The Church Historian's Press

March 1892

1 March 1892 • Tuesday

Tuesday, March 1st, 1892.

This is President Woodruff’s birthday. He is 85 years old. I am thankful that his life has been spared so long, and I sincerely hope that it will yet be prolonged, and that he will have much joy in his existence and labors.

The day here is very disagreeable and stormy.

I called, with Brother Wm. C. Spence, on Mr. Tenbroeck, the agent of the Union Pacific R.R. here, and he insisted upon our lunching with him.

In the evening a number of us went to the theatre and saw Richard Mansfield in the play “Ten Thousand a Year” at the Madison Square Garden.

2 March 1892 • Wednesday

Wednesday, March 2nd, 1892.

Spent a good deal of time again with Spencer Clawson in calling upon different parties concerning the Brigham Young Trust Co. In his company also I called at Claflin’s and bought some goods.

In the evening we went and saw “Blue Jeans” performed.

3 March 1892 • Thursday

Thursday, March 3rd, 1892.

Called with Brother W. C. Spence on Mr. Roberts, General Pass. Agent of the New York & Erie R.R.. We also saw Mr. Butler, the local passenger agent.

I received a letter from Col. Shaughnessy, ex U.S. Marshal of Utah Territory, in which he informed me that he was quite sick at the Oriental Hotel on the corner of Broadway, and expressed a wish to see me if I could call upon him conveniently. I did so this afternoon, and had a very pleasant visit with him. His son was present.

4 March 1892 • Friday

Friday, March 4th, 1892.

Called again upon Col. Shaughnessy, in company with Bishop Clawson. I knew he was well acquainted with Hon. S. B. Elkins, Secretary of War, and I suggested to him that a letter from him upon the subject of inducing the President to grant amnesty to the Latter-day Saints would be a good political move. He said he would write anything he could, and asked me if I would not write a letter, as I understood the subject, and he would sign it and send it to him.

5 March 1892 • Saturday

Saturday, March 5th, 1892.

I wrote a strong letter for Col. Shaughnessy to Mr. Elkins, and took it to him. He said he would have it copied by his amanuensis, and send it tonight or tomorrow. The following is a copy of the letter:1

In the evening, Bishop Clawson and his grandson, Spencer Clawson, Jr, and Junius F. Wells and myself went to Palmer’s theatre and saw “The Broken Seal”. I enjoyed the play very much. It was an artistic performance.

6 March 1892 • Sunday

Sunday, March 6th, 1892.

Spent most of the day at the hotel.

I arranged to send some wedding presents, consisting of silk for a dress, fan and fine handkerchief to my wife Carlie’s daughter Ada, whom my son William expects to marry, and also for Miss Hawkins, who is engaged to my son Angus.

In the evening we attended a very fine concert at the Casino. The orchestra was superb, and the singing excellent.

7 March 1892 • Monday

Monday, March 7th, 1892.

Brother Spencer Clawson and myself went together and had an interview with Mr. Packard, President of the Guaranty & Indemnity Co. concerning a loan of two hundred thousand dollars to the Brigham Young Trust Co. He asked 8%. We told him that was out of the question. He then spoke of 7½%; but finally told us to think about the proposition made to us to loan the amount at 7%.

I received word today that whooping cough was in my family. My wife Carlie writes me that Wilford and Anne have it.

We left New York for Washington today. Reached Washington a little before 9 o’clock. Col. Trumbo went to the Arlington Hotel, and Bishop Clawson and myself put up at the Shoreham.

8 March 1892 • Tuesday

Tuesday, March 8th, 1892.

Brother Clawson and myself called upon Brother John T. Caine, then upon General Williams. We had conversation with the latter upon amnesty and how best to reach it. Col. Trumbo has been very busy on the same business.

9 March 1892 • Wednesday

Wednesday, March 9th, 1892.

Called upon a number of different persons.

10 March 1892 • Thursday

Thursday, March 10th, 1892.

Called upon Senator Stanford and had an interesting conversation with him, in company with Bishop Clawson and Col. Trumbo. He said he would accompany me whenever I wished to call upon the President.

11 March 1892 • Friday

Friday, March 11th, 1892.

This morning I called upon the Secretary of War, my old time friend, Stephen B. Elkins. He was very busy. Senators Hiscock, Aldrich and other prominent persons were present. He gave me a very warm welcome, and said how well I looked after the persecutions I had endured. He said, what shall I do for you? He expressed his willingness to do anything in his power for me. This he said in the presence of all the prominent men in the room. He had to go off just then, he said, but I must come in between 3 & 4 o’clock to see him. His manner was so warm and cordial that it would have an effect upon all present. I was met very pleasantly by all my old acquaintances in the room, the two Senators above named having served with me in the house. My acquaintance with Mr. Elkins began when we were Delegates together, he Delegate from New Mexico, and myself from Utah. We formed a warm friendship, and he has, so I have heard, spoken in the warmest manner concerning me. He said so many flattering things to me in our private conversation this afternoon that I do not care to repeat them. My conversation with him was very satisfactory. He said that he had told all who had approached him upon our question that he wanted to see me, as I would know more than all of them. If I had not lost my old power, I was in a better position than any of them to deal with these questions and to suggest the best method to arrange them. He suggested that I should get up a paper for him to submit to President Harrison. Said he, “I know you can write it; that clear brain of yours will get it into a shape that will be of use.” He wanted to have something that would meet the feelings of the “goody-goody people of New England”, of whom President Harrison seems to be timid. He said it was a delicate time to deal with anything of this character now, because we were on the eve of a National Convention and election. He said there was selfishness everywhere shown. At the same time, he said, we must do right, and yet do it in a way to bring benefit to the Administration, not to injure it. When I told him about my proposed visit with Senator Stanford to the President, he said, “I want you to put that visit off till I can see Harrison and tell him about you.” I was very much gratified at his interview; for Mr. Elkins said all that he could say to me about his willingness to do all in his power for me.

12 March 1892 • Saturday

Saturday, March 12th, 1892.

I went to the Congressional Library, in company with Brother Caine, and got copies of the old proclamations of Presidents Lincoln and Johnson concerning amnesty. In the afternoon I wrote out a paper such as I thought might answer for the Secretary of War’s use.

13 March 1892 • Sunday

Sunday, March 13th, 1892.

I had an interview with Mr. Jeff Chandler this morning concerning amnesty, and he gave me his views respecting it, of which I made use in the paper that I prepared.

I spent two hours in company with Bishop Clawson and Col. Trumbo in the afternoon, conversing with Senator Francis E. Warren, of Wyoming. I was introduced to his wife. They are stopping at the Arlington Hotel.

I finished the paper requested by Secretary Elkins.

14 March 1892 • Monday

Monday, March 14th, 1892.

I called upon General Geo. B. Williams this morning and submitted the paper I had prepared for Secretary Elkins, and asked his criticism. The only criticism he made was suggesting the substitution of one word for another and the transposition of one sentence. His typewriter copied it.

I called at the War Department this morning and saw Mr. Elkins, and gave him the paper which I had prepared. He told me he expected to see President Harrison in the afternoon.

I spent some time in the House of Representatives today, and used Brother Caine’s Secretary in dictating some letters.

In the evening I went with Bishop Clawson and Col. Trumbo to the New National theatre and saw a play called “The Texas Steer”. It is a capital play. The house was filled to overflowing, hundreds having to stand.

15 March 1892 • Tuesday

Tuesday, March 15th, 1892.

I took a carriage this morning, in company with Bp. Clawson and Col. Trumbo, and drove to Senator Stanford’s, and he accompanied us to the White House. I found in the outer chamber, waiting admission, Senators Allison and Wilson, of Iowa, Palmer, of Illinois, Chandler, of New Hampshire, and Saunders, of Montana. They all greeted me very warmly. There were several Representatives there also. We waited for about an hour, and then had an interview with President Harrison. Senator Stanford introduced the subject of our visit in a nice little speech, and then withdrew, leaving Bp. Clawson and myself there. I knew the President, having served in the House while he was in the Senate. He was very kind in his manner and affable. We spoke to him upon the question of amnesty. He told me that he had the subject before him, and intended to take it up as early as possible. He said he was very crowded with important matters just now. He had asked the Attorney General for an opinion as to his power to grant amnesty and pardon wholesale without mentioning names. He illustrated the point that was in his mind by alluding <to> the violation of internal revenue laws. Could he pardon violators of these laws without mentioning names? The Attorney General’s opinion to which he referred, we understood from other sources, was favorable to his power to do this. I said it would be a very nice thing to do to have amnesty issued in time for our General Conference, which was close at hand. I said we had experienced the severity of the law, and as a provision had been made by Congress for amnesty, it seemed to us that now was the time for us to receive that which was intended as merciful. Eighteen months had passed since the issuance of the Manifesto, and it seemed to be an appropriate thing for the Chief Executive to do under the circumstances. The impression made upon me by the President’s remarks was that he had no opposition to the measure. The only question appeared to be, how to do it, and when this should be decided, it would be done.

From the White House I drove to the War Department and had an interview with the Secretary. He informed me that he had spoken to President Harrison on the subject yesterday, and intended to see him again today. I reported to him our interview with President Harrison, and dwelt upon the importance of urging instant action. I told him I thought everything was ready; it only needed the decision. He again promised me that he would do what he could.

I met Senator Carey, of Wyoming, at the War Department, and had some conversation with him.

Mr. Charles H. Bates dined with Bishop Clawson and myself.

16 March 1892 • Wednesday

Wednesday, March 16th, 1892.

Bishop Clawson was not well today; he is confined to his room.

17 March 1892 • Thursday

Thursday, March 17th, 1892.

A very stormy, unpleasant day.

Had a delightful visit today with General Payne, formerly Member of Congress from Wisconsin and my lawyer in contested cases.

18 March 1892 • Friday

Friday, March 18th, 1892.

Made a number of calls upon Senators and others, and lunched at the down town club with Mr. Bates, in company with Bishop Clawson.

19 March 1892 • Saturday

Saturday, March 19th, 1892.

At Col. Trumbo’s request, I wrote a letter for him to sign and send to Gen. J. S. Clarkston, Chairman of the National Republican Committee. The Colonel was very much pleased with the letter.

Attended to private correspondence today and had conversation with a number of influential people concerning amnesty.

In the evening saw a comic opera called “Paul Jones”, Agnes Huntington taking the part of Jones.

Brother Caine and wife and the parties that they live with, Mr. Norton and wife, invited Bishop Clawson and myself to dine with them. We had a very pleasant meal, after which Brother Caine and myself walked around town. There were present at the dinner, Mr. Beltzhoover, a Member of Congress from Pennsylvania, and his niece, a Dr. Connelly and a Mr. Saunderson. Mr. Beltzhoover was on the committee of elections which decided against me in 1882. At that time he left a bad impression upon me by his conduct. Brother Caine informs me that he alluded to it by saying he was young then and had learned a good many things since that time, and had he to act now his course would be different.

21 March 1892 • Monday

Monday, March 21st, 1892.

I called upon several Senators again today, and in the afternoon was at the House of Representatives.

Confidential2 Memorandum,

relating to the forfeited bonds of George Q. Cannon.

Although the cases pending in the Supreme Court of the United States numbered 74 and 75 for the October Term 1889, stand in the name of the United States vs. Francis Armstrong and Horace S. Eldredge, the real defendant in interest is George Q. Cannon. His bondsmen paid the first sum of $25,000 to Government for the forfeited bond; but he immediately reimbursed them for principal and interest. Any sum obtained by Government in liquidation of this case, must come from his private property. The original payment of $25,000 with interest and costs, coupled with very many direct and indirect losses attendant upon his temporary retirement from business affairs almost impoverished him. The sacrifice at present of the sum of $30,000 to liquidate these present cases would be a still further financial blow, as he has not yet been able to recuperate financially from the adverse circumstances attendant upon his long exile.

The certain reasons alluded to in the other memorandum for his non-appearance in court may be briefly summed as follows: his physical condition was precarious, and one of the most eminent surgeons of that locality declared that he would never rise from his bed and walk again. The excitement at the time was intense. His appearance in court would have augmented it, almost if not quite into a serious outbreak. It was currently reported that 16 indictments had been found against him. (You will remember that up to this time the Supreme Court of the United States had not declared unlawful cohabitation to be a continuous offence and the Federal Courts and District Attorneys in Utah held that the <a> new indictment could be found for each day in the year.) The threat went abroad that indictments were to be multiplied to such an extent that he would never emerge from prison and that fines to an overwhelming amount would be assessed against him. Despite all these things he was personally of the unalterable determination to answer in court; but his family and immediate friends prevented.

At the time these bonds were given for the aggregate sum of $45,000 he and his attorneys solemnly protested against them as being exorbitant. The fact that he forfeited them has since been quoted as an argument that they were not only reasonable but that they were even insufficient, since they did not secure his appearance on the date set for trial. But you should take into account that under the circumstances existing at that day his whole family and his immediate friends would have preferred financial ruin to fall upon them all than to see his life lost in the threatened manner.

From the hour that he disappeared instead of attending court on the day fixed for trial he always declared that he would appear in court and answer every charge against him. This he did, pleading guilty to two charges which practically covered the whole time of his exile. He suffered fines and imprisonment and has since obeyed the law in letter and in spirit. His example did more to bring about the settlement of this question than all other similar examples combined.

In every possible manner he has by word and deed encouraged respect for the law and obedience thereto, and it is due to him largely that official declarations have been made by the Head of the Church, counseling every one to heed the statues and the decisions of courts, and declaring that no permission would be accorded for any violation of the anti-polygamy statutes.3


relating to the cases of the United States vs. H. S. Eldredge and Francis Armstrong, for the recovery of the forfeited bonds of George Q. Cannon.

Said cases are numbered 74 and 75 for the October Term, 1889, of the Supreme Court of the United States. Each case is for the recovery of $10,000 and interest at 10 per cent. per annum from the 29th day of March, 1886; total amount on each bond to September 29th, 1890, $14,500; grand total $29,000, plus costs.

In February, 1886, George Q. Cannon was placed under bonds in the sum of $25,000 to answer before the Third District Court of Utah to a charge of unlawful cohabitation. At that time he was suffering from serious accidental injuries and his condition was thought to be precarious. A few days later and antecedent to the date set for his appearance in court, he was twice arrested on similar charges on warrants issued by a United States Commissioner, and was placed under bonds of $10,000 in each case. Indictments were subsequently found in both of these cases, and at a still later time a fourth indictment was found against him for the same offence, unlawful cohabitation. For certain reasons he failed to appear; and all the bonds were declared to be forfeit. The sum of $25,000 for the first bond was thereupon paid to Government and was covered into the Treasury. For legal and equitable reasons, as advised by his counsel, the two bonds for $10,000 each were not paid; and suit was brought for their recovery by Government in August, 1886. Plaintiff secured judgment in the Third District Court. The cases were appealed to the Supreme court of the Territory and the decision of the lower court was affirmed. Defendant then appealed to the Supreme Court of the United States.

In the meantime, in September 1888, George Q. Cannon voluntarily appeared before the Third District Court at Salt Lake, and entered a plea of guilty to two of the four indictments pending against him. He was sentenced to fine and imprisonment in each of the two cases; and subsequently, while he was in the penitentiary, a nolle pros was entered as to each of the two remaining indictments.

Accompanying this memorandum are

(1). The transcripts of record of the two cases now pending before the Supreme Court of the United States.

(2). Appellant defendant’s brief before the Supreme court of Utah in these cases.

(3). An excerpt from a recent written opinion of appellant’s counsel.4

22 March–2 April 1892 • Tuesday–Saturday

Tuesday, March 22nd to Saturday, April 2nd.

I shall not attempt to give in detail all that I did during these days. Last evening (Monday) I received a copy of a petition which I had addressed to the Attorney General, and which copy I had telegraphed home for. My object in telegraphing for this letter was to show it to friends, as it contained a brief epitome of the bond cases which my sureties had appealed to the Supreme Court. Now that amnesty was in as good a position as we could place it, there having been a concentration of influence brought to bear upon this measure such as I had never seen on any measure in which the Latter-day Saints were interested, I felt that it was time that I should take hold of my own bond cases. I desired to leave Washington by Friday or Saturday, if possible, but not later than Monday, as if I returned to New York and left New York on Tuesday I would barely reach home by Saturday, the day before Conference opened. These cases had been put further down the Calendar by influences that I was able to bring to bear. About a year ago I sent my son Frank down to Washington, with the hope that he would be able to do something towards getting these cases dismissed; but he was met by the statement that they would be put off for the present and would not be brought to trial for some time. In the meantime, perhaps, a settlement could be reached. As this had occurred twice, and eighteen months had elapsed, I have been anxious to have some settlement of them, as interest is accumulating, and if the cases were decided against my sureties now I should have, with costs and interest, something like $33,000 to pay. I therefore made up my mind to commence work on this. I had learned that I might effect a compromise through the Treasury Department, and that the authority was not altogether in the Department of Justice. I had induced General Williams to see the Attorney General respecting these cases. He had said to the General that he did not believe I ought to pay one dollar of this money; but he seemed to think that the settlement of these cases might have some political effect, and he was again in favor of postponing them. I told General Williams that I could not have them postponed any longer. Time is passing, and while it is true that the present feeling is that I should not pay a dollar, in our country we were exposed to waves of excitement, and another wave might come over us that would make people think that I ought to pay this amount. There had been a feeling to justify the asking of such enormous bonds at one time, and that feeling might re-appear. Therefore, I was determined, if possible, to get these cases settled now, or if I had to go home to attend Conference, I felt as though I would return to Washington and still endeavor to effect a settlement. I then went to the office of the Solicitor of the Treasury and submitted the copy of my letter to the Attorney General, and asked him to read that and it would give him a good idea of my cases. I said that I wished he would read it with the understanding that it was written when I supposed the whole case was in the hands of the Department of Justice, but that I had since learned that it was in the power of the Solicitor of the Treasury to compromise the cases, if he deemed it wise. He read my letter, and we sat and conversed for nearly two hours upon the cases, and also upon the affairs of Utah. He told me that he had compromised for $1000 claims amounting to a million and a half, and there was no doubt in his mind that he had the authority to compromise this. He seemed to think that it might be a little more difficult because of its position in the courts. I told him I had called upon him first, but that I had intended to see the Secretary of the Treasury, and asked him if he saw any objections. He said, no, not at all; it was all in the power of the Secretary of the Treasury. I then repaired to the Secretary’s room, and was met by him with the greatest cordiality. He has just returned from a trip to Europe for the benefit of his health, and his room was crowded when I went in, but he hailed me as his old friend from Utah and shook hands with me with apparent warmth. I then handed him the copy of the letter, saying that would give him an idea of what I wanted to talk to him about. After reading it, he said, What can I do about this. I told him that I understood he had the authority, under the law, to settle it. Well, said he, if that is the case I will soon settle it. He expressed himself to the effect that it was a great outrage. I told him of my conversation with Col. Hepburn, the Solicitor of the Treasury, and he sent a messenger to bring the Colonel up. He then asked the Colonel what authority he, as Secretary of the Treasury, had. The Solicitor explained to him. They both agreed that it was a very great wrong. Col. Hepburn said, however, that the case in its present position could not be compromised, because it was on appeal to the Supreme Court of the United States. I said, Well, but suppose I withdraw that and let the judgment of the lower court stand. Col. Hepburn said if I did that, then it could be compromised. I suggested that in order to preserve the comity which I knew ought to exist between the Departments, perhaps it would be well for the Department of Justice to be consulted, and Mr. Foster said to Col. Hepburn that he wished he would go over and see the Attorney General upon the subject.

The next day (Wednesday) I called at the Department to see what the result was of the Solicitor’s interview with the Attorney General, and he informed me that he had been to the Department of Justice, but that the Attorney General thought that the cases ought to rest awhile; that it was a quasi-political case, and better not be disturbed. I said to Col. Hepburn, in substance, what I said to General Williams, that these cases had stood long enough, and I was determined, if I could, to have them brought to a conclusion, and I intimated to Col. Hepburn that I would see my friend, the Secretary of War. He told me that if he got word from Mr. Elkins of a favorable result of his conversation with the Attorney General he would immediately go over and try and get the papers. My anxiety was to have letters which had been written upon the case from Utah put in the possession of the Treasury officials, as it would give them a better idea of the view that was entertained now in Utah concerning these bond cases. I went over to the War Department and saw Mr. Elkins, told him the situation, explained to him that I was very anxious to get this business pushed right through, as I was needed at home, and expressed the wish that he would see the Attorney General. He said he would see him on Friday. But, I said, I want to get away on Friday, if I can. He said it was better on Friday for him to see the Attorney General, because they sat together then in the Cabinet meeting and he was so driven now that he could not very well spare the time. But after thinking for a few minutes, he said, Well, Mr. Miller, the Attorney General’s son, is my private secretary; how would it do for me to write a letter to the Attorney General, stating my wishes, and send it to him by his son. I said I thought that would be a very good plan; and said I, if you approve, I will talk with your private secretary myself and explain matters. He said, Well, do so. I explained to the young man the points, and he promised to see his father and take a letter from the Secretary of War, and desired me to call the next day in the afternoon.

In the meantime I saw my friend, Gov. McCormick, who had been Assistant Secretary of the Treasury, and who was an intimate friend of Secretary Elkins; in fact, they have been jointly interested in a number of business enterprises. When he read my papers, he desired to have a copy of them, that he might use his influence in my favor.

I also saw my friend, Lorenzo Krounse, who is now Assistant Secretary of the Treasury, and I brought all the influence I could from various quarters upon the Attorney General, through Mr. Elkins, Mr. Foster and others.

When I called at the War Department on Thursday afternoon, young Mr. Miller told me that he had seen his father, but that his father still seemed averse to turning the matter over, and he said he did not seem to understand what was wanted. I then explained to Mr. Miller again that all I desired was to preserve the comity that I thought ought to exist between the Departments; that I did not wish, and even if I did, that the Secretary of the Treasury and the Solicitor would not do anything without the acquiescence of the Attorney General; that no action was required on the part of the Attorney General or the Department of Justice except the sending of the papers from the Department of Justice to the Treasury Department. After Mr. Miller got this view, he told me that he would see his father that evening and would explain to him further. But upon my continuing my conversation, he got so warmed up at what I said that he told me if I could wait half an hour he would go and try and find him again, which he did and came back, after conversing with his father, with the pleasing intelligence to me that Col. Hepburn, Solicitor of the Treasury, could come over to the Department of Justice tomorrow and he would get the papers.

I had a card from the Secretary of War which gave me admission to the Treasury Department after people were excluded from entering, and I went over immediately and saw Col. Hepburn and told him the word that I had got, and he informed me that he would go the next morning and see the Attorney General.

I had learned that Mr. Miller, the Attorney General, intended to bring the question up before the Cabinet, so I got Gov. McCormick to see Mr. Elkins and prepare him for it, so that he could talk understandingly to him. I also called and saw him myself on the same subject.

Every time I have called at the War Department, which has been quite frequent, the room has been crowded with Generals and other army officers, and frequently Senators and Representatives, and Mr. Elkins has shown me the utmost courtesy, frequently breaking off from them and coming to talk with me. My old acquaintances have treated me with the utmost courtesy, and his cordiality and evident friendship increased the feeling of respect with which I was treated by all the officials around the Department. The remarks in the Department of Justice were that it was an extraordinary influence that was being used in my favor, that two Cabinet officers took such interest in a case of this kind. Mr. Foster, the general agent of this Department, told the clerks and the Attorney General that I was a very important man in my own country (he having paid a visit to Utah) and that the general feeling at heart among respectable people was that I had been very badly treated, and that I was an influential and a clean man.

When Hepburn called again, the Attorney General said he would let him have the papers after the Cabinet meeting. At this Cabinet meeting my case came up, and I understand that President Harrison said that the case ought to be settled, and my two friends, Mr. Elkins and Mr. Foster, spoke warmly in my favor, as did others. Mr. Blaine was not present, or he would have, I know, spoken warmly in my favor. After the Cabinet meeting Col. Hepburn called and got the papers, and when I called he informed me of that fact.

On Saturday I called at the Department, and I found Col. Hepburn deeply immersed in a case which he said was one of very great importance that he had to commence on that morning, and he could not leave it till he had finished it. He promised that my case should be taken up on Monday.

On Monday I called at the Department. He had read a <the> letter from Mr. Varian which he had written in response to an enquiry of the Department of Justice concerning these cases, and in which he said that he thought I ought not to pay anything, but volunteered the opinion that he did not think it was in the power of any Department of the Government to settle these cases, and that nothing short of an action of Congress could do so. The Solicitor said that this letter was not of a character to enable him to settle, because under the law the district attorney should recommend the settlement of a compromised case. I was disappointed in this, because I feared that there might be delay. But I suggested to the Solicitor that he send a dispatch immediately, and if it were worded properly it might draw from the District Attorney a proper answer. He called in his stenographer and dictated a dispatch in my presence, and

I then went upstairs and saw the Secretary of the Treasury and told him the position of affairs; for I was determined that in case there should be delay I would bring all the pressure possible in favor of a settlement on the strength of the letter which Mr. Varian had written. The Secretary told me he would do what he could in the matter.

On Tuesday I again called upon the Solicitor of the Treasury; in fact I called five or six times. I had engaged my passage for this day at 3:25, and unless I got away either by that train or one that left at 7:40 this evening I could not, however close the connections might be, reach home by Saturday. I was therefore very anxious. I finally made up my mind to call in about 2 o’clock. I did so and had quite a conversation with him, showing him the situation of affairs, and leading him to the point where I wished to induce him to take this action without waiting for further information from Salt Lake. We had a very interesting conversation, and in the midst of it a messenger boy came in with a dispatch, which Col. Hepburn seemed to be as anxious and as much excited about as I would have been if I had known that it was in my case. It was a dispatch from Mr. Varian, and a favorable one. He immediately called his stenographer in and dictated a very comprehensive letter describing the case to the Secretary of the Treasury. I sat and listened to it, and waited till it was copied and the clerk started with it upstairs. I then went up and saw the Secretary of the Treasury, and told him that the dispatch had come at last. He appeared as much pleased as I was, and asked where the papers were. The envelope was on his private secretary’s desk, and he opened it and read what was said, and then wrote “Approved, Charles Foster, Secretary of the Treasury, March 29th, 1892.”, and handed the papers to me. I rushed down to the Solicitor’s office and showed him what had been done. He said it was necessary that the Secretary should write a letter to him. I said that the Secretary told me if this did not suit, send him up something that would suit that he could sign. It was now ten minutes past four, and the Solicitor expressed his fear that the clerk who could draw this up had gone. He called his chief clerk to go with me to the room where these forms were drawn up; but we found that the man had gone. The Solicitor’s chief clerk said that he would see that it was done the first thing in the morning, and I returned to my hotel and packed my trunk and got ready to leave by the 7:40 train. I wrote a letter authorizing Col. Trumbo, who had kindly consented to look after the remainder of the business, to attend it.

I do not know that I ever worked harder in my life than I have done the past five or six days. I have used every influence I could, and I have been very successful. I never was treated more kindly than I have been by my old acquaintances; in fact, I have been surprised at the good feeling that has been shown. Never in my life have I witnessed so kind a disposition towards Utah and her people as is shown now. President Harrison’s timidity seems to have its origin in the fear lest he should shock the country by issuing a pardon for such offenses as unlawful cohabitation, adultery and polygamy—terms which our enemies have used to make our conduct as odious as possible in the eyes of the people. The President seems to fear the religious sentiment of the country. Three forms of a proclamation have been drawn up by the Attorney General, but neither of them suited him. I have suggested that a proclamation should be issued covering all offenses under the Edmunds and Edmunds-Tucker laws; but the Attorney General thought that might be too sweeping, that it might include property, etc. President Harrison, I was told, had expressed himself to the effect that if he had the power he would return the property, but he did not wish to exceed his powers nor to get himself into a hole. The Behring Sea matters engrosses a great deal of the attention of the members of the Cabinet at every meeting, and until this could be got out of the way our affairs could not receive the attention they should.

I ought to say, before closing my journal of Washington affairs, that Colonel Trumbo has worked with a zeal and a devotion and industry that are almost beyond praise. He has been most energetic and has made hosts of friends, and has been most outspoken concerning Utah and the Mormons. My reluctance in leaving Washington is increased by the fact that I have to leave him and Bishop Clawson there. I would not leave if it were not that President Woodruff has sent me word on two different occasions that he desires me to be home for Conference, even if I have to return again. I regret having to leave Bishop Clawson and Col. Trumbo here alone; but they both favor my return, though they are reluctant to have me part with them.

My journey home was uneventful, except that on Wednesday evening we were an hour and a half late on the Pittsburgh & Fort Wayne. The train was due in Chicago at 9:30. The train that I wished to go west by left at 10:30, and the conductors and all who were familiar said it was no use I could not reach Chicago in time to take that train. The last conductor told me that the engine was doing all in its power, and that it would be impossible for it to reach there. I was told that the depots were about a mile apart; still I hoped that I would be fortunate enough to connect. I have been a very fortunate traveler throughout all my life. Our train reached Chicago at 10:25, which left me only 5 mins. to get out of the train, out of the depot, and drive to the other. I succeeded in getting a hansom, and the driver drove his horses on a gallop. I reached the Chicago & Northwestern depot, was told by a porter who came to the steps as I was descending that the train was still there, and we ran as hard as we could, and just as I got my things aboard, the train started. The conductor said he had been detained three minutes beyond his time, but he did not know why. I thought I knew, and I felt wonderfully thankful, because if I had missed this train I should have been detained another day, which would have brought me into Salt Lake on Sunday. I reached on Saturday morning, April 2nd.

Soon after I got to the office, Presidents Woodruff and Smith came.

I spent a busy day. The first meeting was at 1 o’clock—the board of Young University, and we discussed at some length the propriety of starting a university on a broader basis. Captain Willard Young advocated the founding of the university by the Church, and not by the heirs of his father. He appeared to think that this would be more acceptable to the people, and make the foundation a better one and one likely to receive more aid.

The General Board of Education met at 3 o’clock.

I drove home with my son David, and was very glad to find all my family in so good a condition. Anne is suffering from the whooping cough. She has been a very sick child, but she is better.

Cite this page

March 1892, The Journal of George Q. Cannon, accessed July 19, 2024