Diary of Charles Francis Adams, volume 2

Wednesday 15th.

Friday 17th.

Thursday. 16th. CFA


Thursday. 16th. CFA
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.


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 404Humphreys 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).