Indelible Grace Hymnbook

James Montgomery

Born: No­vem­ber 4, 1771, Ir­vine, Ayr­shire, Scot­land.

Died: Ap­ril 30, 1854, Mount, Shef­field, Eng­land.

Buried: Shef­field, Eng­land. In his mem­o­ry, a sta­tue was erect­ed in the Shef­field cem­e­tery, a stained glass win­dow was in­stalled in the par­ish church, and a pub­lic hall was named af­ter him.

Pseudonym: Alæus.

When Mont­gom­e­ry was five years old, his fam­i­ly moved to the Mo­rav­i­an set­tle­ment at Grace­hill, near Bal­ly­me­na, Coun­ty An­trim. Two years lat­er, he was sent to the Ful­neck Sem­in­ary in York­shire. He left Ful­neck in 1787 to work in a shop in Mir­field, near Wake­field. Soon tir­ing of that, he se­cured a sim­i­lar po­si­tion at Wath, near Ro­ther­ham, on­ly to find it as un­suit­a­ble as his pre­vi­ous job. A trip to Lon­don, hop­ing to find a pub­lish­er for his youth­ful po­ems, end­ed in fail­ure. In 1792, he glad­ly left Wath for Shef­field to be as­sist­ant to Mr. Gales, auc­tion­eer, book­sel­ler, and print­er of the Shef­field Reg­is­ter. In 1794, Gales left Eng­land to avoid po­lit­ic­al pro­se­cu­tion. Mont­gom­ery took the Shef­field Reg­is­ter in hand, changed its name to the Shef­field Iris, and con­tin­ued to ed­it it for 32 years. Dur­ing the next two years he was im­pris­oned twice, first for re­print­ing a song in com­mem­or­a­tion of the fall of the Bas­tille, then for giv­ing an ac­count of a ri­ot in Shef­field.

The ed­it­ing of his pa­per, the com­po­si­tion and pub­li­ca­tion of his po­ems and hymns, the de­liv­ery of lec­tures on po­e­try in Shef­field and at the Roy­al In­sti­tu­tion, Lon­don, and the ad­vo­ca­cy of for­eign mis­sions and the Bi­ble So­ci­e­ty, gave great va­ri­e­ty, but very lit­tle of stir­ring in­ci­dent in his life, though he did find time to write 400 hymns. In 1833, Mont­gom­ery re­ceived a roy­al pen­sion of £200 per year. His works in­clude:

Prison Amuse­ments, 1797
The Wan­der­er of Switz­er­land, 1806
The West In­dies, 1807
The World Be­fore the Flood, 1813
Greenland and Other Po­ems, 1819
Songs of Zi­on, 1822
The Chris­tian Psalm­ist, 1825
The Chris­tian Po­et, 1825
The Pel­i­can Is­land, 1828
The Po­et’s Port­fo­lio, 1835
Original Hymns for Pub­lic, Pri­vate and So­cial De­vo­tion, 1853

Source: The Cyber Hymnal