James Montgomery (b. Irvine, Ayrshire, Scotland, 1771; d. Sheffield, Yorkshire, England, 1854), the son of Moravian parents who died on a West Indies mission field while he was in boarding school, Montgomery inherited a strong religious bent, a passion for missions, and an independent mind. He was editor of the Sheffield Iris (1796-1827), a newspaper that sometimes espoused radical causes. Montgomery was imprisoned briefly when he printed a song that celebrated the fall of the Bastille and again when he described a riot in Sheffield that reflected unfavorably on a military commander. He also protested against slavery, the lot of boy chimney sweeps, and lotteries. Associated with Christians of various persuasions, Montgomery supported missio… Go to person page >
Fair shines the morning star. J. Montgomery. [Year of Jubilee.] Appeared in his Christian Psalmist, 1825, No. 556, in 5 stanzas of 6 lines, and in his Original Hymns, 1853, No. 263, the title in each case being "The Year of Jubilee." In 1836 J. Conder adopted it for the Congregational Hymn Book, and others have followed, both in Great Britain and America: but its use is not so extensive as many of Montgomery's hymns. In the New York Church Praise Book, 1882, No. 227, is a cento beginning with stanza i. of this hymn, and stanzas ii.-iv. from C. Wesley's "Blow ye the trumpet, blow " (q.v.).