John Newton

1725 (London) – 1807 (London)

Newton and Cowper were close friends and neighbours in Olney, where Newton was the parish priest. Newton got Cowper to contribute over 60 hymns to a collection he was preparing; he also took care of Cowper during suicidal bouts of depression. He became a mentor to Wilberforce, whom he’d first met as a child, visiting his aunt, and persuaded him he could achieve more for the abolitionist cause by staying on as a Member of Parliament than by entering the priesthood. Johnson published his thoughts on the slave-trade, while More sought his spiritual advice — he stayed with her at Cowslip Green.