April 1899

1 April 1899 • Saturday

Saturday, April 1, 1899

Busy at the office. A question arose concerning relieving Brother Isaac Clayton. If he did not raise $2000 to-day there would be a judgment given against him on a mortgage, which would be of very serious consequences to him. The most saleable thing he had was Inland Salt Co’s stock, and if he sold that it would take away from our people the control of that property. It was said that the Kansas people were ready to buy and were desirous to obtain control. As it was $2000 he stood in need of, it was decided to purchase $2000 worth of his stock, and that an option should be given to the Church for the balance of his stock to this effect: if he sold within a year he should sell the remainder of his stock at the same figure, the understanding being, however, that he would not be compelled to sell to the Church if he could retain it in his own hands.

I dictated my journal to Brother Arthur Winter.

2 April 1899 • Sunday

Sunday, April 2, 1899

A very unpleasant, stormy day. Snow and sleet fell, and it was very disagreeable. I attended fast meeting at the temple with my wives Sarah Jane, Martha and Caroline and my son Brigham. We had a most interesting meeting. In the afternoon attended fast meeting in the ward, and listened to the testimonies of the saints and bore testimony myself.

3 April 1899 • Monday

Monday, April 3, 1899

At the office this morning the First Presidency had a call from Major Pond, of the Pond Lecture Bureau, who called with Ian Maclaren (Dr. Watson), the great Scottish author. He is a clergyman. They were accompanied by their wives. We had quite an interesting conversation with Dr. Watson upon our principles, in which he appeared much interested. I sent to his hotel a number of books upon our principles and the published volumes of the History of Utah.

This is President Lorenzo Snow’s birthday. He was born 85 years ago to-day. In honor of the occasion a meeting was held in the temple at 1 o’clock, at which the First Presidency and Twelve were present, as well as the temple workers and some other invited guests. Bishop John R. Winder took charge of the proceedings, and after partaking of refreshments the brethren were called upon to speak. President Snow, President Smith, and each of the Twelve made remarks. Brother John Nicholson responded on behalf of the temple workers. I also was called upon to speak. I had been called upon in the first place; but I preferred waiting. When I arose to speak, my emotions overpowered me, and I felt much ashamed of my weakness. The meeting was a very enjoyable one, and I think everyone was highly pleased. There was singing by the choir, a piece was read by my daughter Hester, a recitation was given composed by Sister Freeze, and solos were sung. Altogether it was a most happy occasion.

In the evening, accompanied by some of my folks, I went to hear Ian Maclaren lecture at the Assembly Hall. He was quite entertaining, and I enjoyed his lecture very much. He illustrated Scottish character, and the lecture was composed principally of extracts from his own works.

4 April 1899 • Tuesday

Tuesday, April 4, 1899

I went to Provo this morning, and stayed there till the afternoon train. I was accompanied by my wife Caroline.

5 April 1899 • Wednesday

Wednesday, April 5, 1899

I met with the executive committee of the Union Light & Power Co. at 10 o’clock.

At 11 o’clock went to the temple with Presidents Snow and Smith and met with the Twelve. We were all fasting, and we partook of the sacrament.

We had a meeting of the Board of Directors of Zion’s Saving Bank & Trust Co., and then there was a meeting of the stockholders of Z.C.M.I., and I had a meeting of the Sunday School Union Board – which kept me very busy. There was also a meeting of the Brigham Young Trust Co. this morning, which I attended.

6 April 1899 • Thursday

Thursday, April 6, 1899

General Conference of the Church convened this morning in the Tabernacle at 10 o’clock. The attendance was better than usual. President Snow made the opening remarks. He was followed by Brother Rudger Clawson, Brother A. O. Woodruff and Brother M. F. Cowley, of the Apostles, all of whom spoke excellently.

In the afternoon, remarks were made by Brothers Lund and Merrill and myself. I had unusual liberty. I enjoyed the brethren’s remarks.

7 April 1899 • Friday

Friday, April 7, 1899

Brothers John W. Taylor, Heber J. Grant, and Geo. Teasdale were the speakers at the Conference this morning. In the afternoon we had Brothers John Henry Smith and F. M. Lyman and President Joseph F. Smith.

8 April 1899 • Saturday

Saturday, April 8, 1899

This morning a priesthood meeting was held, at which there was a larger gathering of members of the priesthood than we have ever seen in the Tabernacle on such an occasion. Bishop Preston was called upon to speak, and he was followed by President Snow, who spoke at some length and with remarkable clearness and power. I occupied the rest of the time.

9 April 1899 • Sunday

Sunday, April 9, 1899

The Tabernacle was crowded this morning. President Franklin D. Richards, Elder Brigham Young and President Snow were the speakers. Brother Richards spoke at some length, but was heard by but few.

In the afternoon the authorities were presented by myself, after which President Snow told President Smith and myself that we could divide the remainder of the time. I was very much interested in my own remarks, but spoke within the limit, leaving half the time to President Smith.

There was an overflow meeting in the Assembly Hall, which was in charge of Elder John W. Taylor. He was accompanied by others of the Twelve and some of the First Seven Presidents of Seventies.

This Conference has been better attended than our Conferences generally. The Tabernacle was filled almost every meeting, and the saints appeared deeply interested in the instructions that were given. The Spirit of the Lord was poured out upon the people and upon the speakers. I had rather dreaded this Conference, for my health had not been very good a day or two before it opened; but I enjoyed myself exceedingly and my physical strength was renewed.

In the evening we had Sunday school meeting, which passed off excellently. The house was well filled and the proceedings very interesting.

10 April 1899 • Monday

Monday, April 10, 1899

This morning there was a meeting in the Assembly Hall of the Presidents of Stakes and Counselors, the Bishops and Counselors, the Patriarchs, Presidents of Temples, High Councilors, Presidents of Missions, Presiding Bishops, First Seven Presidents of Seventies, Twelve Apostles and First Presidency. Considerable instruction was given at this meeting.

We had been invited by Brother John R. Winder to keep an appointment that had been made six months previously at a banquet he gave us – that is, to meet at his house six months from that time and partake of dinner. The hour set for the dinner was 4 o’clock, and at that hour all the First Presidency and Twelve Apostles were there, excepting Brother Merrill. We had an excellent repast and a very interesting time. Feeling that it might be too much to adjourn to meet again at the same place, when the subject came up and was discussed I suggested that they might meet at my place, which seemed to be heartily accepted, so an adjournment was taken for six months, to meet at my home. My wife accompanied me to Brother Winder’s. (Martha).

11 April 1899 • Tuesday

Tuesday, April 11, 1899

The First Presidency had some conversation with Brother A. W. Ivins and Brother Brigham Young on Mexican affairs, particularly in regard to the Yaqui Indians and missionary work among them, and also the purchase of a ranch on the Bavispa river, which was thought to be a very suitable place for gathering the Indians.

In the evening I went to Brother John McDonald’s with my wife Sarah Jane. This is the anniversary of his birth, and is also the anniversary of the marriage of Sarah Jane to me, it being 41 years since we were married. There was a fine company of people assembled at Brother McDonald’s as usual, and an excellent meal was served. Everything was done to make the visit a pleasant one. They are an exceedingly lively and musical family. I stayed there till about 11:15. We left in time to catch the 11:30 car home.

12 April 1899 • Wednesday

Wednesday, April 12, 1899

There was a meeting of the Board of Directors of the Union Light & Power Co. this morning, at which considerable business was done.

A man by the name of Wilcox, who resides at Paris, Bear Lake Co., came to the office this morning and made complaint against President William Budge. He claimed that Brother Budge had taken advantage of him in getting a farm from him. After hearing all he had to say, the First Presidency felt that it was scarcely proper for us to try this case; so it was suggested that three or four of the Twelve be selected to listen to it. President Richards and Elders Brigham Young and John Henry Smith were selected. Brother Budge was telegraphed for.

13 April 1899 • Thursday

Thursday, April 13, 1899

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

I got excused from a meeting of the Co-op. Wagon & Machine Co. and from the Sunday School Union meeting, as my brother David and sister Ann were about to take their departure for home, and we had invited them to my house to partake of a meal with us. There were present at the dinner, my sisters Mary Alice and Ann, my brother Angus and wife Amanda, my brother David and wife Rhoda. We had a delightful time together; the only drawback was that we were compelled to part so soon, as they took the train this evening. My brother David feels very badly. He has a daughter who is in a very low condition, and he scarcely expects to see her alive. He has received a great many dispatches from home about her condition, and the last was to the effect that she was sinking. He has had other trouble in his family also, through transgression of one of his daughters and one of his sons, which has saddened him very much. My sister Ann is very much crippled with rheumatism. She is a very active, persevering, energetic woman. She presides over the relief societies in the St. George Stake, and is very much in earnest in the manufacture of silk. If she had had a larger sphere, she would have been a notable woman; for she is a woman of considerable talent. She has struggled with poverty almost all her life.

14 April 1899 • April

Friday, April 14, 1899

We received a cablegram to-day from Samoa, sent by Brother Worsencroft. It was to the effect that the Elders should be held; that their mission house had been looted, and that they had taken refuge at Apia. Brother E. J. Wood, just returned from presiding over that mission, thinks the news is old, and that there is not the danger that would appear from the dispatch, and he urges that Brother Sears and the other two Elders who are going with him should go; that they are needed there, and the situation, he thought, was such that they could go with safety. We so decided.

15 April 1899 • Saturday

Saturday, April 15, 1899

This is a legal holiday, it being Arbor Day.

I took my sons John Q. & Angus and went down to my place Westover. We came back by the dry farm land. We had an interesting time looking over the work, and I was particularly interested in the sheep. I bought a flock of 500 sheep last winter, and they have done very well. They were all ewes, and some of them had not got in lamb, but we are likely, if something untoward does not happen, to have 500 lambs. Many of them have born twins, which make up for the loss of those which have died. This has been an experiment. I had the feed on hand, and it enabled me to consume the feed and enrich my farm with the manure of the sheep, and altogether the arrangement thus far [h]as been satisfactory. Whether after the season is through it will show any profit remains to be seen.

16 April 1899 • Sunday

Sunday, April 16, 1899

I took train this morning with my wife Carlie and my little daughter Ann, for Provo, where conference is being held. Brothers John Henry Smith, Heber J. Grant and A. Winter were on the train. The forenoon was devoted to the Sunday school children, and was a very interesting occasion. In the afternoon the authorities were present. Three of the Apostles (Brothers J. H. Smith, Geo. Teasdale and H. J. Grant) had been here yesterday, and they desired that I should occupy the time, which I did, speaking a little less than an hour. I felt very empty in arising and had no inclination to speak; but I had considerable freedom and I enjoyed the meeting very much.

We returned to the city after the meeting.

17 April 1899 • Monday

Monday, April 17, 1899

There was a meeting of the Utah Sugar Co. this morning, and the Board elected me President again. We attended to a good deal of business.

18 April 1899 • Tuesday

Tuesday, April 18, 1899

Dictated my journal to Brother A. Winter.

A proposition was made some days ago by a Mr. Henry Altman to obtain from us an option on our railroad and beach property. I brought the subject up before the brethren this morning, and we had considerable conversation upon it. President Joseph F. Smith expressed himself very clearly as to the policy that prompted us to try and hold the country, building this railroad and the Saltair Beach property, and also entering into the Pioneer Electric power business. I was very glad to hear him express himself, because he has rather kept silent upon these matters. It was my turn to-day to sit quiet, because I know that my views have not been approved of, and I have been blamed, I think, by some of the brethren for the policy that was adopted by President Woodruff and his counselors. My convictions have been very clear that it is our duty to hold our country and not surrender our advantages to Gentiles. In carrying out this policy it has led to debt; but according to my view the Church is warranted in incurring debt to maintain ourselves in the land, and not let everything pass out of our hands for money into the hands of strangers. The remark is made that such and such a thing does not pay. True, it does not, but we cannot measure all our efforts by this, in my opinion. It may be wrong on my part to entertain these views, but I honestly entertain them, and I am willing that my brethren, if they do not approve of them, should carry out theirs, and I shall not be dissatisfied. From this we branched out in our conversation on mining, and considerable was said on this subject. President Snow is quite opposed to mines and mining.

19 April 1899 • Wednesday

Wednesday, April 19, 1899

Held meeting at 8 o’clock this morning at the office with all the parties who have been actively engaged in the Sterling mine. The object of the meeting was to know what evidence there was to sustain the idea that this was not a private enterprise entered into by us as individuals for private gain. The testimony was very clear on this point. There was a guarantee that the First Presidency signed for $96,000 to Zion’s Savings Bank, to which our individual names were attached and not signed officially. The committee that has been investigating the affairs of the Church have collected such evidence as they could respecting this indebtedness of the Sterling Company, and especially this note, and have come to the conclusion that it was individual liability and had not been incurred by us for the Church. This $96,000 was composed of several obligations that had been incurred by us, and they had all been consolidated in this one note. One sum was $15,000, which had been borrowed in the name of Brothers David McKenzie and Wm. A. Rossiter. It was important to know what indemnification we had given them, and upon examination of the indemnifying bond that they had received we found that it had been signed by Wilford Woodruff as Trustee-in-Trust and by us as the Presidency of the Church. This, of course, made it clear that at least part of this indebtedness was incurred with the idea of it being a Church business. President Smith’s testimony also was that he had asked for an indemnifying bond from President Woodruff, but President Woodruff said it was not needed by us, as we were the First Presidency and our signatures would be sufficient. I have been quite uneasy about this transaction, because I could learn by remarks that were dropped by the committee, that they had concluded it was a private affair and we were individually responsible.

At 10 o’clock I met with the executive committee of the Union Light & Power Co.

At 11 o’clock I had a meeting of Geo. Q. Cannon & Sons Co.

At 12:30 there was a meeting of the Utah Sugar Co. The object of the meeting was to decide whether we should carry out the contract we had made with Brother Thomas R. Cutler to let him have half of the new issue of stock. He had proffered to take half ($200,000 worth) of this stock at par, the remaining half to be divided among the stockholders pro rata. A number of the stockholders had objected to this. Two letters have been received – one from L. S. Hills and one from Henry Dinwoodey – informing us that they demanded their full share of the $400,000, and intimating that they would take legal steps to enforce this right. A man by the name of Millet also notified the Secretary verbally to the same effect. The Company had debated this question very carefully before making this contract, and had concluded that the best thing for the Sugar Company and for the value of its stock would be to sell half this new issue to the Manager, Thomas R. Cutler; but upon learning the feelings of these men concerning it we did not wish to embroil ourselves in a lawsuit, and this meeting was called for the purpose of learning what the Board would do. After considerable discussion it was decided that we would seek legal advice, and I was authorized to see Bennett, Harkness & Co. for that purpose, and also if necessary get the opinion of the Church attorneys on the subject. I felt somewhat interested in this case, for the reason that it is our success that has made these people take this move. It is not long since Henry Dinwoodey refused to take the stock he had subscribed for; and neither Hills nor him, nor any of these people that are now talking, would have touched the sugar stock no more than they would a red hot poker; for they did not think it an enterprise that would be successful. Its success has surprised them; and whereas in former years we could not dispose of the bonds at 85% to them, the Deseret National Bank has been very glad to take them at par since, and these men are very willing now to take all the advantages there are in the rise of this stock because of its success.

At 2 o’clock President Joseph F. Smith had arranged with President Snow and the auditing comittee and the brethren interested in the Sterling mine, to have a meeting, and this whole affair was taken up. He made the opening statement concerning the action of the First Presidency in regard to the Sterling and the motives that they had in view, - which I corroborated. We held a three hours and a half session, in which this matter was very fully discussed. The evidence, contrary to the expectations of the auditing committee I think, very clearly proved that this was not gone into as a private enterprise; that while all of us no doubt expected that if it succeeded well we should derive some benefit from it, this was not the motive that prompted us to take hold of this business. President Woodruff had felt deep interest in endeavoring to do something that would relieve the Church from its indebtedness. The stories brought by Brothers Orson Smith and J. E. Langford of the richness of this property led us to believe that perhaps this would be the means of deliverance from our indebtedness as a Church. At one time $8600 was washed up in 13 days, and the prospects were most alluring. I put in nearly $11,000 of dedicated stock money. President Woodruff would have mortgaged his Valley House if he could have done so. But none of us went into this with any purpose of taking it as a private enterprise. President Joseph F. Smith’s situation was such that he could not carry his share, and if it had been a private enterprise he would not have touched it at all. The brethren saw this, and a motion was made that the Church assume the indebtedness that is due at the bank, which amounts to upwards of $100,000. I felt much gratified at this result, though there were some things connected with it that did not give me the pleasure that I otherwise might have felt.

20 April 1899 • Thursday

Thursday, April 20, 1899

I laid awake a great deal last night thinking over the situation, especially the position we were placed in by this Sterling affair. It has been my desire through my life not to be a burden to the Church in any form, but to assist it to the extent of my ability. While I appreciate the kindness of the brethren in their action of yesterday, it seems to me that it leaves us as a First Presidency in a bad position. I will mention here my view of the situation as it appeared to me in my night thoughts. A large amount of money has been spent in this Sterling business. Do we not, by using these funds of the Church, expose ourselves to the charge of not being trustworthy - that is, that we have been unwise in handling the funds of the Church? Brother Joseph F. Smith informed us to-day that immediately after we had finished our meeting yesterday Brother Grant came to him and said he ought to be happy at getting relieved of one-third of such a large amount - referring to the $104,000 - and expressed the feeling that he perhaps might get relieved from his embarrassments in a similar way through his mining venture. Now, this is what I fear, and that our influence in financial matters with the Twelve will be greatly injured, because any proposition which they might make for relief for themselves, or any justification of any action of theirs, would have to be passed by us in silence, because of the knowledge that our management or mismanagement of funds had led to more serious results than anything they proposed. Besides, in speaking upon this in public I should feel embarrassed, because I could not say to the people, Shun my example; do not engage in things of this kind, because we used the funds of the Church and lost heavily. Another thing: it would always be painful to me to think about this in connection with tithing. We urge the people to pay their tithing, and what a rebuke might be given to us by telling how tithing had been used by us and literally wasted, it might be said. With these feelings I arose this morning determined to do something. It came to me about my dedicated fund which President Snow, when I offered it to him a few days ago, declined to accept. My Bullion-Beck stock, my shares of Saltair Beach, my cash that I had tendered to him, my city house and lot, I thought, might cover at least the $104,000; and if all this was turned over it would go towards paying that. Then the mines themselves - that is, what is called the “Johnnie” and the “Confidence”; we have been offered much more for them than would cover the rest of the indebtedness. It is true, the “Johnnie” is not patented; but it would not cost more than $2000 to have it patented, and we have been offered $200,000 for that property alone - that is, a man got an option from us for that amount. I am of the opinion that if this property is taken care of the day may come when there may be received from it nearly if not quite enough to cover all the indebtedness. I can see that unless something is done our position is one that I shrink from. I mentioned this matter to President Smith, bringing these facts before him, without telling him at first what my plan was; and he appeared to perceive it, but what could we do in the matter?. Then I mentioned the dedicated stock to him, and he thought that if President Snow would accept that it would very far towards arranging the affair. If this is accepted, I want it to apply to President Woodruff, President Smith and myself alike, that we may all have the credit of it. I feel very sensitive respecting President Woodruff’s connection with this business, and I would do anything in my power to shield his memory and his reputation. Certainly I would do as much as I would to preserve my own. Personally I do not have so much feeling about it as I have about the office we hold. I do not want the influence of our office lessened, either in our own cases or in the case of others that may occupy position. I do not want that any man can say that so and so, when they were the First Presidency, misused funds or acted unwisely in managing funds.

In accordance with the appointment that I received, I waited upon Bennett, Harkness & Co. this morning, and laid the position of the Sugar Company before Judge Harkness. I had invited Brother Cutler to join me there, which he did. After hearing a full statement from us, Judge Harkness said that we had the power as trustees to make a contract of the kind described, but he did not deem it wise to do so.

At 11 o’clock the First Presidency met in the temple with the following brethren of the Twelve: Franklin D. Richards, Brigham Young, F. M. Lyman, John Henry Smith, Geo. Teasdale , Anthon H. Lund, M. F. Cowley, A. O. Woodruff and Rudger Clawson. Brother Clawson was mouth in prayer.

At 1 o’clock there was a meeting of the Sugar Company, and I made my report to them. It was decided to adopt a resolution giving to the stockholders the privilege of subscribing for their pro rata of the $400000 worth of stock, on the condition that paid down 10% of its value when they subscribed. This precaution was taken in order that they might be bound to that extent. There may be fluctuations in the price of the stock, and if they are not bound in this way some might throw up their stock if the value went down.

There was a meeting of Z.C.M.I. this afternoon, which I attended, and as soon as I could get free from that I attended the meeting of the Sunday School Union Board.

21 April 1899 • Friday

Friday, April 21, 1899

I dictated my journal to Brother Arthur Winter this morning.

There was a meeting to-day to consider the option that was asked for by Mr. Henry Altman on the Saltair railroad and Saltair beach, the question being whether we should sell these properties or retain them. Besides the First Presidency there were present, President Richards, Brigham Young, John Henry Smith, A. H. Lund, M. F. Cowley, A. O. Woodruff and Rudger Clawson, of the Twelve, and Brothers James Jack and N. W. Clayton. The question was fully discussed. President Joseph F. Smith made a strong statement of the reasons the First Presidency had for starting Saltair Beach. President Snow made remarks favorable to holding these properties. Brother John Henry Smith opposed the holding of the beach by us as a pleasure resort, and spoke very strongly against it. He thought it was a menace to the good order and peace of the Latter-day Saints, and a matter that would inevitably bring us trouble. All the other brethren who spoke favored the retention of the property.

At 2:15 I went to Saltair in company with Presidents Snow and Smith and some of the Twelve. We went through the salt works, and looked at the business generally.

After my return I kept an appointment that I had made with my son Frank to meet Mr. Hoon at his office. Mr. Hoon is desirous of entering into the manufacture of steel ties for railroads. He is a very interesting talker and set forth with considerable minuteness his plans for the manufacture. He has formed a company, and his purpose in coming here was to secure my son Frank’s services. He had had conversation with him in the east and had been greatly impressed by the conversation and as he remarked to me he was still more impressed since he came here with Frank’s suitableness, ability, etc., and he wished to interest him in the business and to have him the President of the company. He said that the work would not require any lengthy absence from home. In conversation, however, with Frank afterwards I found that he himself did not wish to accept the position until he knew more about it and his ability to take the position. Mr. Hoon offered him a salary of $20,000 a year and stock in the company. Frank’s position was that if he accepted such a salary he would want to devote his whole time to the company, and this would take him away from home, which he did not feel was right.

22 April 1899 • Saturday

Saturday, April 22, 1899

I went to Ogden, in company with President Smith and Bishop John R. Winder, to examine the dam. President Smith met his wife in Ogden and took her with him up the canyon, and we also were accompanied by the Mayor of Ogden, John Boyle, and our consulting engineer, Mr. Bannister. Brother Campbell, our Manager, came up to Ogden last evening to make preparations. It is a magnificent sight traveling up Ogden canyon. The water is a roaring torrent. The dam is in a better condition and more likely to stand the high water than I had anticipated from reports that had reached me. I think that it is really in no danger.

We took lunch at the Weber Club, and returned to the city at 2:10. While on the cars we met Judge Bartlett Tripp, who is going as one of the Commissioners to Samoa to represent our government. Mr. Tripp is a brother of E. B. Tripp, of our city, and himself resided there for some time. He afterwards went to Dakota, and became Chief Justice of that State. Senator Dubois was also on the train with his newly married wife.

23 April 1899 • Sunday

Sunday, April 23, 1899

I received word last evening through the telephone that Sir William Van Horn, President of the Canadian Pacific railway, was in town and was desirous to meet me. President Snow was unable to be present. I went up to the office and found Brother Brigham Young there and Sir William Van Horn, Mr. Matthews and Dr. Redick. Sir William is very much prepossessed in favor of our people and very desirous to have settlers of our people go to their country. He described a section of country two hundred miles north of Cardston as being far superior in every respect to Cardston, and he gave us a very cordial invitation to go there, and would place a car at our disposal at any time. He knew that I was a director of the Alberta Irrigation Co. and said that if I had occasion to visit there he would be very pleased to place a car at my disposal.

I have lost my voice this week, and therefore did not stop at meeting, but took Brother Brigham Young home with me. While he was there an alarm of fire was given at my son Williams’ residence, and there was considerable excitement. It proved to be a heap of rubbish on fire behin[d] the house.

In the evening I attended sacrament meeting in the ward. Brother Spencer, a home missionary, spoke very well.

24 April 1899 • Monday

Monday, April 24, 1899

The Brigham Young Trust Co. held a meeting this morning at 9 o’clock.

I had a very full, frank and pointed talk with President Lorenzo Snow concerning my dedicated stock. President Snow, in my former conversation with him about this stock, had expressed a disinclination to receive it, and I had said to him, in response, that he must do as he felt led; I did not wish to embarrass him in the least, but I had done what the Spirit dictated, and therefore I was quite satisfied with whatever he might do; but, I said, probably in the settlement that we are likely to have hereafter you will see your way clear to accept it. After what occurred last Thursday, as I have remarked in my journal, I had seriously considered the propriety of using this dedicated stock to meet the expenditure of means for the Sterling, and I proposed this to-day to President Snow. But it seems that he had consulted some of the Twelve on this matter, and he had come to the conclusion that he had better accept the dedicated stock. I expressed my surprise at his having mentioned it to the Twelve, because I told him I had expressly said to him, in reply to his question in the former conversation whether I was willing to have it laid before a few of the Twelve, that I was not prepared to consent to that at present, but I did say at the close of the conversation that he had my book containing my statement and he was at liberty to use it. However, I did not mean by that that he should submit it to the Twelve. He, it seems, understood this as having a broader meaning than I had given it, and he had submitted it to the Twelve. I asked him who they were, and found that they were President Richards, Brigham Young, F. M[.] Lyman and John Henry Smith, and that President Smith by accident had come in and found them consulting, and had been requested to sit down also. I was annoyed that this should have been submitted to the Twelve in this manner, and I told President Snow that I did not wish it submitted to the Twelve unless I was present; that there had been too much of that kind of business. I referred to the former conversation of the Twelve on this subject, when I had been called to account so strongly by them. I had then expressed myself to the effect that they ought not to discuss this matter as they then presented it without my being present, and I felt that in a matter of this kind the party most interested should be heard and it should not be discussed in his absence. I told President Snow that whatever he decided about this matter would be acceptable to me. I had taken the view that I had presented to him concerning it - that it might go to liquidate the sum that he had been required to advance in conformity with the vote on Thursday last. I said I did not wish the late First Presidency to stand in the position of using means lavishly and in an unwise manner. I said it had been called unwise expenditure. He said, Yes, he felt that it was unwise himself. In reply, I said that if it was called unwise in this office by you who look upon this so leniently, what can you expect it to be called by people at a distance, with all their prejudices and feelings? Men asked to pay tithing might reply, Why should I pay tithing to have it used in a manner that President Snow himself has called unwise. I said I did not for one wish President Woodruff, President Smith and myself exposed in that way. I did not wish our influence to be lessened by our being put in that position. I said even the Twelve would look upon us as having used this means improperly. President Snow did not take the view that I did of this. He did not think it would be attended with such effects as I imagined. I said, no doubt I was very sensitive, but I was very anxious to stand in a true light before the people. I had done my best through my life to build up the Church and to use its funds in a proper manner, and I did not wish President Woodruff, now that he was gone, to suffer from any charge of misappropriating funds. I felt more sensitive about him than I did about myself. I told President Snow that I thought the best thing to do now would be to have this question submitted to the Twelve as a whole. This was his feeling also. I remarked to him that I hoped he would not take the least exception to anything that I had said. I thought that men in our position, occupying the relationship we did to each other, should deal with each other in the utmost frankness. I told him everything there was in my heart, and I wanted to do it in the most respectful manner. I did not wish to hurt his feelings in the least. He expressed himself very cordially to the effect that he was glad I did talk; it was right we should be free in talking to each other. We separated blessing each other.

25 April 1899 • Tuesday

Tuesday, April 25, 1899

Yesterday, in my conversation with President Snow I brought forward the statement which had been made at a previous meeting - that the Church had saved the Bullion-Beck property by giving a bond or standing behind those who gave the bond, by which an appeal was taken to the U.S. Supreme Court. I alluded to that to show how improper it was to have a meeting to talk over affairs where the party chiefly interested was not present. That statement was incorrect, I said; for the Church did not stand behind it. President Snow said, But the Church did stand behind it; Bishop Winder signed that bond, and he had a clear understanding that the Church stood behind it or he would not have signed. I said there must be some mistake about that. I went then and got the papers that I had in my possession, which showed that Bishop Winder was not one of the signers of the bond, and I also read the resolution adopted by the Bullion-Beck Company to indemnify those who did sign the bond; so that it was clear the Church did not stand in that relation. To be entirely clear upon this point, however, I had an interview with Bishop Clawson this morning. He sought the interview himself to read to me communications that he had received from General Clarkson concerning our affairs. I asked Brother Clawson what there was about this guarantee, as he was our agent and had obtained the signatures of the sureties, and he said he would be ready to testify at any time concerning it. It was not the Church, it was not the bond that had saved the property. I afterwards saw Bishop Winder and asked him concerning what I had been told by President Snow. He said that he had been enquired of by Brothers John Henry Smith and Heber J. Grant, at the time we were down taking dinner at his house, if he had signed such a bond. He said he did not know, but had signed everything that came along those days. They asked him about the Church, and he made some such answer, that if he had signed it the Church must have been behind it. I was satisfied, therefore, that an effort was being made to prove that I had incorrectly stated that the Church was not behind the bond.

Brother F. S. Richards was in to-day, and we discussed the ecclesiastical organizations of the Church. The question he wished to have answered was, whether these organizations should be kept up as they had been or whether they should be changed, and instead of having the property held by a corporation have it held by three trustees in each ward. After careful deliberation, it was decided by the First Presidency that we should maintain our ecclesiastical corporations. They might be more troublesome, but in case of attack they were much safer.

26 April 1899 • Wednesday

Wednesday, April 26, 1899

There was a meeting of the Board of Directors of the Union Light & Power Co. at 10 o’clock, and at 11 o’clock a meeting of the Pioneer Electric Power Co. to take into consideration the claim of the General Electric Company. They claim about $28,000 with interest, and the Pioneer Electric Power Co. claims that they did not keep their contract, and that therefore there was an offset to this claim of theirs. There has been considerable discussion pro and con upon this subject. They now propose to settle for $25,000, $5000 down and four more payments of the same sum. We have offered $20,000, $5000,down and three payments. They would not accept this, and their ultimatum seemed to be that if they took $20,000 it must be in cash down. We decided to-day that if it was possible we should raise that amount and settle with them.

I had some conversation to-day with my sons John Q. and Angus, John M. Cannon and Walter J. Lewis about taking the printing establishment and everything connected with Geo. Q. Cannon & Sons Co. off my hands, pay me rent for the buildings and some interest on the amount invested. This “Juvenile Instructor” business is in a very bad shape, and it is giving me a great deal of trouble. I cannot carry it as it is at present. I am compelled to pay out a great deal of money on its account. I now propose to take the whole thing it [in] my own hands, charge them rent for the buildings, and let them see what they can do with the business, I to retain the editorial control of the “Juvenile Instructor”. They are now taking stock, and after that we can tell more definitely about it.

Messrs. T. G. Webber, W. S. McCornick, John C. Cutler, Spencer Clawson, L. S. Hills and Geo. M. Cannon called at the office to-day to see the First Presidency relative to the federal building site. They had raised the means necessary to pave the streets around the temple, and all that now remained was for President Snow, as Trustee-in-Trust, to tender to the government the Deseret News corner, and endeavor to get it accepted. After considerable conversation, President Snow signified his willingness to make the tender. The question then arose as to who should go down with it, and these gentlemen expressed themselves unanimously in favor of my going, with liberty to take anyone I pleased to assist me. After we got through I asked three or four of the committee to step aside, and I interrogated them as to who they thought was the proper person to go with me. They were unanimously in favor of my son Frank going. He is absent from the city, and when he returns they expect to ask him to go down with me.

27 April 1899 • Thursday

Thursday, April 27, 1899

At 11 o’clock we met in the temple. Before going I proposed that instead of this matter of mine being brought before the brethren in the temple we should appoint a meeting in the office and invite the Twelve and the Presiding Bishops to be present. I desired to have the meeting to-day because two of the Twelve are going away to-morrow to the Southern States (Brothers John Henry Smith and M. F. Cowley). I would [have] liked very much to have had Brother Grant present, but he is still in California. Brother John W. Taylor is away also. The remaining members of the quorum – ten in number – were present to-day. The meeting in the temple only occupied about an hour. Brother Rudger Clawson was mouth in prayer.

At 12:15 we met in the office. President Snow desired me to open the meeting, which I did by stating that I had my dedicated stock and I wished to turn it over to President Snow. I related what had occurred between us in our conversation, and now we had met to listen to this matter and to decide what should be done. I had asked for the privilege of inviting Bishop Clawson to come and bear testimony to what he knew, and his testimony was very clear, and that, with the documents which I had, fully established the fact that the Church could have no claim on the stock because of any supposed deliverance by it of the company from the loss of the property. I need not rehearse here all that took place at this meeting. I occupied three hours, and during the meeting I was able to clear up many things concerning which there had been considerable misapprehension and misconception. I had great freedom in doing so, and I remarked, in answer to something that was said about the length of our meeting, that it was my day. I had been waiting for this opportunity for a long time, and I had suffered a good deal; but now I wanted the fullest explanation, so that everybody should know exactly the position of things.

During this interview there were three points brought out that I had been anxious to clear up. First, that the Church could have no claim on the property because of any supposed action they had taken to preserve it; second, to show that President Taylor, in transferring the property to me, and in my accepting it, no wrong had been done; third, that the means I had used had been used in conformity with the tenor of the dedication.

The brethren expressed themselves very freely and applauded the course that I had taken. There was not one that did not seem to feel that I had done the right thing, and they approved of my conduct. President Smith took the ground that I had a perfect right to do with this as I pleased under the terms of the agreement; so did Brother F. M. Lyman; and all felt the same. Brother John Henry Smith stated that he considered it a dangerous thing for it to be held the way it had been; that it should have been in the hands of the Trustee-in-Trust, and he thought an error had been committed by President Taylor in doing with it as he had done. This enabled me to make a fuller explanation that I otherwise would have made. I said to understand this question properly the condition we were in at the time of the transfer should be taken into consideration. The property itself had not much value. We would gladly have let it gone for enough to pay the debts; but there was no prospect of it even doing that. I was the only one with President Taylor. There was no Apostle near, and though I did not want to take it, it seemed very appropriate that it should be given into my custody, I being one of the donors of the dedicated stock. I was President Taylor’s nephew by marriage; he had brought me up; he knew me thoroughly; he had confidence in my honesty and in my honor, and he had reasons for this. My dear, dear friend, Brigham Young (who treated me with the greatest of kindness and confidence, which caused me many times to wonder at his doing so, there being such a disparity in our years), had such confidence in me as to appoint me his chief executor. After his death we found his estate one of the most difficult to settle ever known in America, considering the number of the heirs and all the interest<s> involved. We settled that estate, and though there was considerable feeling concerning it there was not an heir probably left now who did not believe that we had made the best possible settlement of it. We found the Church claiming $300,000 worth of property in the estate. President Taylor was determined to have this property, even if it should be necessary to sue the estate for it. This would have been a deplorable thing. I told him that if I could get the consent of the other executors I would deed this property to him. At the very time I thought of doing this, Parley L. Williams met me and told me that he would get an injunction to prevent me doing anything of this kind. He had not heard of our intention, but he knew the claim of the Church. I saw Brother Brigham Young and submitted to him the proposition, and he agreed with me; and though Albert Carrington (the other executor) was averse to it he was compelled to join us. The result was, instead of the Church suing the estate, the case was reversed - the suit had to be planted by some of the heirs, which made it much better in every way for the Church. The result was, we were required to give additional bonds. I felt led by the Spirit of God to refuse this, and I got Brother Brigham Young to agree with me, and we went to the penitentiary for three weeks. Albert Carrington was averse to going, but he could not help himself. Through going to the penitentiary at that time a settlement with all parties was secured. President Taylor knew all this, and did he not have cause to have confidence in me and to know that I would do justice by the Church? I think so. Some of the brethren said that they thought the result justified the wisdom of President Taylor in this matter. All the brethren came and congratulated me, and seemed to be greatly pleased at the result.

28 April 1899 • Friday

Friday, April 28, 1899

I find that my son Frank cannot go with me to Washington. It is quite a disappointment. Bishop H. B. Clawson consents to go.

Busy making preparations for my departure on Sunday morning next.

29 April 1899 • Saturday

Saturday, April 29, 1899

I have been very busy to-day closing up my affairs so that I can leave to-morrow. I intend to take my wife Caroline and son Georgius with me.

President Snow has gone to Brigham City. I had conversation with President Smith and F. S. Richards as to the course to be taken by me relative to the questions arising from our attitude on polygamy and unlawful cohabitation. They agreed that the Church could not assume the responsibility of defending any violations of law; that every man must be responsible for his own deeds; that while much might be said in extenuation of existing relations, because of the length of time that men and women had been married, still where there were direct violations of law it would be imprudent for us to attempt to defend them.

Dictated my journal to Brother Arthur Winter.

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April 1899, The Journal of George Q. Cannon, accessed May 22, 2024 https://www.churchhistorianspress.org/george-q-cannon/1890s/1899/04-1899