1 July 1896 • Wednesday
Wednesday, July 1, 1896
A meeting was held this morning at the President’s Office of the Board of Directors of the Pioneer Electric Power Co. Brother Le Grand Young met with us, and the business of the mortgage was attended to.
There was a meeting of Zion’s Savings Bank at 1 o’clock.
I dictated my journal to Brother Arthur Winter.
2 July 1896 • Thursday
Thursday, July 2, 1896
There was a grand Carnival parade this morning at 11 o’clock in the city. I obtained seats for my family at Z.C.M.I. store, at a platform erected in front of Zion’s Savings Bank, and on top of the Deseret News office. I myself sat at the bank, alongside of President Woodruff. The display was pretty good, though I have seen parades here on the 24th of July, which surpassed it.
President Woodruff thought it better not to have our usual meeting in the Temple, because of these proceedings.
3 July 1896 • Friday
Friday, July 3, 1896
At 8 o’clock this morning I started with a party to Ogden to visit the Power works. Mr. Bancroft, of the Union Pacific, had tendered me the use of a special car for myself and party to go to Ogden and return. President Woodruff had a number of his family with him, and I had my unmarried daughters and three of my sons with me, and my wife Carlie. We spent a most delightful day at the power house, where we had a fine dinner prepared for us, my son Frank having arranged all this. Some of the sisters expressed themselves to the effect that the dinner was the best they ever ate. After this we proceeded up the canyon and looked at the works as we passed by. We stopped at the Hermitage, as Brother Wilson’s place is called, for two hours, during which Frank had conversation with President Woodruff and myself about business affairs, it having been decided that he should go east on Monday next to see Mr. S. H. H. Clark and the Reorganization Committee of the Oregon Short Line. We feel that we have not kept the contract that was understood between us. I found my son Lewis hard at work doing engineering work, and the gentleman who was associated with him, before he knew who I was, spoke in very high terms of him, and said it was surprising how quickly he had adapted himself to the work. We returned to Ogden City, and stopped at Frank’s house, where I signed the mortgage which is to be sent to the Industrial Trust Company at Providence, they being the trustees for our bonds. Mr. Bannister had been telegraphed to California, where he was, so that he could come back and sign as Secretary. He arrived just as we were leaving Ogden, and would sign this mortgage and it would be sent off this evening. We left Ogden on the 6:10 train for home.
4 July 1896 • Saturday
Saturday, July 4, 1896
I again divided my family at the various points of observation, and also sat myself where I did on Thursday, and had a very fine view of the procession to-day, which was much better and more satisfactory than that of Thursday.
The day passed off quietly.
My son Abraham has been sick since he returned from California a few days ago. His condition is now very serious. I visited him to-day and administered to him. He is suffering from his head, and there is a polypus in his ear which probably contributes to that; but I think he has been overtaxing himself, as he has been doing more work, I think, than any two men should do.
5 July 1896 • Sunday
Sunday, July 5, 1896.
I called to see Abraham again and administered to him with my son-in-law Lewis M. Cannon, who took me in his buggy to the Tabernacle. I had hoped that Brother B. H. Roberts and Brother Geo. D. Pyper, who intend to start for a mission to the east on Tuesday, would have been present at meeting, but they were not. I spoke to Brother Jos. F. Smith about speaking, but he did not feel much like it, neither did Brother Brigham Young, and therefore I spoke to the congregation, which was quite a large one, and enjoyed the meeting very much. Whether others were edified and strengthened by my remarks or not I cannot say, but I felt the Lord was with me and I enjoyed my own remarks.
A ward meeting was held in my dining room, and sacrament was administered, and we enjoyed the meeting. Brothers Barrows and Iversen, two home missionaries, addressed us.
6 July 1896 • Monday
Monday, July 6, 1896
The condition of my son Abraham’s health this morning gives me very serious concern. He is so low that he cannot speak aloud, and it is with difficulty his breathing can be heard.
We held a meeting of the Literary & Scientific Association at the office, and it was decided to dispose of the lot that we had purchased from the Latter-day Saints College to the Utah University, the value of it being the amount that we owe to the University for the Chair of Geology which we have endowed.
7 July 1896 • Tuesday
Tuesday, July 7, 1896
Another meeting of the Literary & Scientific Association was held this morning.
Mr. Bannister came down from Ogden this morning in order to sign bonds as Secretary of the Company. We were engaged a number of hours in this business, he as Secretary and I as President.
We had a meeting of the Pioneer Electric Power Company after he returned to Ogden, at which we attended to the passing of some resolutions that Le Grand Young had prepared.
8 July 1896 • Wednesday
Wednesday, July 8, 1896
I attended a meeting of the Wonder Mining Company this morning at 11 o’clock.
Brothers Heber J. Grant and F. S. Richards came to the First Presidency to know concerning the best steps to take in relation to the Parsons Ranch. President Woodruff has given his note for $20,000 to Wells, Fargo & Co., secured by the stock of this ranch; but Brother Richards, upon investigation, now finds that there is danger of this stock becoming valueless, and the question before us this morning was, what shall be done to save this? We can save it by taking up an option that we have, which will necessitate the payment of $35,000, though Brother Richards thinks he can get this reduced to $30,000. $15,000 of this will not be required to be paid for several months, and $15,000 will be paid to the State for lands covering a period of several years. Brothers Grant and Richards were both of the opinion that we should take this option up. President Jos. F. Smith was rather opposed to it; still he could see no way by which the $20,000 could be saved. Brother Richards was instructed to see Mr. Parsons and find out the best terms that he would be willing to have us take the option on, and Brother Grant was to see Brother Frank Armstrong, who stands with himself as the nominal purchasers.
Brother Evan Stephens came to talk about the choir going to Denver, and we had considerable conversation on the subject. We assured him that the Church could do nothing towards helping the choir on this trip. He thought that by each member of the choir paying $5, added to some funds that he had, he might be able to take the choir to Denver, if the Denver people would furnish $1000 and keep the choir while at Denver, and transportation could be obtained to Denver and return at $10 per head. I proposed to see the Union Pacific people and learn from them whether they could meet this.
Brother John James came this morning to the office to talk about holding a celebration on the 24th at Saltair. The Presidency of the Stake were sent for, and the matter was taken into consideration. A committee of fifteen was appointed to get up a programme, most of those appointed being sons or grandsons of pioneers.
9 July 1896 • Thursday
Thursday, July 9, 1896
Brothers Grant and Richards came in. Brother Grant reported that Brother Armstrong was out of town. Brother Richards described the result of his interview with Mr. Parsons. Mr. Parsons agreed to let the property go under the option at $30,000 more; but none of this is to be paid to him until the title is made perfect. After this was submitted and discussed, it was finally decided that the terms be acceded to. Brother Smith was quite in favor of it when he heard from the brethren all the explanations they made.
Brother J. H. Moyle called in with Bishop H. B. Clawson, who is the Bishop of his ward, to explain his action in declining to vote for the declaration concerning the discipline of the Church which was read at a recent meeting of the 12th ward. He had voted for it at the General Conference; but explanations were made at the 12th ward meeting concerning the character of this document which caused him to decline to vote for it, and he called in to know from us our views. We had a long and interesting conversation with him, in which we explained our views concerning this document and the object we had in view – to all of which he listened attentively and fully acquiesced in. He asked what he should do under the circumstances, and it was suggested that he should take an early opportunity at the meeting of stating that he had become perfectly satisfied concerning the correctness of the document, and that he was willing to subscribe to it, in the light of the explanations which had been made by us. He manifested a very good spirit, and left feeling very well.
Brother F. A. Hammond called in to see the First Presidency this morning in relation to a letter that had been written to him suggesting that he should resign his position as President of the San Juan Stake, in consequence of the poor condition of his health. We talked the matter over with him, and after learning that his health had been restored, and that he had put aside his tobacco smoking, &c., we told him that we would withdraw the request and he might still continue to act. Brother Hammond is an excellent man; but reports have reached us that his example is not good through his not observing the Word of Wisdom. This, however, was not the sole cause of asking for his resignation; it was principally on account of his health being so poor.
At 12 o’clock the First Presidency repaired to the Temple to join the Twelve, who have been holding their quarterly meetings the past few days. We partook of the sacrament with them, and had a very interesting meeting. The case of Brother Moses Thatcher was brought up, and Presidents Woodruff and Smith and Elders F. M. Lyman and J. W. Taylor expressed themselves very strongly. President Woodruff has had this business on his mind for a long time, and has felt, it has seemed to me, very anxious that something should be done with Brother Thatcher. He asked me what my views were. I told him I agreed with him and had felt just as strongly on this subject as any of the brethren, but in consequence of the feeling that had been shown concerning myself, as though I was the chief instigator of the proceedings against Brother Thatcher, and of the statements which had been made that he was in the way of my ambition, &c, I had felt delicate about saying anything on this subject, preferring to hear the other brethren speak. Brother Lyman asked the Council if he had ever made it right concerning his threat to sue me at the time I was in prison. The reply was, No, he had not made it right with the quorum. I append herewith
a clipping<s> from the Logan Journal, to show the spirit and feeling that is manifested by some of Brother Thatcher’s friends in relation to myself and perhaps others of the Council:
THE POET AND THE PROPHET.1
Believe as we may, there is something remarkable about the writings of Joseph Smith, the founder of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. The literary style is quaint but clear, and the expressions are plain and forcible, contrasting strangely with the uncertain declarations of those who seek to be diplomatic. There is such a slight difference between diplomacy and duplicity that the Prophet of the Mormon church shunned them both and spoke in language his people could easily understand.
His lectures on faith and his chapter on governments and laws are fair samples of his literary style and way of thinking; and they show the author to be a man of marked ability. In section 121 we read the following:
“Behold, there are many called but few are chosen. And why are they not chosen?
“Because their hearts are set much upon the things of this world and aspire to the honors of men, that they do not learn this one lesson—
“That the rights of the priesthood are inseparably connected with the powers of heaven, and that the powers of heaven cannot be controled nor handled only upon the principles of righteousness.
“That they may be conferred upon us, it is true; but when we undertake to cover our sins, or to gratify our pride our vain ambition, or to exercise control or dominion, or compulsion upon the souls of the children of men, in any degree of unrighteousness, behold the heavens withdraw themselves; the spirit of the Lord is grieved; and when withdrawn, Amen to the Priesthood, or THE AUTHORITY OF THAT MAN.
“Behold! ere he is aware he is left unto himself to kick against the pricks; to persecute the Saints and to fight against God.
“We have learned, by said experience, that it is the nature and disposition of ALMOST ALL MEN, AS SOON AS THEY GET A LITTLE AUTHORITY, as they suppose, they will immediately begin to exercise UNRIGHTEOUS DOMINION.”
He understood the weaknesses of men and forsaw the trouble they were liable to bring upon his people; so he said at another time:
“Therefore, I will raise up unto my people a man who shall lead them like as Moses led the children of Israel, for ye are the children of Israel and we must needs be led out of bondage by power and with a stretched out arm; and as your fathers were led at the first, even so shall the redemption of Zion be.”
There is something in the foregoing so true to human nature, so like a drama in real life, so like men we seem to know, who seek to use their God-given authority to exalt themselves as Esau did, or to rid themselves of obstacles as David sought to rid himself of Uriah in the days of old, something so realistic about it all, that one is startled at the effect. Upon reading those words of the Prophet, the lines of the Poet Shakespeare also come to mind:
“Oh! it is excellent
To have a giant’s strength; but it is tyrranous
To use it like a giant.
Could great men thunder
As Jove himself does, Jove would ne’er be quiet;
For every pelting petty officer,
Would use his heaven for thunder; nothing but thunder.
Thou rather with thy sharp and sulphurous bolt,
Split the unwedgable and gnarled oak,
Than the soft myrtle.—O, but man, proud man,
Drest in a little brief authority;
Most ignorant of what he’s most assured,
His glassy essence—like an angry ape,
Plays such fantastic tricks before highheaven,
As make the angels weep.”
The Poet saw, the Prophet told what man, arrayed in his robe of authority, might do to further his selfish ends,—to reward his kith and kin or punish those who might stand in the way of his ambitions. It is human nature the world over. Give a man the power and he makes the people dance to his music, while friendships and ambitions burn. Those who will not are cast away, but “Jesus said unto them—Did ye never read in the scriptures—The stone which the builders rejected, the same is become the head of the corner.” The truth cannot be rejected, even by those who are dressed as the Poet describes, “For we can do nothing against the truth—but for the truth.”2
[Two added typed pages:]
Once upon a time there lived in the land of Promise a well beloved King. There was naught but goodness in his heart; but he was old. Age led his tottering footsteps to retirement and closed his ears to the noisy bustle of a jostling world. He passed the time away in quiet contemplation of a loyal past and hopeful future. With Solomon, the wise, he cried: “Remove far from me vanity and lies; give me neither poverty or riches; feed me with food convenient for me.”
His business with the world was done through the Prime Minister[,] a man of general experience, great wisdom, vaulting ambition and marked diplomacy, which enabled him to appease his foes and fool his friends for many years.
Honors had been heaped upon the Prime Minister at home and abroad; but his ambition knew no bounds. Riches flowed into his treasury from mysterious sources. Being once made captive by the banditti which infested that region the people donated dimes and dollars till they raised his ransom. When the ransom was afterwards recovered the dimes and dollars were not distributed among the donors. Other property intrusted to him for safe keeping became absorbed in his growing wealth. Everything touched by the Prime Minister turned to gold – his gold. He waxed stronger among the people than the King. But the King saw it not.
And it came to pass that all the officers of the court with one exception stood much in awe of the Prime Minister. They felt the need of his friendship and feared his displeasure more than that of the king. They did many things to court his favor, even to the extent of ordering the people to close their eyes to his imperfections.
There was one whose penetrating gaze he did not like; whose aversion to intrigue and duplicity was not concealed; whose inquiries concerning certain values of the kingdom were unsought; whose refusal to ask the people to close their eyes to questionable matters amounted to ill favor in the eyes of the Prime Minister.
It was thereupon determined to rid the kingdom of this attendant who would not tremble at the approach of the Prime Minister. As time passed the necessity became more apparent. He might ask an accounting of certain funds and credits belonging to the people. He might oppose the ascension of the Prime Minister to the throne in case of the King’s death as another was known to be the lawful successor.
But how to get one so faithful to the King, so popular with the people, deported, was a serious question to all but the Prime Minister. He was equal to the occasion. “Let us prepare a manuscript saying that the king and his Prime Minister can do no wrong” said that crafty individual. “And while we know he would cheerfully sign it so far as it relates to the King, he will refuse to give me such an endorsement. Then he will show it to the King and tell him that this fine fellow refuses to sustain him which will not only anger the King but his loyal subjects as well.”
The plan was successful for the courtier refused to sign what he did not believe. When the manuscript was brought away the joy of the Prime Minister knew no bounds.
“Let us proclaim the news and we will soon be rid of this shadow that lies across the path of my ambitions” said the Prime Minister.
“How shall we turn the people against him?” asked a slender man with a long beard. “I have tried it frequently without success.” “If we work in concert we can accomplish the purpose” said the Prime Minister.
I will attack him in the market place by comparing him to some traitor” said a long nosed knight.
“And I” said another “will tell about the streets that he is under the influence of stimulants and an unsafe man.[”]
And so on until every one had taken a part to play in the tragedy of turning a people from their life long friend.
The leaven worked, and the Prime Minister and all his sons, brothers, cousins and nephews waxed strong and fat in the land.
At last the people began to open their eyes. But it was too late. The power had departed from them and dwelt in the household of the Prime Minister.
Submission closed their eyes again and they toiled on and paid their taxes regularly thereafter. <(The foregoing is a copy of one of the articles that have appeared of late in the Logan Journal.)>3,4
Brother Grant spoke very strongly concerning Brother Thatcher. He said that he had been, so to speak, Brother Thatcher’s “man Friday”. He had been under his influence, and he had done many things through that in showing a lack of confidence in his brethren - referring to myself. He used very strong language in speaking about Brother Thatcher’s professions and his claims for services, &c. He said that he did not remember ever attending a conference with him among the saints, and he had failed to magnify his Apostleship among the people. About these things I have tried to say as little as possible. Why I should be looked upon as Brother Thatcher’s enemy is not easy to conceive. If there is any family in the Church that I had counted upon as being my friend it is the Thatcher family. They were out of the Church when I was presiding in California, and under my presidency they were brought into the Church, or rather re-baptized, and John B. Thatcher, Aaron Thatcher and Moses Thatcher were ordained to the Priesthood and sent out upon missions in California. I had reason to believe that the most friendly feelings were entertained by the family to me. I had never done a thing to in any manner weaken their confidence in me, and my treatment of Moses Thatcher especially has always been of the kindest character. But no sooner was President Taylor dead than he commenced his attacks upon me, and succeeded in getting a very strong cabal formed that made me very unhappy for a long time, and I should doubtless have sunk under the weight of this had not the Lord sustained me. He has fully vindicated me, as I believe; for I know that there was not a spot that could be pointed to where I had intentionally done wrong to him or to anyone else. I do not say this boastingly, but I have striven to live according to the precepts of my religion and to honor the Priesthood that the Lord has bestowed upon me. But this man has lifted his heel against me, and I leave him in the hands of the Lord, to do with him as seemeth Him good. I would that he would repent, and I have prayed a great deal for him.
10 July 1896 • Friday
Friday, July 10, 1896.
In company with Brothers Joseph F. Smith and John R. Winder, I started for Ogden this morning.
On the way up Brother M. W. Merrill communicated to me the action of the Twelve last night. They had sent Brothers F. D. Richards and Brigham Young to see Brother Thatcher and invite him to meet with them; but he was on the point of going to the lake and excused himself. He had not changed his mind, he said, respecting the Declaration that he had been requested to sign; he could not sign it conscientiously, and he told the brethren he could prove from the Book of Doctrine and Covenants that it was not correct. The Twelve met afterwards and decided to postpone any action in his case until the 22nd of the month, so as to give him further time. I told Brother Merrill, and afterwards Brother Lyman (at whose instance this was done) that I could not, of course, question the action of the Twelve, but if I had been present I should have expressed myself to the effect that it was mistaken policy to give him that time, as I fear he will put it to a bad use.
We attended to business in Ogden as the executive committee of the Power Company, and returned to the city on the afternoon train.
Upon our return the First Presidency met with the committee which had been appointed for the 24th.
I am in the habit of calling twice a day upon Abraham. His recovery is not near so rapid as I hoped it would be. He is suffering from the effects of overwork and nervous prostration.
11 July 1896 • Saturday
Saturday, July 11, 1896
I stayed at home all day, dividing provisions, &c., among my family. For nearly eleven months now we have been having our meals together in the dining room. Last Monday I felt very much depressed in my feelings concerning Abraham’s condition, and what added to the feeling was a statement from the bank of my indebtedness there, which was heavier than I expected, and which made me look around very carefully to see where I could curtail my expenses. I thought about it during the evening, and though I had no intention of breaking up the dining room, during the night I reflected upon it and it seemed to me that I could not curtail my expenses very much without doing this. It appeared clear to me that it was the proper thing for me to do. My expenses during last month were very heavy, and they seem to be increasing. On Tuesday morning I called my wives and sons and daughters together and I laid the condition of my affairs in part before them, and they all acquiesced in my view that it would be proper for us to discontinue the dining room. It is painful to me, because we live very happily in this condition. It relieves my wives from the toil of cooking and enables me to meet twice a day at least with my family and have prayers. On Wednesday morning I broached the subject to Sister Davey and told her the conclusion I had reached. She seemed almost prepared for it, although it was quite unexpected; the hot weather made her duties very arduous. It was decided that to-day we would close the room and I would pay them half a month’s wages. I had proposed to pay them a month’s wages in advance, but they did not think this would be right, as Sister Davey wanted to be released to go home and her assistant has already been engaged.
12 July 1896 • Sunday
Sunday, July 12, 1896
I called upon Abraham this morning and administered to him.
I attended meeting at the Tabernacle. Brother Henry W. Naisbett and Brother H. A. Tuckett, the latter a returned missionary, spoke.
13–15 July 1896 • Monday–Wednesday
Monday, Tuesday & Wednesday, July 13-15, 1896
These have been days of anxiety and sadness with me, because of the condition of my son Abraham. He has been very low. Presidents Woodruff and Smith went down with me to see him and administered to him, and everything is being done that can be to aid him by faith. A special circle has been formed in the Temple, which meets every day, and the people generally are quite exercised in his behalf, for I have reason to believe that he is greatly beloved by the Latter-day Saints. On Wednesday the doctors held a consultation, and there were present, Dr. Pfoutz, who is an ear specialist; Dr. Wright, whom Abraham’s folks had employed to wait on him; Dr. Jos. S. Richards and Dr. Walter Ellerbeck. Brother Jos. F. Smith and myself went down while they were there and just after they had got through their consultation, and they told us their conclusion. They thought the skull behind the ear should be opened, for they were of the opinion (some of them) that there was a formation of pus there. Dr. Richards was especially clear in his statement as to that and the necessity of the operation. After listening to all that was said, and to their assurance that it could be done with safety and if it did no good it would certainly do no harm, Brother Smith and myself both felt that the operation had better be performed. I communicated it to the family, and they felt very badly about it. There had been great excitement in the house all day in consequence of Abraham’s condition, and I had been summoned repeatedly by telephone to go down, but I could not stand the strain. I had been down two hours in the morning, and I got others of the Twelve – Brothers John Henry Smith and Heber J. Grant – to go down and administer to him. The operation was performed by Dr. Pfoutz, it being in his line, assisted by Drs. Richards and Wright. Dr. Ellerbeck administered the ether. It took a long time to perform the operation. The result was not as they altogether hoped. There was no pus, but there was decayed stuff which Dr. Pfoutz said had been the result of the affection [infection] of the ear from which Abraham had suffered and which had not been treated properly. There was a good deal of blood taken, and the result was apparently beneficial to his general condition.
16 July 1896 • Thursday
Thursday, July 16, 1896
This morning I was gratified by getting word that Abraham’s symptoms were better. I visited him in the morning and again in the afternoon and administered to him. I spent most of the evening with him. I did not like his appearance as well as I had done in the morning, and did not feel so much encouraged, and I went home with that feeling.
My daughter Mary Alice’s baby was eight days old to-day, and at her husband’s request my brother Angus, himself and myself blessed the baby and gave it the name of Douglas Quentin Cannon. Both mother and baby are doing fine. It is a beautiful child, and I trust it will live to be a great comfort to its parents and to all concerned.
17 July 1896 • Friday
Friday, July 17, 1896
I passed an uneasy night last night, and the word which I got from Abraham early this morning was not very comforting. However, when I went over and saw him I felt better, and the word I got through the day was more encouraging. There is great sympathy felt for him. I went down the street and was stopped every few steps by Latter-day Saints and strangers making enquiries about his condition.
I have not felt well to-day. I dictated my journal to Brother Arthur Winter.
When I reached Abraham’s house this afternoon I found him sleeping, and everyone seemed encouraged because he had taken food somewhat freely. I was, however, not favorably impressed with his appearance. The doctors came while I was there and examined him, and in watching them and their examination I did not feel encouraged, and I went home with that feeling after remaining some hours.
18 July 1896 • Saturday
Saturday, July 18, 1896
I passed an uneasy, restless, wakeful night. I felt very badly in my spirit. While lying awake I heard footsteps near the house. My son Angus called my name. He had been over sitting up with Abraham, and Abraham had fallen into a stupor from which he could not be roused, and he came to tell me of it and request my attendance, as they thought he was dying. I dressed and went over (it was about 3 o’clock) and I stayed there the whole day and into the night. At first I tried to rouse him, but could not do so, and he remained in that condition all day, most of the time breathing very naturally, but with high temperature and rapid pulse. President Jos. F. Smith spent the day with him and remained all night. John Q. was faithful in his attendance upon him. His presence seemed to be a great comfort to Abraham whenever he was conscious. Myself and Carlie went over to Mamie’s, Abraham’s wife, and took some rest, with the understanding that when a change occurred I was to be awakened.
19 July 1896 • Sunday
Sunday, July 19, 1896
A little after 5 o’clock Brother Wilcken came to the window and called me, and said that Abraham had passed away. There had been no change in his condition, except sinking. At 15 minutes past 5 he breathed his last.
Of course, we are all plunged in grief. It is pitiful to see his children, of which he has 14 living, the oldest of whom is not yet 17. I called the family together and conversed with them concerning the funeral. Brother Jos. F. Smith and Brother Jos. E. Taylor, the sexton, were present. It seems that Abraham had expressed to his wife Mina a wish that if ever anything happened to him he should not be buried for one week. The family all preferred that this wish should be carried out. President Smith saw no objection to it. That will bring the funeral to next Sunday, the 26th. The family all agreed with me that the body should not be exposed to the public gaze, and that all the funeral trappings should be of a simple character; that there should be no outlay for “trappings of woe”, and that we should leave it to the Quorum of the Twelve to make such arrangements as they might see fit concerning the funeral.
Miss Osborne, a nurse that we have obtained from St. Marks Hospital, waited on Abraham very faithfully and efficiently, and she and Brother Wilcken washed the body and prepared it for burial. Brother Taylor came and took charge of the remains, which were laid out in the front parlor. I found that Miss Osborne is a Latter-day Saint, though it is not known at the Hospital. It is said that she comes of a very respectable family in England, who discarded her because she joined the Church.
After attending to these matters I returned home and spent [the] day there until about 5:30, when I went over by appointment to meet Brother Jos. E. Taylor, who was to put the corpse in a box where it could have free ventilation of cold air; but he did not come till 8:30. I spent part of the time with my daughter Mary Alice, who is still confined to her bed. I got Brother Brigham Young to attend with Brother Taylor to the putting of the corpse in the box.
20 July 1896 • Monday
Monday, July 20, 1896
I spent some time this morning with Abraham’s family. His wife Sarah is the legal wife, and she has a right under the law to petition for an administrator, as we cannot find any will that Abraham left, though the family is of the opinion that he did make a will. She was willing to do whatever I said in the matter, and heartily approved of the selection of John M. Cannon as the administrator. I telephoned for him to come down and confer with her and draw up a suitable petition to the court for his appointment as administrator.
After this business was finished I went to the office and spent the greater part of the day there attending to various matters.
I feel to call on the Lord for help, as Abraham’s death will cause me to have quite a load to carry. My own affairs are sufficient, with my public duties, to fully occupy my attention; but it seems that it will be necessary for me to bestow a good deal of attention on Abraham’s affairs, in order to get them straightened out. Besides, there are matters of business in which we are jointly interested, that he has been taking care of and looking after for me.
21 July 1896 • Tuesday
Tuesday, July 21, 1896
I was at the office to-day. I dictated my journal and some correspondence to Brother Winter. I visited the cemetery, in company with Brothers Brigham Young, Jos. E. Taylor, C. H. Wilcken and my son John Q., to examine the spot where we should bury Abraham. He has a very nice little lot of his own, and we decided that the southeast corner of that would be the best place for his grave.
I have received numerous telegrams and letters of condolence from different parties, and I employed my son Sylvester to answer them to-day.
I spent considerable time with John M. Cannon and Brother Walter J. Lewis, looking over Juvenile Instructor matters.
22 July 1896 • Wednesday
Wednesday, July 22, 1896
I met with the Board of Directors of Geo. Q. Cannon & Sons Co. this morning, and we elected John Q. Cannon to fill the vacancy created by the death of Abraham, and Hugh J. Cannon as assistant editor and manager of the business. I am very anxious to have this business closely looked after, as it is in a shape that requires attention, and the Juvenile Instructor is a periodical whose reputation I wish to maintain.
I spent the remainder of the day at the office.
President Woodruff did not come up. He sent word that he did not feel very well.
23 July 1896 • Thursday
Thursday, July 23, 1896. The First Presidency and President Lorenzo Snow, Brigham Young, F. M. Lyman, J. H. Smith, H. J. Grant and J. W. Taylor, of the Twelve, met at the Temple at 11 o’clock and attended to some business. President Snow was mouth in prayer.
After the return of the First Presidency to the office, my son Frank arrived from Ogden, and we spent considerable time with him listening to his description of his trip east and of the business that he had done with the Committee of the Oregon Short Line. Things are in a satisfactory shape now, if they will only stand up to the contract which he has drawn up for them to sign, and which they have agreed to sign. But he is of the opinion that they do not care about closing with us, because, as he says, they see that anything of this kind we do is likely to raise up a power in this country that may be a competitor to them. At the present time we are to a certain extent in their hands. They own the roads and we pay tribute. Whenever we shall own roads then we become their equals. I think there is considerable force in this view of the situation.
In meeting with Frank I was very deeply affected, as he also was; for Abraham has been almost as a twin brother to Frank, there only being six weeks difference in their ages. I know that his brother’s death has been a terrible blow to Frank, for they were very much attached to each other, and Frank had learned to look up to Abraham, although younger than himself.
24 July 1896 • Friday
Friday, July 24, 1896
This is the 49th anniversary of the arrival of the Pioneers in Salt Lake Valley. I am told that the day has been spent very quietly in the city. My son Abraham’s death caused a suspension of any public function on that day. I spent most of the day in conversation with my son Frank upon various matters of business.
25 July 1896 • Saturday
Saturday, July 25, 1896.
Nine years ago to-day President Taylor departed this life. What an eventful epoch this has been! There has been crowded into these nine years enough history, in some respects, to fill almost half a century.
I spent a portion of the day at the office attending to various matters.
Mr. Banigan had written to me that he would reach the city in company with two of his nephews and a niece, at 3:10 in the afternoon. I did not feel well enough to go down and meet him, but arranged for Brother Robert Campbell to meet him. I afterwards went to the hotel and called upon him and had some conversation with him. He had learned about my son Abraham’s death and said he thought he would attend the services to-morrow.
26 July 1896 • Sunday
Sunday, July 26, 1896.
We were stirring early this morning, and my family all went over to Abraham’s to see the remains. He appeared very lifelike and had a smile on his face, and was somewhat emaciated with his sickness. Our feelings, my own especially, were indescribable; but I excercised all the control possible, because I knew that my self-restraint would have a good effect on all the rest. I pitied my daughter Mary Alice very much. She had to be carried in, her baby being only 16 days old, and the poor child suffered very much. My feelings concerning John Q. & Sylvester were deep. Neither of them could shed a tear, and it seems as though their grief would be unbearable. John Q. remarked that if he could only cry, what a great relief it would be to him. Both the boys are woe-stricken.
I append here a printed report of the proceedings of the day, which will give a better idea of what took place than anything I can say. I may say, however, that I never saw so large an outpouring of people, of all classes, as were to be seen in the Tabernacle and on the line of march to the cemetery.
[Attached newspaper clippings follow]
Sunday, July 26, 1896, will ever stand conspicuous in the list of sad days when Utah people have been called upon to consign to a tomb in mother earth the remains of one of her staunchest, most useful and respected sons. Such a day was yesterday, and such a son was Abraham Hoagland Cannon.
The test of a man’s popularity was never better exemplified than by the tens of thousands of people who left their homes to do honor to the illustrious and beloved dead. It is a conservative estimate to state that at least 30,000 souls, more than one half of the city’s population, either attended the Tabernacle, viewed the great funeral procession or visited the cemetery where they bared and bowed their heads in grief. Then many came from the county and from cities and towns remotely located. All things considered the concourse is without a parallel in Utah history. It will never be forgotten by those who witnessed it and all will remember it with feelings of regret.
The day was an ideal one. The heat was tempered by light, fleecy clouds that held in check the scorching days of a summer sun and a gentle breeze blew its way over the mourning city. The ceremonies in the Tabernacle were simple, instructive, solemn and impressive to a marked degree. Every part of the great structure was filled by an audience of from 12,000 to 15,000 people, while immense crowds stood reverently and patiently without its walls waiting for the services to end. Solid, and at some points impenetrable, masses of humanity lined the course of the funeral procession. From West Temple to N street, a distance of sixteen blocks along South Temple, spectators stood in an unbroken column, overlapping the sidewalk and crowded into the road. A silence that was almost painful was observable from beginning to close. Long before the ceremonies in the Tabernacle had concluded citizens began to flock to the city cemetery, and when the advance column of the cortege arrived the place was already well filled by those who desired to witness the last sad rites[.]
AT THE RESIDENCE.
A Large Concourse of People Take a Last Look at the Dead.
In the way of preliminaries to the funeral of Elder Cannon came the taking of a last look at the deceased. This took place at the family residence from 11 a.m. to 12 noon, but long before that hour carriages were seen wending their way to the home of the deceased, on Ninth South and Eighth West streets. Those who came during the earlier hours, however, were people connected with the family, and their presence while mainly for the purpose of being privileged to take a parting glance at the features of Brother Cannon, was likewise prompted by a feeling to render what assistance they could to those upon whom the sad affliction had fallen so heavily. Ready hands and willing hearts were numerous and this very pleasing feature caused the hearts of those who were being assisted to well up within them at the feeling of good will, respect and filial affection which possessed those who had gathered around.
During this time—from about 10 a. m. until 12 o’clock noon—several hundred people, mostly intimate friends, passed through the home of the deceased, and with tears in their eyes took a last look at the face of one who in life they had learned to love and respect. Besides the relatives and intimate friends, there were others, neighbors of the family, who also gained admission to the house and viewed the dead.
The features of Elder Cannon were the same as in life; a pleasant countenance entering almost upon a smile greeted the onlookers, and his general appearance indicated the truth of that inspired remark, “He is not dead, but sleepeth.” His body, enclosed in the casket, lay in the parlor of the home in which his last days on earth had been spent while in the same room sat members of the family who were made constant recipients of sympathetic expressions and hand shakes from those present.
The gathering of people at the home grew to such extensive proportions until the lawns and gardens surrounding the residence of the deceased were dotted with men and women, conversing with each other and recalling in their conversation the many glorious and God-like attributes of the deceased. His efforts, too, in making his homes pleasant and attractive were also freely commented on, as his work in that direction stood out in bold relief, and more especially to those who but a few years ago had crossed and recrossed the identical tract of land upon which Brother Cannon’s homes now stood, when it was almost thought to be unfit for habitation or even cultivation. But the thrift and energy of Elder Cannon had been thrown out in the direction of rearing for his families comfortable homes and surroundings and how well he had succeeded in this respect was plainly evident even to the indifferent observer.
Just about 12 o’clock President Woodruff arrived and entered the home of the deceased at a time when the father, President George Q. Cannon, and the family were viewing for the last time the features of their loved one in mortality. All bore the great strain with heroic fortitude, and while they felt that the blow was almost more than they were able to bear, still they appeared to have become reconciled to the knowledge that God the Father in His omnipotence doeth all things well.
At nearly 12:30 o’clock members of the Quorum of Apostles acting as pall bearers arrived in carriages. In the hands of these brethren had rested the duty of making all arrangements for the funeral of their departed co-laborer, and how well they had performed that duty was manifest in the precision with which every feature was carried out.
Shortly after this the hearse which was to bear the body of the dead to the Tabernacle and from thence to the cemetery, arrived, together with Elder Joseph E. Taylor, in whose hands rested the duty of acting as undertaker. The arrival of the hearse was closely followed by a band of one hundred children, members of the Fifth ward Sunday school, under the chaperonage of Superintendent George Clark, his assistants and teachers. This movement was brought about from the fact that until recently Elder Cannon’s children had been pupils in the same Sunday school.
Precisely at 1 o’clock the front door of the deceased’s home was thrown ajar and the casket in which reposed the lifeless form of Elder Cannon, was borne through it, out to the hearse, by those upon whom devolved that part of the proceedings. Directly in front of the coffin walked Elders Lorenzo Snow and Franklin D. Richards, while bearing the weight of the casket were Elders Heber J. Grant, Brigham Young, George Teasdale, John W. Taylor, Francis M. Lyman, John Henry Smith and Marriner W. Merrill. Behind these brethren came Presidents Wilford Woodruff, George Q. Cannon and Joseph F. Smith, followed closely by the wives of the dead Apostle and other members of the family.
When the casket had been deposited in the hearse the funeral party took carriages and the procession to the Tabernacle was commenced, the pallbearers’ carriages being first in line, the hearse next, with the children of the deceased, his father, wives, brothers, sisters and other relatives coming following in the long array of vehicles. The line of march was north on Eighth West to Third South street, thence diagonally northeast to Second South and Seventh West streets, thence north on Seventh West to First South thence east on First South to West Temple street, thence north on West Temple to North Temple, thence east to the north entrance of the Temple block. The cortege in this line of march numbered forty carriages and many people witnessed the procession, as it passed along on its way to the Tabernacle.
At the large Tabernacle the decorations were most beautiful and appropriate. All of the stands were elegantly draped in white crepe, looped with cord and tassel in the most graceful designs. There was nothing suggestive of gloom or despair; all was emblematical of peace, love, beauty and hope. The flowers and shrubbery were arranged in a most artistic manner all across and on either side of the stands. Palms, oleanders in bloom, india rubber trees, evergreens and ornamental and blooming plants in great variety were placed at every available point, giving a most lovely effect.
Of the special tributes of flowers, of which there were many, some of the most prominent were on the platform in front of the stands. One of these was a broken tree, of most elegant arrangement, and more than four feet in width; on it were resting three white doves. This was on the left of the platform. It was from the Bullion-Beck and Champion Mining company, of which the deceased had been an official. From P. H. Lannan, and situated on the extreme right of the platform was an elegant floral pillar on which was the inscription “Honest Abe;” near it lay a beautiful floral heart, sent by Mrs. M. J. Barratt, and next was a lovely bouquet from the chief of the fire department, James Devine. An elegant star, from Mr. and Mrs. Theo. Meyer; a handsome wreath from Susa Young Gates; a magnificent broken column about four feet high, from the employes of the Deseret News, also had place at the south end of the platform, with lovely floral designs from the family residence, one being a Gates Ajar, three feet in hight, with the word “Rest” on it; another an elegant harp, and still another a large pillow, the ground work being in clear white bloom, inscribed with the word “Papa.” At the other end of the platform was a beautiful piece of floral work in the form of a broken wheel, from Mr. F. H. Auerbach, president of the Chamber of Commerce, of which the deceased had been first vice president; next was a lovely wreath, from the German Club; a spray of roses from Mrs. Brown, wife of Senator Arthur Brown; a white wax star and crescent from the Relief society of the Fifth ward; and floral tributes from the family, among them a large anchor, and a standing crown, of white and tinted bloom. Also at the north end of the platform was a magnificent piece of the florist’s art in the form of a broken wheel, over two feet in diameter, the offering of the Juvenile Instructor employes.
The great organ also was decorated in harmony with the four stands, the oleander and other plants in bloom combining with the ornamental plants in producing a most pleasing effect. In the center and on the front of the organ, emerging from the top of the floral decorations was a magnificent life-size bust portrait of the deceased, draped in white.
The whole scene presented by the decorations was one of surpassing loveliness, bearing that peaceful, quiet influence so characteristic of the deceased in his associations in life, and emblematic of the reward that comes to one so faithful to the cause of truth. No ornamentation previously attempted in the great building has equaled that of the present occasion in beauty and elegance.
THE SEATING ARRANGEMENTS
In the seats reserved for organizations, to the right of the center aisle in front, were the employes of the Juvenile Instructor office, employes of the Deseret News company, Mayor Glendinning and the City Council of Salt Lake City and other city officials, directors of Zion’s Co-operative Mercantile Institution, directors of the Bullion-Beck company, directors of the Utah Loan and Trust company, Ogden, officials of the Salt Lake and Pacific and Utah and California railway, members of the Deseret Sunday School Union Board and others, to the number of nearly two hundred.
At precisely 2 o’clock the funeral cortege from the family residence entered at the northwest door of the Tabernacle and proceeded along the aisle to the platform in the center, where the pall-bearers, consisting of Presidents Wilford Woodruff and Joseph F. Smith and the Council of the Apostles, placed the elegant white casket containing the remains of the deceased in the center of the front platform between the floral emblems. On the top of the casket were laid three beautiful wreaths.
The family and relatives, following President George Q. Cannon, father of the deceased, then took the places assigned to them, in the front seats to the left of the center aisle. As they moved forward, their faces indicated the deep sorrow they had undergone, and their resignation to the Divine will in their great bereavement; but in their clothing there was no ostentatious display of mourning—the older members of the family were clothed in black and the family were clothed in black and some of the younger ones were attired in white, all being neatly and plainly dressed as though in attendance at sacred worship—there was no display of crepe and veiling; it was unnecessary to thus portray their grief at the departure of one they loved so well and loved them in return.
The stand of the first presidency was entered by Presidents Wilford Woodruff and Joseph F. Smith of the First Presidency, Patriarch John Smith, President Lorenzo Snow and Elders Franklin D. Richards and Heber J. Grant of the Council of the Apostles, and the next stand by Elders Brigham Young, John Henry Smith, Francis M. Lyman, George Teasdale, John W. Taylor and Marriner W. Merrill of the Council of Apostles, and by Elders Joseph E. Taylor and Charles W. Penrose of the Salt Lake Stake presidency, while the family were taking their seats; a few moments later Elder Moses Thatcher came in and took his seat in the second stand. On the third stand were members of the presiding council of Seventies, presidency of the High Priests’ quorums and others and on the north stand the presiding Bishopric and others. Elder Anthon H. Lund, the remaining member of the Council of the Twelve, was not present, not yet having returned from his mission to Europe.
Outside of the stand and the reserved seats, which were filled as described, all the rest of the vast building, gallery, choir seats and all, was fully occupied by the large congregation, and very many were unable to obtain seats or gain ingress to the building; so great was the attendance, which included people from nearly all parts of the State and some from neighboring states.
The funeral being conducted under the auspices of the quorum of Twelve Apostles, President Snow presided. Precisely at 2:10 o’clock Elder Heber J. Grant announced the opening hymn, the first, fifth and sixth stanzas of which were sung by the choir as follows:
When first the glorious light of truth
In this last age burst forth,
How few they were, with heart and soul
Could feel its real worth?
Yet of those few how many
Have passed from earth away,
And in their graves are sleeping
Till the Resurrection day?
And here in this sweet, peaceful vale,
The shafts of death are hurled,
And many faithful Saints are called
To find a better world.
And friends are often weeping
For those who’ve passed away,
And in their graves are sleeping
Till the Resurrection day.
Why should we mourn because we leave
These scenes of toil and pain?
O happy change! the faithful go
Celestial joys to gain;
And soon we all shall follow
To realms of endless day,
And taste the joyous glories
Of a Resurrection day.
A very comprehensive prayer, appropriate to the occasion and full of eulogy for the dead, was offered by Elder Franklin D. Richards, after which Mrs. Nellie Druce-Pugsley, in a voice full of expression and sympathy, sang the ever popular soprano solo from the Messiah:
I know that my Redeemer liveth,
And that he shall stand at the latter day upon the earth;
And though worms destroy this body,
Yet in my flesh shall I see God.
For now Christ is risen from the dead,
The first fruits of them that sleep.
President Lorenzo Snow said he desired the attention, faith and prayers of the large audience present in order that he might give expression to such thoughts as would be appropriate to the occasion. He said he had been intimately acquainted with Apostle Cannon for more than ten years. Since his ordination to the Apostleship the acquaintanceship had become more and more intimate. He had observed with a great deal of interest the course pursued by Brother Cannon as a son of God. A single blot or blemish could not be found on his character. Everything he did, every motive he had was distinctly understood. All his obligations were honestly and thoroughly discharged. The speaker felt that he could with perfect propriety repeat the immortal prayer of David of old when he called upon God to search his heart for He knew his thoughts and ways were right. The speaker had been told by Brother Abraham’s father that he was most obedient in all things; that he had never created the least disturbance or caused the least trouble. On the contrary he sought in every way to advance the interest of his father. Not every parent could say that of a son but to this case it could be said with perfect truth and force. The son practiced it to perfection. In the beginning the Lord sent men into the world to prove them. Those who kept their second estate were entitled to all the blessings, power and exaltation that God had promised those who would serve Him in righteousness. That was a mighty consolation to the Apostle Paul, who suffered martyrdom, who fought the good fight. That might seem a singular expression. But Paul fought on principles of virtue and integrity; he suffered persecution and never allowed himself to get into a spirit of anger. He fought the good fight; he finished his course; he kept the faith. He felt that Apostle Abraham H. Cannon could have said the same. Brother Cannon was not dead. His body lay before us. His voice had often been heard in the great hall in which thousands were now assembled to do him homage. We had been charmed by his words as they fell upon our ears and pierced our hearts. We had been instructed by the voice that was now silent. But he lived today more than ever. He was occupying a place which was perhaps the same as he occupied before coming here. The prospect before man was beautiful—glorious. We should not mourn. There was no loss. When we left the spirit world and came into this there was probably more mourning than in our departure from this world into the next. When a man is called on a mission he leaves wife, children and parents with a feeling of unpleasantness. We feel anxious over the departure. We wonder whether he will succumb to the temptation that he is sure to meet; whether he will fall away. There are unpleasant things to contemplate. But he goes on his mission. He passes through these scenes and returns as he left, a virtuous man. He returns with rejoicing and gladness. He has won a victory and we are proud of him. So with Brother Cannon; he has returned victorious. He was a noble man. Heaven had showered her gifts upon him. Every gift he received he acknowledged came from the Almighty. There was no needing of mourning. Mourning was a selfish characteristic. It was true that they would never be able to find a man who would fill Brother Cannon’s place in all respects. Yet we should not mourn. He was all right. He wished from his heart that we had all pursued as wise a course as he had. The God of heaven had spoken to him. He was great and good, and his goodness extended a long way. The speaker concluded by invoking heaven’s choicest blessings upon the bereaved family, relatives and friends in order that they might the more easily pass over the stroke of Providence that had resulted in the death of the one whose name and memory were being honored.
PRESIDENT WILFORD WOODRUFF
then arose and said: “Blessed are the dead which die in the Lord from henceforth: Yea, saith the Spirit, that they may rest from their labors; and their works do follow them.”
If there is a spirit on earth who will rest from his labors it is Brother Abraham Hoagland Cannon, whose body lies before us this afternoon; and his works will surely follow him. I have almost felt that his labors were too much. He was overwhelmed with labor and care. He labored for the benefit of Israel, for his brethren, for the work of God; and certainly his departure from us is a heavy blow to us all. It is not confined to his wives and children, his father, his friends and relatives; but it rests upon us all; we all feel the weight and force of it. I want to say a few words to his family and friends in relation to this blow that has fallen upon us as a Church, as a people, as well as upon his family. I will say that his father, President George Q. Cannon, has received this with all that patience and humility that belong to his character. I have hardly ever seen a man called to part with a son as he has exhibit the same composure and reconciliation to the will of God as Brother Cannon has. As to his brothers and sisters, it is a blow to them all. It has come suddenly upon them—unexpected, we may say; and, of course, it is a trial. But there are two sides to this question. With regard to his wives and children, I want to say a few words upon that subject. I do not intend to talk long; but in order to answer my mind with regard to his family I have to pursue a course I have never pursued before this people or before the world appertaining to this subject. I want to refer to the plurality of wives and to the plurality of families that men possess in this Church. It is a subject I have left alone as a general thing in all my observations and instructions before the public. I refer to it now because I want to allude to Brother Abraham’s character.
The course he has pursued has been before the world and the people. It has not been hid behind a bushel. Nor has been the course that the Latter-day Saints have pursued. It has been different in a great measure, from that of the inhabitants of the earth in our day and generation. We have had a plurality of wives and families. The principle was introduced to this people by the revelation of God through the Prophet Joseph Smith. This was carried out and practiced by a small percentage of the Latter-day Saints, until the time came when the law of the land forbade our carrying out that principle, and we submitted to the laws of the land, as a body and as a people, with regard to this principle. But I want to say this—and I want you to hear it; there is not one particle of law on any statute book of the United States, or a ruling of any court, from the district court to the Supreme court of the United States, or by the President of the United States, or his cabinet, or the Congress of the United States, wherein a man who has received wives and children under the law of God is required to cast those wives and children into the street and make vagabonds of them. No such law as this has been given, and if there were such a law it would be a very cruel one. Inasmuch as these women have been taken under the law, and have given themselves to our care, and have done so righteously, in virtue of holiness and uprightness before the Lord, is any man justified in casting these women and children into the streets? No. And any man in this Church who has got a plurality of wives, given to him under the law of the Lord, who will not feed and clothe those wives and children, and educate, and take care of them, he is under condemnation before God. No man is justified in that. If I have any wives given to me of the Lord, it is my duty to take care of them, and to take care of their children, feed and clothe and educate them, and do what I can for their benefit. Why? Because they belong to me. They do not belong to anybody else, but will be mine in time and in eternity, if I do my duty and keep the commandments of God. And so it is with you. I hope there is not a man in this Church that will feel to cast off his wives and children because of the laws that have been enacted for our benefit.
Brother Cannon has carried this principle out to perfection. He has thoroughly provided for his wives, as far as I know, all alike. He has done all in his power to lay a foundation to make them comfortable after his departure. He has done the same by his children. And he has been blessed in this principle. Therefore, I consider he is justified. He has finished his work here. He ha[s] gone into the spirit world. His mother is there, and, I suppose with him now. I have no doubt that they are rejoicing together. But he has left a family. He has done all a mortal man could do to leave them comfortable after his departure. Brother Cannon has been a very peculiar man. He has been a man that never has complained scarcely of anything on earth. He has been willing to take a great load upon him, and to do all that he could for the benefit of the Church and of his brethren wherever he has been. Of course, his labors are cut short, suddenly. But he awaits the morning of the resurrection, the coming forth with his wives and children, his father and mother, family and friends, to be united with them upon that occasion.
I want to say to the children of Brother Abraham Cannon: It will be but a little while till your father will be with you, standing in his immortal body and glory, that death cannot destroy nor affect. When I look and reflect upon this Church, upon the blessings and revelations of God, upon the salvation of God, I consider that of all men and women under heaven we have the greatest reason to rejoice before the Lord. We have had a good deal to do in our day and time; but the Lord has assisted us in performing this work. One goes, and another comes. I look around me, and how many there are departed from us! Yes, a large host have left this Church here and gone to the grave with their bodies, while their spirits are in the spirit world preparing to return with the Lord Jesus Christ when He shall come in the clouds of heaven to reward every man according to the deeds done in the body. When I reflect upon this, and realize what a little time will elapse before Abraham Cannon will stand with his family and friends and the Saints of God in glory, in immortal bodies, I think these things should comfort us, and comfort our children and our families.
Brethren and sisters, I find myself hoarse, and I do not feel that I can talk much. But I felt I wanted to say so much to my friends and to my brethren and sisters. I say, God bless you. May God bless the father of Brother Abraham, and bless his wives and his children, his brothers and sisters, and all the family. They are a family that have been united in love. They have had a good example set them. The blessings of God have been over them. I hope and trust we may all pursue that course that we may be justified and be prepared to pass to the other side of the veil as he has done. God grant it, for Christ’s sake. Amen.
R. C. Easton, the well known tenor, then sang to organ accompaniment by Prof. Daynes the old time favorite Mormon hymn:
O my Father, Thou that dwellest
In the high and glorious place!
When shall I regain Thy presence,
And again behold Thy face?
In Thy holy habitation,
Did my spirit once reside?
In my first primeval childhood,
Was I nurtured near Thy side?
For a wise and glorious purpose
Thou hast placed me here on earth.
And withheld the recollection
Of my former friends and birth.
Yet ofttimes a secret something
Whispered, “You’re a stranger here;”
And I felt that I had wandered
From a more exalted sphere.
I had learned to call Thee Father,
Through Thy Spirit from on high;
But, until the Key of Knowledge
Was restored, I knew not why.
In the heavens are parents single?
No; the thought makes reason stare!
Truth is reason; truth eternal
Tells me I’ve a mother there.
When I leave this frail existence,
When I lay this mortal by,
Father, Mother, may I meet you
In your royal courts on high?
Then, at length, when I’ve completed
All you sent me forth to do,
With your mutual approbation
Let me come and dwell with you.
PRESIDENT JOSEPH F. SMITH
spoke as follows: My beloved friends, it is with great weakness that I arise before you to make a few remarks on this occasion. I feel more than ordinarily touched in my heart with the loss that we have sustained in the death of one of our number who has been so active, so energetic, so full of wisdom and of intelligence. We have nothing to mourn over in relation to Brother Abraham H. Cannon, because as it has been remarked, all is well with him. It would be impossible for me to give a history of his character and life, and it would be unnecessary for me to attempt it; for his life is an open book, which has been before the people, to be read of them, for many years; and all the people are more or less acquainted with his life and his labors. I believe that his course has been acceptable unto all who have known him, unto all who have been interested in his life, and that it has been especially acceptable to God. He has truly fought the good fight, and he has kept the faith, and henceforth there is surely laid up for him a crown of glory; for he is worthy to be numbered among the good that have dwelt upon this earth, and among those whose lives have been, it may be said, sacrificed, not only for his own advancement, but for the advancement and good and exaltation of the people. He has labored for the good of mankind, as his writings and the fruits of his labors which may be seen in the Juvenile Instructor and in the various publications of the Church will testify. These will live after him, and by and by we will realize, more perhaps than we can or do today, the worth of the labor of the sacrifice of this young man, and we will see the fruits of his labors where today they are but partially discerned. We will feel the loss of his co-operation and his presence and assistance with us in the great labor in which he was engaged from an early period of his life. He was but a young man—37 years of age last March, and he has been associated in the ministry for a long time in comparison with his life. For some eight years he was associated with the First Seven Presidents of Seventy, and labored diligently in that quorum; and since being chosen from that quorum to be associated with the quorum of the Twelve Apostles he has devoted himself, in writing, in publishing, in preaching and laboring in every capacity that he was called to labor in for the fulfillment of the mission that he was called unto, which is a great and glorious mission.
But the time remaining this afternoon is short, and it is desired that others of his quorum perhaps shall speak to you, and therefore I should be brief. I felt, however, in my heart to read a few words from the revelations of God through Joseph Smith the Prophet to the people of the world in the dispensation in which we live. The Lord says:
Behold! mine house is a house of order, saith the Lord God, and not a house of confusion.
Will I accept of an offering, saith the Lord, that is not made in my name?
Or, will I receive at your hands that which I have not appointed!
And will I appoint unto you, saith the Lord except it be by law, even as I and my Father ordained unto you, before the world was!
I am the Lord thy God, and I give unto you this commandment, that no men shall come unto the Father but me, or by my word, which is my law, saith the Lord;
And every thing that is in the world, whether it be ordained of men, by thrones, or principalities, or powers, or things of name, whatsoever they may be, that are not by me, or by my word, saith the Lord, shall be thrown down, and shall not remain after men are dead, neither in nor after the resurrection, saith the Lord your God;
For whatsoever things remain, are by me; and whatsoever things are not by me, shall be shaken and destroyed.
I read these few words in order that the ground upon which we stand may be seen by those who are assembled here this afternoon. We stand upon the ground described in the words which I have read. We acknowledge nothing that is not ordained of God himself, and that He has not commanded; we do not acknowledge the authority of man, nor the right and power of man to administer in the ordinances of the house of God or in the Gospel of Jesus Christ, except as they are ordained of God and appointed by him through his voice, or through the voice of his angels or ministering spirits which are sent to the children of men, and from them through those who are ordained of God under the hands of angels descended from the throne of Almighty God to administer in the house of the Lord and to proclaim the Gospel of life and salvation unto the children of men. That which is received from above in this way, direct, without any doubt in the minds at least of those who have their eyes opened and their understanding touched by the inspiration of the Holy Spirit to know of the doctrine, whether it be good or evil, whether it be light or darkness, whether it be true or false— all such we accept; and those who received this know the truth; for God has revealed it unto them and they know in whom they trust, and they know whom they obey. This was the testimony which was borne in his lifetime by Elder Abraham H. Cannon. He has stood in this stand and he has proclaimed this belief and this testimony to congregations similar to this, and I know not but he has done so to those who are here today. He has received of the Lord that which he has obtained. The authority by which he acted here was not his, but it was God’s authority delegated unto him; and he acted in the name of the Lord, by virtue of the Holy Priesthood, which had been conferred upon him by divine authority and not by the choice of man nor by the will of man.
I want to bear this testimony to you, my brethren and sisters and my friends, because I know it to be the truth. And I would that all men should know the truth; for it is the truth that will make men free. No error will ever make men free. But when we know the truth, the truth will make us free indeed, and we shall know the doctrine, that it is of God. Therefore, what Brother Abraham received is of God, and it will not have an end now that he is dead, but it will continue with him as he shall continue, an immortal being, redeemed by the blood of Christ, and exalted into the presence of God, whom he obeyed and whose laws he kept here, and he shall enjoy this throughout eternity as well as for time; for that which God gives is an eternal gift; in other words, God bestows no gift on man except those gifts which pertain to eternal life and to eternal exaltation and glory in His presence. Therefore, the Priesthood that he received was from the Almighty, and it was given to him to magnify as a talent. He did not wrap it up in a napkin and bury it in the earth, but he put it to usury, and he has gained other talents thereby; for he has gained the favor of God in many other ways than in receiving the Holy Priesthood which is after the order of the Son of God.
His family has been spoken of here by those who have preceded me. I want to tell this congregation—and I do it with the utmost pleasure—that Brother Abraham H. Cannon has received at the hand of God his family, not of man. When they were joined to him it was for time and for all eternity. It was not for time alone, but for time and all eternity. The holy ties that bind fathers and mothers to their children, that bind children to their parents, and that bind the husband to the wife and the wife to the husband, are eternal ties. They are ties which man was created to enjoy. They are ties which are sacred and which are eternal in their nature, and without which man can never be satisfied in time or in eternity. Therefore, when God has given these blessings and these gifts unto a man for eternity as well as for time, they continue with him after he is dead, and in the resurrection from the dead he will come up possessed of the gifts which were bestowed upon him here by divine authority and in accordance with divine law and in obedience to the divine will and word and command of God Almighty, which has been spoken in the day in which we live—not 1800 years ago, to the ancient prophets and apostles of Christ; but the voice of God that has been spoken to us in the age in which we live. And there is no man within the sound of my voice or upon the face of this broad earth who possesses common intelligence but he may come to a knowledge of the truth for himself; that he shall be able to say, as I say, I know that my Redeemer lives, and I know that He shall stand upon the earth in the latter day. I know that He has spoken from the heavens now, and that He has restored the fullness of the everlasting Gospel to the children of men; and He has commissioned men with authority from on high to administer in the ordinances of His house and in the ordinances of the Gospel of life and salvation for the children of men.
Brother Cannon was engaged in this glorious work and ministry, and he was faithful in it. He was united with his brethren. He was united with the Church and with the people of God. You found him always full of intelligence, full of counsel, full of wisdom, and full of love, charity, patience and longsuffering. His heart was as the heart of a child in the presence of God and in the presence of his brethren. Never did I see him attempt to use an influence by force, or by contention, or by argument, or in any way other than by the calm, peaceful, kindly statement of the truth as it welled up in his soul and as it beamed from him like rays of intelligence from the eternal world. In this spirit of kindness, of reason, of persuasion and of love he sought to mould the thoughts of others and prevail upon them to see the truth as he saw it. But he did not contend with them; he did not argue the point; he was content to state the truth as it was inspired within him, and he was satisfied to leave it then in the hands of God and to the judgment of his fellow servants. And I never knew him to be wrong. I have been associated with him for many years, both as a member of the Council of the Apostles and in business; I have been associated with him in numerous business organizations, and in all his labors he has pursued the same even tenor of his way, and has only sought to enforce his desires by long-suffering, patience and love unfeigned, and by pure intelligence, and judgment and wisdom, with which he was endowed to a marvelous extent or a man of his years.
I feel, therefore, his loss myself. I feel that the community has lost a great counselor, a wise counselor, a man of God, a man of truth, a man fearless when duty called him, a man who was not afraid to meet the consequence of his own acts; a man who was a man as well as a man of God; for he was a man among men as well as a MAN of God with his brethren in the Priesthood; and in every way he was good and true, so far as my knowledge goes. I feel that we have done him wrong. I feel that I have contributed to doing him wrong, in that he was willing to do, and he was capable to do, and because he was willing and capable we put upon him burdens that we ourselves should have borne, or should have helped him to bear more than we did. We have weighed him down by these labors and these responsibilities that we have heaped upon him, and we come to the realization of this fact too late, too late! For I believe myself in the providence of God first, but I believe this, too: that men may be crowded beyond their strength of endurance; men may have responsibilities placed upon them which are calculated to crush them down and bring them to premature death. Yet I am willing to acknowledge the hand of God in this afflictive providence which has befallen us as a people, and I say, “Thy will be done in this as in all other things;” for the souls of all of us are in the hands of the Lord.
I rejoice in my acquaintance with him, I am proud of my association with him. Although I am twenty years his senior, yet I deferred to his judgment, and to his wisdom, and to his strength of mind and of character. I have drawn strength and encouragement to myself from his examples and from his labors, and they have been to me as a tower of strength in days that have passed and gone. I thank God that we have had an Abraham Cannon, I thank God that he was called to the glorious ministry to which he was called. I thank God that he has not polluted it; that he has honored it, that he has maintained his integrity, that he has fought the good fight, that he has kept the faith, and that he has gone home to the Father of light, with whom there is no variableness nor shadow of turning, unsullied, undefiled, honest, virtuous, pure, highminded and intelligent, with the testimony of the truth rooted and grounded in his heart and in his soul till it was a part of him and he a part of it. I would to God that all the young men of Zion would follow in his footsteps, would emulate his example, would be as true and faithful as he has been, and would eschew evil as he has, and be as industrious as he has been in acquiring knowledge and in fitting and preparing himself for the work of the ministry and for the labor that was imposed upon him in life, in which he excelled always.
Now, my brethren and sisters, I did not expect to speak of his good qualities; I expected merely to refer to the principles of the Gospel with which he has been blessed, by which he has secured the testimony of Jesus Christ, which is the spirit of prophecy; by which he had communion with the heavenly hosts by the inspiration of the Holy Spirit; by which his wives and his children are his for time and for all eternity; by which he has secured the right of parentage throughout all the countless ages of eternity. For the time will never come that he will not be proud of his parents and of his ancestors who gave him life, under God, in the world, and who contributed to his greatness and to his advancement and to his knowledge of the principles of salvation; and in eternity he will call them father and mother, and he will call his children his and his family his, in spite of all the laws the world can enact, and in spite of all the ignorance that may exist in the minds of men concerning principles of which they know nothing. I want to bear testimony to you that all is well with him; that he has secured his crown. The promises that were made to him will be verified, because he has lived for them. And there is nothing that will be denied him. I am satisfied of this as I am of my own existence, because I know the truth which has brought to pass these glorious things in the dispensation in which we live.
May God bless and comfort his kindred and cheer up their hearts; give them to see the providences of God in this affliction; give them to hope with that hope which springs from light and truth and from a devotion to those principles which are true and acceptable in the sight of God, to meet with their loved one again beyond the veil. Only a little while and they will be reunited with him, and the same ties that have been formed here will continue there. The same claims that you have here will you have there—and greater claims, and stronger ties, and purer hopes and purer joys, because there that which we enjoy here in part will be perfected, and men will see as they are seen and know as they are known; and when they shall see God they shall be like Him, and they shall see Him as He is, and they shall know then that they are His children, and that they are the creatures of His care, and that there is no one on earth or in the heavens who has greater love for his children than God, the Father of our spirits, to whom we pray, who is the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ the Savior of the world. God bless you and peace be upon this congregation, and upon all the household of faith, and upon all the honest in heart the world over, is my prayer in the name of Jesus. Amen.
H.S. Ensign and the choir then sang the anthem:
When thy soul is sad and weary
Seek relief in prayer,
When the way is dark and dreary
Still there’s comfort there;
There’s a healing balm that prayer
Can alone impart,
And a comfort sent from heaven
to the seeking heart.
When thy dearest hope is blighted,
Like the autumn flowers,
And despair takes hold upon thee
In thy trying hour.
And in vain thou lookest round thee
For some friendly aid,
Turn to heaven in supplication,
Ask, nor be afraid.
Then a heav’nly consolation
Will relieve the heart,
Of its burden of vexation
And its aching smart;
And thy trust in God will lighten
All thy deep despair,
And thy way thro’ life will brighten
By the aid of prayer.
The benediction was pronounced by Elder Brigham Young, after which the audience dispersed through the south and east gates of the Temple block while Elder Cannon’s remains were borne through a door on the north side of the building, followed by the mourners, to the hearse that stood in waiting without, ready for the march to the cemetery.
THE MARCH TO THE CEMETERY.
Grave Dedicated by Apostle Lyman In the Presence of Grief Stricken Thousands.
It was near 4:45 o’clock when the funeral procession started from the Tabernacle under charge of General R. W. Young, marshal of the day. South Temple street was overflowing with people and no teams were allowed to pass east or west on the street after the ceremonies had commenced. The procession was one of the largest ever seen in the State, all classes of citizens joining in the effort to show respect to the honored dead. Held’s band, dressed in neat black uniforms with white cord trimmings, made a very showy appearance at the head of the column, which was formed in the order previously arranged as follows:
Police escort of twelve men under Captain Donovan.
Carriages with Presidents Woodruff and Smith, Apostles Snow, Lyman, Young, John Henry Smith, Teasdale, Merrill, Grant, John W. Taylor and F. D. Richards and Patriarch John Smith.
Drag containing the children of the deceased.
The three wives of the deceased, Presidents George Q. Cannon and Angus M. Cannon and General John Q. Cannon in carriage.
Other carriages containing relatives.
Presidents of Seventies’ quorums.
Presidents of Stakes and High Councilors.
Presidents of High Priests’ quorums,
President of Elders’ quorums.
Bishops and counselors.
Presidents of Teachers’ quorums.
Presidents of Deacons’ quorums.
Presidents of Relief, Primary and Improvement Associations and Superintendents of Sunday schools.
Deseret News employes.
Juvenile Instructor employes.
Civic and other bodies and organizations.
In all the procession was over a mile in length and all who participated in it were earnest in their reverence for the noble dead.
It was after 5 o’clock when the cemetery was reached, and the grounds were packed with people anxious to see and take part in the last services.
Gathered around the grave were the family and relatives of the deceased, and when the casket was lowered a quartette, composed of Mrs. Lizzie Thomas-Edward, Mrs. Ethel Pike, Mr. H. G. Whitney and Mr. Andrew Peterson sang “Rest, Rest for the Weary Soul,” the words for which were composed by Henry Naisbitt and the music by George Careless.
When the last chord of the beautiful hymn had been wafted away on the cool breeze, Elder F. M. Lyman offered the dedicatory prayer, after which the grave was filled in, and soon a mound of earth, grass covered and flower strewn, marked the spot where the body of the deceased had been deposited.
Elder Heber J. Grant extended the heartfelt thanks of the family to all who had assisted them in their hour of crushing bereavement and a moment later the grief-stricken thousands who had followed the cortege to the cemetery were wending their way homeward conscious of the fact that they had looked upon a wise counselor and friend for the last time in mortality.
We returned from the cemetery about 7 o’clock.
27 July 1896 • Monday
Monday, July 27, 1896
The First Presidency and my son Frank had a long and interesting conversation with Mr. Banigan this morning. We went over a great many of the business details, and the meeting was a very pleasant and, I think, satisfactory one. We were together a little over three hours.
Brother John Henry Smith came in this afternoon and told us that a meeting of the immediate relatives and some of the friends of Brother Moses Thatcher had been held and a decision reached that he must be sent to some hospital (San Francisco was talked of) where he could be watched and restrained if it was necessary. He hinted that Brother Thatcher had talked about self-destruction, and that he acted at times as though he was crazy, and the doctor said he would be no longer responsible for his case unless something of this kind were done. I may say that Brother Thatcher, greatly to the surprise of everybody, came to the Tabernacle yesterday, after all were seated, and took his seat in his usual place on the stand. After the services and when we had arisen to walk out the Tabernacle to the carriages, he came and spoke to me, and expressed his regret concerning the death of Abraham. He did not say much, and what he did say was in a maudlin kind of a way. I felt to thank him, however, for his expressions.
A meeting of the Sterling Company was held, at which the First Presidency were present, and the business of the company was talked over. I did not remain in the meeting till it was closed.
I had a call from Sister Taylor and Sister Susie Y. Gates, to talk over the Young Woman’s Journal business. I listened to what they said. I knew nothing, however, about the business, and could only say that we would treat the matter in the best possible manner. They are deeply indebted, they say, to the Juvenile Instructor Office.
28 July 1896 • Tuesday
Tuesday, July 28, 1896
I went up to Ogden this morning on the 8 o’clock train. Mr. Banigan intends to spend to-day and to-morrow in Ogden and to devote the time to examining everything connected with the Pioneer Electric Power Company. I was not in a good condition, in consequence of Abraham’s death, to attend to this business; but he had come such a distance that I felt somebody ought to pay him sufficient attention and show sufficient interest in the business to accompany him, and I had therefore made up my mind to spend all the time I could with him. Mr. Bannister arranged for us to go up the canyon. Frank was also along. Mr. Banigan gave a very thorough examination to the works, the pipe line, the manner of manufacturing the wooden pipe and also the steel pipe. We took dinner at the Hermitage. We also examined the site of the dam, and Mr. Bannister explained to us all the steps that had been taken to secure a good foundation for the dam.
I met for about an hour with the Utah Loan & Trust Co. of Ogden, of which Abraham was president, he having secured the control of that Company a short time before he left for California. The Company was desirous that I should meet with them, which I did while Mr. Bannister and Mr. Banigan went through the tunnel and examined that portion of the pipe line. I afterwards joined them at the shops where the pipe line is being constructed.
I returned to Salt Lake on the 6:10 train.
29 July 1896 • Wednesday
Wednesday, July 29, 1896
I again went to Ogden on the 8 o’clock train. I sent a messenger to Colonel Winder, asking him if he would accompany me; but he got the word too late.
After my arrival at the office of the Pioneer Company, Mr. Banigan, Mr. Bannister, my son Frank and myself held a conversation for about an hour in relation to the charges that had been made by Mr. Allen, who had been employed as consulting engineer. Mr. Rhodes had told the First Presidency of a conversation which took place between him and Mr. Allen in which the latter made improper proposals to him. He had put this conversation in writing, and when I was east on one occasion I had laid the matter before Mr. Banigan. Nothing had been said to Mr. Allen on the subject, however; but in response to inquiries which had been made of him concerning the report that he was to have made, and for which he gave his promise to Mr. Banigan, he had written in his letter as an excuse that improper proposals had been made to him by Mr. Rhodes, and that Mr. Bannister had intimated that if he did not make the right kind of a report concerning the enterprise he could do him injury, &c. We talked over this matter very fully, and Mr. Banigan expressed his feelings to the effect that the character of Mr. Allen’s communication had impressed him very unfavorably. It was considered better to pay Mr. Allen the price agreed on – $500 – and let the matter go.
After this, Mr. Banigan and myself got in a carriage with Brother L. W. Shurtliff and Frank, and we drove down to view the canal and the lands to be irrigated from the canal. The journey was a very pleasant one. We stopped at Brother Wayment’s for some time and ate dinner. They gave us a very nice meal.
Mr. Banigan, in returning, expressed the satisfaction that he had had in visiting our works and all that is being done. He said this was a bigger enterprise than he had thought it to be. Speaking concerning myself, he said he felt that I had done him a great honor in being with him yesterday and to-day. He would have been perfectly satisfied if I had said on Monday that owing to the death of my son, &c., I would not be able to go with him; but, he said, I had sacrificed my time and been with him, shown him this attention, and he felt very much obliged to me for doing so. I replied that I thought that he, having come such a long distance to examine these works, deserved attention. It was as little as could be done that somebody should accompany him, and I would have felt ashamed if something of this kind had not been done.
I have felt nervous about Mr. Banigan’s visit, as I did not know, from the tone of his last letter, whether he would be suited with what we were doing. I had prayed about it, and I felt exceedingly thankful to the Lord for having heard my prayer and causing him to feel so well as he expressed himself. He has given everything the closest scrutiny. He made a number of suggestions to us that I thought were quite valuable.
I returned to the city on the 6:10 train.
30 July 1896 • Thursday
Thursday, July 30, 1896
Brother R. C. Lund came in this morning and read to the First Presidency letters that he had received from Mr. Meyer, enclosing a long letter from Mr. Allen. I did not like the tone of Mr. Allen’s letter to Mr. Meyer, in which he conveys the idea that there had been lukewarmness and indifference concerning the Utah & California railroad. He intimated that it had not received our moral support; and in his report of his interview with the Oregon Short Line people he intimates that they were quite willing, and had been, to do business in relation to this road or make arrangements for traffic in connection with it.
I explained to Brother Lund and the brethren the conversation which had taken place between Mr. Allen and myself, at which Brother Lund was present and he corroborated what I said. I felt it proper to write a letter to Mr. Meyer on the subject, explaining exactly our position and our willingness to abide by the memorandum that had been drawn up between us.
At 11 o’clock the First Presidency met in the Temple with the following members of the Twelve Apostles: Lorenzo Snow, Brigham Young, F. M. Lyman, John Henry Smith, Geo. Teasdale, Heber J. Grant, John W. Taylor. Letters were read concerning Brother Alonzo E. Hyde borrowing 500 pounds from a woman in London, on account of John W. Young. Considerable discussion ensued concerning Brother Hyde’s operations, and some of the brethren were quite severe in their strictures of him. Brothers John Henry Smith and John W. Taylor expressed entire unbelief in many of the things that were said unfavorable to Brother Hyde’s character and conduct. I had but little to say, because I did not wish to express myself respecting him until there can be a full hearing had and his conduct as the trustee of President Taylor’s interests in the Bullion, Beck & Champion Mining Co. can be investigated. I have felt that it was through his influence and that of Brother Moses Thatcher that that family demanded the stock that had been dedicated by their father and had appropriated it to their own uses, in doing which they broke a contract and a covenant that he had entered into, and led to John Beck doing the same.
John W. Taylor’s conduct in relation to the land in Canada which is now being offered for sale in London, and to sell which A. E. Hyde has gone over and Brother John W. Taylor expects to follow, was discussed. I expressed myself very freely on this, because I have felt that there was a great impropriety in one of the Twelve Apostles, because of his influence as such, securing a large body of land contiguous to our settlements and then selling that land for colonization purposes to other people. Of course, the defense made concerning this transaction is, that Brother John W. Taylor has got very heavily involved and that he must get himself out of debt if possible by the sale of this land. But the position I take is, that before entering into any such arrangement as he had concerning this land he should have sought counsel, and that it should have been done for the Church and not as an individual speculation on his part. If all the First Presidency and the Apostles were to look out for their own individual interests, we would be in a bad condition as a church. If this land should be sold as those who own it hope it will be, it will bring in a great many settlers who will be opposed to us and our methods, and will make unpleasant neighbors for the Latter-day Saints.
I do not know but I feel too keenly on these points. I sometimes fear I do, because my brethren do not seem to attach the importance to such matters that I feel they possess. I know that I err very frequently and am a very fallible man; but there is one desire that is very strong within me, and always has been, and that is to [do] everything in my power to build up Zion, in such a way that our enemies shall not have power over us. I have always been opposed to the sale of lands to “outsiders”, where it could be avoided, because if we be the people that the Lord designs, as revealed in His revelations, we are to gather out from the world and do nothing to help bring the world in on us.
The First Presidency had a further talk with my son Frank and Brother Clayton this afternoon in relation to our business affairs.
Brother B. Cluff, of the Brigham Young Academy, came to see us in relation to the employment of a man not of our faith to teach physics and chemistry in that Academy. It is a subject that he had spoken to me about before. He described how necessary it was that such a professor should be employed, because they were important studies, and he had been unable to find anyone in the Church who possessed the requisite knowledge to teach these properly. The gentleman whom he had in mind now to employ was named Stanley, and had been highly recommended by Brother Richard Lyman, a son of Brother F. M. Lyman, who said that he believed he would become a Latter-day Saint. I had suggested that if Brother F. M. Lyman knew him it would be well for him to obtain a letter from him. He had secured a strong letter from Brother Lyman, endorsing the young man as a man of purity and spotless character. After hearing the matter, President Woodruff expressed himself in favor of the employment of the young man. Brother Brigham Young, who is the President of the Academy, was opposed to his employment. Brother Jos. F. Smith, however, made a motion, after hearing what President Woodruff said, that Brother Cluff be authorized to employ him. I seconded the motion, and it was carried; but Brother Young did not vote for it. Brother C. W. Penrose was selected to teach theology at the Academy.
31 July 1896 • Friday
Friday, July 31, 1896
I thought very seriously of our action concerning this non-Mormon professor that was to be employed at the Brigham Young Academy, and my mind was occupied with it through the night. I felt this morning to say to President Woodruff that for one I would like to withdraw my assent to the employment of this young man, for the reason that Brother Brigham Young, who was the President of the Board of Trustees, would not vote for this, and I did not feel that we, as the First Presidency, should take upon ourselves the responsibility, if the Board themselves would not do it. I therefore suggested that we send a dispatch to Brother Cluff and say to him that if nothing further had been done in this matter since we separated, nothing be done. The dispatch was sent; but we learned from Brother Cluff that he had already sent a letter, and that he had informed him he had been employed. He expressed a wish to meet with us when he arrived from Provo. I had gone home when he came; but he told President Smith that it would be very humiliating indeed for him to have to write, after the letter he had written, that he was not needed, and President Smith did not see how the appointment could now be withdrawn.
The First Presidency had a lengthy interview this morning with my son Frank and Brother[s] Clayton and Jack, in which we went over our affairs, and Frank made a report to us of the situation of the project to build to Ophir. We were much gratified to learn that he had submitted the matter to Mr. Banigan and had made a proposition to him to let him have $250,000 of first mortgage bonds with which we had given him as security Salt Lake & Los Angeles and Saltair Beach Bonds, and in addition to this he (Mr. Banigan) to give $90,000 more in cash, which would make the $250,000, the face value of the bonds. In order to secure this, and as a bonus, Frank had proposed that $125,000 of second mortgage bonds be given him. Mr. Banigan seemed rather pleased with the proposition, but wanted it written out fully and sent to him, that he might have it before him. We thought that this bonus was a very heavy one; but both Frank and Brother Clayton felt that it would result in great benefit to us if we did this. The enterprise, if carried out, would be an exceedingly valuable one and very remunerative. Frank gave us then a very full and complete statement of our dealings with Mr. Banigan, and I felt to express with him wonder at the manner in which this gentleman had been operated upon in advancing us money when it was impossible to get it from other sources. It is true that he is likely to secure large profits, but under the circumstances, as that for which we have borrowed the money is likely to be remunerative to us, it does not appear unfavorable, especially in view of the distance we are from his home and the ease with which he could loan his money at home on unquestioned security, and the feeling there is in the east concerning the west. He already has let us have over $500,000. President Woodruff expressed himself similarly; said that he felt the Lord had raised him up to help us.
We had a lengthy meeting of the Pioneer Electric Power Co., very much and I withdrew and was absent a part of the meeting. Mutual explanations followed after the meeting, which relieved me and no doubt relieved others.
President Woodruff is thinking seriously of going to the National Park for an outing. Brother Brigham Young has been very desirous that we should go up there. He has arranged to go himself and to have a party of our people who live in the Snake River valley accompany us. As a preliminary, I went down and saw Mr. Bancroft, of the Union Pacific, to know whether as a director of the Union Pacific I could obtain the use of a freight car and a car for our horses. He said, Yes, there would be no trouble about that if I let him know two or three days beforehand. I have been in doubt whether I could accompany President Woodruff on this trip, as business is not in a very good position; but I feel greatly the need of a relief from affairs here. I think that in view of my bereavement and the way business has crowded upon me it would be of great benefit to me to get away for a short time. In this feeling all my family and my brethren share.