William Cowper (1731 - 1800)
William Cowper was born in Berkhamsted, Hertfordshire, and trained as a solicitor. He abandoned that business due to severe depression and his gradual recovery coincided with the beginning of his conversion to Christian evangelicanism. It was through the Church that he met John Newton who influenced him greatly and they wrote many popular hymns together. He became a poet, translator, hymn- and letter-writer. When Newton became involved in the anti-slavery movement, William Cowper wrote powerful poems addressing the issue, including