Newton, John, who was born in London, July 24, 1725, and died there Dec. 21, 1807, occupied an unique position among the founders of the Evangelical School, due as much to the romance of his young life and the striking history of his conversion, as to his force of character. His mother, a pious Dissenter, stored his childish mind with Scripture, but died when he was seven years old. At the age of eleven, after two years' schooling, during which he learned the rudiments of Latin, he went to sea with his father. His life at sea teems with wonderful escapes, vivid dreams, and sailor recklessness. He grew into an abandoned and godless sailor. The religious fits of his boyhood changed into settled infidelity, through the study of Shaftesbury and… Go to person page >
O speak that gracious word again. J. Newton. [Peace.] This is No. 53 of Book iii. in the Olney Hymns, 1779, in 7 stanzas of 4 lines, and is headed “Peace restored." In its full or in an abridged form it is found in a few modern hymnals. In the American Methodist Episcopal Hymns, 1849, No. 882, it is changed from C. M. to S. M., and reads, "O speak that word again;" but this form of the hymn has not met with favour.
--John Julian, Dictionary of Hymnology (1907)