More English Diaries: Further Reviews of Diaries from the Sixteenth to the Nineteenth Century with an Introduction on Diary Reading

By Arthur Ponsonby | Go to book overview

NICHOLAS CRESSWELL

TRAVEL and adventure would seem to be very suitable subjects for diary writing, and there can be no question that they have impelled many people to keep diaries who otherwise might have had no inclination to do so. Yet those who have succeeded in making a diary of travel and adventure interesting and attractive are very few in number. Nicholas Cresswell, the son of a farmer, Thomas Cresswell, of Edale in Derbyshire, went out to America at the age of twenty-four in 1774. His journal gives perhaps the best model of this kind of diary.1

Nicholas Cresswell would have been surprised to learn that he had written anything remarkable. He started off against the wishes of his father and he completely failed to justify his adventurous journey. He wrote perfectly naturally for his own satisfaction without a thought of publication, and it is the very simplicity and unaffected candour of his record which makes it so greatly superior to a studied literary production carefully prepared for the Press. Nicholas was far from a saint and he tells us everything--not us, but his diary, because it is obvious that he was never conscious of a reader's eye. "Determined to keep a daily and impartial Journal from this day by which I hope to square my future conduct," he writes in his first entry in 1774, and in 1777, after he has returned a failure, poor and on strained terms with his family, he concludes his journal with the words, "Mem. Never to have anything to do with my Relations. I know their dispositions only too well, some of them begin to hint at my poverty already. I must be patient and if possible silent." Four years later he inserts a brief statement of his marriage to an heiress and under this he writes "My rambling is now at an end." A literary person would have found it

____________________
1
Quotations from the Journal of Nicholas Cresswell are given with the kind consent of Messrs. Jonathan Cape, Ltd.

-110-

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More English Diaries: Further Reviews of Diaries from the Sixteenth to the Nineteenth Century with an Introduction on Diary Reading
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • Preface v
  • Contents vii
  • INTRODUCTION ON DIARY READING WITH NOTES ON MINOR ENGLISH DIARIES 3
  • LIST OF DIARIES ARRANGED IN CHRONOLOGICAL ORDER. 33
  • SIXTEENTH AND SEVENTEENTH CENTURIES 37
  • Philip Wyot 38
  • Adam Winthrop 40
  • Margaret Lady Hoby 43
  • Lady Anne Clifford 49
  • Walter Powell 56
  • The Ishams - SIR JOHN, SIR THOMAS, AND SIR JUSTINIAN 59
  • Sir John Reresby 64
  • Anthony Ashley Cooper (first Earl of Shaftesbury) 68
  • Viscountess Mordaunt 71
  • Anthony Wood 74
  • Sir Richard Newdigate 83
  • EIGHTEENTH CENTURY 89
  • James Clegg 90
  • James Woodforde 92
  • Thomas Hollis 101
  • Nicholas Cresswell 110
  • Joseph Mydelton 115
  • William Jones 119
  • Henry White 133
  • Samuel Teedon 137
  • John Marsden 140
  • NINETEENTH CENTURY 147
  • Dorothy Wordsworth 148
  • Thomas Asline Ward 158
  • Colonel Peter Hawker 162
  • Thomas Rumney 167
  • Katherine Bisshopp (lady Pechell) 170
  • J. Vine Hall 179
  • William Kershaw 183
  • Henry Edward Fox (fourth Lord Holland) 190
  • Antony Ashley Cooper (seventh Earl of Shaftesbury) 195
  • Emily Shore 204
  • William Charles Macready 210
  • Miss J. 219
  • Ford Madox Brown 226
  • Charles Russell 234
  • Wilfrid Scawen Blunt 241
  • INDEX OF DIARIES AND CHRONICLES NOTICED IN THIS VOLUME 249
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