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Amazing Grace, Written by John Newton- Slave Trader

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posted on Mar, 17 2004 @ 12:17 AM
"Amazing Grace...How sweet the sound
That saved a wretch like me-"

The words are familiar, yes? What is it about this song that brings tears to peoples eyes- a song that has the power to literally stop people from what they are doing whenever the song is heard.

The history of this song is quite interesting. The supposed author of the words, John Newton, was born in London July 24, 1725. At 11 years of age he went to sea with his father, who was the commander of a merchant vessel which sailed the Mediterranean. He made a total of 6 voyages with his father before the commander retired.

In 1744 John was into service aboard a man- of- war, the H.M.S. Harwich. John did not agree nor like conditions aboard this vessel- and he soon deserted. he was swifly recaptured, flogged publicly, and demoted from midshipman to ordinary seaman.

At his own request he was exchanged into service on a slave ship. He then became a servant to a slave trader, and was brutally abused.

Later, he was rescued by a captain friend of his fathers, and eventually came to enter into the business of selling human slaves himself, even becoming a captain of his own slave ship.

While sailing his ship throgh a terrifying storm, he experienced what he was to refer to later in his life as a "great deliverance". He recorded in his journal that when all seemed lost and the ship would surely sink, he shouted" Lord, Have mercy on us" Later, in his cabin, he thought of these words and felt he was given a direction by God.

For the rest of his life he observed the date of this direction from God, May 10, 1748. He felt that slave trading was wrong, but he kept on doing it. He did "see to it that the slaves under my care were treated humanely".

John was a writer, and his journals are still in existence. Historians credit him for providing clear and concice details in the days of slave trading.

I did not know the origins of this song until recently when I saw the Bill Moyers documentary on PBS- And that was titled "Amazing Grace". It was a wonderful documentary.

Where did the tune originate? Most hymnals credit it to an early American folk melody. John Newton said he wrote it. My speculation is that the tune originally came from the slaves.

What is the power behind this song? You know, the feeling you get when the bagpipes play the tune....when the Boy's Choir of Harlem sing the song it is so unique...the numerous versions of the song which are played around the world...all so beautiful, even in a foreign tounge.

This song has to power to calm prisoners. To stop people in the streets. To unite many in just having the pleasure of hearing the tune.

What is the force behind the song? How does this happen?

In 1780 John became a rector, of St. Mary Wool Worth, St. Mary Woolchurch, in London. He led large congregations up until his death on Dec 21, 1807. He was also blind at this time.

I hope you found this interesting. The next time you hear the tune...think a moment. What it must have been like on the slave ships. Did this song come from the hearts of all that died, the souls of many people slaughtered and traded like livestock? The song has a newer meaning to me now- as I hope it does to you-

posted on Mar, 17 2004 @ 05:20 PM
There is a really good book that goes into great detail. It is called "Amazing Grace"(the story of America's most beloved song)

The melody is very Celtic and English. A lot of early American folk melodies were based on English traditional melodic ideas. The African slaves also used to commonly interpret English songs with African style and sensibility via the Church.

It was also also common in those days to put words to a traditional melody. The melody of the "Star Spangled Banner" is based on a traditional English drinking song.

I do believe Newton wrote it. Why would he lie?

[Edited on 17-3-2004 by Facefirst]

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