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John Newton (1725-1807), slave trader and Church of England clergyman and friend of the poet William Cowper
Sitter in 7 portraits
Newton is best known as an evangelical divine and author of the popular hymn Amazing Grace. A friend of the philanthropist and anti-slave trade campaigner William Wilberforce, Newton had in fact started his career in the 1750s as the captain of a slave ship. Originally from Liverpool, the centre of the British slave trade, Newton travelled between the African coast and the British West Indies, transporting his human cargo in typically squalid conditions. He later repented his involvement in the slaving business and became a prominent spokesman for its abolition. He became friends with the poet William Cowper and nursed him during his bouts of madness.