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John Newton

(1725-1807), Trader of enslaved people; clergyman; friend of the poet William Cowper

Sitter in 7 portraits
After the death of his mother aged six, Newton accompanied his father on punishing sea voyages. He later went to work for traders in enslaved people at sea and in West Africa, itself. In 1750, at the age of 25, Newton became captain of his own slave ship, transporting human cargo between the West African coast and British colonies in the Caribbean. He gave up this work after a number of religious epiphanies led him to convert to Evangelical Christianity. He became an active abolitionist, publishing Thoughts on the African Slave Trade (1788) and working with William Wilberforce, the leader of the Parliamentary campaign for abolition. He was also friends with poet William Cowper, whom he comforted during periods of mental ill health. Newton’s personal experiences, work on the abolition campaign, and evangelical beliefs inspired his writing of the hymn Amazing Grace.

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John Newton, published by John Payne, after  John Russell - NPG D16069

John Newton

published by John Payne, after John Russell
stipple engraving, published 11 March 1791
NPG D16069

John Newton, by Joseph Collyer the Younger, after  John Russell - NPG D5352

John Newton

by Joseph Collyer the Younger, after John Russell
line engraving, published 1 January 1808 (1788)
NPG D5352

John Newton, by Joseph Collyer the Younger, after  John Russell - NPG D5353

John Newton

by Joseph Collyer the Younger, after John Russell
line engraving, published 1 January 1808 (1788)
NPG D5353

John Newton, by Joseph Collyer the Younger, after  John Russell - NPG D5354

John Newton

by Joseph Collyer the Younger, after John Russell
line engraving, published 1 January 1808 (1788)
NPG D5354

John Newton, by Joseph Collyer the Younger, after  John Russell - NPG D5355

John Newton

by Joseph Collyer the Younger, after John Russell
line engraving, published 1 January 1808 (1788)
NPG D5355

John Newton, by Joseph Collyer the Younger, after  John Russell - NPG D16282

John Newton

by Joseph Collyer the Younger, after John Russell
line engraving, published 1 January 1808 (1788)
NPG D16282

Web image not currently available

John Newton

by Joseph Collyer the Younger, published by J. Smith, after John Russell
line engraving, published 1 January 1808 (1788)
NPG D19763

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