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The New International Encyclopædia/Montgomery, James

MONTGOMERY, James (1771-1854). An English poet, the son of a Moravian preacher, James Montgomery was born at Irvine, Ayrshire, Scotland, November 4, 1771. At the age of seven he was sent to the Moravian settlement at Fulneck, near Leeds, to prepare for the Moravian ministry. To the annoyance of the Moravians, his leisure at school was employed in the composition of epics on King Alfred and the fall of man. In 1787 he ran away, and after four years of various employment became engaged as clerk to the editor of The Sheffield Register. In 1794 he started The Sheffield Iris, which he edited till 1825. He was twice fined and imprisoned in York Castle for libel. He afterwards became a moderate Conservative, and in 1835 was granted a Government pension of £150. He died at Sheffield, April 30, 1854. His principal volumes of verse are: The Wanderer of Switzerland (1806); The West Indies (1809); The World Before the Flood (1812); Greenland (1819); and The Pelican Island, and Other Poems (1826). Montgomery is now chiefly remembered for his hymns (collected in 1853), of which nearly a hundred are still in use. Among them are Go to Dark Gethsemane, and Forever with the Lord. Montgomery had little depth and drew his observations from books rather than from nature. His fame is kept up not by lovers of literature, but by lovers of religious feeling. Consult: Lives by Holland and Everett (London, 1854-56), and by King (ib., 1858); Poetical Works, ed. by their author (ib., 1841; reprint 1881), and by Carruthers (Boston, 1860).