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Browsing: Diary of Charles Francis Adams, Volume 2

Docno: ADMS-13-02-02-0005-0007-0016

Author: CFA
Date: 1829-07-16

Thursday. 16th.

Morning to town with Abby who went to make visits in no very good humour. It was so warm that I could not much blame her although her father requested it. At the Office, engaged in making up my accounts, and answering sundry letters from Mr. Farmer and Dr. Storer upon my brother’s affairs. There is much to tease and perplex one in this business and the more I progress the more I feel it. Poor fellow, he had wound himself nearly up in his own web.1 Afternoon, engaged in copying out my Inventory further into my own book, and walked up to Hancock Street to decide upon what would be necessary to go to Quincy. This gave me a heat which I did not get over until I was nearly at Quincy. The evening was perfectly lovely, and my father and I sat in the portico until ten, conversation—my Grandfather’s books and papers.
1. To Miles Farmer’s demand for money because he had sheltered Eliza Dolph and GWA’s child (see entries for 13 and 28 May, above), CFA replied on 20 June that he would not be blackmailed. Eliza, he declared, “must work for herself,” but he did “engage that she shall be in no worse situation than she was before this occurrence, so far as demands upon the money she may earn will go” (CFA to Miles Farmer, 20 June 1829, LbC, Adams Papers). As a matter of fact, she shortly went back into domestic service (Farmer-Storer Trial, p. 28).
As to “the unhappy consequence” of GWA’s affair, the infant whose name was never mentioned, CFA promised: “I will make some provision probably similar to what it would be entitled [to] by law” (CFA to Farmer, 20 June 1829, LbC, Adams Papers).
Farmer, CFA went on to say, should feel compensated for his own claims because payment of his considerable debt to GWA would not be pressed (same).
Dissatisfied, Farmer threatened to make “a public statement,” but CFA refused to be bullied. “Whatever I might be disposed to do as Charity . . . ,” he wrote curtly, “I certainly will be forced to do nothing. You are welcome to all the benefit a disclosure will give you.” But in the event of a public scandal, he added pointedly, payment of Farmer’s note to GWA would be demanded (CFA to Farmer, 16 July 1829, LbC, Adams Papers).
Unable to budge CFA, Farmer next tried to extract money from Dr. David { 404 } Humphreys Storer, and the ensuing controversy was tried in Massachusetts courts during 1830 and 1831. Finally, in March 1831, the case was referred to a private hearing before three referees, who awarded Farmer $200 damages. Dissatisfied, Farmer then published his version of the affair in a 44-page pamphlet which attacked both Dr. Storer and the Adams family. See Farmer-Storer Trial (copy in MHi).
CFA, it is clear, thought Dr. Storer almost as great a scoundrel as Farmer. Declaring that the physician was behaving in a way calculated to give “infinite pain,” he refused to have further dealings with him (CFA to Farmer, 20 June 1829, LbC, Adams Papers). Storer’s bill against GWA’s estate he rejected because it did not record the number of times the doctor had attended Eliza (CFA to D. Humphreys Storer, 16 July 1829, LbC, Adams Papers). On 14 October 1829 Storer was paid $37 for his services (CFA, Accounts as Manager of John Quincy Adams’ Finances, 1828–1846, M/CFA/3, Adams Papers, Microfilms, Reel No. 297).

Docno: ADMS-13-02-02-0005-0007-0017

Author: CFA
Date: 1829-07-17

Friday 17th.

Morning to town. Engaged so much by my father that I got in quite late. I then went to West Boston Bridge to make some inquiries about my father’s Stock there and took the opportunity to refresh myself with a salt water bath which was exceedingly grateful. On my return, I sat down to Accounts. My father’s affairs are not perfectly clear and the deficiency of George is now ascertained to be about one thousand dollars. Rather a heavy loss just at this time. After dinner, I passed the whole afternoon copying out the Inventory and summing up the amount. To Quincy. Found Mr. Brooks and Abby had been out. Visits, Mr. and Mrs. T. B. Adams, Mr. and Mrs. Greenleaf, Mrs. Ripley and others. The former cannot get over the old penchant. Manifested as it is, I cannot help feeling myself not a little provoked. But as things are now, we are better prepared to go on than we have been. My father takes deep root and if it was not for the misfortune of my Mother’s condition and feelings, I should never again fear any interference from there. Evening cold and compelled to sit in the House. Conversation, politics, present and future.

Docno: ADMS-13-02-02-0005-0007-0018

Author: CFA
Date: 1829-07-18

Saturday 18th.

Delayed very considerably by my father in order to copy certain letters which he wished me to dispatch. I then rode to town and passed the morning in looking over the accounts and Inventory of my brother’s effects to a final settlement. Mr. Joshua Coffin, a Client of mine1 called upon me to inform me that he could not pay me today, which is the universal cry. Boston is and has been in great distress, the pressure has been very great all round and it is difficult to collect debts for others or for one’s self.
At two, my father called and I drove his carriage to Medford to { 405 } dine there. The Brooks family and Mr. Stetson composed the Company. The dinner was therefore large—Chardon, his wife and Mrs. Everett being the only absentees. It was also pleasant, more so than any I have had for my recollection of [others?] was so little agreeable that I felt glad that during the last year I had been excepted. They were to me immense bores and ever since last winter when we silently came to an understanding about that, I have enjoyed myself infinitely more. But after dinner, I was suddenly seized with a violent pain apparently in the Kidney so far as I could judge from the effect it produced upon my urine. I felt alarmed for I have had some slight apprehensions of the gravel already. It made me sober for the remainder of the day. I felt in no humour to entertain a large panel of Company who came in the evening and so after only bowing to Miss Davis of New York and recognizing Mrs. Keating of Philadelphia, I left them to make the best of themselves, and even after they left, Abby complained heavily of my coldness.
1. Joshua Coffin lived in Williams Court (Boston Directory, 1829–1830).
Cite web page as: Founding Families: Digital Editions of the Papers of the Winthrops and the Adamses, ed.C. James Taylor. Boston: Massachusetts Historical Society, 2014.