Sunday, Dec. 1,1889.
** I spoke to Mary Alice this morning concerning the letter which her cousin Lewis had sent to me. I asked her what answer I must give to him. She hesitated a little while, and I told her that she should make it a matter of prayer. But finally she said that I might say to him that there was no objection to him keeping her company. Lewis bears a very good character. He has just returned from a mission to England and Germany, which he has filled to the satisfaction of the presidency there and to his brethren.1
** I took the train for Provo this morning. Brothers Seymour B. Young, O. F. Whitney and my son Abraham were also on the train, going to the Conference. Brother Smoot’s buggy met me at the train.
We held meeting in the old meeting house. The new building had no heating apparatus and it was thought best to hold it where fires could be made. The morning was occupied by Brother S. B. Young and my son Abraham. The latter spoke with unusual power.
In the afternoon Bishop Whitney spoke for 35 mins. and I occupied the remainder of the time.
It rained quite heavily today.
I took dinner at Brother Smoot’s, and after the meeting returned to the city, it being the wish of President Woodruff that I should, as we have an important meeting tomorrow. I got off at the 6th Ward platform and rode in Abraham’s buggy down to my place, Abraham having staid to attend Conference tomorrow.
Monday, Dec. 2,1889.
Busy with various matters this morning after I came to the Gardo House from home.
I had interviews with a number of brethren until about 12 o’clock, when President Woodruff and myself went to Z.C.M.I. to attend a special meeting of the Board of Directors. Septimus W. Sears has come in from California and he feels very angry at the treatment he has received, he says, from the Board. He is a large stockholde[r] in the institution and he feels that he ought to have representation on the Board. His grievance is that while he was Assistant Supt. he was compelled to resign and then was dropped within a week from being one of the Directors, which has injured his business reputation, and at which he feels very much grieved. He has told around that he intends to commence suit against Z.C.M.I. and have a Receiver appointed. In order that he might have no just cause of complaint, at a meeting a few days ago I moved that a committee of two be appointed to wait upon him and learn from him what his grievances were, and if we could remove them by any honorable course we would do so. Brothers John Sharp and Geo. Romney were appointed the committee, and they have been laboring with him since and through their labors he consented to be present today. He made his charges. They were leveled principally at Brother T. G. Webber. He made statements concerning Brother Webber, which the latter emphatically denied and said they were false. They were to the effect that it was through my shrewdness that he had been dropped. He said that Brother Webber told him it was a dirty job and Geo. Q. Cannon had done it; old man Taylor was not smart enough. Brothe[r] Webber denied this and said that he never talked about any of his brethren in that style, and much less about those men mentioned. I believe that Brother Webber is not given to talking in this way, still Sears asserts that he did. The facts are, however, that I had nothing whatever to do with Sears’ defeat nor with planning for it. He says that his defeat was through the church stock not being voted, and that it was a pre-concerted arrangement. Of course, it is easy to prove that nothing of the kind occurred, because I happened to be absent at Logan. I felt impressed to go there at that time to attend a priesthood meeting, and for some days before I left I was busily employed in preparing the Epistle of the First Presidency for the Conference. I had no more to do with planning any such a scheme as this than a babe
unborn[.] The Church stock was not voted because it had been overlooked; no one had been authorized to do it. But the ticket had been presented to us—Brother Sears’ name with the rest—and we had approved of it. If we had wanted him defeated we should have dropped him, without resorting to any trick to do it. I have been his friend and have stood by him on many occasions and defended him; but he seems filled with a spirit of bitterness. However, before we got through he threw his stock on the table and said that he would authorize us as trustees to take that stock in our hands and do with it as we pleased, for 30 days, to sell it to the best advantage if we choose or not. He seemed to be inspired to do this, and he did it very rapidly and I think with a feeling that by getting it out of his hands he would be prevented from being used as a tool by the lawyers in whose hands he has placed his affairs—Parley Williams and W. H. Dickson, two of the worst enemies of our people. We felt greatly relieved at this termination of the affair; but I pressed upon him the question whether this would satisfy him. I could not get him to say, however, that this would be an entire satisfaction. He said he should hold his feelings against Brother T. G. Webber throughout time and to the judgment seat of God. We have done everything we can to satisfy him, and made every proposition to him that we could in order to draw out from him what he complained of. He came to the Gardo House about an hour or two after the meeting and requested to see me. He told me he hoped I would suspend my judgment respecting the charges against Brother Webber until he could bring further proof—documentary proof—to sustain what he said, which he said he can do.
We had an interview this afternoon with Col. G. H. Morrison, Secy. of the Bancroft History Co in relation to that work and increasing our order for it. We agreed to take 500 more copies of the work, on time, he proposing that we should have whatever time we wanted, from three months to two years. He also wanted to have it illustrated and spoke to us about having the <portraits of the> four Presidents of the Church—Joseph Smith, Brigham Young, John Taylor and Wilford Woodruff, and then he told the brethren he thought my portrait ought to be in, as I had a national reputation outside of the Church. He also wished to get illustrations of scenes from Church history.
Tuesday, Dec. 3rd, 1889.
We had a meeting of the General Board of Education today and attended to business connected with it.
I completed the Circular concerning the Fast Day. The brethren approved of the circular and it was handed to the printer.
I have felt very much exercised in my feelings now for a number of years about the condition of the correspondence of the First Presidency. Letters have accumulated and we do not get them read and answered, and to me this is a very great cause of annoyance. My private correspondence I sometimes neglect because of the pressure of public duties; but the public correspondence, I think, ought to be answered promptly. I do not like our office to get the reputation of being careless upon this point. Men who write should be answered. Our method of doing business is, to a certain extent, without system. We are broken in upon at all times by various parties, and no matter how earnestly we may be engaged in the consideration of important questions we are liable at any moment to be interrupted, as though the incomer had a perfect right to demand our attention instantly. I spoke my feelings very plainly upon this subject to Presidents Woodruff and Smith, and told them that I thought we should have a different method of doing business; that when we were engaged in attending to correspondence or the consideration of any question or importance, we should at least be able to prevent ourselves from being interrupted. As it is now, we cannot get time to listen to our letters, much less to answer them. The result is, many important things that require immediate answer are neglected. President Woodruff acquiesced in this. It has been difficult for him, when he has heard a knock at the door, to sit still, he has been so anxious to have people admitted and listened to. Brother Smith’s remark to him, and my own, has been that they can wait just as well as we can.
There has been some feeling on the Temple Block between the Architect and the Superintendent. The Supt, it is said, has looked more to Bishop Preston for instructions than he has to the Architect. We had a meeting today, at which all three were present. The subject of consideration was the construction of a tunnel from the Temple to what may be called the Annex that is expected to be constructed. Brother D. C. Young, the Architect, charged Bishop Preston with being the means of not having the Temple windows inclosed this winter. His anxiety had been, he said, to get the building in a condition that the carpenters could go ahead with their work through the winter. I expressed my regret that there should be divisions among our people engaged in public matters upon so important a piece of work as the construction of the Temple. I deplored such a condition of affairs. I found fault with Brother Young for speaking concerning the Bishop in this way, and then expressed myself to the effect that the Supt should hold himself subject to the direction of the Architect; that we held the Architect responsible for the building and for everything connected with it, and if anything was wrong we wanted to know who was to blame, but if the Architect could not have his instructions carried out, of course he could not be held responsible. Both Brother Moyle, the Supt, and Bishop Preston said that that was their view and they would do their best to carry it out. Presidents Woodruff and Smith agreed with the remarks which I made. We have felt that the Presiding Bishop was doing more in dictating the construction of the Temple than belonged to the Aaronic Priesthood. It is the Melchisedec Priesthood that has the direction of such matters, and not the Aaronic, and this was told to Bishop Preston some time ago by President Woodruff.
Wednesday, Dec. 4th, 1889.
I came up from home this morning to the office.
We appointed Brothers John W. Young and Richard W. Young as Trustees of the B. Y. College at Logan, to fill the places which have been heretofore held by C. O. Card and Sister Ida Cook. Both of these are absent and the Board need somebody to be present with them to attend to business, and for this reason these other two were appointed, but not because of any dissatisfaction with Brother Card and Sister Cook.
I dictated a large number of letters today.
I was waited upon by Brothers H. M. Wells and Frank Jennings, both of them members of the Central Committee, the former the Vice President and acting President in the absence of Brother F. S. Richards. He explained his position, the large amount of work which he had to perform as Recorder and the work of the City was very much behind, and in view of the approaching election everything should be got into the best condition; but if he attended to this he must necessarily neglect his duties as acting Chairman of the Committee. He therefore came and told me that he would be compelled to tender his resignation of one position or the other. After hearing him I took him into Presidents Woodruff and Smith for them to listen to his statement after hearing which he and Brother Jennings withdrew. We decided that Brother Penrose had better be separated from his duties at the News Office and devote himself exclusively to the duties of the position of acting Chairman of the Committee, as it required the entire attention of one man. We afterwards notified the members of the Committee to this effect, as it was for them to accept him and to recognize him in the position.
We had a meeting of the Board of Directors of Zion’s Savings Bank today.
Thursday, Dec. 5,1889.
Drove to the city this morning.
President Woodruff received a letter the other day from Mr. Wm. H. Mills, the land agent of the Central Pacific R.R., in which he complained of an understanding that had been entered into by Brothers Geo. W. Thatcher and John W. Young, on behalf of the B. Y. College, having been departed from. He alleged that it was understood in a meeting that they had with the Central Pacific people that they would send an agent to California to arrange in regard to lands that were claimed by the railroad company, which had been patented to President Young and by him deeded to the College. This letter had been submitted to the Board of Trustees of the College, and Brothers Thatcher and Young said that this was not the arrangement that they had made with Mr. Mills; that he had either forgotten or else had departed from the arrangement. It was, they say, that an agent should be sent to Washington from here to endeavor to obtain lands in lieu of those that were in Cache Valley. Speaking of this letter on Tuesday evening, Brother John W. Young had intimated that this letter had been instigated by some one beside Mills. Afterwards, in conversation with him privately, he said that Brother Hiram Clawson had instigated that letter and spoke in very harsh terms concerning him. I made no reply to him at the time, as I was on the point of going home and we were standing in the street; but I made up my mind during that night that the first opportunity I should have a conversation with him upon the subject. Today I met him by appointment and had a private interview with him, in which I told him that I was very much hurt by his remark concerning Brother Clawson; that I could not believe that Brother Clawson would do as he had represented, and it was very cruel to talk about a man in this way—one of our brethren—without having more knowledge upon the subject than he appeared to have. I said I did not believe a word of what he said concerning Brother Clawson having done this, and as Brother Clawson was his kinsman, having married two of his sisters, I thought that if he spoke to others about him as he did to me it would do Brother Clawson great injury. I said I had suffered myself so much from this sort of thing that I was exceedingly sensitive upon the subject, and when I heard remarks made about my brethren of that kind I felt it my duty to protest against them. I said I was not Brother Clawson’s defender; there were many things in his character which I could find fault with, but I would rather tell them to himself than to speak about them to others; and in this case I thought that Brother John W. Young was quite unwarranted in his remarks.
Brother Young acknowledged that he should not have done it, though he told me several things that caused him to look upon Brother Clawson as one that would be likely to do something of this kind, yet, he said, he did not believe that he would intentionally do a wrong to us or to our cause. He said also that he would take pains to correct what he had said; for in response to my inquiry he informed me he had made these remarks before the board of trustees.
At 2 o’clock the First Presidency and Brothers Lyman and A. H. Cannon met in prayer circle, but the room was too cold for us to clothe in, so Brother Jos. F. Smith offered prayer.
The First Presidency had an interview with Col. Isaac Trumbo today, in which he gave us considerable information concerning outside influences which were operating in our favor, and we were much interested in many things that he told us. This young man shows a very warm interest in our affairs, and we feel to thank the Lord for inspiring his heart to do as he is.
We had a call also from Clarence W. Ashford, Attorney General of His Majesty the King of the Sandwich Islands. He is one of the cabinet they put in after the revolution on the Islands. He seems like a very energetic and intelligent young man. He called to pay his respects because of our having a colony on the Islands, and also because some of the people of the Islands had come here. He was quite interested in the recital which we gave him of their welfare and asked many questions concerning our situation here. He seemed to be entirely devoid of prejudice upon our question and spoke in terms of praise of all that he had witnessed here on the part of our people, as he also spoke regarding our colony on the Islands. He said that there had not one of our people ever been tried for a criminal offense, which gave us great pleasure to hear.
We also had an interview with Col. Morrison of the Bancroft History Co.
At our suggestion, Brother C. W. Penrose had drawn out a paper for the First Presidency to sign if it suited them. He came the other day and was very pertinacious in his expressions concerning the necessity of something being said by us as the First Presidency of the Church in refutation of the slanders of Judge Anderson. In consequence he was requested to draw out something that he thought suitable. He brought two papers, one briefer than the other, and they were read to us this evening and left for our consideration.
I drove home this evening.
Friday, Dec. 6th, 1889.
Drove to town this morning with my son David.
The First Presidency took up the documents that Brother Penrose had prepared and listened to their reading. After they were read, in response to President Woodruff’s request for us to give our views upon them, I stated that I felt that I could not sign either of those papers myself; in fact, I did not believe that it was right for us to pit ourselves against Judge Anderson as a court and to refute in that way the falsehood that he had embodied in his opinion and decision. I said it would be seized as an evidence that we were inciting our people to hostility against the court. Besides, there were many things in that that I could not conscientiously sign. For instance, I could not truthfully say that I had not endeavored to influence the people in secular matters. I had always believed and taught that our people should be governed by counsel in all matters, and that the priesthood had a right to direct the people both in temporal and spiritual affairs. I was on record as having taught this, and it was a doctrine that I still believed in. I said I am opposed to our writing anything as a matter of expediency. I do not want anything of this character, for it is like special legislation, it always is dangerous. I do not want to sign anything today that I would not sign 20 years ago concerning our doctrines. President Woodruff appeared to take the same view. President Jos. F. Smith thought that we ought to write something. I said that if he would prepare something that he could sign I would consider it, and if President Woodruff and he would sign it I would sign it. After considerable conversation it was deemed proper to call the brethren of the Twelve together, with the Presiding Bishopric and the Central Committee. A meeting was held with these brethren at 2 o’clock. At President Woodruff’s request I explained the object of the meeting. A good many remarks were made by one and another, after which an adjournment was had and President Woodruff requested the Twelve to remain. I then told the Twelve the objections which I had to signing such a document. I said I could not sign such a document as some of them could. I received my endowments in Nauvoo and the covenants which I made there were engraven upon my mind, I being very young at the time, and I have never forgotten them; and I could not deny what some of them were now denying. I lived at a time when our blood was warm concerning the cruel martyrdom of Joseph and Hyrum and the murder and expulsion of our people, and I viewed covenants which I had made then as binding upon me—so binding that I had always expected, if opportunity offered, to fulfill them. I said I had not spoken of this before, as I did not wish to mention matters of this character; but I knew by the conversation of some of the younger men that they were denying things which I could not truthfully and conscientiously deny. Therefore, whatever was said I wanted to be carefully said, if I had to sign it.
It was decided that the better way to draw up a paper would be not to mention Judge Anderson at all, but to take up the matters mentioned by him and make a denial of them, this paper to be signed by the First Presidency and the Twelve. It was suggested that the merchants, also, hold a meeting and get up a protest; and Brother J. N. Pike suggested that the People’s Party hold mass meetings, as a political party, and denounce the course that was being taken. This met with general approval. The circular concerning the Fast Day was read to the Twelve and it was sent down to be printed.
I drove home with my son David this evening.
Saturday, Dec. 7th, 1889.
Drove to the city with my son David.
Dictated a number of letters to Brother Winter, also my journal.
Paid Reuben Gardner, a son of Archibald Gardner, $1000.00 for a piece of land which Archibald Gardner and wife Margaret had sold to me.
In the evening I drove home with my son David.
Sunday, Dec. 8th, 1889.
Was taken to the train by David this morning, and in company with Brothers F. M. Lyman and my son Abraham went to Kaysville to attend quarterly conference there.
Until meeting convened we were entertained at the house of Brother J. R. Barnes. There was a good attendance in the morning and Brother B. H. Roberts and Abraham occupied the time, after Prest. Wm. R. Smith had made some introductory remarks.
A number of us took dinner at Brother Barnes’[.]
In the afternoon the meeting house was crowded. Brother Lyman and myself divided the time between us. The instructions today have been very pointed, and an excellent spirit prevailed.
After the meeting I went to Brother Barnes’ and stayed until the time of the train, when I returned to the city in company with Abraham. I stayed in the city.
The roads were terribly bad.
Monday, Dec. 9th, 1889.
This morning it was storming so heavily that I concluded not to go down home before business.
The First Presidency listened to the reading of letters.
Arrangements were made for Brothers James Whitehead, Jr, and Willard C. Burton to go south to value the woolen and cotton machinery at Washington Factory, near St. George.
Dictated a number of letters.
We had been invited to go to Brother B. Y. Hampton’s this evening to dedicate a new house that he had erected. I invited my daughter Mary Alice to accompany me, and my son Sylvester drove us up there. We were the first to reach there. The house was well filled when all the company arrived. I was called upon by President Woodruff to dedicate the building and offer the prayer, after which we partook of a very elegant meal that had been prepared. The cooking was very superior and I enjoyed it, for I was hungry. Sylvester, Mary Alice and myself reached our home about 12 o’clock.
Tuesday, Dec. 10th, 1889.
David accompanied me to town this morning.
The First Presidency listened to the reading of correspondence.
I had a visit from my son John Q. and his daughter Margaret.
Quite busy a large portion of the day dictating answers to letters to Brother Winter[.]
Met with the Board of Directors of Z.C.M.I., also attended a meeting of the Salt Lake & Deseret Agricultural & Manfg. Co, to hear a letter from Brother John T. Caine concerning the situation of the company’s lands. He writes us very unfavorably respecting our affairs.
I dictated my journal to Brother Winter.
Drove home this evening in company with my son Abraham.
Wednesday, Dec. 11th, 1889.
Brother John Midgley, the plumber, came down and breakfasted with me, after which he examined my water closet and bathroom, to see what would be necessary to do in order to put it in repair. Brother Wilcken also breakfasted with me, after which the latter rode to town with me in my buggy.
I was busy today examining public correspondence and dictating answers to letters.
We had a meeting of Zion’s Savings Bank, and afterwards had a meeting with a number of brethren interested in the manufacture of sugar.
I wrote two letters of introduction for Brother F. A. Hammond of San Juan Stake, one to Hon. Jos. G .Cannon of the House of Representatives and the other to Hon. John T. Morgan of the Senate. I requested both these gentlemen to introduce Brother Hammond to the chairman and members of the committee on Indian Affairs, as Brother Hammond is going to Washington in the interest of the settlers of San Juan County. There have been some measures taken looking to the setting apart of San Juan County as an Indian Reservation.
Thursday, Dec. 12th, 1889.
David and myself came up this morning to town.
The correspondence was read to the First Presidency and answers dictated by me to Brother Winter. The letters which were dictated yesterday were brought in, read and signed.
Bishop Preston called on some business connected with the giving of Christmas presents to the Employes of the Tithing Office, to which we assented.
We had interviews with Brothers Rowe and F. W. Jennings concerning political matters, also with Brother James Sharp concerning the propriety of the city deeding back to the Hydraulic Canal Co the rights which that company had sold to the city for $10000.00, upon the condition of the Hydraulic Co. returning the $10000.00, which they proposed now to do. We thought it best to have this done.
Had a meeting at 2 o’clock of the First Presidency and Brothers J. H. Smith, H. J. Grant and A. H. Cannon. The document which had been prepared concerning our views in contradiction to the allegations made during the investigation before Judge Anderson was read today and we all agreed to sign it.
Drove home in the evening with my son David.
Friday, Dec. 13th, 1889.
David accompanied me to the city this morning.
Brother H. B. Clawson returned from California this morning.
At 10:30 a meeting of the Deseret News Co. was held and considerable business transacted.
Before this meeting the First Presidency listened to the public correspondence and I dictated answers.
A case came up before the First Presidency in reference to the transgression of a married man with a woman whom he had betrayed. It was referred by the High Council to the First Presidency, because of the instructions they had received that such matters were to be brought before us. Our feelings were that this case properly belonged to the High Council, and that there was power enough in the High Councils to deal with such cases. Of course, if they needed instructions concerning some peculiar case, they could apply to us. President Jos. F. Smith made a motion that this case be referred to the High Council and to deal as leniently with the man as circumstances would permit. I suggested also an additional clause, that a case of this character should be dealt with by the Presidency of the Stake and the High Council.
Last night I drove the school team home, my boys having gone off and left my girls. The boys got tired of waiting for the girls and concluded to walk home, so they would be in time to do their chores. I called them together this evening and gave them some plain talk, my son William especially. I severely reprimanded him for his course in contracting debts and not paying them. He wept very bitterly and felt almost broken-hearted at my reproach. I told him that he was pursuing a course which would bring sorrow if he did not repent of it. I suggested to him that he take his mare and colt and heifer and turn them over to somebody and pay his debts. I told him to think about it till tomorrow morning. Notwithstanding his naughtiness in some directions, he has one good characteristic—he is very tender-hearted and can easily be reached by appealing to him, and has the credit among his sisters of being the most polite boy in the family.
Saturday, Dec. 14th, 1889.
I drove up in company with David this morning[.]
Presidents Woodruff and Smith were not there. I attended to some business in the office, and acknowledged the receipt of two Canadian almanacs which were forwarded to me by Mr. Robert Irving, freight and passenger agent at Victoria, British Columbia. Brother Clawson was in and spoke about the affairs of the B. B. & C. Co and the charges that had been made against him concerning his accounts not being straight. He said these charges were utterly false and he did not know how the brethren could repair the wrongs they had done him in circulating them.
Dictated my journal to Brother Winter.
My son William this morning told me that he thought my suggestion the best and he offered me the mare and colt and heifer for $100, if I would settle the bills against him. I thought it better to do this, although I have no need for these animals. I trust the lesson that he has received will be remembered by him. Returned home this evening in company with my daughter Emily. I left my team for my son David to bring down.
I spent the remainder of the day in arranging codicils for my will.
Sunday, Dec. 15th, 1889.
Was waited upon this morning at my residence by two brethren—[first and last name redacted] and Brother [last name redacted]. They were both plunged in grief. Brother [last name redacted]’s son had been courting Brother [last name redacted]’s daughter for some time and desired to marry her before he left on his mission, on which he started last August. Yesterday it was discovered that the girl was in the family way and the families are overwhelmed with grief. Brother [last name redacted] was very desirous that a telegram should be sent to [first and last name redacted], who is laboring in [location redacted] Conference, asking for his return home, I promised that such a dispatch should be sent. He said he would pay for it. This is another illustration of the misery that is brought upon people by transgression. Brother [last name redacted] thought death would be nothing compared with this. He felt crushed. Such events confirm me more and more in the impropriety of long courtships. The mother of this girl was averse to the marriage until he should return from his mission. It seems that they had connection before he went to the Temple to get his endowments preparatory to going on his mission.
My son Lewis drove me to the Tabernacle at noon. A very stormy day. The attendance was quite thin. My son Abraham was called upon to speak and occupied about 55 mins. I was much edified by his remarks.
Monday, Dec. 16th, 1889.
My son David accompanied me to the city this morning.
I attended to various matters of business today, particularly in the preparation of an article for the Herald which I had promised to write. The time has been so short that I have been worried over this. I had given my son John Q. my ideas concerning the kind of an article I wanted to get out and dictated a number of notes to him, which he promised to get out, and I have been afraid, from what I have heard[,] that he was not attending to it. I got a dispatch from him, however, which said he would be down tomorrow to see me. His child Margaret had been sick.
At one o’clock I went to the Lion House to attend the funeral of Sister Julia Young Burton, the wife of Brother Charles S. Burton, who had died at Birmingham, England, where she had been taken to have an operation performed upon her by a celebrated surgeon there for ovarian tumor. There was a large attendance and more carriages I think than I had ever seen at any private funeral in this city. Some beautiful singing was rendered. Brother John Henry Smith occupied about 20 mins, Bp. O. F. Whitney about 10 mins and I spoke about 25 mins. I did not expect to speak when I went there, but I was pressed to do so. There was a great abundance of flowers brought and a great deal of sympathy felt for Brother Burton. His wife was a very estimable woman, an adopted daughter of President Young’s. He had left her a share in his estate the same as his own children. She died without issue[.]
David accompanied me home this evening.
Tuesday, Dec. 17th, 1889.
I drove to the city with Brother C. H. Wilcken.
Brother F. S. Richards called and gave us a very graphic description of the arguments in the Idaho Test Oath case, he having just returned from Washington.
My son John Q. came down and I went carefully through what had been prepared and dictated a number of additions, which he took in shorthand, and he returned after we had spent about two hours together, and expected to come down tomorrow at the same time. I have had so much to do of late that I have not been in as good health as usual. I have almost regretted that I promised to write anything for the Christmas Herald; but I have declined several invitations to write and Brother Grant came to me this time and manifested such a desire to have me write and spoke of the good that it would do, that I consented. I felt easier today at getting part of the work ready, as I am always troubled when I have anything of this kind on my hands until it is finished. I do not like to make promises to write articles. I have always labored under a feeling of self-distrust, and have done what writing I have as the Spirit moved me rather than upon the suggestion of others; the same in speaking or delivering lectures. I have not the self-confidence that might be expected from a man who has had so much experience in writing and speaking as I have had.
I have had an illustration lately of the importance of people listening to counsel. What is called the Hydraulic Canal Company had secured a promise from the County Court for one-sixth of the water coming out of the Utah Lake, they were not organized and the right had not been transferred to the company because of their not being an organized company. The City Council, learning that there was such a right granted, and anxious to obtain more water to supply the city, negotiated for this, giving the Canal Co. $10000.00 for the right. The County Court then deeded the one-sixth interest to the corporation of Salt Lake City. Last summer, during the scarcity of water, feelings arose over the attempt of the city to take this water. There were five canal companies organized, each of which had a share, and they claimed that this one-sixth interest went to parties on the river, and it was not in the power of the County Court to sell it. A great deal of feeling was elicited over this question. Meetings were held, in which I took part, and upon learning all the circumstances and the names of the parties who had received the money, I felt very clear in my mind that the money ought to be refunded. There were several County officials and some City officials who received this money. It was very clear to me that unless this money were returned and these men cleared themselves from all suspicion of wrongdoing connected with it, sooner or later they would be besmirched. Though the transaction was, no doubt, an honest and proper one, so far as the transaction itself is concerned, their connection with it would require too many explanations to clear them from the suspicion that as officers they had taken advantage of their position. I told some of them this, and particularly Judge Elias A. Smith. I said to him that he had better tell all that they were young men and had a future before them, and they could not afford for the money that they received to stand in such a questionable light; it would be sure to be brought against them sooner or later, and people would believe that there was something wrong about it. He told me that he would return his money. I found, to my surprise, that my son Abraham had received some $30. in connection with the others, and I told him also that he ought to return the money and get right out of it and have nothing to do with it. I also told Brother C. H. Wilcken to tell all of them, so far as he knew, th[e] same thing. It seems that this was neglected until about a week ago, when they got together and tendered the money back to the city on condition that the city return them that which they had received from the Canal Co, viz, the right to the one-sixth interest. But since this proposition to the City Council the Grand Jury has taken the matter up and indicted everyone of the Canal Co; some of them have several indictments against them; my son Abraham was among the number. Some of the members of the City Council called today to learn what counsel we had to give concerning their action in view of what had been done. I expressed myself as I had done before, clearly of the opinion that the City Council should accept the money and that something should be done looking to the extinguishing of this one-sixth interest in a way that it would cease to breed trouble; for it was clear to me that there had nothing occurred within my knowledge among our people in this county that was so likely to produce bad feelings and litigation, and perhaps apostasy, as this transaction. The people of the county felt very strongly on this subject, and they considered that they were being deprived of rights which belonged to them in the water. I felt that they had some ground for this feeling, and I said I would much rather personally subscribe something towards extinguishing this one-sixth, or have it divided among the canal companies and the city, making six canals, than I would to have it either turned back to the County Court or left in the possession of the city. I used the comparison that if we were not careful it would be like sowing dragons teeth, which would spring up armed men all over the county. The question afterwards arose as to how the City Council should return the deed, whether to the County Court who gave it, or to the Canal Co. who paid for it. This came up in a subsequent interview with Brother F. S. Richards. I saw a disposition on the part of some to take counsel from their fears and to pursue a timid, hesitating policy in regard to this matter, and I felt that this was dangerous. I said to the brethren, it is better for our folks to do right and take the consequences, even if it is not in some respects technically what some might assert was right. For instance, I said, if this is deeded back to the county, the county will be immediately enjoined and cannot make any disposition of it, and this will lead to litigation. If our opponents should carry the city election and the title remain in the city corporation, there would undoubtedly be trouble, for they would prosecute their claim, and this would arouse a feeling throughout the county. Now, I said, we have the power in our own hands; let us use it for the good of the people. My feeling would be for it to be deeded back to the Canal Co. They are our brethren and they will do with this as we shall counsel, and certainly it should be our aim to put this one-sixth interest in a position that it will not be a cause of future trouble.
President Woodruff and myself and Bishop Winder had an interview with Mr. James R. Wilson, who represents four papers in the State of New York, among them an Elmira paper, a Troy paper and a New York paper.
It was decided to have Brother C. W. Nibley go to Washington in the interest of our brethren in Idaho, he being thoroughly familiar with all the affairs of Idaho in connection with our case.
It was also decided to have Brothers John Morgan and B. H. Roberts go east and labor as opportunity offered with the press, in endeavoring to correct the false rumors and statements that were afloat and to create, if possible, a public opinion more favorable to the truth on our question.
It was also decided that Brother Grant take steps to have a meeting called of the business men of the city, that they may adopt resolutions sustaining the official declaration of the Presidency and Twelve which was prepared a few days ago, and also to have the Central Committee call a meeting of the People’s Party that, as a political party, something may be done in this matter.
I went down home with my daughters, Hester, Amelia and Emily this afternoon, leaving my team for David to bring down.
Wednesday, Dec. 18th, 1889.
Drove up this morning.
Listened to the reading of correspondence and attended to other matters of business. At one o’clock we held a meeting of the Board of Directors of Zion’s Savings Bank & Trust Co.
We had an interview with Brother F. S. Richards.
It snowed quite heavily this evening.
I drove home.2
Thursday, Dec. 19th, 1889.
I had a good night’s rest last night and felt the better for it. I came up to the city with my son David, and I took hold of my manuscript for the article for the Herald. My son John Q. came down from Ogden, bringing with him the portion that he had been preparing. In the course of an hour or two I had the whole of it in shape and sent it down to the Herald with a note to Byron Groo, the editor, asking him to criticise it freely and apologizing for the crudeness of the article, as I had written it under the pressure of other cares and duties and only having short intervals to devote to it.
I afterwards went down to the meeting of the Relief Society, to which I had been invited by our sisters. I found the 14th Ward Assembly Room very well filled. I listened to the reports which were being made by the representatives of the society, after which I was called upon to speak and occupied about 45 mins.
After my return President Woodruff soon left and I took hold of our correspondence which was accumulating and dictated answers to Brother A. Winter.
My son David and myself drove home.
Friday, Dec. 20th, 1889.
I got the proof of my article from the Herald this morning, but not having time to read it I left it to Brother Winter for him to read to Presidents Woodruff and Smith while I attended the closing exercises of the Salt Lake College. I listened with much pleasure to the exercises there. Remarks were afterwards made by Brothers Elias Morris, W. B. Dougall, my brother Angus and by Sister Zina B. Young. I spoke for about 20 mins to the students.
After my return to the Gardo House I read the proof of the Herald article, and I was much better pleased with it than I thought I would be.
A gentleman by the name of Chesnutwood, a nephew of Mr. Hartzell, formerly a member of Congress, brought me a letter of introduction.
The First Presidency had an interview with Brothers F. S. Richards and F. W. Jennings concerning political matters.
I then went to the Assembly Hall to attend a meeting of the Young Ladies’ Improvement Association, I having promised to attend that meeting. I spoke for about three quarters of an hour to them and I enjoyed my visit.
A very unpleasant, stormy day.
Saturday, Dec. 21st, 1889.
Very busy dictating a description of my trip to Canada, for Brother Winter to embody in my journal.
Brother Moses Thatcher returned from Mexico. Had an interview with him.
My son Franklin came down from Ogden to attend a meeting of the B. B. & C. Co.
Sunday, Dec. 22nd, 1889.
Another stormy day.
I drove to the Tabernacle in the afternoon and found a much larger congregation assembled than could have been expected considering the weather. Brother John W. Young was on the stand, which is the first time I have seen him there since before we went into seclusion 5 years ago. He was called upon to speak and occupied about 20 mins. He was followed by Brother John Henry Smith for some length of time, and I spoke for about the same length of time. I called the attention of the saints to the Fast Day that had been appointed for tomorrow.
My son David brought me up and took me back today.
Monday, Dec. 23rd, 1889.
The First Presidency and Apostles John Henry Smith, Heber J. Grant, John W. Taylor and A. H. Cannon and Counselors D. H. Wells and J. W. Young met at the Gardo House at 10 o’clock. We dressed ourselves in our priestly robes, with the exception of Brothers Wells and Young, and kneeling together, with our faces inward, each one prayed in turn, commencing with Brother Wells and from him going on, according to seniority, until President Woodruff was reached. Each one prayed for the desires of his heart. Just as we had concluded this, Brother F. M. Lyman came in. We then met in the circle [four words redacted] and President Woodruff requested me to be mouth. The Spirit of the Lord was enjoyed by all of us, I believe. I felt that it was a precious time.
It was nearly 3 o’clock before I succeeded in getting away from the Gardo House; for when we were through with the prayer meeting we found T. G. Webber, James Sharp and A. W. Carlson of the City Council and Brother F. S. Richards, the City Attorney, waiting for us to obtain counsel concerning the Hydraulic Canal Co.
After considerable discussion, Brother F. S. Richards read an opinion which he had prepared for the City Council upon the question, in which he says that the County Court had no right to the water which was sold to the city. This is the view that I have always taken of this question, and I trust that now measures will be taken to quiet this matter, so that it will not lead to the difficulty that is so threatening if there should be any contention over it.
After this I drove home. My family had been to Farmers Ward meeting house, where they had fasted and prayed. I had a fire built in my schoolhouse and called my family together, and I prayed with them.
The reports from the various wards concerning the attendance at the meetings are very gratifying. Probably at no time since the wards were organized has there been such a numerous attendance of the people at the ward houses. The reports from all are to the effect that they were crowded, and that the Spirit of God was powerfully felt. The people suspended their labors today. The streets were remarkably quiet, and we have reason to believe that the fast was very generally observed. Subsequent reports from the country represent the same condition as prevailing in the settlements. I sincerely trust that The Lord will look down with mercy upon Zion and hear the prayers of His people which have been offered this day with such union and such a spirit of devotion. It seemed as though this call for the fast has met the desires of the saints, judging by the responses they have made.
Tuesday, Dec. 24th, 1889.
This has been a very laborious day for me.
We had a meeting at 11 with the Board of Z.C.M.I. to take into consideration the question of S.W. Sears’ stock, which occupied us for some time.
Then the First Presidency had a meeting with the Central Committee. The object of coming together was to get our counsel concerning the course which a sub-committee of the Central Com. was taking in the examination of men who desired to register. The meeting was a very lengthy and tiresome one. I was grieved at the manifestations which I saw of division in the Committee. Brothers John C. Cutler and C. W. Penrose were diametrically opposed to each other on certain questions. Brother James Sharp shared in Brother Cutler’s views. Brother Penrose appeared to be desirous to get as many registered as possible and he was opposed to the catechizing of Brother Cutler and others; while they, particularly Brother Cutler, thought that Brother Penrose was not questioning the proposed voters as he should do; that his questions tended to disguise the truth instead of reveal it. I was not pleased myself with the attitude of Brother Cutler on this question, because it appeared that he was determined to make himself secure, even if it should be at the expense of losing the votes of everyone of those men who proposed to register. These brethren had come here seeking employment and intended to stay at the present time as long as they could get work, and the committee scrutinized them so closely and addressed such searching questions to them, which the brethren replied to with great frankness because they thought the men who addressed them were their brethren, that Brother Cutler felt that they might be exposed to the charge of conspiracy if they permitted them to vote. It seemed to me that there might be questions addressed to the parties proposing to vote which would be suggestive to them as to the line of answers that they should give to the registrars, and which would put the brethren on their guard and at the same time would not expose the committee who had interviews with them to the charge of being in a conspiracy. But I said to the brethren, after hearing the character of the questions that they had asked and the answers they had received, that they could not take any other course in safety except to tell the brethren that they could not register, though I did not think that that line of questioning was proper.
After we got through with this, President Woodruff and myself had a lengthy interview with a Mr. Chapin, a newspaper correspondent who had come on here.
I went home tonight faint, hungry and tired.
Wednesday, Dec. 25th, 1889.
This is the first Christmas Day that I have been free in 5 years. This time last year I was in the penitentiary. The previous Christmas days since 1884 that I have spent with my family have been in secret; and while I am not free in the full sense of the word, still it is a pleasure to be able to go out and in as I now do without fear from officers.
I arose this morning quite sick. I was up and down nearly all night. I spent the day in quietness. I had my family come and visit me, and have given great delight to my children by the presents that they have received. Five of my boys—Brigham, Reed, Joseph, Sylvester and Willard—I have presented with a watch each. The gift was unexpected and they were greatly delighted with it.
Thursday, Dec. 26th, 1889.
I drove up this morning. My son David started for the east in company with Brother John W. Young, he acting in the capacity of private secretary for him. A few days ago I blessed him, in view of his probable departure.
This morning we decided that Brother L. John Nuttall should proceed to Washington at an early date to act as secretary for Brother John T. Caine.
We had an interview with Brother P. P. Pratt concerning the claim of himself and his father’s family for remuneration for the publication of the late Parley P. Pratt’s works. The family have felt that the Church should pay them for the copyright. It has been brought up before the Council and all have felt that it would be a bad precedent; but the committee, of which I was one, was authorized to settle with the family, not as remuneration of their claim, because it was not desirable to admit that their claim was a right one, but to relieve them in their present narrow circumstances to the extent of $5000.00. The family, however, in response to our request to state what amount each would want, have presented us with a bill for $13500.00. The First Presidency today took the matter into consideration and finally decided to allow half the amount.
We listened to the reading of letters, and also a reply by Brother Budge to a pamphlet by a Presbyterian preacher in Bear Lake upon the “Mormon Purgatory”. Brother Wm. W. Riter called to get some counsel about offering the 8th Ward Square to the United States government for public buildings. After considerable discussion we decided that it might be advisable, under the circumstances.
We had interviews today with Brothers Penrose and Richards concerning political matters.
Friday, Dec. 27th, 1889.
My health has not been good for several days, and I am feelin[g] badly this morning.
Brother C. W. Nibley informed us that he could not conveniently go to Washington. We therefore decided to send Brother Budge and so telegraphed Brother Caine, but he replied that Judge Wilson would be better able to argue this question than an inexperienced person.
Brother Parley P. Pratt called upon us and we notified him concerning our action and told him that the family could draw the amount and divide it as they pleased among themselves, out of the tithing pay, but we could not pay money, as our circumstances would not permit our doing so. We should expect to have a receipt in full from them for all claims that they might have against the Church, and they could take the books of their father and husband and do with them as they pleased in regard to publication.
Today I had quite a conversation with my son John Q., in which he spoke of the policy of the Ogden Standard, of which Frank is editor, and which John is working on. He gave me his ideas concerning a line of action that he thought would be attended with excellent effects. I told him it was a very delicate thing and great care would have to be taken not to offend the susceptibilities of our people. He seems to have an idea that there is an excellent opening for doing away with many of the asperities which at present prevail in our midst, and appealing to business men and showing them that it is to their interest to keep down distractions and heartburnings and this bitter spirit which is so manifest among certain parties. Brother Thos. E. Ricks of the Bannock Stake called in. We had some conversation with him, and with Bp. John Spencer of Indianola. We appointed Brother F. M. Lyman to visit Indianola and endeavor to create a better feeling among the Indians and whites there[.] The condition of that Ward is such as requires attention. They have rejected Bp. Spencer by vote at the last conference that was held there, and we hear that many of the Indians are returning to their old habits.
I drove home this evening. The roads are in a shocking condition.
My children attended a ward party in Farmers Ward in the afternoon, and in the evening my daughters Mary Alice and Emily and some other members of the family went to the evening party for adults.
Saturday, Dec. 28th, 1889.
Brother Penrose came to me yesterday afternoon, at the request of Brother F. S. Richards, and read to me a list of names of parties who belong to the Church, but who could not take the oath necessary in order to be registered as voters, because it conflicted with their consciences, and there was quite a stron[g] desire that I should meet with these people at some convenient time. I appointed 10 o’clock this morning and told Brother Penrose to get notice to the Twelve who are in town, that they could meet also. This morning I came up early and met with these brethren at ten, also Brothers H. J. Grant and A. H. Cannon. We listened to the remarks that were made by John South, Jos. F. Simmons, Z. Derrick, Z. O. Derrick, Douglas Swan, Joseph Hyrum Parry and [blank] Woolley. They seemed to entertain the idea that there was a compromise of principle in taking the oath. Brothers H. J. Grant and A. H. Cannon and myself each spoke briefly. We showed how fallacious this idea was. I told them that they might rest assured that the authorities of the Church were not swerving from any principle in taking the course that had been counseled, neither was there any disposition to flinch. The evidence that our course was approved of the Lord was that the Lord poured out His Spirit upon the people who followed our counsel and the Spirit of the Lord bore testimony to them that the course that has been taken is right. I said the danger that I thought they stood in was this: they imagined—the devil would endeavor to create that feeling within them—that they were a little more conscientious than the rest of us, and a little more zealous and devoted to the work of God than we were, and that is a bad position for any Latter-day Saint to be in, for the adversary would be likely to try to take advantage of them. There was a very good spirit during the meeting.
I was informed by Brother H. J. Grant today that the article I had written for the Herald has had quite an effect and is very much thought of by our people, and the Herald Co. intend to publish it as a supplement and also in pamphlet form, as they thought it would do a great deal of good. I was much gratified to hear this.
Brothers Morgan and Roberts called and I explained to them the character of the duties that they were expected to perform on their mission east.
Brothers Reynolds and Winter and myself went through the public correspondence on hand and I suggested answers to be written. I dictated my journal to Brother Winter. The day has been quite stormy, snow falling at intervals.
Sunday, Dec. 29th, 1889.
My son Lewis took myself and daughter Mary Alice to meeting today at the Tabernacle. We had a very excellent meeting, the speakers being Brothers H. J. Grant, M. Thatcher and John Morgan.
I returned home directly after meeting.
Monday, Dec. 30th, 1889.
I met with quite a severe accident this morning. Coming down stairs in considerable of a hurry before daylight, with a candle in my hand, I trod on a shoe that was on the stair, which tripped me and I fell with considerable force on the edge of the stair, striking the lower part of my back, and from there tumbling and striking every stair as I fell to the bottom. The pain was very severe for some time. The force of the shock was so great that it stopped my circulation and my hands and feet became very cold. By building a fire and drawing me up on the lounge in front of it and putting hot water to my feet, warmth was restored to me. My sons Hugh and Lewis administered to me, and after awhile Abraham was brought and also administered to me. Their administrations relieved me from the acute pain that I had in my back, especially the lower part.
I had a visit today from President Woodruff and in the evening from President Jos. F. Smith, who came accompanied by Brother Jos. E. Taylor. Brother C. H. Wilcken and a number of other brethren called on me, and I was administered to several times.
Tuesday, Dec. 31st, 1889.
I stayed at home all day and kept as quiet as I could. It was with great difficulty that I moved, I was so sore. Across my bowels I was very tender.
The other day the Board of Directors of Z.C.M.I. met and considered the disposition of S. W. Sears’ stock which he had placed in our hands to either sell or do with it as we thought best for his interest. We had a very lengthy meeting, in which the situation of the stock was discussed pretty freely. The proposition was to give him $133. for each share, and for it to be bought by different individuals. The best method of buying it was discussed also. I listened for some time quietly to what was said, and then said to the brethren that I felt that the best thing we could do with him would be not to sell his stock, but to elect him one of the Board of Directors. A wrong had been done him in dropping him as he had been dropped, and he had some just cause for complaint. If the Church stock had been voted at that election, he would have been kept in as one of the Board, but because the Church stock had not been voted, a combination was formed by which his name was scratched off the ticket, which he claimed had injured him in his reputation as a business man, and which there was good reason to believe was true. I felt that if we wished to take out all his sting and deprive him of all cause of complaint, the best thing we could do would be to take the course I have mentioned. We would then have him where he could be handled, and then his cause of complaint would be removed. I urged this and said it was plain to me that that would be the proper course. One or two brethren, notably Brother J. R. Winder, agreed with me in this view; but the majority did not see it in that light. Some said that he would be glad to get this price for his stock. I then proposed that if that were the case, we should increase the price and make it $135. for each share, and then offer him the alternative of taking that for his stock or being one of the Board. I said I did not feel like making a motion, because I did not believe he cared about selling his stock at that price, and that he would elect to be one of the Board and as it was evident that the rest did not want him on the Board I would not make a motion of that kind. But if the brethren who felt so confident that he would be glad to take that price would make it, I would be in favor of it. This did not carry. The motion then to sell his stock for $133. was put, and after the rest had voted I then said I would vote with them, because I did not wish to be in opposition to them.
Today Brother Wm. H. Rowe came to my house, where I was confined through my accident, for me to sign, as one of the Trustees, the transfer of the stock to Brother John C. Cutler, who had bought it at $133. per share. After some conversation I told him that I could not conscientiously sign it, for since the meeting above referred to, I had inquired of Brother Heber J. Grant whether any one would sell their stock at that price and he told me he did not know of any one that would. I said to Brother Rowe, would you sell yours at $133.? He said, no; I would not sell mine for less than $150. Well then, said I, neither would I sell mine; and how can I, as a trustee—when a man puts his property in my hands, as S. W. Sears did, and asks me to do the best I can for him—how can I sell that at $133. when I would not sell my own for less than $150. I cannot in honor do such a thing. If this can be sold without my signature, then, of course, I cannot object; but if my signature is necessary, I cannot sign on such terms. Brother Rowe wanted to know on what terms I would sign it. I said if it could be sold for $150. I would sign it, because I would sell my own stock for that price. But, said he, we cannot get more than $133. for it. I then replied, what necessity is there for us to sell it? Why should we sell his stock at so much lower price than our own? We are not bound to sell it; we are bound to do the best we can with it. After some further conversation, he said to me, suppose that your signature is absolutely necessary to make this sale complete, how can we obtain it. I said to him, on these terms: if you will accept from me $500.00—though my circumstances are such that I really cannot spare it, but I prefer to do this rather than to be exposed to any charge of a breach of trust—to be given to S. W. Sears on his stock, I will sign it, because that is my proportion of what I think he ought to receive. I said to him, I hope yo[u] will explain this fully to the brethren, because I do not wish to be an obstructionist nor to be obstinate, but I want my conscience to be clear, with this man especially.