John Newton of ‘Amazing Grace’ fame was the world’s most accomplished swearer
In a most fascinating letter to The Times yesterday, Sister Hilda Mary Baumberg of St Michael’s Convent, Gerrards Cross revealed that the English slave ship captain turned abolitionist and Anglican clergyman John Newton (1725 – 1807) was quite possibly the most accomplished swearer on the planet ever.
In her missive, Sister Baumberg remarked:
“I read with interest Carol Midgley’s Notebook (August 5th) about the swearing ban at Salford Quays. Before his conversion John Newton, of Amazing Grace fame, could apparently swear for half an hour without repeating himself. What a shame he is not with us to keep the obscenity standards up; the F-word tends to be very boring. But of course after Newton’s conversion such language never again passed his lips.”
“Figure of middle-brow reaction” Mary Whitehouse would have had a heart attack reading such at her breakfast table. We join those saluting both Newton and Sister Baumberg.
Amazing grace! (how sweet the sound)
That sav’d a wretch like me!
I once was lost, but now am found,
Was blind, but now I see.
’Twas grace that taught my heart to fear,
And grace my fears reliev’d;
How precious did that grace appear,
The hour I first believ’d!
Thro’ many dangers, toils and snares,
I have already come;
’Tis grace has brought me safe thus far,
And grace will lead me home.
The Lord has promis’d good to me,
His word my hope secures;
He will my shield and portion be,
As long as life endures.
Yes, when this flesh and heart shall fail,
And mortal life shall cease;
I shall possess, within the veil,
A life of joy and peace.
The earth shall soon dissolve like snow,
The sun forbear to shine;
But God, who call’d me here below,
Will be forever mine.