March 1896

1 March 1896 • Sunday

Sunday, March 1, 1896

It stormed very heavily this morning, snow falling a considerable depth.

I did not feel in very good health and remained at home all day.

2 March 1896 • Monday

Monday, March 2, 1896.

The First Presidency had a call this morning from Brother Hiram S. Grant, Counselor in the Presidency of the Davis Stake, and Brother Rampton, who asked counsel concerning Brother John Penman, who has just committed suicide. From their description it was evident that this man has been unsettled in his mind, and, that he really was not in full possession of his faculties when he committed this awful deed. The question they wished to have answered was whether he should be buried in his Temple clothing. It was decided by President Woodruff and myself (President Smith being absent) that there would be no impropriety in this under the circumstances; but for fear somebody might take advantage of this it was suggested that the body should not be exposed to the gaze of the public.

I spent the remainder of the day at Mr. Marshall’s office with Mr. Banigan, getting the papers ready for signature. Mr. Banigan now proposes to leave here for Ogden tomorrow, and on Wednesday morning to leave for home. The following is a copy of the guarantee which we signed. It is a strong document, and one which I have shrunk from formulating and signing; but I have prayed a great deal about this, and feel clear in my mind that we are justified under the circumstances in doing this: <(Copy appended)>

[Inserted page:]

THIS OBLIGATION AND GUARANTEE made, executed and delivered on this Second day of March, 1896, WITNESSETH:

WHEREAS, the Pioneer Electric Power Company, a corporation created and existing under and by virtue of the laws of the State of Utah, proposes and has agreed to issue a series of fifteen hundred coupon six per cent. gold bonds of the denomination of One Thousand Dollars each, amounting in the aggregate to One Million, Five Hundred Thousand Dollars, payable as follows to wit: First installment thereof, consisting of 300 bonds of $1000.00 each, payable on the first day of July, 1901. Second installment of 300 bonds of $1000.00 each, payable on the first day of July, 1905. Third installment of 300 bonds of $1000.00 each, payable on the first day of July, 1909. Fourth installment of 300 bonds of $1000.00 each, payable on the first day of July, 1913. Fifth and last installment of 300 bonds of $1000.00 each, payable on the first day of July, 1916.

Both principal and interest as specified in said bonds being payable in gold of the present standard weight and fineness in the City of New York, State of New York.

AND WHEREAS, Joseph Banigan of the City of Providence, State of Rhode Island, proposes and has agreed to purchase the whole issue of said bonds of the owners thereof, among whom are the undersigned individuals, provided and in consideration that the payment of said bonds and coupons, according to the terms and conditions thereof, would be and should be unconditionally and absolutely guaranteed by Wilford Woodruff, George Q. Cannon, Joseph F. Smith, Frank J. Cannon, and by Wilford Woodruff as trustee in trust for and in behalf of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

NOW THEREFORE, we the undersigned, in consideration of the premises, and for the purposes aforesaid, and the further consideration of one dollar to us and each of us in hand paid, the receipt whereof is hereby acknowledged, have contracted and agreed, and by these presents do contract and agree, to and with the said Banigan, his heirs, legal representatives and assigns, that said bonds and coupons, as they severally fall due and become payable, shall be at once promptly paid by said Pioneer Electric Power Company, and in default of such prompt payment thereof, we and each of us jointly and severally bind ourselves, our heirs, executors and administrators unconditionally (said Wilford Woodruff, trustee as aforesaid, hereby obligating his successor or successors in trust) that we will pay said bonds and coupons thereon respectively at maturity, in whosoever’s hands the same may be at such maturity; and this guarantee shall run with said bonds and coupons respectively, and every part and parcel thereof.

And the parties hereto further agree to and with the said Banigan, and his legal representatives, in consideration of the premises, that they and each of them will, upon the issuance and delivery of said bonds, make such further renewed and absolute guarantee for the payment thereof as shall be at any time requested by the said Joseph Banigan or his heirs.

IN WITNESS WHEREOF we have hereunto set our hands and seals this the day and year in this obligation first above written.


[End of inserted page]

In the evening I attended President Woodruff’s birthday party, in company with my wife Caroline, she having been invited by Sister Woodruff.

President Woodruff was 89 years of age yesterday.

Besides a turkey and a bushel of apples which I sent to his house, I presented him with a very fine chair, large and commodious, which I think will be useful for him, as he can sit and sleep in it. President Woodruff was greatly pleased with the chair. There was quite a number of his family present, and Bishop Winder and wife also.

3 March 1896 • Tuesday

Tuesday, March 3, 1896

I went to Ogden this morning on the 8 o’clock train, in company with Mr. Banigan and his daughter, and spent some time with him and Mr. Bannister, talking over the proper steps to be taken in the management of the business. He insists that I shall be the Treasurer of the Company, and also that there shall be an executive committee, of which I shall be the chairman. He suggests that Mr. Bannister act as assistant manager in the absence of Frank.

We went up the canyon and looked at the works, and took dinner up there, and then returned.

I took train for the city, bidding Mr. Banigan and daughter good-bye.

4 March 1896 • Wednesday

Wednesday, March 4, 1896

Dictated my journal this morning to Brother Arthur Winter.

The First Presidency spent the forenoon in hearing High Council appeals, which Brother Reynolds read to us.

There was a meeting of Zion’s Savings Bank & Trust Co. at 1 o’clock.

5 March 1896 • Thursday

Thursday, March 5, 1896.

At 9 o’clock there was a meeting of Cannon, Grant & Co., in which we attended to a good deal of business, trying to arrive at some plan of settlement. I feel greatly impressed with the desirability of having a settlement of this company, but the brethren could not see the way clear to effect it. In closing the meeting, however, I suggested that the four men most familiar with the condition of affairs devote some thought to the question of a settlement, viz., Brothers Heber J. Grant, T. G. Webber, Abraham H. Cannon and Geo. M. Cannon.

At 11 o’clock the First Presidency repaired to the Temple to keep an appointment which had been made with the Twelve and the Seven Presidents of Seventies for the hearing of a continuation of the case of Brother B. H. Roberts. Brother Roberts, notwithstanding all that had been said to him by the Twelve who were present at the previous meeting, was unyielding in his resolution that he could not view things in the light they did or concur in the doctrine which they asserted was true in relation to the rights of the Priesthood and the duties that devolve upon men who bear the Priesthood to respect those rights. They found him impenetrable to their appeals, and the scene as described must have been to an ordinary man very touching, for the brethren were greatly worked up in their feelings, and several of them wept in pleading with him to repent and not endanger his standing in his Priesthood. But it was all of no avail. All that they said, and their tears and their supplications had no effect whatever; he was as hard as stone. However, to give him time to consider his condition, and with the hope that he might see the propriety of doing that which was requested, they deferred taking action till some future time; and today is the day that has been appointed for this meeting.

There were present, the First Presidency, and President Lorenzo Snow, F. D. Richards, Brigham Young, F. M. Lyman, John Henry Smith, Geo. Teasdale, Heber J. Grant, John W. Taylor, M. W. Merrill and Abraham H. Cannon, of the Twelve. Moses Thatcher had been invited, but his health is very bad and he was not present. The remaining one of the Twelve, Brother Anthon H. Lund, is in Europe.

President Lorenzo Snow opened the case; and as there were two of the Twelve and one of the Seven Presidents of Seventies, beside the First Presidency, who were not present at the other interview, it was decided to read the notes which had been taken by Brother Geo. F. Gibbs of the remarks made by the three Apostles who had charge of the case, viz., Brothers Young, Lyman and Grant, and to read Brother Roberts’ replies. This consumed considerable time. Before this, however, President Snow had asked Brother Roberts if there had any change taken place in his attitude or feelings, and Brother Roberts had replied that he felt exactly as he did before.

After the reading of the minutes, the brethren who were not present at the former meeting were requested to give their views. Brother John Henry Smith was the first speaker. I do not think his remarks were entirely satisfactory to any of the brethren. They were halting and indecisive. He expressed himself that his mind was not clear concerning the case and Brother Roberts’ position.

Brother Teasdale spoke next, and I never heard him speak so well, I think, as he did on this occasion. His appeals to Brother Roberts were of the most touching character. He told him the danger he stood in and what the results would be if he did not repent and become as a little child.

Brother C. D. Fjelsted spoke next, and he considered Brother Roberts’ position very wrong and that there was necessity for him to repent.

Then President Jos. F. Smith gave his views. He spoke with a good deal of force and at some length, setting forth the feelings that he had, and alluding to various faults in the conduct of Brother Roberts.

Then I was called upon to speak, and I spoke with a good deal of freedom. I called attention particularly to the false issue which Brother Roberts had raised in his published interview and in his speeches concerning the union of church and state, attitudinizing before the people as the champion of liberty, as though somebody was trying to unite church and state, leaving the inference to be drawn that the First Presidency had been guilty of this - a thing which I knew, and which every fairminded man in the Church knew had never been attempted. I told him I considered his conduct that of a demagogue, and putting us in a false light by raising a false issue. I did not speak at any length.

President Woodruff followed, and he spoke in the most emphatic and powerful manner, giving his experience in the days of Kirtland and the conduct of leading elders then in their rejecting the authority of the Priesthood, and prophesied what Brother Roberts’ fate would be unless he repented. His words were exceedingly strong.

There was some talk after this, in which it appeared for a while as though Brother Roberts intended to relent, as he conceded, in reply to questions that I asked him, that if he had not been under the impression that he had a right to accept his nomination to Congress, from conversation that he had with President Jos. F. Smith, he would have asked us whether it would be proper to accept it. He acknowledged also that he had done not done right in not asking permission to enter the employ of the Herald as editor. After this, however, I felt that we had not got at the point in the case or his true feelings. I related to him that one of the brethren had conveyed clearly to us in a conversation which he had with us that he did not consider, in his capacity as an American citizen, a free man acting with a political party, that he was under any obligations to take counsel from the Priesthood. To this Brother Roberts replied that was his view. Brother Grant rather plead for leniency, but I asked Brother Roberts whether if we should grant him time he thought there might be any change in his feelings, and would he like us to grant him time? He said he did not expect, if we gave him days, or weeks, or a month that there would be any change in his feelings. My questions on this point were prompted by the feeling that we ought to come to some decisive action in his case, because Conference was approaching. I said I could not hold up my hand to sustain him in the position which he now held.

The conclusion was, at my suggestion, that three weeks were granted to him; and the motion was made by Brigham Young, seconded by Lorenzo Snow, that Brother Roberts be dropped from his position as one of the Seven Presidents of Seventies, unless he should make proper acknowledgments to the satisfaction of the Council three weeks from today.

I feel that Brother Roberts has been in the dark for a good while. This condition has not come upon him within a short period. There might be some excuse for a man neglecting to ask counsel of his brethren respecting taking a nomination to Congress or going to work for the Herald, or doing other things that Brother Roberts has done; and when his brethren of his quorum and the Twelve all appeal to him, and all give their views to him concerning his position, and when the Counselors in the First Presidency give their views, some unbelievers or those of doubtful faith might possibly think there was some excuse for his not listening to them; but Brother Roberts has time and again, while this case has been under consideration, stated his belief that President Woodruff had the right, as the man holding the keys, to give counsel to the saints and that it was the duty of the members of the Church to listen to his counsel. Now, judging him by his own expressions and testimony, what a dreadful position he occupies! President Woodruff spoke in the most emphatic manner concerning Brother Roberts’ position. His experience of sixty-three years in the Church enabled him to speak with an authority that a young man like Brother Roberts ought to have listened to, even aside from the acknowledgment which he has made that President Woodruff is the Lord’s mouthpiece to the Church. But he hardens his heart against the warnings, the predictions and the counsels which President Woodruff has given him, and closes his ears and his heart to everything that he has said, as well as to everything that the rest of the brethren have said to him upon this subject. Such a condition of impenitence and hardness of heart is most extraordinary in a man of his intelligence and knowledge of principle. To my mind it clearly shows that Brother Roberts has lost the Spirit of God, and is in a condition of darkness that will, unless speedily repented of, result in his entire loss of faith - a woful spectacle for a man who has occupied so high a position as he has, who has stood as it were upon a pinnacle in the midst of the people, been admired and lauded and sought for, being without exception probably one the most gifted speakers among us. His condition has been brought home to me with greater clearness by his hardening his heart against President Woodruff’s solemn warnings and counsels. A man 89 years of age, when he speaks upon any subject which his experience entitles him to speak upon, ought to be listened to respectfully, and even reverently, by young men, even though the aged man might not possess the authority which Brother Roberts has acknowledged President Woodruff holds. He appears to be determined to make a martyr of himself for his political party, and does undoubtedly set his party and its claims above his Priesthood and its claims - at least, this is the appearance his conduct has.

It was about 6 o’clock when we got through, and I had an engagement at 7, having issued an invitation to many of the leading men of the city to meet in the parlor of the Templeton Hotel to consider some questions of business. Not having time to go home and having been fasting all day, I felt the need of a meal, and therefore [invited] President Jos. F. Smith, Brother Brigham Young and my son Abraham and Mr. Allen to go down and take dinner at Brother John Gallagher’s restaurant.

At 7 o’clock we attended the meeting at the Templeton. I asked ex-Mayor Baskin if he had any objection to taking the chair, explaining briefly to him what the meeting was for. He consented and I proposed to the meeting that he be chairman, which was sustained.

I made the opening address, informing the gentlemen present that it was our intention to do something towards building railroads, one west and the other southwest, and at the inception of the enterprises wished to lay the scheme before them and before all the citizens as far as possible to enlist their interest and to obtain their co-operation in this work. I spoke very freely upon the subject, and then called upon Mr. Allen, of St. Louis, who represents Mr. Theo. F. Meyer.

Mr. Allen spoke at some length, and a discussion followed of the character of the enterprises and the plan that was to be adopted to carry them out successfully. My son Abraham was able to give a good deal of information, and I think it was quite satisfactory. I spoke a second time, and my remarks were applauded.

A vote was taken that we ought to have the old Fort Block or Pioneer Square, as it is now called, given to us on condition that we did certain things, this to be a terminal point for us.

A vote was also taken that those present would use all their moral influence and such financial aid as they could render towards carrying out these enterprises.

The meeting was composed of at least forty leading men, and the spirit that prevailed was a very good one. All seemed to feel interested, and a number spoke very favorably of the purpose.

6 March 1896 • Friday

Friday, March 6, 1896

We had a meeting today of the Pioneer Electric Power Company.

The First Presidency had a conversation with Abraham H. Cannon and Mr. Allen concerning the railroad enterprises.

7 March 1896 • Saturday

Saturday, March 7, 1896

Snow fell heavily last night, which is very acceptable, as we need snow in the mountains.

I dictated my journal.

I attended the Salt Lake Stake Conference at 10 o’clock this morning, at the Assembly Hall. There was a great deal of business done, after which I was requested to speak. I spoke about 30 minutes upon the Priesthood. There was an excellent spirit in the meeting.

In the afternoon meeting some business was transacted, and my brother Angus, the President of the Stake, addressed the congregation, and was followed by Brother John W. Taylor, who spoke about 45 minutes.

8 March 1896 • Sunday

Sunday, March 8, 1896.

I attended the conference, which was held in the Tabernacle today. The speakers this morning were President Lorenzo Snow, J. G. Kimball and Geo. Teasdale. Brother Kimball’s remarks were short, but he spoke very pointedly and with a good deal of power. The peculiarities of his father, the late President Heber C. Kimball, were very apparent to one who knew him.

In the afternoon the sacrament was administered and considerable business was laid before the Conference; after which President Woodruff, who had attended the morning meeting also, addressed the Conference. He spoke very clearly and pointedly. At his request, I followed him and addressed the congregation for about 35 mins., and was greatly blessed in my remarks. I especially dwelt upon the unique spectacle of a man 89 years of age addressing such an immense assemblage, and doing it with such clearness and vigor as President Woodruff exhibited, and tried to impress upon the minds especially of the young what a privilege it was for them to hear an Apostle who was the only surviving Apostle that had held the Apostleship in the days of the Prophet Joseph. I urged them to write down the day’s proceedings, and dwelt on the importance of keeping a record of events and the value it would be to them in future years.

My wife Carlie and myself took dinner at my brother Angus’, and after the afternoon meeting we went to her sister’s, Emily Y. Clawson, in company with Sister Susie Y. Gates and Zina Y. Card, and took supper there.

There was a meeting at 7:30 in the Tabernacle, which was very well filled. Brother Heber J. Grant spoke to the people, followed by President Jos. F. Smith. They both spoke with a good deal of force.

9 March 1896 • Monday

Monday, March 9, 1896

President Woodruff and myself were at the office.

I have not had time to attend to my correspondence, and my desk is strewed with papers in a confused heap.

10 March 1896 • Tuesday

Tuesday, March 10, 1896

The First Presidency met with the Pioneer Electric Power Co. this morning.

A son of Joseph A. Young, and grandson of President Brigham Young, named Briant S. Young, had desired me to marry him and Mary Beck, a daughter of Brother John Beck, and they came to the office at 3 o’clock for that purpose, accompanied by a number of the relatives. I performed the ceremony.

An effort was made this evening before the City Council to obtain the grant of the old Fort Block as a terminal for our railroads. It was surprising to see how favorable the people are to our having this property upon proper conditions – conditions which we are very willing to accede to. There is, however, another company which proposes to build, calling itself the California Midland, with which Mayor Glendinning and Major Wilkes are connected. Major Wilkes is notorious for trying to fasten on to everything that he can for the purpose of making something out of it; not by doing the work, but by obstructing others and in that way forcing compromise.

Mr. Donnellan and Mr. Quealey, of the Wonder Mining Co., were desirous to have a meeting tonight of that company, and they proposed to hold it at my residence if I were willing and it would suit me better. They came down accompanied by my brother Angus and his three sons, Geo. M., John M. & Lewis M., and we held the meeting. We agreed to offer Mr. Robinson 10,000 shares of stock for his services. Mr. Donnellan and Mr. Quealey were quite desirous to look around my place. I took them round and showed them my dining room, and in the evening the children came in before they left and played some tunes on their instruments. They were greatly pleased with their visit and seemed quite interested. I expect it is a matter of curiosity to non-Mormons to come in contact with a family like mine.

11 March 1896 • Wednesday

Wednesday, March 11, 1896

A Mr. Fitzsimmons brought me a letter of introduction from my son Frank. He has a scheme for the manufacture of iron at Ogden. After listening to him, I referred him to my son Abraham.

Dr. J. E. Talmage spent considerable time with the First Presidency, in company with Brother F. S. Richards, in suggesting a way out of the apparent difficulty that has arisen through the disinclination of the Literary & Scientific Association to lease the Church University building to the Utah University for any longer term than a year. After considerable discussion it was decided to appoint a committee to examine the question thoroughly, and I named F. S. Richards, J. E. Talmage, John Q. Cannon, Willard Young and Geo. Reynolds.

This evening the City Council held another meeting, and petitions were presented and arguments made in favor of granting the old Fort Block to us and against granting it. The Council voted unanimously, with one exception, in favor of it being granted to us, the conditions being that we shall within thirty days accept the offer, within ninety days do ten miles of grading and within two years build one hundred miles of railroad.

12 March 1896 • Thursday

Thursday, March 12, 1896

Listened to correspondence read by Brother Reynolds.

At 11 o’clock we met with the Council, and at 3 o’clock attended a meeting of the Co-op Wagon & Machine Co.

We held a meeting of the Utah & Pacific Improvement Company and signed the acceptance of the proposal from the City for the old Fort Block.

13 March 1896 • Friday

Friday, March 13, 1896

Dictated my journal to Brother Arthur Winter.

Last night Brothers Lyman and Grant had a lengthy interview with Brother B. H. Roberts, and after a great deal of discussion he became softened in his feelings and said that he would write to them a letter this morning, expressing his feelings concerning the subject of the conversation, viz., his submission to the authority of the Priesthood as viewed by the First Presidency and Twelve. This morning Brother Lyman received the following letter:

Salt Lake City, Utah, Mch. 13, ‘96

Elders Lyman and Grant,

My dear Brethren-

I submit to the authority of God in the brethren. While I cannot for the life of me think of anything in which I have not acted in all good conscience, out of an honest heart, yet, since they think I am in the wrong, I will bow to them and place myself in their hands as the servants of God. This day 39 years ago I first saw the light, and now after this struggle I feel lighter.

I thank you for your goodness to me.

Truly Your Brother,

B. H. Roberts.

Every one of us was glad to see a disposition manifested by Brother B. H. Roberts to submit to the decision and counsel of his brethren, and we all hope that his repentance will be thorough and heartfelt, for we feel that he has gone to great lengths in resisting the appeals of his brethren and the counsels they have given him. It will require deep repentance to bring him into complete union with his own quorum and with the Twelve and the First Presidency.

14 March 1896 • Saturday

Saturday, March 14, 1896

Bishop John R. Winder and myself, two of the executive committee of the Pioneer Company, went to Ogden this morning, After we reached Ogden, a telegram was received by Brother Winder from Brother Jos. F. Smith that he had missed the train from the north, where he is at the present time, and therefore could not meet with us. We attended to considerable business, of which we kept a record, and Mr. Bannister expressed himself as being very much pleased with the meeting. Among other things it was mentioned that an engineer would be wanted, a capable man, to take charge of the dam and other work, and Mr. Bannister suggested Captain Willard Young as one that would be very suitable if he could be secured. He said he did not know whether Captain Young would feel to work as a subordinate under him; perhaps he knew more than he (Bannister) did about matters. Before we closed it was decided that he should be employed as General Assistant to Mr. Bannister, and it was understood that I should have an interview with Captain Young to see whether he would be willing to accept employment or not. I got word to Captain Young and he joined me at my house in the evening, and expressed his pleasure at having an opportunity of going to work. His employment by the city had ceased that day, and he had been praying about the matter, and he felt that this opportunity was in answer to prayer. I was glad to see him receive it as well as he did, for he appeared very humble, and said he would be willing to work in any capacity he was required to.

15 March 1896 • Sunday

Sunday, March 15, 1896.

I started this morning at 8 o’clock to go to Malad Conference at West Portage. I was met at Collinston by Bishop Moroni Ward, of Washakie, who carried me in his carriage to West Portage. The road was very rough and I was considerably shaken up when I reached there. I had barely time to eat something before meeting convened in the afternoon.

In the evening we had a meeting, and Brother Seymour B. Young, (who came here yesterday and who spoke to the people this morning) addressed the saints for a little over half an hour, and I occupied the remainder of the time.

We were very hospitably entertained by President O. C. Hoskins.

16 March 1896 • Monday

Monday, March 16, 1896

We met in conference this morning, and I occupied the time in speaking to the saints.

After I had got through, Brother Richards was ordained Bishop of Malad, with Brothers Evans and Thomas as his counselors.

We also administered to a young man who is very sick, having been thrown from a horse.

One of the brethren was also ordained as a President of Seventy.

We left West Portage at 1 o’clock – that is, Brother S. B. Young and myself and Brother William Gibbs, Counselor to the President of the Stake and a member of the present legislature. Brother Nephi John drove us. We took the train at Collinston at 4:38 and reached the city a little before 8 o’clock.

17 March 1896 • Tuesday

Tuesday, March 17, 1896

We had a meeting of the Ogden Power Co. at 10 o’clock this morning.

At 11 O’clock the Salt Lake & Pacific Railway Co. met at the Templeton parlor. The articles of incorporation were read and approved, and eleven directors were chosen – Wilford Woodruff, Joseph F. Smith, Geo. Q. Cannon, John E. Dooly, N. W. Clayton, Abraham H. Cannon, James Jack, Frank J. Cannon, Geo. A. Lowe, R. Mackintosh and J. W. Donnellan.

At 1 o’clock the Utah & California Co. met, and after reading the articles of incorporation, the following directors were chosen: Wilford Woodruff, Joseph F. Smith, W. S. McCornick, Allen G. Campbell, H. A. Cohen, John Dern, J. M. Allen, Theo. F. Meyer, Geo. Q. Cannon, Abraham H. Cannon and R. C. Lund. Messrs. Dern, Cohen and Lund were not present.

The First Presidency met with F. S. Richards, Willard Young, John Q. Cannon. J. E. Talmage and Geo. Reynolds, a committee which had been appointed to take into consideration the Latter-day Saints’ College and the property. They reported that they had unanimously decided it would be better to turn over the College property in the 17th Ward to the Utah University in payment of the $45,000 and interest which we owed to the University on account of the Chair of Geology which we had endowed. After examining the question with some care, the report was adopted. One of my reasons for favoring the adoption was that we still could have the use of this College property for another year, if we so desired, and in the meantime we would be able to turn around and do something with the lot on the hill which had been donated by President Young for educational purposes.

Brothers James Sharp, F. S. Richards and W. W. Riter called upon us and said they had been endeavoring to assist the legislators with their experience, but they were sorry to say their efforts had been quite futile. They explained to us the difficulties that [they] had had to contend with, and what they had done in trying to prevent the passage of improper and unwise bills.

I had a delightful musicale at my wife Martha’s house last night. I endeavor to have one of these every week. I think it has a good effect upon the children.

18 March 1896 • Wednesday

Wednesday, March 18, 1896

I dictated my journal to Brother Arthur Winter.

President Woodruff and myself had an interview with Geo. M. Cannon, the President of the Senate. Brother Penrose was also present.

We had meetings to-day at the Templeton parlors with the railroad companies. At 11 o’clock the Salt Lake & Pacific met and elected myself as President, President Jos. F. Smith as first Vice President, J. E. Dooly as second Vice President, Nephi W. Clayton as Manager, and Abraham H. Cannon as Secretary and Treasurer. It was decided that the Secretary and Treasurer should give bonds for $50,000. Considerable business was done, and there was a good spirit in the meeting. There were present, beside the First Presidency of the Church, N. W. Clayton, A. H. Cannon, Col. Donnellan, Geo. A. Lowe and Richard Mackintosh. A committee was appointed to examine the law, in connection with Attorney F. S. Richards, to see whether we could place the value of a share of stock at $50. This was because of my advocacy of the idea that it would be a good thing for us to have bonds of three denominations – $100, $500 and $1000. I have had the opinion for a long time that a small bond on our various enterprises would lead to the purchase of these bonds by the people, and they would invest in that direction, and it would encourage them in saving, and act also as a circulating medium. The idea seemed to appeal favorably to all present, and it was proposed that when we sold bonds we should give to the purchaser of the bonds half the amount in stock, as a bonus. Another committee was appointed to examine and decide upon the best route for the road.

At 1 o’clock the Utah & California Co. met. I was also elected President of this road, with Theo. F. Meyer as first Vice President, and Allen G. Campbell as second Vice President. Allen G. Campbell is the man who contested my seat in Congress, the certificate having been given to him by Governor Murray. He manifested some reluctance about accepting the position of second Vice President; he did not wish to take the office unless it was very agreeable to all concerned. He was assured by Mr. Allen, who made the motion, that he desired him to hold the office. I remarked that there was a time when Mr. Allen G. Campbell and myself were not so modest as he appeared to be now about accepting office – alluding to his contesting my seat. All present saw the point and it created a hearty laugh and made him blush. Abraham H. Cannon was elected Secretary & Treasurer and Manager of the road, and it was decided that he should give a $50,000 bond for this office. There were present, beside the First Presidency of the Church, A. H. Cannon, J. M. Allen, W. S. McCornick, Allen G. Campbell, John Dern and H. A. Cohen. A committee was appointed to examine the route and to decide upon the best line to adopt.

At 5 o’clock, in company with Brother Brigham Young, I went by the Rio Grande Western train to Provo. We met on the train my wife Caroline and several others of President Young’s family, who were going down, as we were, upon the invitation of Sister Susie Young Gates, to be present at the celebration of her birthday. We took dinner at her house, and they had a party in the upper room of her husband’s store. Beside other amusements, dancing was indulged in.

Myself and wife put up for the night at the Hotel Roberts, upon the invitation of Sister Holbrook.

19 March 1896 • Thursday

Thursday, March 19, 1896

Brother Brigham Young and myself returned to the City this morning.

At 11 o’clock the First Presidency and Twelve met as usual in the Temple. Beside the First Presidency, there were present, President L. Snow, F. D. Richards, Brigham Young, F. M. Lyman, J. H. Smith, Geo. Teasdale, H. J. Grant, J. W. Taylor and A. H. Cannon. President Woodruff said that he desired to have an exchange of views as to the course to be taken in the case of Brother B. H. Roberts, who had written a letter in which he had manifested a change of feeling. Brother Roberts’ letter was then read. Upon hearing the letter now and paying some attention to it, I was a little disappointed in it, as it was not such a letter as I thought it was and as I hoped it would be. It called forth expressions from all the brethren and aroused considerable discussion. Every one of the Twelve spoke and gave his views. President Jos. F. Smith spoke, and I followed. I give herewith my remarks as they were reported by Brother Geo. F. Gibbs, and also a resolution that was adopted by the Council after some discussion.

[2333 words of official minutes redacted.]

I perceive that there is a difference of views among the brethren in regard to leniency and charity. I see the same difference of views in regard to the government of children. Some parents consider it right to be very lenient with their children, and think it kindness to suffer things to be done which are improper because they do not like to be rigid or have the appearance of severity in the treatment of their children. Others take a different view and consider it an injury to the child to permit it to do things unchecked that it might wish to do. My own view is that in cases like this of Brother Roberts true charity, true leniency and kindness will prompt those who have to handle the case to ask him to comply strictly with that which is necessary to put him on the same plane as his brethren. I do not feel to be the least severe with my brethren, and nothing will melt me quicker than for a man to show a humble, contrite spirit. If I had anger, such a manifestation would disarm me; but I have no anger in this case. It is one of great sorrow, and has been for a long time; but I know very well that to cure this and to save this soul, there should be ample confession and acknowledgment of wrong on his part to restore him to our confidence and, as I believe, to the favor of the Lord; and anything that would require less than this, in my opinion, would be unkindness to him.

After this meeting we returned to the office about 3:40, and I found the Co-op. Wagon & Machine Co. just commencing its session, and I remained with them as long as possible, barely taking time to go to the Rio Grande Western depot for the 5 o’clock train to Provo, where there was a meeting of the Brigham Young Academy Board of Trustees, of which I am one. This meeting the other trustees were very desirous that I should attend. In my anxiety to get there, and having been so busy, that I have not had time to eat during the day. I found my wife and child at Brother Gates’, where I stopped all night.

20 March 1896 • Friday

Friday, March 20, 1896

Brother Brigham Young and myself returned from Provo this morning.

The First Presidency had a long interview with Abraham H. Cannon, talking over the situation of the Sterling property and the railroads. He read us correspondence that he had received from Hugh J. Cannon and Jerry Langford.

A meeting was held at the new offices of the railroad companies in the Hooper-Eldredge Building, at 3 o’clock, at which the First Presidency and Abraham H. Cannon, N. W. Clayton, R. Mackintosh[,] Colonel Donnellan and Geo. A. Lowe, of the Board of Directors were present, also Brother F. S. Richards. Various items of business were transacted, and an adjournment was taken until Wednesday next at the same hour and place.

21 March 1896 • Saturday

Saturday, March 21, 1896.

I feel somewhat refreshed this morning. I have been working too hard this week and have gone without sleep more than I should have done, and been so crowded that I have not attended to my meals properly. I do not know that I have ever been any busier in my life than I have been for the last week or two. They are anxious to have me go to Provo and attend some meetings there tomorrow, but I thought it imprudent to do so, preferring to stay at home and get what rest I could on the Sabbath.

I dictated my journal.

22 March 1896 • Sunday

Sunday, March 22, 1896.

Attended meeting in the Tabernacle at 2 o’clock. Brother Brigham Young was called upon to speak, and he spoke quite interestingly for 50 mins., and I spoke for about 20 mins.

23 March 1896 • Monday

Monday, March 23, 1896

I held a meeting with the Brigham Young Trust Co. this morning, at which considerable business was done.

The First Presidency had an interview with a large delegation of business men from Omaha who had come out here to advocate the cause of the proposed Exposition to be held in Omaha in 1898 and to bring it before our people, that they might do their part in having representation there. I made arrangements for them to go to Saltair and see the Pavilion and the Lake.

Brothers James E. Talmage, F. S. Richards and my son John Q. waited upon me to make a report concerning the proposed deal with the Chancellor and Regents of the Utah University in payment for the Chair of Geology which we had endowed. Brother Talmage reports that the majority of those that he had talked with of the Board were willing, under the circumstances, to accept a proposition to transfer to them the ground and buildings now occupied by the Latter-day Saints College in the 17th Ward.

24 March 1896 • Tuesday

Tuesday, March 24, 1896

It was arranged that I should go up to Ogden today, as Mr. Bannister had made an appointment with the Union Pacific magnates to meet them, and he desired my presence also. I left the city at 8 o’clock, and spent the day till 2 o’clock; but Mr. Dickinson and his friends did not keep the appointment. My wife Elizabeth’s nephew, Joseph A. West, came and invited me to dinner and then took me out riding for a short time, in company with his wife.

25 March 1896 • Wednesday

Wednesday, March 25, 1896.

We had a meeting of the Pioneer Electric Power Company this morning.

I had a call from Mr. Bliss, of Nevada, who came in the interest of a ranch called the Cleveland ranch, which the proposed railroad is likely to go in close proximity to.

We held a meeting of one of the railroad companies this afternoon.

26 March 1896 • Thursday

Thursday, March 26, 1896

We were called together this morning to take instant steps about getting our map filed for the Salt Lake a [and] Pacific R.R. passed [past] the point of the mountain, as Mayor Baskin came late last night and I told my son Abraham that Major Wilkes and a party were going out there to secure that narrow passage. Upon receipt of this intelligence, Abraham got the engineers to work and they got out a map, and we were called this morning to meet and adopt the map and authorize the filing of it immediately.

At 11 o’clock we held our usual meeting in the Temple. There were present, the First Presidency and President Lorenzo Snow, Franklin D. Richards, Brigham Young, Francis M. Lyman, John Henry Smith, George Teasdale, Heber J. Grant, Marriner W. Merrill and Abraham H. Cannon. The brethren of the First Council of Seventies were also invited in.

President Woodruff not feeling well, announced to the brethren that he wished me to take the lead in the proceedings.

I said that since this Council adjourned the First Presidency had been informed that Brother Roberts had met with Brothers Lyman and Grant, who had reported quite a change in his feelings; and that he had also written a letter, which had been read to the First Presidency. It was thought, however, that this meeting should be held to hear from Brother Roberts as to whether or not he was prepared to meet the Council on the ground that they had taken and make the necessary satisfaction. This was the object of this meeting, and we would now hear from Brother Roberts. Speaking to him personally, I said: Brother Roberts, you know the requirement made, therefore it will not be necessary for me to repeat that which took place, or to describe the attitude you occupy or that the Council occupies on the question under consideration.

Brother Roberts then arose and spoke as follows: You are acquainted, President Woodruff and brethren, with the interview. I don’t think it is necessary to repeat the conversation I had with Brothers Lyman and Grant in relation to this matter; but I will simply say that I met with those brethren at their request, and they desired to know if there had come any change in my mind or if I felt different to the way I expressed myself when we last met. I replied to them, No. They informed me then that you desired to make arrangements to fill the vacancy that would necessarily occur in case of my not making satisfaction to the Council. I told them they were at liberty to do it. Before parting, however, and almost by accident, we dropped into further conversation, in part of which I found myself appealed to very strongly, producing in me this thought: I am the only male representative in the church on my father’s side, and also on my mother’s side, and so far as I can ascertain the only male representative of those two races; and the thought of losing the priesthood and leaving my ancestors to rest without a representative in the priesthood, worked very strongly upon my feelings, and had done for many days. Incidentally I mentioned that fact to the brethren, who expressed their deep regret that I should now lose the priesthood and perhaps fail to stand in the church as a representative of my fathers. That conversation went on, and I asked the brethren to defer their report until tomorrow, and with this feeling in my heart I went to the Lord and received light and instruction through his Spirit to submit to the authority of God here by the Presidency and Apostles; and having received that light and that instruction of the Spirit to at least hold my place in the priesthood, and to represent my race and do my work for them in the House of God. I was convinced that it was my duty to submit, and I accordingly wrote those brethren; and therein and here in the tender feeling of submission I express to you my desire and prayer that I may be able to make such satisfaction, and pass through whatever humiliation you may see proper to put upon me, in the hope of retaining at least the priesthood of God, and to have the privilege of doing the work for my fathers in this holy house. Of course I do not know what you may require me to do, but I shall trust that with the grace of God I shall be able to so far humble myself as to enable me to meet all your demands, and that you may at least see your way clear to modify the action you proposed taking that I can at least retain my priesthood. These are my feelings and sentiments. I wish to say so far as one of the points of contention is concerned - that is, seeking counsel of the brethren before engaging in any enterprise - that I can confess to a real conversion upon that subject, and admit now that it was my duty to have done this, and that it is my duty to seek the counsel of the brethren in all things, and to submit to the counsel. Now as to the past, in political affairs that have taken place, I have never been able to get any repentance on those things. I can repeat that I acted out of good conscience and with all honesty of mind, and I don’t see how I could have done differently under the circumstances; but whatever my convictions in regard to those things may have been I wish now candidly to say that I am here to submit myself completely to the brethren and to try to make whatever satisfaction you may require at my hands. These are my feelings and sentiments. I am here because I believe the Spirit of the Lord has directed me to take this course. I have always followed that light whenever it has come to me, and I am following it now, and trust that the Lord will open the way and enable me to surmount and overcome all difficulties.

(The spirit manifested by Bro. Roberts in the foregoing utterances betokened a great change in him, which had the effect to relieve every member of the Council from the great strain they were under, fearing that duty would compel them to act on Bro. Roberts’ case unfavorably to him.)

[2183 words of official minutes redacted.]

Here Brother Roberts broke down completely and wept like a child, and everyone present was moved to tears.

I felt that what he said was entirely satisfactory, and after he had sat down I walked forward and took his hand and said that I could feel to forgive him, and the rest of the brethren followed.

There is a disposition sometimes manifested to praise and extol men to their faces, and to put them forward because they have talent, until in some instances it has a bad effect. This disposition was manifested after the Presidents of the Seventies had withdrawn, in the suggestion, made by one of the Twelve, that as the Tabernacle Choir intended to go to San Francisco it would be a good idea perhaps for some of the Elders to go along and hold meeting there, and Brother Roberts was mentioned as one that should go. I took the liberty of saying that I thought this was not a wise thing; that it would be well for Brother Roberts to keep in the background for awhile, at least not to be pushed forward by his brethren. I thought one of the causes of his present condition was found in the anxiety displayed on all hands to have him as a speaker. It has a tendency to lift a man up, especially a young man, and it is not doing justice to a good many other bright young men who are growing up. I mentioned the names of two other brethren that had been treated in the same way, and the effect of such treatment, I thought, was very visible. The brethren approved of what I said on the subject.

After this meeting, Presidents Woodruff, Smith and myself and Brother Brigham Young went down to the funeral of Bishop Jacob Weiler in the Third Ward. The house was very crowded. President Woodruff desired me to speak, which I did. Brother Jos. F. Smith spoke briefly, and then President Woodruff addressed the congregation for a short time.

It had been announced by the Bishop that after the benediction the people would have the opportunity of viewing the remains. My feelings upon this practice have been very pronounced. I have thought it wrong to expose our deceased friends to the vulgar gaze of mixed crowds such as sometimes attend funerals. In the most of instances the Temple clothing is exposed, which is contrary to the instructions that have been given concerning the sanctity and sacredness of this apparel. I have no doubt that many persons have gone to funerals for no other purpose than to have the opportunity of looking at the Temple clothing in which the deceased is clad. I therefore thought it well to converse with Brother Malin Weiler as to the wishes of the family and told him what our feelings had been as a Council concerning this, for we had decided that this was an improper practice. He said that some of the family had not seen the deceased, and if they could have the privilege he did not think it would be necessary for the rest of the people to look upon him. Consequently, with the consent of President Woodruff, I explained to the congregation our views in relation to this, and requested them to withdraw and leave the family to look at the remains of their departed father and friend. This was done.

27 March 1896 • Friday

Friday, March 27, 1896

I was busy a good deal of the day with Pioneer Electric Power Co’s business. We have received from Mr. Banigan $80,000, and I arranged to have this deposited at Wells, Fargo & Co’s, and I have been drawing checks to pay up our debts.

President Woodruff sent for Bishop Preston to communicate to him our wish that I should have Brother Robert Campbell as a clerk in keeping books for me as President and Treasurer of the Pioneer Company. Brother Preston yielded to our wish, though he said he could not very well spare him, as his place was hard to fill.

At 3 oclock the First Presidency attended a meeting of the Utah & California Co. at the Company’s office.

I have been greatly impressed for some time with the feeling that something should be done by us as the First Presidency of the Church in relation to the management and handling of Church funds. After President Taylor’s death there was such a feeling in the Council that I felt that anything I advocated or defended would only bring forth opposition, and several things were done which I did not approve of in my feelings. President Woodruff was somewhat in the same condition, and there was not strength enough associated with him to have things put in the shape that was desirable and right. The handling of the funds of the Church was transferred to the Presiding Bishop, Wm. B. Preston, and he assumed functions that had never been exercised from the beginning by the lesser priesthood. President Woodruff has been elected Trustee-in-Trust, but this has made no difference. All the cash and everything else has gone into the hands of the Presiding Bishop; and if the First Presidency or President Woodruff wants $5 or any amount he has to send to get it from Bishop Preston. This has been the condition now for upwards of eight years. I have felt that this was wrong, and have so expressed myself a number of times. It is not proper, according to my view, for the Aaronic Priesthood to dominate in this manner the Melchisedek Priesthood. The bearers of the Aaronic Priesthood are, so to speak, the helps of the Melchisedek Priesthood and not their managers. It is for the Melchisedek Priesthood to dictate and not the Aaronic. As it is at present, we know nothing about the financial affairs of the Church only as they are reported to us by the Aaronic Priesthood – the Presiding Bishopric. If anything were to happen to any one of the members of the First Presidency at the present time, I would feel that some degree of condemnation rested upon us for permitting such a condition of things to be transmitted to our successors. I have felt that this should be corrected while we are yet living, so that the prerogatives and rights of the Priesthood that we bear might be transmitted to those who shall succeed us unimpaired.

Another thing that I have felt for a long time needed correction is the practice that has grown up of attaching a certain salary to the First Presidency, the Twelve and the Presiding Bishops, and this has extended itself to the Seven Presidents of the Seventies and to the Presidents of Stakes. There is danger, as I perceive, of this becoming a fixed understanding, that when a man is called to [a] certain office he will receive a certain stipend. It has never yet been called a salary, but it is that and nothing else, at least in some cases. It has been a matter of great satisfaction to me through my life, in speaking about the ministers of our Church, to say that we had no salaried ministry; but of late years I have had to qualify my statements on this point. I feel that anything like a salary attached to an office in our Church is wrong, and is not in accordance with the instructions that have been given from the beginning.

I spoke upon these two subjects today to Presidents Woodruff and Smith and told them my feelings about it; that something should be done before any of us pass away, and for this purpose I felt that we should lay it before the Twelve. I would be willing, if they thought best, to broach the subject and talk upon it; for I could not feel justified to let it remain quiet any longer, unless they decided that it was unwise. I said I have never seen the day when I would dare get on to the stand and defend the appropriation of about $55,000 in cash each year for salaries of presiding officers, as had been the case. Now, I added, I am in favor of men who spend their time in the ministry being sustained by the Church; they must live, and it cannot be expected that will live on air, or their families; but it seemed to me that the better way to arrange this would be to leave it for men either to apply for the aid they needed and have an appropriation made for their relief, or if it should be feared that this was too open and permitted men to draw more than would be proper, to place a limit beyond which men should not draw, and leave every man to draw up to that limit or not as his circumstances might require or his inclinations might prompt him. Some men would draw very little, others probably would draw to the full amount; but each man’s record would be there, and those who took pride in their labors and giving their labors to the Church as fully as they could, would have the privilege of doing so.

President Woodruff and President Smith both expressed themselves, particularly the former, very emphatically in favor of my suggestions. President Woodruff thought it would be a good thing to have them brought before the Council.

28 March 1896 • Saturday

Saturday, March 28, 1896

I was busy during the forenoon with Brother John R. Winder and Robert S. Campbell in closing up our indebtedness on the Pioneer Electric Power Co. It has required today $57,951 to square up our affairs, although this does not include all that we are owing. It is a great relief to have these means come, and I feel to thank the Lord with all my heart.

Dictated my journal to Brother Arthur Winter.

29 March 1896 • Sunday

Sunday, March 29, 1896

I took train this morning in company with my wife Caroline and Brother Brigham Young and his wife Lizzie, to Provo, I having been invited to go there some weeks ago.

We attended meeting with the Sunday school at the Brigham Young Academy, and I was much interested in the exercises. I addressed the class of normal, and afterwards addressed the whole school.

We took lunch at Brother Jacob Gates’, and he took us to Pleasant View Ward, where we held meeting with the saints. Brother Gillespie is the Bishop. We had a very interesting meeting, and returned to Provo.

We took dinner at Brother Geo. H. Taylor’s, with a number of the brethren and sisters.

In the evening we attended meeting at the Fourth Ward. They have a very fine meeting house, and it was crowded. I addressed the saints for about one hour, and Brother Brigham Young spoke about 20 mins. He declined to speak first, because he said the appointment had been made for me, and he preferred me occupying the time.

I think today is the first time in my life that I have partaken of the sacrament three times in one day. We had the sacrament with the Sunday school, then at Pleasant View, and again this evening. I enjoyed this very much.

30 March 1896 • Monday

Monday, March 30, 1896.

Brother Young and myself returned to the city this morning from Provo, leaving our wives there to come in the afternoon.

I dictated letters and my journal to Brother Winter.

Brother Jerry Langford came up from the Sterling mine and made a report to us, which was not very encouraging concerning the Confidence mine.

31 March 1896 • Tuesday

Tuesday, March 31, 1896

Brother Jos. F. Smith and John R. Winder and myself went to Ogden this morning and spent the day until 2 o’clock in examining accounts and transacting business connected with the Pioneer Electric Power Company.

On my return to the city I found Mr. Bancroft, of the Union Pacific, awaiting my arrival, and he submitted to me the following messages:


W. H. Bancroft,

Have sent message for Mr. Cannon in your care, which please translate and deliver, keeping contents private.

(signed) S. H. H. Clark


Hon. Geo. Q. Cannon,

c/o W. H. Bancroft,

We would be much pleased if you can see your way clear to become a Director in the Union Pacific Railway Company at its next election, in April. Believe an affirmative decision upon your part will be of mutual interest. Please answer.

(signed) S. H. H. Clark.

I went and saw President Woodruff concerning the subject of these dispatches, and he felt that I should accept the proposition. I framed the following dispatch to send to Mr. Clark, which Mr. Bancroft would transmit in cipher:

“Appreciate highly your confidence and if elected will do what I can to discharge the duty of a Director in Union Pacific Railway Company.”

This evening my folks had a musicale at the house of my wife Caroline, and we had a very interesting evening.

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March 1896, The Journal of George Q. Cannon, accessed May 27, 2024