John Newton's Diaries



Several diaries of John Newton’s exist, covering the period 1751 to 1805. For the moment we begin at 20 January 1755, when Newton had his feet on the ground in more senses than one. He had just left the sea, and was unemployed, but this placed him in a position for the first time since his conversion in 1748 to benefit from receiving Christian teaching and fellowship. Captain Alexander Clunie, whom he had met in St Kitts a few months earlier, had led him into a true knowledge of salvation through being justified by the death of Christ alone, and had counselled him on growing in faith. Living now in Chatham with his wife’s family, Newton was free to travel to London to learn from Clunie’s Christian contacts. Though still comparatively young in faith, Newton’s dedication in grappling with the Scriptures and seeking to have his mind transformed to the image of Christ put many of us who had greater advantages to shame.

Most spelling and punctuation has been normalised in the transcripts. Where Newton used an abbreviation, the full word rather than just the missing letters is supplied in square brackets to aid searches. If not quite consistent in policy, our guideline nevertheless comes from Newton’s Preface to his Olney Hymns where he says: “Perspicuity, simplicity and ease, should be chiefly attended to”.

We will be adding further draft transcripts of the diaries to our website, with the intention of publishing later.

Please quote as your source in any reference to these transcripts.

They are not for commercial use.


juggling with footnotes is a little complex

please be patient for these to come!


Marylynn Rouse, 20/01/2014