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A common sailor at the age of 11 and press-ganged onto a man-of-war at 19, John Newton experienced the thrill of action against French warships and the cruel lash of navy discipline for desertion. Rejecting God and morality, Newton entered the slave-trade, became a slave himself and, by the age of 23, was little removed from the state of a wild animal. A violent Atlantic storm brought Newton to his knees and to God. The servant of slaves rose to occupy the pulpit of the most influential church in London. As author of the well-known hymn Amazing Grace, Newton left hymns and letters that have inspired many for over 200 years.