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Montgomery, James  

(Nov. 4, 1771-Apr. 30, 1854). British newspaper editor and hymn writer. Montgomery was born in Irvine, Ayrshire, England. He was the son of Moravian missionary parents who intended that he become a minister. However, he was dismissed from seminary in 1792 because of his preoccupation with writing poetry. He became assistant to the editor and owner of the Sheffield Register, a radical newspaper. After the owner fled because of political persecution, Montgomery took over the paper. He renamed it The Iris, continued its liberal editorial policy, and used it for the occasional publication of his hymns. Imprisoned twice because of his political leanings, he became an outspoken and well-known opponent of the slave trade, child labor, and state lotteries. He supported foreign missions and the Bible Society. Although he was associated with Wesleyan Methodists, Montgomery became a supporter of Thomas Cotterill, rector of St. Paul's, Sheffield. Cotterill was attempting to popularize the singing of hymns in the Anglican Church. Montgomery was the author of over four hundred hymns. The Hymnal 1982 contains nine of his texts, including "Shepherd of souls, refresh and bless" (Hymn 343), "When Jesus left his Father's throne" (Hymn 480), and "Hail to the Lord's Anointed" (Hymn 616). He died in Sheffield. 

Glossary definitions provided courtesy of Church Publishing Incorporated, New York, NY,(All Rights reserved) from "An Episcopal Dictionary of the Church, A User Friendly Reference for Episcopalians," Don S. Armentrout and Robert Boak Slocum, editors.
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