The Church Historian's Press

September 1894

1 September 1894 • Saturday

Saturday, Sept. 1, 1894. My wife Carlie’s health is not very good, but I think it better to take her with me on this proposed trip to Denver than to go alone, and my own health has not been all I could desire.

I came to the office this morning and spent the greater part of the day attending to various matters of business.

Myself and wife Carlie started this evening by the Rio Grande.

2 September 1894 • Sunday

Sunday, Sept. 2, 1894. We were joined last night by Bishop T. R. Cutler and Brother Ellingson, of Lehi, and Brother L. Holbrook, Mayor of Provo, and his wife. Mr. Kearns, of Park City, also joined us on the road, and a Mr. Shoemaker. These are all delegates to the Irrigation Congress.

The day was passed very pleasantly. The scenery on the road is very grand. Our train was delayed so that we did not reach Denver until past midnight.

Mr. Henry Cushing, agent of the Rio Grande, accompanied us from Salt Lake City and was very attentive. Mr. Thayre, who keeps several eating houses, was aboard also and he paid us marked attention. At Minton, where we got dinner, he had a table reserved for us and we were furnished the best the house afforded.

Peaches at Grand Junction are very superior. This is a settlement of only a few years’ growth, but it is producing very fine fruit.

When we reached Denver, the cars had stopped, but Mr. Cushing secured us a carriage, in which Brother Holbrook and wife and myself and wife rode to the Brown Palace Hotel, where our rooms had been secured by Colonel Stevenson, who had preceded us. This house is as elegant as anything I have seen in the country, and the rooms assigned myself and wife were, I think, as well furnished as any rooms I have ever been assigned to in a hotel.

Upon reaching the office, I found two letters, one from Col. Stevenson, and the other from Mr. W. E. Smythe, the Chairman of the National Executive Committee of the Irrigation Congress, in which I was informed that it was the purpose to nominate me as temporary chairman of the organization. I received two dispatches also, informing me that I would be met at the depot by a committee and be escorted to the hotel. This arrangement, however, failed because of the train being delayed and it was not known exactly when it would get in.

3 September 1894 • Monday

Monday, Sept. 3, 1894. At 10:30 the Irrigation Congress was called to order by Mr. Smythe in the Opera House, opposite the Brown Palace Hotel. There was a good gathering of delegates, though it was thought there were not as many as there would have been had it not been Labor Day. Mr. Smythe made a very eloquent address, and Mr. Kearns, of the Utah delegation, moved that I be made temporary chairman of the Congress. This was seconded by a number of delegates, and one proposed that I should be elected by acclamation, which was carried. Mr. Smythe appointed Judge Emery, of Kansas, Mr. West, of California, and Judge Platt Rogers, of Colorado, to escort me to the chair. Upon taking my place, I stepped forward on the platform and spoke to the Congress concerning irrigation in Utah and the settlement of that arid country by the pioneers. That which I said was a matter very familiar to all Utah people, but it proved to be of exceeding interest to the Congress. I had made no preparation for a speech, but trusted to the Spirit to suggest the line of remarks which I should make. I was greatly surprised at the impression it made. Numbers of the delegates came to me and spoke of how interesting it was. There was considerable business transacted by the Congress, and I felt very much at ease.

Some of the delegates desired that I should be made permanent chairman, and came to me to know what my feelings would be about it. I knew, however, that there were other gentlemen who wished that position, and as this had come unsought to me, and through me to Utah, I felt that it would not be gracious in us to try and obtain this also, but leave it for others. It appeared to me that it would make a better feeling in the Congress if we did not ask for too much. I was assured, however, that I could easily be made permanent chairman if I would consent. Mr. Elwood Mead, of Wyoming, was chosen for this position.

It was very gratifying to the delegates from Utah the manner in which we were treated and the respect that was paid to us. I myself felt that I was greatly honored by the kindness and respect that was shown on every hand to me, and my views were sought and deferred to.

We held three sessions—10:30, 2 & 8.

4 September 1894 • Tuesday

Tuesday, Sept. 4, 1894. It had been arranged that the Congress should take an excursion to the northern part of Colorado and see the agricultural portion of the State. Mr. Frost, who was a candidate for the permanent chairmanship and was made vice chairman, had a private car, into which he invited myself and wife and placed the car at our disposal. We did not, however, avail ourselves of it, as I felt that he had other friends and I did not wish to crowd them out, although he pressed us very much to stay all the time in the car.

We visited Greeley and traveled through its potato fields, the largest that I ever saw. This is the great crop of this town, and it is very remunerative. They do not raise any better potatoes than we do, if so good, but they are nearer to market and can get lower freight rates, and therefore obtain a ready sale for their product.

We left Greeley and proceeded to Fort Collins, where we took dinner and viewed the town in carriages, and went to the Agricultural College.

From this point we returned, calling at Longmont, and afterwards at Boulder. At Boulder a gentleman by the name of Thompson, a banker, carried myself and wife and Sister Holbrook around in his carriage and gave us an excellent view of the town. This town is the most picturesque place I have seen in Colorado. It is close to the mountains, which are very fine, and it looks like a substantial town.

Upon reaching Denver we found a carriage provided for us by the committee to take us to the hotel.

5 September 1894 • Wednesday

Wednesday, Sept. 5, 1894. The day was spent in the Congress. A proposition was made that we should go to Rocky Ford for what is called Melon Day. I had been pressed by two delegates from that point, Messrs. Crowley and Kellogg, to go there, and I thanked them for their invitation, but when the proposition came up there were a number who were opposed to going, and I myself made some remarks that we ought to stick to business, as we had come long distances to this Congress, and afterward take excursions; but the majority appeared to be bent on going; in fact, arrangements had been made to that effect. I then made up my mind that I would go, although it was a long distance to go for that purpose.

We left Denver at 11 o’clock in the evening.

6 September 1894 • Thursday

Thursday, Sept. 6, 1894. We reached La Junta this morning in time for breakfast. Mr. E. W. Merritt, the chairman of the local committee, was exceedingly attentive to us. We reached Rocky Ford about noon. There was a large gathering of people, it being their County Fair as well as Melon Day. Some said there were ten thousand people; there were certainly from eight to ten thousand. There were twenty-five thousand melons stacked up. I never saw such a quantity in my life. They were surrounded with a fence, on the edge of which there were rough boards, answering for tables. Men inside cut the melons into quarters and everybody was invited to eat. Beside melons, there were cantelopes innumerable. Both kinds were excellent. I never tasted better melons. We all feasted to our hearts content.

Myself and wife and Brother and Sister Holbrook were invited to eat lunch with Mr. Crowley and his family.

There was horseracing, bicycle races &C., which we witnessed. It was a long way to travel to get to this melon feast, but still it possessed considerable interest and I did not regret the journey. Fortunately, I had secured a drawing room for myself and wife, in which we were very comfortable, and the rate was greatly reduced because of the occasion.

We left Rocky Ford at 6 o’clock and did not reach Denver our hotel till 4 o’clock in the morning. We were stopped close to Denver by an engine being thrown off the track. It was 2 o’clock when this occurred. Fortunately, the Mayor of Denver, Mr. Van Horn, was with us, and he proposed that we should leave the cars and walk some distance, where we could find the electric cars; but it was too early for the cars to run. He, however succeeded in telephoning and arousing the Supt., who gave instructions to have the cars put in motion to carry us to the hotel.

7 September 1894 • Friday

Friday, Sept. 7, 1894. We held three meetings again today and got down to business better this afternoon and evening than we had before. The committee on resolutions had reported. I took part in the discussion of the resolutions, particularly on one resolution which proposed that the arid lands that were non-irrigable should be withdrawn from sale, and through what I said this paragraph was stricken out. In my speaking this evening I was requested to take the platform, and when my time expired it was extended by unanimous vote, and all seemed deeply interested in what I said. We got along with the resolutions so well this evening that I supposed we could easily get through them tomorrow without occupying all the day.

8 September 1894 • Saturday

Saturday, Sept. 8, 1894. It stormed very heavily today.

Our debates extended for a longer time than I supposed they would. We had arranged to leave here tonight and spend to-morrow at Manitou; but the weather was so threatening that we concluded we would go right through home. The Congress had not adjourned when we left, but it was only discussing minor affairs[.]

This visit to Denver has been one of great pleasure, for many reasons. Personally, I have received the greatest attention and been treated with marked distinction. It is not vanity for me to say that I was listened to probably with more attention than any man in the convention, and my views in private conversation were courted. I had been requested, if opportunity offered on our trips, to speak to the people, as they were desirous that I should be heard; but it had not come convenient, and I was rather pleased than otherwise. My feelings of pleasure, however, were not so much for any personal reason as for the fact that Utah was looked upon as an authority on the questions before the Congress. It is a great cause of gratification to me to reflect that the counsels of President Young and his associates have been so productive of grand results. Their wisdom and the plans they adopted have been vindicated by the lapse of time. The small holdings which our people had taken up have proved a grand success. One paper was read before the Congress which stated that irrigation bonds in a part of California had been issued to the amount of over $16,000,000, and the general talk of the Congress was in the direction of raising money by bonds. In my remarks I stated, and with a great deal of pleasure and pride, that not an irrigation bond had ever been issued in Utah Territory. The people owned the water and were not taxed for it.

I feel that this visit has been productive of good results, and we should not neglect hereafter to attend every Congress of this character, because there is no people more deeply interested in this question than we are; and we should see to it that no legislation is suggested that will infringe upon our rights or will in any manner embarrass us in our operations.

As it may be interesting for my future reference, I mention the names of the delegates from Utah: John Henry Smith, L. W. Shurtliff, T. R. Cutler, L. Holbrook, O. Ellingson, and myself. These are the “Mormon” delegates. The non-Mormons were: Col. C. L. Stevenson, C. S. Kinney, C. E. Wantland, Joel Shoemaker, [blank] Kearns, J. W. Hamm, [blank] Holloway.

9 September 1894 • Sunday

Sunday, Sept. 9, 1894. Our journey today was very pleasant. As the train was late and myself and wife would land in Salt Lake probably past midnight, and I could not very well get vehicles to take us home, we concluded, upon the pressing invitation of Brother and Sister Holbrook, to stop at Provo with them for the night. They keep the Hotel Roberts here.

10 September 1894 • Monday

Monday, Sept. 10, 1894 We reached Salt Lake this morning about 9:30. Found the family in good health. Afterwards went to the office. Found President Woodruff well. President Smith was absent.

Attended to different matters of business. I went home in the afternoon and returned in the evening to meet my son Frank, who had come down from Ogden on account of a telegram that had been received from General Clarkson, as follows:

“Hon. George Q. Cannon,

I have today signed contract for one fourth of total amount of bonds at par at five per cent interest subject to approval of Webber. Contract includes all material. I owe to furnish balance of bonds to be paid for in cash. I will come to Salt Lake by Sept. eighteenth to conclude contract. Contracting parties will come with me. Am also arranging for transfer to us for our bond the other property we want. Answer.

James S. Clarkson.”

Frank sent the following reply, and Brother Clayton and Bishop Clawson were also present:

“Your dispatch sixth inst. to Conrad arrived while he in Denver. Dispatch presented me by Abraham. Impossible for Weber people make or authorize contract as indicated by you, but no doubt satisfactory rearrangements can be made on other lines. All matters in question have been organized into the Utah Company. Its business is placed in hands of an Executive Committee consisting of Frank J. Cannon, Nephi W. Clayton and William Cluff. For that Committee I assure you of our interest and desire to treat with you in spirit of full personal consideration and with progressive purpose for accomplishment of matters mutually desirable and profitable.”

11 September 1894 • Tuesday

Tuesday, Sept. 11, 1894. Brother Clawson met with the First Presidency this morning and read a letter from General Clarkson. As the letter contains many items of interest, I insert it herewith, also a reply which I dictated to Brother Winter for President Woodruff to sign:

“Plaza Hotel, New York, Sept. 1,1894.

Dear General:

I write to ask if I may be informed as to the reasons for the steady silence at Salt Lake. It has become necessary, both to my self-respect and to my personal interests, to learn why it is.

In the long letter I sent to President Woodruff by you, in the type-written statements I sent through Colonel Trumbo to be submitted to Webber, I especially and urgently made it plain that it was necessary for me to know if we were to go ahead with the railroad enterprise, if my contract made in October of last year (and suspended until we could get the statehood matter settled) was to be renewed, and if I should go ahead to place the bonds for the rails and fastenings, and if it would be advisable for me to see the capitalists representing the different railroads reaching nearly to Salt Lake to enlist their friendly services. In letters I wrote Col. Trumbo at Salt Lake and in conversations before he left here, I strongly urged the importance of, first, a clear understanding between all of us, and next energetic and constant work along the whole line in placing our bonds and getting our rails. I insisted that he should not leave Salt Lake until these preliminary matters were understood and an appointment made for us all to meet at Salt Lake at as early a date as possible. Neither while he was at Salt Lake or since have I heard a word from him on these matters—nor any answer from anyone at Salt Lake.

A week ago tonight I sent you a dispatch of nearly or quite 150 words, asking why I had no answers, stating that I could have made a favorable deal if authorized to go ahead, and asking that a cipher book be sent me, as I had none now, having left my copy in San Francisco last summer, at Trumbo’s.

No answer came to this, by wire or mail, and on Thursday night last I wired you again, saying no answer had come, urging some reply by wire, and stating that I could now make a deal “on terms more favorable and involving less responsibility and less expense to Webber than at any time before.” No answer has come to that. Nor meantime has any answer or word come from Colonel Trumbo.

I have been in business, dealing with all sorts of people, for over thirty years, and never have I had this sort of experience and treatment before. It is a silence, a non-action, a complete and mysterious severance of communication, I am not able to understand. It is especially strange since in my letter to President Woodruff, and in all there since, I have said I was now ready to devote all my time and energies to the railroad enterprise, and that I felt that just now, as the pulse of life was coming back to the business world, was the time to push this matter and to succeed.

I had gone ahead on the suggestion supposition that our alliance and contract were to continue, and that it only needed a meeting for all these matters to be settled, and had made encouraging headway. I had found a syndicate ready to take $5,000,000 of the bonds at par and at 5 per cent interest, on certain conditions which I felt sure your people would accept, and I had laid the plans to get the U. P. line from Ogden to Milford, and the grade beyond, either for our bonds, or by assuming the bonds now on the property, (amounting to between $24,000 & $25,000 a mile), and had indeed made such headway that I felt sure of means—as I do now if we are to go ahead together.

The syndicate represents the Colorado Coal & Iron Co., which is anxious to furnish the rails and fastenings, &c., &c., and can raise the money at once, and provide it as fast as needed. The company would furnish the rails at Salt at $30, and perhaps $29. It is anxious to make an alliance for the future and to help in opening up mills in Iron Co. and elsewhere. It is the syndicate and interest for us all to deal with. For it is strong, in the same country, and desirous of helping your people to build not only the road now proposed, but also to help you in a line to or toward Denver, opening up some wonderfully rich regions.

I am holding on to these people as hard as I can, but I do not know how much longer I can hold them. Nor do I know now, in the face of the ominous silence that has prevailed ever since the statehood bill passed, whether I am authorized or expected to do anything in the matter at all.

This embarrassment to me has been heightened also by finding two other parties here trying to place bonds for a road from Salt Lake to Los Angeles, and both claiming to be backed, in written contract, by Webber. One of them is what is called here the Tiernan-Hicks-McCornick syndicate, and the other the Blake-Wells syndicate, and Wells is advertised as “the Treasurer of the Mormon Church”. The latter syndicate was striving hard to get, by purchase with bonds or on a trackage contract, the completed line from Salt Lake to Milford, and the grade below it, and claimed to the U.P. officials that they had written contracts with Webber for all the coal and iron interests in Iron County. Blake is known here, and stands well, and has made an impression, as being associated with the Treasurer of your church and as representing a syndicate backed by the Church itself.

Of course, I do not know as to the truth or falsity of these statements or claims. But you can imagine that, coming upon these rivals in such activity and confidence, and having no word whatever myself, it has been discouraging to me. For I do not know but that these people do represent Webber, and that I have no right to act in the matter any longer.

I had made no doubt that, by this time, I would be in Salt Lake, making final arrangements for our enterprise. You will remember that I told you, in Washington and here, that now I was ready to devote all my time and power to the railroad, that I felt sure I could succeed, and that we had only to devote as much power and effort to it as we did to statehood to win, and that I wanted to go to Salt Lake at the earliest possible time and conclude all our matters, and get down to work.

Instead of that nearly two months have gone by, and nothing done—and a dead silence come over it all. I cannot, in justice to myself and family, continue longer in this uncertainty. In my determination to help carry this enterprise forward to success, I have refused other opportunities, which, if this is to fail, and I have been dropped out of it, I cannot afford to lose. So I write to you to ask you to let me know what it all means. I have written you because I knew you better than any one else, and because my son wrote me President Cannon was ill, unable to attend to business, and of course I did not want to bother President Woodruff.

I think I am entitled to know what is the matter, and entitled to be relieved of the suspense and uncertainty in which I have been so long.

I did not understand why the draft for $3000 was sent to me, although I knew it was kindly meant. I had had in 4 months a lot of security debts fall on me to pay, over $38,000 of them in all, and I had exhausted valuable property at a sacrifice to pay them. The Colonel had kindly said he would loan me $5000, as soon as he got to San Francisco, to use while I was making a turn of property into cash.

I did not know what to do with the draft when it came, as I knew it was sent with entire kindness. My impulse was to send it back, and yet I was afraid that might be misunderstood. So I let it go, but I will insist on repaying it. For while I have given time and money in this service, and many times the money represented in the draft, it was all willingly given, and must stand to the end as my free will offering in a cause too sacred to be measured in any sense or form of money. I presume the Colonel was the cause of it. I am sorry beyond expression that he did it.

We can now build this railroad, if we want to do it, and also pour into Utah vast sums of capital to develop its resources and extend its business and commerce. I not only believe but know that I can now raise the money, not only to buy the rails, as I agreed to do, but $2,000,000 more. It has passed beyond doubt. If it is decided not to go ahead with it, and to close down in the sight of success, I ought to be told. If it is to go ahead, and my presence in it is not desired, I ought to know that, and I will retire gracefully, and will even put you in communication with the men with money, and let you do it yourselves, and bid you Godspeed in it. But I do want this silence broken and the suspense ended. With good wishes to you and all,

I am,

Sincerely yours,

James S. Clarkson.”

The following was sent in reply:

“General James S. Clarkson,

New York. My dear General:

I have just listened to the reading of a letter addressed by you to Bishop Clawson—a letter which aroused my sensibilities and appealed strongly to me, because of the generous sentiments which it contained.

I have been through my life a punctual correspondent, and even now, at my advanced years, I attend to my private correspondence with considerable strictness. Your remark concerning the lengthy communication which you sent to me by Mr. Clawson, and the receipt of which I had failed to acknowledge, touched me, and made me feel that I had not been as attentive in replying to you as I ought to have been, and as your communication deserved.

There are several reasons which I might mention for my postponement of this answer. Circumstances have arisen, which the bearers of this letter will fully explain to you, that interfered with my writing. Colonel Trumbo’s visit also and our conversations I expected would be fully reported by him to you. It seems, however, from your letter to Mr. Clawson that you have not had any communications from him, nor from any of us. This has surprised me, and I cannot blame you for feeling wounded at the seeming neglect on our part. It has the appearance of ingratitude.

Permit me to say to you that, whatever the impression our silence has made upon you, we do esteem, as much as it is possible for men in our condition, the services which you have rendered us as a people. We would be destitute of every feeling which honorable men should entertain if we did not place a high value upon your friendship and the warm and untiring interest which you have taken in our affairs and in bringing about the great deliverance that has been accomplished.

Never in my life did I receive a communication which pleased me better than the letter you wrote to me. Its historical value is priceless; for you have given a recital of steps and measures that you were able to take and adopt that have been unknown to the public. No one but yourself could have made such a record as your letter contains. Of course, I have known in a general way respecting your exertions, the personal sacrifices you were making, and the great combinations that you were forming to achieve certain ends; but the details of these would never have been known to me, or to others, unless you had taken the pains which you have to put them in writing.

What we have known concerning the work that your were doing has impressed us deeply. The sense of obligation to you and to Colonel Trumbo has been very strong; and we have felt that anything that honorable men could do to repay you, or at least to show that we appreciated your efforts in our behalf, it would be our pleasure to do. We are not only grateful to our friends, but we desire to create confidence in them that this is our characteristic.

I shall not attempt in this communication to make any explanations concerning bisiness affairs, or our position financially, or in connection with the enterprises that have been contemplated. The bearers of this letter, Mr. Frank J. Cannon and Mr. Nephi W. Clayton, will be able, I trust, to make full and, as we hope, satisfactory explanations concerning business matters.

Presidents Cannon and Smith join me in sending their love to you.

Ever desiring that you may be greatly prospered in your family and in all your business interests,

I remain, with heartfelt esteem,

Your Friend,

Wilford Woodruff.”

We decided that it would be proper for my son Frank and Brother Nephi W. Clayton to proceed immediately to New York and see General Clarkson, as it is certainly necessary that there should be some understanding reached between us.

Dictated my journal to Brother Winter.

A dispatch was received at 4:30 this afternoon stating that Frank J. Cannon had been nominated as candidate for Delegate to Congress by acclamation at the Republican Convention at Provo. I regret on several accounts that this has taken place, because it is easy to perceive what an ordeal any man has to pass through that now engages in politics. All the disagreeable features of political campaigns will be witnessed, no doubt, in this coming campaign. Personally, I shrink from such an ordeal, and would not, unless commanded to do so, engage in it. Frank has expressed himself to the effect that he did not want the nomination unless it came to him unanimously.

12 September 1894 • Wednesday

Wednesday, Sept. 12, 1894. First Presidency at the office.

We had a meeting with Brother Orson Smith in relation to the Stirling mining property.

Afterwards, my son Frank came in and we conversed about the situation of affairs in relation to the interests of General Clarkson in our enterprises. General Clarkson’s letter to Brother Clawson, and President Woodruff’s reply, were read to Frank. I also submitted extracts from my journal to him; and copies of these papers, with the Articles of Incorporation of the Utah Company and the agreement between G. A. Purbeck & Co. and ourselves, were taken by him, so that he would have them for reference on his proposed visit with Brother Clayton [to] the East to see General Clarkson. They will start in the morning. General Clarkson has been telegraphed today again by Frank.

It was concluded today to endorse the paper of Mr. Parsons for $10,000, to be secured by the entire stock of the property which he owns in Nevada, and for which he has given us an option for $59,000.

The Articles of Incorporation of the Utah Company were filed today, and John Q. Cannon was instructed to see the editors of the Herald and Tribune and explain to them its character, so that we might get proper notices about the incorporation, and it was also suggested that he should write an editorial himself on the subject in the News.

While I was at Denver, General McCook treated me very handsomely. While dining with him and Brother John Henry Smith at the Denver Club, mention was made about his age, and he stated that he would be retired in April next. I asked what grade he would be retired on. He said, brigadier general. Mr. Frost, who was dining with us, said it would be very desirable to have the General receive the appointment of Major General before he was retired. I asked if there was any vacancy, and was told that General Howard would be retired in November next. I proffered to do anything I could for him to get the appointment, and it was suggested that a petition be got up. Mr. Frost said he would be coming over to Utah, and he would do what he could while there. He called upon me on Monday last, and said that Judge Goodwin, of the Tribune, would circulate a petition. When I saw it with the signatures, it struck me as not being what was wanted, as there was nothing said about the occupation or standing of the signers, and I knew it would have no influence. I suggested to John Q. to draw out a petition and have it signed by the present officials of the Territory, commencing with the Governor, and then get the signatures of the ex-officials, and bankers, merchants, and others. Such a petition, showing the standing of the signers, would be likely to have weight.

13 September 1894 • Thursday

Thursday, Sept. 13, 1894 My daughter Emily made a party last night for my son Lewis, who leaves for school in the East on Friday morning. There were thirty-six guests. It stormed very heavily; but they had a very enjoyable time, dancing to the music of the Aeolian organ which I have recently bought.

Brother Grant reported to us this morning that only a part of the stock belonging to Mr. Parsons could be put up as security, as part was out to cover other debts; but he stated that if $12,000 could be raised instead of $10,000, the whole of it could then be obtained. President Woodruff thought that was quite safe, in which I agreed, and he promised he would endorse for that amount.

Mr. C. H. Silliman, of Texas, whom I met at the Irrigation Congress, called in today and was introduced to the brethren.

At 2 o’clock we attended the usual Council meeting at the Temple. Brother Moses Thatcher was mouth in prayer, and I was called upon to pray in the circle.

President Woodruff spoke with considerable spirit and at some length to the brethren about the organization of the Utah Company, and the manner in which he and his counselors had been moved upon to take steps looking to the deliverance of our people from financial bondage and the starting of enterprises that would give us some control in this country. He explained what we had done and were doing, and called upon the brethren for an expression of their feeling, or for them to ask questions.

Brother Lorenzo Snow spoke and said that he was in favor of sustaining the First Presidency of the Church always in all their affairs. Brother Heber J. Grant also made some remarks. Brother John Henry Smith asked a question or two. Brother Snow alluded to the United Order, and described what had been done under that Order at Brigham City. He appeared to think that we could not expect to be prospered to any great extent until we obeyed that Order. Brother Grant spoke about the observance of the Word of Wisdom and what wealth it would save to our people if they would only observe it, instead of spending their money for those articles. He asserted that he believed that Patriarch John Smith cost this Church $50,000 through his habit of smoking cigarettes, his example being followed by so many. President Jos. F. Smith said, while he did not justify his brother John and had talked to him a great many times upon the subject, he thought that we ought to set an example. He did not believe there was a man in the Council, unless it was Geo. Q Cannon, that observed the Word of Wisdom fully. He afterwards excepted my son Abraham, and Brother Grant said that he did not drink tea and coffee. I said that President Woodruff occasionally drank a cup of coffee; and I thought that, at this time of life, if he could help himself by drinking a little coffee, there was no harm in it; in fact, I had on some occasions suggested that he should drink a little. The evil was that there was too much of a disposition among the people to justify themselves because they saw others doing the same thing.

At 4 o’clock the Co-op. Wagon & Machine Co. held a meeting at the office, at which I was present.

14 September 1894 • Friday

Friday, Sept. 14, 1894. I received a dispatch last evening from Frank, asking how far they were to proceed if desirable in settlement.

Brother Cluff came in and we had a meeting of the members of the Utah Co., and after considerable conversation, I said if they would give me the room and Brother Arthur Winter, I would draw out something which they could criticize. I dictated the following letter, which was accepted and signed by the First Presidency:

“Sept. 14, 1894.

Frank J. Cannon, Esq.,

Nephi W. Clayton, Esq.,

Plaza Hotel, New York. Dear Brethren:

In response to your note to President Woodruff and the dispatch to President Cannon, we have this to say:

We think one of the principal labors that will rest upon you in your negotiations with General Clarkson will be to reconcile him to the arrangements which we have made with G. A. Purbeck & Co.

You know his and Colonel Trumbo’s expectations. They expected to deal directly with us, and to manage the financial part of the undertaking—and this, notwithstanding the statement of Colonel Trumbo that General Clarkson did not expect to be our financial agent.

G. A. Purbeck & Co. are an element that is disagreeable, we imagine, to our friends, and it will be difficult, doubtless, to reconcile them to the idea of their doing the financial business of the enterprises which they hoped would be accomplished by them and us.

We have talked this matter over, and our views are as follow[s]:

That General Clarkson and Colonel Trumbo can be of very great benefit to us as a company, because of their extensive acquaintance and their influence with financial people. Especially will they have great influence in securing terminals in San Francisco and in Los Angeles, and other concessions in the State of California. It would be a most unfortunate thing, we think, to have any antagonism arise between them and us. We desire to secure their friendship and their co-operation, if it be possible to do so, on terms alike honorable to them and us[.]

Now, the question arises, How can they be induced to take interest with us? G. A. Purbeck & Co. propose to do all the financial part of the business, and to secure everything that is necessary for the road; in fact, to do what General Clarkson and Colonel Trumbo assert they can do in California. It is a question, however, whether G. A. Purbeck & Co. could do this as well as our friends could do it; they have not the acquaintance, nor probably the influence, unless it is given to them by their association with us.

There is also a question in our minds as to whether General Clarkson and Colonel Trumbo will be satisfied for G. A. Purbeck & Co. to have 15%. They might be if an equally liberal percentage were given to them. But ought they to have this until they have earned it?

Can there not be an arrangement made with them of this character: That they shall have, to begin with a certain interest in the shape of stock in the Utah Co., and some percentage on that which they bring to the Utah Co. as bonuses, concessions or other advantages. Would this be satisfactory to them? We are desirous to deal very liberally with them; but, of course, we do not desire to give everything away, and especially do we feel determined, with the help of the Lord, to maintain a large control of all these enterprises.

Respecting a settlement, we wish to entrust you with large discretion; but you no doubt will feel better not to be expected to close any arrangement with Gen. Clarkson. Our views are, that you find out the best terms that it is possible to make with Gen. Clarkson, leaving him to make the first advances and propositions, and after you have proceeded as far as you can, then wire us the result.

We regret exceedingly that you did not have a cipher with you, and we send by this mail a book, with instructions, which may be of service to you.

We think that before you can complete your negotiations it will be necessary to bring Gen. Clarkson and G. A. Purbeck & Co[.] together. We hope you will be able to do so.

With love, Your brethren,

Wilford Woodruff.

Geo. Q. Cannon,

Jos. F. Smith.

There was one point in the letter upon which President Smith seemed to entertain views different to President Woodruff and myself, viz., the giving of stock to Gen. Clarkson and Col. Trumbo. He took the position that they ought not to have any stock given to them in the Utah Co. more than to entitle them to become members of the Company; but if they brought any advantages to the Company in the shape of bonuses or concessions, then they could receive their proportion. He said General Clarkson or Col. Trumbo had done nothing towards promoting or investing in the properties that we had put in the Utah Co.; therefore, they were not entitled to anything from them. President Woodruff and myself felt that we owed them a debt of gratitude, and we were disposed to be liberal with them in giving them stock in the Utah Co.; but as Frank and Brother Clayton were not authorized to do anything final, he told President Woodruff that he would sign this letter.

At 12 o’clock there was a meeting of Z.C.M.I. There was also a meeting of the Brigham Young Memorial Association.

15 September 1894 • Saturday

Saturday, Sept. 15, 1894. Neither President Woodruff nor President Smith was at the office today.

I was informed by Bishop Clawson that General Clarkson was on his way here, as he had received a dispatch from him, dated at Des Moines. His intention is to reach here by Tuesday. He had received word from Frank of his and Brother Clayton’s going to New York, but his engagements were such that he could not return there. I regretted this, as I had hoped that after conversing with Frank and Clayton, an interview could be brought about between him and Mr. Purbeck. A dispatch was sent to Frank and Clayton, with the hope of reaching them at Chicago, informing them of this movement on the part of General Clarkson.

Dictated my journal and correspondence.

16 September 1894 • Sunday

Sunday, Sept. 16, 1894. I had my children together this morning and gave them some instructions upon various points, especially upon their neglect of opportunities for qualifying themselves.

I felt so unwell today that I did not go to the Tabernacle. It is the first time I have stayed at home for very many years when I was able to walk around, but I felt impressed to stay and rest.

17 September 1894 • Monday

Monday, Sept. 17, 1894. [First name, middle initial, and last name redacted] called at the office this morning. President Woodruff referred him to me. He made confession of sins that he had committed, and it was a sad recital. It shows how low man can fall when he neglects his duty. He was desirous of repenting and changing his life. It seems that he stands well in society and is postmaster in the town where he lives. He appears very contrite, and says that his sins, which are more against himself than against others, oppress him. President Woodruff and myself signed a note to my brother Angus to have him rebaptized and his former blessings sealed upon him.

I had a call from Mr. James H. Teller, of Chicago, who brought me a letter of introduction from his brother, Senator H. M. Teller, of Colorado. He was accompanied by Mr. Hobbs, formerly of the Land Office. Mr. Teller has come here for the purpose of examining a reservoir site in the vicinity of Cedar City, and he desired letters of introduction to leading men, so that they would know he was not an adventurer. I have a very high regard for his brother. He is one of the most fearless friends Utah has ever had in public life, and I was pleased to give letters of introduction to Prest. Uriah T. Jones, of Cedar, Prest. Morgan Richards, Jr., of Parowan, Bishop Adams, of Parowan, and Bishop Corry, of Cedar.

I had a call from Mr. Green, who was at the Irrigation Congress as a delegate from New Mexico. He represents considerable capital which has been invested in irrigation projects in New Mexico.

We had a meeting of the Church Board of Education at 2 o’clock which was quite lengthy. The principal topic was the relations which the Brigham Young Academy of Provo bore to the Utah University.

The First Presidency met with Colonel Trumbo and had a lengthy interview, he having just come in from California. The subject of conversation was the railroad project. He informs us that General Clarkson will be here in the morning and desires to make an appointment with him, which we did for 10 o’clock.

A young man by the name of Joseph Lawrence entered into my employ today as a gardener. He comes well recommended as a good florist and an industrious young man. He is unmarried and will live at what we call the Farm House.

18 September 1894 • Tuesday

Tuesday, Sept. 18, 1894. Word was sent to us by Colonel Trumbo that General Clarkson would not be able to fill his appointment at 10 o’clock, but that he would meet with us at 1. It was about 3 before they came in. After exchanging courtesies, General Clarkson read a very elaborate document, which had evidently been written with some care. It was addressed to me and to my associates. I cannot give a summary of it, for it was lengthy and somewhat extraordinary. It set forth in florid language and with a good deal of elaboration the services which himself and Colonel Trumbo had rendered to us and the obligations which they had incurred for us in obtaining statehood. He stated that he had devoted several years of his life to our cause and to obtaining freedom for us, and had incurred obligations which he himself could never discharge; it would take his children after him; and he implored us as men of honor to help him discharge these obligations, whatever we might do about himself. He also spoke of Colonel Trumbo in the same strain. He enumerated the wonderful benefits that would accrue to us through what he had done, the contracts he had made, and the prospects and promises which had been held out to the bringing in of large capital.

The reading of this gave me a sense of oppression still greater than I have been suffering from, and the question arose, as it has many times before, How are we ever going to repay these mortgages which are now upon us—obligations that are indefinite and so extensive that they cover the life of man.

Colonel Trumbo listened with rapt admiration to all that was said, and he was evidently deeply impressed with the ability which had been shown and the extent of their services.

After the reading, I asked, As this <was> addressed to me, was it intended for me? He said it was. I then said it was so elaborate a production that I could not attempt to answer it verbally; I should expect to answer it in writing. President Woodruff made a number of remarks very conciliatory in their tone, and I fancied that his remarks left me in a somewhat questionable position in relation to the business that had been done. I mentioned it to him afterwards, but he explained what his views were in making the remarks, with which I was quite satisfied.

After the reading, conversation ensued, in which I took no part. Bishop Clawson came in, and General Clarkson went on to allude in the highest and most eulogistic terms to the services of Colonel Trumbo—the wonderful power that he had shown with men in converting them to his views concerning Utah and her people, and stated that it was extraordinary, and men wondered at it. He spoke in this way of Colonel Trumbo to such an extent that language was almost exhausted. He also spoke of his own services in the most laudatory manner. This created such a feeling in me that I could not keep silent any longer. I felt, as I remarked, as though a knife was piercing me, and I said, Do let us know what the extent of these obligations is, and what the contract is which we have to meet. I spoke with a good deal of warmth. I told General Clarkson that there was no occasion for him to tell us, or me at least, the extent of his services, or Colonel Trumbo’s; I was fully aware of them, and the consciousness of them and our inability to repay them had caused me many sleepless nights; for I did not know how we could ever discharge these obligations. If it took his lifetime and his children’s to discharge them, how could we hope to do it? I said we had no other feeling than the warmest and kindest towards them, and that we had thought and talked about their rights. Says I, these two brethren (referring to Presidents Woodruff and Smith) know that I have on repeated occasions mentioned that you must not be forgotten, and that what we did must be done with a view to meeting expectations on your part. They will bear me witness to this—which they did. I said he had shown, I fancied, coldness to me since he had come into the room, and I had supposed that he thought I was the influence to which he had referred as having crept in between himself and us. I assured him, however, that I had been true to him, and my zeal for him had been chided as being undue. I explained that in appointing this committee, there was no intention of slighting him in the least. I said that Mr. Clayton had all his fortune in these enterprises. He had made great sacrifices to carry them up to the present time, and he was present when the contract was made in California and was the principal party to it, although my name was affixed to the contract. He had a larger interest in it than I had personally, and we had appointed him to act as one of this committee. We had selected Frank because he could represent the First Presidency. We could not go ourselves, and it was done with the best of feelings. This brought forth from him expressions of friendship to me; that he had entertained the highest regard for me, and said that he had no feeling against me. I said I was very glad to hear it, and I accepted it. I knew he had been friendly and kind, and I was pleased to have this good feeling and friendship.

My remarks seemed to break the influence that had prevailed. General Clarkson seemed to be under the impression that we had some intention of throwing him off and breaking loose from any arrangements with him. He made the remark that he supposed he was a back number, and that he was no longer needed. I told him there was not a shadow of feeling of that kind in any of our minds. The trouble was that we appreciated his services so highly that we did not know how to express ourselves about them. I said to him, when I commenced to speak, in reply to his remark that Colonel Trumbo could not go back East and face the men that he had made promises to, What is the nature of those promises, General? What is the nature of the obligations that have been created? It is a serious thing to say that a man cannot go back and see his friends on our account, and if you will define these obligations, I say to you, that if it is in human power, to fulfil them, as far as I am concerned, they will be fulfilled, and Colonel Trumbo will not be left in such a position.

When we separated, the General came up and shook me warmly by the hand and looked me square in the eye, and said he hoped I had no feeling against him on this matter, and he expressed again his high regard for me.

President Woodruff and myself had arranged to go to Provo this afternoon to have two or three days’ rest; but this interview lasted so long that we were prevented from going this evening and we postponed our departure till the morning. President Smith intends to visit some of his folks who live in the north, and will perhaps join us at Provo.

We have all dreaded this interview, and now that it is over we feel that one woe is past.

I dictated my journal to Brother Winter.

19 September 1894 • Wednesday

Wednesday, Sept. 19, 1894. It had been arranged for the U. P. train to stop at the street convenient to President Woodruff’s home and my own, and we got aboard there with our wives and rode to Provo.

Mr. Britton and wife were aboard. They had been very kind to us at Denver, and Sister Cannon conversed with her the most of the way and I with Mr. Britton.

We were met at the station by Brother Holbrook, who conveyed us to the Hotel Roberts, which he is running.

In the afternoon, we, in company with President Woodruff and wife, Prest. Smoot and wife, Brother and Sister Holbrook, paid a visit to my wife’s uncle, Edward Partridge, and took dinner there. We administered to John Partridge, a young man who has had some stomach trouble and is very low.

20 September 1894 • Thursday

Thursday, Sept. 20, 1894. It had been arranged by President Woodruff that we should go into Provo Canon, as he is desirous to try his hand at fishing. He is an ardent fisherman. A little party was got up for the purpose, consisting of Prest. Smoot and wife, Brother Holbrook and wife, and my nephew, C. E. Loose, and wife, and President Woodruff and myself and wives. An excellent lunch was taken along; but the fishing was very poor. President Woodruff and myself tramped up and down the stream a good deal, but were not successful in catching any fish. I made no attempt to fish myself, as I have had no experience in this. None of the party caught anything but Brother Holbrook, who caught a small trout. I enjoyed the out [outing] very much, but I regretted that President Woodruff could not catch any fish. We went up the canon as far as what is called the Bridal Falls.

21 September 1894 • Friday

Friday, Sept. 21, 1894. My son Frank and Brother N. W. Clayton and Arthur Winter came down to visit us this morning. We had been advised by a dispatch from Brother Jack that they would be at Provo at 9:20. We had a room at Prest. Smoot’s, where we got together and read the letter of General Clarkson and took notes, so as to frame an answer. I dictated quite a long reply, which Brother Winter took down in shorthand. Frank and Brother Clayton decided finally to go back to the City, instead of trying to do anything at Provo, and Brother Winter accompanied them. Brother W. W. Cluff was also present with us, he hapening to be in Provo.

We were invited to dine at Prest. Smoot’s. There was quite a little party. After which myself and wife went to the Opera House to a ball, I taking with me Sister Woodruff, Blanche Woodruff and Katie Clawson. We enjoyed the ball very much.

22 September 1894 • Saturday

Saturday, Sept. 22, 1894. We started in the forenoon to go down to Brother Madsen’s on the Utah Lake, and went several miles beyond his house in the beach. There we found boats belonging to Brother Madsen, and we spent the day until about 4 o’clock on the Lake, trying to catch fish. The party was divided in different boats. Brother Madsen took President Woodruff, Prest. Smoot and myself in his boat. The fish that we desired were the Bass, and they had to be caught by trolling a spoon. None of the party, however, caught any, excepting President Woodruff and Brother Madsen, who each caught one, and Brother Madsen’s son, who makes his living principally by fishing, caught seven. The conclusion that President Woodruff reached to atone for his failure was that it was the wrong time of day, it being in the heat of the day, and his spoon was too large. We saw a great many fish, and I have no doubt that at the proper time of day there might be a great many caught.

While we were at the Lake we were joined by President Jos. F. Smith, who arrived this morning in company with his wife and baby.

We returned to Provo, and a part of us took dinner at the hotel, at the invitation of Brother and Sister Holbrook.

After visiting for some time at the residence of Brother Holbrook, myself and wife and a few others went over to Brother Jacob F. Gates’. Sister Susie Gates is a sister of my wife, and she felt hurt that we should come to Provo and not stop with her; but we explained to her the situation.

The evening was spent very delightfully. Among other things, we had singing by a male quartette—the two brothers Boshard and two brothers Pyne.

23 September 1894 • Sunday

Sunday, Sept. 23, 1894. I attended Sunday school exercises at the Brigham Young Academy, and from there went to dinner at Brother Gates’[.]

In the afternoon we met with the saints in the Tabernacle. I addressed them, at the request of President Woodruff. I had no intention of talking on politics, but I had scarcely spoken five minutes till I got on to that subject and spoke with a good deal of freedom in relation to the course that ought to be taken by the saints in this political campaign, and warned them of the danger of getting into a bad spirit and grieving the Spirit of the Lord.

President Woodruff requested President Smith to speak, but he did not seem inclined, as he had spoken twice at the Academy. President Woodruff spoke 25 mins.

At 4:30 we took our departure for Salt Lake.

We have enjoyed this visit to Provo very much. It was a great relief to us to get away from the business cares under which we were laboring.

I received a letter this morning from the Executive Committee of the Utah Co., proposing an alliance with the Union Pacific Co. that would enable us to get our coal and salt to market.

I found my family all well, excepting Mark, who is troubled with fever.

24 September 1894 • Monday

Monday, Sept. 24, 1894. I drove to the office.

At 9 o’clock the First Presidency and my son Frank and Brothers Jack, Clayton and Cluff met together and listened to a letter which had been prepared by the Executive Committee, read by my son Frank, in reply to the communication of General Clarkson of the 18th inst. Frank had dictated a long reply to the letter, but afterwards the committee changed their views as to the character of the letter that should be written, and Frank had afterwards written another letter, and it was this that was read to us. We were pleased with the general plan of the letter, and it was read twice to us. We made some trifling alterations in it, and we decided to send it. It was copied by Brother Arthur Winter. We tried to make the letter as gentle and as respectful as possible, in view of the subject and the manner in which it had been treated by General Clarkson. Brother Clawson was informed that we were ready to see General Clarkson and Colonel Trumbo, and he brought them in about 2:15, and I made some remarks to General Clarkson on the subject, stating that we had referred him to the committee, not with any idea of treating him with the least disrespect, but because we could not in our present circumstances devote time and attention to this matter. The committee were gentlemen with whom they could do business satisfactorily, we thought, and they were fully advised as to our wishes. We had conversation lasting probably half an hour and then they retired with the letter. We afterwards learned from Brother Clawson that Gen. Clarkson would not see the committee, and that he intended to go back home in the morning. It was evident, from what Bishop Clawson said, although he said but very little, that our letter had offended the General. We afterwards heard that he said it was one of the most cruel letters that he had ever received. In order that it may be seen what the character of that letter was, I insert a copy of it here:

To Hon. James S. Clarkson,

For Himself and His Associates,

My dear General:

Your wonderful communication of September 18, 1894, read to us by yourself on the date, has had our earnest and prayerful consideration.

We address ourselves to a reply after invoking aid and receiving light and strength from our Heavenly Father; and we ask you to receive this reply in the blessed composure which now affects us and with the high comprehension of man’s relation to his fellow, which has characterized your inspired energy in behalf of a downtrodden race.

Your letter carries in its first pages a cruel arraignment of us, or some of our circle, upon charges which to us are unreal beyond our comprehension. In the final pages you rise to that plane of generosity and statesmanship where it has been our comfort and pleasure to view you; and we could have desired the maintenance, throughout such an elaborate and important paper, of the exalted attitude which is your natural worth, and in which we had hoped to portray you and to our people and our children in their holiest and most enduring traditions.

Our plain method of considering what to us had seemed a plain relation does not permit us to plunge into an involvement like that of your letter, in which the simple statements of our reply might be lost.

Our thankfulness to you would have been paid in unstinted measure without the reminder by you of all the details of the debt. We do not allow any man, or men, to formulate the depth of our appreciation for favors extended to us. We have so long been the victims of a world’s injustice that the actions of men who have befriended us shine out through our history like stars through the darkening clouds. We have seen the rearing of more than one generation of the Mormon people, and we know that the gratitude which we feel is the love which those who come after us will feel. We have had an inheritance of persecutions to bestow, and an inheritance of blessings to give; and assuredly, our experience shows that we can leave the heritage of gratitude to our children, with the certainty that every obligation which it entails will be as sacredly observed as if the voice of God had commanded. If our expressions have not heretofore been sufficient, we take this opportunity to say to you, General Clarkson, and to all the friends unnamed in your communication, who have assisted in the political redemption of Utah, that we have been deeply sensible of your labors, that we have appreciated their grandeur, and that in our grateful hearts and in the hearts of our children we had hoped would abide a remembrance of your generosity so long as life should endure for us and for them. More than that, we desire to carry this sense of thankfulness beyond this vale of tears and into the presence of the Reconciler of All. Our appreciation of your work has been deeper because it was said to be, and esteemed by us to be, a free-will offering, rendered by yourself and your friends to a people whom you saw in the midst of an agonizing trial such as few races have met and survived. To measure that gratitude, to make it a formal demand other than the spontaneous outflow of our feelings, is necessarily to lessen its sanctity, if not its depth and endurance.

Whatever of silence on our part has seemed to be manifest your large mind should at once excuse; for the multifarious cares of the people whom you, too, have labored to redeem from earthly thraldom, have exacted from us more of mind and body than any consideration of ourselves would have permitted us to bestow.

Except for the sustaining influence of the Holy Spirit, we must be overwhelmed by the hints of obligations incurred and pledges made in our behalf. These debts are the more appalling because their extent is indefinite. But veiled as is their scope, your letter justifies the inference that we and our descendants, with all that we have or may justly hope to have, are mortgaged for all time to come. Nor is this all; for it seems that the debt must go forever on, widening as to its beneficiaries as time may develop their identity to us, and leaving us and our Cause but hostages for the interest of a bond whose principal can not be discharged within the generation<s> of man. Reliance upon the Almighty is our only resource when we contemplate how far you have magnanimously involved yourself beyond our possible power to compensate and how deeply we have been unwittingly plunged. Promises have evidently been made immeasurably beyond any right which we would have assumed in the name of our people. Years ago we determined to ask no more for statehood, because we saw that such application to be successful must be accompanied by barter, against which our souls would revolt. So far as the Mormon people were concerned, we said that, having done our part as men and yet unavailingly, we would leave the event with God, believing that He would raise up deliverers for us in the midst of the Nation. When you and other noble spirits, without solicitation, without thought of personal reward, and without even asking our recognition of your labors, clasped the work in your arms and carried it forward, we felt that our prayers had been answered and our faith rewarded. In you and yours we saw none of that sordidness which had pursued us across half a continent to leave our track marked by the lonely graves of our martyrs. In you we still see the man who is above and beyond all price. But in the circumstances suggested in your letter we see with unspeakable regret the possibilities of the event which we shunned; for these circumstances are put forward to bind us as completely as if we had willfully entered into a league with the venality of men in high places to buy our freedom. If these things are to be, with all their unknown and measureless dread, our prayer and our patience will have been in vain; and such a result God does not permit. Our motive has been holy as your consecration has been, and the mighty achievement must be without a taint. The enfranchisement which has been assured is sweet in prospect; but other men have found that a so-called liberty can be purchased at too high a price. Vassalage under territorial form would be far preferable to the slavery which would put gyves upon the conscience of ourselves and our descendants, in the form of an accepted obligation beyond our power to discharge, and beyond the power of all with whom our pledge can have influence in this generation and in the time to come. All that our Heavenly Father directs we will do; all that honor and possibility permit we will give; and on this ground we believe that you will be our supporting friend.

We can not make a second contract in the particular form of the paper of October 3, 1893. This fact is as well known to you as to us. That agreement expired by its own terms on January 3, 1894. It was never renewed in form or intent. As statehood or the labor to secure statehood was not in any sense a condition of that the contract, the time was not extended by statehood delay nor the agreement revived by statehood achievement. Never was there any understanding by us that operations which were suspended after the term of the contract expired were to be resumed under the contract at any later time. In May last, with your full knowledge, an agreement was made with George A. Purbeck & Co., of New York, concerning our railway projects; and we and that firm are proceeding under that document. The terms of that agreement were stated to you at the time, and are of such a character as to legally and morally prevent our entering anew into a contract with you similar to that of October 3, 1893. These general facts make any discussion of the details of your business proposition not only unnecessary but inappropriate at this time. We have been terse and explicit in the preceding sentences for two reasons: first, because we desire that never again by our words or silence shall a misunderstanding arise concerning the exact nature of existing or prospective relations between us in business; and second, because we do not consider that our plain, straightforward conduct and status in this matter should be obscured by a covering of many words or glamored over with high sounding phrases.

To you, General Clarkson, with your exalted sense of honor, with your high regard for the sanctity of an obligation, with your sincere desire that we shall not stand before the world as covenant-breakers—as is evidenced by every line of your communication—, we have no need to explain or apologize for our refusal to violate our agreement with Messrs. Purbeck & Co. Indeed, additional protestation of necessity of its full observance would be as insulting to your integrity as it would be humiliating to our truth.

You speak of your willingness to be personally eliminated from consideration in these enterprises. Such elimination shall not be, unless by your own enforcement prevailing arbitrarily against our will and hope. In all our thoughts concerning these stupendous endeavors to upbuild and redeem, you and your associates have had a part. Not only for our business judgment, but in far profounder measure our sacred gratitude, prompt the desire for your co-operation. Under the blessing of God, accompanied by the thanks and prayers of His people, we hope to see you reaping a rich abundance for yourself in the field of the wonderful opportunities abounding in this region; for we believe that wealth and its attendant power would be nobly used by the man who volunteered the unlimited generosity of his service to our unpopular enfranchisement.

The nature of a new relation on the part of our enterprises to yourself and your associates, we again ask you to consider with the Executive Committee. Upon their minds we have impressed our own feelings toward you and yours. Your own letter is the only necessary proof of the desirability of their acting for us. Your communication perspicuously conveys the idea of an obligation which must extend beyond our generation; and our young men are of that the period in which that obligation must be met. You include them in the debt; you should not refuse them a participation in its adjustment. We are willing to trust our honor with them on this proposition; surely yourself and associates can treat with them in matters which are less than honor’s worth. Weighted with the many and multiplying duties of our calling, it is beyond possibility for us to give adequate personal time and attention to the mighty business revolution now oncoming. We have long had in view the appointment of such Executive Committee, who, had the appointment then been made, would have transacted the affair with you from the first. As they must carry our share of it forward, so they should now be the party to meet you and receive the impetus of your genius and statesmanship. They are the active authority of the Utah Company, controlling the various properties which constitute the nucleus of the gathering magnificence; and we commend them to you as we have commended you and your wishes to them.

General Clarkson, we have not attempted to vie with your letter in detailed presentation and rehearsal; nor have we permitted to ourselves herein any extensive expression of the resentment which men conscious of their rectitude and their grateful friendship for others might justly feel under your tones of reproach. As humble servants of the Most High, and as leaders among His people whom your great kindness and commanding talents have served, we have subjugated ourselves to the temper of this reply. Our prayers ascend to His throne for you and for ourselves in the trial of these days. To Him we submit our thoughts and hopes, as we have consecrated to His work every interest of our lives. With His inspiration you upon you and upon us, injustice and sorrow will be impossible; and in the righteous ambition of devoted men the destiny of a redeemed people and their earthly redeemers will be wrought out.

To you and yours our love and blessing will always flow.

(Signed) Geo. Q. Cannon,

For Himself and His Associates.[”]

Subsequently we heard that General Clarkson had agreed to meet the committee at 9 o’clock this evening.

25 September 1894 • Tuesday

Tuesday, Sept. 25, 1894. Upon my arrival this morning I met with R. R. Lyman upon the subject of someone going to Ann Arbor to deliver a lecture. A committe had invited, through him, one of our lecturers to go there, and they offer $150 as compensation. This matter had been brought up before, and I had suggested Brother Talmage. Various names were canvassed today, and Brother Lyman left with the understanding that if Brother Talmage would not go, Bishop O. F. Whitney should be requested to go.

I had a meeting with Mr. W. E. Smythe, the editor of the Irrigation Age. He is here in distress. He was very kind to the Utah delegation at Denver during the Congress. He proposes to let us have a thousand copies of the next number of the Irrigation Age, which will contain the proceedings of the Congress, for $150. He has debts to meet here that had been contracted some time ago, and he has been in trouble over them. We let him have $150 this morning.

We held a meeting of Cannon, Grant & Co. in relation to Elias A. Smith’s connection with us. There was a judgment against him and his endorser for indebtedness to J. R. Walker, and the firm of lawyers that had the case in hand demanded from us a statement as to his interest in our firm. Fortunately, he has no interest with us. He gave his note to us for $10,000, secured by a second mortgage on his home, and this is worth nothing. But we are in an awkward position, as we do not wish to make public this transaction, as it will injure the credit of our Company.

There was a meeting of the Co-op. Wagon & Machine Co., which was quite protracted.

The First Presidency listened to a statement from Messrs. Clayton and Cluff of an interview which had been held last evening by the Executive Committee of the Utah Co. with General Clarkson and Colonel Trumbo. We learned from them how badly Gen. Clarkson felt and what language he used in characterizing the letter he had received from us. While we were engaged with these brethren a note was brought by Bishop Clawson from Gen. Clarkson, asking for an interview. A meeting was appointed at 2:15, but it was half past two before they arrived. Gen. Clarkson came, accompanied by Col. Trumbo, and looking towards me and addressing me, read the following note which he handed with the contracts to me:

Hon. George Q. Cannon and Associates,


I herewith give you formal notification that I am ready to fulfil my part of the contract made with you on 3rd of October, 1893, and I herewith tender the contract with J. C. Osgood, of Denver, Colorado, dated New York, Sept. 4, 1894, for the purchase of $5,000,000 of the bonds of the railway that, under the contract, we mutually covenanted to build, as complete and final performance of my portion of said contract.

In making this tender I ask for a formal acceptance, or a formal refusal of it, in writing.

(Signed) James S. Clarkson,

For himself & associates.

He did not shake hands with me and acted quite stiff and cold, almost repellant in his manner, and refused at first to sit down, but stood and read this note to us. I said to him that it would be very unjust in him to leave this City and to sever his relations with us without hearing our side of the case. I had always supposed that he was a just man, and no man could come to the conclusion that he had and be justified in doing so without hearing the whole case. He spoke particularly concerning my statement that the contract ended at the expiration of the 90 days, and said how could I view it in that light when in February I had conversations with him and had gone with him to see parties with a view of carrying out that agreement. Did I not then show that I considered that contract still in force? I said to him I would like to read to you some things that I have of record concerning this whole affair. To begin with, while in the letter it was stated that the contract did expire at that time, that statement was made because that was the time the contract itself stated it should expire, but that I had not at any time thought that they were not in this business. They were, according to my view, as much connected with us under the new arrangements that we had made as they were under the old; and in viewing my conduct and the results that have followed I wanted him to bear that in mind, that at no time from the day that the first contract was signed in October last up to within a day or two had I ever thought that there had been any severence of our relations or that we occupied alien relations to each other. He said he was a man of plain words and he considered that I was the cause of all that had arisen between himself and ourselves; that I was familiar with all the transactions; I knew what they had done, and was thoroughly conversant with every point. I told him I was aware of that feeling on his part and on the part of Colonel Trumbo. I knew that I occupied a peculiar position; that if anything went wrong I was looked upon as the party that did it, by himself and Colonel Trumbo; and if anything should go wrong on our side I should be responsible. It was this knowledge that had caused me to have the anxiety and distress that I had experienced of late; that I was in danger of being made the scapegoat in these transaction[s.] I spoke with a great deal of feeling. Pointing to Presidents Woodruff and Smith, I told him that these brethren were my witnesses how carefully I had watched his and Colonel Trumbo’s interests; that in numbers of meetings I had stated that we must always keep them in mind; that I had never expected in anything that we did to sever our relations. I had entertained the highest regard for them and for their labor, and thought everything should be done by us to show our gratitude to them. I had never had any other feeling. At no time had I indulged in any thought of what might be called throwing them off, but had constantly hoped that they would be identified with us in this great enterprise that we contemplated. I said the Lord knows this, and these brethren know it, and you do me a great wrong when you say that I have been the cause of these misunderstandings and these feelings that have arisen. I am innocent, and I protest against any such construction being put upon my conduct. I then proceeded to read from my journal, which fortunately is very full, concerning the different meetings that we had had and the results, and I showed clearly that I had gone to New York instructed from here in relation to coming to a satisfactory arrangement with G. A. Purbeck & Co.; that Bishop Clawson was present when the correspondence with G. A. Purbeck & Co. was read before I left home, and knew of the object of my going to New York; that I had endeavored for nearly eight days to obtain an interview in which to make explanations concerning this arrangement that we were about to make with G. A. Purbeck & Co. I read the copies of telegrams which had been sent, showing how annoyed I was at the indifference that was manifested on this subject when I was urging its importance, and that I had refrained from taking any step until I should see them, although I was there occupying an equivocal position, as Purbeck & Co. knew I was in the city and had been for an entire week without calling on them; but in view of the fact that General Clarkson and Colonel Trumbo were in Washington engaged in what I considered a great work, I had borne this patiently. I then read an interview I had with General Clarkson in the presence of my son Frank and Bishop Clawson, at which I had stated that we were going into a contract with this firm and the fee that was asked for himself and his engineers and the amount for his expenses. I read also the proceedings of the next day, showing that they had been fully informed of our intention to contract with Purbeck. It was necessary that I should prove this, because of the statement by General Clarkson, oft repeated, that he had had no notice that his contract was not still in force, and that he ought to have been advised. I admitted, when I read this to him, that perhaps we ought to have written to him; but I had thought these conversations were sufficient notice. I went through the whole journal, clearing up a great many points and showing to him that there had not been the least intention to do him any wrong, nor Colonel Trumbo, in all that we had done. We supposed that we had a perfect right to what we had done, and that it was just as much to his interest as to ours, although I was satisfied that the employment of Purbeck was not agreeable to him. I described my reason for deeming it proper to take this step. General Clarkson had exhausted, so far as I knew, every source that he had mentioned as likely to furnish funds. There was therefore a complete failure on his part to obtain the means that had been agreed upon, and when this other opening presented itself, it did not seem an infringement of any arrangement that we had made for us to employ this firm as our financial agents. There were three statements which he made in the course of his conversation which were absolutely untrue. One was that in conversation with myself and Bishop Clawson at the Hotel Rennart in Baltimore he and Colonel Trumbo had stated that they were incurring heavy financial obligations for the admission of Utah with the expectation of paying these obligations out of the profits that should arise under this contract that they had made. I denied positively and emphatically that I had ever heard from either of them one word to the effect that they were spending money directly for the admission of Utah. I referred to the conversation which was had at the Hoffman House with Colonel Trumbo when he came up from Washington to see me respecting certain propositions that he had. They were to this effect: that a large fund was being raised by different parties on account of the tariff, the object being to prevent injurious legislation to certain interests. This sum was represented by Colonel Trumbo to me as being very large, and it was proposed that Utah should be included in the arrangement. They were willing to have this done if they could have the assurance that two Republican Senators would come from Utah, and Colonel Trumbo had been sent to ask me if any pledge could be obtained to that effect. I had said I could not give a pledge of that kind, and I did not know any one else that could. I would do anything in my power to have Utah admitted as a State and to have it Republican, but could make no pledge of that kind. This seemed, I said, to satisfy Col Trumbo at the time; but I said I want it distinctly understood now that I never knew until after the State was admitted, when I was told by Bishop Clawson, that money had ever been used to admit Utah—that is, solely for the admission of Utah. I did understand that it was to be included in the arrangement mentioned, and the pay was to be the securing of two Republican Senators. Now, I said, I have repeated this conversation three times in the presence of Colonel Trumbo, and he knows whether it is true or not. Colonel Trumbo said my statement of that conversation was correct. I said, therefore, I was entirely ignorant of promises made as conditions on which money was raised for the admission of Utah and by which you gentlemen are placed under obligations. Had I known it, I should have taken a different course; for I told Bishop Clawson, after I learned that money had been used, that it spoiled the pleasure of the admission to know that such had been the case. I said to General Clarkson, Ought you not to have told me, when I related to you that we were forming arrangements with Purbeck & Co., that you were making promises concerning the railroad enterprises to raise funds? Not a word escaped you upon this subject in my hearing. It was not till long afterwards that I learned—in fact, I did not learn until after the State was admitted, how much this had been used as an agency. Had I known these facts, I certainly would have hesitated about taking any step with Messrs. Purbeck & Co. until a proper understanding was reached between us concerning your views and actions.

The next statement I characterize as untrue was to the effect that while I was at the Plaza Hotel, and after I had informed him concerning our proposed arrangement with Purbeck & Co., that they had waited a number of hours to see me, and that Bishop Clawson had gone up and down and excused me on account of my being sick. I said no such thing occurred. My journal showed where I was each day. Although my health was not good, I was out every day.

The third statement which I say is false was the statement to the effect that Mrs. Clarkson had reminded General Clarkson of something that had taken place during our conversation about Purbeck—that I had asked him to release us so that I could make this contract with Purbeck & Co. I said I did not wish to throw discredit upon anything that Mrs. Clarkson or he would say; but I assured him most solemnly that I never made such a proposition, for the reason that I could not do it, as I believed that we were still connected, and that our relations were such that they would not be severed by anything of this kind. I did not say to General Clarkson what I might have said—that if this statement of his were true it was an evidence that he knew that I was making a contract with Purbeck, a knowledge of which he has denied.

After the reading of my journal we resumed conversation, and I endeavored to set forth our conduct in a light to show that we had not intended in any manner to withhold from himself and Col. Trumbo all that they were entitled to. I said it was necessary I should make these explanations to him to show how we had acted and our reasons for acting as we had, and that we had maintained good faith. I said, General Clarkson, I have never seen a moment since these things were contemplated that I would not gladly give up every interest I would be likely to have, if by doing so you and Col. Trumbo could be satisfied. What more can I say? Up to the present hour I have labored a great deal for these affairs to carry them out, and I have never derived one cent’s benefit or advantage from them. Personal considerations have not actuated me. My great desire has been to have these enterprises successful for the sake of our people; and you are welcome, if that will satisfy you and nothing else will, to every interest I have or am likely to have in these enterprises.

The interview lasted till half past four; and after all my explanations he repeated that he looked upon me as the cause of all this, and used several expressions which I thought, under the circumstances, harsh and unjustifiable, but which I would not resent. I, however, excused myself, as I had a meeting of the Bullion-Beck at 4 o’clock. I withdrew feeling very grieved to think, after the pains I had taken to explain my motives and action, that he should still manifest the feeling that he had. I felt as though I wanted to have no further intercourse with him in any form.

In his opening remarks he stated that he thought there was a great mission for the Mormon people, and that they were an honest people, but he had lost his confidence in the leaders—which I felt at the time was an insult, but I had pardoned it because of the impression that he was evidently laboring under. When, however, he made these remarks to me after I had made these full explanations to him, I was certainly disappointed, and I thought that his sense of justice would at least have acquitted me of any intention of doing him any wrong.

At the Bullion-Beck meeting it was decided, among other business, to proceed to erect a Concentrator.

I got home tonight almost exhausted, as it was after dark when we got through the meeting and the day had been a very trying one. I never felt more exercised in my feelings to call upon the Lord to relieve me than I did tonight.

26 September 1894 • Wednesday

Wednesday, Sept. 26, 1894. Dictated my journal to Brother Winter, also letters to G. A. Purbeck & Co.

I received a message this morning from President Woodruff requesting me to call at his residence, as he was suffering from a severe cold. I did so and administered to him. He was confined to his bed.

At 1:30 President Jos. F. Smith and myself went to Ogden to keep an appointment with Messrs. Bannister and Patton. Mr. Maguire also joined us. We had a delightful visit. We sat on Mr. Bannister’s lawn and examined all the plans of the Dam and the Pipe line, and had a full and free conversation concerning the operations thus far and the securing of land below the Fremont canal; after which we had dinner with Mr. & Mrs. Bannister.

On returning home I was met at the depot by Brother Dorius Adams.

27 September 1894 • Thursday

Thursday, Sept. 27, 1894. Called at President Woodruff’s this morning and found him worse than yesterday morning. I found that he had taken a hot bath yesterday and had been imprudent in exposing himself afterwards, through which he had taken fresh cold.

My son Mark is suffering from fever, which is now pronounced to be typhoid. He has been complaining for a long time.

Dictated correspondence and journal.

At 2 o’clock President Smith and myself, President Lorenzo Snow, F. D. Richards, B. Young, F. M. Lyman, J. H. Smith. H. J. Grant and A. H. Cannon met in the Temple as usual and clothed for prayer. Brother Lyman offered prayer, and Brother Snow was mouth in the circle. We sung two hymns also. Various matters arose for conversation, the principal topic being whether it was advisable for us to register. While we were there my son John Q. sent us a proof of a dispatch that had been received stating that President Cleveland had issued an amnesty proclamation.

At the office there was a meeting of Cannon, Grant & Co. held afterwards.

28 September 1894 • Friday

Friday, Sept. 28, 1894. I called at President Woodruff’s this morning and found him, I thought, a little better than he was yesterday.

J. P. Meakin and Mr. Gillette called upon me to lay before me a plan for the formation of a quartette for the purpose of giving public concerts throughout the United States. Mr. Gillette was the speaker, and Mr. Meakin was intended to be the advance agent. The object of the visit was to ask me to be President of the Association. There had to be $10,000 raised to guarantee the enterprise. The parties named were Willard Weithe, violinist, R. C. Easton, tenor, Viola Pratt, contralto. The soprano has not been decided upon yet. Mr. Krouse is to be the accompanist. Mr. Gillette is going to call this Zion’s Quartette. He thought that this name and it hailing from Salt Lake City would give it such prestige that it might be made a very good enterprise, advertise the city and the people. I listened to all this till I became very impatient and left to attend to other business, while they continued the conversation with President Smith.

Colonel Trumbo requested an interview with President Smith and myself and he gave us a very cordial invitation to visit California and spend some days there before Conference. We thanked him for the invitation, but said President Woodruff’s health would not admit of his going at the present, and we did not think there was time enough before Conference for us to make a trip that would be of any advantage to us as recreation. While we were conversing he drew from his pocket a letter from General Clarkson, which he handed to me. The following is a copy:

Salt Lake City, Utah, Sept. 26, 1894.

Hon. George Q. Cannon and Associates,

Salt Lake City, Utah.


Before leaving the city today I feel that I should express to you a sense of my hearty satisfaction with the interview that I had with you yesterday. It cleared up many of the misunderstandings, showed that all the differences that had come between us had been caused by misunderstandings, and also I think that these misunderstandings were honest on the part of all of us. If we had had this frank and free conference early in the winter, as I felt then and know now, there would have been no ripple of a disagreement. Or if we had had equally frank and full exchange of views immediately after the passage of the Statehood Bill, or even on the day we first met here, I am sure there would have been nothing like the separation or personal feeling that seemed so imminent for several days, and which caused me really to believe for awhile that some unfriendly influence had alienated me from your confidence and friendship. As I stated this opinion or fear so plainly I would not leave the city without expressing with equal frankness and plainness that I feel that yesterday’s interview cleared up all these matters, and left us where there is no reason of substance to separate us in mutual friendship and interest. I believe now that in some way, with faith in each other, and a common zeal and industry to carry out our plans, we shall succeed.

I am compelled to leave the city to attend important engagements at Denver, Des Moines, and Chicago, and also to attend in New York on the fourth of October, an important meeting of the Republican National Committee called at my request, and in which our interests are somewhat involved. But for this I should remain and co-operate constantly with all of you in reaching a result desired by us all. I am perfectly content to leave my interests in charge of Colonel Trumbo, who has been equal with me in this matter from the first, and whose good faith and friendship you have, of course, every reason to trust, and with Bishop Clawson, who in a life of good works has never rendered purer service to friendship than he has constantly in this whole matter, from the first, and especially in the last few weeks, when he has been the means of keeping peace and preserving friendship between all of us. I would trust him with any matter of mine under any circumstances. He knows nearly as fully as Colonel Trumbo or myself all the details we have passed through, the contracts we have made, and the obligations we have incurred, and he can, and I presume will give you, any information you may need or desire on any of these subjects. I believe that help can now be secured from California to aid in making our enterprise certain and immediate in its success. They have some plans they wish to submit to you, which I think are good, and which I believe President Cannon, in connection with them, can carry out.

In closing I wish to say, by way of the utmost frankness, that since my interview yesterday I can now clearly understand, in the light of President Cannon’s statements, how all our misunderstandings arose honestly, and to this I will add the frank expression of my faith that President Cannon has been and is ready to do all in his power to make us successful. Leaving you my good will, and hoping soon to return and complete our negotiations, I am,

Sincerely yours,

(Signed) James S. Clarkson.

I was very glad to get this letter, as it enabled me to think better of General Clarkson than I otherwise would have done.

I had an interview with Mr. W. E. Curtis, correspondent of the Chicago Record.

Mr. Ballard, of Washington, with his wife and a couple of friends, called upon me to pay his respects. Mr. Ballard is a gentleman whom I have known for many years.

I accompanied Brother Brigham Young and Brother Wilcken to look at some horses at the race track, belonging to R. H. Baskin, Mayor. He has a three-year-old stallion of very fine pedigree which he desires me to take. He has expressed himself to Brother Wilcken to the effect that he did not wish to put me under any obligation to him, but that I could have this stallion for the cost of the service of the horse, $250. We looked at all his animals there, and they are very fine. We understand that he has a herd of 70 thoroughbreds. The colt that he had mentioned as wishing to have me get is rather a small horse, but beautifully formed, and is said to be of the best blood in the United States. The brethren accompanied me home and took dinner with me.

29 September 1894 • Saturday

Saturday, Sept. 29, 1894. I called at President Woodruff’s this morning and found him still improving.

At the office we had a meeting of the stockholders of the Deseret News Co., and the old officers were re-elected. Afterwards the board of directors met and I was again elected President.

With President Smith and my brother Angus I went through the Gardo House, in company with Colonel and Mrs. Trumbo and Bishop Clawson. It is undergoing a thorough renovation, and will be very beautiful when done. I never saw a more unsightly and disgusting place afte than it was after the Keeley Institute removed from there. I felt as though I never wanted to see any of our friends occupy it; but Colonel Trumbo is giving it so thorough a cleansing that it will make an elegant habitation and his occupancy of it will have the effect to cleanse it and remove from it the stain which rests upon it in consequence of the purpose for which it has been used.

I had an interview with Mr. Dooley concerning financial matters. We are in a very straight place financially, and we have to ask our creditors to be lenient with us. It was for this purpose I called upon him. He is our largest creditor.

I dictated my journal.

30 September 1894 • Sunday

Sunday, Sept. 30, 1894. It threatened storm the forepart of the day, and in the afternoon commenced raining heavily. I attended meeting at the Tabernacle. President Jos. F. Smith and Elders Brigham Young, Geo. Teasdale and H. J. Grant, of the Twelve, were present. Elders Teasdale and Young occupied the time in speaking to the people and their remarks were quite interesting.

After the services, Brother Stephens, the leader of the choir, requested the congregation to remain seated, as he wished to practice them on the singing of two hymns, in anticipation of Conference, so that the congregational singing would be in harmony with the choir and organ.

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September 1894, The Journal of George Q. Cannon, accessed June 19, 2024