So last night I was reading a borrowed copy of the Diaries of Charles Ora Card: The Canadian Years. I was fascinated to see that he traveled with Elders Lyman and John W. Taylor to Ottawa, to see the Tory Government of the day.
In the fall of 1888, a year after they arrived in Lees Creek (present day Cardston), these men went east to lobby the government. As they crossed you got snippets of Cards opinions about various locations. The prairies were rolling, Northern and Central Ontario had an absense of trees according to Card. (I think this would shock us now)
As they got to Ottawa there was no beating around the bush. The church wanted two things, land, and protection of Plural Marriage from the Dominion government. They were very straight forward, they brought it up, and according to Card, layed out their opinions in the light of day.
You also could tell the government of the day was interested enough to give them the time of day. The Premier, as Prime Ministers were called then, Sir John A. MacDonald, a Scot by birth and a hard drinker. He used to drink clear alcohol in the Parliament during sessions so that others did not know he was imbibing. Of course it was the worst kept secret around. He is considered the father of Canada as he helped to convince the Provinces of Canada and the Maritimes to unite. After that he bought Ruperts Land from the Hudsons Bay Company giving Canada almost all of its western area then bought out British Columbia by promising a railroad.
He meets with Card and the Apostles fairly quickly after they get to Ottawa for about an hour. Card quotes MacDonald as saying, “Gentleman, what is your business?”
They are almost too upfront with him, but they may have been convinced that they needed to hold nothing back and so they make it clear they desire to bring polygamy north. As Card describes it:
Apostle John W. Taylor Spoke in regard to the tithing of our people & the seizure of about one million Dollars by the United States. Then Bro. Lyman appealled to Him in behalf of those who had Entered in to the covenant of Eternal Marriage whom at this date were suffering in prisons of the U.S. besides being heavily fined and not allowed to mingle with their families… it had become Grievous to bear. He then asked Sir John if he did not thing that this Government would give them a resting place upon their Soil for they were the choicest of men and had many sons and ample means to sustain themselves and would bring wealth in the Dominion.
For Card, he states he wants protection for his brotheren imprisoned in jails around the US. He wants a place for the people and is, seemingly, non committal over what they expect to be the size of the settlement. I honestly wonder if there would have been an exodus of plural marriage to Canada, like they were in Mexico if not for the Dominion of Canada’s unwillingness to host them. But they did not offend the Mormons. In fact I would say judging by the entries in Card’s diaries he spends a great deal of time working with the government even with polygamy off the table.
The other interesting tidbit about this trip is the visit to Montreal which impresses Card. He expresses an interest in the city, and comments on its Anglophone nature. I think while not impressed with Ontario he seemed to be in Quebec.
I will try and add some quotes tomorrow on this but at midnight, I am going to head to bed.