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John Newton
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    (July 24, 1725-December 21, 1807)
    Born in London, United Kingdom
    Slave ship captain turned Anglican clergyman
    Wrote many hymns, most notably 'Amazing Grace'
    Inducted into the Gospel Music Hall of Fame (1982)
    He said that in his youth he was 'an infidel and libertine.'
    He continued dealing in slaves even after his spiritual conversion.
    He finally gave up the slave trade after suffering a stroke that left him unable to go out to sea (1755).
    Between being a slave trader and a clergyman, he worked as a tax collector.
    While studying for the clergy, he taught himself Latin, Greek and Hebrew.
    He was such a popular preacher that a gallery was added to his church to accommodate the crowds.
    He wrote the pamphlet 'Thoughts Upon the Slave Trade' (1788) in which he described the horrific conditions on the slave ships and noted, 'It will always be a subject of humiliating reflection to me, that I was once an active instrument in a business at which my heart now shudders.'
    He said, 'I am not the man I ought to be, I am not the man I wish to be, and I am not the man I hope to be, but by the grace of God, I am not the man I used to be.'

Credit: C. Fishel

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