The Church Historian's Press

February 1899

1 February 1899 • Wednesday

Wednesday, February 1, 1899

The Union Light & Power Co. has had some negotiations with the Utah Power Co. The latter company has been indulging in tactics that are likely to do our Company injury, and we have felt that something should be done to prevent a ruinous policy being pursued by one or both of the companies. Both Judge Young and Brother Winder have had conversations with Frank Armstrong and Mr. Dooly on the subject, looking towards the leasing of their property by us. We had this subject up to-day before the executive committee, and a motion was made that negotiations should be continued. Before doing anything more, however, we felt it proper to bring this matter before President Snow, which we did. President Snow listened to all that was said, but did not seem to be impressed with the proposition. The brethren, however, were authorized to continue their negotiations with these parties and see what could be done.

Brother C. O. Card came in and we communicated to him our intention to divide the work in Alberta, appointing Brother Hammond to take charge of the work on the canal, and for him, assisted by Brother H. C. Jacobs, to endeavor to raise men and teams to go there, so that our contract would be fulfilled in time. Brother Card seemed very willing to have this arrangement made.

President Snow and myself had an interview with Sister E. B. Wells about the “Woman’s Exponent”. We sketched out a policy that we thought would result in the paper receiving aid.

The following is an extract from a letter which I have received from President Joseph F. Smith, who is now in Honolulu. I take the utmost pleasure in inserting it in my journal, for it came like balm to a wounded spirit. I could not refrain from shedding tears when reading it:

“I gratefully appreciate the assistance you have rendered me and mine, not only with respect to the last most generous act of kindness, but throughout almost all my life. I recall the many things you have done for me, dating back to my first mission in England from 1860 to 1863, and the numberless acts of love and kindness I have received at your hands ever since. I thank you, President Cannon, with all my heart for all these precious memories of your brotherly – nay – fatherly kindness toward me. And I bless you, and pray for you, and would sustain you always in my faith and prayers. I sincerely wish you never-ending prosperity and ever-increasing blessings. No one has shown me greater kindness, nor been more charitable toward my failings. I feel in my heart that I owe you very much, and I am truly grateful to you and to our Merciful Father who has sustained us all. My heart is full, and my love for you and our brethren is overflowing. I cannot express the fullness of my soul. I hope and pray that God may help us in every hour of need and that He will sustain and honor His servants. That all you have sought to do, with unselfish desire, for the common good, may be realized, and in the success which shall result eventually therefrom your motives may be vindicated and your labors and struggles be recognized, and magnified and sanctified of the Lord. Surely the Merciful Father will not abandon His servants, nor suffer them to come to naught. When I glance over the past, I marvel at the sustaining power of God which has accompanied the efforts of His servants. And He will, I know, be true to those who are true to Him.

God bless and heal your body and prolong your life, I humbly pray.”

2 February 1899 • Thursday

Thursday, February 2, 1899

We met at the temple at 11 o’clock, and attended to considerable business. Brother George Teasdale was mouth in prayer.

There was a meeting of the Co-op. Wagon & Machine Co. at 3 p.m. I attended it for about 20 mins., and then went to the meeting of the Sunday School Union Board.

3 February 1899 • Friday

Friday, February 3, 1899

The First Presidency had a visit from Prest. Partridge and his Counselor, Reed Smoot, of the Utah Stake. They wanted an appropriation to defray the expenses of the Stake organization. $500 had been previously appropriated, but this, they said, was too small an amount. President Snow talked very plainly to them, told them about the condition of the Church, and that we could not give them even the $500.

Brothers Winder and Campbell came up and informed us that the negotiations with the Utah Power Co. had come to a close, and now if anything were done it would have to be done very promptly. The proposition now is that the Union Light & Power Co. shall pay them $35,000 a year. $32,500 had been talked of before; but they changed their proposition to $35,000 and consented to employ a certain number of their hands, the wages of whom, Brother Campbell says, would amount to $4000. The brethren thought this a much better proposition than the one they had been considering. The understanding is that we shall have the property for two years under this lease, with the privilege of extending it to five years. President Snow heartily approved of it, and the brethren were instructed to tell Judge Young to draw up the necessary papers.

4 February 1899 • Saturday

Saturday, February 4, 1899

Dictated my journal to Brother Arthur Winter.

There was a meeting of the stockholders of the Deseret & Salt Lake Agricultural & Manufacture Company, which I attended.

5 February 1899 • Sunday

Sunday, February 5, 1899

To-day is our monthly fast day. I expected to have two or three of my wives go to the temple with me, but the car did not run, and we learned this too late to arrange for a team. I went there myself, accompanied by my son Brigham. We had a very delightful meeting, which I enjoyed very much, as I always do these meetings.

In the afternoon attended the ward fast meeting, and in the evening attended ward meeting and listened with great pleasure to a lecture by Brother John M. Mills on the Book of Mormon. Everybody appeared profoundly interested in the discourse. My little son Georgius, who is a very uneasy fellow, sat with rapt attention, as did all the other children. I think highly of these Book of Mormon lectures; they have the effect to increase faith and interest in that book.

6 February 1899 • Monday

Monday, February 6, 1899

I was at the office attending to various matters of business.

7 February 1899 • Tuesday

Tuesday, February 7, 1899

I went to Provo this morning to attend a meeting of the Grand Central Mining Co. The usual dividend was declared. I took with me my wife and the two youngest children. We did not return till 4:10 in the afternoon.

8 February 1899 • Wednesday

Wednesday, February 8, 1899

There was a meeting of the Union Light & Power Co. at 10 o’clock. Our action in negotiating with the Utah Power Co. to lease their property was approved by the Board. I was occupied for some time in signing vouchers as President of the Company.

9 February 1899 • Thursday

Thursday, February 9, 1899

We had our usual meeting at the temple. President Snow and myself, of the First Presidency, and Brothers F. M. Lyman, John Henry Smith, George Teasdale, Heber J. Grant, A. H. Lund, M. F. Cowley, A. O. Woodruff and Rudger Clawson, of the Twelve, were present. I was mouth in prayer.

In the afternoon I attended a meeting of the Sunday School Union Board.

10 February 1899 • Friday

Friday, February 10, 1899

President Snow and myself had a long conversation with Bishop Preston to-day concerning tithing matters, and also the payment of compensation to Presidents of Stakes and others. Bishop Preston has always been a warm advocate of compensating the brethren for their services, in this respect making a change from the old practice. I have never taken the same view as he appears to do on this subject. I have feared, and have expressed the fear very frequently, that unless care were taken we should fall into the practice of giving men fixed amounts who acted in various capacities in the priesthood. I believe that men who labor in the priesthood should be sustained in their offices by the necessary help. If they can get along without help, blessed are they; but if they need it, it should be given to them. But I have objected very strenuously to the idea, for instance, that a man who is appointed one of the Twelve should receive a fixed sum for his services, regardless of his wants or the size of his family; or that the Seven Presidents of Seventies should have fixed sums, or, in fact, any officers of the Church. President Snow expressed himself in the same way, that we should not encourage the Presidents of Stakes and others in drawing fixed amounts.

We had a meeting of the General Church Board of Education at 2 o’clock.

At 3 o’clock I attended a meeting of the Bullion-Beck Co., and got through as quickly as possible, and then went to a meeting with my sons, that we hold semi-weekly, who are endeavoring to act for me in managing the farm that I have at Deseret, which we call Peel.

In the evening I attended a ball given by Z.C.M.I. to its employes, at Christensen’s hall. I had forgotten all about this until it was too late for any wife to get ready to go, so I took my little daughter Ann as my partner. Brigham took us in the buggy, and he was at the ball with us. Ann and I led the march, and then formed into a quadrille. It was a delightful party. I only danced once and partook of refreshments before I left.

11 February 1899 • Saturday

Saturday, February 11, 1899

Dictated an article for the Juvenile Instructor to John Q., and my journal to Brother Winter.

Had a meeting to-day of the General Church Board of Education, and attended to the apportionment of the amount that was set apart by the Church for the various institutions of learning.

President Snow and myself had a conversation with Brother Spencer Clawson concerning his indebtedness to the Church. Brother Grant was also present.

We have had upwards of a week of exceedingly disagreeable weather. I do not remember ever feeling the cold in Utah more severely than I did during the forepart of this week. There was considerable snow on the ground previous to Tuesday night; but on Tuesday night it fell very heavily, also Wednesday morning, and made the deepest snow I have ever seen, I think, in the valley. It has been thawing the latter part of the week, making the roads very sloppy and disagreeable.

12 February 1899 • Sunday

Sunday, February 12, 1899

I went to the Tabernacle at 2 o’clock, and listened to Elders Stevenson, Perkins, Freeze and [blank] report their missions abroad. They had all been in Germany. After they got through I addressed the congregation on the subject of spiritual gifts. I felt quite free in doing so, and was listened to very attentively.

In the evening attended the ward meeting. Elders D. H. Kimball and W. S. Romney spoke. Both did well, but I was particularly interested in Brother Kimball’s discourse, it was so characteristic and exceedingly interesting.

13 February 1899 • Monday

Monday, February 13, 1899

The Sugar Co. Board met this morning and appointed a committee to take into consideration the propriety of making a dividend of cash and stock. I appointed Heber J. Grant, David Eccles, W. B. Preston, Geo. M. Cannon and Thomas R. Cutler as the Committee. They met with the Company afterwards and reported.

14 February 1899 • Tuesday

Tuesday, February 14, 1899

At the office and attended to various matters.

15 February 1899 • Wednesday

Wednesday, February 15, 1899

The executive committee of the Union Light & Power Co. met at 10 o’clock. We listened to a proposition from Colonel McDaniel to illuminate with our electricity the salt palace which it is contemplated to build in the city. Besides the Committee, Mr. McCornick and Brother Webber, of the Board, were present.

I have felt very much impressed of late to have a free talk with President Snow. I have felt that this committee who are investigating the accounts are making reports to him of various kinds, and I am afraid wrong impressions are being communicated. I felt this yesterday particularly. I was called in to the room where they are attending to business, and Brother Lyman, who was the senior Apostle present (Brothers John Henry Smith and Rudger Clawson were with him), interrogated me in relation to the Sterling mining business. The manner in which the interrogatories were addressed to me reminded me a good deal of the occurrences that had taken place after President Taylor’s death, when I was subjected to such severe treatment as I think I shall never forget. I replied that I did not wish to talk about this, for I did not know as much about it as President Joseph F. Smith, who was absent, and I thought it ought to be postponed until he returned. I was then asked concerning the Grass Creek Terminal railway, and I replied that I did not know much about that. I saw that my replies did not satisfy the brethren. They also asked me concerning the house and lot which I had given to the Trustee-in-Trust at the time when we desired to settle with General Clarkson.

In my conversation to-day with President Snow I said I did not feel that I was treated with that frankness which I desired, and told him my feelings. He in return told me his feelings concerning myself and my conduct in financial matters. It seems the impression prevails with him and with the brethren that I am a very poor financier; that I have not been successful in financial matters; that I am responsible for the present condition of the finances of the Church; that I was the leading spirit in the First Presidency while President Woodruff lived, and that if I had opposed anything it would not have been carried, and if I favored it it was carried. President Snow conveyed the idea to me that they all knew that President Woodruff relied on me and did nothing without my agreeing. I said that I regretted such an impression prevailed; that I had been very careful always in my association with President Woodruff to watch the movement of the Spirit in him, and I could truthfully say that I had never pushed any measure, any scheme forward against what would be his expressed wish and his feeling. That I had had influence with him I knew, and that he consulted me I knew; but I had been exceedingly careful during all my association with him to honor him as my head, as the servant of God, His mouthpiece on the earth; and that what had been done had been done always by united action. They seemed to be under the impression that Brother Joseph F. Smith had not always agreed with me. I told him there might have been some little differences, but that Brother Joseph F. was one of the First Presidency as much as I, and that I had never carried things over his head. President Snow seemed to be of the opinion that President Woodruff was many times incapable of attending to business. He mentioned the fact that he sometimes would be asleep in the Council. I said, Yes; but notwithstanding that, he had been kept fully advised of everything that was being done, and that I had respected him in his office and done nothing without him. I said, It will never do, President Snow, to look upon me - one of the three- as being responsible. The Lord chose President Woodruff to be the head and to hold the keys. What could I do, only to sustain him? He was not an imbecile. The Lord did not choose an imbecile to preside over His Church, and what was done was done by the consent of all. All I asked was that whatever responsibility there may be connected with what has been done, I should only bear my share, and that I shall not be held accountable for all that has been done, and it laid upon me as though I was the only one. Another request I made of him was that he should never allow any man to say anything to him about me that he would not say in my presence. I said I feel that men have talked to you about me and about my management of affairs, and I think it is only justice to me that I should hear what they have to say. If you let men talk to you, President Snow, against me, or about my policy, etc., and I not know what is said, it will destroy my influence. I learned also that Brother Grant (I heard this before this conversation) had taken exceptions to my discourse on Sunday, and had told him that it was intended, he thought, for him (Brother Grant). This shows how easily men can get wrong ideas. I never thought of Brother Grant nor any individual in delivering that discourse. It was a train of thought that I have indulged in and spoken upon weeks before anything had arisen about Brother Grant.

President Snow expressed his gratification at our talk, and I felt very much better after it. I got out many things and made many explanations which, I think, will tend to free his mind. As to my financiering ability, I said, time will show how that will be in the measures we have taken. He said, in palliation of what he called my mistakes, that Sidney Rigdon was a very talented man, but he was a poor financial man, and that the Prophet Joseph himself was not a good financier. I told him I was willing to take any rebuke at any time that he gave me, and I would try to profit by it. I honored and loved him. He was the mouthpiece of the Lord to me, and I wanted to be united with him in all things. He expressed himself very freely as to his confidence in me. He had entire confidence in my judgment in preaching, in doctrine, in writing, and gave me credit for a great deal of talent, but he seemed to think that I was a failure in financial matters. I have known that he had such ideas as this concerning me, and I do not find fault with his judgment or his views; but I think when he gets more information he may change perhaps in this respect. At any rate I will have to bear this as well as I can. I have thought that I managed very well. I have kept a large family, and I have not been burdensome to the Church. I have paid for years more tithing than any man in the Church. I mentioned this to President Snow. He said, You are heavily in debt. Yes, I said, I am in debt, and I had preferred going in debt and paying my tithing than getting out of debt and neglecting my tithing perhaps.

Whatever may be the result, I feel very much pleased at having this conversation with him. We talked two or three hours. Among other things which President Snow mentioned was the Sterling mining business. I said to him in relation to that, that there was nothing that the First Presidency had been connected with that I felt so badly about as I did about that. I told President Snow this in the first conversation he had with President Smith and myself after President Woodruff’s death. I told him that all the enterprises we had engaged in, I thought, would bear the closest examination, but I did feel sore about this Sterling mining proposition. He seemed to think that he had information of a reliable character which made me the one who had promoted that, and who had induced Presidents Woodruff and Smith to go into it. I told him that that was not so. I did not know who his informants were, but I could state to him that I did not lead the way in that business; and if that written in my journal at the time the project was under consideration was any evidence, I thought I could prove that to him; still I have not written as fully in my journal probably concerning this subject as I might have done; but my recollection is exceedingly distinct that President Woodruff was the one who was enthusiastic over the proposition to purchase that property, I did not attempt to relieve myself from my share, but I was not the leader in this matter, and personally I should not have touched it if left to myself.

Another thing that President Snow mentioned was the dedicated stock of the Bullion-Beck. He thought it ought not to have <been> accepted by me from President Taylor in the manner it was. He intimated that President Taylor was non compos mentis at the time he made the writing transferring the stock to me. I said to him, That is the old Thatcher fiction, and there is no truth in it. President Taylor was sound in his mind when that was done. President Snow thought that if I had felt the delicacy he thought I ought to have had on the subject, I would not have had it deeded to me, but to President Woodruff. I said to him, President Snow, the Sterling property is somewhat in the position now that the Bullion-Beck was then. The Bullion-Beck was not so heavily in debt perhaps as the Sterling is now; but President Taylor and myself were personally in debt for a large amount, which we had borrowed to pay for this property. President Taylor was not so much in debt as myself, because he was better off. But the property at that time was not paying. Would you feel, I asked, if I were the owner of the Sterling, to accept the gift of the Sterling at the present time, or the gift of any portion of the stock of the Sterling? He said he would not. I know you would not, I replied; and it would be an exceedingly indelicate thing for me to arrange for such stock to be given to you with its responsibility. In the same way it would have been extremely indelicate for me to have had that deed made out in favor of President Woodruff at that time. It was something that no man would want to accept under the circumstances. The property did not pay for some little time after President Taylor’s death, and was therefore of no pecuniary value, but rather a burden. It is true, it paid after awhile, and his family got back the money he had invested in it, as I did also with mine. Besides this, when I mentioned this matter to President Woodruff, he declined to have anything to do with it.

I do not know whether this explanation satisfied President Snow or not; but to my mind it is a clear explanation, and one that relieves me from the charge of a want of delicacy in taking hold of this stock myself. Afterwards, when all the other parties to the dedication withdrew their stock, there was no stock left but my own, and I did not know that I was committing any wrong in retaining that until such time as it would be convenient for me to transfer it, which I intended to do.

16 February 1899 • Thursday

Thursday, February 16, 1899

The First Presidency and Twelve met in the temple at 11 o’clock. Of the Apostles there were present Brothers F. D. Richards, F. M. Lyman, J. H. Smith, G. Teasdale, H. J. Grant, A. H. Lund, M. F. Cowley, A. O. Woodruff and R. Clawson. President Snow was mouth in prayer.

There was a meeting of Zion’s Savings Bank at 2 o’clock, and a meeting of the Co-op. Wagon & Machine Co. at 3 o’clock. I tried to get to the Deseret Sunday School Union meeting, but I met the brethren coming away, they having had only a short meeting.

I ought to mention that I have called upon Brother Brigham Young, and he is improving slightly. He has been out one day, and called at the office. We are all gratified at his being able to get out, although he is very sick.

17 February 1899 • Friday

Friday, February 17, 1899

I received an invitation some days ago to attend a meeting in the nature of a celebration at the Brigham Young Academy, Provo, of which I am President. Brother Cluff, the principal, has been taking pains to try and create a fund and has appointed the 17th of February (the anniversary of Prest. Smoot’s birth) as a proper time to have payments made towards it, the object being to try and raise money to endow the Academy. I went down this morning, and took my son Brigham with me. We had a very delightful meeting in the morning. I made an address, and others spoke. In the afternoon we had addresses. At the request of the brethren, I offered the dedicatory prayer. It was hoped that President Snow could go down and do this, but as he was not there it fell to my lot. Nearly $1200 was raised, which I think a very good beginning, considering the shortness of the time the call has been made.

My wife Carlie’s household is all prostrated with sickness, excepting Ann.

18 February 1899 • Saturday

Saturday, February 18, 1899

At the office. Dictated letters and articles from the Juvenile Instructor to John Q., and my journal to Brother Arthur Winter.

19 February 1899 • Sunday

Sunday, February 19, 1899

Attended meeting at the Tabernacle at 2 o’clock. Some returned missionaries addressed the congregation, and Brother J. Golden Kimball followed.

Attended meeting in the evening at the ward. My son Brigham was called upon to speak, and he was followed by the Bishop, and I followed the Bishop.

20 February 1899 • Monday

Monday, February 20, 1899

Busy at the office.

21 February 1899 • Tuesday

Tuesday, February 21, 1899

Had a long meeting of the Brigham Young Trust Co. Various matters were discussed. Two new members were selected to fill vacancies in the Board – Lawrence Young (son of Brother Brigham Young) and my son Brigham.

22 February 1899 • Wednesday

Wednesday, February 22, 1899

To-day being a legal holiday – Washington’s Birthday – I stayed at home all day and enjoyed myself quietly.

23 February 1899 • Thursday

Thursday, February 23, 1899

Judge Bartch had a long talk with President Snow and myself this morning. He is quite exercised over the situation of affairs here and the Senatorial contest, and is anxious that there should be some interference by the Church to prevent the evils that he thinks are threatening us if we let matters run as they appear to be going. I believe that he is moved with a sincere desire to avert trouble; at any rate, that which he suggests seems to be designed for good, and no doubt would be attended with good effects, if it could be carried out.

We held our usual meeting in the temple at 11 o’clock. Besides President Snow and myself there were present President Franklin D. Richards, Brigham Young, John Henry Smith, George Teasdale, M. W. Merrill, Anthon H. Lund, M. F. Cowley, A. O. Woodruff and Rudger Clawson. President Snow invited the brethren to speak in relation to the present situation of affairs in the legislature, and to express their views concerning the election of Senator. After hearing an expression from them, he slapped me on the thigh and said, “Here is the man that the Lord wants to go to the Senate of the United States. It is the mind and will of the Lord that George Q. Cannon should be elected United States Senator.” He went on speaking in that strain. A number of the brethren responded and said that was their mind, and all joined in the expression that I ought to be elected.

I have felt somewhat depressed in my feelings in regard to my position, and that I was rather under a cloud. I have feared that there was not that love entertained towards me that I desired, and that there was a disposition to criticize my conduct in connection with the First Presidency while President Woodruff was living. But if I had any cause for any such feeling – which perhaps may be doubted; I have no doubt it would be by my brethren – certainly every cause for such feeling was removed to-day. I never had heard such compliments and expressions of confidence from my brethren as I did at this meeting. President Snow was particularly emphatic as to the good I was capable of doing, the influence I could wield, and the deliverance that my election would bring about. All the brethren who spoke seemed to join in the same feeling. I made remarks myself, explaining my position and the effect that my election would have. I did this without feeling that I was indulging in any egotism; for it is well known to all who have known me that I have had no ambition to go to the Senate. I have been approached many times by Gentiles and by Latter-day Saints upon this subject; but I have had a stronger feeling than one of reluctance; it has amounted almost to aversion. I have not had the least desire to hold such an office; for I am perfectly satisfied with my priesthood and calling. There is nothing I have ever done that has been so sweet to me as preaching the Gospel. But since President Snow spoke to me some time ago on this subject, telling me his feelings, my feelings have undergone a change. I have felt a desire to go to the Senate, not because of any personal gratification, but because I felt that it was the will of the Lord that I should do so, and it has been always the greatest of pleasure to me to do what I thought was the will of the Lord. I have had a testimony that it is His will, and it has been manifested to me the good that I could do if I were elected. On this account I have felt desirous to be elected. It seems like a very difficult thing to accomplish, but if we will work with our might, it does not seem unlikely that it may be effected. There is, however, a strong element to be reconciled to the idea, viz., the Democrats in the Legislature. They are in control of that body, and if they were united they could elect any one they chose, but singularly, and it may almost appear providentially, they are divided.

President Richards was mouth in prayer.

24 February 1899 • Friday

Friday, February 24, 1899

Busy all day arranging affairs with a view to accomplish that which was decided upon yesterday.

25 February 1899 • Saturday

Saturday, February 25, 1899

Same business as yesterday.

26 February 1899 • Sunday

Sunday, February 26, 1899

Attended meeting in the Tabernacle and listened to Elders Carlisle and Miller (returned missionaries) and Brother Matthias F. Cowley, who delivered one of the finest discourses I have heard for a long time, reasoning upon the principles of the Gospel from the scriptures.

Attended meeting in the evening at the ward. Two home missionaries spoke.

27 February 1899 • Monday

Monday, February 27, 1899

Had a meeting of the Grass Creek Coal Co.

28 February 1899 • Tuesday

Tuesday, February 28, 1899

President Snow has had interviews with a number of the members of the legislature. He has met each one singly, so that he could talk freely to them. He has told them what the mind of the Lord is concerning the election of Senator. He has been busy with this for several days past, and expresses himself as being astonished at the hold party feeling has on the brethren. Their devotion to party appears greater, in some instances, than their devotion to the Lord. One of the brethren said, “Now, President Snow, if you say this is my duty, I will do it.” President Snow replied, “I will not say it is your duty. I tell you what the mind of the Lord is, and you are left free to do as you please.” He has not told any man how he shall vote, but has endeavored to show him reasons for voting in a certain way, leaving it entirely to himself whether he shall vote that way or not.

Cite this page

February 1899, The Journal of George Q. Cannon, accessed July 21, 2024