A Short Biographical Dictionary of English Literature/Newton, John
Newton, John (1725-1807). -- Divine and hymn-writer, s. of a shipmaster, was b. in London, and for many years led a varied and adventurous life at sea, part of the time on board a man-of-war and part as captain of a slaver. In 1748 he came under strong religious convictions, and after acting as a tide-waiter at Liverpool for a few years, he applied for orders in 1758, and was ordained curate of Olney in 1764. Here he became the intimate and sympathetic friend of Cowper, in conjunction with whom he produced the Olney Hymns. In 1779 he was translated to the Rectory of St. Mary, Woolnoth, London, where he had great popularity and influence, and wrote many religious works, including Cardiphonia, and Remarkable Passages in his Own Life. He lives, however, in his hymns, among which are some of the best and most widely known in the language, such as In evil long I took delight, Glorious things of Thee are Spoken, How Sweet the Name of Jesus sounds, and many others. In his latter years N. was blind.