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JAMES MONTGOMERY (1771-1854)

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Originally appearing in Volume V18, Page 784 of the 1911 Encyclopedia Britannica.
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JAMES MONTGOMERY (1771-1854), British poet and journalist, son of a Moravian minister, was born on the 4th of November 1771, at Irvine in Ayrshire, Scotland. Part of his boyhood was spent in Ireland, but he received his education in Yorkshire, at the Moravian school of Fulneek near Leeds. He edited the Sheffield Iris for more than thirty years. When he began his career the position of a journalist who held pronounced views on reform was a difficult one, and he twice suffered imprisonment (in 1795 and 1796). His Wanderer of Switzerland (18o6), describing the French occupation, attracted considerable attention. The author was described by Lord Byron in a footnote to English Bards and Scotch Reviewers, as " a man of considerable genius," whose Wanderer of Switzer-land was worth a thousand " Lyrical Ballads." The book had been mercilessly ridiculed by Jeffrey in the Edinburgh Review (1807), but in spite of this Montgomery achieved a wide popularity with his later volumes of verse: The,West Indies (181o); The World Before the Flood (1812); Greenland (1819); Songs of Zion (1822); The Pelican Island (1826). On account of the religious character of his poetry, he is sometimes confounded with Robert Montgomery, very much to the injustice of his reputation. His verses were dictated by the inspiring force of humanitarian sentiment, and he was especially eloquent in his denunciation of the slave trade. The influence of Campbell is apparent in his earlier poems, but in the Pelican Island, his last and best work as a poet, he evidently took Shelley as his model. His reputation now rests chiefly on his hymns, about a hundred of which are still in current use. His Lectures on Poetry and General Literature (1833) show considerable breadth of sympathy and power of expression. A pension of £150 was bestowed on him by Sir Robert Peel in 1835. He died at Sheffield on the 3oth of April 1854. His poems were collected and edited by himself in 1841. The voluminous Memoirs, published in seven volumes (1856-1858) by John Holland and James Everett, contain valuable information on nglish provincial politics. MONTGOMERY, RICHARD (1736-1775), American soldier, was born in Co. Dublin, Ireland, in 1736. Educated at St Andrew's and at Trinity College, Dublin, he entered the British army in 1756, becoming captain six years later. He saw war service at Louisbourg in 1757 and in the Lake Champlain expedition of 1759, and as adjutant of his regiment (the 17th foot) he shared in the final threefold advance upon Montreal. Later he was present at Martinique and Havana. In 1772 he left the army, settled in New York, and married a daughter of Robert R. Livingston. Three years later he was a delegate to the first provincial congress of New York, and became brigadier-general in the Continental army. He was sent with Schuyler on the Canadian expedition, and, on Schuyler's falling ill, the command devolved upon him. Hampered by the in-clemency of the season and the gross indiscipline of the troops, he went forward, gaining a few minor successes and capturing the colours of the 7th (Royal) Fusiliers, and met Benedict Arnold's contingent at Point aux Trembles. They pushed on to Quebec barely Boo strong, but an assault was made on the 31st of December 1775, and almost at the first discharge Montgomery was killed. The body of the American general was honourably interred by the Quebec garrison. Congress caused a memorial to be erected in St Paul's church, New York, and in 1818 his remains were conveyed thither from Quebec.
End of Article: JAMES MONTGOMERY (1771-1854)
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