Biography and family record of Lorenzo Snow/Chapter XLII
310 BIOGRAPHY AND
Remarks by the Editor. Lorenzo writes to George Q. Cannon. Makes sug- gestions concerning the illegal assessment. Letter two. What Lawyer Sutherland says. Letter three. A description of Scrip. How used. Affidavits. Correspondence. Joseph F. Smith writes. Lorenzo responds.
connection with the raid heretofore described, the dia- bolical swindle of 0. J. Hollister, United States assessor and collector of internal revenue, by levying an assess- ment of $10,200 on the scrip used by the association as a circulating medium
in their business departments, burst,
like a thunderbolt, on the Brigham City Mercantile and Man- ufacturing Association.
Hon. George Q. Cannon, Delegate, in Washington, to whom the following letters were addressed, generously tendered his services in behalf of the association. The following let- ters, copied from my brother's journal, explain :
BRIGHAM CITY, DECEMBER 23, lion. Gcorf/c (}. Cannon, Washington, I). C.:
Dear Brother. Yesterday I was informed by Mr. Webber, secretary of Z. C. M. I., that you had telegraphed to the effect that United States Commissioner Raum had about decided that " bills" under consideration were taxable; and that two lawyers, Shellabarger and Wilson, in Washington, had pro- posed to undertake the case of Zion's Co-operative Institution for four hundred dollars, and, provided thtey win, one thousand in addition; and that they would undertake our case for two hundred dollars, and, if successful, an additional five hundred dollars. I understand Zion's Co-operative has decided to accept the proposition, and I write to say that if you see the
least shadow of prospect, please employ those lawyers in our behalf, and on you communicating to me by letter or telegram, I will forward you a draft of two hundred dollars, forthwith; and, if they succeed in our case, will be responsible for the additional five hundred dollars.
Can you get payment of our assessment deferred till a decision is reached? And how soon shall we be obliged to pay, on receiving notice, etc.?
God bless you, my dear friend and brother,
BRIGHAM CITY, JANUARY TTH, 1<S7 ( .>. Hon. George Q. Camion, Washington, 1). ('.:
Dear Brother. To-morrow I will mail } r ou a brief, sworn to by the president and directors of our association, and some affidavits for the benefits of our counsel, and will send others as soon as they can be obtained.
We have consulted Lawyer Sutherland, of Salt Lake giving him a view of our case. He expressed himself san- guine of winning, could he have had the entire management; said he was acquainted with our counsel in Washington; spoke highly of their abilities, and said if they failed in our case, which is a peculiar one, the failure would occur through lack of time and proper attention, and not thoroughly looking into the real merits of the subject, sufficiently to make a just, true and full presentation, and should, by no means, be mixed up with any other case, as it embraced features entirely distinct, and of a weighty character, in our favor, etc., and that our counsel should demand sufficient time to get in all our testi- mony and affidavits, if it took the whole year; and they should send copies of the affidavits against us, that we might get up rebutting testimony.
I wish our counsel would inform us immediately what information and affidavits they require also send copies of affidavits made against us that require rebutting testimony.
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We feel that we have a right, and we claim it, to have a fair, full and impartial investigation, which, if allowed, we fully believe, will give a decision in our favor, and if not allowed, will prove ruinous to our association.
Should we ask our counsel if they think it would be advantageous to employ Lawyer Sutherland to work up our case here for them, they, perhaps, would answer in the affirma- tive, as it might save them time and trouble, w T hich would almost commit us to the necessity of gratifying their interest. .Please suggest the idea, and let us know, from you, their opinion. We would have to pay Lawyer Sutherland one hun- dred dollars to begin with, and if circumstances required a continuation of his labors, an increase of pay would be demanded.
Do those lawyers want further information? Do they want more affidavits, and 011 what points? Please have them send immediately a statement of what they want, and demand time for a fair, truthful and impartial investigation. This is all we wish, and this we insist upon and claim as our right; and if not allowed will do us a most serious injury.
BRIGHAM CITY, JANUARY 13TH, 1879. Hon. George Q. Cannon, Washington, D. C.:
Dear Brother. I write you now with a view of furnishing such information as I apprehend may be useful to our counsel, in reference to the general character and object of our associa- tion and our manner of business, so far as concerns our "bills" and their circulation. We aim in our brief and affidavits to establish two points:
First That our currency has been limited in its circula- tion to our association that the officers and agents of the association have never been authorized to pay it out to other parties.
Second That it does not represent cash or legal money, and has never been paid or received as cash, or in lieu thereof, and has no authorized cash value.
There is possibly another point I ought to suggest for the consideration of counsel. I think the law requires the assessor to make returns at stated times I think once in six months. Mr. Hollister made no call upon us for report till last October, and a few days after called personally at our office, examined our books, and in making out his assessment list went back as far as 1875. Has he a legal right to collect back taxes?
There may be other points that our attorneys will wish to argue, and would like information, testimony or affidavits relative to, which, if they will inform us, we will endeavor to furnish.
Respecting the first point, the limitation of scrip circula- tion, the law makes bills taxable if "paid out" that is, if a bank or corporation pay its bills "out" to other parties, it thus renders itself liable. But the peculiarities of our association its aim and policy did not pay "out," but, as ' seen and fully expressed upon all of our home department bills, being over nine-tenths of the amount reported for assessment, instead of being "paid out," has been "paid in," and its circulation con- fined within itself 1 within its own body or person.
Our association is, in its organized business capacity, a person, and, as such, it simply uses the scrip as a medium of exchange within itself, for such articles only as it produces.
Our main object in making our bills payable only to employees and stockholders, was this: We commenced with but little capital, the people being, with scarcely an exception, very poor, some of them almost destitute of means of living. We succeeded, after many -years of toil and perseverance to establish a tannery, boot and shoe shop, woolen factory, and afterwards various additional minor branches of industry were added, and have been fourteen years reaching our present
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financial condition. It required nearly as much outlay of cash to operate those main branches of industry as all the other departments together, which made their products much nearer cash value than those from the other departments. \\Y have not been able to make leather for sale, but are obliged to purchase more or less of imported, to supply our shoe depart- ment. From these departments we have produced but very little more than is required by the members and employees of our association, who number nearly fifteen hundred.
Before the tax law was so amended as to affect co-opera- tions, we issued to employees and .stockholders unrestricted bills, but found serious trouble by persons not interested in our institution receiving them, and requiring payment in the arti- cles that were nearest to cash, and which we could scarcely supply ourselves. People abroad knew that Brigham City Mercantile and Manufacturing Association had a tannery, boot and shoe shop, and woolen factory, and innocently imagined that when they had a demand on our institution it meant pay- ment in any articles from any one of those departments they wished; and thought they were greatly wronged if they were refused. To remedy this difficult}' we called in all that class of bills determined in future to keep them at home; there- fore, when we commenced the new issue we printed upon the face, " Good only to employees and stockholders." These bills are, among us, called "Home D." i. c., f/oo<1 for art id mcnlf in our home departments.
There are forty of these departments, each having a fore- man, who reports the time of the employees, weekly, to the secretary, who pays them in these Home Ds. for five-sixths of their labor, and one-sixth in the scrip representing merchan- dise, samples of which we enclose; and refer you, also, to the petition presented to the commissioner.
The secretary, superintendent and every officer and agent of the association are strictly forbidden to dispose of these Home D. bills to any other than employees and stockholders.
or to receive them from any other party. I think this rule has been observed as to paying out, but in some isolated cases. when persons, through ignorance or misrepresentation, have been imposed upon, in taking our bills, they have been received and redeemed, but only through protest and compro- mise.
Again, our employees are almost exclusively stockholders or members of a family whose head is a stockholder. You will see in our petition that the object of our association was to furnish employment and opportunities for learning trades and for reasonable' remuneration for labor, which, up to the present, is about all we have been able to accomplish.
Mr. Hollister will probably endearvor to prove by affida- vits, that we "pay out" our bills to other than stockholders and employees; and lie may find some such who have had our bills; but I think no one will testify under oath that he
received them from any authorized agent, or that they were redeemed without protest and injunction not to take them again, etc.
Our store scrip is not limited in circulation by specifica- tion on its face, though in fact it does not circulate outside our institution it is used to pay employees, and is good only for just what it calls for; it comprises little less than one-tenth of the bills reported for assessment.
A great distinction exists between these two classes of bills. The store bills being good for any imported article in our store, while the Home D. is not presentable at this depart- ment, and in no instance has it ever been redeemed in such articles. In one respect, however, these two classes are similar, to wit: neither of them is ever paid or redeemed in cash or legal money, by any officer or agent of the association. We pay and redeem in the kind designated upon the face of the bills, and in nothing else.
We have done business to a considerable amount with out- side parties the Utah Northern Railroad Company, the super-
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iiitendent of the Ogclen Junction printing office, the Descrcf X' n * and Salt Lake Herald, etc., and could get affidavits from those parties showing we have never paid them our bills, but have given them direct orders to draw on departments agreed upon.
If our counsel cannot relieve us of assessment on both classes of bills, they may think it policy to separate them, and only claim abatement on the "Home D." bills which, if allowed, would probably save over $8,000.
The counsel will notice that the "H.ome D." bills are characteristically different from bills issued by any other
We copy the two following affidavits as specimens of many others that were forwarded to Washington :
Territory of Utah,
Box Elder County, ( )
January 28th, 1879.
Robert L. Fishburn, of Brigham City', in said county and Territory, being duly sworn according to law, deposes and says that he has occupied the position of chief clerk in the* mercantile department of Brigham City Mercantile and Manu- facturing Association, during several years last past, and that he has never received, nor known any other clerk, secretary, superintendent, officer or agent of said Brigham City Mercan- tile and Manufacturing Association to have received, by way of exchange, or by way of payment for cash, or any legal tender, the scrip used by said association.
ROBERT L. FISHBURN.
Sworn and subscribed to before me, this 28th day of Janu- ary, 1879.
. JOHN D. BURT,
Probate Judge, Box Elder County.
Territory of Utah,
V -s.s. Box Elder County, I
James Pett, superintendent woolen factory; Charles Kelley, superintendent boot and shoe department; I. C. Nielson, super- intendent cabinet department; O. W. Stohl, superintendent tailors' clothing department; 'all of Brigham City Mercantile and Manufacturing Association, of Brigham City, county and Territory aforesaid, being duly sworn according to law, depose and say that we are, and have been for a number of years last past, the salesmen of the articles made in our respective departments, and that we have exchanged the greater part of said articles for the scrip used by said association, which scrip we have never recognized as possessing a cash value, and have never known an instance in which said scrip has been received for cash or redeemed in cash.
JAMES PETT, CHARLES KELLEY,
I. C. XlKLSON,
0. W. STOHL.
Sworn and subscribed to before me, this 28th day of Janu- ary, 1S79.
JOHN D. BURT, Probate Judge, Box Elder County, Utah.
All efforts proved futile; "the powers that be" are opposed to union and progress, and justice was not to be obtained by legal process. Those people were forced to borrow ten thous- and two hundred dollars to meet an illegal, oppressive tax (which they paid under protest) which, in reality, was nothing but a swindle, concocted and enforced by heartless, unprin- cipled demagogues.
The note following is the honest expression of a broad and generous heart, and worthy of preservation as a memorial of brotherly love:
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SALT LAKE CITY, OCTOBEK 21sx, 1879. Elder Lorenzo Know:
My Dear Brother. I have always felt, since the burn- ing of your factory, very soriy for your misfortune, and have often thought that it would only take a few dollars from each of the many friends of home industries to make you whole. The accompanying ten dollars does not begin to express the extent of my sorrow, but I trust you will accept it as a free- will offering from the not over abundant cash resources of
Your brother in the Gospel,
JOSEPH F. SMITH.
BKIGHAM CITY, OCTOBER 23o, 1879.
I received your kind letter of the 21st inst. this morning, with the enclosed ten dollars as a donation to Brigham City Association, in view of our misfortunes. This token (so unex- pected) given as manifestation of- your interest and sympathy, made me feel as though I wanted to relieve my heart with a good, old fashioned cry; however, I retired to my private room, where "prayer is wont to be made," and, with your letter open in my hand,- 1 poured out from the depths of my soul my feelings of gratitude and thanksgiving to our Father in heaven for the faith and encouragement which your expression of interest and sympathy had awakened in my bosom.
I feel strong within me that your .blessing and interest, like the "widow's oil," will multiply your "ten dollars" into thousands until we are relieved of our embarrassments. Respectfully yours, in the Everlasting Covenant,