview with Senator Beck in company with Bro. Caine. He had no time to examine the bill, but he would vote against taking it up this week. Afterwards I was at the House, and in the Library hunting up information.

I went in the evening with Bro. Caine to see Robson & Crane in “Forbidden Fruit” – a most laughable and entertaining performance.

Judge Black in response to my telegram said he would be coming here on Saturday, but would come on Thursday if necessary. I telegraphed him to come on Thursday. He that [thought] if possible he would.

17 January 1883 • Wednesday

Wednesday Jan. 17, 1883. The weather is very disagreeable. I was very busy at the House. I spoke to Republican members who are friendly respecting the swearing in of Bro. Caine. I represented how wrong it was under the circumstances to keep him out – wrong to Utah, which was not represented, and wrong also to him. They promised at my request to urge Pettibone to make the report to the House. Judge Belford, of Colorado, was particularly interested, and he saw Pettibone at him about the delay. The result was that Pettibone arranged with the Speaker to recognize him, and in the midst of the debate on the Venezuela claims, the case was reported and to my great satisfaction Bro. Caine was sworn in! I telegraphed immediately to President Taylor, to whom I had also written a long letter today.

I received a dispatch from Judge Black asking me to meet him at the train this evening. I called upon Bro. Richards to accompany me there. The Judge pleased me very much by the hearty manner in which he denounced and condemned the new Edmunds bill which I showed him. He would write an argument against it, and I arranged to meet him in the morning.

18 January 1883 • Thursday

Thursday Jan. 18, 1883. I called with Bro. Richards upon the Judge this morning, and took with me a copy of the Edmunds law of March 22, 1882, and some notes Bro. Richards had prepared, and some I had prepared. Afterwards at the House.

I wrote to Mary Alice, David, Emily and Sylvester, my children, and also to my wife Eliza. Bro. Caine invited Bro. Peery, Richards, W D. Johnson Jr and their wives, and Nephi Johnson and myself to see the “Comedy of Errors” performed at the National Theatre with Robson & Crane as the two Dromios. The performance was very amusing and excellent.

19 January 1883 • Friday

Friday Jan 19 1883. Remained at my rooms to write letters &c. Streets were slippery. The rain freezes as it falls. I wrote to my sister Mary Allice, O. F. Whitney, Liverpool, my son Abraham, Prest. Taylor, my brother Angus, and some business letters.

We went in the evening to hear Mr Collier’s lecture “From the Anvil to the Pulpit” which was very interesting.

20 January 1883 • Saturday

Saturday Jan. 20, 1883. I wrote Editorial notes for Juvenile Instructor. Afterwards was at the House. Then took a Turkish bath, and in the evening went by invitation of Bro. Caine to see “The Bells of Corneville.[”] Much pleased with the performance.

21 January 1883 • Sunday

Sunday Jan 21, 1883. I went with Bros Caine and W. D. Johnson Jr. to the Unitarian Church to hear Edward Everitt Hale. The singing was very good. I was disappointed in the sermon. It was a poor affair. I had a call from Mr Phil. Robinson (formerly correspondent of the New York World) and wife. By invitation Bro. Caine and myself dined at Wormleys with them. The subject of talk and object of his visit was to see if the Church would join in bearing the expense of a libel suit against the Salt Lake Tribune for attacks upon him. He thought of employing Sergeant Ballantyne of the English bar who asked $1000 fee. How much would we pay of this and would we employ legal counsel. He thought it an excellent opportunity to give publicity to our modes of living and exposing the wickedness of the attacks of the Tribune &c &c. I said the Church could do nothing as such, but individuals might. Would write and submit matter to our friends.

22 January 1883 • Monday

Monday Jan 22, 1883. We went through the Capitol with Phil. Robinson and wife, and was at the House. Afterwards corrected one of my discourses for publication.

23 January 1883 • Tuesday

Tuesday Jan. 23, 1883. Attended meeting of Agricultural Convention at the Agricultural Dept. Commissioner Loring presiding.

In the evening called upon Brother & Sister Peery and Brother Nephi Johnson who leave for home in the morning, via Philade[l]phia and New York. I borrowed $250 from Brother Johnson that I might be in funds to pay for printing.

24 January 1883 • Wednesday

Wednesday Jan 24, 1883. Mr G. L. Converse, of Ohio, (who has proved himself a warm friend of mine) called this morning and informed me that Van Zile, District Attorney of Utah, had been heard before the Judiciary Committee of the House of Representatives in favor of the Willets bill, which is a duplicate of the Edmunds bill, and was to be heard again this morning. I called at Brother Richard’s lodgings for him, and we all went to the Committee Room. There was a pretty full attendance of the Committee, twelve members being present. Van Zile read his argument, which was as poor an affair as I ever listen[ed] to before the Committee. He made a bad impression to begin with on the committee by stating that he had been invited to be present to give this information. This some of the committee disputed, and it was found that he had come because Mr Willets had desired to have him, and not by invitation of the Committee as a Committee. This embarrassed him to begin with. Then instead of standing up and delivering his argument he sat in a lounging position and read in a careless way his argument, being interrupted occasionally by different members. After he got through I suggested to Brother Caine that he should ask the committee to be heard. The request was granted, and Friday was appointed for the hearing.

25 January 1883 • Thursday

Thursday, Jan 25, 1883. Today is full of sad memories to me it being the anniversary of my beloved wife Elizabeth’s death. What a day of sorrow and affliction this was! especially under the circumstances. I thank the Lord for the comfort and hopes given by the Gospel, for I can look forward with delightful anticipation to the time when we shall be re-united and enjoy that felicity together which God has promised.

I spent last evening writing an argument for Bro. Caine to make against the proposed legislation.

Brother Abraham Hatch arrived here from home yesterday. In the afternoon I attended a Woman’s Suffrage Convention at Lincoln Hall, and listened to Mrs Belva A. Lockwood’s lecture on the proposed disfranchisement of the Women of Utah. It was a very able argument. I continued my work this evening on the argument for Bro. Caine to make tomorrow before the Committee of Judiciary.

26 January 1883 • Friday

Friday Jan 26, 1883. I did not get through my writing till 1/2 past 3 oclock this morning. Bro. Caine was sick and had to retire about midnight or a little after. Bro. F. S. Richards stayed with us till about 1/2 past 11 oclock. He did some writing on the first sections of the bill. This morning at 10 oclock we met in the room of the Committee on Judiciary and waited some time for a quorum. Mrs Lockwood made an argument first who was followed by Bro. Caine. He was listened to attentively and congratulated upon his argument. There were several women present; also Judge Van Zile. I wrote letters to my wife Sarah Jane and children Angus, Hugh and Rosinna.

In the evening we went to see the “White Slave.” I did not like it.

27 January 1883 • Saturday

Saturday, Jan 27, 1883. I had a lengthy interview with Judge J. S. Black. He read me his argument as far as he had gone. I was much pleased with it, excepting one or two places where I thought he conceded too much. I requested the privilege of taking these points with me to ponder upon them. I then went to the House. In the afternoon I took a Turkish bath. In the evening went with Bro. Caine and Bros. A. Hatch and F. S. Richards and wife to see the opera of “Fat Mitza.” It was very humorous and enjoyable

28 January 1883 • Sunday

Sunday Jan. 28, 1883. With Bros Caine, Hatch and Richards, I went to hear a Mr Savage preach at All Souls Church (Unitarian)[.] He is an iconoclast – a Bob Ingersoll kind of preacher; smart; but I never heard such doctrine from a preacher before. He called his sermon “Constructive Rationalism.” He did away with hell, heaven, God &c, elevated reason above revelation, and endorsed evolution. He said incidentally that man had been two hundred thousand years upon the earth. Upon our return to our rooms I submitted the points of Judge Black’s argument to the brethren, and all agreed that it would be unwise to make such concessions as his argument contained. I then wrote a letter to Prest. Taylor, which Bro. Caine and myself signed concerning the proposition of Mr Phil Robinson, the Utah Correspondent of the New York World to sue the Salt Lake Tribune.

29 January 1883 • Monday

Monday Jan 29, 1883. I saw several members of the Committee on Judiciary and notified them of the arrangement I had made to have Judge Black deliver an argument against the proposed legislation before their committee.

I spent most of the day at the House. Afterwards wrote several letters, and prepared the preface and title page for “The Life of Nephi”. In the evening I called with Bro. Caine on Hon J. Proctor Knott of Kentuckey.

30 January 1883 • Tuesday

Tuesday, Jan 30, 1883. I was at the House and present with the Committee of Judiciary when Judge Black delivered his argument, there being eleven of the Committee present. (See my letter of today to Prest. Taylor for particulars). Thursday was appointed to hear the remainder of the argument.

In the evening I wrote to my wife Martha, and to my brother Angus, and to my son Abraham, and also “Editorial Thoughts” for the Juvenile Instructor.

31 January 1883 • Wednesday

Wednesday, Jan 31, 1883. In company with Bro. F. S. Richards I had an interview with Judge Black this morning about printing his argument. I took it to Gibson Bros, Printers. I afterwards went to the House. After returning from there I finished the correction of a discourse and sent it home. In the evening was at the Theatre with Bro. Caine and saw a comedy played by the Wyndham Company, from England.