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

J. VINE HALL

ATRACT called The Sinner's Friend, originally consisting of extracts from Bogatzky Golden Treasury, was issued in the early nineteenth century by J. Vine Hall, who gradually substituted pages from his own pen until it became entirely his own composition. It reached the extraordinary circulation of three million and was translated into thirty languages. Vine Hall's diary is also a tract relating the author's cure from what seemed hopeless drunkenness. If there had been no cure we should have had no diary and if there had been no drunkenness the diary would not have been worth reviewing. While the references to his drunkenness in early days are very outspoken, he was naturally of a religious disposition and there may well be some exaggeration in his failure intentionally emphasized in order to enhance the triumph of his eventual success. The entries are few, seldom more than three or four in each month, summarizing periods. The diary has been edited in such a way as to give it more the appearance of autobiography, although the dated entries are kept.

J. Vine Hall was born at Diss, in Norfolk, in 1774. He began life as an errand boy to a bookseller. Afterwards he became clerk and traveller to a wine merchant and contracted drunken and profligate habits which were not cured by his marriage in 1806. By 1818, however, he had entirely freed himself from the curse and returned as owner of the bookshop to which he had been errand boy. He absorbed himself in religious activities and was occupied for years with the publication, translation and circulation of his tract The Sinner's Friend. He died in 1860.

The diary begins in 1810 and the first entries show that while he is in the clutches of drink he is aware of his failing and the struggle is beginning:

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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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