John Newton was an Anglican clergyman in England and the founder of the evangelical Clapham Sect. He began his career at sea at a young age, and worked on slave ships in the slave trade for several years. After experiencing a period of Christian conversion, Newton eventually renounced his trade and became a prominent supporter of abolitionism, living to see Britain's abolition of the African slave trade in 1807. In 1788, 34 years after he had retired from the slave trade, Newton broke a long silence on the subject with the publication of a forceful pamphlet Thoughts Upon the Slave Trade, in which he described the horrific conditions of the slave ships during the Middle Passage. Newton was a mentor to a young William Wilberforce as well as the author of the christian hymn Amazing Grace.