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John Newton’s Diary: 1767

An illustrated and annotated transcript of the previously unpublished diary of John Newton for 1767. Newton moved into the new vicarage, travelled hundreds of miles to visit friends, and invited William Cowper to Olney..

In my review of the 1766 volume, I indicated that at first sight, my interest in nonconformists in Northamptonshire might not sit well with the Anglican, John Newton. This is really not the case as the following year’s diary (1767) shows..

Newton had a network of preaching places and other Evangelical friends in the surrounding area including in Northampton. It is here that he came into contact with Jonathan Scott a Captain in Cavalry based in the town. Scott was more interested in winning souls rather than earthly battles and in later years went on to become an Independent Minister, founding many churches in Shropshire and Cheshire..

At the time he was based in Northampton and his path crossed that of Newton he was involved with the fledgling Methodist congregation in the town..

Reading a diary that was probably kept for the writer’s benefit as an aide-mémoire might not be expected to be an easy or satisfying read. The transcriber and editor Marylynn Rouse of the John Newton project however has done an excellent job again making this material available to a wider audience. This is the fourth volume of John Newton’s diaries that have been transcribed for the first time. Previous editions for 1764, 1765 and 1766 are also available from the John Newton Project.

This 70-page A4 book is illustrated throughout in colour. What makes this word a delight are the comprehensive footnotes (all 527 of them!) on each page expanding the obfuscated names typical of this material, explaining the places and the reasons for his travels and visits and who met with. The footnotes actually take a greater part of the text than the diary entries themselves. Rather than being skipped the footnotes need to be read carefully as they significantly add to the understanding of the text. The book also contains a complete index of people and places mentioned..

This book is a useful resource to be read alongside one of the established John Newton biographies or D Bruce Hindmarsh’s ‘John Newton and the English Evangelical Tradition: Between the Conversions of Wesley and Wilberforce’ which expands on the detail of John Newton’s common cause with Calvinistic Evangelicals different denominations..

John Newton’s Diary: 1767 is available from The John Newton Project ISBN 978-0-9559635-5-1 £6.00 Order here

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