The Captain in The Dark is based on John Newton, a cruel ships captain,
and overseer of many trips along the slave triangle.
Although Newton was raised as a Christian he didn't feel any conflicts
between his beliefs and his role in the slave trade. However, during
a violent storm at sea he experienced a moment of epiphany and decided
to change his life.
Following retirement from the sea, Newton became Surveyor of the Tides
in Liverpool, during which time he studied Greek, Hebrew and Theology.
Newton was ordained as a priest in the Church of England in 1764. His
sermons almost always referred to his previous sins as the captain of
a slaver, and he became a constant advocate for the removal of this
Newton also wrote of his experiences in the slave trade in his autobiography
An Authentic Narrative published in 1764. Newton co-wrote the
words to the song Amazing Grace - one of the sounds that haunts
Amazing grace! How sweet the sound
That saved 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 relieved.
How precious did that grace appear
The hour I first believed.
Through many dangers, toils and snares
I have already come;
'Tis grace hath brought me safe thus far
And grace will lead me home.
The Lord has promised good to me
His word my hope secures;
He will my shield and portion be,
As long as life endures.
Yea, when this flesh and heart shall fail,
and mortal life shall cease,
I shall possess within the veil,
A life of joy and peace.
When we've been there ten thousand years
Bright shining as the sun,
We've no less days to sing God's praise
Than when we've first begun.
John Newton (stanza 6 Anon)