The Church Historian's Press

May 1891

1 May 1891 • Friday

Friday, May 1st, 1891.

President Woodruff intends to go to Logan, and I felt it proper for me to go up and see him and President Smith, as the latter is also going away on a visit. I expected to accompany President Woodruff to the Logan Conference, but I felt so badly today, after reaching there, that I was doubtful whether I could make the trip or not, and he insisted on my not doing so.

A good deal of business was attended to today.

I went home fatigued and feeling badly.

2–4 May 1891 • Saturday–Monday

Saturday, May 2nd, 1891.

Sunday, 3rd

Monday, 4th

Confined to my house, still suffering from this sickness. It has prostrated me completely and taken away all my strength and energy. For an hour or two I may feel pretty well, then again I will be listless and good-for-nothing, having no strength or energy.

5 May 1891 • Tuesday

Tuesday, May 5th, 1891.

In consequence of a visit from a number of brethren last evening upon the subject of our doing something in the way of preparations to meet President Harrison, I felt it was important that I should go to town this morning, although I was scarcely able to do so. I have had it on my mind, and have mentioned it to Bishop Clawson several times, that we should as a community pay the respect to President Harrison that is due to him as the head of a great nation. Whatever our private feelings might be as Republicans or Democrats, or Jews, or Gentiles, or Mormons, he was the chief magistrate of our nation. He had been constitutionally elected, and we would not be doing ourselves justice nor treating ourselves with respect if we did not exhibit to him that honor and courtesy which was due to him. Brothers Spencer Clawson and H. M. Wells had been selected as committeemen by the Mayor; but they said there was an entire feeling of apathy and indifference on the part of our people. This was partly due probably to the fact that there has been a disposition to slight us and to keep the President and his companions under the control of what is called the Tribune ring, so that he will see little or nothing of the Latter-day Saints nor of our buildings. I said to the brethren that we should not feel this way. We were too big a people to take offense at anything of that kind. Any who attempted to slight us did themselves more injury than they could us, and I was in favor, if they did not treat us with respect and did not give us a place in the procession, that we should form our own procession, and join the tail end of theirs, and have this done in a way that would be orderly and free from confusion. So last evening, when the brethren were down, I gave them my views concerning this matter, and it was decided to have the pioneers appear in the procession, and I said that no doubt President Woodruff would ride as one of the pioneers and I would be willing to, and head the pioneers. There was the mandolin club, the Tabernacle choir, bands, and various choirs, all of which would make a very respectable showing. We could also have the Tabernacle choir convenient and have some patriotic airs sung in the Tabernacle, if it could be arranged for President Harrison and his party to visit that building. I could not see how their visit would be complete without looking at the Temple and the Tabernacle. He himself has been here; but Secretary Rusk and Secretary Wannamaker have not. I also said that we should decorate our buildings, and in every way show our respect for the chief magistrate, and not give our enemies the chance to allege that we were disloyal and indifferent.

After I reached the city, I sent out a request for such of the Twelve as were here, and the Presiding Bishops, and the brethren that were with me last evening and some few others, to meet at the Gardo House, expecting that President Woodruff would be back from his visit to Logan by the time we met. He came on time. I gave the brethren my views in considerable fullness, in which President Woodruff agreed, and which all present accepted. Brother H. M. Wells had taken the minutes of what occurred the previous evening, and these were read, and on my motion a committee was appointed, with power to appoint sub-committees, to look after the entire affair. The committee consisted of the Presiding Bishops, Bishop Clawson, C. S. Burton, Spencer Clawson and H. M. Wells.

We have had a great deal of business today, and I felt very much tired, and thought that I should feel very badly next day.

6 May 1891 • Wednesday

Wednesday, May 6th, 1891.

I feel better today that I did yesterday. I went up to the office and attended to business.

7 May 1891 • Thursday

Thursday, May 7th, 1891.

I am still improving, though suffering yet from my sickness. I was at the office all day.

8 May 1891 • Friday

Friday, May 8th, 1891.

The town is being decorated, to do honor to the President, who is expected here at 3 o’clock in the morning. The Gardo House and the Beehive House were profusely decorated, and presented a finer appearance than any building I saw in town. All the buildings of owned by our people were well decorated. The Temple decorations showed off to fine advantage. In immense letters on the side was the sentiment: “Fear God, Honor the President.” I suggested for the Juvenile Instructor building, “Welcome to the Grandson of Tippecanoe”, also, “Under Harrison freedom dawned on Utah”. This last sentiment has created considerable comment. Some professed not to understand what it meant, and some questioned the correctness of the statement. I had quite a conversation with Brother Geo. Reynolds on this subject at lunch today, he taking the ground that it was not correct. In reply, I said that every time I went home and thought upon my situation I felt to thank God for the freedom which he had vouchsafed to me and mine. For years I had not dared to visit my premises without a guard, and then in the most stealthy manner. My wives and children lived in terror. My little children had fled in the depth of winter, through snow, without a covering on their heads, a distance of half a mile, to their brother John Q’s, whenever they heard deputy marshals were coming. My wives and myself also had had to take to our heels and hide. When I contrasted that condition of things with the present, I felt that freedom had indeed dawned upon me personally; and when I spoke thus of myself, I could say the same truthfully respecting hundreds of others, who were relieved from the terror in which they had lived for a long period. And this had nearly all taken place under Harrison’s administration. Personally, I like Mr. Cleveland better than I do Mr. Harrison; but in speaking thus I speak of the administrations of the two men.

9 May 1891 • Saturday

Saturday, May 9th, 1891.

I left home early this morning for the purpose of joining President Woodruff and the pioneers, who would be ready to form in line at 8 o’clock. President Woodruff was very anxious about me when I arrived, he having reached there at half past seven. We occupied a fine landeau, which had been procured from Grant’s livery stables, and Brother C. H. Wilcken drove the team. Alongside of him was W. P. Nebeker, who carried a silk banner on which was inscribed, “Pioneers 1847”, Brother Nebeker having come into the valley that year. It was after nine before we filed into the procession. Our place was very far back, and many of our people felt hurt because of our being placed in the procession at that point. For myself I did not care anything about it, neither did President Woodruff, I think. If anyone put us in this position thinking to slight us, they only did themselves more discredit than they did us. I feel so confident of my own position, and esteem the dignity of my office so highly, that these people who had this matter in charge today cannot do me any discourtesy that I would consider worthy of notice. They are only creatures of the hour, and the positions they hold are only temporary; while we, through the blessing of God upon us, live in the affections of the people, and our memories will live forever, if we are faithful. The streets were lined with people, and the appearance of the houses and everything in sight must have made a deep impression upon the visitors, especially a large collection of children which, as we passed east on South Temple Street, were gathered in an [a] side street, the ground in which rose so rapidly as to give chance to form the children and make a very fine appearance. The President stopped and addressed them. They welcomed him by cheers and the waving of banners, every child carrying a flag. He spoke of this afterwards with some feeling, saying it was the most beautiful sight he had seen. When we reached the Liberty Park we were invited to seats on the stand, and we sat within a few feet of the President, who had the Governor on one side and the Mayor on the other. These officers rode with him in his carriage. The Governor made the opening speech, addressing himself to the President, and was followed by Mayor Scott. The Governor then introduced the President to the audience. President Harrison spoke with a good deal of freedom, and appeared to very good advantage. Some of his remarks might have been omitted with great propriety, wherein he alluded to the American home and the one wife sitting as an uncrowned queen therein, &c; but he perhaps felt that it was necessary he should make some allusion to our marriage relations, and though I listened carefully and was somewhat sensitive, I thought that he got through it very well, and that there was nothing offensive in that which he said. Postmaster Wannamaker was called for, and he spoke to the audience. Secretary of Agriculture Rusk spoke a few words, saying that Utah produced the largest potatoes he had ever seen. After the President finished, the ladies of the party withdrew and drove to the Tabernacle, with the intention of seeing that. Brother John T. Caine introduced President Woodruff and myself to the President. I was acquainted with him, having met him when I was in Congress. Secretary Rusk and myself served together in the House and we were intimate. We were also introduced to Postmaster John Wannamaker, whom I had never met before. As soon as the speaking was done, President Woodruff and myself drove immediately to the Tabernacle, and found that the choir, which we had arranged to wait there, had just been dismissed as well as the Sunday School children, word having reached the Tabernacle that the party would not visit it. We were quite disappointed at this, but suggested that a solo singer be found, if one were present, and that the visiting ladies should hear a solo, accompanied by the organ. Sister Agnes Olson-Thomas sang a Norwegian ballad. The visiting ladies were at the east end of the Tabernacle, in the gallery. I repaired there and told them that this lady would sing, and they listened with much pleasure to her voice. After we left there, Postmaster Wannamaker came there.

Everything passed off very pleasantly, and I enjoyed the day; but after my return home I was taken sick and felt quite badly all the afternoon and evening.

10 May 1891 • Sunday

Sunday, May 10th, 1891.

I feel bad this morning. I went to the Tabernacle in the afternoon, and in conversation with my brother Angus went through a number of names of Elders whom we thought would be well to call to the stand to speak. Two responded—Elders C. W. Symons and D. F. Davis. They only occupied a short time. I had no desire to speak; in fact, I felt that in my condition it would not be wise to attempt it; but after Brother Davis finished I felt led to occupy the remainder of the time.

11 May 1891 • Monday

Monday, May 11th, 1891.

President Woodruff and myself had an interview with Delegate Caine and Brothers J. R. Winder and F. S. Richards. The political situation was talked over very freely. President Woodruff was desirous that I should express my views, which I did in answer to enquiries which were presented by the brethren. Brothers Caine and Richards seemed to be desirous to know what action should be taken at the present time in regard to the People’s Party. My view, as I expressed it, was that the People’s Party should maintain its organization, but that some of our brethren who are known as Democrats, and who have to some extent affiliated with the Democrats in their late movements, should join that party; and I felt particularly clear concerning Brother Caine himself, that he should take part in this movement; for he was known in Washington as a Democrat, and it would put him in an anomalous position if he did not join with this movement. My view is that men may be Democrats or Republicans and yet members of the People’s Party. The People’s Party is a local party, and we unite in that party for self-defense, and in doing so it is no disloyalty to either party. Brother Richards was anxious to know whether he should take hold, too. He viewed himself as a Democrat and said he did not want to be behind. But it was clear to me that it would be a bad move for him, as Chairman of the Central Committee of the People’s Party, to drop the duties of that position, which were very important, and join openly the Democratic party. We are busy now preparing for a general defense, and there are others besides Salt Lake County, and the interests of the whole people must be looked after. After hearing these views Brother Richards seemed willing to continue to officiate in the position to which he had been called.

A good deal of business was attended to today.

12 May 1891 • Tuesday

Tuesday, May 12th, 1891.

Brother Willard Young, who is one of the Board of Examiners in our church schools, came to see President Woodruff and myself and we decided upon having a good engraving made that would be appropriate. Several of the brethren came in and we had conversation on political matters. There seems to be a fear entertained that the Republicans are not taking hold of this political business with the same zeal as the Democrats are. Yesterday Brother Clawson read a letter to President Woodruff and myself which he had addressed to General Williams, a friend of ours in Washington, in which he called his attention to the situation of affairs here and said that as a Republican he felt anxious to see some movement by the Republicans, for the Democrats were likely to steal a march on them and capture the Territory unless something were done.

Brother John T. Caine was requested to see Mr. Porter, the head of the Census Bureau, who is expected here today or tomorrow, and get from him, if possible the census returns by precincts for the Territory, so that the Commissioners could have a basis on which to make an apportionment.

Word reached us this morning from Brother F. S. Richards that the Commission had some thought of basing their apportionment on the registered voters, which would be manifestly unfair, and which Brother Caine says they have no right to do under the law.

It was decided today to have Brother Daynes, who is our organist at the Tabernacle, be there at a fixed hour each day to play, there being a great many tourists who desire to hear the organ.

As the Herald is now likely to become a Democratic organ, it having been decided by the Herald company to dispose of $49000. of its stock to non-Mormon Democrats, and to sell $2000. of stock to Jos. L. Rawlins for him to sell to whichever party violated its compact concerning the management of the paper, it was decided that Brother J. R. Winder should be one of the Board, representing the interests of the stockholders who belong to our church.

13 May 1891 • Wednesday

Wednesday, May 13th, 1891.

A number of the Twelve called upon President Woodruff and myself at the Gardo House this morning, and among other matters the question of the difference between the Republican and the Democratic party came up, and I spoke with considerable earnestness upon the feature of the Democratic doctrine upheld by Martin Van Buren, and embodied in the answer which he made to the Prophet Joseph when he appealed to him for protection from the outrages committed in Missouri upon the Latter-day Saints—“Your cause is just, but the government can do nothing for you.” My view always has been that this was a wrong position for a President of the United States to take. The Latter-day Saints could not get a standing in the courts of Missouri. They were driven out by Mob violence, and if a Mormon or his witnesses had attempted to obtain redress through the courts of the State of Missouri they would have been murdered. If Van Buren had been the man that he should have been, he would have protected the saints in the courts, even if he had had to send an army in there to have done it. Then appeals could have been taken from one court to another, if the wrongs had not been redressed, and finally an appeal could have been taken to the U.S. Supreme Court. I said to the brethren, some of whom were arguing in favor of that kind of doctrine, that if that were Democracy I was not a Democrat. I certainly thought that the government of the United States, having sold land to its citizens and warranted the title, was bound by every principle of honor and right to maintain that title and defend them in the possession of their lands, and when it failed to do that it ceased to be a government. Each citizen stood in a dual relation. He was a citizen of the State in which he resided, and he was a citizen of the United States. If he went abroad, the flag would protect him in any land where he would take refuge under it; and it was a most inconsistent position to take that that same citizen could not be protected at home in all his rights. In talking in this strain my view was to show the brethren that we could take the Republican view of the government without any violence to our feelings. Brother F. S. Richards was also present during this conversation and took part in it.

My son John Q. called in to get the views of the First Presidency concerning the issuance of the school bonds, the proposition being to borrow six hundred thousand dollars, so that the Deseret News might take the proper position on the question. It was thought better for the News not to commit itself entirely to this, but merely present a statement of the case[.]

14 May 1891 • Thursday

Thursday, May 14th, 1891.

A letter was addressed to Elders Moses Thatcher and H. J. Grant concerning the sugar enterprise, setting forth the necessity for a united effort on the part of our people in subscribing for the stock of the company. The design in framing this letter was to have them read it to those on whom they called. A letter was also prepared to be addressed to a number of individuals, asking them to subscribe and informing them that they would be waited upon by Elders Thatcher and Grant to secure their subscriptions. The reason for this letter being drawn up was the declination of a number of our brethren to subscribe anything to this enterprise, though they were men of means. This was reported to us by Brother Grant as being very noticeable in Ogden. It seemed as though the leading brethren had got together and had canvassed the subject and concluded that they would not do anything in the business, assigning as a reason for this their pinched circumstances, and even when a loan was proffered to them, expressing a disinclination to avail themselves of it because of other obligations that they had out. At the present time it is thought better to apply to men of smaller means and make a more general call upon them for subscriptions. I had a conversation with Brother Grant on my way to the Gardo House on this subject, and Governor Thomas met me as soon as we separated to explain to me his action in regard to the visit of the President. He seems to be very much concerned lest we should think that he had been the means of keeping the President from visiting the Temple and Tabernacle, and from seeing more of our people than he did. He is also anxious to create the impression that all the time he was with President Harrison he never said one word to him except upon the material interests of the Territory. He assured me that this was the case.

Brother M. W. Merrill was with us today at our meeting at 2 o’clock, and offered prayer. He is suffering very much from catarrh or something of that character, which affects his head and interferes with his labors. He has to be very careful with himself and is not able to perform a great amount of labor.

A request had been made of President Woodruff and myself to have an interview with Arthur Pratt, Col. Shaughnessy and Mr. McCornick. We had a lengthy interview with them talking over the situation. All expressed themselves very desirous to organize the Republican party; but there was great opposition among the so-called Liberal party to any such organization. They said three-fifths of the Liberal party were Republicans, and the Tribune ring were anxious to have the Liberal party perpetuated, because the support of the paper depended upon it. These gentlemen said that the fear entertained was that if the Republican party organized they could not accomplish anything. They did not therefore care to be set up to be knocked down. They did not say that these were their feelings. We told them that we had no doubt but a great many of our people would vote the Republican ticket, if a division took place on national lines. Whether there would be a majority or not we did not know; but we encouraged them all we could, without saying too much, to continue the movement in favor of breaking up the Liberal party. We thought it would be better for all classes if that were done.

15 May 1891 • Friday

Friday, May 15th, 1891.

We had a call this morning from Ex-Governor Emery, who was formerly Governor of this Territory. He called, he said, to pay his respects, being here at the present time on a visit. He was accompanied by Brother S. W. Sears, who contemplates leaving San Francisco and taking up his residence again in this city. Mr. Emery made a pretty fair Governor. He was not a strong man, but was disposed to be fair, and during President Grant’s visit here he gave him good opportunities to see the people, contrasting in this respect with the action of our present Governor towards President Harrison. Gov. Emery excited a great deal of feeling on the part of our enemies by signing a bill giving a secret ballot, coupled with a registration law. For many years we had opposed the secret ballot, as we thought our method of voting was better. I have not changed my views upon that point. But there was such a feeling aroused in the nation concerning the ballot in this Territory, by the lies of our enemies, that we found it necessary to do something about this. I had steadily fought this while I was in Congress, though many bills were introduced with a view to having a ballot law enacted. When I found that congress was going to act, and that it would be impossible to stave off that measure any longer, our Legislature was then in session, and I telegraphed home to have a bill introduced in the Legislature, making the secret ballot law, and urging the importance of having a registration law also enacted; for it would have been most disastrous to us to have had the secret ballot without registration. The Legislature acted promptly on this, and Gov. Emery signed the bill. This excited the ire of our enemies, who wanted the secret ballot without registration. He afterwards called on me in Washington and suggested that he would esteem it very highly if our Legislature would call one of our counties after his name. He had acted so well that I thought it a very proper request and used my influence to have this done, and hence we have Emery County in the Territory.

The Governor told us a little incident which we had heard before, but which, coming from his own lips, was worthy of note. He said that while riding up with General Grant from the railroad station, our Sunday School children lined each side of the road, and the spectacle impressed President Grant very much. He examined their appearance very carefully, and he remarked to Gov. Emery, “I have been deceived with regard to these people. The children look nice and neat, and present as healthy an appearance as any children I have ever seen.” He also told the Governor before he left that the Mormons had been greatly misrepresented to him, and he wanted him to treat them fairly.

I had a call from Mr. Sloan, a real estate agent here, who wished to get me interested in a project for building a railroad to Deep Creek. Even if the project were one that I could heartily approve of, I am not in a position to do anything towards taking any stock. He was very desirous to obtain my name, my moral support being principally what he desired, he said. I have never allowed my name used, knowingly, for any such a purpose, and did not wish to do so in this instance.

16 May 1891 • Saturday

Saturday, May 16th, 1891.

I did not intend to go to town today, as I am not feeling fully restored to my usual health; in fact, since I have had this attack of la grippe I have no energy and I perform my labors mechanically. But Brother H. B. Clawson called and said that ex-Congressman Jos. G. Cannon was in town. Colonel Trumbo had accompanied Mr. Cannon with a view to see that he was properly received here, and that he met the proper people, because, if anything, the California people thought his visit was more important than the President’s, as he was following the Presidential party and noticing the effect of the President’s visit. They had treated him with great distinction in California, and the railroad people were especially desirous that he should be taken care of and be brought in contact with the right people here. I therefore went to town in the afternoon and met Mr. Cannon. We were very well acquainted, having entered Congress together, and through a similarity of names and probably a distant relationship we felt drawn together. His daughter is with him. He expressed great pleasure at seeing me. He had met John Q. and Abraham during the day, and had mentioned that he was very desirous to see me. I accompanied himself and daughter and Col. Trumbo and Bishop Clawson to the Tabernacle, where Brother Daynes played several selections on the organ, and a Miss Snyder sang. They expressed great pleasure at hearing the organ. Marshal Parsons joined us also.

In the evening I went to Bp. Clawson’s house, where Mr. & Miss Cannon were to spend the evening. I had an excellent opportunity there to give him correct views concerning the situation here, with which he seemed to be much impressed[.]

He remarked to me that there ought to be more magnanimity shown to us, and that the manner in which I myself and others were compelled to live was all wrong. He said they would have been glad five years ago to have compromised this whole matter by allowing marriages that had been made to stand and giving liberty to men to take care of their families.

Several of Brother Clawson’s children played on the mandolin and guitar and the piano, and the evening was delightfully spent.

Bp. Clawson took me home in his buggy.

17 May 1891 • Sunday

Sunday, May 17th, 1891.

I called at the Templeton Hotel at quarter to two today and accompanied Mr. Cannon and daughter and Col. Trumbo to the Tabernacle, where I had arranged for proper seats to be provided for them.

Brother John Nicholson was called upon to speak. He was a little abashed when he first came to the stand, but delivered an excellent discourse.

I had considerable conversation with Mr. Cannon afterwards. He and his daughter both said that they would not have missed service in the Tabernacle for a great deal.

They intend to leave on the early morning train.

Col. Trumbo has been very attentive to them, and has endeavored to keep those who would poison their minds away from them and has brought them in contact with fair people.

18 May 1891 • Monday

Monday, May 18th, 1891.

Col. Trumbo called this morning at the Gardo House and had a talk with President Woodruff and myself. He was accompanied by Bp. Clawson. He gave us a description of the visit of Mr. Cannon to California, and also what had occurred here since their arrival.

Bp. Winder called in and informed us that a dispatch had been received from Ogden, signed by Brothers John T. Caine and F. S. Richards, asking for the use of the Tabernacle for a political lecture to be delivered by Hon. W. L. Wilson, of West Virginia, who is traveling in the interests of Democratic clubs. We thought it would be very inappropriate to grant this request, as it would have the appearance of favoring the Democratic party, and besides, it might endanger our property.

Brother John Henry Smith had a long conversation with us on political matters this morning. He is deeply interested in Republicanism. He is a strong and an avowed Republican, and he is fearful that the Democrats are getting the start of the Republicans in their organization, and that they will capture a great many of our young men. We share with him a desire to see the Republican party have fair play. It would not be to the interests of the Territory to have the Democrats gain the preponderance. There is a strong feeling among our people in favor of Democracy; and yet we have suffered more from Democratic administrations than from Republican. Brother Smith is doing what he can to lay this matter before those with whom he is brought in contact, so as to have our people pause and consider what they are doing.

My son John Q. called. He is in charge of the Deseret News during the absence of Brother Penrose, who is on a visit to California, He came to see us today and we gave him some counsel respecting the tone that the News should assume.

News reached us today that Brother Henry Herriman, Senior President of the Seventies, had died yesterday morning at Huntington, Emery Co. He is a very aged man—within a few days of 87 years. He has been blind for some time, though having the use of his other faculties.

A letter came today from Brother Brigham Young, dated at Christiana, Norway. He is visiting and holding conferences. He speaks of his health as being improved.

Brothers Sidney and Thomas Alfred Clawson came in and were set apart by President Woodruff, John W. Taylor and myself, President Woodruff being mouth in setting Sidney apart, and myself in setting Fred apart. They are about to leave on a mission to England.

19 May 1891 • Tuesday

Tuesday, May 19th, 1891.

President Woodruff and myself listened this morning to the reading of a large number of letters by Brother Geo. Reynolds.

We had several visitors today, among them being Hon. W. L. Wilson, who called to pay his respects, being accompanied by Brothers John T. Caine and F. S. Richards. He was not in Congress while I was, but he was acquainted with me and I with him. We had a very interesting conversation concerning congressional matters.

We decided today to allow the 5th ward of Ogden to use all the tithing for this year in excess of $3000. in cash, to relieve them in their straitened circumstances, they laboring under a heavy load of debt.

Brother Trejo, who has been teaching Spanish classes in the Latter-day Saints College, came in today and reported the success he had had. He spoke very well concerning his labors. The pupils seemed to appreciate their opportunities and make good progress.

Professor Maeser came in and we had conversation with him concerning educational matters.

Brother James E. Talmage brought in his microscope and exhibited some specimens that he had collected from the Great Salt Lake, under the microscope.

20 May 1891 • Wednesday

Wednesday, May 20th, 1891.

President Woodruff and myself had an interview with Brothers F. S. Richards and R. W. Young. The latter submitted a plan of apportionment which he and Brother E. A. Smith had arranged, which they thought would be very fair, and which it was designed to submit to the Commissioners. From Brother Richards we had a report of the feelings expressed by Mr. Wilson concerning the situation here.

We had some conversation today with Brother Thomas Alston concerning his family affairs, his second wife having applied to President Woodruff for a divorce. Brother Alston was very reluctant to consent to her having a divorce; but we explained the situation to him and he said that he would do as we would say.

We had an interview from <with> Brother Clawson and Colonel Trumbo, and from the latter learned a good many particulars concerning the political situation here as the Gentiles viewed it.

21 May 1891 • Thursday

Thursday, May 21st, 1891.

Brothers M. F. Cowley and Chas. G. Hyde called upon us this morning and reported their labors in behalf of the Defense Fund. They had been down towards Kanab and through Emery County. On their return they stopped at Manti, at the Temple boarding house, and while there, asleep, deputy marshals broke into the house. We sent for Bp. Clawson to have the brethren report to him the outrageous conduct of the deputy marshals, so that he might bring it to the attention of Marshal Parsons.

At 11 o’clock, President Woodruff and myself attended the closing exercises of the Latter-day Saints College, at the Social Hall. The programme was very good and excellently carried out. President Woodruff and myself addressed the assemblage, as also Brother Willard Young. Dr. Talmage made a report of the school, which is satisfactory, excepting the want of room, in consequence of which they had been compelled to refuse a great many who had applied. There were a number of pupils who had graduated in the Junior Normal Course, three in Science, and two in Phonography. The degree of Bachelor of Didactics was conferred upon Brother Willard Done, who had submitted to a very rigid examination. Brother Talmage conferred this, at the instance of President Woodruff.

Brother John Henry Smith called in and gave us a report of his action last night at the meeting which had been called to meet at the theatre to decide whether there should be an organization of the Republican party. The meeting was described as being exceedingly noisy. It was really a howling mob. The opponents of the organization of the party seemed to have everything their own way until he was called upon to speak, which he did, and did most effectively. It seemed as though his speech turned the tide. It is said that if a vote had been taken then it would have gone with a hurrah in favor of organization. But before a vote was taken the effect was cooled off somewhat. My son Frank and Ben E. Rich also spoke, and it is said that both acquitted themselves very well.

I had learned that it was the intention of the Bishop to call my sons Joseph, Sylvester and Willard to be deacons. I had sent word to the Bishop that I would like to have the privilege of ordaining them myself, and this evening I got the boys together, and after prayer, read to them from Paul concerning the office of a deacon, and impressed upon them the importance of its duties, after which, in company with my sons Angus and David and my son-in-law Lewis, I laid hands upon them and ordained them to the office of a deacon.

22 May 1891 • Friday

Friday, May 22nd, 1891.

President Woodruff and myself had an interview with Brother Frank Van Cott, who has been selected as a missionary to go to Samoa. He is destitute of means. He would not say a word concerning his condition himself. We had learned, however, through his sister, that he was in need of funds, and we appropriated $125. to help him meet his expenses. Brother Wm. Budge, President of the Bear Lake Stake, and Brother Thomas E. Ricks, President of the Bannock Stake, spent considerable time with us this morning, giving us an account of the recent proceedings at Boise. Several of our brethren had been arrested for illegal voting—old charges. Three had been sentenced to two months imprisonment and fine for unlawful cohabitation, and one to 15 months and fine for adultery. A number of cases had been dismissed where indictments had been found for conspiracy. We gave them considerable counsel concerning the proper course to take in that region, so that they might secure their rights in that Territory. We appropriated $600. being a part of $1000. that was necessary to pay lawyers to carry up the four cases of the brethren who had been sentenced, it being thought that if these cases were carried to the U.S. Circuit Court in California, there would be a reversal, and it would free a great number of our brethren who are indicted.

Brother C. V. Spencer was very anxious to see me in relation to a matter of difference between himself and Brother Geo. F. Gibbs. Brother Gibbs had sold Brother Spencer a piece of property and had given him a bond to the effect that by a certain date he would perfect the title, which was imperfect in some respects, by securing the signatures of the heirs of a former owner of the land. Brother Spencer desired this bond now to be forfeited, because it had not been complied with punctually on the day stipulated. The forfeiture would amount to $4050. Brother Gibbs had done all in his power to secure the signatures of these people; but for certain reasons, which were described by him, and which originated in part with Brother Spencer himself, he had not been able to secure the signatures until two or three days after the time stipulated; that is, he had secured all the signatures before the date, but one or two of them had not been attested by a notary public. Upon this technicality Brother Spencer was anxious to secure the return of the money he had paid for the land. The property has depreciated since the purchase, and he looks upon this as a bad bargain, and hopes in this way to get out of it. If the property had increased in value since he bought it, no doubt he would have been glad to have got the signatures, even if they had been two or three days late.

We listened patiently to all that was said, and then informed the brethren that under the circumstances we could not render a decision, as we thought it was unwise. We could not say to Brother Spencer to surrender the bond, and we could not say to Brother Gibbs to pay the money back. It was a matter they would have to settle between themselves, as we could not take upon us the functions of a civil tribunal. I represented the case afterwards to Brothers Lorenzo Snow, F. D. Richards and John H. Smith, and told them what we had decided, and they agreed that it was the only course that we could take, under the circumstances.

Brother M. F. Farnsworth was arrested night before last at Manti, and he appealed to us for help. He has met with a severe accident, by which one of his arms was badly broken. Upon reading his letter President Woodruff felt that we should appropriate $150., which we did, to relieve him.

Sisters Jane S. Richards and E. B. Wells called to see us about sending somebody to a Convention of women at Indianapolis. After listening to them we decided that it would be better to send a letter, as we could not get anyone to go at the present time who would have a vote in the Convention.

We appropriated $1000. today to help the Swedish Herald. It is much embarrassed and is in debt to the Deseret News.

A few evenings ago, as I was returning home on the motor car, a young woman who is a frequent passenger to and from the city on the motor, asked me if I would have any objections to conversing with her upon religious matters. She said she had read some of our works, which had been given to her by a friend, but her people were opposed to her reading them. Still she was very much interested in these matters and would like to learn more about them, as she thought it a matter of sufficient importance to demand her attention. I replied that I would be very pleased at any time to converse with her upon the subject of religion or to furnish her books. I invited her to call at my house at any time, and she appeared very pleased. I have been attracted by her appearance. She seemed like a very intelligent person, and her bearing and deportment was modest. Her sister is a wife of Mr. Higgins, an attorney, who also travels on the motor every day. At the time of her conversation with me her sister sat next to her, and a number of other ladies were in the car, and if they had listened they could have heard all that was said. She seemed to be quite free in speaking and not afraid to state her feelings.

23 May 1891 • Saturday

Saturday, May 23rd, 1891.

I went with my son Brigham this morning to the Deseret Woollen Mills and had an interview with Frank Jennings, who is the manager and one of the proprietors, and Mr. Platt, the superintendent. My object in visiting there was to make an arrangement for my son Brigham to go there and learn the business. It was arranged for him to go to work on Monday next and to be taught by Mr. Platt the business. He is to get no wages, and I told Mr. Platt that if he would push him forward I would make it right with him for doing so. He is to be made familiar with all the branches, so that if he proved capable he might be a manager. I impressed upon Brigham the importance of taking a right course and behave himself properly; that his future was now to a great extent in his own hands; he had a good start, and being my son would be an advantage to him, as people would respect him on account of his parentage.

At the Gardo House I had an interview with Mr. Dyer, who was very anxious to have something said by us concerning the People’s Party. He thinks that if a meeting were announced of the People’s Party to consider the propriety of the party breaking up and dividing on national lines, it would have the effect to weaken the Liberal-Democrats who are trying to break up this new move.

Brothers John Henry Smith and James Sharp also called in. They are strong Republicans and are desirous to do what they can towards forwarding the movement on the part of the Republicans, so that they may be successful in bringing about a full division on party lines.

I dictated my journal to Brother Winter, which I have not been able to attend to for some days.

It will be noticed that I have not mentioned the name of President Jos. F. Smith for some time as having met with President Woodruff and myself. The reason is, plumbers have been in the Gardo House and it has been unsafe for him to be there. He has also had sickness in his family, measles having attacked several of his children. We have missed him very much.

24 May 1891 • Sunday

Sunday, May 24th, 1891.

Attended meeting at the Tabernacle today. Brother Taylor was called upon to speak and told to occupy half the time. He got warmed up, however, and spoke 80 mins, and no one else spoke. Part of his remarks were quite interesting. He dwelt on the first principles of the Gospel. But he made several misquotations that must have spoiled the effect upon those who were familiar with the Scriptures. The last 20 mins. he spoke in an excited vein, which was not so pleasant as his talk generally. I have not heard Brother John W. often, but have listened to him the times that I have heard him with some degree of pleasure. The brethren say that he is quite uncertain. Sometimes he is really inspirational, and speaks with great clearness and power, and then at other times he is very prosy and is as unlike himself when inspired as if he were a different individual—which is, I suppose, the case with all of us.

I went down with my son Abraham to his wife Mina’s house and took dinner with them. My daughters Mary Alice and Emily, and my son Sylvester and son-in-law Lewis M. Cannon were also present.

25 May 1891 • Monday

Monday, May 25th, 1891.

The First Presidency were reunited this morning at the Gardo House, Brother Jos. F. Smith being able to be there with some degree of safety, as the plumbers were out. I am very glad to see him with us once more.

We had a visit from the Presiding Bishops to get counsel concerning occupying the new building erected by the Deseret Investment Company on its property. The brethren say that it costs 16% to dispose of the articles that are brought in on tithing, but that if they could occupy these new quarters they could lessen the expense very much. President Woodruff and myself were taken through the building, which is very commodious. We also decided, in view of the statements made to us by the Presiding Bishops, that the hands who work for the church should be paid one-half cash after the 1st of June. I described to the Presidency and to the Presiding Bishops the conversation that I had had with Mr. Dyer on Saturday and read to them a paper that he had prepared, which embodied his views and the views of his fellow-Democrats concerning the action that should be taken at the present time. A meeting was called for half past twelve to consider this. My son Abraham was the only one of the Twelve whom we could reach. Besides the Presiding Bishops and him, there were present: C. W. Penrose, John T. Caine, James Sharp, T. G. Webber, W. H. Rowe, H. B. Clawson, John Q. Cannon and Elias A. Smith. The business was carefully considered, and it was decided to issue a notice for a meeting of the Committee and the officers of the clubs of the People’s Party on Friday evening next, to take into consideration the propriety of releasing the members of the People’s Party from their adherence to that party, for the purpose of their allying themselves with either of the national parties that might be agreeable to them. A call was also prepared for a meeting of the Territorial Committee on June 10th.

26 May 1891 • Tuesday

Tuesday, May 26th 1891.

My son David received a dispatch in cipher from Brother John W. Young , which was intended for the First Presidency, to the effect that a German girl of the last company of our emigrants that had reached New York had stated that she had no objection to polygamy and the officials there thought of sending her back to Germany. He wanted to know if he should have her released by habeas corpus and employ counsel to test the case. We replied: “If we habeas corpus we fear press throughout the country will misrepresent motives for action. Better settle it some other way, if possible. Even if she have to return can instruct Liverpool to forward her intermediate.” The part concerning her return was suggested by President Smith, as passengers coming intermediate can pass through without being interrogated regarding their belief.

Brother Geo. E. Woolley, who has just returned from a mission to Australia, called in company with Bishop N. A. Empy, and after giving us a description of his labors, we attended to ordaining and setting him apart as second counselor to Bp. Empy, he having been selected for this position. President Smith and Bp. Empy and myself laid hands on him, and I was mouth in ordaining him a High Priest and setting him apart.

Capt. Willard Young called in and brought to our attention the necessity of preparing for the meeting on the 1st of June for the purpose of organizing the Young University corporation. There are 26 trustees, and we divided them into three committees, one on finance, one on building, and one on bylaws. President Woodruff to be chairman of the finance, myself of the building, and Brother Smith of the by-laws. The question as to who would be chairman of the trustees was brought up. We felt that President Woodruff had better take that position; but he preferred that I should take it; so my name was put down. Willard Young will be President of the Institution, Geo. Reynolds to be Secretary, and H. S. Young to be Treasurer. Of course, these names are merely drawn out so as to have something prepared for the meeting. It will be for the trustees to decide when they meet.

We had a call today from five young Irish Episcopal clergymen who are on their way to the north to labor there.

The decision of the U.S. Supreme Court respecting our property appeared in this morning’s papers. The question is referred to Congress by that Court as to the disposition that shall be made of the property.

27 May 1891 • Wednesday

Wednesday, May 27th, 1891.

The First Presidency had an interview with Brothers James Jack and Nephi W. Clayton concerning the organization of the Saltair Beach Company. Strangely enough nearly every place of amusement on the Lake has passed out of the hands of the Latter-day Saints, and at the present time to enjoy a bath in the Lake we have to go to some of the places of resort which have been purchased and prepared by the railroad companies. The result is that a great many will not go near the Lake, because in doing so they are brought in contact with vile characters. Brothers James Jack, N. W. Clayton and G. H. Snell have had quite a strip of beach, for which they have title. They sold their property to a gentleman named Mathew White, a brother-in-law of Brother Clayton’s. But he has been desirous to sell out, and has had several communications with me upon the subject, because of interest that I had exhibited in the matter; for I felt that it was a standing reproach to us that we had no place on the Lake to which our people could go without coming in contact with vice. We can get this property for $125,000. We have paid him $5000., and he will take for the balance of his interest $20000. in stock, and the remaining $100000. he is indebted for to the three brethren above mentioned. They are willing to take $10000. each in stock, and to take the rest in suitable payments. We feel that it is a property that should be secured; not because of any value there may be in it as a speculation, though no doubt it could today be sold for a much higher price than is asked for it, but because we feel that we should have places of resort where our people can go without being brought in contact with whiskey drinking and the vile crowd that go to those places where saloons are kept and vice, if not encouraged, at least countenanced. We shall probably take an interest in this individually, and will try to secure a portion of the stock for the church, so that we shall have influence enough to prevent it being sold out to some speculator at an enhanced value, and also that we may regulate the rules and management of the place. I am utterly opposed to having it opened for Sunday bathing or visits, also to anything of an intoxicating character being sold within its range. We all feel alike on these points.

We had a visit from Brothers John Henry Smith and Geo. M. Cannon concerning the course they should take at the present time. They had been appointed by the Republican club to visit the surrounding settlements and do what they could towards organizing the Republican party. They want to know how far they should go. They shrink from this business, because it may put them in an equivocal light before the people. While they were in, statements were made concerning the present attitude of the Liberal party. It seems very evident that there is a desperate effort being made to perpetuate that party and to have it confined to the issues that have formerly existed between it and our people. In other words, it makes war upon the Mormon people, upon their religion, and upon their Church organization. Its aim is to destroy us. The ostensible reason for its organization has been our belief in and practice of polygamy. It has also fought us because we were united, and were, as they alleged, alien to the institutions of the country and to the political organizations. Now, when all these causes for its existence, which they claimed were a complete justification for all the Gentiles joing [joining] it, have been removed, the true character of this hateful and anti-republican organization appears. While we were talking upon this it came to me very clearly—so clearly that I had no doubt about it—that our true policy was to form ourselves on national lines, and leave this Liberal party to fight us in that condition, and not as the People’s Party. By dividing on national lines throughout the entire Territory, we place them in the attitude of fighting the two great parties, and not us as a People’s Party; and it will show the country some of the aims of this horrid organization. That party has been sailing under false colors from the beginning. It has been throwing dust in the eyes of the nation; and because in self-defense we have had to assume the position that we did, every advantage has been taken of that to misrepresent our motives and to make us appear in an entirely false light. I feel that the Lord is in this movement; and though it comes in contact with many preconceived ideas of mine, still whatever the Lord wants I take delight in carrying out. I believe that by pursuing this policy, though we may suffer for awhile because of the misapprehension of our own people upon the subject, in the end it will result in great good and save us from many serious things with which we are now threatened. I said to the brethren that I expressed these views as an individual, and not officially. Afterwards President Woodruff expressed himself with great clearness and force, favoring the movement and encouraging Brothers Smith and Cannon in taking the mission upon them that had been assigned to them.

We had a call today from Rev. Dr. Beran, of Melbourne, Australia, who, accompanied by his son, paid his respects to President Woodruff. He had a good many inquiries to make concerning educational matters. I gave him such information as we could.

28 May 1891 • Thursday

Thursday, May 28th, 1891.

The First Presidency were together this morning. President Woodruff is suffering from something of the nature of asthma, which prevents his sleeping when lying down.

My son Abraham brought to the attention of the First Presidency the condition of affairs in Morgan Stake. There is a difference between Brother Spendlove and the President of the Stake, Brother Willard G. Smith. An arrangement had been entered into while Abraham was up there at their last conference, by which a difficulty concerning land that existed between these two brethren could be settled. Brother Spendlove writes that Brother Smith does not comply with the understanding. The First Presidency decided that it would be proper for President Lorenzo Snow, F. D. Richards, H. J. Grant and A. H. Cannon of the Twelve Apostles, to visit that Stake and endeavor to adjust difficulties which seem to exist there, this case being only one.

A committee, consisting of Brothers John T. Caine, C. W. Penrose and F. S. Richards, who had been appointed to frame resolutions to be submitted to the meeting of the People’s party to be held on the 29th, called in and submitted these resolutions. They were read, some corrections were made in them, and then they were adopted. We took occasion during our conversation with these brethren to impress upon them the necessity of giving the Republican party as good an opportunity as possible to have its doctrines circulated among the people, so that if the People’s party should dissolve, there would not be too great a rush into the Democratic organization.

The First Presidency and Twelve held meeting and prayed together this afternoon.

My son David received a cipher from Brother John W. Young , as follows:

“Say to the brethren Emigration Commission now seems determined to stop the family detained here on the same charge. I learn from reliable sources, also through Gibson, that they intend to stop all of next company for the same cause. We shall be obliged to test that law soon. What do you advise?”

We concluded to have Brother Jack telegraph to the railroad agent in New York to learn particulars from him also before replying to Brother John W. Elders John Nicholson and Robert Patrick came in for the purpose of being set apart. They are about to start to Scotland for the improvement of their health and to gather genealogical data. They expect to be absent about three months. I was mouth in blessing Brother Nicholson, and Brother Smith was mouth in blessing Brother Patrick.

29 May 1891 • Friday

Friday, May 29th, 1891.

President Smith and myself were at the Gardo House today, President Woodruff being detained at home by sickness. Besides the general business of the office, I attended a meeting of the Deseret News Co, and in the afternoon met with the Sunday School Union, after which Brother Wilcken took me in his buggy to President Woodruff’s, and from there home. I found President Woodruff improved in health, but still he had passed an unpleasant night, partly due to cold, and partly to difficulty in breathing.

30 May 1891 • Saturday

Saturday, May 30th, 1891.

This being Decoration Day, and there being ceremonies at the city cemetery, I concluded I would attend. A shelter had been erected, and a programme of proceedings had been made out, to be conducted by the Mayor. Brother Wilcken carried me there. I left him outside and proceeded on foot towards the place of meeting, which I found very crowded. As soon as I was seen, Mr. Dunne, the superintendent of the cemetery, led me on to the stand and gave me a chair. After singing by the Glee Club, under the directions of Evan Stephens, Bishop Leonard, of the Episcopal Church, made the opening prayer. Then Bishop O. F. Whitney delivered a very eloquent address. There was music by the brass band, and then the Rev. Mr. Thrall, Congregationalist minister, delivered an address. There was singing by the Glee Club, and my brother Angus dismissed by prayer. I was invited by Mr. Dunne to join a number of gentlemen at lunch at his house. I desired to be excused, but he pressed me in such a way that I felt that my motives might be misconstrued if I did not go. The lunch was excellent. The Mayor sat with Bishop Leonard on his right and Mr. Thrall on his left. I sat next to Bishop Leonard, and my brother Angus to Mr. Thrall. There were at the table also Bishop Whitney and Nelson A. Empey, of our people, and two or three members of the City Council. I had quite a lengthy conversation with Bishop Leonard, in which he seemed quite interested.

I spent some time in the afternoon at the Gardo House, attending to business.

31 May 1891 • Sunday

Sunday, May 31st, 1891.

The conference of the Young Men’s Mutual Improvement Association met this morning at the Tabernacle. As there were a good many of the brethren to attend that, and some of us had been invited to attend the Provo Conference, I decided to go to Provo. I found Brother John H. Smith there. Brother A. O. Smoot’s buggy met me at the station and took me to the meeting house, where I found Brother Maeser addressing a number of representatives from various wards of the Stake upon the subject of education in what he termed religion classes—classes which have been organized for the purpose of teaching the children who could not attend our church schools some of the principles of our religion. After this we went into the Tabernacle and had an excellent meeting, both in the forenoon and afternoon; at least, I enjoyed it, as I was the principal speaker. Brother Jacob Gates spoke about 20 mins. in the morning, and I occupied the rest of the time. In the afternoon after the authorities were presented and some other business attended to, I occupied the remainder of the time. I enjoyed excellent liberty.

At noon I ate dinner at Brother Smoot’s.

After the afternoon meeting we met in the vestry to set apart Stephen Chipman as a High Councilor, to take the place of Brother James E. Daniels, who had been chosen to preside in the High Priests Quorum. He was also set apart for this office, and Brothers W. H. Kelsey and S. S. Jones as his counselors; also Brother Bean to be an Alternate High Councilor. I was mouth in setting apart Brothers Daniels, Jones and Bean; and Brother Smith set apart Brothers Chipman and Kelsey.

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May 1891, The Journal of George Q. Cannon, accessed June 15, 2024