John Henry Newton is my name. The details of my life are a little sketchy. Afterall, I am 275 years old! So bear with me, here, I am working with what I have. If it's on Wiki, it has to be true, right?
I was born in London in 1725. My mother was “non-conformist Christian,” meaning she was a practicing Christian but did not care for the excesses of the Church of England. She died of TB when I was six.
My father was a shipmaster in the Mediterranean, and he didn’t have much at all to do with religion.
At the age of 11, I went to sea with my father, and by 18 I had sailed six voyages with him.
My father planned for me to be a slave master on a sugar plantation in Jamaica. Instead I was pressed into serving the Royal Navy as captain of a slave ship. “Pressed into serving” really means I had no choice in the matter. Coercion was a common tactic for the Royal Navy to ensure they had enough men to meet their needs.
Of course, coercion doesn’t make loyalty, and I hated my job. I was bounced from ship to ship, demoted from captain all the way to the lowest level of seaman. At one point I was given over to an African duchess and treated like the slaves themselves. I was once an infidel, a rogue, and a servant of the slaves in Africa.
The difference between me and the slaves was that my father put the word out and a sea captain rescued me.
Amazing Grace, How Sweet the Sound
Amazing Grace Shall Always Be My Song of Praise