The Church Historian's Press

May 1890

1 May 1890 • Thursday

Thursday, May 1st, 1890. This morning the First Presidency took into consideration the question of someone going to Washington, and President Woodruff expressed his views to the effect that I had better go, if it would answer for one to go; and if it was necessary that two of the First Presidency should be there to decide upon questions, himself and Brother Smith would authorize me to do everything necessary, for the First Presidency.

Of course, this interferes with our projected trip to Arizona and Mexico, and it was decided to abandon that.

We held a meeting with several brethren connected with Sugar enterprise, and I made a motion that these brethren continue to act and give the public their testimony concerning the feasibility of the enterprise, and that the Church at the present time appropriate twenty thousand dollars, with the understanding that if the Supreme Court decision should be favorable in relation to our personal property, we should do more. I feel that we should, at least, put fifty thousand dollars in this. The brethren seemed to agree with that view. Brother Armstrong was requested to take steps quietly to secure land and water at West Jordan, before anything should be known about our intention to have the factory established there, so that no advantage would be taken by raising on the price of the land or the water.

At 2 o’clock the First Presidency and Brothers L. Snow, F. D. Richards, B. Young, H. J. Grant and A. H. Cannon met and all but Brothers Snow and Richards clothed and joined in the circle.

It was decided that Presidents Woodruff, Snow and myself should go to the Logan Conference, which is next Sunday and Monday; that Brother Lyman should go to the Wasatch Conference on Saturday and Sunday; that Brother A. H. Lund should go to Vernal, Uintah Stake, next Sunday but one. A dispatch was sent to him to notify to notify him of this appointment.

We sent a dispatch to Brother Clawson at California, advising him of our abandoning for the present the trip that we thought of taking.

I dictated some letters, among them a letter to the First Seven Presidents of Seventies in relation to amounts which they thought they ought to have to enable them to discharge the duties of their position. We had an interview with them upon this subject a short time ago, in which we expressed our views and desired them to state to us what amounts they thought they would need. We supposed at the time that there would be a difference in their circumstances, and that perhaps one would require more than another; but in reply to our wish that they should write us on the subject they state that they consider themselves equal and their circumstances were about the same, and they thought they ought to have $1500. apiece per annum. I have had very strong and decided feelings against the idea of fixing a stated sum as an amount to be drawn by any officer of the Church for the office that he holds. I feel that those brethren should be helped as they may need, with the understanding that they are not to be helped beyond a certain amount.

2 May 1890 • Friday

Friday, May 2nd, 1890. After I came up to the office this morning, I dictated the following letter to each of our attorneys – Brothers Young and Richards:

“Has the Presidency of the Church the unquestioned right to give to a partnership or corporate concern any sum of money to be used by that concern in the furtherance of the objects for which it is organized – I mean the unquestioned right so far as the public outside of the Church is concerned?

“I will illustrate the question by putting a hypothetical case.

Suppose the Church desired to rent some real estate for offices and business purposes, and parties owning it, either as partners or as a corporation, ask a rental which the First Presidency would hesitate about obligating itself to pay, would it be legally possible for the First Presidency to put a certain amount of money, as a donation, into that partnership or corporation, and in that way lessen the rent that would have to be paid to the other investors?

“This leads to another question.

“ In the event of the Church renting land and buildings for its purpose, can a paper be legally given that will guarantee to the owners of the property a fixed rental in perpetuity?

“And another question.

“Can the Church legally obtain a paper from the owners of the property pledging themselves to let the Church have the option of buying the property whenever a time should come, if ever, when the Church could hold real estate legally?

“By answering these questions immediately you will greatly oblige

Your Brother,


These brethren came in afterwards and saw me in relation to the subject of the letter, and I got a number of ideas from the conversation as to the best method for us to take to rent real estate.

In conversation afterwards with Brother John R. Winder I suggested that the Church could put money out into the hands of a trust company, for them to collect interest on, equivalent to the amount that we would have to pay as rent. In this way we could make, to use a common expression, one hand wash the other. I was very busy today trying to arrange this plan, and after I got the matter fully digested and all the points cleared up I submitted it to Presidents Woodruff and Smith. It was decided that we should organize a company, and Brother Winder was told to get up names for incorporators.

Brother Wm. H. Shearman came up, accompanied by Brother G. G. Bywater; and Brothers Jos. F. Smith, Brigham Young, Geo. Reynolds, G. G. Bywater and myself laid hands upon him and ordained him to the office of a Seventy. I was mouth.

Presidents Woodruff and Smith decided today that I ought to start at once for Washington. I spoke of staying till Monday, but I said to President Woodruff that I was a minute man and would start any time. He and Brother Smith both felt that I ought to be on the ground as quickly as possible. So I told them that if they wished I would go on Sunday, although I was averse to traveling on Sunday. President Woodruff thought I had better do so. I shall therefore have to give up my trip to Cache Valley.

I drove home, and my daughter Mary Alice and myself returned, my son Brigham driving the carriage, to Brother Brigham Young’s house, we having been invited there to the wedding reception of his daughter Mabel, who is just married to Brother C. P. Held. There was a very fine company present, and we had an excellent supper.

3 May 1890 • Saturday

Saturday, May 3rd, 1890. I have been very busy today meeting with one and another and making preparations to get away. Presidents Woodruff and Smith are not at the office, the former having gone to Logan to attend Conference.

I explained to Brothers Dinwoodey, Elias Morris and Amos Howe concerning the loan and trust company that we were organizing.

After this I drove home and packed up.

I called my children together and gave them some plain talk concerning their duties. I interrogated each one respecting their habits, secret prayer, obedience to mothers, and found that only two out of over twenty of the children who were present had ever tasted tea or coffee, and none of them had ever tasted tobacco or anything intoxicating. I was particular also to impress upon them the importance of avoiding all secret habits that they would blush to have their mothers or myself know about. A gentle, tender feeling prevailed, the Spirit of the Lord was present, and all appeared to be touched. Brother C. H. Wilcken was present. After I got through my interrogatories I prayed with the family.

Brother Wilcken took me to town in his buggy. I drove to my wife Carlie’s and met her brother Brigham and his wife Lizzie F., and we had lunch together. Brother Wilcken also stopped.

4–7 May 1890 • Sunday to Wednesday

Sunday, May 4th, 1890. Brother Arthur Winter came to my room and I dictated a letter to him for the First Presidency, concerning a railroad across from ocean to ocean in New Granada and Costa Rica, it being a scheme that ex-Senator Pomeroy had conversed with me upon. I also dictated a letter to Col. Trumbo and Bp. H. B. Clawson, in California, concerning the case of N. V. Jones.

There was a sleeper at the station which ran through to Omaha, and my berths were secured on that. My son Abraham saw me off. We started at 8:10. At Ogden, Brother F. D. Richards and my son John Q. called upon me. There was nothing particular occurred between the city and Omaha. Before I reached Omaha I changed from one sleeper to another that ran through to Chicago. We were four hours late at Omaha. We left Council Bluffs at 2 o’clock in the morning on Tuesday, May 6th. I reached Chicago at about 5 p.m. the same day, and put up at the Grand Pacific Hotel. I felt very much the want of companionship on this trip. There was no one on the train whom I knew, excepting ex-Marshal Dyer, who came as far as Cheyenne. There was a lady traveling with him with whom he did not seem to be acquainted when we started, but with whom he became quite intimate before we reached Cheyenne. She sat in the same seat with him. Who she was I do not know, but I had reasons to believe that she was a mistress that he was taking with him. These men who have been so fierce in their pursuit of us, and who have acted as prosecutors, as marshals, as jurymen on the grand and petit juries, and in other capacities, are men who in the most of cases are lascivious in their lives and are guilty of immorality; yet they would punish us for marrying wives and honoring that sacred relationship.

I did not receive my trunk until Wednesday, May 7th.

When I arrived at the hotel there had been a Republican Convention of the State of Illinois. I recognized a number of the members, four of whom, at least, had been in Congress when I was. I did not seek to make myself known to any; but General McNulta espied me and came hastily to me, and said, “I cannot be mistaken, this is my old friend, Mr. Cannon, of Utah” (We had not met for about 8 years)[.] I told him it was, and he appeared delighted. He introduced me to all the leading men who were present, and I was treated with considerable distinction. There was Col. Marsh, an ex-Member, General Martin, who had been President of the Convention, and [blank] all of whom had been Members of Congress. General McNulta insisted on taking me to the theatre, and afterwards took me to the leading restaurant to get supper. He pressed me very hard to go to Bloomington with him, where he lived, but I excused myself, and then he made me promise that I would call as I returned if it were possible. He asked me a great many questions about the situation and about my trials, and he expressed great sympathy for me. He said that he often wished, while I was on the “underground”, that I would come his way and he would have taken care of me.

On Wednesday morning I called on Mr. Baker, of the Erie R.R., for transportation to New York. W. C. Spence had written to him and he had my passes ready. I afterwards called on Mr. Donald of the Chicago & Atlantic, who impressed me as being a very fine gentleman. After that I called on Col. Clowry of the Western Union Telegraph Co, and gave him Brother Dougall’s letter of introduction. We had a very pleasant conversation, and before we separated he gave me a book of franks over the line.

While walking along one of the streets I was stopped by Brother John Scowcroft, of Ogden, who, with his wife and two daughters, was on his way to England, on a visit, he having left there ten years ago. I afterwards called at the Tremont House and saw himself and wife and daughters. In the evening I went to see the “Gondoliers” at the Grand Opera House and enjoyed the play.

8 May 1890 • Thursday

Thursday, May 8th, 1890. At 10:25 this morning I started on the Chicago & Atlantic railroad for New York. I telegraphed my son David at what hour I would reach Jersey City.

9 May 1890 • Friday

Friday, May 9th, 1890. David met me today at 5:35 p.m.; took me to Mrs. Bell’s. Brother John W. Young and David were busy packing till 1:30.

10 May 1890 • Saturday

Saturday, May 10th, 1890. Misses Talulu and Gracie Young, one the daughter of President Young and the other of Le Grand Young, were stopping also at Mrs. Bell’s, and we accompanied Brother John W. Young and David at 9 o’clock to the “Umbria”, a Cunard steamship on which the passages of Brother Young and David were engaged for Liverpool. Brother Young is going over for the purpose of putting his bonds on the English market, and David accompanies him as his private secretary. The steamship is a magnificent one, probably one of the finest, if not the finest, on the ocean. She sailed punctually at ten o’clock.

I was greatly pleased with David’s punctuality in insisting on paying me back some money that he had borrowed while we were in Washington together last February.

Our parting was quite feeling. I feel greatly pleased with David at the present time, and I trust he will continue to do right and give me happiness.

At 2:10 p.m. I started for Washington. Brothers Caine and Nuttall and my son Frank met me at the depot, I having telegraphed them the hour that I would arrive. After conversing with them I concluded to go to the house where Brother Caine stopped, as the hotel where I usually stop at in Washington – the Riggs House – has for guests Gov. Thomas, Ex-Gov. West and Pat. Lannan, and these are people that I do not want to meet. Baskin is at Willards. My son Frank and his wife, Mattie, are here, he having come down to present a feature that he has conceived as an attraction for the World’s Fair. His proposal is to make a complete earth map of the United States, giving one square yard to the square mile. and depicting on it the cities, the mountains, valleys, streams, lakes, railroads, and everything of this character, in miniature. He informs me that he has unfolded his plan to Senator Stanford and a number of other leading Senators and Representatives, all of whom, excepting Eugene Hale, of Maine, have thought it a grand scheme, and something that is so magnificent that it ought to be adopted as a feature of the World’s Fair. Hale seemed to want ships, and Frank said that if Mr. Hale had been patient he would have described to him how ships would have been represented, but Frank saw the feeling that he had and broke off the conversation. He has got letters of introduction to leading men in Chicago connected with the World’s Fair and would have gone there before now, but Brother Caine had requested him to call upon Senators and Members in connection with the pending legislation. Brother Caine tells me that he has done considerable good by doing so.

Brother Caine and wife and two daughters, Florence and Martie, are stopping at Mrs. Winslow’s, 922 High St., N.W. I took up my abode there also.

11, 12, 13 May 1890 • Sunday, Monday, and Tuesday

Sunday, Monday & Tuesday, May 11, 12 & 13, 1890. Received letters and dispatches from home. I wrote Editorial Thoughts for the Juvenile Instructor, also letters to Presidents Woodruff and Smith, to C. H. Wilcken and to my family.

I kept quiet in the house, writing being my principal employment these days.

I received this letter May 12th.

[The following is a First Presidency letter typed on letterhead.]

President’s Office

Church of Jesus Christ



P.O. Box B.

Salt Lake City, U.T.

May 8, 1890.

President Geo. Q. Cannon,

Washington, D. C.

Dear Brother:

We enclose you a telegram received last night from our western friends. It will probably be well to act in accordance with Este’s suggestion and not make any special move until you learn further of their plans.

In the line of the suggestions of Brother John T. Caine, we have consulted with a number of the leading brethren in commercial circles, and numerous letters will be written by them to their correspondents in the East in relation to the infamy of the proposed disfranchisement law and the paralyzing effect it will have, if passed, on the trade of the territories. We have also arranged for several of these brethren to start without delay and visit the firms with whom they do business. Amongst these are Elder John Clark, to the grocerymen; Elder Spencer Clawson, to the dry-goods merchants; Elder W. H. Rowe, to the leather and wool men; Elder John H. White, to the stock men and butchers; Elder Henry Dinwoodey and probably one of his buyers, to the wholesale furniture dealers; Elder T. V. Williams, to the hard-ware men; Elder Francis Armstrong, the lumbermen; Elders William James and John Midgley (or his father), the plumbers; Elder Elias Morris, cement and marble men, etc., and others not yet decided upon.

We have also got out a remonstrance to be presented to Congress to be signed by our non-polygamous brethren. A copy of this we enclose for your perusal, with copies of the letters that have accompanied it from the First Presidency and from the Territorial Committee of the People’s party.

Since your departure we have consented for another of our young artist-brethren, Brother V. M. Pratt, to go to Paris. His special study will be mural decoration, etc., a branch in which the other brethren have no experience.

We have also made the heart of Brother Evan Stevens glad by granting his society the use of the Tabernacle for two evening performances and a matinee. It is the intention to hold the concerts early in June.

We have arranged for a meeting to-morrow morning with regard to the Central American Railroad project. Elders W. R. Smith, Geo. Crismon, E. M. Weiler, Bp. Black of Deseret, etc. are invited. You will doubtless hear from some of them in the near future.

Ourselves and the brethren of the apostles are, so far as we learn, in good health. On Sunday Elder F. M. Lyman will be at Coalville, Elder M. W. Merrill at Paris, Elder H. J. Grant at Price, and Elder A. H. Lund at Vernal.

With love,

Your Brethren,

Wilford Woodruff

Jos. F. Smith

14 and 15 May 1890 • Wednesday and Thursday

Wednesday & Thursday, May 14 & 15, 1890. Laid out a plan of visits for my son Frank to prominent men. He saw Senators Edmunds and Teller, and the latter promised him letters of introduction to Secretary Blaine and others.

I have taken the counsel sent to me from home “to make no move” myself until Col. Trumbo arrived; but I cannot be idle in the presence of the danger which threatens, and I use Frank in this way, for the time is short in which to work.

Brother John M. Browning, of Ogden, came here on Thursday, he having been telegraphed by his brother Matt. to do so. We explained to him the policy which our business men were taking and the character of the appeals that should be made.

Brother Caine and daughters, Brother L. John Nuttall, Frank and Mattie and myself went to Barnum’s circus on Wednesday evening. After we reached the circus it commenced raining and poured down all the evening. I scarcely remember ever hearing such a rainstorm at this time of the year. We were pretty well sheltered in the tent. The affair was a mammoth one, there being three rings, in which all sorts of performances were going on. After the ring performances there was a spectacular play – the burning of Rome by Nero. It was a most gorgeous affair and an immense number of performers. The rain somewhat interfered with the spectacle; still it was carried out in all of its details. There were probably between ten and fifteen thousand people in the tent.

I wrote letters to Presidents Woodruff and Smith, to my children and to some of my wives.

16 May 1890 • Friday

Friday, May 16th, 1890. Wrote Editorial Thoughts for the Juvenile Instructor.

My son Frank had a satisfactory interview with Senator Cullom today. A description of the interview I wrote to Presidents Woodruff and Smith, under date of the 17th, a copy of which is in my letter book.

17–18 May 1890 • Saturday to Sunday

Saturday, May 17th, 1890. Wrote to Presidents Woodruff and Smith, also to my wives Martha and Carlie. Attended to a good deal of other business. My son Frank had an excellent interview with Senator Platt, Chairman of the Senate Committee on Territories.

In the evening I took Brother Caine and wife and daughters, Brother L. J. Nuttall and Frank and wife to see the Carlton Opera Co. in a comic opera called Mynheer Jan. We enjoyed it very much.

This afternoon Brother Nuttall and myself and some of the rest of the folks went out for an airing on the electric and cable cars. I had paid Frank and Mattie a visit at the Auburn House, where they lived, and I met Col. Duryea and wife, and had a very pleasant visit with them.

19 May 1890 • Monday

Monday, May 19th, 1890. My son Frank having been invited to make an argument against the Cullom disfranchisement bill before the Senate Committee, met with that Committee today, most of the members being present, and made what I am told is a very fine argument against the proposed measure. All who have spoken to me upon the subject have said that it had a remarkable effect upon the Committee, and every member of the Committee congratulated him afterwards upon the argument. While Senator Blackburn was speaking to him about it, Brother Caine being present, and complimenting him on the effect that it had, ex-Gov. West and Mr. Baskin, who were present and heard it, came up to the group, and West, seemingly impelled by jealousy at the compliments that were being given to Frank, spoke up and said that they would cover all the points in the answer that they would make, at which Senator Blackburn said, “You cannot do it, sir; the argument is unanswerable, and I shall never vote for such a bill while the earth stands, nor agree to its being reported.” This, Brother Caine told me, was quite a rebuff; for West is a Kentuckian and Blackburn also. One reason why the Republican members of the Committee have received this argument more favorably is that in his conversations with Republican Senators Frank has talked as a Republican. Upon my arrival in Washington I spoke to him for the first time concerning his political predilections, and he informed me that he was in sympathy with the Republican party more than the Democratic party. I deemed it very fortunate, this being the case, that he should be here, because he could talk in a way that I could not, nor any one else of our people here. Being a young man he could represent his class. Brother Caine had requested him to visit some of the Members, and he had done so and had presented the case from a Republican standpoint. I was pleased with what he told me he had done, and I suggested that he go and see several Senators. I wrote him a letter of introduction to Senator Teller, dating it at home before I left. He presented the position of affairs in Utah in a very striking manner to Senator Teller, who was much taken with his view of the situation. He held out hopes that if the Republican party treated our people fairly there would be quite a following of young men in Utah of that party; and having heard me say that if Utah were admitted as a State a sentiment of gratitude to the party that admitted her would doubtless prompt a great many to vote for that party, he dwelt upon the advantage it would be to the Republican party to deal fairly with our question; and while I charged him not to make any pledges, he held out hopes that fair treatment would have a wonderful effect and might perhaps make the Territory Republican if it were admitted as a State.

I have never heard him speak, but I am told that he is very persuasive and has an excellent way of putting things. Brother Caine speaks very highly of his manner and his apparent fairness and promptness in answering the questions that are put to him. That he must have had some effect on these Senators is plain, I think, from the fact that in the case of Senator Edmunds, whom he saw, and Senator Cullom and Senator Platt, as well as Senator Teller, each suggested that he should not present the political situation to the Committee as he had described it to them, but to confine himself to the other phase of the argument. I gathered from this that his presentation of the political situation had had some effect upon them. Senator Platt was particularly desirous that he should not say anything of that kind in the presence of the Democratic members. When he had his conversation with Senator Edmunds the latter remarked that he wished he would see Senator Platt and talk with him on these points. Frank replied that he had been invited to make an argument before the Committee. Edmunds said that he had better not wait till he made his argument, but to see Senator Platt before and talk to him as he had to him (Edmunds).

I have felt greatly pleased with this line of action. I am impressed that if anything will bring us relief it is by pursuing this course. These men are impenetrable to all argument as to the rightfulness or wrongfulness of measures proposed against us; but if they can be reached at all, they can be reached through self-interest or the interest of their party. Let a suggestion be made that seems to favor the growth of their party and be an advantage to the party, and they listen to it eagerly. I have written fully to Presidents Woodruff and Smith on this, and copies of the letters are in my letter book.

Today the U.S. Supreme Court made its decision in the Church suit, the opinion being delivered by Justice Bradley. The decision affirmed the action of the lower courts in all particulars. Chief Justice Fuller made a vigorous dissenting opinion, in which Justices Field and Lamar joined.

21 May 1890 • Wednesday

Wednesday, May 21st, 1890. Frank left for Chicago today to attend to his own business.

22–26 May 1890 • Thursday to Monday

Thursday, May 22nd, 1890. Col. Trumbo and Bp. Clawson arrived this evening. We met them at the train.

It seemed to be providential that Col. McDonald, who had argued the Church suit case on our side before the Supreme Court, was present when the decision was rendered, and he made a motion immediately for a rehearing of the case. Brother Caine and myself called upon him about preparing a petition and doing everything possible to secure a rehearing. He seemed quite discouraged. Justice Bradley had told him that he could not get the opinion till Wednesday evening, and the petition must be in by Thursday noon. He felt that he had been treated discourteously. But we encouraged him all we could and got him to feeling better and more disposed to prepare his petition and do all that he could. For fear that he might be overworked, or that something else might occur. I arranged for him to be paid any additional expense that he might be at, either in securing help or in doing anything else. I thought perhaps that he might know of some strong man who could help him in preparing the petition, whose aid he might avail himself of if he knew he could pay him.

I described the situation to Col. Trumbo when he arrived, and he went at it very vigorously.

As this was Thursday night and the court, instead of deciding the matter today had left it till tomorrow, this gave us a few hours to work in, and those few hours were used to as good an advantage as I ever saw the same time before. The Lord was with us. Senators Stanford and Stewart and others were seen, and Col. Trumbo promised Senator Stewart $500. if he could help us to secure a rehearing. Senator Stanford went himself, in his own carriage, and saw one of the Justices upon the subject, and Stewart did all that he could. I was told that Justice Field felt so worked up about this case that he talked very strongly indeed and if he had been a lawyer on our side could not have spoken more in advocacy of a rehearing and of the wrongfulness of the decision than he did.

The result of all this was the most astonishing success. The court decided there should not be a rehearing, but agreed to the following order, and the mandate was ordered to be withheld:

[Attached newspaper clipping:]

Supreme Court of the United States.

The late corporation of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints et al., appellants, vs. the United States, and

George Romney et al., appellants, vs. the United States.

Ordered by the court that the decree entered herein on the 19th instant be, and the same is hereby, vacated and set aside.

May 23, 2890.

[End of small newspaper clipping]

Considering everything, this is an amazing result, and I feel to thank the Lord for it, for it seemed as though the decision had gone beyond reach. Now we shall have an opportunity to do something between now and the sitting of the court in the fall. Senator Stewart made the remark, Now you can jump in with both feet to get a change. The fact that this was done in so short a time appeared to be an advantage, because I think that some of these men, if they had had time to reflect upon it, would not have done what they did. Senator Stanford remarked that he had never before approached one of the Justices of the Supreme Court in regard to a decision of the court, and if he had had time to have thought he would not have done it, and would not do it again; but he showed the utmost friendliness and interest in this matter. Three of the Justices on the majority side were seen. Bishop Clawson had a personal interview with Justice Blatchford. Senator Evarts had seen him also. All these influences had their effect.

Judge Estee, of California, had sent Secretary Blaine a lengthy argument in favor of the admission of Utah by the Republicans, urging it as the true policy, and that it was a measure of justice that should be adopted. Col. Trumbo was furnished with strong letters to Secretary Blaine and to other leading men. His first interview with them was on Monday, the 26th. when he had a conversation of two hours length. Besides the Secretary of State, Quay of Pennsylvania, Davis of Minnesota, General Goff of West Virginia and others were present, and his talk had such an effect that it was agreed that they should meet again at 11 o’clock on Tuesday, the 27th. Judge Estee has taken hold of our affairs with a zeal that is extraordinary[.] His heart is in the work. He has been awakened by Col. Trumbo and by our visits to the terrible injustice that is being practiced against us. He is very influential, he being the President of the Convention which nominated Harrison for the Presidency, and he has also been a member of the Pan-American Congress which has been holding its meetings lately in Washington. His letter has had a great effect, and it must have a good effect on all fair-minded men, for he appeals to their better feelings, to their sense of justice and right, and points out that such a policy adopted towards Utah will result better all round, both for the Republican party and for the country, as well as for the people themselves, than to pursue a different policy.

Col. Trumbo talks of the effect that this policy will have upon California and shows how much better it would be for the Republican party in California and vicinity if the Mormon people could be treated as they should be. Being familiar with the situation of affairs in Utah, he can talk very strongly on this, and do it entirely from the standpoint of a politician. His interview on the 27th was somewhat similar to that of the previous day. But when they parted on the 26th some of them went to see President Harrison. He appears to be intractable in relation to Utah. He has had it in his mind that some measure should be introduced even worse than the disfranchisement bills already in – that, is, I would think them worse. For instance, one of his ideas is to state a term of years, say 30 years, in a bill, for which period all who profess the Mormon faith should be deprived of the franchise. I would look upon this as a worse measure than these now pending; but it shows the bitterness of Harrison upon this question.

I omitted to mention that Frank returned from Chicago on Saturday evening, the 24th, much gratified at the prospects of success for his scheme in connection with the World’s Fair.

On Sunday, the 25th, Brother Clawson took Brother and Sister Caine and myself in a carriage and gave us an excellent ride, which I enjoyed very much. We went all over Washington, and I got a better idea of the growth of the city than I had had.

Brothers Elias Morris and John Clark came in here for several days and called upon Members to whom they had letters of introduction. Brother Clark left for New York on Monday night, and Brother Morris left for the west on Tuesday, the 27th. Brother Junius Wells was here for a few hours on Monday, the 26th.

I have written letters to my family and have occupied considerable time in writing for the Juvenile.

Presidents Woodruff and Smith have written me to see the immigration Commissioners in New York about our incoming immigration which the authorities, according to the newspapers, threaten to send back to Europe, on the ground that they come in violation of the Contract Labor law.

27 May 1890 • Tuesday

Tuesday, May 27th, 1890. My son Frank described to Brother Caine and myself an interview that he had had with Mr. Struble, the chairman of the Committee on Territories in the House. He informed Frank that it was his intention to call up the bill on the first opportunity. Frank had a lengthy conversation with him and it seemed to have but little effect until he told him that his name would go down to infamy linked with this measure; that other men such as Baskin and West would be forgotten, and if the Mormon people ever became a political power, his action would never be forgotten. I cannot give in full here what he said to him; but this seemed to reach him, and he said that if the other Republicans of the Committee would be willing, he would like to hear Frank make an argument before the Committee, and he would re-open the case, although the bill had been reported to the House and was now on the calendar. I was very much surprised at hearing this statement, for such a proceeding was unheard of. But as Frank is going back to Chicago in the morning it was important that the other Republican members of the Committee should be seen, so that when spoken to by Mr. Struble they would acquiesce. We talked over the best plan to get them to agree to it.

At 10:30 this evening I took train for New York.

28 May 1890 • Wednesday

Wednesday, May 28th, 1890. As a good many of our brethren, who had come down to use influence with the people they patronized in business, were putting up at the Gilsey House, I went to that hotel. I found Spencer Clawson, W. H. Rowe, T. W. Jennings, and one or two others there.

My object in visiting New York is in relation to the immigration. I called upon Mr. Tenbroeck, railroad agent, and he informed me that he had no apprehensions about there [their] being stopped. I made inquiries concerning the officials, so that I might get letters of introduction to them.

29 May 1890 • Thursday

Thursday, May 29th, 1890. Brother Clawson and Col. Trumbo came up from Washington today.

Mr. Neels, and [an] old friend of ours, suggested that I get Mr. J. J. Morris to introduce me to the Collector of the Port, Mr. Erhardt. I found that the Commissioner of Immigration was an ex-Member of Congress, who served with Brother John T. Caine, and I telegraphed the latter that I would like him to come to New York if he could spare the time. The name of the Commissioner is J. B. Weber.

I saw Mr. Gibson of the Guion Line, who thought the immigrants were in great danger of being stopped, and the matter was very serious.

30 May 1890 • Friday

Friday, May 30th, 1890. Got a very strong letter of introduction to the Collector of the Port from Kountze Bros. for myself and Brother Clawson. Assistant Treasurer Teichnor had sent a letter of introduction for Brother Clawson and Col. Trumbo. Brother Caine arrived from Washington this evening.

31 May 1890 • Saturday

Saturday, May 31st, 1890. An appointment had been made with Mr. Morris, who is a man of very high standing here, for him to take Brothers Caine and Clawson and myself and introduce us to the Collector of the Port. He was absent from the city; but we saw Mr. Couch, the deputy collector; and the private secretary of the Collector recognized me, he having known me in Washington, and this made things very pleasant for us. They seemed to think there would be no trouble about the immigrants, and that my representations ought to have weight.

From there we proceeded to the office of the Commissioner of Immigration and met Col. Weber, who recognized Brother Caine, and expressed pleasure at meeting me, of whom he had heard so much, he said. He sent for Mr. Milholland, who is the Inspector of the Immigrants. Mr. M. had been out to Utah recently and had been stuffed by our enemies there with all the current lies, and he had been prepared to do anything he could to stop the immigrants. We talked for a long time with him, he addressing me all his questions, and we were able to remove a great deal of prejudice. They both requested me to write a letter to them, stating in writing what I had stated verbally, and Mr. Milholland assured us that no fanaticism or prejudice should prevail in the treatment of the immigrants. I informed them that it was not our wish, in calling upon them, to request them to overlook any violation of the law, but to treat the people fairly and without prejudice. If any came under contract, in violation of law, we had nothing to say in their defense. That which we did wish to impress upon them was that the immigrants were not brought by the Church, as a corporation, and did not come out under any kind of labor contract.

We went from this office to Pier 41, to see Mr. & Mrs. Neels, who were about to depart for Europe on the City of Rome. These people are very warm friends of the Latter-day Saints and never fail to speak kind words concerning us and do good things for us. I had a very pleasant visit with them at their hotel one of the past evenings.

Brother Caine spoke to me about returning to Washington tonight, if I thought he could be spared. He did so.

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May 1890, The Journal of George Q. Cannon, accessed June 15, 2024