Friday, November 1, 1895 I spent about two hours this morning at the office in company with W. H. Culmer and Judge L. W. Shurtliff, arranging about Trans-Mississippi Congress matters.
My son John Q. came up to the office and in conversation with the Presidency he stated his views concerning the propriety of my publishing a card explanatory of the conflict between my statement of what occurred at Brigham City and that which actually took place. I asked him to draw some thing out that he thought would be suitable, and he framed the following card, which I signed, and it was published in tonight’s DESERET NEWS:
As1 to a statement attributed to me at a meeting in Brigham City on Monday last, to the effect that “a certain man had been paid $10,000 for stealing the election of Salt Lake City, and he was now at the head of another political organization,” and my later denial of having either made or intended any attack upon anybody on the occasion referred to, I desire to say:
I have absolutely no knowledge of having made the statement quoted above, or anything like it, so that there could have been no willful intention on my part to prejudice or injure the “certain man” referred to, or the cause with which he is at present identified. In what I have since said concerning the remark, I was intentionally as positive and unequivocal as I knew how to be; because I felt perfectly confident that it could not have been made without leaving some impression on my mind, which later, as stated, was not the case. But on conversing subsequently with some of those to whom I referred in my interview for its corroboration, I was informed to my astonishment that some such remarks had actually been made. Of course I immediately took pains to have the whole truth of the incident communicated to those most affected by it, and now feel it only proper that this public occasion should be taken to lay it before the community. I repeat that there was not a scintilla of malice or of malicious intent in my mind, and no desire to be offensive to anybody; and I can therefore with the utmost candor and sincerity express regret that the incident should have occurred. Anything that could be construed into an attempt to revive past bitterness, or throw additional unpleasantness into the present excitement, or militate against future harmony and welfare, I should, and do, regard as extremely deplorable; and I should regret exceedingly if anything that I may have said could be used as having a tendency in that unfortunate direction. Whatever influence I have with the people of Utah I desire to be used to bring about an improved condition of feeling between the different classes of the community; and that so far as politics and office-holding are concerned, the words “Mormon” and “non-Mormon” should be stricken out of our vocabulary.
In keeping with the spirit of these expressions, I would further say that if the gentleman who has taken this matter as personal to himself is still disposed to regard it as willful and offensive, I wish to withdraw the remarks and trust this statement will be satisfactory to him as an apology.
George Q. Cannon.2
This is the anniversary of the late President John Taylor’s birth. If he had lived, he would be 87 years old today. I received an invitation for myself and wives to attend a family gathering at the house of Brother Ebenezer Y. Taylor in the 19th Ward. I took my wives Martha and Caroline. The grounds were lit up with Chinese lanterns, and there was a large number of the family and friends assembled in the house. We spent a very pleasant evening. We left there about 10 o’clock.
Saturday, November 2, 1895 Brother Brigham Young and myself took train this morning at 7:15 for Nephi, for the purpose of meeting with the saints in Conference. Brother Arthur Winter was also along. We were met at the station by Brother James W. Paxman, counselor to his father, who presides over the Stake. We were taken to the meeting house, where the saints were gathered. President Paxman had just closed his remarks as we entered, and I occupied an hour in speaking to the saints.
Brother Brigham Young and myself were entertained by Prest. Paxman, and Brother Winter was taken charge of by Brother James W. Paxman.
In the afternoon Brother Brigham Young occupied about three quarters of an hour, and I spoke about the same length of time.
After this meeting, we all went and partook of a meal at Sister Pitchforth’s, the two widows of Brother Samuel Pitchforth. Their house has always been a house at which the servants of God have been made very welcome. They seem to be living in about as comfortable circumstances now as ever, and they treated us very kindly.
In the evening we had what is called a Priesthood meeting, but the sisters were present also, and instructions were given by myself and Brother Young.
Sunday, November 3, 1895 It had been arranged that we should have only one meeting today, as we desired to return by the 1:25 train and thus save a day’s delay. The arrangement was quite agreeable to Prest. Paxman and the saints, that we should continue our meeting until the departure of the train. At 9 o’clock we met with the prayer circle, after which we set apart Brother Vickers as President of the High Priests Quorum of the Stake, and Brothers Bowles and Price as his counselors. Brother Junius F. Wells had joined us, and we found the house crowded with saints. Brother Wells was called upon to speak, which he did for a short time, and was followed by Brother Arthur Winter; after which Brother Brigham Young spoke for about an hour and had good freedom, and I followed for an hour. My remarks were brought to a close at 5 minutes to one. It was ten minutes past one before we were dismissed. Brother Paxman accompanied us to the train, and we took our departure for Salt Lake City.
On our way home we were joined at Provo by Judge Dusenberry, who took the opportunity to sit beside me and communicate to me his desires that the Democrats should carry the Territory. He felt that it would be the best thing that could be done for us. He stated that he had gone, more in my interest than in the interest of the party, to Box Elder County with Judge O. W. Powers and that Judge Powers had spoken in a most noble manner concerning myself and the unfortunate lapse of memory of which I had been guilty, and he seemed to be greatly pleased with the magnanimity that had been displayed by Judge Powers in his speech there to the people, and he also described how well it was received by the people. He said that Judge Powers charged them that no Democrat should throw up to any Republican anything about this affair of mine. He said that Judge Powers would like me to do something to extricate myself from the dilemma that I was in and from the serious consequences that would follow if this Territory did not become Democratic. Judge Dusenberry seemed to hint at some terrible things that would occur if the Territory went Republican, and intimated that I could do a great deal of good and could save perhaps myself and the Church from serious consequences if I would only take steps to have the “strings” taken off men whose inclinations were Democratic, but who felt themselves, because of these “strings”, compelled to vote for the Republicans; and he intimated that it would be a good thing for me to get word into some of the larger counties to have this changed.
I could scarcely control my feelings in listening to this talk. I felt indignant and insulted. At the same time I looked upon Judge Dusenberry as prompted probably by friendly feelings to me. But the folly of his talk, as it appeared to me, was exaspirating. I controlled my feelings, however, sufficiently to say nothing until the close, when I said that I did not care a snap about any consequences that might come from my conduct. But he seemed to convey the idea that I had done something that was terribly hurtful to me, and that I was really in a position to require the magnanimous treatment which Judge Powers, in his opinion, seemed to be according to me. I really felt disgusted. Now, what is the proposition? It is that we shall take “strings” off somebody that is supposed to have “strings” on them, and do the very thing that the Democrats are loud in accusing us of having already done—that is, using Church influence. Now, it is a truth—and the Lord knows that it is true—that we have not used Church influence in the way that they now propose us to do for their benefit. I have been as careful as it has been possible for a man possessing the views which I do, to do nothing that could be looked upon as an impropriety in connection with influencing people in their votes. We have desired, in the earlier campaigns, that there should be enough Republicans in this Territory to make it interesting for the Republicans, and to show them that they had a fighting chance here. But beyond this the First Presidency have not gone. In my feelings I have thought that I would like the Republican party to win. I have felt that it would be better for us as a Territory to become a Republican state. But I have taken no steps at all to bring this about. Yet here is a barefaced proposition that we shall go, or that I shall go into some of the larger counties and take the “strings” off the voters; in other words, use my influence to have the voters vote the Democratic ticket, in order to give that party success. If I had expressed my feelings at the proposition somebody would have been seriously hurt, I think, and perhaps felt angered; but I think it better for me to say nothing, because whatever I should say in this direction would doubtless be taken advantage of.
When I reached home this evening I found my son John Q. and his wife and children at the house awaiting my return. They dined with us, and after dinner John and myself went through our genealogy. He had a number of questions to ask me upon points connected with the genealogy which were not clear in the papers that he had. I am greatly pleased to see the interest which he takes in this business.
Monday, Nov. 4, 1895. Found President Woodruff at the office this morning enjoying good health. President Smith is absent.
I attended to a lot of business matters.
We had a call from Bishop Thomas J. Stevens of Ogden, who related to us the condition of affairs there, so far as they concerned the municipal election. He wanted counsel from us, which we gave him.
I dictated my journal to Brother Winter.
Tuesday, Nov. 5, 1895 The First Presidency at the office today.
The City is quite lively over the election. Before I came to the office I called at the polls at Farmer’s Ward and deposited my vote.
Busy all day attending to various matters.
Wednesday, Nov. 6, 1895 There was a meeting of the Pioneer Electric Power Company at 11 o’clock, at which all the directors were present, excepting Mr. Kiesel. The letters of Mr. Banigan were read, and the proposition that he made to take hold with us of this enterprise was considered. It was felt that the terms were harder than we could comply with; but the feeling was that if he were seen some better terms could be obtained probably. John R. Winder made a motion that myself and Secretary Bannister should continue our negotiations with him. I suggested that the Manager be put in my place, which was accepted and the resolution passed in that form. Frank really can do better with him, I think, than any one. He desires in his proposition that there should be a guarantee by us of the bonds—that is, by the First Presidency and Frank. This we cannot see our way clear to do. We think the enterprise should stand on its own merits.
The First Presidency had a meeting with Brothers Clayton and Jack and Frank, at which a report of a committee which had been appointed to examine the coal question was read, and the recommendations made in the report were accepted, and the committee were instructed to take the necessary steps and to devise ways and means by which the coal of the Company be put in a condition to make the property remunerative.
It appears clear from the election returns that the Republicans have carried the Territory and elected all the State officers I have done what I could to repress all manifestations of exultation and triumph, which are usual on such occasions. I spoke to my nephew, the Chairman of the Republican Territorial Committee, and also to Frank, to endeavor to repress or discountenance anything of this kind. I thought it would be in bad taste just at present, because there was a great deal of soreness on the part of the Democrats at their defeat.
Thursday, Nov. 7, 1895 Frank came in this morning, and President Woodruff and myself had some conversation with him concerning the political situation.
At 11 o’clock the First Presidency met in the Temple with President Lorenzo Snow, F. D. Richards, Brigham Young, F. M. Lyman, H. J. Grant, J. W. Taylor and A. H. Cannon. Among other subjects that was talked about, Brother Lyman brought up the question of the Senators likely to be elected. His object, he said, in mentioning it was that he and perhaps others of the brethren were going to separate and he was applied to all the time to know what the feeling was in regard to the Senators, and now that the Republicans would have control of the Legislature he felt that he would like to be in a position to talk in a way to do no harm and not to throw any influence against any one that might be thought suitable. He said that my name had been mentioned a number of times for Senator by prominent men. This led to considerable of a discussion. Heber J. Grant addressed the Council in a very incisive and clear manner upon this subject, giving his views and his feelings. He said that though a Democrat, if he could cast a vote without putting himself in a false position, he would cast his vote for me to be one of the Senators, and he knew other Democrats who felt the same. This called forth remarks from Brother John W. Taylor and Brigham Young. President Snow also expressed himself to the effect that the mind and will of the Lord should be sought for on this question, and he thought the First Presidency would have that in response to their desire. President Woodruff called on Abraham to speak. It seems that they had had some conversation concerning this and Abraham had expressed himself as not favorable to the proposition. He repeated what he had said, but remarked that he felt to submit to whatever would be the will of the Lord on the question. His idea was that my position now was so high that it was condescension for me to go there. Before the question was dismissed, I made some remarks. I told the brethren that I agreed with their view exactly concerning my present position. I felt that it would be a condescension on my part to accept political office; that my Priesthood was dearer to me and its duties sweeter and more pleasurable than anything that could be given me; that I valued office no more than I did the dirt under my feet; but I was willing to do whatever the Lord desired, and I said if this is from the Lord He will make it plain, and obstacles will be removed, and it will come around right; if it is not His will, of course it will not be accomplished. It was felt that it was a duty that we owed to the people to counsel the members of the Legislature not to allow themselves to be committed to any one and not suffer themselves to be drawn into making pledges, whatever inducement might be held out; and it was also thought wise not to allow my name to be mentioned in connection with this at all. I felt this latter point important. I do not want to be canvassed or appear in any light as a candidate when I am not one.
I dictated my journal to Brother Winter and some correspondence
Friday, Nov. 8, 1895. The name of Arthur W. Hart came up, and President Jos. F. Smith stated that he had been called on a mission and read his letter of acceptance of the mission, but he questioned the propriety of his going out as a missionary because he was one of the signers of the request addressed to O. W. Powers, Chairman of the Democratic Territorial Committee, asking for something to be done in relation to the utterances of President Smith and myself at the Priesthood meeting. He thought that such a person was not suitable to go out to preach the Gospel, in which feeling we all joined.
President Jos. F. Smith, Brother Arthur Winter and myself started this afternoon for Bear Lake.
Saturday, Nov. 9, 1895. We reached Montpelier this morning at 7:30. We passed a very unpleasant night; for we reached Pocatello at 10:30 and did not leave there till 2:30, and there was no opportunity to get any decent rest, though we succeeded in getting into a car where we were warm and where we could sit and make ourselves as comfortable as we could; but we had very little sleep. We were met at Montpelier by Bishop Wilford Clark, who took us to his house and gave us breakfast, after which we traveled by team to Paris. The meeting of the Conference had commenced when we reached there. Brother James H. Hart was speaking. After he concluded, a number of the Bishops reported the condition of their wards, and this occupied all the time.
In the afternoon I spoke at some length, and President Jos. F. Smith made a few closing remarks.
A concert was given in the evening at the Tabernacle, and though we were very tired we attended and remained until a little after nine, when we left and were glad to get to bed.
Sunday, Nov. 10, 1895 Conference met at 10 o’clock. President Smith occupied the whole of the time this morning and delivered a powerful discourse.
In the afternoon the sacrament was administered and the authorities presented, after which I addressed the people for over an hour.
I have enjoyed this conference very much, and I feel that our visit here and the teachings that have been given will be of great benefit to the people. The spirit of fault-finding and speaking evil of the authorities of the Church has not been manifested here as it has in some other places within the confines of Utah. The election did not affect the saints in this region; yet they had read the slanders that have been circulated about the First Presidency. The saints were thoroughly warned against the spirit of murmuring at and speaking evil against the Lord’s anointed.
I have omitted to mention in the proper place that Brother Charles W. Nibley spoke to the saints at the meeting on Saturday morning, and Brother Arthur Winter made some remarks on Saturday afternoon, after I had spoken.
At the close of the Conference we got into Bishop Clark’s carriage and we went over to Montpelier. We had supper at his house, and then went to the meeting house. The room, quite a good-sized one, was crowded and a spirit of freedom prevailed in the meeting. I spoke first and President Smith next.
We went from the meeting to the train, which left Montpelier at 8:05. We reached Pocatello about 10:30.
Monday, Nov. 11, 1895 We lounged around Pocatello station till about 2 O’clock, when we succeeded in getting into a sleeper for Salt Lake, where we arrived at 9:30. I was met at the station by Brother Wilcken, and I drove home. I took a bath, got my breakfast, and came up to the office. I found Presidents Woodruff and Smith there and in consultation with my son Frank talking over business matters and the political situation. Frank commenced to relate to us concerning the position that he had assumed in regard to the Senatorship, and I was greatly pleased with his remarks. He manifested an excellent spirit, and his gift of conversation was drawn out apparently in the best manner, for he made a very favorable impression upon me and I think upon the brethren. The only ambition he had was to serve the people and to do what we wanted, to show his devotion to the Church and its interests, etc. President Woodruff rather bluntly told him that he had been making it a matter of prayer since my name had been suggested for the Senate and his mind was clear that it would be better for me to go than for any one else to go. To this Frank—though I am sure he was much surprised—replied that whatever was the will of the Lord he would submit to gladly; and when I spoke about it being a sacrifice to him because he had worked so hard and so many had mentioned him as the coming Senator, he replied that nothing wa[s] a sacrifice to him that lay in the way of duty, and that he felt that anything he could do, no matter what, as an atonement for some parts of his life in the past, he would do gladly. I explained my position to him and to the brethren in this matter; for I myself was surprised at President Woodruff saying what he did, as he had never given me the least intimation of what his feelings were in that direction. I took Frank aside also and said to him afterwards that I hoped it would not be a disappointment to him, to which he made a very nice reply. This conversation was a subject of very serious thought to me.
Senator Fred Dubois called on us this afternoon and had a lengthy conversation about our affairs and political matters generally. He expressed himself strongly in favor of Judge C. C. Goodwin being a Senator from Utah, and he represented to us what an effect it would have on the public mind, especially the eastern public. It would go a long way, he said, to disproving the charges which had been made concerning Church and State, and would be the best evidence that could be furnished of the burial of the old differences. Judge Goodwin was known throughout the United States as the editor of the “Tribune” and was favorably known in some respects, and he would do no discredit as compared with some of the candidates that were striving for the position. He seemed to expect as a foregone conclusion that my son Frank would be the other Senator.
President Smith and myself, in returning from the north this morning got into conversation concerning the situation of Brothers Moses Thatcher and B. H. Roberts, and we agreed that it would be an unwise thing for us to permit their conduct to pass as though there were nothing wrong about it or about their utterances. We felt that it would be unwise to take any action at the present time while the proclamation of the President of the United States was yet pending, as it might interfere with that and create feeling that would cause the admission of Utah to be delayed; but we felt that it would not do for us, with the responsibility that rested upon us as the Presidency of the Church, to allow this to go as though it were a matter of no moment. Therefore, we thought it would be well to not do anything that would have the appearance either in the public mind or in the minds of these Elders of condoning what they had done. When President Smith reached the office (which he did before me) he found that a proposition had been made by Brother George Reynolds and Brother John Henry Smith to President Woodruff to take Brother B. H. Roberts on a visit that they were going to make to Star Valley, and President Woodruff had consented without taking into consideration all the circumstances; but after hearing President Smith’s expressions he immediately sent word to Brothers Smith and Reynolds that they must not take Brother Roberts with them. I was very glad that this was done, because I think the effect would have been bad under the circumstances, and I took Brother Reynolds to task for proposing it. But he had been prompted by the best of motives in doing it. He said he thought that that would be a good way of finding out Brother Roberts’ spirit and feeling. When, however, he heard what reasons we had for interfering he saw the propriety of it.
Tuesday, Nov. 12, 1895 I passed every waking moment last night in thinking over the position that I was likely to be placed in concerning the Senatorship. When President Taylor told me that I should not go into court and keep the appointment which had been made when I was put under $45,000 bonds, it was the greatest trial that I ever had had in my life. No counsel that I had ever received was harder for me to accept than that. I fasted and prayed about it, and even the last night before the time when I was to appear in court, I was strongly inclined to arise from my bed to go to President Taylor’s bed and tell him that I must keep that appointment in court. But I did not. The reason of it being such a trial was, I felt that my character would be ruined, not only among the Latter[-]day Saints, but among all people. I would be looked upon as a coward and dishonorable. The Lord, however, delivered me from all this, and He is able always to deliver those who put their trust in Him. Now comes the proposition for me to be a Senator, and it is to me a trial second only to the other one I mention, because if I accept this appointment my enemies will say that they knew I was ambitious, and that my aim was to gain the Senatorship. They have told abominable lies upon this point up to the present time and circulated them widely. They are lies today, but they will have a color of truth if I am chosen Senator. It would look, too, as a movement that would be injurious to the Republican party; for the Democrats would use it to the fullest extent to try and show that the First Presidency discriminated in favor of me and against Brother Moses Thatcher, one of the Twelve, and that would be used as far as it could possibly be next fall at the election which will then take place. It is evident that the Democrats are willing to pit me against my son Frank. They would thereby gain arguments for their own side of the question and they would remove Frank out of the way, whom they dislike. These are some of the elements which favor my nomination as against Frank’s; and in thinking over the matter through the night I prayed a great deal; for it seemed to me that I was being put into a very difficult position.
After coming to the office this morning I had a conversation with George M. Cannon and Brother Jos. F. Smith on this subject. George is the Chairman of the Republican State Committee. President Woodruff had told him what his feelings were, and I talked with some freedom to the two brethren, and before we finished President Woodruff came in, and I withdrew, thinking that the conversation had ended; but it seems that they remained together for some time. After this conversation, President Woodruff called me into the private room, and told me that the brethren had been speaking to him about things, and that perhaps as so many of the Legislature were thoroughly committed to Frank it might not be well to push my case. I then told him my feeling in this matter; that I thought the best thing that could be done was to remain quiet, and if the Lord wanted me to go, and it was His will that I should go, He would open the way and clear it of obstacles that now exist; but that if the people wanted Frank, he could go without my being pushed forward as an opposing candidate. He took this view of the matter and so it stands at present. There is no doubt in my mind that if the question were submitted to the people I would be their choice; but there are many reasons why I should not be chosen for this position. My calling to me is far dearer and sweeter in every way than anything that could be assigned me. I have no political ambition whatever. Of course, if the Lord was to manifest through His servant that I ought to do this I would comply; but it seems to me under the present circumstances it may be better for some one else, and that be Frank. Presidents Woodruff and Smith and myself said to Frank that next to myself they felt that he would be the better man to go than any one else. Since this conversation with President Woodruff I feel greatly relieved in my feelings. I am thankful to the Lord for having heard my prayer about it.
This morning Brother Brigham Young called the attention of President Woodruff and myself (President Snow was also present) to the unsuitableness of a missionary whom he had met in company with a number of missionaries who were going to Europe, and he had been called to go to Turkey. Brother Young said he had conversed with the young man and found him entirely ignorant of any language but his own, and quite imperfect in that, having a poor education. It had appeared to him that the was not at all a proper person to go on such a mission. This statement led to a general discussion concerning the method of selecting missionaries. It was finally decided that the Twelve should take in hand, the selection of missionaries and examine men when they visit the various conferences whose names are given in as missionaries, to see whether they are suitable or not. This man’s recommend had been signed by his Bishop and by the President of the Stake. They evidently were either careless about enquiring into his qualifications or had mistaken ideas concerning those who were fitted for foreign missions. We felt that as the Twelve were familiar with this, and it was appropriate to thei[r] calling also, they ought to take
some more interest in the selection of missionaries than they had heretofore done. President Jos. F. Smith and Brother F. D. Richards have been the Missionary Committee; but President Smith’s time is occupied as one of the First Presidency and he cannot bestow the attention that is needed, and it was decided that these matters should be submitted to President Snow and the Twelve.
Wednesday, Nov. 13, 1895 The First Presidency at the office. I attended to various matters of business. I have been trying to make my hours shorter at the office than they have been, and have changed the dinner hour at home to 4:30, so that I might have a little more time at home than heretofore. I try now to get away from the office at 4 or a little afterwards, and I find it is a benefit to me.
Thursday, Nov. 14, 1895 The First Presidency met with the Twelve this morning as usual in the Temple and attended to a good deal of business. There were present, beside the First Presidency, President Snow, F. D. Richards, Brigham Young, F. M. Lyman, J. H. Smith, J. W. Taylor and A. H. Cannon. Brother Richards prayed.
Friday, Nov. 15, 1895. The First Presidency had a call from Brother C. B. Felt. Brother Felt has been in the employ of Gilmer & Salisbury for a number of years as their bookkeeper. They have now broken up their business and he is deprived of employment. Mr. Salisbury has made an offer to him to go into Dakota and to be cashier of a bank that he has control of. He has made him this offer before, but Brother Felt declined it. Now, however, he finds it necessary to come to some decision, and as he has no prospect of employment here, he desired to see President Woodruff to get his counsel as to what he should do. President Woodruff desired me to listen to his statement, which I did. After hearing it, I said to President Woodruff that it was a difficult thing for us to give counsel on a matter of this kind, because it is the plain duty of every Latter-day Saint to gather to Zion, and I said to Brother Felt, If you leave here now, what can you hope for for the future? It will be as difficult for you to come back and get a place among us after the lapse of time, and more difficult than it is at the present time. You go off and you become estranged. You form new associations. Your family also and your children do the same, and they are likely to grow up to some extent alien to our people and perhaps to the principles of our religion. I said, your father and mother when they left Salem, Mass., forsook all their relatives and started west. I remember when they came to Nauvoo, and they did that for the Gospel’s sake, in order to be with the saints of God. And that is the doctrine that we are all preaching to the people. I said I did not see how we could possibly give him any counsel to go away. He seemed to be quite satisfied after hearing these remarks, and left apparently with the determination to remain here.
By invitation of the President of the Bell Telephone Company, Mr. Geo. Y. Wallace, we paid a visit to the Telephone office and were taken by him and Mr. Murray, the Supt., through the entire building and show the whole process of the telephone business. It was exceedingly interesting to President Woodruff and myself and to my son Abraham who accompanied us. This Company is evidently anxious to have us patronize them more than we do, and they propose to make us an offer that will be an inducement to patronize them, with the hope that our example will be followed by others.
We attended a meeting of the directors of Zion’s Co-operative Mercantile Institution.
Saturday, Nov. 16, 1895.
Brother Arthur Winter and myself started at 7:15 this morning to attend the Sanpete Conference to be held at Moroni. We went to Nephi on the Union Pacific train, and took the Sanpete Valley road to Moroni. We reached Moroni just as the afternoon meeting was about to commence, being an hour late; but Bishop Irons took us over to his house and gave us something to eat, and we then repaired to the meeting house. It was very gratifying to see so large a congregation assembled as found in the building—the largest congregation that I have met with for a long time on Saturday. I learned that the Bishops had made their reports in the forenoon. Brother Henry Beal was speaking when we got into the meeting, and I occupied the remainder of the time.
In the evening we had a meeting, which was also well attended, at which Brother John D. T. McAllister and President C. Peterson spoke, and I followed them.
Sunday, Nov. 17, 1895 I expected President Jos. F. Smith would have been with us this morning, as he had been appointed to come to the Conference with me. He had remained at home on Saturday because his son Hyrum was going on a mission. He did not reach this morning. The meeting house was crowded and a great many were unable to get admittance. Brother John B. Maiben addressed the congregation for a short time, after which I occupied the remainder of the time.
In the afternoon, much to our gratification, President Jos. F. Smith arrived, and he addressed the congregation for about an hour, and I followed.
The authorities were presented this afternoon and the sacrament was administered. There was quite a good flow of the Spirit enjoyed by the speakers. One man came to me today and said that he had been speaking against me and he wanted to ask my forgiveness and he would try and repair the wrong that he had done to the extent of his ability. The people were thoroughly warned about the danger of speaking evil of the Lord’s anointed. I have been led to speak with great plainness on this subject, because Satan seems to have exerted his power to blacken the characters of the leaders of Israel and to lessen their influence in the midst of the people.
Brother and Sister Irons have entertained us very hospitably, and though they are advanced in years they seem to take great pleasure in waiting upon us. Sister Irons is 78 years of age, and he is 72.
After the afternoon meeting I repaired with Brother Winter to the station and took train for Ephraim. Brother Smith was driven to Spring City, where he was to hold meeting this evening, and I to hold meeting at Ephraim. After reaching Ephraim we took supper at Prest. Peterson’s, and attended meeting and had a most excellent time.
Monday, Nov. 18, 1895.
It had been arranged that a meeting should be held with the students of the Academy here, of which Brother Noyes is principal, and shortly after 9 o’clock we met with them, and I spoke for some time to them on various matters connected with education and cautioning them against imbibing false ideas from text books. President Smith drove from Spring City, and came in, and he also made some remarks to them.
I called at Brother Anthon H. Lund’s to see his wife and children. One of his children, a very fine promising boy, is named after me.
At 12:25 we left Ephraim for home on the Rio Grande Western, and reached the city at 5:25.
Tuesday, Nov. 19, 1895. I was very pleased to find President Woodruff in the enjoyment of good health this morning.
Among other callers, Brother Geo. C. Parkinson, President of the Oneida Stake, called to see me, his object being to get counsel as to what he should do in relation to a request that had been made of him by Mr. Charles Crane and Colonel Isaac Trumbo. After hearing what he said, I told him I preferred that the First Presidency should hear what he had to say. We had a long interview with him. He described the approaches that had been made to him by the two gentlemen named to induce him to go through the Territory and visit the Republican members of the coming State legislature to secure pledges from them that they would vote for Colonel Isaac Trumbo for Senator. A number of explanations were made to him; but we were very careful not to say anything that would be construed if reported to be interfering in the least with the election of Senators. We have to be exceedingly careful on this point, because men will talk, and we do not know how far they can be trusted. If we were to say to him that he had better not go, of course the conclusion that Colonel Trumbo and his friends might reach would be that we were inimical to him. If we were to say, go, the conclusion might be that we were in favor of
him his candidacy, and they might use it as an argument. It was left entirely to himself what to do. What he will do I do not know. It is evident to me, however, that Colonel Trumbo is trying to secure whatever influence he can to bring to bear upon members-elect of the State legislature to favor him for United States Senator. I thought I could discover in Brother Parkinson a reason for remarks which he made concerning myself. He seemed to think that it would be his duty, if he went out at all, to favor me for the Senate. Of course, this is the Trumbo programme, thinking, as I suppose, that if I can be put forward, Frank J. Cannon can be killed off for the present. All these elements are combining for this purpose. It is not that they like me more, but that they like Frank less. Brother Parkinson mentioned that Senator Shoup was very much in favor of my election to the Senate. I think I know why that is. Of course, I have done Senator Shoup some kindness; but Frank was the outspoken friend of Senator Dubois, whose candidate for the Senate against Senator Shoup was Mr. Sweet, and I fancy that Mr. Shoup has no particular love for Frank on this account, and he thinks perhaps that if Frank were elected to the Senate, Dubois would have Frank’s friendship. Perhaps I am wrong in coming to these conclusions; but these efforts to push me forward in the face of the strong feeling there on the part of the majority of the Republicans in favor of Frank are so significant that I cannot help suspecting the motives of these people.
I had a conversation with Mr. Davis, who represents what is called the West Side Rapid Transit Company, whose line runs through my land. He has proposed to me, on behalf of Mr. Nunn, the owner of the line, that they will give me hourly electric service at my place from 6:30 in the morning to 11:25 at night if I will give them $750. I have been desirous to have the Salt Lake Street Ry. Co. extend its line where my family could patronize it, and have had several conversations with Brother Frank Armstrong on the subject, but without success. They feel that they cannot do this, and the Rapid Transit Company is in the same position. I am compelled, therefore, to fall back on this West Side Rapid Transit Co., if I get anything of this character. I asked Mr. Davis a number of questions, and finally we closed with the understanding that he was to get some sort of a contract drawn up.
The stockholders meeting of the Grass Creek Terminal Railway Co. was held, and we entered into an organization. I was elected President, President Woodruff Vice President, President Jos. F. Smith, James Jack and Nephi W. Clayton, Directors. Brother Arthur Winter was chosen Secretary and Treasurer. It was determined to push the railroad through. Brother Clayton had been to Omaha and had an interview with Mr. Clark, of the Union Pacific, and had brought notes back for us to sign in payment for the rails that we need for this road. I signed them as President of the Company and Brother Winter as Secretary of the Company, and then President Woodruff, Smith and myself and Brother Clayton guaranteed them. We are desirous of pushing this road through and to get our coal into the market.
I went down to my sister Mary Alice’s from the office this afternoon, she having invited my wife Caroline and myself and some others to take dinner with her. The other guests did not come, but we spent a very delightful evening together and partook of a most excellent meal. It is the first time I have had a meal or spent so much time in my sister’s house for years. I am ashamed to say it; but I have not had time to visit as I should have done. She, however, has visited my house quite frequently.
Wednesday, Nov. 20, 1895. Mr. M. M. Coffey called to see me today. He is a partner of S. A. Kenner, and they are publishing a paper called the Great Campaign. I had an interview with him before in which he was very solicitous that I should consent to their writing my biography and publishing my portrait. I had expressed an aversion to it and did not want it done; but the interview closed by Mr. Coffey saying that he supposed they could do it without my consent. I said, of course you can; and we separated in that way. It seems that this paper has published my portrait and a sketch of my life, which is quite fair. His object in visiting me was to get my consent to do it, and also to advertise me I suppose as the prospective Senator. He said his reasons for desiring to get permission to publish was that so many attacks were made upon me that it was only just to myself that my life should be known. Today we had quite a conversation on the situation, in the course of which it was brought out that my son Frank J. Cannon was charged by different persons with being unfilial and ungrateful to me, that he was an unworthy son of a very worthy father, &c. I spoke in the most emphatic manner to Mr. Coffey on this point, and said he was fully authorized by me to say to any person who made such remarks that it is a base falsehood, without the least shadow of truth; that in all Frank had done about politics he had consulted freely with me and had asked me before he had said one word about the Senatorship whether I would be a candidate or would like the position, and that all he had done had been with the thorough understanding between us that it was right. I had told him that I had no wish to go to the Senate, and that as far as I was concerned the road was clear and he was at perfect liberty to secure the position if he could. At this statement Mr. Coffey seemed to be quite surprised, and said that he was glad to know me, because he had formed a very different idea of me from all he had heard than his acquaintance with me sustained. He could see that I was an entirely different man to what I was represented to be.
I have had a good deal to do this week connected with the Trans-Mississippi Congress, in telegraphing to the different counties to know what delegates are going and how they are going, &c. Judge Shurtliff has been in two or three times on the same subject. I received a dispatch from Governor James E. Rickards of Montana, expressing the wish that the Utah delegates would travel with the Montana delegates, to which I made a suitable reply.
Thursday, Nov. 21, 1895 Some years ago Sister Compton had some conversation with me concerning her daughter Sarah Ann Compton (deceased) being sealed to me for eternity. Her husband is still living, but he is an unworthy man and has lost all his faith, and the family was quite anxious that this lady should be sealed to me. It has been put off now for a long time, and Brother John W. Hess spoke to me recently about having the ordinances attended to. One of his wives, Frances, is the daughter of Sister Compton; but Elizabeth H. C. Hinman is a sister of Sister Compton’s, and as Frances was not able to come she desired to officiate for her, and came down this morning for that purpose. The ordinance was attended to in the Temple. Brother John R. Winder officiated in the ceremony, and Brothers John W. Woolley and Alfred Solomon were witnesses.
At 11 o’clock the First Presidency and Twelve met as usual in the Temple at 11 o’clock, and remained in session two or three hours. Beside the First Presidency, there were Elders F. D. Richards, H. J. Grant, J. W. Taylor and A. H. Cannon, of the Twelve. A good deal of the conversation during the last hour was upon the political situation and the steps that were reported to be taken by Colonel Isaac Trumbo to secure the votes of the members elect of the Legislature. President Woodruff and the brethren all expressed themselves as being very desirous that I should go to Congress as a Senator. I have not had a moment’s worry about this. I hear there is a number who are aspirants and are making strenuous efforts to get votes in their favor; but I have felt that if it is from the Lord that I should go, matters will come around right. A good many Republicans are pledged to my son Frank. I remarked to my nephew, Geo. M. Cannon, afterwards that there were three points that I desired, if it was the Lord’s will, to have cared for in my behalf: First, I would not like the impression to go out that I was a candidate and seeking for votes; second, I would like, if my election should be secured, for it to be in a way that would free me from the aspersions that from present appearances would likely be cast upon me because of that which had taken place connected with Brothers Moses Thatcher and B. H. Roberts; and third, I would like to avoid doing anything or being put in a position of having the appearance of antagonizing my son Frank’s election.
I went down to my wife Caroline’s mother’s and took dinner with herself and children. Brothers Hiram B. Clawson, Albert C. Young and Leonard G. Hardy, her sons-in-law, were also there.
Friday, Nov. 22, 1895. Last night we had one of the most violent east winds that we have had for some time, and accompanied by snow. My bedroom being on the east side of the house felt the full force of the storm, and it blew so violently until after breakfast that when the children got ready to go to school I expressed the feeling that it was unwise for them to venture out in such a terrible storm, and they remained at home. I would have stayed at home myself, but my departure this afternoon compels me to go to town to make my arrangements. It was very disagreeable going up. I kept busy after reaching the office, dictating letters and my journal to Brother Arthur Winter.
Myself and wife Caroline took train at 7 o’clock this evening for Omaha. At Ogden, Brother L. W. Shurtliff and Mr. Bannister came in to see me. We were the only ones on the train that were bound for the Trans-Mississippi Commercial Congress.
Saturday, Nov. 23, 189 The day passed without any event of importance.
Sunday, Nov. 24, 1895 We reached Omaha this morning, and were met by the depot agent of the Union Pacific, Mr. Haines, and a gentleman from the Chamber of Commerce by the name of Hardmann, who escorted us to the Millard Hotel. We found a good room provided for us, which I had ordered by telegraph. Mr. Markel, the proprietor, gave us every attention and sent the housekeeper to see that we were comfortably situated.
In the afternoon President L. W. Shurtliff and a number of other brethren arrived.
I spent a portion of the day in company with Mr. Whitmore and Mr. Culmer and others, arranging the programme of proceedings for the Congress.
Monday, Nov. 25, 1895. A large number of citizens of Omaha were on hand this morning to aid every way in their power for the opening of the Congress. We were detained a little while beyond the hour appointed, 11 o’clock, as the Creighton Hall had not been decorated in time. Mr. Carpenter, who represented the business men, saw me as to the order of proceedings and what he should do, as he had to make a speech representing the business men of Omaha.
In company with Mayor Bemis, I walked arm in arm to Creighton Hall, a very nice room which had been selected as the place for holding the sessions of the Congress. I called the Congress to order, and introduced Mr. Carpenter, who, on behalf of the business men, made a speech of welcome. I then introduced Mayor Bemis, who, on behalf of the City of Omaha, made a speech of welcome. When he had concluded, I introduced Governor Silas Holcomb, who, on behalf of the State of Nebraska, made a speech of welcome. I then introduced ex-Governor Prince, of New Mexico, who made a suitable response on behalf of the Congress. All these speeches were very well delivered and were quite appropriate. Before we opened the Congress we had tunes from a brass band that had been furnished, and after the speeches of welcome I called for a patriotic air, and the band rendered “America”. When Governor Prince had finished I addressed the Congress briefly, as the time had so far gone that I did not think it wise to make any very lengthy remarks. The Chairman of the Executive Committee, Mr. Whitmore, then reported the programme of business, and I called for the appointment of one member from each delegation to form a committee on permanent organization, and two members from each as a committee on resolutions. It was deemed unnecessary to have a committee on credentials or of rules, as the Secretary’s list was considered sufficient to establish the right of a member to a seat and the rules of the last Congress were sufficient for this. After the appointment of these committees, the Congress adjourned.
In the afternoon and evening the following subjects were discussed: Cultivation and Uses of Ramie, American Shipping, Statehood for New Mexico, and Forestry in the Rocky Mountain Region. A number of resolutions were introduced upon various subjects, and they were referred to the committee on resolutions.
Tuesday, Nov. 26, 1895. The Congress met at 10 o’clock this morning, and after the introduction of resolutions and some miscellaneous business, I called on the committee on permanent organization for a report. Hon. W. J. Bryan was selected as President. The selection for secretary, assistant secretary and treasurer was left to the executive committee after the place for holding the next Congress is decided upon. The report of the committee was accepted, and I appointed Messrs. Prince, of New Mexico, Craif, of California, and Mason, of Missouri, to escort Mr. Bryan to the chair. I then introduced him to the Congress, congratulated the Congress on his selection, stating that I knew it would meet with universal approval. Mr. Bryan having been notified that he would likely be selected, had prepared a written address, which he read. There was a good deal of business attended to. One peculiarity of the business thus far has been the good order and harmony which have prevailed.
I concluded to pay truant this evening, and nephew, C. E. Loose, who is here with his wife, hired a box at the theatre for us, and accompanied by S[.] S. Jones and wife and L. W. Shurtliff we enjoyed the performance by Crane of “My Wife’s Father”—a very excellent piece.
Wednesday, Nov. 27, 1895. I attended the Congress in the morning and afternoon, and made some remarks, in which I came in contact with Mr. Bryan, the President, concerning the reference of a resolution about the railroads back to the committee. I took the ground that it was useless for us as a Congress to recommend anything upon which we could not be united, and that having no power to enforce our views it was absolutely necessary that we should be united in order to have any weight attached to our proceedings. Bryan opposed the reference of this back to the committee; but my view prevailed, and it proved successful, for the committee reported a resolution upon which they were all united.
In the evening, at the request of Mr. Geo. W. Lininger, we attended a reception at his house, to which the leading citizens of Omaha were also invited. Mr. Lininger sent a request that myself and wife should help himself and Mrs. Lininger, receive the Company, which we did, and were treated with very great respect. This house is the most elegant residence I think I have ever seen, taking it all in all. I was quite unprepared to see so much elegance and such a collection of valuable paintings and other works of art which had been collected from all parts of the world. I should judge that there has been anywhere from $300,000 to $500,000 spent. The pictures alone have cost, I was told, over $200,000. Mr. Lininger has built a very fine art gallery for his paintings; but he told me that a great part of his collection could not be contained in his house and they were in other buildings. Refreshments were prepared and everything went off in the happiest style. The brethren from Utah were very much charmed with their visit to this residence and the hospitality that prevailed. It was all done in so simple and unrestrained a manner that it made every one feel at home. I was impressed with the good use this gentleman and his family have put their wealth to; for they make this place a benefit to the public. It is free to all who wish to look through the gallery twice a week. Their house is thrown open, and so far without anything occurring to cause regret for having done so. It must be a fine means of education.
Last night, while I was absent from the Congress, the following resolution was unanimously adopted, the whole Congress rising to their feet to adopt it:-
“Resolved, that the thanks of this Congress are hereby extended to the Hon. George Q. Cannon, its retiring President, for the fair and impartial manner in which he has presided over its deliberations and for the distinguished services that he has ever rendered in advancing all the interests of the entire trans-mississippi section of our great country.”
I was informed that the members were quite loud in their expressions of approval. I judge that I have given satisfaction, from the fact that I was approached by a number of the members asking me to consent to have my name again presented as President for a second term. This would be an unusual thing, and I preferred that it should not be suggested even, and so told them. I said, better let this honor go around. But I found a great many were desirous that I should retain the office of President. President Bryan, before putting the resolution to a vote, said that if when he retired from office he would have served as well as he believed Mr. Cannon had, his highest ambition would be reached.
This afternoon the Congress adjourned sine die.
I may say without any vanity that I have received more attention than I felt I deserved under the circumstances.
Thursday, November 28, 1895. I hired a carriage this morning and drove with my wife up to Florence, as it is now called, or what we have always called Winter Quarters, where the Camp of Israel spent the winter of 1846-7. I surprised a good many of the people of Omaha by telling them that fifty years ago this coming summer I spent the summer in the hills behind Omaha, and that I had trodden over that ground a good deal when the wild Indians were living there. I was desirous that my wife should see the place where her father and mother lived during that eventful winter; and while everything is changed, so far as houses are concerned, (not one standing that I recognized) still the country is the same, and I pointed out to her where her father’s house stood, and where I had lived with my uncle and aunt. A host of emotions passed through my mind going over this ground. Though I spent the early summer of 1859 & 1860 here, fitting out emigrant trains, still revisiting it, even after the lapse of that length of time, made it appear like a new visit. It was very interesting to my wife to pass over this ground.
Lieutenant Briant Wells called on us. He is stationed at Fort Omaha. He is a son of the late Brother D. H. Wells.
In the evening we went to the “Den” of the Knights of the AK-sar-ben, to a reception that was held there by them. This word is Nebraska spelled backwards, and is the name of an organization that is in imitation of the Veiled Prophet of St. Louis and the Mardi Gras of New Orleans. A good many of the citizens’ committee were present. It was rather a chilly affair compared with that of last night.
I called at the Union Pacific office this morning to have my pass changed so that I could ride on the fast mail train. Brother C. W. Nibley accompanied me. Mr. Orr was there; Mr. Dickinson had not arrived. Mr. Orr very kindly made the change.
Friday, Nov. 29, 1895 We left Omaha at 10:30, and we had as companions, Brothers John R. Barnes, Ellison, John W. Hess and Ezra T. Clark.
Saturday, Nov. 30, 1895 We reached Salt Lake City at 3:10 this afternoon, having had a very quick and pleasant journey from Omaha. This is the quickest trip I have made across the plains, and we were very comfortable. I was met at the station by some of my sons and Brother Wilcken. I found all well at home. Was very thankful to get back.