To my shame, I continued to sell my fellow human beings, making three voyages as the captain of two different slave vessels. I suffered a stroke in 1754 and retired, but continued to invest in that vile business. In the midst of guilt and shame I felt a call to ministry. After ten years of prayer and study, I was ordained as an Anglican priest and was inspired to write 280 hymns to accompany my services. To my astonishment, my services were always full. It was in 1779 that I wrote “Amazing Grace”.
Thirty-four years after leaving the slave trade I renounced my former slaving profession. Guilt was weighing heavily on me and with God’s help I was able to publish what turned out to be a blazing pamphlet called Thoughts Upon the Slave Trade. The tract described the horrific conditions on slave ships. I wept from guilt and shame as I apologized for waiting so long to speak out: It will always be a subject of humiliating reflection to me, that I was once an active instrument in a business at which my heart now shudders. The pamphlet was so popular it was reprinted several times and sent to every member of Parliament. Several years later in 1807 the English civil government outlawed slavery in Great Britain.
I died that same year, nearly blind, haunted by the echoes of agony and the vile stench of the cruelty I had inflicted on my fellow human beings. At the time I thought they were the wretched, but alas ‘twas I who was the wretch. But in an unearned, undeserved moment of God’s grace I heard the news of England outlawing slavery. I was able to die with joy in my heart and peace in my soul.
Old Grandpa Lloyd