December 1893

1 December 1893 • Friday

Friday, December 1, 1893. Brother H. B. Clawson read to the First Presidency this morning letters which he had received from Col. Trumbo in which he pressed upon our attention the necessity of myself and Brother Clawson going East to be with them. This we considered; but the question of funds came up—how we were to get money to make any movement of this kind. It was suggested that I should see Henry W. Lawrence, the Receiver, and endeavor to arrange through him for us to get a part of our money; that which Walker Bros. held we thought to be the most likely to be reached. I had an interview with Lawrence and he accompanied me to Walker Bros. Bank. I saw J. R. Walker and his brother Matthew. Our interview was a very pleasant one, and J. R. Walker assured me that they would let us have money, either through Mr. Lawrence or directly from themselves and would give me an answer in the morning.

Brother Geo. E. Browning, who has been a missionary to Samoa and has presided recently over the Mission, called upon us, and we had a long and interesting conversation with him concerning Samoan affairs. He is a young man of considerable intelligence.

Bishop J. P. R. Johnson came up from Provo today to have a deceased daughter of his, Maria Johnson, sealed to me, her mother acting for the daughter. I went down to the Temple and Brother Madsen performed the ceremony.

I was invited to my son Abraham’s this evening to eat dinner, by his wife Mamie, who had for her company her mother (my wife Carlie) and her brothers and sisters and my son William, who is married to her sister. It was a very pleasant family gathering and we had a nice time.

2 December 1893 • Saturday

Saturday, Dec. 2, 1893. The First Presidency at the office.

Mr. C. L. Farnsworth, the cashier of Walker Bros. bank, came up with a letter to me from J. R. Walker, the president of the bank, enclosing a note of $25,000 at 8%, payable by the 1st. of Jan. 1894. The First Presidency signed this as the First Presidency and then endorsed it personally.

President Jos. F. Smith reported to us this morning that Brother John Henry Smith and Heber J. Grant had come to the office last evening to see me and had engaged in conversation with him until 7 o’clock. During the conversation Brother Grant had reported that the Church was bankrupt and ruined and had spoken in the most desponding strain. Upon hearing this I said it made me almost angry to hear such talk from our brethren. What have we done, as the First Presidency, that is wrong in our management of the affairs of the Church? While I am fully conscious how fallible I am and how liable I am to err, which I confess before the Lord in humility, at the same time I cannot see that I have done anything wrong as one of the First Presidency, speaking generally; neither do I believe that you, my brethren, have done wrong. We have labored with an eye single to the glory of our Father and the salvation of His people, and the Lord will not desert us. He never has failed to sustain the First Presidency of this Church when they have done right, and He will not fail to sustain us, and these gloomy apprehensions and despondent feelings are not from God; they are not the fruits of the Spirit of God. A man can be gloomy, despondent and oppressed about his own sins, but we certainly ought not to feel this way about the cause of God. Our enemies are constantly predicting ruin and that everything is going to destruction; but we know that they prophesy falsely, and I know that the Lord will sustain us if we do right. Brothers Grant and Smith came in afterwards and I took the liberty of saying to Brother Grant that I wanted to talk with him and I hoped he would not be offended at my remarks. He replied that he would receive anything I said as freely as he would from his father. I then told him my feelings; that he nor any of us ought ever to indulge in gloomy and despondent feelings concerning the work of God, but to rise up in the strength and power of our priesthood and put our trust in the Lord. He will not desert us; He never has done so, and though we may be surrounded by difficult circumstances, we have been in that condition before, and yet we have lived through the blessing of the Lord, and He is still able to deliver us from our pecuniary difficulties. Both the brethren felt very well at my remarks and acquiesced in them; said that they knew that a spirit which did not bring peace and happiness was not the spirit of God.

The First Presidency had considerable conversation this morning with Bishop Clawson concerning our going East and the expenditure of money. Brother Jos. F. Smith spoke with some plainness upon these matters. I listened to him and when he said that nothing had been accomplished by our previous visits to the East I said that I wanted to say to him that while we did not succeed in getting Utah admitted as a State it would not be correct to say that our visits were failures, for a great amount of good had been accomplished, as witnessed in the wonderful change in public sentiment and at our last visit the Republican party in caucus assembled voted almost unanimously for the admission of Utah—a wonderfully grand result, it appeared to me, of the labors that had been expended in the East. Brother Joseph admitted all this, but said his remarks were intended only for the admission of the Territory. This of course, could not be denied; but I had felt that every visit had felt that the Lord had been with us. At the same time I wanted him and all the brethren to understand that because I had shown such readiness to go whenever I was called upon I did not do this because of any desire to go or that it was a pleasure to me to go and leave my home. I had probably the largest family of any of the leading brethren and yet I had dropped everything, without regard to my own personal interests or the condition of my family affairs, and gone at almost an hour’s notice to be absent for weeks and months. I had done this and taken pleasure in it because it was the wish of my brethren the First Presidency that I should do so. At the same time it was not without personal sacrifice, and if I were to consult my own inclinations and affairs I would not wish to go. Presidents Woodruff and Smith both felt that we ought to go, and it was so decided.

I went to the Hot Springs and took a bath. Upon my return I dictated my journal with some degree of fullness to Brother Arthur Winter.

3 December 1893 • Sunday

Sunday, Dec. 3, 1893 I attended meeting at the Tabernacle at 2 o’clock. Brother H. J. Grant was in the stand and I requested him to speak. He felt somewhat reluctant about doing so, as he had a cold, but occupied about 40 mins., and I followed for about 30 mins. I spoke upon the principle of hope being a gift from the Lord and that it ought to be sought for by the Latter-day Saints under present circumstances. After the meeting closed, Brother Thomas Hull came to me with tears in his eyes and expressed the pleasure and gratitude which he felt at hearing my remarks, as it had inspired him with new courage. I heard afterwards a number of expressions to the same effect from various individuals.

I spent the evening at my son William’s. My wife Carlie was also there.

4 December 1893 • Monday

Monday, Dec. 4, 1893. Had an informal meeting of the B.B.& C. Co[.] Presidents Woodruff and Smith had spoken to Bishop Preston, who is the treasurer of the company, in relation to my departure to the States on Tuesday morning and impressed him with the necessity of declaring a dividend, if possible, to assist me, so that I might be relieved financially. There was a disposition not to declare so large a dividend as I thought might be declared; but after going through the figures and showing them how it might be done a vote was taken that 50¢ a share should be declared. As this was not a legal meeting it could not be declared legally until the 9th. I was able to get a little advance from the treasurer, with which I met pressing engagements.

There was a meeting afterwards held of the First Presidency and Brothers Clayton and Jack of the railroad company for the purpose of giving instructions to Brothers Orson Smith, C. W. Hardy and Milo Andrus, whom we had selected to go out as an exploring party to examine the line of route for the proposed railway. As I was president of the road I desired to see them and talk to them before my departure. I explained to them confidentially the plans that we had in view and the character of the services we wanted them to perform. They were all willing to do the best they could. They will probably start in a few days.

The Brigham Young Memorial Association held a meeting and attended to some business.

A correspondent of several eastern papers by the name of Herbert Heywood called upon us and occupied considerable of our time this afternoon.

5 December 1893 • Tuesday

Tuesday, Dec. 5, 1893 It was our intention to have started this morning for the East, but Sister Clawson’s health was very poor, and we found by reckoning up that we could stay till tomorrow morning and do as well in reaching New York for business, so our departure was postponed until tomorrow.

Ex-Senator Warren, of Wyoming, called upon us this morning. He was very pleasant and expressed the satisfaction it gave him to see us and to find that Utah is in so good a situation as contrasted with other parts of the country.

I was busy making preparations to get away. Dictated a number of letters and articles for the Juvenile Instructor, and attended a meeting of the B.Y.Trust Co.

Before separating from Presidents Woodruff and Smith this afternoon, I expressed the wish to be blessed by them prior to going on my journey. They laid their hands upon me and gave me an excellent blessing, Brother Jos. F. Smith being mouth.

6–7 December 1893 • Wednesday–Thursday

Wednesday & Thursday, Dec. 6 & 7, 1893 Brother C. H. Wilcken took me to the train, in company with Hugh.

Started at 7 o’clock. My son Frank met Brother Clawson and myself at Ogden. The weather was pleasant. We met snow about 150 miles east of Omaha. No incident of note on these days.

8 December 1893 • Friday

Friday, Dec. 8, 1893 Reached Chicago at 9:30 a.m. Put up at the Auditorium Hotel.

Mr. Goodman, a reporter, saw me and had a lengthy conversation[.] Afterwards I went with him to the Auditorium Annex and was introduced to Mr. W. T. Stead, a noted English editor. Had a two hours’ conversation with him of a very interesting character. He was anxious to have me attend some of the meetings that he expected to have with the ministers of Chicago and to have me explain to them our method of managing the poor. He expressed a very strong admiration for our methods and praised us for having the form of government in which he believed, although he himself was a Protestant, namely, a theocracy. He said he believed in the Pope’s jurisdiction and thought our system most admirable because of the power it gave to the heads of the Church. He said he should quote the Latter-day Saints in his lectures and in his conversation and shame the orthodox people for their lack of system and their poor ways of managing affairs connected with their poor. I could not stop and therefore could not accept his invitation to join him in his expected interviews.

In the evening we saw the play of “Ogallalles” by the Boston Opera Co. The performance was a very good one.

10 December 1893 • Sunday

Sunday, Dec. 10, 1893 This is a day long to be remembered, being the anniversary of my marriage to my first wife Elizabeth Hoagland Cannon thirty-nine years ago.

We reached New York on time and put up at the Hoffman House. General Clarkson and Col. Trumbo called upon us and gave us a description of the situation. They were returning to Washington tonight. Their labors had been incessant and successful in converting leading Republicans to acquiesce and aid in the admission of Utah, or in the passage of the Bill. They had secured promises. The Bill might come up tomorrow; if not, on Tuesday or Wednesday. They felt encouraged to hope the Bill would pass the House. Gen. Clarkson wished this done, if possible, before the Tariff discussion commenced, as that would be likely to arouse partisanship and make our Bill appear as a partisan measure. He thought it unadvisable for me to go to Washington now, as pledges were being asked and the Democrats might put me by their questions in an awkward position. The business of the iron for the R.R. had progressed. Parties at Bethlehem had opened negotiations—a company only a little less strong than the Carnegie Co. and with influential connections. They have capacity to manufacture 36,000 tons of steel rails per month and they manufacture all materials needed for construction of the road. They wished me telegraphed for and a meeting will now be arranged at Bethlehem, Penn., Philadelphia or New York. Bishop Clawson and myself accompanied Gen. Clarkson and Col. Trumbo to the train. I had quite an interesting conversation with Gen. Clarkson en route.

11 December 1893 • Monday

Monday, Dec. 11, 1893 Wrote to Presidents Woodruff and Smith.

In the evening attended the performance of “Charley’s Aunt”—a very laughable comedy.

12 December 1893 • Tuesday

Tuesday, Dec. 12, 1893 Crossed to Brooklyn and spent an hour at my cousin Wm. Qualey’s residence. He has been absent with his pilot boat for a week past. I took lunch with Mrs. Qualey and Helen and had a pleasant conversation. They pressed me to stop with them. Afterwards with Brother Clawson I called at hospital to see Mrs. Trumbo, who has had to submit to an operation for worm trouble. She is recovering rapidly. A lady named Mrs. Meek was there when we called.

In the evening saw the play “The Councilor’s Wife”—a good one.

13 December 1893 • Wednesday

Wednesday, Dec. 13, 1893 Attended a meeting of the Kaibab Co. at noon today, at 52 Broadway, Room 83, Mr. Hand’s office. He is secretary of the Co. There was not a quorum present, there being only Mr. Brennan, president and treasurer, and Brother Junius F. Wells, one of the directors. The members of the Board are John W. Young, J. F. Wells, Mr. Hallek, Mr. Burke and Mr. Brennan. The object of the meeting was to appoint Anthony W. Ivins, of St. George, Superintendent of the Co. in Arizona and Utah, and to authorize Dan Seegmiller to act as Agent of the Co. in the event of papers having to be served. The stock which Cannon, Grant & Co. have bought in this company (1600 shares) have not been transferred to us and it was thought better to have this done, so I attended to this, signing Cannon, Grant & Co. to an order asking for the transfer of the stock, also signing receipts for the same.

Had an interview with Mr. L.C. Hopkins, of 72 Broadway, concerning an article that he wanted written setting forth the affairs of Utah and the conditions which prevail there, and which he would have published very widely in this country and Europe.

In the evening went to see “The Professor’s Love Story”, a very good play.

14 December 1893 • Thursday

Thursday, Dec. 14, 1893 The glad news was published this morning that an enabling act had passed the House of Representatives yesterday for Utah, and the remarkable feature about it is that it passed without a negative vote and without anyone demanding the yeas and nays upon the question. Who could have dared to predict such a thing concerning Utah? Or who would have believed such a prediction had it been uttered. The change of sentiment which has taken place in the nation, and particularly in Congress, respecting Utah is truly marvelous; no power but that of the Almighty could have effected this.

Gen. Clarkson and Col. Trumbo, whom we met this morning at the Plaza Hotel, have just come up from Washington, and the former is about worn out and can scarcely speak because of hoarseness. They have worked indefatigably, and Gen. Clarkson has used his great influence with extraordinary effect among Representatives and Senators, inducing the latter to work with Members of the House for the passage of the Bill. He succeeded in converting Thomas B. Reed and J. C. Burrows and other leading Republicans to view the measure favorably, and in disarming Dingley of Maine and others opposed to the admission of Utah and inducing them to hold their tongues. He had enlisted the principal part of the Republican National Committee in favor of the Bill, and at his suggestion they had telegraphed to various Members urging them to cease opposition and to others to aid in pushing the Bill through. The Lord has been with these two men and they have been blessed.

At 11 o’clock this morning we met by appointment Mr. Drinker and Mr. Hobart, attorneys for the Bethlehem Iron Works and the Lehigh Valley R.R. Co. There were Gen. Clarkson, Col. Trumbo, Bishop Clawson and myself. The object of the interview was to converse upon the terms upon which the Iron Co. could furnish us steel rails, etc., to build the railroad to the Pacific. It was a question of guarantee on the Bonds. It appears that a proposition had been made to have the Church guarantee the Bonds and the ability of the Church to do this formed the subject of conversation. These people could not consider the Bonds as of marketable value unless they could be guaranteed. We conversed three hours and a quarter upon this subject, their inquiries being principally addressed to me (as I did all the talking on our side) to learn the status of the Church as an institution which could legally give a guarantee and its financial ability and resources. I talked to them very frankly upon these points and they expressed the pleasure they had in my candor in answering all their questions. Col. Trumbo had given them a much more highly colored view of our financial ability and resources than I did and they felt better satisfied at my explanations. Col. Trumbo had said to me that we must not talk poverty; that if we wished to make an impression we should let people believe we had plenty—a sentiment which I felt would be proper under some circumstances, but not in a case like this. I told the gentlemen that if a guarantee were required I would have to submit it to my friends at home. Mr. Hobart asked me how I would feel myself about voting to give a guarantee. I replied by asking him his opinion as to the probability of our selling bonds in the East, for upon this my action would depend. He referred the question to Mr. Drinker, and he asked what amount we would want to sell. This I could not tell, but said, suppose we would want to sell half—that would be ten millions for the thousand miles of road. That started a new line of talk. They said if the bonds could be sold that would simplify matters greatly, as then we could pay them cash for their rails, etc., instead of bonds as at first proposed. We adjourned the meeting until they could make further inquiries upon this subject.

Gen. Clarkson, Col. Trumbo, Bishop Clawson and myself took dinner at the Cafe Savarin.

In the evening went to the Metropolitan Opera House with Col. Trumbo and Bishop Clawson to see “America”, a grand spectacular exhibition.

15 December 1893 • Friday

Friday, Dec. 15, 1893 Thinking Gen. Clarkson might have derived exaggerated ideas about our financial resources from Col. Trumbo, I sought and had a private interview with him at the Plaza Hotel, where he lives. In doing this I relieved my mind. Last night was one of trial and anxiety of mind to me. This enterprise, so gigantic, I feel the weight of, and I realize the responsibility which rests upon me in connection with it. I stand in the forefront as it were, and am in a position to be severely criticized for and perhaps ruined by any misstep. I feel deeply impressed with the gravity of my situation and how much for good or evil depends upon my course of action. The Lord help me is my constant cry. We met according to appointment at the Bethlehem Iron Co’s offices with Mr. Drinker and Senator Hobart. Mr. Drinker had done business at New York last evening after our separation and then had gone to Philadelphia, and then up to Bethlehem and back to Philadelphia, and from there this morning to New York. He must have been busy all night. At Bethlehem he had received a suggestion from President Wilber of the Lehigh Valley R.R. concerning the endorsement of the Bonds, and that was to have the Territory or the State endorse them. The question was: could we get the Legislature to do this? I had scarcely any doubt about it; but a law of Congress, I believed, prohibited such action on the part of Territories. The lawyers promised to examine the statutes. But all felt that an endorsement by the State would be excellent. The State if admitted now would not have a legislature until, at the earliest, the autumn of 1894. This would be an obstacle in the way of present action and would delay business. We could not, if we waited for such action, be able to employ men and teams and start work at once at home—the great end which I felt most anxious to reach. We discussed this suggestion in all its aspects and separated with the intention of going to Bethlehem tomorrow morning and examining the works, and seeing and consulting with the Railroad and Iron Co’s people there—the officers of the one being the officers of the other and the interests being identical. This conversation brought great relief to me, for it opened a way for an endorsement which would be much better than that of the Church and one that I thought we might reasonably expect to obtain, in view of the great desire which exists among all classes to increase carrying facilities and to furnish employment. I cannot, in my feelings, consent to the Church endorsing or guaranteeing bonds for this proposed railroad; but if the State should do so, it would take away from the enterprise the appearance of it being a Church or one-sided movement.

16 December 1893 • Saturday

Saturday, Dec. 16, 1893 We met Senator Hobart, Gen. Clarkson and Col. Trumbo at the Liberty St. ferry at 9:30 a.m. Senator Hobart procured our tickets and parlor car seats to Bethlehem, Penn., on the Lehigh Valley R.R. The scenery on this route is beautiful. We passed through Flagtown, the residence of my wife Elizabeth’s father and mother before they married and moved to Michigan. We were met at Bethlehem by Mr. Drinker and others and were taken up to the offices of the Lehigh Valley R.R. Co., where we met Mr. Wilber, the president of the R.R., Mr. Sayre, the Vice President, and Mr. Davenport, another Vice President. We had conversation on our business, and they all expressed a wish to hear me, making some flattering remarks about my ability in conversation and explaining. We then went to lunch at their club house. After which we were driven in carriages to the works, Bishop Clawson and myself riding at his request with Mr. Lindeman in his private carriage. The Works were not in full operation, but we saw enough to impress us with their magnitude. One of the machine shops is 1400 feet long. They make cannon here for the government, and we saw the process of forging hoops they put on the guns. They squeeze the heated metal as they would dough under the powerful pressure of machines which they have. The largest steam engine in the world, so they said, is here—15,000 horse power; and they have a machine which is capable of lifting the immense ocean steamship City of Paris. They manufacture armor plates for the warships; we saw plates 18 inches thick. On the whole the visit was most interesting. Mr. Lindeman informed me they had expended on improvements in their establishments upwards of five millions of dollars in the past four years. They were evidently desirous of obtaining an order from us for the rails we would need to carry out our projected enterprise. They would gladly sell us enough to go to Stockton, to Deep Creek, or contract for the whole distance to the Pacific. Mr. Drinker, and the others too, was desirous I should make an offer; but I put it off on to Gen. Clarkson. He made a full explanation of the advantages of the road and dwelt upon some of the political results which would be likely to flow from an alliance with us. His argument was a good one; but it was plain they wanted us to offer good reliable notes or bonds with a good guarantee. The guarantee of the Territorial Legislature they did not seem to rely upon. If a State guarantee could be obtained, that they would think excellent and would insure the sale of the Bonds. But the State guarantee is remote, even if the Territory should now be admitted. They were willing to consider an offering for, and would be glad to sell, twenty, forty or one hundred and fifty miles of rails; but what could I offer? It was this part of the work that Gen. Clarkson and Col. Trumbo were to accomplish, and I felt unprepared to assume responsibility connected with this. Mr. Drinker was very kind and said that nothing had been presented to them in which they took so much interest as this. He thought an acquaintance had been made and an understanding reached that would lead to satisfactory arrangements and results in the future. We might have to leave the enterprise to remain fallow six months, and in the meantime be making progress in other directions. He and Senator Hobart talked to me in private about this affair and impressed me with the importance they attached to our part in this matter. Our two friends (Gen. C. & Col. T.) were all very well; but they looked to us as the responsible parties. In fact, I find that it is the Mormon backing that gives this project life, influence and importance in their eyes. Our credit is far beyond that which we ourselves are conscious of. I have been greatly impressed with this in all our meetings. These people are very pleasant, and I suppose there is considerable of a Quaker element among them. They treated us with the utmost consideration and courtesy.

In returning we had to stop at Easton nearly two hours. Mr. Barnes, a very intelligent and smart man, who is general agent for the railroad company, provided us with a good dinner.

We reached the hotel at 9:30 p.m.

17 December 1893 • Sunday

Sunday, Dec. 17, 1893. Called upon Mr. & Mrs. John N. Neels at the Park Avenue Hotel.

18 December 1893 • Monday

Monday, Dec. 18, 1893 At 10 o’clock this morning I took train for Boston and was met at the depot by my son Lewis. He took me to his quarters and then through the buildings of the Institute of Technology. I examined his drawings which were hung up, and for which he had received honor; and I also went through with Brother Jos. Jensen (Lewis’ roommate) the mechanical engineering department, where the pupils are instructed in the use of tools. The training is very thorough. Brother Jensen is learning mechanical engineering. We went to Fremont theatre in the evening and saw Mr. Crane in “On Probation”, a play we enjoyed very much. I thought it would be a relaxation for the boys.

19 December 1893 • Tuesday

Tuesday, Dec. 19, 1893 Returned to New York at 10 a.m. Was met by Brother J. F. Wells, who took me to the Holland House to see Mr. Frazier, a representative of English capital, who appeared willing to loan Cannon, Grant & Co. $250,000 at 6% per annum for five years and 6 1/4 % commission.

In the evening saw “1492”, a humorous and bright performance.

20 December 1893 • Wednesday

Wednesday, Dec. 20, 1893 Went to Plaza Hotel and met Gen. Clarkson and Col. Trumbo and with them repaired to Bethlehem Iron Co’s offices. Had further conversation with Messrs. Drinker and Hobart, but without making any arrangement for steel &c. They were prepared to receive any proposition we had to make now or at any future time for steel on such terms as they could as business men for twenty, forty, a hundred or a thousand miles of rails. Their conversation was kind and friendly, and they were earnest in their expressions that we would make some arrangements for this material with them.

In reckoning up how long it would take to reach home we concluded we could spend a day at Chicago and then get home Christmas morning, so Bishop Clawson and myself made up our minds to start this evening.

Brother Junius F. Wells took me to see Mr. Whittridge.

(The notes say this interview is to be written up.)1

At 8:30 we left New York by the Erie R.R.

21 December 1893 • Thursday

Thursday, Dec. 21, 1893 Had a pleasant day traveling.

22 December 1893 • Friday

Friday, Dec. 22, 1893 Reached Chicago at 7:25 a.m. Put up at the Auditorium. Had an interview with Mr. Ryan and Mr. Bamberger concerning B.B.& C. Co’s affairs.

In the evening we left Chicago by the Chicago & Northwestern.

23–24 December 1893 • Saturday–Sunday

Saturday & Sunday, Dec. 23 & 24, 1893 We reached Omaha at 2 o’clock on Saturday and pursued our journey on the Union Pacific[.]

25 December 1893 • Monday

Monday, Dec. 25, 1893 Reached Salt Lake City at 3 o’clock this morning. Brother Wilcken and my son Hugh came up by daylight for me. I found my family all well, excepting Martha. Her disease seems to have settled in her left arm and it is helpless.

Although I am cramped for means and unable to make the customary Christmas presents, I felt profoundly thankful that we had good health and could meet together under such favorable circumstances.

I took my Christmas dinner with my wife Carlie.

26 December 1893 • Tuesday

Tuesday, Dec. 26, 1893 I gave notice yesterday to Geo. M. Cannon secretary of Cannon, Grant & Co. that we desired to have a meeting at 9 o’clock this morning. It took us sometime to get the brethren together, and we did not separate till afternoon. The object of the meeting was to submit a proposition which I had received from Brother Junius F. Wells for the loan of $250,000 at 5% interest for 5 years with 6 1/4 % commission. After considerable discussion a motion was carried to the effect that we would give 5% interest for 5 years and a commission of 5%, and then $1000 in addition.

27 December 1893 • Wednesday

Wednesday, Dec. 27, 1893 The First Presidency had a conversation this morning with Brother Francis Armstrong concerning the Onyx quarries and the proper method of managing the business and securing patents for the best claims.

As Brother Cluff had obtained an extension of an option that he had on the Wood & Jensen coal mine at Cedar City until next Saturday, the 30th, it was felt to be important that we should meet together and come to some decision concerning it. A meeting of the Twelve and First Presidency was decided upon for 12 o’clock tomorrow, instead of 2 p.m., and notices were accordingly sent out.

28 December 1893 • Thursday

Thursday, Dec. 28, 1893 Spent the forenoon with the First Presidency in the office, and at 12 repaired to the Temple. Besides the First Presidency there were present, Lorenzo Snow, F. D. Richards, F. M. Lyman, H. J. Grant and A. H. Cannon. We attended to some business connected with the Temple and then took up the case of Brother L. G. Hardy, which occupied our attention for some time; after which the question was discussed whether we should purchase the Wood & Jensen coal mine or not. Brother Cluff was sent for and he gave us, in addition to his written statement which we had and was read, a good many explanations from which we gathered that this was an exceedingly valuable property and would be necessary to be owned by any railroad company which should penetrate that region. The question also of going on with the railroad and guaranteeing the bonds came up. Some of the brethren appeared to be quite averse to this enterprise and lacked faith in it, particularly Elders Lyman and Grant. President Jos. F. Smith made some very pertinent remarks concerning the position that the leaders of the Church occupied, and said that if we did not take steps to lead the people and to build up Zion we should fall into the position of the sectarian churches around us; that we must pay attention to temporal affairs as well as spiritual. I followed in the same strain and spoke with some degree of power about the responsibility which I felt rested upon us as leaders of the people. Brother F. D. Richards followed, and a motion was made for us to adjourn, as it was getting late, to meet tomorrow at 10.

29 December 1893 • Friday

Friday, Dec. 29, 1893 Snowing very heavily this morning.

We met at 10 o’clock in the Temple. Brother John Henry Smith was also present today. We spent the entire day until dark in talking over the L. G. Hardy case, the Wood & Jensen coal mine purchase, and the railroad project. Brother Lyman seemed very averse to our doing anything as a Church in favor of Brother Hardy, his reason for it being the embarrassment of the Church for the want of funds. We all shared in this feeling, but did not seem to be so strenuous on this matter as he. Brother Grant was added to the committee consisting of John Henry Smith and A. H. Cannon, to see what could be done in raising funds from the friends of Brother Hardy. President Woodruff said he as soon as he could would pay $1000. I proffered to do the same, Brother Grant the same, and John Henry Smith $500, although we all felt that our circumstances were so pinched that it would be very difficult to [do] this. The discussion on the railroad project was very full. I made all the explanations that I could and that were asked for. President Woodruff seemed very clear in his mind concerning it, that we ought to take hold of this business, and after he had expressed himself as he did, my son Abraham moved “that this Council sustain President Woodruff and Counselors in carrying forward to successful completion this railroad, whether by the advancing of means for that purpose by the Church or the guaranteeing of the bonds, as the Spirit of the Lord may direct.” This was carried unanimously. Concerning the purchase of the Wood & Jensen coal mine, President Woodruff also expressed himself with great clearness, and it was carried unanimously that we should purchase that, and that Brother Cluff would proceed immediately to Cedar City and make the best terms he could for it.

I had felt considerably concerned in my mind about these questions, and I prayed most earnestly to the Lord that He would enable us to come to conclusions that would be satisfactory and upon which we would be united. I feel that the Lord has answered my prayer, and I am sure that has been the prayer of the brethren. I made this prediction, that if I was a prophet at all, I was willing to risk my reputation as such that if we would enter upon this enterprise under proper conditions it would prove the grandest project we had ever engaged in, and that if we did not do it and let others do it, it would only be fastening another fetter upon us. This is the feeling I have although I share with my brethren in the feeling of dread concerning the risk. It may be that it will be difficult for us to get a start, to obtain means to make a commencement; but if this be from the Lord He will open up our way and help us to accomplish the ends we have in view.

Brother Cluff expressed a willingness to start in the morning.

30 December 1893 • Saturday

Saturday, December 30, 1893 Brother Wilcken came to my house and rode with me in my buggy to the Hot Springs.

I spent the afternoon in the office attending to various matters of business and dictated my journal, etc.

31 December 1893 • Sunday

Sunday, December 31, 1893 At 12:30 I was taken by my son Brigham to Brother Talmage’s lecture at the Assembly Hall. The house was full. I took the liberty of making some explanations concerning the Kingdom of God.

At 2 p.m. met with the congregation in the Tabernacle and spoke 70 minutes with good freedom.

In the evening Brother C. H. Wilcken took me in my buggy to the 22nd Ward meeting house. There were present, President Jos. F. Smith, the Presidency of the Stake, and a house full of saints. Brother John L. Nebeker, who had been 2nd Counselor to Bishop Alfred Solomon, was chosen as 1st Counselor, to fill the place of Brother Garrick, deceased; and Brother Arthur Winter was chosen as 2nd Counselor. President Smith was mouth in setting Brother Nebeker apart, and I was mouth in ordaining Brother Winter a High Priest and setting him apart. The meeting house was then dedicated, and I offered the prayer. President Smith spoke about half an hour, and I requested the presidency of the Stake to occupy the remainder of the time, but they declined and pressed me to speak, which I did for twenty minutes.

After the meeting Bishop Solomon invited us to take supper with him. We spent some time at his house very pleasantly.

I returned home, and my wife Carlie and I saw the new year in.

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December 1893, The Journal of George Q. Cannon, accessed May 20, 2024