Diary of Charles Francis Adams, volume 4

Friday. 20th. CFA Friday. 20th. CFA
Friday. 20th.

The morning opened with a heavy thunder shower which prevented my being able to go to town immediately, but at ten o’clock it seemed to hold up and my father being desirous to go, I decided upon starting. The intermediate time I employed in beginning the operation of assorting the Papers of my Grandfather for which purpose I came out more especially to Quincy.1


Arrived in town we were here for so short a time that I was unable to do any thing very particular. Mr. Hayford called upon me to be paid for his work as a Mason on my Father’s Estate.2 He satisfies me better than any of my Men. His work is good and his prices are reasonable.

After waiting some time I at last found my Father and we proceeded together home. The weather cleared and it became a very fine afternoon. I read a part of the Oration for Balbus which is not so interesting, the point turning upon the construction of law. There is a high encomium upon Pompey in it, which I think he did not deserve.

This business of my grandfather’s papers I foresee will prove a laborious business and I do not wonder that my father has avoided it. Evening T. B. Adams Jr. down here and spent the Evening. Afterwards, I read two Spectators.


Although CFA had from time to time dipped into JA’s papers (see vol. 3:103), this marked the effective beginning of the editorial labors that were to occupy him for so many years. It is clear that initially his purpose was to stimulate his father to prosecute the work.


William Hayford, mason, of 11 Bridge Street ( Boston Directory, 1831–1832).

Saturday 21st. CFA Saturday 21st. CFA
Saturday 21st.

Morning mild and pleasant. I went to Boston and was much occupied in various ways—Going to my house, thence to Mrs. Frothingham’s and afterwards to execute a variety of Commissions for my Wife. Returned to the Office, I had two or three visits. One from Mr. Geitner, my German friend who at last consents to take the House.1 Thus I hope I am released from this trouble of letting houses for a considerable period. And now there is not an inch of my father’s Property in Boston unoccupied—A thing that has not happened before for a long time. And I hope that I shall begin to reap the Fruit of my new system of management, which hitherto has been sadly out of pocket. Another visit was from Mr. Hobby, a man upon an affair of my father’s, and a complete bore.2 I had no leisure for reading and soon returned to Quincy.

Afternoon, took a long walk to Mt. Wollaston with my father, to see the Orchard and look after his Plantations. We were all the Afternoon upon it. I came back fatigued, spent the Evening with the family, and read the Spectator.


C. Geitner began his long occupancy of tenement No. 1 at 101 Tremont Street on 1 June (M/CFA/3).


For the preceding six months JQA had been receiving numerous letters of complaint from William Hobby who in JQA’s administration had raised a charge of fraud against an army paymaster and who maintained that he had not then or since had proper consideration given to 53his charges. JQA had asked Nathaniel Frye Jr. to investigate the case and on receipt of his report had three days earlier written Hobby “a short final answer” (JQA, Diary, 27 Feb. – 18 May passim).