NEWTON, John. b. Wapping, London, 24 July 1725; d. City of London, 21 December 1807. John Newton’s father was a ship’s master engaged in the Mediterranean trade, especially with Spain. His mother was a gentle and devout dissenter. She had a deep influence on her sensitive and highly intelligent son, whose early education she undertook personally. She encouraged him to learn by heart passages from the Bible, together with hymns, poems and the shorter catechisms of Isaac Watts*. During the difficult years to come he retained his love of reading and continued to explore ideas, including highly controversial ones, and to educate himself under the most adverse circumstances. Her death on 11 July...
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