The Church Historian's Press

March 1887

1 March 1887 • Tuesday

Tuesday, March 1/87 Made considerable progress to day and by night got everything pretty much arranged and returned to our quarters, reaching there about half past twelve oClock. I have been much fatigued and a good part of the way, though the roads were rough, I slept without awaking as though I was in bed.

Bro. J. W. Young telegraphed as follows:

“Telegram received; read all right. Satisfactory answer to my question. As near as ascertained no action will be taken before Thursday.”

2 March 1887 • Wednesday

Wednesday, March 2/87 As a number of important papers were not prepared for me to bring out with me, Bro. Jacob Roueche was sent to the city this morning by train to get them. I listened with President Taylor to the reading of letters and dictated answers to them, and read to President Taylor a written epitome of the business which had been attended to while I was in the city. I told him I had endeavored, to the best of my ability, to arrange all the property and dispose of it in a way that I hoped would be satisfactory to him. He expressed his gratification at what I had done and said it was quite satisfactory to him. Bro. Jacob Roueche returned with the afternoon train and brought a large number of papers, certificates of stocks, etc, which had been disposed of and which President Taylor had to sign. In order that there might be no misunderstanding about the business which had been done and that everything should be placed in a position to best suit President Taylor’s mind, I dictated to [the] following letter to Bro. James Jack, which President Taylor signed.

“In delivering this Desert [Deseret] Telegraph Stock to the various corporations or their agents it must be distinctly impressed upon them that this distribution is made for the purpose of preserving the property from the rapacity of our enemies, and that whenever the Trustee in Trust shall call upon them for its restoration to him they must not hesitate to deliver it up.

The understanding concerning the Salt Lake Rail Road Stock is this: at any time within one year from this date I am to have this Stock returned to me upon my surrendering Bro. Armstrong’s note to him and paying him any interest that he may have had to pay on the note he gives to me, or any loss that he may be at during the period while the Stock is in his ownership and I am to receive all the dividends which may be declared in the Stock while it is in his hands.

The understanding respecting the Gas Stock is that you hold this Stock for one year and give me the privilege of buying it back on the same terms and for the same payment that I let you have it. I receiving all the dividends that may accrue from the Stock and repaying you any interest you may have to pay on your money or any loss you may be at while the Stock is in your ownership.

I understand that the purchasers of the Theatre stock are to give me an instrument in writing to be drawn up by Bro. Le Grand Young, in which they are to give me the privilege of buying this stock back at any time within two years at the same price at which I sell it to them; I to pay them the interest they pay on the notes given for the purchase and to make up any expense or loss they may be at while the property is in their hands, and they to give me whatever profits there may be derived from the property during the same period.

I wish it expressly understood respecting the stock of the Deseret News Company which I transfer to the Literary and Scientific Association, that I shall expect this stock to be returned to me whenever I shall make demand for the same.

The 1024 shares of Provo Manufacturing Co’s stocks of which I place one-half as security at Z. C. M. I. for my indebtedness there, and the other half I dispose of to Bro. John C. Cutler at $2500/ per share, I rely upon receiving back from them on demand whenever I settle my indebtedness to Z. C. M. I. and whenever I surrender to Brother Cutler his note and repay him any interest he may have paid and any loss or expence he may have been at while this stock shall be in his possession.

In delivering the stock of the Rio Virgin Manufacturing Co. to the St. George Ecclesiastical Corporation I desire the same distinct understanding concerning its return to me on demand that I have mentioned above concerning the Deseret Telegraph Stock.

You and all interested have heard through Brother George Q. my desire to have the privilege of purchasing all these stocks again from the parties to whom I sell or to whom I make transfers, and at the same price at which I sell them, paying back to them the interest they may have to pay and securing them against any loss or expense they may incur while the stocks are in their hands; and receiving to myself all the dividends or profits which may accrue to the stocks during the same period. I wish you, therefore, to be particular in calling the attention of our attorneys to these points. I desire the best reciprocal security to be given that the law will permit. I to them that I will fulfil my part, and they to me that they will fulfil their part; and, in the event of anything happening to either party, that our heirs, successors and assig’ns will be held to fulfil the agreement made by the principals.

Bro Nuttall was required to go in town to attend a meeting of the B. B. & C. M. Co. to morrow, and he left this evening with Bro J. Roueche.

3 March 1887 • Thursday

Thursday, March 3/87 Fast day. We held our usual meeting. Attended to Correspondence.

4 March 1887 • Friday

Friday, March 4/87 My brother Angus came out last night with Bro. Bateman. Besides playing quoits with President Taylor, he spent considerable time with him in his room in conversation. I wrote answers to several letters for President Taylor to sign, and one long one to Bro. J. H. Hart, which we both signed. My brother Angus returned with Bro. Wilcken to the City.

5 March 1887 • Saturday

Saturday, March 5/87 This morning three letters were received on the subject of the Brigham City election for municipal Officers, which comes of[f] on Monday. Bro’s C. W. Penrose, F. S. Richards and Lorenzo Snow each wrote upon the subject, and each seemed to favor the taking of the oath by our people who could. In his letter to Pres Taylor, Bro. Snow said: “unless the brethren get to understand from you, that it will not be wrong under the circumstances, to take the test oath, the City will be captured by our bitterest foes. One word from you, that it will be proper to do so, will be cheerfully received. All here with whom I have conversed feel that our people should subscribe to that requirement—the test oath. With your approval the brethren of Brigham City will stoop and conquer in the name of Israel’s God, or if you counsel otherwise, they will submit and take the consequences.”

According to my custom, when important matters of this kind are necessary to decide upon, I went to the Lord for guidance. President Taylor in my conversation with him afterwards, appeared to feel clear that it was right for the brethren to take this oath, those of them at least who could do so. I read the oath carefully for the first time, and it seemed to me that, in view of all the circumstances it was the lesser evil of the two, and was no compromise of principle, though intended by our enemies as a snare. It seems a necessity in our present position for us, that we may meet the violence of the wicked and the open and avowed intentions of our enemies to rob us, to walk around the snare they have prepared. My brother Angus, in speaking about teaching the doctrine of plural marriage said, his method of speaking upon it when he is asked counsel is, to ask the brother if he is prepared to have his head shaved and to wear convict clothes and go to the penetentiary; if he is, it is all right, but he must look the consequences square in the face. He says he has not found any of the brethren that were frightened at any such prospect, and he thinks that it is a good way at present to teach the principle. President Taylor and myself decided to send the following letter to the brethren, which we both signed:

“We see no impropriety, under the circumstances, in our people, who can, taking the test oath”.

Bro. Jacob Roueche was sent with letters of this character to Bro’s Lorenzo Snow and C. W. Penrose. Afterward we supplemented the letter by saying: “

“As they have the privilege of either, would it not be well for them to affirm instead of swear?” Letters containing this counsel or information were addressed to Pres O. G. Snow and E. A. Box of Brigham City, which were handed to Bro. Lorenzo Snow on the train as he went up. Bro. J. T. Caine telegraphed:

“The Edmunds Tucker Bill has become law by expiration, ten days limit, without the President’s approval.”

Bro. J. W. Young telegraphed:

“President acted favorably as possible under tremendous pressure of opposition against us. Statehood plan not interfered with. His position indicates important removals. Next week will push that vigorously. Send all possibly can, affidavits to assist this. Please keep sermons and papers toned into simple acceptance of the situation. We have all done our best.”

Bro. Wells advised us to day of his intention to leave Liverpool for New York on the 12th of February. A dispatch was received from Bro. Caine, stating that President Cleveland had dealt an unconditional pardon to Bro. J. H. Evans, who is in the penitentiary for polygamy. I accompanied Bro. Bateman to the city and heard such reports, concerning the design of the Marshal and deputies to raid my place, that I deemed it unsafe to remain there and returned to the Office where I slept.

6 March 1887 • Sunday

Sunday, March 6/87 I spent to day at the Office. My wife Carlie was with me during the afternoon. In the evening Bro. H. B. Clawson took me down to the Juvenile Office lot, where I found my son Hugh and four of my girls in my three seated carriage, and I rode with them to my home on the river. I remained there till after eleven oClock and had a good visit with my family. In an interview to day with Bros. Winder and Shultess, the City gardener, I arranged for my son Hugh to work with the latter and learn gardening. Bro. A. Burt carried me back to the Office.

7 March 1887 • Monday

Monday, March 7/87 Busy all day with the attorneys and a lot of brethren in arranging various items of business, connected with the Church property. I returned to our quarters with Bro. Bateman; we reached there at midnight.

8 March 1887 • Tuesday

Tuesday, March 8/87 Listened to correspondence as usual and read to President Taylor an epitome of yesterday’s proceedings, of which he approved. He expressed a desire that I should return this evening and meet with a number of Presidents of Stakes to morrow, who had been asked to come to the City. He is desirous that they should be clearly instructed respecting that which is expected of them in connection with the Tithing property, which had been turned over from the Trustee in Trust to the various Stake and Ward corporations. He is desirous that they should be clearly told, in confiding the property to them, he depends upon their honor, that they will make no disposition of it except such as he directs. I desire to mention here a conversation which I had yesterday with Bros. Geo. Reynolds, H. B. Clawson and one or two other brethren upon the subject of dispatches sent by Pres Taylor and myself through Bro. James Jack on Sunday Febr. 27/87. Bro. Geo. Reynolds appeared doubtful of the propriety of such a dispatch and appeared to be somewhat of the opinion that our course was not altogether consistent. I said to him my objections to the proposition which had been made by Bro. J. W. Young and others at Washington, including Mr. Geo. Ticknor Curtis, and also which had been made by Bros. Penrose and Richards here, were, that I did not think anything we might do towards meeting their wishes would be of any avail, because of the deep rooted prejudices and hostility of Congress and of the country generally against us. Under no circumstances could I think of anything having the appearance of a compromise. But I have had a feeling like this, that perhaps Providence might shape affairs so that we could have a State government without compromising our religion, but by being willing to adopt a constitution in which a prohibition of polygamy might be inserted. I have no idea myself that the Lord will put us in this position; but it is quite a serious question, whether if we had the opportunity, it would not be better for us to enact our own laws upon the subject and enforce them, than to have our enemies do it in the barbarous manner they are now doing it under federal law. Personally, if I had to be indicted and sentenced, I <would> much rather be indicted and sentenced by my friends than by my enemies, for the reason that my friends would neither indict nor convict me without good and sufficient evidence, overwhelmingly strong against me; while my enemies would both indict and convict me upon presumption and without the least shadow of evidence. This is what Bro. Reynolds appeared to stumble at; he thought it would be a dreadful thing for Latter-day Saints to convict their brethren and have them punished under laws of their own framing. I admitted this; but I said to him what a different condition of affairs we would have, if this power was ours! How many would escape punishment altogether, and how many, if punished at all, would have but light punishment and this greatly ameliorated and made very tolerable and even pleasant by the kindness of Officials, who would be their brethren! I said to him, we must recognize the fact, that, as Latter-day Saints, we occupy a dual position. We are not only members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, but we are citizens of the republic. The Lord in His revelations to us impresses us with this fact, and it is our duty to uphold the government and to do all in our power to be loyal to it and to observe its laws, except of course when any of its laws conflict with the laws of God. In the latter event our duty to our God is paramount, and rather than violate the law of God we become martyrs under the law of the land. This is the view that I have taken in consenting to the telegram which has been sent. When we got the word which Bro. Young sent, concerning President Cleveland’s position, informing us that not one word had been said concerning cessation of marriages, and that President Cleveland had remarked that he was satisfied with the Scott amendment and did not see how any good man could ask any more than that from us, the position was very much changed; it was not a Congress full of the spirit of mobocracy and intense hatred that we were now called to deal with; but with the Chief Executive of the nation, who apparently feels kind and friendly disposed to us; and who appears willing to do what he can in our behalf to relieve us from the evils with which we are now threatened. Now to this ruler, who holds such great power, and who makes these friendly overtures, we make the reply that we are willing that the terms of the Scott amendment should be carried out; very well satisfied in doing so, that if he was to send the Tucker-Bill back to Congress with a recommendation that the Scott amendment should be added to it, Congress would reject it and it might fail altogether. But lest anybody should hereafter say we had conceded anything of our doctrines or our principles, we had taken the precaution to send the other dispatch, which should exactly our true position, and which we should not object to the whole world reading, that no doubts might exist about our adherance to our religion and to the commands which our God has given us. I remarked that our position was very different now, as the proposition had come from Pres Cleveland, than it would be if we were to come forward and propose terms of this character to the nation or its Chief Executive, as some have favored our doing. Bro. Reynolds appeared favorably impressed with what I had said, but thought he would like to have more time to think about it. Brother Clawson and the other brethren thought the position of the First Presidency on this matter quite right and they appeared heartily to approve of the course taken. Accompanied by Bro. Bateman I went to the city, we reached there about ten oClock. I slept in the Office.

9 March 1887 • Wednesday

Wednesday, March 9/87 There were present this morning, besides myself, Elders F. D. Richards, and Heber J. Grant, of the Twelve, W. B. Preston, presiding Bishop, A. M. Cannon, A. O. Smoot, J. R. Murdock, I. N. Hinkley, Kanute Peterson, H. S. Gowans and W. D. Hendricks, Presidents of Stakes, G. O. Pitkin, of Cache and C. Sperry, of Juab, acting Presidents of Stakes and Geo. Farnsworth, of Sanpete, H. McCune, of Nephi, and [blank] Bywater, of Boxelder, Bros F. S. Richards and A. Miner, attorneys, and Geo. Reynolds and James Jack. Upon my entrance in the room where they were, the brethren expressed great pleasure at seeing me. We had a very interesting meeting, the business in all its phases was fully discussed, and they expressed themselves as satisfied with the instruction which they had received. I spoke to them also about our present position and had considerable of the Spirit in explaining to them concerning our situation and the results that would follow our action. Our meeting lasted from nine till about one, when the brethren took their departure. In the afternoon the attorneys came and my brother Angus, Bishop Preston, Bros H. J. Grant, F. D. Richards and F. Armstrong. We talked over a number of business affairs, but particularly the transfer of Tithing property of the Church to the Stake-corporation, of which Angus is the President. After obtaining an inventory of the property, it was decided that it would be better for the Stake association to sell out the property it had received to Bishop Preston, who agreed to buy it. I received a note from my son Lewis, informing me that his mother was very sick. Bro. Wilcken took me there and I found her, as I thought, in a bad condition. Bro. Wilcken anointed her and we administered to her, I was mouth; and before leaving we administered to her a second time. On our return to the Tithing Office yard, Bro. A. Solomon informed us that a raid on Kaysville was contemplated and it was decided for Bro. Wilcken to return.

10 March 1887 • Thursday

Thursday, March 10/87 I spent the day in the Office engaged in business connected with arranging the Church affairs. I dictated to Bro G. F. Gibbs a letter to my brother David and a letter to Bro. B. Young. In the evening Bros Solomon and D. Bateman took me to Bro. J. W. Woolley’s; from there I was taken by Bro. S. Bateman to our quarters.

11 March 1887 • Friday

Friday, March 11/87 Attended to correspondence. I read to President Taylor the epitome of the business which I had attended to while in the City, at which he expressed himself as being both satisfied and gratified.

12 March 1887 • Saturday

Saturday, March 12/87 Listened to the reading of letters and dictated answers to them, also dictated my journal to Bro. Wilcken. Bro. Donden, who has been in the employ of Z. C. M. I, as one of the salesmen, wrote me a letter, informing me that he had been discharged from that institution, because of alleged thieving, and asking my counsel what to do. I did not answer his letter, as I did not wish, under the circumstances, to give him any clue to my whereabouts, but I wrote to Bro. Geo. Reynolds, who is a friend of his, and sketched out to him the plan he ought to take if he were innocent and I sent him Bro. Donden’s letter. It was decided that I should be in the City on Monday and I thought it better to go in to night so that I might spend Sunday with my family. I found my wife Martha very sick. I administered to her.

13 March 1887 • Sunday

Sunday, March 13/87 Meet in Sunday School with my children and held Sacrament meeting in the afternoon with my family and was joined by Sister Zina Young Williams, who is now married to Bro. Card, and had a very pleasant visit with her. I enjoyed the day very much. At half past ten I was called for by Brother Lehi Pratt, who took me to the President’s Office.

14 March 1887 • Monday

Monday, March 14/87 Had interviews with the attorneys and attended to other business. I returned to our quarters in company with Bro. Bateman in the evening.

15 March 1887 • Tuesday

Tuesday, March 15/87 We reached our quarters after midnight and I was kept busy to day dictating answers to letters. Bro. Wilcken went to town and Bro. A. Solomon came out to stay in his place.

16 March 1887 • Wednesday

Wednesday, March 16/87 Attended to correspondence and revising a manuscript for the Juvenile Instructor.

17 March 1887 • Thursday

Thursday, March 17/87 My brother David came out by request of President Taylor and spent the day with us. I had a very pleasant visit with him and he received counsel respecting the course to be taken in regard to our marriages in the Temples and was appointed to go to Logan and see Bro. Merrill upon the same subject, that there might be uniformity of action in both Houses of the Lord. With President Taylor I listened to correspondence and afterward dictated answers. My brother David left in company with Bro. A. Solomon.

18 March 1887 • Friday

Friday, March 18/87 Attended to correspondence.

19 March 1887 • Saturday

Saturday, March 19/87 Had considerable conversation with President Taylor upon property matters. He appears determined to hold on to everything and contend with the Courts for his rights as Trustee in Trust. I have endeavored to get my views before him upon the situation. It appears clear to me that the wisest course to be pursued is, to accept the situation into which we are forced by the Edmunds Tucker law, and to arrange our affairs to suit the new conditions. The law is against us; the Courts will put the worst interpretation upon it, and it seems to me that the only course left for us to pursue is to secure our property as best we can. It is upon this point that President Taylor disagrees; he is determined not to relax his hold on the property nor to put it out of his hands. He said to me to day, “it is no use argueing, George, upon this matter, I look at it differently from you and I am going to carry out my views.” I replied “I have no pet scheme to advocate and no particular plan that I wish adopted; all that I care for is to secure the property from the rapacity of our enemies and to preserve you from criminal proceedings in the Courts.” He desired me to go in to the City and do the best I could, with the aid of the lawyers, to preserve the property in the way he wished. The attorneys have been very anxious that some property might be appropriated for educational establishments and for a hospital; they think that the Government would not dare to attack that which should be devoted to such objects, but President Taylor is averse to this, though it has been pressed upon him repeatedly from other sources as well. I sometimes think he is missing a good opportunity to do a most excellent thing for the rising generation. If our enemies can steal our property they will squander it in ways to suit themselves; they would like to take our means and endow schools in which to teach our children infidelity to the principles of our religion. It has appeared to me that it would be far better for us to take a portion of our means and endow schools wherein, with other branches of education, the principles of our religion could be taught. But though I have presented this frequently, President Taylor does not take this view. Bro. Bateman took me to my home on the river where I stopped for the night.

20 March 1887 • Sunday

Sunday, March 20/87 Bro. Joshua Stewart spent the forenoon with my children in Sunday School at which I was also present. We partook of the Sacrament in the afternoon. I did not get over to my wife Martha till after dark; she is still very sick, but is improving; I administered to her and remained some time with her. Had family prayer in the evening, at which the most of the folks were present. At half past ten Bro. Lehi Pratt came for me and carried me to the city. I was taken to the President’s Office where I stayed the night.

From Monday morning, the 21st, till Tuesday [Thursday] night, the 24th, I was an exceedingly busy man. I do not think I ever worked harder or more closely applied myself, than I did during these few days.

The three attorneys, Le Grand Young, F. S. Richards and A. Miner were present; of the Quorum of the Twelve, Bro. F. D. Richards, and John H. Smith, all the time, and Bro. Lorenzo Snow, the two last days. My brother Angus was there much of the time and also Bishop Preston and Bro. Geo. Reynolds. The condition of the property and the best method of securing it, were fully discussed. We are like men who are traveling in an untrodden path, which neither we, nor anyone we know of, has ever walked in before. We have a great deal of brush to clear away and we occasionally come across a log that lies right in our pathway. As we discuss these questions, difficulties arise, are cleared away and then others present themselves. We get light as we proceed and our position is better defined and we learn what precautions appear best. One thing is very clear, that the only safe course, in regard to the real estate is, for the Trustee in Trust to sell all of it in excess of the amount allowed by law—$50,00000/. We have been holding our property by having recourse to shifts and subterfuges and evasions, which are far from pleasant and which perplex and annoy us and cause us to feel insecure and in dread of action by the Courts. It is clear to me that to save all the bother and to put ourselves in a safe position, the best course is to sell our real estate and when we want ranches or herd grounds or other property for actual use, to lease them. I dictated the results of our meeting to Bro. A. Winter, the reporter, recommending to President Taylor what is thought the safe course to pursue with the personal property and the real estate. This the brethren listened to and approved of. Respecting real estate I dictated the views, which had been expressed, in as strong a language as I could use. I feel that it is important President Taylor should fully understand the actual danger which we are in and that it is only by taking a certain course that we can possibly hope to keep our property out of the hands of our enemies. It has been made clear by these proceedings that our books and papers must be taken care of and kept out of the hands of everybody, whether Courts or Officers. Besides attending to this business I had many other things to look after, which engrossed every moment of my time when I was not sleeping. I revised a sketch of my life, which has been prepared for Bro. Andrew Jensen’s historical journal. Bro. Bateman and I returned to our quarters on Thursday night.

24 March 1887 • Thursday

Thursday, March 24/87 I have not inserted a copy, in my journal, of the minutes of the proceedings of the four days, as they are voluminous, but they will be incorporated in the daily journal, kept by Bro. L. J. Nuttall, which is called the Office journal.

25 March 1887 • Friday

Friday, March 25/87 I feel wearied to day, but I listened to the correspondence, which came to day, and examined all the correspondence which had been received while I was absent, and dictated answers thereto. This labor, the reading to President Taylor the minutes of our proceedings during the past four days and giving him further explanation concerning them, kept me very busy all day and I was glad to get to bed when night came.

26 March 1887 • Saturday

Saturday, March 26/87 Listened to correspondence. President Taylor and myself had further talk concerning property matters and I tried to impress upon him that whatever is to be done regarding the property should be done quickly. He gave me liberty to dispose of some of the stocks, if a certain price could be obtained for them and also the real estate, at least a part of it. We also had some conversation in relation to his case, and I expressed my view, that if he were fairly tried by the law it would result in his acquittal. I hoped to see the day, I said, when a nolle prosequi could be entered. I was carried to the city by Bro. Wilcken this evening.

27 March 1887 • Sunday

Sunday, March 27/87 Had Sunday School and Sacrament meeting and a delightful evening with my family. Was called for at half past nine oClock by Bro. Lehi Pratt, who carried me to the President’s Office, where I slept. From this until Wednesday evening I was busily engaged at the Office, arranging property matters, a full report of which I brought back with me and submitted to President Taylor. Everything that I have done while I was in the City this time was left in such a way that I could change it if President Taylor should not approve of it, knowing how averse he is to parting with real estate. I arranged to have it all returned to him if he should desire at any time to buy it back. There are two pieces, however, which I had arranged to dispose of (the Vienna Jaques lot and the remainder of the D. H. Well’s lot) which could not be bought back, as the parties who had bid for them would naturally desire to improve them. But these, if he did not approve of their being sold, need not be, as I could inform intending purchasers that he did not wish to sell. When he learned the price that I had obtained for them and enquired into the particulars, he expressed himself satisfied with the arrangement. For the Wells corner, including the piece sold to the little bank, he is to receive $37,50000/ or $30,00000/, exclusive of that which he received from the bank, which all who knew of the sale, say is a good price. I selected Bros. H. S. Eldredge, F. Armstrong, F. Little, James Jack and W. A. Rossiter to place a value upon the property. Upon the Bernhisel property, Bro. George Romney was on the committee to value it. Bro. Preston agreed to take the Bernhisel property and give his note for $8,50000/, bearing 7 p bt pr. A. interest, secured by a trust deed on the property, with a verbal promise that he will sell to the President of the Church or to whom so ever he may direct, for the same price as he pays for it. The interest on the note amounts to $59500/ pr. annum. President Taylor thought that the presiding Bishop should not pay this, but have the place free of rent. In all these matters I explained to President Taylor, I had endeavored to follow his instruction and to carry out his wishes. He told me that in asking for explanations he had no desire to criticise, but to get a thorough understanding of what had been done. I was very tired to day, but dictated answers to correspondence that had accumulated during my absence.

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March 1887, The Journal of George Q. Cannon, accessed June 16, 2024