John Newton

From Academic Kids

John Newton (July 24, 1725December 21, 1807) was an English slave trader, who repented of his crimes against humanity later in life, and became a clergyman and writer who wrote the hymn "Amazing Grace."

Newton was born in London, the son of a shipmaster in the Mediterranean service, with whom he sailed on a total of six voyages until 1742 when his father died. In 1743 he was pressed into naval service, became a midshipman aboard the HMS Harwich, deserted, was recaptured and reduced to the rank of a common seaman, exchanged to a ship in the African station, became servant to a slave trader, and was rescued in 1748 by a friend of his father's, being converted to Christianity on the way home in a storm at sea. The date was May 10, 1748, an anniversary he observed for the rest of his life. From that point on, he avoided profanity, gambling, and drinking.

He continued at sea till 1754, meanwhile studying Latin and the Bible. He was surveyor of tides at Liverpool, England from 1755 to 1760, where he heard George Whitefield and John Wesley, and later studied Greek, Hebrew, and Syriac.

In 1763 he was brought to the notice of Lord Dartmouth by Thomas Haweis, through whose influence he was ordained deacon and priest in 1764, and given the curacy of Olney, Buckinghamshire. In 1767 the poet William Cowper settled there, and the result of their friendship was the Olney Hymns (London, 1779 and often), which greatly influenced English hymnology. Other well-known hymns by Newton include "Approach, My Soul, the Mercy Seat," "Come, My Soul, Thy Suit Prepare," and "Glorious Things of Thee are Spoken."

In 1779 Newton was invited by John Thornton to become Rector of St. Mary Woolnoth, Lombard Street, London, where he officiated until his death in 1807. He was a strong supporter of evangelicalism in the Church of England, and was a friend of the dissenting clergy as well as of the ministry of his own church. John Newton died in London and is buried in Olney.

Hardly less famous than the hymns was his Authentic Narrative of Some...Particulars in the Life of John Newton (London, 1764, 9th. ed., 1799; an account of his early life). He wrote also, Sermons Preached in . . . Olney (1767); Omicron: Twenty-six Letters on Religious Subjects (1774; subsequent editions, in which the number of the letters became forty-one); Cardiphonia; or, the Utterance of the Heart in the Course of a real Correspondence (2 vols., 1781); Letters to a Wife (2 vols., 1793), and other works.

A collected edition of his works was issued by his executors (6 vols., London, 1808; new ed., 12 vols., 1821).

Newton was recognized for his hymns of longstanding influence by the Gospel Music Association in 1982 when he was inducted into the Gospel Music Hall of Fame.

External link

Template:Wikiquote Template:Wikisource author

sv:John Newton


Academic Kids Menu

  • Art and Cultures
    • Art (
    • Architecture (
    • Cultures (
    • Music (
    • Musical Instruments (
  • Biographies (
  • Clipart (
  • Geography (
    • Countries of the World (
    • Maps (
    • Flags (
    • Continents (
  • History (
    • Ancient Civilizations (
    • Industrial Revolution (
    • Middle Ages (
    • Prehistory (
    • Renaissance (
    • Timelines (
    • United States (
    • Wars (
    • World History (
  • Human Body (
  • Mathematics (
  • Reference (
  • Science (
    • Animals (
    • Aviation (
    • Dinosaurs (
    • Earth (
    • Inventions (
    • Physical Science (
    • Plants (
    • Scientists (
  • Social Studies (
    • Anthropology (
    • Economics (
    • Government (
    • Religion (
    • Holidays (
  • Space and Astronomy
    • Solar System (
    • Planets (
  • Sports (
  • Timelines (
  • Weather (
  • US States (


  • Home Page (
  • Contact Us (

  • Clip Art (
Personal tools