‘I was an Eye-witness’: John Newton, Anthony Benezet, and the Confession of a Liverpool Slave Trader
This article investigates a forgotten moment in the pre-history of British abolitionism: the publication of an anonymous ‘Relation’ written by a penitent Liverpool slave trader and printed in Anthony Benezet’s A Short Account (1762). The article suggests that the Philadelphia Quaker acquired the Liverpool ‘Relation’ via the London Dissenting publishers of Two Dialogues on the Man-Trade (1760). Identifying close parallels between events described in the ‘Relation’ and the voyage of the Brownlow in 1748-49, it argues that the former slave trader was probably John Newton, subsequently famous as a pastor, hymnwriter, and abolitionist. The conclusion considers potential implications for our understanding of Newton’s career and the origins of the British abolitionism.
Alternative title'Anthony Benezet, John Newton, and the Liverpool Slave Trade'
Author affiliationSchool of History, Politics and International Relations, University of Leicester
- VoR (Version of Record)