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January 1899


Events in George Q. Cannon’s journal for 1899

2 January

President Snow’s view on financial matters “was so different to what had previously been the feeling of the Trustee-in-Trust, President Woodruff.”

4 January

Union Light & Power Company confronted “by an English company called the Salt Lake & Ogden Gas & Light Co.”

5 January

Dreaded a meeting concerning the condition of the Sterling mining property

10 January

“President Snow is straightening out the affairs of the Church as fast as he can.”

1 February

A letter from “President Joseph F. Smith, who is now in Honolulu, . . . came like balm to a wounded spirit.”

23 February

Feelings about going to the Senate

5 March

Responded to a proposition that that Cannon sons go into business together

9 March

“McCune has debauched some of them [church members] by placing them under obligations to him” so they would ballot for him as senator.

21 March

Emmeline B. Wells and Susa Young Gates proposed that Inez Knight “should join the International Council of Women as a patron.”

15 April

Experimented in raising sheep

18 April

Opposed selling railroad and beach property

19 April ff.

Discussion about new issue of stock in the Utah Sugar Company

23 April

Met with “Sir William Van Horn, President of the Canadian Pacific railway”

23 May ff.

In Washington DC, offered church property for federal purposes

28 May

Visited family members in Boston

19 June ff.

Power company business in New York

9 August ff.

Although sick, traveled to Alberta, Canada, to do business concerning the construction of an irrigation canal

24 August

Description of “grand sights of nature” in Montana

26 August

Received news of son Preston’s illness in Germany

29 August

Cannon sons voted to purchase a gristmill

6 September

“I am burdened with heavy debt.”

8 September

A “suit that is being planted against the Mammoth Mining Co. for encroaching upon the Grand Central Co’s ground”

11 September

“Exercised about my debts” but consoled by trying “to pay my tithing fully and completely”

16 September

Interested in the manufacture of liquid air

23 September

“My son Mark had some conversation with me concerning his wish to enter the army.”

26 September

Concern about severe illness of his son Preston in Germany

8 October

“The Semi-Centennial Jubilee of the Sunday schools was held in the Tabernacle.” Cannon’s reflections on his role in doing “something for the children.”

16 October

In New York to be with son Preston, Cannon himself was seriously ill with double pneumonia

11 November

Left New York to go home

24 November

“I am extremely exercised about my debts, and am trying in every way possible to lessen them.”

2 December

Risk of the Sterling mine property being lost

9 December

Thoughts after the deaths of his mother-in-law Emily Dow Young and of Franklin D. Richards

12 December

Eulogium at the funeral of Franklin D. Richards

21 December

Reasons for his practice of being “very liberal in paying tithing”

30 December

“Instead of the Republican party having any chance in Utah, it seemed to be completely Democratic.”

1 January 1899 • Sunday

Sunday, January 1, 1899

I went to the temple this morning with my wife Caroline. President Snow returned last night from Brigham, and was at the meeting. Brother Heber J. Grant was also there. We had a very interesting meeting. I spoke, by request of President Snow.

Not being very well, I did not attend any other meeting.

2 January 1899 • Monday

Monday, January 2,1899

I came up to the office to-day to keep an appointment with the First Presidency, Le Grand Young, Bishop Winder and R. S. Campbell. It was on the business of the Union Light & Power Co. President Snow did not feel, in his capacity as Trustee-in-Trust, to assume any responsibility connected with that Company. There is $45,000 interest due on coupons of the Banigan bonds, that ought to be paid to-day. We had a very full talk, and President Snow was so positive concerning the course that he should take, and it was so different to what had previously been the feeling of the Trustee-in-Trust, President Woodruff, that it saddened us all. I knew at the time that Brother Winder would pass some sleepless nights, and I did not know but it would affect me. However, I saw that my only refuge was the Lord, who had relieved me so many times. A meeting was appointed to be held on Wednesday, for the Twelve to listen to the business. President Snow said he would not do anything in the matter unless the Twelve sustained him, etc.

3 January 1899 • Tuesday

Tuesday, January 3, 1899

I went to Provo this morning, and returned at 12:30; but in going there I had exposed myself so much to cold and was so thoroughly chilled that I went straight home and nursed myself all the afternoon.

4 January 1899 • Wednesday

Wednesday, January 4, 1899

Brother Winder and myself, of the Union Light & Power Co., met as an executive committee this morning. Brother Hills was not able to be present. We attended to considerable business and talked over the situation of affairs and the meeting that is to be held this afternoon.

At 1 o’clock there was a meeting of Zion’s Savings Bank. At 2 o’clock the proposed meeting on the business of the Union Light & Power Co. was held. Present: First Presidency, F. D. Richards, F. M. Lyman, J. H. Smith, G. Teasdale, H. J. Grant, A. H. Lund, M. F. Cowley, R. Clawson, Bishop Winder and Le Grand Young.

I requested Brother Le Grand Young to make a statement of the situation, which he did. Brother Winder also made a statement, showing how he had been requested by President Woodruff to become identified with the company and how reluctant he was to do such a thing, but he could not refuse to do what President Woodruff requested of him. President Smith made a good many remarks also.

The matter was discussed very fully. President Snow seemed to have the view that this was a private enterprise and that the Church was not responsible in any way for it. The drift of his inquiries showed plainly to me that this was his view. I said, “I perceive, President Snow, by your inquiries, that you have the view that this is a private enterprise.” He said he had, and that Brother Winder had confirmed his view. At this Brother Winder stated that he had not entered into it as a private enterprise at all; that it was a measure adopted by the First Presidency. President Snow asked me about my stock – whether it was intended for the Church or not. I said that those who knew me would know, I thought, that I would not do anything else but give the Church the full benefit of it. Well, he said, suppose you were to die, and the stock, standing as it now does, would not your heirs claim it? I said, No; the heirs would not do that, because I had taken measures to define the rights of the Church in all the transactions with which I had been connected.

After we got to a point where President Snow felt like closing the discussion, I said I would like to say something. I then presented the case as succinctly as I could to the brethren, and said in substance as follows:

We have endorsed the bonds. We have promised to pay the coupons. Judge Young has been exceedingly anxious that we should be relieved from the responsibility of the endorsement, in which feeling all of us have shared. We brought our electricity to this city. We found ourselves confronted here by an English company called the Salt Lake & Ogden Gas & Light Co. They had succeeded in getting their grip on the Big Cottonwood Co, most of whom were members of our Church and our friends. The intention was to seize that company. To prevent this the First Presidency felt that we must assume responsibility. We did so and kept that company from falling into the grasp of the Salt Lake & Ogden Co., greatly to their chagrin. We had to do this or have a rival corporation that would almost make valueless our property. Afterwards an agreement was sought to be made between the different interests and to consolidate under the name of the Union Light & Power Co. This was finally effected, and the Union Light & Power Co. organized with a capital of four and a half millions of dollars. In effecting this combination this point was reached: the Pioneer Electric Power Co’s bonds became first mortgage bonds on this property, and the Union Light & Power Co. was pledged after the expiration of two years to pay the interest on its bonds. $750,000 in bonds were issued, called the prior lien bonds. These and the 1500 bonds that Mr. Banigan held constituted the first mortgage, which the Union Light & Power Co. was bound to pay interest on, if it had the means. In the making of this contract it was understood that the English holders of the property should receive from the Union Light & Power Co two millions and a half of what is termed consolidated bonds. One of the conditions of the contract was that we should pay the interest on the Pioneer Electric Power Co. bonds for two years – $180,000. For this $180,000 we have now in our possession 39 prior lien bonds, which so far have not sold for less than 95, and 157 consolidated bonds. Now, the 39 bonds are good marketable bonds; the consolidated bonds are not at present; but Lewis S. Hills asserted in my hearing that within ten years the consolidated bond would pay its interest in full. This is the condition. We have received about $200,000 in bonds for this $180,000 interest. The bonds are not worth the interest at present, and we cannot sell them for that. The result is, we have to raise the $180,000. But we have thought that the trade was an excellent one, because it put the company between us and the bonds we had endorsed.

I spoke with a great deal of clearness. I am conscious that my dictation now is not so clear as my talk then was; for the Spirit rested down upon me, and I think all the brethren saw it.

Brother Grant expressed himself to the effect that he was very happy that the trade had been made, and that things were in as good a condition as they were, for they are much better than he anticipated.

It was then decided that President Snow, as the Trustee-in-Trust, should be authorized to pay the $45,000 now pending.

I felt exceedingly thankful at the result of this meeting. I had prayed most earnestly to the Lord to help us, and He did give unto us His Spirit. We had a pleasant time, and I felt wonderfully relieved.

5 January 1899 • Thursday

Thursday, January 5, 1899

I had some talk this morning with my son Hugh and John M. Cannon concerning the Sterling mine matters.

At 11 o’clock we met in the temple as usual. One of the principal items of business that was done was the appointment of a committee to audit the accounts of the Church. President Snow seemed to be desirous to have it done, and expressed the feeling that he would not be satisfied without it. Under these circumstances I was thoroughly in favor of it. Brother John Henry Smith brought the matter forward. Nothing was said concerning his being prompted to do so by President Snow; but I am satisfied he merely made the motion on an understanding with President Snow that such a motion should be made. The motion was that a committee should be appointed to audit the books of the Church. President Snow appointed as the committee, F. D. Richards, F. M. Lyman, J. H. Smith, H. J. Grant and Rudger Clawson.

About 3 o’clock a meeting was held to take into consideration the condition of the Sterling mining property. There were present beside the First Presidency, F. D. Richards, F. M. Lyman, J. H. Smith, H. J. Grant, J. W. Taylor, A. H. Lund, M. F. Cowley, A. O. Woodruff and Rudger Clawson; also Hugh J. Cannon, John M. Cannon, Asahel H. Woodruff and J. E. Langford.

Brother John M. Cannon was called upon to make statements, but he suggested that we hear from Brother Langford first. He made his statement, and then John M. followed with his statement. President Jos. F. Smith also made a statement. I kept very quiet. As I explained to President Snow, I felt as though I did not understand the business enough to talk about it with the intelligence I desired. I have dreaded this meeting beyond description. As I remarked, I have been in the penitentiary twice; I have been in the hands of my enemies; I have been in many perilous places; I have had rewards offered for my apprehension; but I never dreaded them all put together as I did this meeting and this business. I have felt, in view of all that has taken place, that whatever my feelings may have been in relation to this enterprise – that is, the good it would do the Church as I thought when we entered into it – if it is at all possible for me to bear my proportion of the expense that has been incurred, I do not want the Church to bear a dollar’s expense for me. The aim in this investigation to-day seemed to be to prove that we had entered this as an individual speculation. All who spoke admitted, particularly President Smith, that he expected to derive benefit from it. Jerry Langford did too. Hugh and John M. Cannon were drawn into this by us. They had no interest in it, and were merely used to relieve us and stand as buffers between us and the public; in fact, we are not known in it legally at all. I said towards the close of the meeting that I did not wish to talk; there was not much that I could say, and it did not seem to me to be the time for talk; but I wished to say that the motive which prompted us in entering into this was to benefit the church. I said that at a time when $300,000 was offered for the properties I had had my attorney draw up a paper, which I had had properly signed and witnessed, turning over everything connected with it that I had, either real or prospective, to Wilford Woodruff, Trustee-in-Trust. I had invested over $7000 of my own money in this, and I was willing that the Church should have whatever benefit might grow out of the property. I felt to say this much to relieve my feelings. I did not mention, however, my feeling that I would do something to assist in bearing the expense. I thought I had better leave that till later on. The meeting terminated with a better feeling than I had hoped for.

6 January 1899 • Friday

Friday, January 6, 1899

My cough troubled me so much last night and kept me awake nearly the whole night that I resolved to stay home to-day and rest. I had as visitors, Brother James Jack, Brother Wilcken, John M. & Hugh J. Cannon, and my brother Angus, which occupied nearly the whole day. I felt very much benefitted by keeping warm and staying in the house.

7 January 1899 • Saturday

Saturday, January 7, 1899

I came to the office to-day and attended to business.

Brother Joseph F. Smith is going to the Sandwich Islands with his wife, whose health has been very seriously impaired. I wanted to see him before he left; so I spent the day at the office.

Dictated correspondence to my son John Q., and my journal to Brother Arthur Winter.

8 January 1899 • Sunday

Sunday, January 8, 1899

At 2 o’clock I went to the Tabernacle, and enjoyed myself very much in listening to Elders Jenkins, Graham and Sheets, returned missionaries. They were followed by Elder Rulon S. Wells, who has been presiding in the European Mission. The Spirit of the Lord was in the meeting, and all enjoyed it, I think.

9 January 1899 • Monday

Monday, January 9, 1899

I was at the office. We did some business with Brother C. O. Card, and listened to his report of the progress being made in the contract we have with the Alberta Irrigation Co.

10 January 1899 • Tuesday

Tuesday, January 10, 1899

President Snow is straightening out the affairs of the Church as fast as he can, and collecting all that he can from those who are owing the Church. Brother Grant brought to my attention the fact that my wife Caroline had given her note for $1000, secured by bank stock, to help L. G. Hardy. President Snow had thought it ought to be settled, also my $500 that I had promised for the same purpose. He said he had plead with President Snow to have the interest remitted, and Brother Snow had remitted it all. I did not want the $1000 that my wife had subscribed to be taken from the amount the Church owes her, because she depends upon that for her living; so I said that inasmuch as I had not drawn much this year I would like to have the $1500 charged to my account for the time being, and as soon as I was easy in my circumstances I would pay it, but at the present time I was not in funds to do it. President Snow consented to this, and I am glad the matter is settled.

11 January 1899 • Wednesday

Wednesday, January 11, 1899

This is the anniversary of my birth: I am 72 years old to-day.

Attended meeting of the executive committee of the Union Light & Power Co.

Dictated some letters to John Q.

About 3:30 I left for home. There was a reunion of my family at my wife Eliza’s house. I was very greatly pleased with the arrangements they had made, and my wife’s parlors appeared to excellent advantage. The death of my nephew, Charles M. Cannon, yesterday prevented my brother Angus and my daughter Mary Alice and her husband from being present. We had a most delightful time. An excellent meal was served, and it took three tables to enable all to eat. Then there was a very nice programme arranged and carried out. John Q. was master of ceremonies. We broke up about 10 o’clock, all delighted with the occasion, and I, of course, exceedingly pleased at seeing so many of my descendants together. I could not help but indulge in retrospection, and made a little address to them.

12 January 1899 • Thursday

Thursday, January 12, 1899

I was very much saddened this morning by hearing the news of Brother George Goddard’s demise. He passed away at 1:55 this morning. His life has been one of great usefullness, and it appears to me that he has left a void that it will be difficult to fill in the Sunday school cause. He seemed to be a man expressly fitted for that labor, and he has been most unremitting in his devotion to it, traveling far beyond that which might be expected for a man of his years. He is 83 years old. His name is a household word among the children.

At 11 o’clock we met in the Temple. All of the Twelve were present, excepting Brother Brigham Young, who is confined to his room with inflammatory rheumatism. Of the First Presidency, Brother Jos. F. Smith was absent, he having left last Sunday evening for the Sandwich Islands. The Twelve have been in session yesterday and the day before. We partook of sacrament together, President Snow offering prayer, and I offering the benediction.

At 3 o’clock I met with the Sunday School Board, and appointed a committee to take charge of the funeral ceremonies of Brother Goddard. The committee consists of Seymour B. Young, Geo. Reynolds and Geo. D. Pyper. We appropriated $250; $100 for the expenses of the funeral and $150 as a donation to the family. We transacted considerable business. There were with us Bishop Empey, Bishop Preston, and four sons of Brother Goddard.

13 January 1899 • Friday

Friday, January 13, 1899

At the office and dictated to John Q., and my journal to Arthur Winter. Brother J. E. Talmage brought to the attention of the First Presidency the completed text book which he had been authorized to write, and which had been accepted by the committee that we appointed for the purpose of examining it; but there were some questions connected with it that the committee had not decided upon. One was in regard to the Holy Ghost – whether that which had been written on this subject and published in the Juvenile Instructor should be made a part of the text book or not. There was some question also about the doctrine of plural marriage, and also as to the manner in which the book should be published. We had some conversation on this, and he was instructed to call in on Monday and see further about it.

Messrs. T. G. Webber and W. S. McCornick came to the office and conversed about endeavoring to secure the federal building on the Deseret News corner.

14 January 1899 • Saturday

Saturday, January 14, 1899

I was busy at the Juvenile Office this morning. Spent the afternoon at the office of the Presidency.

15 January 1899 • Sunday

Sunday, January 15, 1899

It had been arranged for the funeral of my nephew Charles M. Cannon to take place at the 14th ward to-day at 12 o’clock; but there was such a large crowd gathered at the meeting house that it was deemed best to take the body to the Tabernacle, which had been prepared for the funeral of Brother George Goddard at 2 o’clock. I and three of my wives went to the house and we accompanied the hearse to the meeting place. I was invited by my brother Angus to make some remarks, but I did not feel to do so. Remarks were made by Bishop Geo. H. Taylor, Prest. C. W. Penrose and Bishop L. G. Hardy, all of whom spoke in excellent terms of the deceased. From all that I can learn of Charles’ life, it has been a pure one, and he has been a kindhearted young man, faithful in all the duties that devolved upon him. I could not accompany the remains to the cemetery, as I had charge of the funeral obsequies of Brother Goddard.

The Tabernacle was crowded at 2 o’clock, and the funeral services of Brother Goddard were of a very interesting character. The following brethren addressed the congregation: Bishop Empey, Karl G. Maeser, Charles R. Savage, Geo. Reynolds, Heber J. Grant, Seymour B. Young and myself. Brother Geo. Teasdale made the opening prayer, and Patriarch John Smith closed by prayer. The tribute to Brother Goddard’s memory and his labors was of the most gratifying character. The procession to the grave was a very long one. I went there myself.

16 January 1899 • Monday

Monday, January 16, 1899

Brother Talmage was in again to-day. President Snow had in the meantime read his article on the Holy Ghost and approved of it, and thought it ought to be inserted in the text book. Brother Talmage read to us the article on plural marriage. President Snow heartily approved of it, and asked me my views as to it being incorporated in the text book. I told him I was not in favor of it. I thought it would expose us to attack, and I did not think it was necessary. I thought the article and [an] excellent one, but did not consider it prudent to publish it in the text book. It would expose us to the charge that we were endeavoring to propogate plural marriage, and it seemed to me that this was not necessary, for we could teach it so much better in other ways. The question as to how the manuscript should be published was not decided.

There was a meeting of the Sugar Co. at 9:30 a.m. today.

17 January 1899 • Tuesday

Tuesday, January 17, 1899

Balloting for Senator commenced to-day in the Utah Legislature.

18 January 1899 • Wednesday

Wednesday, January 18, 1899

At 10 o’clock I attended a meeting of the executive committee of the Union Light & Power Co.

I met with the Sunday School Board to-day at 3 o’clock. Our usual time of meeting is Thursday, but the members wished to attend the Old Folks’ party in the theatre to-morrow.

19 January 1899 • Thursday

Thursday, January 19, 1899

We held our usual temple meeting. Present: President Snow and myself, of the First Presidency, and President Richards, F. M. Lyman, John H. Smith, Geo. Teasdale , Heber J. Grant, John W. Taylor, Anthon H. Lund, M. F. Cowley, A. O. Woodruff and Rudger Clawson, of the Twelve Apostles. Brother Grant was mouth in prayer.

At 2 o’clock I accompanied Presidents Snow and Richards, F. M. Lyman, John Henry Smith and A. H. Lund to the theatre, to see the “Chimes of Normandy”, which was played for the benefit of the Old Folks.

Before going to the theatre we had a short meeting of Z.C.M.I.

20 January 1899 • Friday

Friday, January 20, 1899

I dictated two articles to John Q. for the “Juvenile Instructor”, also some correspondence.

I had interviews with Brother Sorenson and Brother Larsen, members of the Legislature, who were anxious to see me. The Senatorial contest still goes on. They ballot every day, but have reached no conclusion yet.

21 January 1899 • Saturday

Saturday, January 21, 1899

President Snow went to Brigham City this morning.

I had an interview with Mr. Magrath, of Alberta, in company with Brother C. O. Card.

22 January 1899 • Sunday

Sunday, January 22, 1899

I attended meeting at the Tabernacle at 2 o’clock. I took with me Brother L. H. Redd, a member of the legislature, who had stopped with us all night. He is the husband of my wife Caroline’s cousin. Elder Naylor, just returned from the Southwestern States Mission, Elder Nystrom from the Swiss and German Mission, Elder Naylor from the Southern States Mission and Elder Carr from the Australian Mission, spoke at the meeting, and I was very much pleased with their remarks. There being some time left, I addressed the congregation for 35 mins., and felt very well in doing so.

In the evening I attended our ward meeting, and I spoke to the saints there.

23 January 1899 • Monday

Monday, January 23, 1899

Brother John W. Hess, Prest. of Davis Stake, called to see the First Presidency in relation to two of the Twelve going up to that Stake to settle a difficulty that had arisen between the people of Kaysville and Layton. There was danger of a lawsuit, and we felt that the matter might be settled by the kindly intervention of some of the authorities. An appointment was made for them to go next week, if convenient. Brothers Lyman and Merrill were spoken of.

24 January 1899 • Tuesday

Tuesday, January 24, 1899

There was a meeting of the Board of Directors of the Grass Creek Coal Co., and then a meeting of the stockholders. On my motion, President Snow was elected President of the Company. I was elected Vice President.

25 January 1899 • Wednesday

Wednesday, January 25, 1899

At 10 o’clock there was a meeting of the Union Light & Power Co. There was a full board present.

Bishop Morris, of the 11th ward, called to get counsel in relation to a woman who had been for many years an invalid in his ward, and therefore unable to receive her endowments, and who had died this morning. Her kindred are anxious to know whether she cannot be officiated for by her daughter in receiving her endowments, and then be buried in her temple clothing. After considering the case, President Snow and myself thought that it would not be inappropriate for this to be done.

Brother B. Cluff, Jr., had a long conversation with me concerning the affairs of the Brigham Young Academy, and I afterwards submitted the questions to President Snow, who took the same view of them as I took and assented to the counsel that had been given.

26 January 1899 • Thursday

Thursday, January 26, 1899

We had our meeting at the temple at 11 o’clock. All the Twelve were present, excepting Brother John W. Taylor, Brother Brigham Young and President F. D. Richards. President Jos. F. Smith was also absent. Brother Cowley was mouth in prayer.

At 3 o’clock there was a meeting of the Co-op. Wagon & Machine Co., which kept me from attending the Sunday School Board meeting.

27 January 1899 • Friday

Friday, January 27, 1899

President Snow and myself were waited upon by a committee of five – T. G. Webber, W. S. McCornick, John C. Cutler, L. S. Hills and Geo. M. Cannon – who were anxious to come to some decision about the price of the Deseret News corner, and were of the opinion that it ought to be given by us for the federal building site, and they pave the streets around, which would cost about $60,000, and bear any other expenses there might be connected with this. They were very anxious that I should go to Washington and secure the location of the building on that site. I said I thought they ought to select somebody else. No, they said; they were all united that I ought to go. I said I thought A. W. McCune, if elected Senator, would be the most suitable person, as he knew how to handle money matters better than I did; but they all repeated that I was the person to go.

28 January 1899 • Saturday

Saturday, January 28, 1899

I was at the office and had an interview in company with President Snow with M. D. Hammond, who described the condition of affairs in Canada, which led us to the conclusion that it would be well to appoint him to take charge of the affairs up there in connection with the contract made with the Alberta Irrigation Company. Brother C. O. Card has so much to do in securing settlers and in looking after the affairs of the Stake that it was thought there might be peril in leaving this labor to him, and that it would be better to have one man experienced in such labor to take charge and to see that the business was pushed through.

29 January 1899 • Sunday

Sunday, January 29, 1899

I attended meeting at the Tabernacle. Brother Joseph W. McMurrin addressed the congregation in a very interesting manner.

In the evening I attended ward meeting and partook of the sacrament, Two home missionaries spoke, and I also addressed the congregation.

30 January 1899 • Monday

Monday, January 30, 1899

Brother M. D. Hammond called again, and we had further conversation concerning his labor in Alberta.

31 January 1899 • Tuesday

Tuesday, January 31, 1899

Brother B. Y. Hampton called upon us, President Snow and myself had conversation with him concerning his claim. He was owing the Church $265, and he was willing to pay that and take $700, which would be $965, for the $1000 he claimed he had spent. An arrangement was made to that end.

President Snow and myself had had some conversation about the Deseret News corner yesterday, and I suggested that we should get the Presiding Bishops up and talk the matter over with them. They came and we had a long conversation. It was concluded by President Snow that it would be a magnanimous thing for us to offer the corner to the Government for the federal building. If they accept it, we will have a very fine building there. If they do not accept it, we will at least have the credit of having made the offer to the government. The Presiding Bishops agreed with us that that would be a very fine thing to do.